Saturday, June 8, 2024

Review & Giveaway - - Look on the Bright Side

Look on the Bright Side
by Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 28, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

Lark Smith has always had a plan for her life: find a fantastic guy, create a marriage as blissful as her parents’, pop out a couple of kids and build a rewarding career as an oncologist.

Things aren’t going so well.

For one, the guy didn’t work out. Theoretically, she’d love to find someone else, but it hasn’t happened. Two, she’s just been transferred out of oncology for being too emotional. (Is it her fault she’s a weeper?) Three, her parents just split up.

Deviating from the plan was…well, not in the plan. A potential solution comes from the foul-tempered and renowned surgeon Lorenzo Santini (aka Dr. Satan). He needs a date this summer for his sister’s wedding. His ancient Noni wants to see him settled. In exchange, he could make a few introductions and maybe get Lark back into the field of her choice.

As a sucker for old people and fake relationships, Lark agrees. Teeny problem—she instantly falls for his big, warm family. Especially his estranged brother.

Meanwhile, Lark’s mom has moved in with Lark’s colorful landlady, Joy, and an unlikely friendship blossoms. The three women have a long summer and a big beautiful house on the ocean to figure out what’s next…and quite possibly learn that the best things in life aren’t planned at all.

PJ's Thoughts:

A Kristan Higgins book is guaranteed to touch all of my emotions and Look on the Bright Side certainly did that. First of all, how did I not know the Smith family (from last year's A Little Ray of Sunshine-read my review) would also be at the center of Look on the Bright Side? It was like walking into a room and being greeted by old friends, complete with hugs, huge smiles, and snide asides (every family has one). 

Three women, with intersecting storylines, all at a significant crossroads in her life, are at the heart of this book. Funny, sympathetic, flawed women reeling from grief and betrayal, questioning their life choices. In other words, relatable women. Real. Higgins skillfully guides them along their journeys, giving them opportunities to grow, discover new pathways, repair broken relationships, and heal their hearts. Maybe, even fall in love, repair a broken love, or discover the beauty of friendship. Higgins then surrounds them with a rich supporting cast who are much more than a character backdrop, offering up heartache and hilarity. *I feel compelled to add a reader warning here. Do not read Chapter 11 while consuming liquids or with a full bladder. You can thank me later.

How could I not toss my schedule out the window and spend an entire day losing myself in this story, in these characters? I couldn't resist. That's exactly what I did, sobbing on one page, snort laughing on the next, sighing with delight, then off to the races again until I emerged, grinning and heart happy, ready to go back to page one and do it all over again. That's the brilliance of Kristan Higgins. It's what she does. Every. Single. Time.

I should note that you don't need to have read A Little Ray of Sunshine to enjoy Look on the Bright Side though it will give you additional insight into some of the characters if you have. I enthusiastically recommend both books, in whichever order you choose to read them. 

Content Warning: death, cancer, emotional affair

Do you enjoy a book that takes you on an emotional journey but also makes you laugh out loud?

Have you read Kristan Higgins?

What books are on your summer must-read list?

One randomly chosen person posting a comment no later than 11:00, June 10 will receive a print copy of Look on the Bright Side.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18
*Anonymous comments must include a name or email address to be entered in the giveaway.


  1. I am a fan of Ms Higgins. I do like books that are able to make me feel like a voyeur into the lives of the characters. ( What does that say about me?) I am trying to sell a house in one state and move to another state. So, no "must read" books on any list. My lists are all about what was in the suitcase that blew off the top of the car on HWY 10 in West Texas. Who needs underwear? Me! And so now I am wearing my 6 ' 4" son's robe. Enough about life in the big city. I hope to read some books this summer, but at this point, I have no idea which ones. I am lucky that my kindle is so overloaded, I can do mindless reading anywhere, and that is where I am, anywhere. I am really much too old for this stuff. Thanks for the review. I think I may have to get both the books. Just to keep me from curling up in a ball and sobbing on the floor.

  2. Kristan Higgins has written captivating and wonderful stories that are memorable. I enjoy emotional, meaningful and unforgettable books that resonate with me since life is filled with emotion and challenges. Many summer books which I look forward to enjoying. Margo's Got Money Troubles, The Light Over Lake Como, Seven Summer Weekends, All the Summers in Between.

  3. Life for everyone has its ups and downs - we all experience emotional times and laughter is always the best medicine - you need it to raise your spirits and keep on looking ahead. I have not yet read Kristan’s book yet….i have a copy of The Best Man and a copy of All I Ever Wanted in my to be read pile and I have just taken out Look on the Bright Side from my library. This book is on my wanted list, along with Jill Shalvis’ latest and Locked in Pursuit by Ashley Weaver - book 4 in the Electra McDonnell mystery series. Looking forward to the Rom-Commers by Katherine Center which comes out next week. Wish I could speed read!

  4. I absolutely love all books written by Kristan Higgins and I know this one will be the same! Her books are the perfect escape for me. This summer I want to read Sheila Roberts, Mary Kay Andrews, Katherine Center and of course Kristan Higgins!

  5. Kristan Higgins writes the best emotional and often hilarious books! I am behind in reading her books. I am planning on getting caught up with my TBR. The one series that is on my must read is Grace Burrowes' Lord Julian Mysteries series.

  6. I have read Kristan Higgins before

    Rose Ward

  7. I've read a few of Kristin's books and enjoyed them very much. I also enjoy her blog posts about her life - love her wicked sense of humor.

  8. I may have one of her books in my TBR pile but have not yet read her.
    Emotions are an important part of life. A book that takes me on a emotional journey is appreciated. I may not be reading for all emotions, but it is up to me to select the appropriate book for my mood.
    I am just started a suspense, A Chain Of Pearls, new author Raemi A. Ray"s first book. Next will be a book for my book club, The Last Bus To Wisdom by Ivan Doig. Next will be The Best Life Book Club by Sheila Roberts which I might suggest for next month's book club read. After that I am not sure. A beach read, good suspense, or a historical.

  9. I have read some of her books. I do enjoy reading emotional books that show the characters journey. But also want a HEA at the end

  10. One of two contemporary authors that I really enjoy (also Jill Shalvis). i love books that make me laugh and cry - means they really got to me. Everything lol.

  11. I love books with an emotional journey. I love Kristan's books.


  12. I'm pretty sure I've read every one of her books! I remember vacuuming up the Blue Heron series years ago, and it's been interesting to watch her style change over the years. Look on the Bright Side is on my summer list, as is Annabel Monaghan's new book and the latest Christina Lauren (and I'm behind on Ali Hazelwood, too!)

  13. I have been a big fan of Kristan's for many years.