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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another solid, if similar read.
Let me start off by saying that I absolutely LOVE Kristan Higgins. I patiently wait for her new releases and begin stalking her website almost immediately after she publishes a book to see when the next one will arrive. This book is a standard Kristan Higgins - spunky heroine, fabulous supporting cast, and a leading man that you wish could be yours. That said, I didn't...
Published on October 25, 2011 by me1558

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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Higgans, but it's missing something
Before you read any further, I want to go on record as saying that I think Kristan Higgans is, like, a romantic literary genius. I usually LOVE her books, pre-ordering them as soon as they're announced. That being said, I just wasn't feeling this one. The premise of the story is classic Higgans, with a quirky female lead, loveable yet offbeat family and friends living...
Published on October 31, 2011 by RomanceWriter


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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another solid, if similar read., October 25, 2011
By 
me1558 (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Until There Was You (Hqn) (Mass Market Paperback)
Let me start off by saying that I absolutely LOVE Kristan Higgins. I patiently wait for her new releases and begin stalking her website almost immediately after she publishes a book to see when the next one will arrive. This book is a standard Kristan Higgins - spunky heroine, fabulous supporting cast, and a leading man that you wish could be yours. That said, I didn't completely love it. It almost felt as if I had read parts of it before, the characters and situations were a bit too familiar. The relationship between Cordelia (aka Posey) and Liam reminded me at times of Maggie and Malone, which is a good thing but I never really got a distinct impression of them as an individual couple. Everything about this book seemed to be a throw back to previous Kristan Higgins books from the setting to the characters, even at times to the plot.

I won't go into details about the story line, because the product description is fairly spot on. However, it does not mention that Liam Murphy is a widower and has a 15 year-old daughter. This does play a significant role in the book as well as the fact that Cordelia and Emma (Liam's late wife) were friendly in high school. Unlike most stories about widowers, his wife was not a shrew nor a cheater. She, like all Kristan Higgins characters, is completely rounded.

If you have never read a Kristan Higgins book before, the slight repetition won't be a problem for you. If you have read her, this isn't one to skip. While the book may be a bit recycled and familiar, it is still a delightful read. Some of the best parts of the book are the relationships the main characters have with secondary characters - that is what makes a Kristan Higgins book so strong. While I may not go back and reread this book over and over like I do with Catch of the Day, All I Ever Wanted, Too Good To Be True, and Just One of the Guys, it is still a really good read and completely worth staying up until midnight to get!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Higgans, but it's missing something, October 31, 2011
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This review is from: Until There Was You (Hqn) (Mass Market Paperback)
Before you read any further, I want to go on record as saying that I think Kristan Higgans is, like, a romantic literary genius. I usually LOVE her books, pre-ordering them as soon as they're announced. That being said, I just wasn't feeling this one. The premise of the story is classic Higgans, with a quirky female lead, loveable yet offbeat family and friends living in a New England small town, and the sexy, out-of-reach hero. My problems with this book are this: Posey was so much of a pleaser, she let people walk all over her - her cousin Gretchen, the ex-boyfriend, and even Liam at one point. I get that she had a tough time in high school, I get that she's a tiny thing that can't gain weight, I even get the insecurities brought on by finding out about her birth mother. But she's a 34 year-old woman who should be strong enough at this point to know when people are using her.

My other problem is Liam, with his OCD and paranoid obsession with his teenaged daughter. Not a great hero, in my opinion, but then I'm a fan of the "alpha male" type of guy, which Liam is definitely not. I agree with another reviewer who said it was disturbing how often he reminisced about his love for his dead wife, how he felt the first time he saw her, how her skin felt, etc etc etc... It made it hard to buy that he was falling in love with Posey. Again, I get that he was shaken by his wife's death and his own accident later, and I totally understand a parent's fear of leaving their child alone. But it bothered me how he treated Posey, and how she let him - even pleaded with him at one point, begging him to see that she was "worth it."

The best scene in the book is between Posey and her mother near the end, where a long-held secret is revealed. THAT scene is what I look for in a Kristan Higgans book - emotional and real - and it was the only scene of its kind in the whole book. Even the prom scene later didn't ring true to me, and left me unsatisfied with the HEA ending.

I still love KH and I will still pre-order her books, but this is not one I'll be re-reading.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pity is not the primary emotion I want to feel for a heroine, December 8, 2011
When I began reading this book, I was so sure that I would really like it. However as the story went on I really began to dislike it.

The things that attract me to Kristan Higgins' writing and storytelling are very evident in this book. Great family dynamic, a heroine who has some issues but also has a great sense of humor about it, and some really interesting break-out secondary characters. She also has a voice that I find comfortable and easy going.

