2017 Book 439: NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT by Kristan Higgins

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
ISBN: 9781335903358 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488029264 (ebook)
ASIN: B0711QCV3C (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 26, 2017 
Publisher: Harlequin

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

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Nora Stuart had an idyllic childhood until her father left. Her mother, a reserved Mainer, did her best to raise Nora and her sister Lily, but she worked hard to provide for her daughters and didn’t focus on “emotional” support. Nora was a social pariah in high school, overweight, nerdy, and unpopular while her younger sister was a popular and beloved social butterfly. The only way she could get out of Scupper Island, Maine was to go away to college. Fortunately, a tech multi-millionaire provided a full scholarship to Tufts University for one student each year. This was Nora’s out, even though it meant competition against the “golden boy” of Scupper Island, Luke Fletcher. Once Nora won the scholarship, she was blamed with ruining Luke Fletcher’s life (he got high after losing the scholarship, crashed a vehicle, walked away unscathed while seriously injuring his brother). Her only option, leave home and start college early. College was just what Nora needed. She lost weight, made friends, found her voice and her calling in life, medicine. Becoming a doctor meant Nora stayed in Boston and away from home, causing further rifts between her mother and sister. Now she’s part of a thriving practice in Boston, has a boyfriend, and a loving dog. Getting hit by a van is the final straw that severs her relationship, especially since she overhears her boyfriend trying to make a date while she’s lying on a hospital bed. So much for the boyfriend. Nora decides to return to Scupper Island to recuperate. Returning home to her mother and niece sounded like a good idea until she actually got home, now she has to decide what’s next in her life. Accepting a temporary job as a physician on the island, Nora finds a few new friends and reconnects with old acquaintances, including the brother of her high school nemesis, Sullivan Fletcher, and his daughter. Can she truly begin again or will her past constantly rear its ugly head to interfere with her present and future?

Now That You Mention It was a fast-paced and enjoyable read. Although there is romance and an HEA (happy-ever-after), the primary focus of the story is Nora and her constant before and afters. Before and after her father left. Before and after she won the scholarship. Before and after she was attacked. Before and after she left her boyfriend. Before and after she returns to Maine. The reader witnesses Nora’s emotional growth as well as her relationship development, both the romantic and nonromantic kind. I enjoyed all of the characters in this story, especially Nora’s mother, her niece Poe, Sully and Audrey, Ziaowen, and her lovable dog, Boomer. There are sad events within the story, such as Nora’s sister being jailed, her father’s disappearance, her brutal attack, etc., but Nora finds that she is stronger than she thinks with each event. Don’t think Now That You Mention It is all sorrow and romance, it isn’t, there’s also lots of humor (all I can say is you should look forward to reading the scene with the ham dinner), a bungled dinner party scene, and more. If you’re looking for a romantic read that provides something a little different to start off your reading this year, look no further and grab a copy of Now That You Mention It to read.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Read an excerpt here.

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Now That You Mention It: A Novel

Now That You Mention It: A Novel

Now That You Mention It



Now That You Mention It


What Happened to Hannah by Mary Kay McComas
ISBN: 978-0-06-208478-1
Publication date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

As a teenager, Hannah Benson’s one chance to save herself was to run away. As the years have passed, she’s never looked back, not even to find out what happened to the mother and sister she left behind. Now, twenty years later, the past comes calling when her hometown sheriff, Grady Steadman — Hannah’s sweetheart in high school — delivers some life-changing news: her mother and sister are dead, leaving her guardian of her fifteen-year-old niece.

Returning home to bitter memories and devastating secrets, Hannah must find a way to make this new challenge work without ruining lives — or destroying her own sanity. And when her painful memories of this small town become mingled with the new, happier moments she’s creating with her niece — and the rekindled feelings she has for Grady — Hannah is faced with the most difficult challenge yet.

Hannah has spent the past twenty years trying to forget her past, specifically the emotional, verbal and physical abuse from her father. The only good she left behind was her sister, Ruth, and her boyfriend, Grady. It wasn’t easy, but Hannah has made something of herself with the help of her surrogate father, Joe Levitz. Joe was her father, mentor and friend and it was with his help that she became an insurance agent and agency owner. Now the time has come for Hannah to face her past and return home to the memories left behind and a niece she’s never known.

Grady Steadman, indeed, the entire town, knew that Karl Benson and his family were different. The adults suspected abuse, but nothing was ever done. As a result, Hannah often went to school with bruises from “falls” and even broken bones. Most of the town had assumed that Karl had killed Hannah as she disappeared on the night of the worst beating yet, but since a body had never been found again nothing was done. But Karl is dead, Ruth is dead, even Hannah’s mother is dead and there’s no family member left to take care of fifteen-year-old Anna but her aunt. 

Hannah’s return is anything but triumphant and she can’t wait to leave Clearfield once again. She doesn’t know the first thing about being a parent, even a surrogate parent and isn’t sure her niece will even like her. Fortunately Hannah, and her niece Anna, learn to like, respect then love one another. Misunderstanding and mistakes are made but they both have much to learn about each other.

