"All I Ever Wanted" - Kristan Higgins - 2010

All I ever wanted was a lime green house, rocking chair, cute shoes, cute dog and a lap to sit on.  
Well, I'm down for all of those things, especially the lime green house!  Kristan Higgins has great covers with dogs and bright colors, but this one is my favorite - it really fits the book right down to the rocking chair. On the flip side the back cover blurb was so off-putting I had this book in my hand to purchase it and put it back. However, the next book store visit I took a gamble on Higgins and ignored the blurb.  

When Kristan Higgins is on her game she writes some of the best contemporary romances around.  She’s a funny comfort read, and you can always count on a crazy family, a charming small town
and a neurotic heroine desperate to meet Mr. Right.  While I always love the towns and the families, the heroines’ first-person POV can be a bit much.  It always comes down to spending too much time in the heroine's brain and never enough page time with the hero.  With every new Higgins novel I read I find myself longing for the hero’s perspective - an insight to the hero’s thoughts and feelings could take her novels to a Jennifer Crusie-esque level for me.  I have no issues with first-person perspective in other genres, but the only time I feel a standard romance needs a first-person POV is when the heroine has two options for who the HEA will be with.

"All I Ever Wanted" has two love interests, but not really.  One is a d-bag straight out the gate - and the heroine's fixation through the first half almost kills the book for me.  Thankfully instead of getting crazier she gets practical - instead of madcap nonsense to get her man she gets to know a complicated and unexpected hero.  And thank god she did.  The hero of 'All I Ever Wanted' made me laugh out loud - AND - tear up a little, not an easy feat on either account!  He's a 'Darcy'ish cold fish - how can you resist that? Put him a room with a Brownie Troop and it's pure magic.

I love when the timing is right and not only do you have an entire evening to read, you want to finish the book, because it's so damn good.  I spent most of an evening being anti-social and completely wrapped up in Callie and Ian's story, way too late for how early I have to wake up - I ended up falling asleep with 4 pages to go! Ridiculous. Unfortunately, I lost a bit of emotional momentum by finishing the next day. The dramatic ending struck me as a bit rushed and, something that's been done before - by Higgins herself.  For all it's good points, Higgins used that awful plot device - the big misunderstanding to pull apart and reunite her lovers. I could have done without it.  Other than that I'd say Higgins is back on top of light contemporary single title romance (for me anyway) and if I ever got to hear the hero she would write a keeper every time, I just know it!