Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Just One Of The Guys, Kristan Higgins AND A CONTEST

You know, sometimes life is a little rough. I have a hellish commute to a job that I love/hate. I hear stories from people I work with about missing kids and cheating spouses and parents that don't understand them. I have friends with sickness, and my own Grams is battling that big ugly "C" word right now. It's not anything that you don't deal with as well. Your car breaks down. You fight with your spouse. Your sister finds a lump. Sometimes life just kicks us right in the teeth, right?

But sometimes? Oh man. Sometimes you come home from grocery shopping and open up your mailbox and find a little piece of paradise all wrapped up in a brown envelope.

That was my luck today.

And I have to say, bless my children's hearts for automatically knowing, and gracefully (if not exactly quietly) accepting that Mommy would be of no use to ANYONE today. Mommy got a new book in the mail, one she'd just unsuccessfully scoured Borders to find. Mommy would be Reading!

Yes, I got this long-awaited gem in the mail. And it couldn't have come at a better time. I needed a pick-me-up. That is, after all, why I was in Borders as soon as they opened today. I was hoping against hope that some college kid there (no offense to any of you out there, ok?) had ignored the silly lay-down date and slipped a copy of Kristan Higgins' latest book onto a shelf for me to find. Alas, it wasn't the case and I came home heavy hearted. Until my darling daughter came running back from the mailbox with an envelope. "Momma, I think you have a BOOK! Maybe it's the one with the dog on it!!"

And it WAS!! Bless Kristan Higgins' heart. :) And so began my journey into the life of Chastity O'Neill, who is ... Just One Of The Guys

Being one of the guys isn't all it's cracked up to be...
So when journalist Chastity O'Neill returns to her hometown, she decides it's time to start working on some of those feminine wiles. Two tiny problems.: #1 - she's five feet eleven inches of rock-solid girl power, and #2 - she's cursed with four alpha male older brothers.
While doing a story on local heroes, she meets a hunky doctor and things start to look up. Now there's only one problem: Trevor Meade, her first love and the one man she's never quite gotten over - although he seems to have gotten over her just fine.
Yet the more time she spends with Dr. perfect, the better Trevor looks. But even with the in-your-face competition, the irresistible Trevor just can't seem to see Chastity as anything more than just one of the guys...

As with Ms. Higgins previous books, Fools Rush In and Catch of the Day, I fell right into the heart of the story. Chastity O'Neill is a writer, a journalist to be precise. She's just moved back to her hometown. She's landed a sweet job at the local paper. She's glad to be back among her testosterone-filled family. And then she gets dumped. No, wait, don't worry. Getting dumped happens on the first page. Actually, it happens in the very first line of the book. And I couldn't help but laugh.

Of course, this being a Higgins book, I knew I'd be laughing a lot. And crying. And looking inside myself to examine some of the stuff that her books always seem to stir up, like so much dust on the floor in the middle of June. This book was no exception.

Chastity has a life full of men, but not in the way she really wants. What she wants is a husband, and babies, and love and laughter. What she has is four older brothers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) that range from firefighters to members of the bomb squad, all heroes in their own right. What she has is a stiff-upper-lipped Irish firefighter father, that is at times more emotionally stilted than a chilled bottle of pinot. What she has is a mother that's had enough of playing second fiddle to her husband's career. What she has is a secret crush, of the I-really-LOVE-him variety, on a man that's been an honorary part of her family for decades. What she has, in short, is a real life, full of family and fun, but also tinged with heartache and disappointment.

When her mom starts dating again, Chastity joins her. And when, on one of those outings, Chastity meets her ideal man, things start looking up. Did I mention he's a doctor? Well, to be more precise, he's a trauma surgeon. He's incredibly hot, enough to turn Chastity's head from her two beloved dream men - Derek Jeter and Aragorn from LOTR. He's wealthy. He's thoughtful and polite. Really, he's perfect.

Except he isn't Trevor.

While Chastity's mom takes a huge leap into her new dating life and actually becomes the center of someone's world, Chastity struggles with what it means to know the love of your life but not have him. She's happy with her doctor (excuse me, her Trauma Surgeon). He adores her. He even says he loves her. But is that enough?

Maybe, sometimes, it is.

Maybe sometimes The Love Of Your Life doesn't have to be the only person you love in your life. Maybe you can learn to passionately adore the person that loves you. Maybe that's all anyone can hope for. Blah blah bleeping blah.

Written in First POV, with enough wit and heart to fuel an online dating community, Just One of The Guys is a true masterpiece. You'll love Chastity, all five feet eleven and three quarters inches of her. You'll love her brothers and her dad and her mom and her nieces and nephews and sisters-in-law. You'll love her Trauma Surgeon boyfriend, Ryan Darling. And yes, you'll love Buttercup, Chastity's dog. The only thing you won't love is that, like all good books must, this book ends. It may even end the way you want it to end. Maybe...

Maybe you should go out and grab this book! Because frankly, when my day started kind of crappy, this book made me smile. And cry. And laugh. And it's got that cute dog on the cover. And well, it's a Higgins book. What more could you want?

Keep Turning Those Pages!!

PS- If you'd like a signed copy of Just One Of The Guys, leave me a comment. I'd like to know about the ordinary people in your life that are heroes. If I pick your name at random, I'll have Kristan sign a copy of this book to you when I see her at Nationals in a few weeks. Yes, the contest is THAT easy. So go ahead, what are you waiting for?


Ann M. said...

I love Kristan's books. Real life heroes - my grandmoms. Both were strong women who cared for their families. I loved listening to family stories about them.

Marianne Arkins said...

My mom has always, and will always be my hero. She did everything to take care of us kids on her own, and is still a selfless and loving person.

I want to be like her when I grow up.


McB said...

Darlin', she says with exasperation, if you had just told me you wanted to squeak a book before its actual sell by date I could have told you to check the grocery stores. ; )

lrwirum said...

My hero is my guy. He is my rock and no matter what he can always bring a smile to my face. I can't imagine life without him. :-)


kimmyl said...

my hero is my son. When we lost his dad he was so young and so strong for me. He's my little angel.

Anonymous said...

My real life hero is my husband. He is a doctor and devotes his time and care to babies and children.

traveler said...

My mom who is no longer here was my idol. She was selfless, tireless and always there for the family.

Brandy said...

My hero, besides my husband is my FIL. He has worked through pain (for over 15 years) that would fell anyone else and most of all he was there for me when I had to make the horrible decision to let my Mother go. He adores my children and treats me like one of his own children. He volunteers tirelessly for his Church and he truly is a great man.

ruth said...

My husband whose hardworking and generous nature never wavers. He is kind to all, concerned and thoughtful to everyone he meets.

Anonymous said...

My mother who is sorely missed each and everyday. She was always there for everyone and was so appreciated and loved.