However I all that couldn't overcome my exasperation and sometimes dismay at the two main characters.

Posey Osterhagen has loved Liam Murphy since she first set eyes on him when she was a sophomore in high school and he a senior. She was the adopted daughter of a pair of German restauranteurs and he a bad boy just out of Juvie. But High-school was a nightmare for Posey. She was picked on, ignored, belittled. While Liam, who also worked for her parents (so she got to be in close proximity to him and thus nuture her crush even more fiercely), quickly became the social Alpha dog.

But Posey's crush is, well, crushed, when she over-hears Liam saying something really cruel about her to her date on the night of the senior prom. Liam later leaves town with his high-school sweetheart at the end of the school year.

Fast forward 20 years later, Liam returns to town, a widower with a 16 year old daughter of his own in tow. Posey is now a successful business owner but in many ways she is also still that somewhat outcast teenager. And still like that teenager, Posey discovers that her crush has come back to life with a vengeance.

I wanted to like Posey. I did. But she was just too much of a pathetic doormat to me. People just kept kicking her and she would let them. Her loser boyfriend Dante saw her as nothing but a booty call, her cousin tormented her and was cruel to her and worst of all was how Liam treated her. He treated her so dismissively and so casually for most of the book and yet she was just starry eyed in love with. At one point they begin an affair but he breaks it off because of problems he is having with his dead wife's parents. Posey begs him to take her back even though, as she says, she knows she'll be second best to Emma (the dead wife). Just...ugh! I kept wanting her to grow a pair. I don't need a kick-butt heroine in my books to like her, but i don't want a dishrag either and I certainly don't want to have to pity her. She needed some dignity!

But then my issues with Posey really pale in comparison to my issues with Liam. The big deal with this book is that for the first time KH has decided to give the hero a POV. Normally she writes in first person from the heroine's perspective. Well, really, I could have done without it because it made no difference in the book except to actually make me question what was the point? What good is giving the hero a POV when it gave absolutely no insight to his feelings about the heroine? Posey barely registered in his thoughts.

What was supposed to be (I guess) and amusing aspect of Liam's personality was his over-protectiveness of his daughter. He kept saying he knew the mind of a teenaged boy because he was one (and truthfully he was a real man-slut in high-school). In reality I found no real humor at all in Liam's over-protective hi-jinks. I thought they went over the line into obsessed-stalker vibe. His POV chapters were mainly focused on his need to protect his daughter and reflections on his life with his now dead wife. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for him to think about Posey. To give some glimmer of an idea of what he felt about her. That came at about,oh, 70% into the book. But by then it was a little too little and a little too late.

At least if the book had been kept at heroine's first person POV like KH's previous books, I could have preserved the illusion that he was thinking about her and she just wasn't aware of it. Oh well.

It does end on a high note and he ending is sweet. But still, too little, too late.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent book but the romance didn't satisfy, October 25, 2011
This review is from: Until There Was You (Hqn) (Mass Market Paperback)
UNTIL THERE WAS YOU is a great novel. Stupendous, in fact. Kristan Higgins has a gift for infusing her books with a cocktail of emotions that really feels like life in a bottle. The way love can be both glorious and painful. How family can be our greatest comfort but, at times, inflict the deepest wounds. There's so much humor, and right after Higgins writes a scene that nearly breaks your heart, she'll add another that makes you laugh.

However, as a romance novel? UNTIL THERE WAS YOU falls short. The heroine, Posey, was a scrawny, unpopular teenager but she's grown into a pretty cool woman who runs an architectural salvage company and has a great circle of friends. But because she lives in this small New England town where everyone knows everyone, she can't quite outgrow her teenage self. She still expects to be belittled and ignored by most everyone, and shrugs off a lot of little barbs and small cruelties.

Back when the hero, Liam, was the local high school bad boy Posey had a huge crush on him. But he fell in love with a gorgeous, popular girl, knocked her up, and they moved away and got married. Fifteen years later, his wife has died of leukemia and he's come home so his fifteen year old daughter can be closer to her grandparents. He opens up a custom motorcycle shop and he's still the hotter than an industrial grade stovetop. Posey is still halfway in love with him. Liam barely knows Posey exists.

Their romance builds very, very slowly. Twenty percent of the way through the book, Liam and Posey have only had a couple of brief chance encounters. They don't form a real connection until more than halfway through the book, and even then most of the good times happen off-screen. What we see on the page are the bad moments, when Liam insists that he only wants a no-strings fling and Posey says, "Sure, of course, no problem," while inside she's hoping that maybe, eventually, if she's patient Liam will want something more.

