Category Archives: Kristan Higgins

Review: Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins

Title: Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 464 pages
Book Rating: A+ & A Recommended Read

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Every month, a letter. That’s what Lauren decides to leave her husband when she finds out she’s dying. Each month, she gives Josh a letter containing a task to help him face this first year without her, leading him on a heartrending, beautiful, often humorous journey to find happiness again in this new novel from the New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins.
Joshua and Lauren are the perfect couple. Newly married, they’re wildly in love, each on a successful and rewarding career path. Then Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

As Lauren’s disease progresses, Joshua struggles to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and to come to terms with his future–a future without the only woman he’s ever loved. He’s so consumed with finding a way to avoid the inevitable ending that he never imagines his life after Lauren.

But Lauren has a plan to keep her husband moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him. In those letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Lauren leads Joshua on a journey through pain, anger, and denial. It’s a journey that will take Joshua from his attempt at a dinner party for family and friends to getting rid of their bed…from a visit with a psychic medium to a kiss with a woman who isn’t Lauren. As his grief makes room for laughter and new relationships, Joshua learns Lauren’s most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn’t follow a straight line.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins illuminates how life’s greatest joys are often hiding in plain sight.


Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins is a captivating novel that packs a powerful emotional punch.

Josh and Lauren Park have their entire married lives in front of them when Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal diagnosis. Josh is a medical device engineer who is a workaholic. He is also socially awkward and has a difficult time figuring out social cues. Thankfully with his bubbly wife at his side, he has become much more adept in social situations. They are very close to Josh’s mom, Steph, and her neighbors, Ben & Sumi Kim, a wonderful couple whom he thinks of as parents. They also enjoy a delightful relationship with Lauren’s sister, Jen, her husband, Darius and their adorable children. Her mom has not been the same since her father’s death but she is a part of their lives as well. Lauren’s best friend from childhood, Sarah, rounds out their social group. Everyone is stunned by Lauren’s diagnosis but they are a strong support system both before and after her death.

Josh is heartbroken and barely functional after Lauren passes away. He steadfastly refuses to remember the day of her death and he is overwhelmed with crushing grief.  But for the next twelve months he receives letters from Lauren that give him tasks to perform. His first month’s assignment is simple yet so very difficult to accomplish due to the memories that assail him at every turn. Josh looks forward to receiving the missives and they soon begin having a surprising impact on his life. He finds an unexpected friendship in a compassionate store clerk and although it takes months, Josh does begin to move forward.

The chapters alternate between Josh and Lauren’s points of view. Lauren’s chapters provide heartwarming peeks into their life together. She also pens letters to her deceased father in order to remain close to him. Lauren and Josh are deeply in love and while her diagnosis shocks them to the core, they become closer than ever. They are grateful for the time they have but at the same time, but it takes Lauren a while to come to terms with the inevitable outcome of her disease.

Pack Up the Moon is a deeply affecting novel of love, loss and healing. It is also a story of new beginnings as Josh comes to terms with Lauren’s death.  All of the characters are multi-dimensional and their reactions to Lauren’s fate are realistically depicted. Josh’s grief is palpable and it is impossible not to react to the depth of his loss.  The storyline is well-written and the story unfolds at a brisk pace. Kristan Higgins brings this touching novel to an incredibly heartfelt conclusion. I laughed, cried and absolutely loved this brilliant novel.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Kristan Higgins, Pack Up the Moon, Rated A+, Recommended Read, Review, Women's Fiction

Review: Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins

Title: Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Sometimes you have to break a family to fix it.

From New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins, a new novel examining a family at the breaking point in all its messy, difficult, wonderful complexity.

The Frosts are a typical American family. Barb and John, married almost fifty years, are testy and bored with each other…who could blame them after all this time? At least they have their daughters– Barb’s favorite, the perfect, brilliant Juliet; and John’s darling, the free-spirited Sadie. The girls themselves couldn’t be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. It was fine. It was enough.

Until the day John had a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down.

