* Blog Tour/Review * NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT by Kristan Higgins

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.

* Blog Tour/Review * NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT by Kristan HigginsNow That You Mention It Published by HQN Books on December 26, 2017
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four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins welcomes you home in this witty, emotionally charged novel about the complications of life, love and family

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With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was, Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the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. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events 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.

 

A witty journey of self-discovery! With recovery in mind, a broken woman makes the decision to fight her demons and return home to the place where sunshine once lived before turning into darkness and despair. She sets out to follow her memories of the times when she felt like life was rosy and fun and puts forth a huge effort to reconnect with her family and the community. Meeting glares and resistance at every turn, she has to dig deep and find answers within herself that leave her pushing forward and overcoming the adversity she faces to find answers and a brighter future around the bend. The characters are well-developed, the turmoil is strife with tears and a smidgen of laughter as Kristan Higgins throws in her signature snark and sass to bring a laugh to life in the most awkward of times … and overall, it’s a very entertaining read!

When Dr. Nora Stuart woke up from being hit by a car to find her live-in boyfriend flirting with another woman at her bedside, she realizes it’s time for some time apart! After having her life flash before her eyes during her unconsciousness, she’s not sure what to make of the fact that she envisioned so little affected by her “death”. She decides to stop avoiding the little island she was anxious to flee all those years ago and go home again.

It’s not all puppies and rainbows when she arrives. Her cantankerous mother seems to care less that she was injured, her sister is in prison leaving her surly teenage daughter in their mother’s care and desperately seeking a way out of this one-horse town, the community still blames her for the demise of the town golden boy simply because she was smarter than him, and her ex continues to try to woo her back home … just another day in paradise I guess!

Finally learning the answers to why her family fell apart all those years ago is enlightening and brings with it a peace at finally knowing that it wasn’t anything she had done wrong. Hard work and dedication leads to rediscovery of memories that squeeze her heart and make her more forgiving of times she was wronged, and finding a special guy on the Island with an equally special daughter who both think she’s got potential, makes for an interesting trip!

 

 

 

Publisher: HQN (December 26, 2017)

“The kind of book I enjoy the most—sparkling characters, fast-moving plot and laugh-out-loud dialogue. A winner!” —New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips on If You Only Knew

New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins welcomes you home in this witty, emotionally charged novel about the complications of life, love and family

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, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece 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. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events 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.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

 

EXCERPT:

In which Nora Stuart, MD, has just been hit by a van from Beantown Bug Killers and now lies in the hospital, assuming she’s died.

How will my dog cope with this?

My soul, it seemed, wasn’t ready to leave just yet, still hung up on the concerns of the material world.

Poor Boomer, the Dog of Dogs, my sweet little hundred-pound puppy who protected me and came into the bathroom when I showered to stand guard just in case someone broke in, Boomer who loved me with all his giant heart, who would put his head on my leg, who asked for nothing other than an ear scratch, who was afraid of pigeons but adored ducks… No one would love him the way I did. He’d be sad and confused for the rest of his life.

I knew I shouldn’t have waited for stupid Bobby! And why the hell was I the one getting the pizza? Why hadn’t I stood up for myself and told beautiful, snotty Jabrielle to go her damn self? She was a resident! I was a fully vested doctor, thank you!

But I hadn’t, and now I was dead.

I hope we can still go with open casket.

I had often envisioned my funeral, me lying against the rose-colored satin looking utterly stunning, the sadder songs of U2 and Ed Sheeran playing gently in the background while my friends wept and laughed over their precious memories of me. Closed casket was not part of the scenario, hit by Beantown Bug Killers or not. I wondered if my face was smooshed in. Eesh.

I have nothing to wear to my funeral.

Granted, in life I’d been a clothes whore, at least during the past fifteen years or so. But for my funeral, I wanted something special. The navy-blue-and-white polka-dotted Brooks Brothers dress I’d been eyeing, or that pink floral Kate Spade. But maybe that would be too festive.

I’ll never meet Daniel Radcliffe now.

It had always been a long shot, I knew that, but I’d imagined stalking him after he did a show on Broadway, waiting by the side door, our eyes meeting, his inimitable smile, going out for a drink, sharing our favorite moments from Harry Potter, me finding out that he, too, hated the destruction of Hogwarts and agreed that Ron was nowhere near worthy of Hermione. Now, with me dead, it definitely wasn’t gonna happen.

True, no one was acting like I was dead, but I was fairly certain I was. Maybe they just hadn’t noticed yet. I guessed this ER wasn’t quite the be-all and end-all of modern medicine, was it? I thought I’d heard the words “dislocated patella” and “ortho consult” and “trauma alert.” I was pretty sure I’d seen the tunnel of light, but my spirit was tuning in and out.

What was that beeping? It was really hurting my head.

I’d read about this kind of thing happening. Out-of-body experiences. The soul lingering a little while before heading for the afterlife. Did I know anyone who’d greet me from heaven? My dad, maybe, if he was dead? That mean-ass grandmother of mine who used to tell me I was fat? I hoped she wasn’t there. Who else? Maybe that sweet patient who’d died of pancreatic cancer during my fellowship. God, I had loved her. My first fatality.

“So she’s your girlfriend?” someone asked. I knew that voice. Jabrielle. Couldn’t miss that hint of sneer.

“Yeah.” Bobby.