We know that Liam is a stand-up, solid guy once's he's committed to a woman, thanks to the flashbacks from his marriage and his devotion to his daughter. But the glowing, soul-deep devotion that Liam had for his dead wife only made it harder for me to stomach the careless way he treated Posey. He uses her, and he knows it. I guess the prize at the end - when he realizes that he really does love Posey - is worth it, but I spent most of the book boiling with resentment.

But look. At the end of the day Higgins had me glued to the page, and she had me feeling every twist and turn in Liam and Posey's relationship. Totally along for the ride. Like I said at the beginning, UNTIL THERE WAS YOU is a good novel. Maybe it's not a romance novel, or maybe it's just not the kind of romance I enjoy sinking into. The fact remains that I'm dead certain I'll keep coming back for more and reading books by Higgins. Which makes me feel a little like Posey, which is just wrong.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't even finish it, January 11, 2012
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This review is from: Until There Was You (Hqn) (Mass Market Paperback)
Higgins is also one of my favorites and she jumped to the top of my auto-buy list with her hysterically funny, brilliantly written previous novels. This one? Awful! I was having trouble staying involved just a few pages at a time and then finally abandoned it about a third of the way through. SO disappointing!

I don't think it has as much to do with her shift into writing in the third person, as much as she created uninteresting and boring characters. Posey had no pizzazz, fire or charm. Liam was rather unlikable and was almost a caricature of extreme parenting in raising his daughter. The parts where he was hassling her teenage beau were not funny at all and really were a bit disturbing.

Oh, I know that, in the end, Posey calmed him down, made friends with his daughter, showed him how fabulous she was and they fell in love. But I could not waste my time with this terrible story to find out how.

One more thing: Was anyone else creeped out with Posey's constant exclamations of "Oh, bieber?" Is this really what a 30-something woman would say? Do I really need to be jolted out of the story with visions of a teenager with exceptional hair? Ugh!

Sorry, Kristan! Maybe next time?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This may be my least favorite Kristan Higgins so far., November 7, 2011
This review is from: Until There Was You (Hqn) (Mass Market Paperback)
I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars for this book but I've decided to round to 4 because even Higgins' bad books are kinda good. This is her first CR written in the 3rd person and, for some reason, I prefer her writing in the 1st person. Also, this is her first CR which attempts to present the hero's point of view in addition to the heroine's.

Some readers have considered that Higgins' POV limited to heroine only is a weak point in her novels. I'm not one of them. In real life, a female is not really going to be reading the mind of her possible love interest male. We women usually are a bit in the dark unless our man chooses to share his thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams. And that rarely happens outside a Grace Burrowes' novel. So I'm OK with being in the dark about the guy along with the Higgins heroine.

So I've always liked the limited POV and the 1st person narrative of the Higgins books. As a matter of fact, I disliked Higgins' hero this time, Liam Murphy, probably because Higgins lets us know what's going on in that head of his and it was mostly stuff I didn't want to know. It even made me less fond of him.

Higgins is known for her flawed heroes and heroines and these two are certainly flawed. High-metabolism-cursed heroine Posey, short and almost scrawny, is perhaps less pathetic than some of Higgins' heroines but she certainly has her needy moments. She's 34, has her own business, is loved by family and friends, yet when former high school Bad Boy Liam moves back to town with his 15-year-old daughter, her old hopeless crush on him comes back in full bloom. Yet she manages to overcome some of her insecurities and eventually develops enough spine to stand up to people such as her horrible cousin Gretchen, her ex-lover Dante and, to an extent, her current love interest, Liam.

Liam is a bit of a case. He's full of anxieties, is unreasonably protective of his daughter to the point of the reader wanting to yell at him in his dealings with her, suffers from OCD, and treats Posey badly because of his insecurities and overprotectiveness. Yet Posey crushes on him hopelessly throughout and her developing spine develops a bit of a slouch when, post being dumped by him, she reaches out to him rather pathetically in a scene I did not want to read.

Liam, BTW, is not the most likeable hero I've ever come across in my reading. Seems that the best thing he has going for him is his Good Looks, which we are constantly reminded of every time any woman in town, including Posey, has a weak-kneed look at him, and the fact that he is a Caring Father. Other than that, he's pretty 'dumpable', IMO. Too bad Posey didn't dump him instead of what he did to her.

