New Release Review: IN YOUR DREAMS by Kristan Higgins (BLUE HERON #4)

It’s always a good day when I get to read a new Kristan Higgins book!
Once again, Kristan is donating a portion of the pre-sale and first week’s sale proceeds to the Fisher House Foundation–it’s not too late to pick up your copy and help the cause!

In Your Dreams
by Kristan Higgins
(Blue Heron series #4)

Synopsis:

Emmaline Neal needs a date. Just a date—someone to help her get through her ex-fiancé’s wedding without losing her mind. But pickings are slim in Manningsport, New York, population 715. In fact, there’s really only one option: local heartthrob Jack Holland. Everyone loves Jack, and he won’t get the wrong idea…. After all, Jack Holland would never actually be interested in a woman like Em. Especially not with his beautiful ex-wife creeping around, angling to reunite ever since he rescued a group of teens and became a local hero.

But when the wedding festivities take an unexpectedly passionate turn, Em figures it was just one crazy night. Jack is too gorgeous, too popular, to ever end up with her. So why is she the one he can talk to about his deep, dark feelings? If Em is going to get her dream man, she’ll have to start by believing in him…

 

Review:

Jack and Emmaline are my new favorite Blue Heron series hero and heroine! (But it’s really, really close, Colleen and Lucas–I swear!)

The inclusion of curling might have something to do with it, to be honest. Why don’t more books have curling in them? Plus, Sarge is just about the cutest puppy ever. Really, he probably gave Em an unfair advantage here. Jack was such a fantastic hero that I almost forgot about how anxious I am for Connor O’Rourke’s book. (According to Kristan Higgins, he’s next. At last! Whooo hooo!) In In Your Dreams, the last Holland sibling finally gets his HEA, and it’s totally deserved 🙂

It’s possible that Jack and Emmaline might have more issues than all the other Blue Heron heroes and heroines combined…though for the most part, it works for them.

Jack–the perfect child of the Blue Heron Holland family, beloved of the whole gosh-darn town and gorgeous and amazingly nice to boot–has been waiting for years to have the chance to save someone, in an attempt to make up for his mother’s accidental death so long ago. He’s become an EMT, but he’s always just too late to really help anyone–until the fateful night that a car full of teenagers decides to drive under the influence and goes through a guardrail and into the lake–right in front of him. Jack does all he can to rescue the boys, but the last one–the driver–has suffered brain damage and might not make it.

The entire town thinks he’s a hero–except for Jack. Jack, and the parents of that boy, who’s been in a coma ever since.

Now Jack’s dealing with some major guilt, not to mention a healthy dose of PTSD. Oh, yeah–and his ex-wife’s back in town. Lovely.

Emmaline Neal’s come a long way–literally and figuratively–from the girl she used to be. A former journalist from SoCal, she’s moved to Manningsport, joining the town’s tiny police force after being dumped by her first–and only–love.

But an invite comes in the mail–her ex-fiance’s getting married, and it’s to the woman he left Em for. Kevin was once everything to her–without him, she wasn’t sure she would have survived eighth grade, let alone gotten the courage to escape the merciless bullying she still lived through afterwards because of her stutter. She’s got to go–right? Her entire family will be there. But she can’t possibly go alone, so…

Though the wedding part of the plot had some very funny moments (the chicken cutlet episode during the “chicken”-style couples pool game, for one–a total laugh out loud-worthy scene) overall it was a much smaller part of the book than the blurb made it out to be. Jack and Emmaline spend a lot more of their time back home in New York. Jack’s ex, his PTSD, Em’s latent insecurities, and both Em’s and Jack’s families end up being larger issues overall than that single weekend. It does serve to give them the initial push, though, putting them on the path to a potential HEA, so it does its job. Two parts of it (their pretend engagement/her possible pregnancy) are practically over before they even get started, however, and almost felt like they could have been left out.

Some of my favorite parts of the book–besides the Jack-and-Em time, which was wonderful as per usual in a Kristan Higgins story–were the scenes with Em’s at-risk kids and the times spent with Jack’s family. Both groups are made up of such a rich collection of characters that any scene with any of them in it is a pure delight to read.

And oh my gosh–Jack’s grandmother’s texts. Just too funny.

In Your Dreams does rely heavily on flashbacks–some chapters seemed to spend more time recounting past events than showing new ones–and at times it was a bit too much. Yes, we needed to know a lot of that material, but perhaps it could have been condensed more? Given to us in another way? I would have gladly given up some of that Jack-and-Hadley / Em-and-Kevin time from the past in favor of more Jack-and-Em time in the present of the book.

Still, In Your Dreams was a highly entertaining read with Kristan Higgins’s trademark humor and quirky but lovable characters. Seeing Jack and Em reach their HEA was extremelysatisfying.

Now, bring on Connor’s book! (Please!)

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

And now, for your viewing enjoyment, the trailer to the best (and possibly only, but that’s a tiny detail) romantic comedy featuring curling ever made. Seriously–just make it through the opening credits (of the movie, not the trailer)–which are admittedly, very strange–and you won’t be sorry. Such a fun movie. Plus, it has Paul Gross–one of my favorite Canadians. 😉

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