60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2009
Before I talk about this book specifically know that Kristan Higgins writes from the heroine's perspective only, has very modest 'romance' scenes, and writes characters that feel real and are so relatable. Her heroines are not perfect, they have real interests and friends, and I can identify with aspects of each one.
Too Good to be True is set in beautiful New England we meet Grace- a history teaching, civil war re-enacting, dog loving, and boyfriend inventing girl with frizzy hair and some mild middle child issues. When she is cornered she finds herself inventing a perfect boyfriend that she wishes she had, that is until she really starts getting to know Callahan her supah-hot neighbor.
This book had me laughing, relating, sympathizing with, and outright loving Grace, Callahan, and the entire cast of supporting characters. With details, funny moments, interesting plot twists and a grand finale I didn't totally see coming- Kristan Higgins scores big with this novel.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2009
Kristan Higgins' work is light, fresh, charming and not overworked--the romantic equivalent of good mint chocolate chip ice cream, delicious but not cloying. She is improving with each book and while I enjoyed each of her earlier works, this one really is the best of the bunch. Grace is a great heroine, neither a self-loathing spaz (per the chick lit formula) nor a freakishly over-perfect paragon who just doesn't know how darned gorgeous and flawless she really is until the hero clues her in to her magnificence (gag). Her reasons for resisting her attraction to Callahan are actually pretty sensible, not contrived just to keep the lovers apart. Really, just so very enjoyable.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2009
Kristan Higgins does, indeed, get better with each book. No, this isn't Rocket Science or Philosophy, but in the contemporary romance category, she's coming up fast through the ranks.
Her characters are real - which means they are flawed, and there are awkward moments in the story. I like that! It's a nice break from romances with perfect people in story lines where the basic conflict stems from one very frustrating failure in communication!
The story is told in the first person, from the perspective of the heroine. Normally, I don't really enjoy that, but Higgins does it so well that by the end of the first sentence in the book I was over it.
"Too Good To Be True" was a fast, enjoyable read. I read it through, cover to cover, this evening and was sad to see the story come to an end. I often find, with romance stories, that the hero is 'too good to be true' and the heroine is so annoying I want to strangle her. In this case, I loved both Callahan and Grace. Callahan is funny, kind, sensitive, perceptive and honorable, but he's not perfect - he's distrustful, defensive, and quick to jump to conclusions (understandable, given his situation, but not perfect). Grace is a great teacher, a loving sister, a good friend, but she's got middle sister issues and some minor codependency struggles (how many of us don't?). I loved how the two of them work through his being an ex-con: her blundering through it and his struggle to maintain his dignity in the face of people's (especially Grace's) assumptions about it.
Higgins succeeds in making her characters more than one dimensional and injects some twists into the standard romance plotline. Grace's younger sister could've been written with no depth, but that's not the case. Her older sister, Margaret, could simply be a Type A, older sister, career driven witch, but she's not. With the exception, perhaps, of the men Grace meets through the internet dating site, Higgins' characters avoid the pitfalls of being all good or all bad. And, as another reviewer pointed out, the ending has a little twist I really didn't see coming...
If you're looking for a fun romance to cure your winter blues, pick up "Too Good To Be True"!
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2013
Kristan Higgins writes laugh-out-loud funny lines. She writes great, funny, complex, sad/sweet families. She writes amazing, quirky pets, almost always dogs.
Unfortunately, she's also got a penchant for thirty-something women who seem to have stopped growing emotionally somewhere around 12 years of age. They tantrum, bitch, make up fake boyfriends again and again, cling with stalker-like tenacity to guys that barely give them the time of day, assuage every ill with hagen-daaz and a cuddle with a cute pooch, and hooo-boy, do they ever cry. I have not read one book by Higgans where the heroine does not cry (and I mean sob loudly) several times in the book.
I don't know what to say about such a good writer who writes such self-indulgent, peurile females as lead characters. Our leading lady treats an amazingly callous little sister like a princess, and really nice (albeit ex-con) neighbour like a piece of doggy-doo.
I won't give away the plot, but our heroine's little sister has done something that, even in Jerry-Springer world, is pretty much unforgiveable. It flies in the face of every sister-loyalty rule there is. And she does this, not to some bitch of a sister, but to a big sister who has loved her fiercely and unstintingly her whole life. But our heroine not only forgives, she lies through her teeth to make sure her sister doesn't feel any guilt. Believable? Nuh-uh! Admirable? Not hardly. In fact, I found the whole thing pretty stomach-turning.
These themes of low self esteem and martyrdom replay in many of Higgans books, and I've still been able to enjoy them, but if you are the kind of person who gets ragey about sulky martyrs, then give this a great big pass.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
It was bad enough being jilted practically at the altar, but now Grace Emerson has to watch her ex-fiance turn around and marry her beloved younger sister. Tired of being an object of pity and tired of being overshadowed by her beautiful and successful sisters, Grace decides that a new boyfriend is called for. Someone handsome and kind who adores her. Maybe a doctor...make that a pediatric surgeon. The only problem with Dr. Wyatt Dunn is that he isn't real; Grace has made him up in order to ease her sister's guilt and give her own self-esteem a little boost. When the very sexy (and very real) Callahan O'Shea moves in next door Grace is smitten...but it shouldn't be too difficult getting rid of an imaginary boyfriend - should it?