Now Sadie has to put her career as a teacher and struggling artist in New York on hold to come back and care for her beloved dad–and face the love of her life, whose heart she broke, and who broke hers. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect career as a successful architect, her perfect marriage to a charming Brit, and her two perfect daughters, she’s spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks.

And now Barb and John will finally have to face what’s been going on in their marriage all along.

From the author of Good Luck with That and Life and Other Inconveniences comes a new novel of heartbreaking truths and hilarious honesty about what family really means.


Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins is an angsty multi-generational family novel.

Barb Frost and her husband John have been married fifty years when John has a stroke. Their marriage has been through plenty of ups but mostly downs. Several years of infertility finally resulted in the birth of their oldest daughter Juliet. Twelve years later, Barb is dismayed to discover she is pregnant again and after a difficult birth, Sadie enters their world.  Barb obviously favors Juliet and the two are best friends.  Sadie and her father are close and John always stands up for her.  After John’s stroke, the family holds their breath as they wait to see if he will recover. When it becomes obvious he will need round the clock care, Sadie moves back to the small Connecticut town she left behind for the bright lights of New York. What will the future hold for Barb, Juliet and Sadie as they each face their own personal struggles against the backdrop of John’s health crisis?

At seventy, Barb has finally come into her own. After years of volunteering for various projects around town, she is now first selectman and she is making many positive changes through her hard work and dedication.  While on the career front she is happy, Barb has given up on John and her marriage. Difficult years of infertility strained their marriage and they never quite recovered their close relationship. Barb instead lavished all of her attention on Juliet who, in her eyes, is absolutely perfect.   For various reasons, Barb has never been close to Sadie and her daughter could never do anything right. John’s quick defense of Sadie grates on Barb’s nerves and adds to the distance between her and her daughter. On the verge of a shocking announcement, Barb is instead faced with caring for her husband whom she is quite angry with after she learns stunning information.

Juliet is happily married with two daughters. She is also an extremely successful architect who is suddenly struggling with becoming irrelevant to her longtime employers. She is also keeping a secret that eats away at her after her father’s stroke. Juliet is close to breaking point as she feels inadequate and exhausted while she juggles her family life with her demanding career.

Sadie could not wait to leave her hometown amid dreams of traveling and making her mark on the art world. In the process, her relationship with the love of her life Noah Pelletier ended with both of them suffering broken hearts.  After unsuccessful attempts to snag a showing for her paintings, Sadie is now an art teacher who sells her artwork on the side.  She is absolutely devastated about her father’s stroke but she remains optimistic he will recover.  Sadie returns to the idyllic town to care for John and immediately comes face to face with Noah. Realizing her feelings for him have never changed, is there any chance for a reconciliation? Or will the same problems they could not resolve years earlier prevent them from finding happiness together?

Unfolding from multiple points of view, Always the Last to Know is a multi-layered family-centric novel. While well-written, the storyline is a little predictable. The characters are well-developed but they are not very sympathetic or likable for much of the story.  The pacing is slow until about the last third of the novel.  It is at this point that Barb, Juliet and Sadie become much more appealing and easier to relate to.  Kristan Higgins brings the novel to a heartwarming, uplifting conclusion.

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Filed under Always the Last to Know, Berkley, Contemporary, Kristan Higgins, Review, Women's Fiction

Review: Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Title: Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 448 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.

Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?


Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins is a poignant, heartwarming and humorous novel of family, new beginnings and healing.

A single mother in her mid-thirties, Emma London is finally establishing herself in her career. She remains estranged from her wealthy paternal grandmother Genevieve who turned her back on her granddaughter when she became pregnant at eighteen. Emma’s beloved grandfather, Pop, took her in and she and her sixteen year daughter Riley still live with him. They are extremely close-knit but Emma is worried about Riley, who has suddenly become moody and uncommunicative. When Genevieve unexpectedly calls to tell her she is dying of cancer and would like to meet Riley, Emma is uncertain whether or not she wants to expose her daughter to her overly critical great-grandmother. But after Riley becomes a victim of bullying from her longtime former “best” friends,  Emma decides a change of scenery will go a long way in helping her daughter. But can a summer with her acerbic grandmother heal their rift?