Yet I've given this book 4 stars. It was still fun to read, the secondary characters and the animals were a delight, as is the usual case in a Higgins book. And I cared about Liam and Posey's romance, even if I was a bit impatient with their personalities.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blah, October 29, 2011
This review is from: Until There Was You (Hqn) (Mass Market Paperback)
Blah, blah, blah. I got to page 136 and called it quits. NOTHING had happened by then, except "Woe is me" over her high school life. We don't even get to know Posey before we are bombarded by multiple characters and flashbacks. Plus, this book has a new trend that I'm really starting to hate. Pop culture references. I can handle a few, but this book is LOADED with them. For example, Jon tells Kate not to put their names together because people will think they have 8 kids and hate each other. WHO is going to know what that means in a few years? And, a 90+ woman in a nursing home, using an IPhone and posting on facebook? And my least favorite. The expletive "Oh, Bieber." Are you kidding?? I really don't know if I'll be reading anymore Higgins after this
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm, October 26, 2011
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Ive read all of her books and I was waiting for the release of this one.... Though its a very nice and sweet story I really think her previous books are better...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Until There Was You, November 8, 2011
This review is from: Until There Was You (Hqn) (Mass Market Paperback)
I had mixed feelings about Until There Was You. First up, I'll give you the good stuff. It's very well written. I mean despite my issues with the book, I found it massively readable and Higgins definitely has the kind of writing talent that keeps you reading. I thought the fact Posey's parents were of German descent and owned a German restaurant called Guten Tag to be a brilliant part of the novel, I loved Stacia and Max and I also loved how they'd adopted Henry and Posey. The adoption plot was fascinating, and I loved how everyone handled it; how despite the fact Posey and Henry were adopted, it wasn't obvious. You know how you can be hit over the head with odd quirks in novels? Not with Until There Was You, Posey and Henry were part of the family as if they were indeed Stacia and Max's own. I liked Liam's daughter, Nicole, along with Posey's best friend Kate and her (Posey's) brother-in-law Jon.

What I didn't like was the way Posey just so willingly throws herself at Liam. When Posey was in high school Liam said some mean things about her which Posey heard but she doesn't actually confront him about it and although it is explained, I just felt Posey was too willing. Her constant blatherings in her mind about how hot Liam was, was distracting, too. I'm almost sure she spoke about how hot he was at least 1,000,000 times during the novel. But the biggest thing was that I was never convinced Liam actually, genuinely liked Posey. There was too little time focused on that and so I never really thought Liam liked Posey that way. It was more of an afterthought, more like she was just another distraction. He was a jerk, if I'm honest and Posey's willingness just to forget what he did, to let him get away with being a jerk was horrible. I really, really liked Posey, but by God, I wish she had gotten a backbone or some self-esteem, or both.

Whilst I'm all for a bad-boy character, he needs to not be a caricature and although Liam had grown up - being a widower with a 16-year-old daughter will do that to you - he still acted like a teenager sometimes and it's as if the whole bad-boy thing was an act or a facade. There was truly just something that didn't click with me, for Liam. He had his sweet moments, the bell in particular, but I dunno. I also thought the novel left a lot of questions. We're told Posey's cousin Gretchen has debts and a little problem, but come the end of the book there's no resolution. Ditto with Liam's problems, his OCD, it's like it's all forgotten. If you're going to give your characters quirks and problems, you have to resolve them. You can't just let them hang. That doesn't work for me too much. I want resolution!

But for all the problems I had with the book, it was enjoyable and I did like it. The romance was there, at parts, and it did make me smile, and I loved Posey's pets, particularly Shilo her 140lb dog. I liked her assistant, Elise (she made me laugh!). I loved Stacia and Max, I loved how protective they were of Posey. I loved the relationship Posey's best friend Kate had with her adopted son James (adoption all around!). I liked Brianna, Posey's "little sister" through a big brother/big sister scheme. There was a lot to like about the novel, truly there was, but there were also issues with it. Will I try another of Kristan Higgins books? Yes, I will. (And if you have a recommended one, please do tell! What's your favourite of Kristan's books?) I think her die-hard fans will lap it up (without sounding patronising/condescending), but I suspect she has better books out there. It wasn't all a bust though and, ultimately, I liked it. It was very readable, but the hero of the hour? He didn't really do it for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Until There Was You, October 25, 2011
I got started on Kristan Higgins books because they were cheap on Kindle, but after the first one, I was hooked. Each one is better than the last, and there hasn't been one that I haven't liked. The main characters are all relatable, open and funny, and even if I have nothing in common, I can instantly put myself in those shoes. And most of the books have dogs... Can't go wrong with that!
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Until There Was You (Hqn)
Until There Was You (Hqn) by Kristan Higgins (Mass Market Paperback - October 25, 2011)
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