1 2 3 4

Reaction to... The Next Best Thing by Kristin Higgans

"There's so much love in the world. Sadness, too, and heartbreak, but more than those, there are love and happiness and miracles of joy."
Since I began with my adult contemporary romance kick, I've secretly been wanting to try one author's work in particular—guess who. And with some idea of where to start, I went in a completely different direction due to the super easy access I had to this one, The Next Best Thing. After reading the story, I can appreciate the way this new cover fits—perfectly, down to the lounging cat and up to the beard growing on Ethan's model's face. Now, was I blown away by exemplary writing? No. Excellent plotting? Uh-uh. What Higgans seems to excel at, though, is the voice of her main character and characterizing every individual in that MC's life.

That's what addicted me. I was completely drawn in by Lucy's voice—an interesting mix of disconnect and outright humor. I couldn't not laugh at her faults, her narration, her situations. She made everything funny in less of a cruel, mocking way and more of an easygoing, almost ironic one. She has a knack for trying out a joke at a less than suitable moment, and there's no more inappropriate time to be so hilarious than while she's still clearly wading through the grief of losing her husband.

Lucy..." He started to say something, then stopped. "Oh, Lucy." He covered his mouth with one hand. "Uh... you... um..." He started laughing. Wheezing, really.
That was it. I fled to the bathroom, took a look in the mirror. And screamed.
My face was bright red, imprinted on the left side from the corduroy pillow on the couch. My right eye still had some grayish-green dried mud on the lid, which was preventing me from opening it all the way, sort of a stroke victim look going on there... Apparently, the aging mud mask had caused a rash, because my cheeks were red and bumpy. And my hair! Oh, Lord, my hair! Never cut your own hair while intoxicated... sure now I remembered that particular rule. Seems so obvious, doesn't it?

Pathetic, that's what I was. A pathetic, drunken, smeary widow with orange skin, insane asylum hair and a rash. Insult to injury. Not only had God taken my Jimmy... He'd let me go on a White Russian bender while armed with scissors and tan-from-a-can! It was enough to make me an atheist.

There were things that fed my inner nit-picker, too. I could enjoy this book, sure, but if anyone in this book used "honey" other than to describe the substance that bees were a bitch about hoarding, I was going to hurl. Or flip to the next page, unsympathetic. There's only so much of an endearment you can take! Then there was all this angsty inner monologuing and self-doubt, that while I could tolerate because it made sense I didn't particularly enjoy. But what I feel justified in making a legitimate fuss about is the lack of finesse when it came to the plot. There were far too many lulls where it seemed like Higgins, to put it kindly, moseyed on with it instead of cutting it shorter because that would've made even better sense for the story. I wasn't bored enough to drop the story (plagued by curiosity like that—hah, I don't think so!) but I did find myself skimming until I returned to a comfortable, interesting point in the story again.

The Next Best Thing makes for fun, delicious snacking for the mind. Helps you relax after an easy day or a hard one and can get you to a place where everything is warm, happy, and sexy, and nothing can put a damper on it until the morning where work awaits and a gorgeous, lonely, yearning guy does not.

So sad, but that's why I'll be reading more of her work before much longer.

Paperback / 400 pgs / Aug 27th 2013 / Harlequin / Goodreads / $7.99

I received an e-galley of this from Harlequin via Netgalley.