Genevieve is a harsh woman who became hardened with grief following her young son’s disappearance and her beloved husband’s premature death. Instead of comforting her son Clark, she threw herself into starting her own business. Clark never lived up to her exacting standards and her disappointment in him has never abated. After her daughter-in-law’s death, raising Emma falls on Genevieve’s reluctant shoulders.

Emma is slightly neurotic yet surprisingly upbeat and cheerful. She is a fierce mother bear but she tries to give her daughter the space and privacy she needs to deal with whatever is bothering her.  Emma initially keeps her distance from Genevieve but she is pleasantly surprised at the instant rapport between Riley and her great-grandmother. She finds it surprisingly easy to settle back into her grandmother’s orbit and Emma easily holds her own against Genevieve’s biting comments.

Riley is an absolutely delightful teenager who is quite charmed by her great-grandmother. Their interactions are laced with witty banter as they grow close.  Riley also finally gets the chance to connect with her younger half-brothers and she forms a warm friendship with the son of her great-grandmother’s friends.

Emma unexpectedly  becomes close with Miller Finlay, a widower with a troubled three year daughter, Tess. Miller is struggling with his grief over the death his wife, Ashley.  Young Tess is quite the handful and her mischief creates one of the funniest scenes in the novel.

Life and Other Inconveniences is a captivating family-centric  novel that is deeply affecting. Emma is an endearing woman with enviable strengths and relatable flaws. Riley is a refreshing breath of fresh air who is well-adjusted and genuine.  Genevieve is initially rather off-putting, but she is surprisingly easier to like as she grows close to Riley. The storyline is well-written and fast-paced.  Kristan Higgins brings this heartfelt, entertaining novel to a wonderfully uplifting yet slightly bittersweet conclusion.  I absolutely loved and highly recommend this emotionally compelling novel.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Kristan Higgins, Life and Other Inconveniences, Rated B+, Review, Women's Fiction

Review: Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins

Title: Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 480 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins is beloved for her heartfelt novels filled with humor and wisdom. Now, she tackles an issue every woman deals with: body image and self-acceptance.

Emerson, Georgia, and Marley have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults.

For each of them, that means something different. For Marley, it’s coming to terms with the survivor’s guilt she’s carried around since her twin sister’s death, which has left her blind to the real chance for romance in her life. For Georgia, it’s about learning to stop trying to live up to her mother’s and brother’s ridiculous standards, and learning to accept the love her ex-husband has tried to give her.

But as Marley and Georgia grow stronger, the real meaning of Emerson’s dying wish becomes truly clear: more than anything, she wanted her friends to love themselves.

A novel of compassion and insight, Good Luck With That tells the story of two women who learn to embrace themselves just the way they are.


Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins is a poignant yet uplifting novel of friendship, love and healing.

Georgia Sloane, Marley DeFelice and Emerson Duval met one another at a weightloss camp when they were teens. Now in their mid-thirties, they remain close friends and when Emerson passes away, her last request is that Marley and Georgia complete the list of activities they compiled their last year at the camp.  Despite their discomfort with some of the items on the activities, they agree they need to honor their friend’s wish. Once they have completed the list, will Georgia and Marley have made progress in coming to terms with how being overweight has affected many aspects of their lives?

Georgia is a former lawyer turned nursery school teacher whose marriage failed due to her unresolved issues with her weight.  Throughout her  childhood, both her mother and brother frequently disparaged her appearance which still continues to some degree in the present. Cowed by their remarks and dismissive attitude, Georgia has never confronted them on their verbal and emotional abuse. Despite her recent weight loss following a family emergency, Georgia’s perception of herself remains skewed and she cannot “see” herself as anything other than overweight and unworthy. When her ex-husband Rafe Santiago re-enters her life due to his niece becoming one of her students, Georgia is finally forced to confront how her body issues and lack of self-worth led to the self-destructive end of her marriage to a man who at one time worshiped her.