Was he about to start sobbing? Wait, did Bobby have to call the code on me? Or had be been hysterical, calling my name, having to be dragged out by two burly orderlies? Either way, the poor, poor man. Dang, I wished I remembered! I guess I’d shown up a little late to my own death. Which did seem to happen a lot in the movies.

The beeping was persistent and annoying.

“How long have you been together?” Jabrielle again.

“Oh, a little more than a year. It’s funny, though. I was gonna break up with her this weekend.” A pause. “She’s not in the best shape anyway.” Gentle laughter.

I almost smiled.

Wait. What?

Did Bobby just break up with me?

I was barely even cold! Did he—Was he—

“So what will you do?” Jabrielle asked.

“It would be pretty shitty to dump her now, I guess.”

A female purr. “Well, when you’re a free man, give me a call.”

“Wish I didn’t have to wait so long.”

Are you even kidding me?

No. No, no. I was dead. I didn’t care about these things. Soon, I’d be floating up to the stars or something.

But just in case, I decided to try to open my eyes.

Oh, shit. I wasn’t dead. I was in the ER. That beeping sound was the heart monitor, nice and regular, 78 beats per minute, O2 sat 98 percent, BP 130/89, a little high, but given the pain, not unexpected.

And Bobby was fondling a piece of Jabrielle’s hair.

“Do you mind?” I said, my voice croaking.

They jumped apart.

“Hey! You’re awake! Take it easy, hon, you’re gonna be okay.” Bobby took my hand—ow, my shoulder!—and smiled reassuringly. He did have the prettiest blue eyes. “You were hit by a car.”

“Beantown Bug Killers,” Jabrielle added.

“Did I die?”

Bobby smirked. “You have a concussion—we scanned you, but you’re fine. Bruised kidneys, broken clavicle and a patellar dislocation, which we reduced…we had to sedate you for that. You’re splinted, and we’re waiting on ortho to check you out. Can you feel your toes?”

Everything hurt. My back, my head, my shoulder, my knee. I was one giant throb of pain. But whatever they’d given me made it so I didn’t really care.

I guess my tunnel of light had been the CAT scan.

“I want another doctor,” I said.

“Hon, don’t be that way.”

“Bite me. You were flirting over my corpse.” I pulled my hand free. Ow.

He rolled his eyes. “You weren’t dead, Nora.”

Fury blotted out the pain for a second. “Well, I thought I was. Get out. Both of you. Don’t be surprised if I file a complaint for unprofessional conduct. And call Gus to walk Boomer.”

The tug of the sedation or concussion pulled me back under, and before the door had closed, I was asleep again.

***

When I woke up, I was in a regular hospital room, Bobby asleep in the chair beside me. Some weary white carnations were in a vase next to me, their edges brown. If that wasn’t a metaphor for our relationship, I didn’t know what was. I sensed that moving would be very painful, so I breathed carefully and took stock.

My left arm was in a sling. A brace of some kind was on my right leg. My back hurt, my abdomen ached, and my head throbbed, little flashes of light in my peripheral vision with every heartbeat.

But I was alive. Apparently, the concussion and drugs had given me that out-of-body feeling.

Bobby stirred, never a good sleeper. Opened his eyes. “Hey. How you feeling?”

“Okay.”

“Do you remember what happened?”

“Hit by a van.”

“That’s right. You were crossing the street, and you got hit. Besides the patellar dislocation, your left clavicle is broken, and you’ve got fractures in the sixth and seventh ribs on the left. Pretty good concussion, too. The trauma team admitted you for a night or two.”

“Did you call Gus?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah.” He was quiet for a moment, then leaned forward. “I’m sorry about Jabrielle.”

Surprisingly, my throat tightened, and tears welled in my eyes, slipping down my temples into my hair. “At least you made it easy,” I whispered.

“Made what easy?”

“Breaking up. I can’t really overlook you hitting on another woman when I’m bruised and battered in the ER, can I?”

He looked ashamed. “I really am sorry. That wasn’t classy at all.”

“No.”

“Roseline came by. I called her. She’s upstairs on L and D, but she’ll come down later.”

“Great.”

We were quiet for a few minutes.

Once, I thought I’d marry Bobby Byrne. Once, I thought he’d be lucky to have me. But somewhere in the midst of our year and change together—after the Big Bad Event—I got lost. What was once a bright and shiny penny had become dirty and dull and useless, and it was high time I admitted it.

Bobby hadn’t loved me for a long time.

I was going to need help for the next few weeks. Concussions were serious business, and with my injured arm and leg, I had mobility concerns. I’d need help, and I wasn’t about to stay with Bobby.

Problem was, we lived together. Roseline was a newlywed; otherwise, I’d stay with her. Other friends…no.

“I want to go home,” I said.

“Sure. Tomorrow. I’ll take a few days off.”

“I meant home. To the island.”

Bobby blinked. “Oh.”

Strangely enough, I wanted my mother. I wanted the pine trees and rocky shores. I wanted to sleep in the room I hadn’t slept in for fifteen years.

I wanted to see my sister.

Yes. I’d go home, as one does after a brush with death. I’d take a leave of absence from the practice and go back to Scupper Island, make amends with my mother, spend some time with my niece, wait for my sister to come back and…well…reassess. I might not have died, but it was close enough. I had another chance. I could do better.

“And I’m bringing Boomer,” I added.

four-stars

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