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Liz Loves Books

I love to read and to talk about books. I review many of the books I read. I do not accept any author/publisher submissions for reviews. I do not read or review ARCs. I do not enter any giveaways or contests. I obtain the books I review by purchasing them at the same price they are offered to the general public at the time of purchase. My reviews are intended for the use of my fellow readers. They are not advertising or promotion. They are not beta reads or constructive criticism or editing or advice to the author. My only obligation to the author is to pay the price charged for the book at the time of purchase. My reviews are sometimes critical and I will not stop posting critical reviews just to spare delicate authors' feelings. I am happy to make new friends, but friend requests from authors or promoters who have few or no books (and/or friends) in common with me and write or promote categories I do not read (especially new adult) will be ignored. I used to read more self-published books. After recent meltdowns by self-published authors, I now only read self-published authors I've previously read or who have been recommended to me by fellow readers I trust. I also used to read young adult/new adult books but rarely do so now.

The Next Best Thing - Kristan Higgins I've gone back and forth between two stars and four for this book. It was terribly frustrating and depressing at times but it is also a well written novel. I think it qualifies more as chick lit than romance though and I did not find the HEA completely satisfying.The heroine is the book's biggest problem. She is one of those characters too much in need of counseling to make a plausible romantic lead. She weeps constantly throughout the story. She is self-centered to an absurd degree. She is also immature, living in a sort of fantasyland in her head until the last few pages. There was almost nothing about her I liked though I admit she seems to be a reasonably decent daughter, niece and sister and she has impressive baking skills. But she is awful to her friends, dates, herself and especially to the hero.The story is told in first person narration, so we see everything through the heroine's sopping wet, inwardly looking gaze. This is not a good thing.For those of you who dislike deceased spouses having a major presence, be forewarned that the heroine's deceased husband is considerably more prominent than the hero throughout the book. There were things I liked about this book. The hero is a wonderful beta hero. I ached for him almost from the beginning and wish we'd had more of his point of view. I think Ms. Higgins does a great job with the town of Mackerley and its inhabitants. The descriptions of the food, and especially of the baked goods, are excellent. I could almost taste the pastries while I was reading. If I were rating her descriptions of secondary characters, places and food, I'd give this book 4 stars and maybe an extra .5 for writing a beta hero well.In the end I convinced myself that the hero really is happy and I thought the book was okay despite the heroine. I will probably write fanfiction in my head that gives him an HEA with someone else though. And I've settled on 2.5 stars.I've enjoyed Ms. Higgins work before and I know I will again, but I won't be rereading this one.