Marley has made peace with the fact that she will never be skinny. She lives a very healthy lifestyle and she has a positive relationship with food. Her family is warm, loving and gregarious but the loss of Marley’s twin sister has left an indelible mark on her and the rest of the brood.   Despite her happy and upbeat personality, Marley does not have much of a romantic history. In fact, for the past five years, she has been pining after a man whose treatment of her is absolutely abysmal. Yet, Marley is willing to settle for him because no one else has taken an interest in her.  During the course of the book, Marley traverses the emotional minefield of dealing with the loss of her twin while at the same time realizing she deserves more than being some man’s occasional booty call.

Emerson’s part of the storyline is revealed through a series of diary entries. Not gonna lie, these passages are incredibly difficult to read because her self-loathing just pours off the pages.  Emerson’s relationship with food is incredibly toxic and her relationship with a co-worker is just tragic. Her food addiction leads her to become morbidly obese and this shame results in her distancing herself from Georgia and Sloane.  In the end, Emerson’s last request to Marley and Georgia has a much deeper meaning than just crossing items off of a list.

Good Luck with That is an incredibly heartfelt and emotional novel that inspires both laughter and tears. Georgia and Marley’s close friendship is quite endearing and their love and support for each other is unconditional.  Kristan Higgins deftly handles tough subject matter in a forthright manner and provides an insightful and thought provoking novel that realistically portrays women’s struggles with weight, self-acceptance and body image. An extremely well-written and meaningful novel that made me laugh, cry and give serious consideration to the issues Marley, Georgia and Emerson have struggled with throughout their lives.

Read about Ms. Higgins’ personal struggles with body image HERE.
Ms. Higgins discusses Good Luck with That HERE.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Good Luck with That, Kristan Higgins, Rated B+, Review, Women's Fiction

Review: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Title: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins welcomes you home in this witty, emotionally charged novel about the complications of life, love and family

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was, Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.


Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins is a laugh out loud, tear inducing journey of healing and redemption.

Needing a place to recover after an accident, Dr. Nora Stuart heads back to Scupper Island, Maine where she hopes to salvage her distant relationship with her mother, Sharon and niece, Poe.  Since she left the island fifteen years earlier under a cloud of controversy, not many of the residents are happy to see her. Even worse, many of them do not even know who she is since apparently her mom talks only mentions her younger sister, Lily. Once she is well enough to live on her own, Nora moves onto a beautiful houseboat which puts in her close proximity to Sullivan “Sully” Fletcher, his lovely teenage daughter Audrey and Sully’s twin brother Luke, who is still holding onto a long term resentment towards Nora. With her return to Boston fast approaching, will Nora remain on the island where she has unexpectedly found peace, healing and possibly love?

Nora and Lily were never quite the same after their father unexpectedly abandoned them when they were kids. Lily turned her back on her sister and became a part of the popular crowd where she turned into a mean girl who ran wild. Nora comforted herself with food and after becoming an overweight social outcast, she concentrated on academic achievements in hopes of receiving a coveted scholarship.

Reinventing herself after entering college, Nora has rarely returned to Scupper Island over the intervening years which results in a distant and unemotional relationship with her pragmatic Maine mother. She also mourns the lack of any connection with Lily but Nora refuses to give up trying to reach salvage their fractured relationship.  She is determined to forge a bond with her niece Poe but Poe is not exactly willing to forgive and forget her aunt’s protracted absence from her life.

Nora is a wonderful protagonist who has endured more than her fair share of tragedy and adversity yet she remains upbeat and positive. She has not fully resolved her guilt from winning the scholarship that changed her life but she is proud of her successes. Nora is a survivor who does not let life defeat her and she is tenacious as she tries to repair her familial relationships. She has a snarky sense of humor and her zingy one-lines and inner monologue are often laugh out loud funny.

With several memorable scenes that are absolutely hilarious, a heartwarming yet understated romance and a sweet reconnection with Nora’s estranged family,  Now That You Mention It is a truly captivating story of healing and reconciliation. Kristan Higgins brings the characters and settings vibrantly to life through descriptive prose and an incredibly engaging storyline.  Readers will savor every word of this humorous and poignant novel.


Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, HQN Books, Kristan Higgins, Now That You Mention It, Rated A, Review, Romance

Review: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Title: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 448 pages
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Following in the footsteps of her critically acclaimed novel If You Only Knew, multi-bestselling author Kristan Higgins returns with a pitch-perfect look at the affection—and the acrimony—that binds sisters together

Ainsley O’Leary is so ready to get married—she’s even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn’t anticipate is for Eric to blindside her with a tactless breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her half sister, Kate, who’s already struggling after the sudden loss of her new husband.

Kate has always been so poised, so self-assured, but Nathan’s death shatters everything she thought she knew—including her husband—and she learns that sometimes the people who step up aren’t the ones you expect. With seven years and a murky blended-family dynamic between them, Ainsley and Kate have never been overly close, but their shared sorrow dovetails their faltering worlds into one.

Despite the lifetime of history between them, the sisters must learn to put their differences aside and open their hearts to the inevitable imperfection of family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.


On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins is a sad but witty, heartbreaking yet uplifting novel about two sisters whose bond is strengthened after they experience life altering events.

At thirty-nine, Kate O’Leary has finally come to terms with her single status so she is somewhat bemused and wary when Nathan Coburn asks for her phone number. Convinced she’ll never hear from the handsome architect, she is pleasantly surprised to find herself in a whirlwind relationship. Married just a few months after they begin dating, Kate is barely used to being a wife when she is widowed after a tragic accident.

Unlike Kate, her thirty-three year old half-sister, Ainsley has been with her boyfriend, Eric Fisher, since college.  Ainsley has been anxiously awaiting for Eric to pop the question and after discovering an engagement ring, she is chomping at the bit for his proposal now that he is fully recovered from testicular cancer. So imagine her surprise, when Eric asks unceremoniously dumps her then publicly humiliates her  on his blog.  With no place to go, Ainsley temporarily moves in with Kate which turns out to be a huge blessing in disguise for both women.

Kate’s struggle to grieve Nathan’s loss is surprisingly complicated since they were only together such a short time.  She treasures her precious few memories of them as a couple but she cannot help but wonder if she would have been better off never marrying him since he died so soon after their life together begins.  After hearing other people’s memories of the man she is just realizing she barely knows, Kate begins questioning their entire relationship.  It certainly does not help that Kate’s friends from her single days are not exactly supportive although she is pleasantly surprised by the one person who does make an effort to be there for her.

Ainsley first comes across as an empty-headed ninny but behind her unfailingly cheerful and positive facade, she is unexpectedly intuitive and insightful.  She certainly has blinders on about her self-absorbed, selfish boyfriend and even after Eric uses their break up to find his fifteen minutes of fame, she still wants to reconcile with him. Which is why  Ainsley is a little confused when she begins to notice her uptight, seemingly emotionless boss is an attractive man with a surprising amount of depth.

Between their age difference and their complicated family dynamics, Kate and Ainsley were never overly close even though they genuinely care about one another.  Kate is quite shocked at how much she appreciates Ainsley once she moves in with her.  Although some of their interactions are somewhat awkward due to Ainsely’s uncanny ability to put her foot in her month, Kate appreciates her sister’s emotional support.  Equally surprising is Ainsley’s no nonsense advice as she gently coerces Kate to return to “normal” life.  Both sisters discover new and surprising things about one another and to the delight of both women, they finally close the gap in their once distant relationship.

On Second Thought is an emotional novel of love, loss and new beginnings.  The characters are beautifully developed with relatable flaws and true to life issues to overcome. The touching storyline will resonate with anyone who has experienced a break up or loss of someone they love. Kristan Higgins deftly balances the more sorrowful elements of the plot with wry humor, witty banter and laugh out loud scenes. Fans of contemporary women’s fiction are going to laugh, cry and ultimately rejoice as Ainsley and Kate forge a close bond while helping one another recover from their personal tragedies. A poignant, yet heartwarming novel that will touch reader’s hearts and linger in their minds long after the last page is turned.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, HQN Books, Kristan Higgins, On Second Thought, Rated A, Review, Women's Fiction