This author has a knack for placing her characters in everyday situations that turn very funny. I laughed out loud at Grace's foray into the dating scene: blind dates, online dating and a ridiculous "how to get a guy" seminar. The dialogue is very witty; especially between Grace and her older sister, Margaret. There's definately chemistry between Cal and Grace, although their relationship doesn't "heat up" until the last third of the book. This is a cute story and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good laugh while reading and wants to feel good at the end of a book. I liked the book but would consider it a little "light" on the romance - this is primarily Graces' story with a little bit of Cal thrown in. There are no explicit sex scenes - rated PG.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Grace's fiance dumps her 3 weeks before their wedding for her younger cuter favorite sister. Grace trys to fake her heartbreak and is tried of her family feeling sorry for her so she makes up a boyfriend. Life happens while Grace works through her family chaois, student disinterest and ex-con (HOTTY) living door. This book was excellent - flew through it - it was my happy ending all tied up in a nice bow. There is one point in the book - you want to jump up and hell WAY TO GO GRACE !!! Enjoy!
If you enjoy this genre I would also suggest; Start Me Up,Thirteen Chances (Signet Eclipse),Red's Hot Honky-Tonk Bar.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2009
I was laughing out loud in public reading this book! One man asked what was so funny and I just held up the book and said, "Go get your own copy!"
The characters were spawn of my own family tree. I felt like I was watching some of our old home videos!! The situation involving "the spoons" actually happened.
Multi-generational hilarity. Although, I shed a tear or two also.
Kristan Higgins hit an out of the park home run with Too Good To Be True!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2011
I read a book every 2 days. So in a year I read alot. This book was hilarious especially in the beginning, but throughout. One of the best this year. As a sporadic reader of Higgins, I wasn't expecting what I recieved, which was laughs, excitement, and some tense moments but all with a happy ending.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2013
Normally, I prefer reading historical romances to contemporaries, but Kristan Higgins is among the very, very few exceptions. It's finally dawned on me, though, that I gravitate so strongly towards KH's contemporary romances because most of them aren't truly romances. As many other reviewers have noted, the majority of Higgins' novels seem to qualify more as 'chick lit' (argh---hate that term!); fiction that explores myriad facets of a woman's life. Romance is PART of her novels, of course, but often neither the salient nor best part. Honestly, I think she tends to write about familial relationships, friendships, careers and beloved pets with more heart, wit and style than she does about her characters' love lives.
KH's books are brimming over with humor and warmth, and they're written in a cozy, breezy style that I find endlessly engaging. She creates some vivid, memorable characters who are lovably flawed, and she offers a surprising amount of sharp, poignant observations to give her books some substance beneath the frothy fun. However, reading all of her novels has underscored for me that she tends to write frustratingly desperate, needy, 'OMG I need a marriage and baby right now or life isn't worth living!' heroines, some of whom have some serious obsessive, stalker-y tendencies as well. She also veers into overly cutesy preciousness, having her characters use ridiculously juvenile catchphrases and language that one might expect from a book with a 13-year-old protagonist!
All that said, I'm reviewing this particular book because I found it so quintessentially Higgins in ways that were both wonderful and groan-worthy! There's a lot of wit, warmth, and terrifically written dialogue and prose. There's also an endearing yet pitiful, obsessive and needy heroine and a rather unconvincing, underdeveloped romance between her and the likable but under-explored hero. You get great moments with friends and family members, and also scenes where things get so cutesy and goofy that you're torn between a smile and a cringe.
Overall, I feel like readers eager for a romance revolving around a couple will be disappointed by this and other KH entries, while readers craving women's-centric fiction that explores ALL aspects of a woman's life with humor and poignancy may be more satisfied. Happy reading!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
History teacher Grace has endured the worst kind of heartbreak - her fiancé dumps her weeks before her wedding and starts dating her younger sister. She fills her days with re-enacting Civil War battles (in Connecticut no less)and hanging out with her westie Anges MacFangus, and her nights ballroom dancing at the senior home of her surly grandmother. Well meaning friends and family want to see her settled and after one run in too many at a family wedding, she decides to invent the perfect boyfriend so her family will stop feeling sorry for her and her little sister can feel secure with her new relationship. Things get a little muddled when she finds herself attracted to the bad boy next door - Cal O'Shea - who has a body to die for and just got out of prison. When she is up for a promotion at her conservative private school, will her relationship with an ex-con take her out of the running?
No other author is as consistently good as Higgins. She has filled the romantic comedy niche left by Jennifer Crusie (minus the spicy love scenes). All her characters are flawed and humorous dog lovers - people you'd want to know. I must admit, I disliked her younger sister intensely and found her to be pretty selfish. But by the end of the story, Higgins had me liking her almost as much as sarcastic older sister Margaret.
© Tracy Vest, March 2009