October 13, 2011

Review: Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins


I discovered Kristan Higgins’ work recently, and after reading All I ever Wanted I couldn’t stop until I finished all her novels. She is the reason why Contemporary Romance and Chick Lit are two of my favorite subgenres. For this review I chose what I think is one of her best novels: Just One of the Guys. This story has it all: an incredible, amazing, beautiful and funny heroine; a gorgeous hero; a dysfunctional family and the ugliest dog ever.

Just one of the Guys is about Chastity O’Neil, the only daughter among 4 brothers. She comes from a family of firefighters and athletic men so is no wonder that she is a bit of jock. After several years living in a big city she decided to go back to her hometown, Eaton Falls. She got a job in the local paper and is eager to settle down, find a man, a dog and a house.

 One of the scenes that got me laughing out loud, and I mean literally loud (I was in the library at the moment pretending to work on my dissertation), is when she describes “Alan of the Gray Tooth” one of her co-workers and the only male admirer she’s had since moving back to Eaton Falls:

I really hope you’ll like it here,” says Alan (5'8" and this is with chunky-heeled Doc Martens), grinning. Like Judas at the Last Supper, the gray tooth is malignantly out of place, sitting ominously in the middle of an otherwise unremarkable row of normal teeth. I try to look away from it, but it’s weirdly compelling. Alan raises an eyebrow. Eech. 


“Sure. Yeah, I’m, uh, I’m sure I will. Thanks.”    
“Maybe we can get together for drinks later on at the old watering hole where us journalists like to hang out.”
That should be “where we journalists like to hang out,” Al, old buddy. “I’m…I don’t…” I can’t hear properly. The Tooth has taken control of me.
“Drinks it is, then,” Alan says. “Awesome.”
Jesus. How did that thing get so gray? Doesn’t Alan know his own tooth is rotting away in his mouth? Shouldn’t it be pulled? It certainly should be capped. As Alan talks, the gray tooth blinks darkly, Alan’s narrow lips moving around the words that I’m ignoring, fascinated by the evil power of The Tooth. Like Tolkien’s Ring, it has a hypnotic, undeniable power. One tooth to rule them, one tooth to find them, one tooth to bring them all, and in the darkness bite them.

Oh God, just writing this review and remembering the book has me cracking up. Chastity is so cool, intelligent and funny. She loves sports –I do too, the only difference is that she actually plays them- and she rows! She made me want to go the Thames and pay the insanely high fees they charge for the equipment and rowing classes (not that I actually did it, though). She has her mind set on finding the love of her life but in the meantime she needs to get over Trevor, the guy who broke her heart years ago and who also happens to be the honorary brother of the O’Neil gang.

If you have read any other book by Kristan Higgins you know that her novels are more about the heroine’s journey to self-discovery than about the actual romance. Just One of the Guys is no exception. We only get one point of view –Chastity’s- and half of the novel is about her relationship with Dr. Perfect (who isn’t the book’s hero). However, we know that she is trying to move on and find love with someone other than Trevor, and we “see” her making all the right decisions in order to reach that goal.

I had to point out how funny this book is, but it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t warn you: it is also heart-breaking. Trevor and Chastity’s story is charming. The relationship between the brothers and their significant other is compelling, but the story of Chastity’s Mum and Dad is plain beautiful and I’m positive that it will make you cry. They are divorced and have a peaceful relationship up until Chas’ Mum decides to start dating again. Throughout the book you will laugh, cry, get mad and probably relate to the different stories and characters. In Kristan Higgins’ books family is, in fact, another character and is one of the aspects that makes me love her books even more.

Sometimes you read a story that inspires you without you even knowing it; this was one of those times. It’s the tale of a woman who has had some bumps along the way –mostly in the love department- but is still able to keep going and believing in love. She is confident enough in her abilities as a professional that she is willing to change her pretentious career in New York for a more steady and peaceful life in a small town. And more important, she is determined to overcome her fears, including an aversion to blood, and to stop being just one of the guys.

As you can guess, I am giving this story a 5. I loved it and I am going to read it again, and again, and again. I’ll let you know if I finally decide to learn how to row.