What Happened to Hannah discusses some weighty issues, such as child abuse, spousal abuse, and even the possibility of child molestation. Ms. McComas doesn’t gloss over these issues and treats them with the dignity and respect they deserve. Although Hannah and Grady have feelings for one another, Grady knows that Hannah is still hiding something. Until she can trust him fully, he isn’t willing to turn custody of Anna over to her. I found all of the characters, especially Hannah, Anna, and Grady’s daughter Lucy to be likeable, if not lovable, and all too realistic. Grady and Joe provide the much needed male counterparts to these strong females. They aren’t overly protective or domineering and seemed to provide the masculine perspective and counterpoint of view. What Happened to Hannah has romance, drama, as well as teenage and adult angst tempered with humor and sensitivity. This may not be an easy read for some because of the issues discussed, but it is definitely worth reading. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Jalal Vaziri has spent his life running away from his problems. He left his parents and siblings in Seattle, moving cross-country to New York to escape family pressure to join the family business. He then leaves New York and moved to California when he decided he didn’t like his job and where his life was heading. The Brevity of Roses by Linda Cassidy Lewis explores Jalal’s motivations and shows that you can’t run away from love or reality no matter how hard you try.

When we first meet Jalal he is hung over in NYC and wondering why he’s continuing down such a destructive path. He doesn’t like his job or where he’s heading so he drives cross-country to California and focuses on his more artistic side as a poet. Jalal knows, or thinks he knows, that he’s a disappointment to his father so he keeps his visits to family as brief and far apart as possible. He also knows that although he is content with his life he isn’t really happy until he walks into a restaurant and meets a woman.

Meredith is an older woman and a widow. She immediately notices Jalal as he enters the restaurant and stares, although she felt she was being circumspect in her observations. What follows is a whirlwind romance with Jalal all but moving in to her home. He cooks for her, he pampers her and she adores him. She even teaches him about gardening and tending her beloved roses. Their relationship has its ups and downs but eventually they marry and have several wonderful years together.

Jalal doesn’t seem to recover from the loss of Meredith and seems to marking time only, until he meets Renee. Renee is a younger woman with an old soul. She has been through a lot in her young years and has a unique perspective on life. As she and Jalal build a friendship, she forces Jalal to revive and rejoin the human race. Can she force Jalal to see that just as the life of roses is brief, so can opportunities to enjoy life and love before it is too late?

Ms. Lewis has provided a tender and thought-provoking look at life, chance, and love. Jalal seems to spend his time presuming what motivates others and often getting it wrong. As an older woman, Meredith was able to change his point of view on some things. As the younger woman, Renee is able to change his point of view on other things, most likely because of her youth, vibrancy and life experiences. Perhaps the primary thought underscored in The Brevity of Roses is don’t assume anything, enjoy life and love wherever you may find it, because you never know when it may be gone. Although romance is at the forefront of this story it provides so much more, because in many ways it is a coming of age story for Jalal. The reader is afforded the opportunity to see him grow and develop from a man in his early thirties to age forty. Yes, in some ways he is overly spoiled, but he isn’t obnoxiously spoiled just incredibly naive in some ways. I enjoyed seeing him grow and the different dynamics of his relationships with Meredith and Renee. (To read chapter one and two of this book, please visit the author’s website at: http://lindacassidylewis.com/brevity-of-roses/)

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


The father of the vampire race has been resurrected with the hopes that he’ll be able to save the vahmpeers or vampires. But Utanapushtim, or Utana – an ancient Sumerian king, has been buried for five thousand years and believes that if he kills all of the vampires he’ll finally be able to rest and end the punishment of the gods. The only thing standing in his way is Brigit Poe in Twilight Fulfilled by Maggie Shayne.

Brigit has grown up believing that her gift reflects her dark nature and is destructive. She is able to kill with laser-like precision. Her twin brother James or J.W. has been gifted with healing. But James can no longer heal because after raising Utana, his gift of healing was absorbed by Utana. Since both Brigit and James aren’t wholly human nor wholly vampire, they don’t suffer many of the same limitations as true vampires. Brigit is off to hunt down Utana and kill him in order to save the few remaining vampires in the US. 

Utana has a lot to learn about this modern world. He also has a lot to learn about modern women. Brigit impresses him with her skills and fortitude. Brigit also has a lot to learn about Utana. She comes to understand that he is not the bogeyman her people believe him to be. She also knows that he is being used by the government in their efforts to eradicate the vampire problem. If that isn’t enough to deal with, the government is also secretly holding all of “the chosen” (those with the Belladonna antigen in their blood and capable of becoming vampire) hostage in a secure, central location under the guise of protecting them from harm. Both Utana and Brigit realize that this is an elaborate trap to attract the remaining vampires and kill them all at once. Will she and Utana be able to stop the government before it’s too late? Will she be able to convince the remaining vampires that Utana isn’t their enemy before they carry out their plan to bury him again?

When I first started reading Twilight Fulfilled, I immediately thought “oh no, another vampire series.” Admittedly I hadn’t read any of the preceding books but I had grown weary of the entire vampire-paranormal scenario. Although Twilight Fulfilled used elements seen in other stories (the Blade III movie sees the father of vampires being resurrected with hopes of saving if not strengthening the vampire race), the story reads as original and refreshing. Brigit is a strong and formidable woman with a certain frailty that she fights hard to shield. Brigit and Utana complement one another as a couple and help each other overcome their weaknesses and shortsightedness. I’m sure reading the previous books in this series may have helped to better understand the vampire family dynamics, but it is possible to read this without any prior series knowledge. Ms. Shayne has provided a fast-paced, paranormal romance that enchants from beginning to end.

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”