Review by Marie
Grade: 5
Sensuality: McSexy

Synopsis:

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....


HQN Books.  August 1, 2008

16 comments:

  1. A story that cn pull out all those emotions has to be good. I've wanted to read a Kristin Higgins book so I'll probably make this one my first. And I love books that can make me literally LOL. Great review.

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  2. Great review Marie!

    I didn’t really like the hero that much but that’s the beauty of books, they affect people in different ways.

    Hi Jade!

    You should check out this author, all her books are basically the same, quirky girl tries to find love while dealing with her crazy family and her dog… But then you read them all and realize that they are not as similar as they seem. Very good books, some better than others, but in general if you like contemporary romantic comedy and chick lit, this is a must-read author.

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  3. Great review! This sounds like a really great book. Lots of emotions and I always enjoy a funny protagonist. I like to get these to get away fro YA paranormals sometimes. I'll make sure to pick this one up!

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  4. i have to say that this is one of my FAVORITE books of all time & i have reread it. Particularly the last two chapters, they just break my heart and I smile & i get all goofy. i love both chastity and trevor. and you're right, the family is awesome, too.

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  5. Great review! Thanks for typing out that little excerpt. I just love humor like that in books. :)

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  6. Hi Marie! :)
    Lovely review! I, too, am a fan of Ms. Higgins' books. I've read all of them so far except for this one and Fools Rush In, but I do have both of them so it is just a matter of timing before I get to them. I'm anxiously waiting for her newest which comes out in just a week, I think! I've read some pretty good ARC reviews! Can't wait!!! :)

    I particularly liked your observation about Ms. Higgins' stories:

    Sometimes you read a story that inspires you without you even knowing it; this was one of those times.

    So true!!! I think all of her books do this to me somehow.

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  7. Hi Christine!

    If you come back next week I’m posting my review of her next book. To be perfectly honest I didn’t like it as much, but it is quite different from her usual books because we get the hero’s POV!

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  8. Hi Brie :) Found your blog via Christine's. This is definitively one of the best book by Ms Higgins. I really liked it, the whole humor and the emotions. Like you said, it is a heart-breaking as well.

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  9. Hi nath!

    I’m so glad you stopped by! I didn’t write this review but thanks anyway… I have read all of Higgins’ books and yes, this is definitely one of the best although I didn’t love it as much as Marie did. My favorite was All I ever Wanted, I really could relate to the heroine of that book and it was hilarious.

    Thank you very much for visiting, I really hope to see you again and I’m glad to see that more people are discovering our little blog! Thanks to Christine as well ;-D

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  10. Oh, oups ^_^; I didn't realize there was more than one contributors to the blog.

    All I Ever Want is her new release this month, right?

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  11. The new release is Until There Was You (All I Ever Wanted is the one with the veterinarian hero). It’s the same formula, quirky heroine, brooding hero (although in this case he is more in the crazy-OCD category…), a dog and of course, the dysfunctional family. But it’s also 3rd person multiple POVs so that’s a change, this one was more contemporary romance than chick-lit.

    I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks about the new book…

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  12. I'm looking forward to it, because I've been wanting her to cross the line between chick-lit and romance for a long time :) Also, I hope with the change of POV, her heroine will sound a bit different.

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  13. The heroine was the best part of the book, she was more self-assured than Higgins’ usual heroines and physically was quite different… You need to read the book, it’s a departure from her usual stuff but there are lots of common elements. I’m curious to see how people will feel about the hero.

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  14. Great review. The excerpt had me lmao :-)
    It's what's made me decide to take a chance on this book despite it having some themes I don't like...not big on family et al in romances.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Lady in Red, that's the best thing you can say a reviewer (albeit a not so frequent one). I really hope you liked it!
      And thanks for stopping by!

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  15. Totally agree :)
    That book made me laugh out loud at a family gathering when I was hiding my Ipad under the table while dinner (at the self defense class part :D)

    and made me cry, but I still thought that mike and mom won't end that way :/. And Trevor, Ohhhh. From all her heroes, he is my favorite (Ian is my second choice) He is just so caring and simple and cute. I really want a real Trevor in life :D

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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.