January Reading in Review

Forever Mine by Elizabeth Reyes
Mature YA-romance

Seventeen-year old Sarah’s life is turned upside down when her single mom is sent to jail. She’s forced to move, leaving behind everything she’s ever known, including her best friend Sydney. Lost and bitter in a new school, her one goal is to save money and move back home. Then she meets Angel Moreno.

Enigmatic but gorgeous, Angel is almost too good to be true. Except for one thing, his archaic belief that guys and girls can never be “just friends”. The problem? Sarah’s best friend Sydney is not a girl.

With their unexpected romance intensifying to places neither ever experienced, how long can Sarah keep Angel in the dark about the guy waiting for her back home?

Unfortunately, this was a dnf for me. Perhaps I expected more, because I had been excited to read this series for awhile. Angel was a likeable enough character, but his obsessive behavior w/ Sarah was beyond my comprehension. (I even tried to remember back to when I was a teen – would I want someone that obsessed with me??) There was also the whole Dana thing, as well as the “Sarah-Sydney best friend but he’s a male” secret.

I got 38% through before I just couldn’t do it anymore. Not my cuppa and won’t be reading the others.

2 Stars:
Fall for Me by Melanie Marks 
When Zoey’s long-time boyfriend, Finn, cheats on her—kissing a girl he “just can’t resist”—he gives Zoey a “free pass,” telling her she can kiss any guy she wants. Finn is so cocky and sure of their relationship that the arrangement seems perfect. He’s not worried Zoey will fall for another guy, and he’s itching to get rid of his feelings of guilt.

But the thing is, Zoey knows exactly who she wants to kiss—longs to kiss— Finn’s best friend, Riley. But, she wants the kiss too much. She knows that. So, she resists the “Free Pass.” Still, she’s pushed into it when Finn loses a bet to Riley, and Riley wants his payment—a kiss from Zoey.


I can’t really recommend this book to anyone – though we all have different reading styles and maybe it’ll work for someone else.  It just didn’t work for me.  That being said, I finished it.  It had potential – but it was a bit over the top and unrealistic to be truly enjoyable.  I do have another book of Melanie’s in my queue and still plan on reading it.  I’m all about second chances.  You can get your copy here
3 Stars:
Butterface by Gwen Hayes
When love isn’t lucky…or pretty.

The scars on Beth’s face aren’t nearly as deep as the ones she nurses on the inside. She was born with hemifacial microsamia and was supposed to feel “lucky” that she wasn’t as disfigured as some people.

One boy, Lucky O’Leary starts to find the cracks in her hard shell and finds himself falling for her. Only Lucky has a secret–he needs to bring Beth to a “dog dinner” or lose his spot on the team. She can’t find out that the guy who brings the ugliest date wins a prize.

Young Adult Short Story–8000 words

This was a sweet story that I enjoyed very much.  This is my second read of Gwen’s and she hasn’t disappointed me yet!  You can get your copy here.
Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley
Willow has spent most of her life as her mother’s sidekick in a popular Las Vegas hypnotism show. So when she and her mom move back to their sleepy southern hometown to start over, she thinks she’s in for a life of quiet normalcy. Except that her new life turns out to be anything but, when she kinda sorta hypnotizes Quinton, the hottest guy on the football team, to fall madly, deeply, head over heels in love with her. But what started out as an innocent way to make her best friend, Max, jealous soon gets way out of hand, and Willow begins to wonder if the mind – and more importantly, the heart – is something you can really control.
I enjoyed Max and Willow’s story and how it developed from friends to something more.  I think the story was very well told and I look forward to reading more from this author.  You can get your copy here or here.


The Groom Came Back by Abby Gaines

Typical. It takes Dr. Jack Mitchell eight years to pull himself away from his terribly important career abroad and come home for a divorce. And then he doesn’t even know who she is! Sure, Callie Summers—excuse me, Mitchell—was a gawky schoolgirl when Jack rescued her from a nasty family situation. But that’s no excuse for the man not to recognize his own wife. 

And now the gorgeous neurosurgeon thinks he’s going to hightail it out of Tennessee with his final decree in hand. Uh-uh. Callie isn’t letting him off quite so easily. Not when she, to her utter dismay, is finding him so irresistible. 

Irresistible enough to get him to tie the knot again?

This was a solid 3 star read for me. The characters were likeable and I was glad to see the characters from “Married by Mistake” in this book briefly. Unfortunately, the big declaration at the end of the book (AKA the HEA) was not believable. It just seemed rushed and like it came out of left field in an effort to tie up the book within the allotted word count. You can get your copy here or here.

Her Best Friend’s Brother by T.J. Dell

Libby has been in love with Tony Marchetti since she was seven years old. The problem? Tony is her best friend’s older brother. Lately Tony has started looking at her in a new way and he emails her all the time. Could it be possible that he is starting to see her as more than his kid sister’s best friend?

Tony knows Libby McKay is off limits. She’s his sister’s best friend for crying out loud! But she is also smart, funny, and seriously hot. Plus she’s not afraid to get a little sweaty– on the track that is. Tony can’t seem to help himself, besides what’s a few emails? The occasional phone call? He can keep things light and friendly– Can’t he? 

I loved the first 30% of this book – actually smiled almost the whole time I was reading it. The rest of the book was 6 years worth of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and bad timing. None the less, I couldn’t stop reading. I was invested in Libby and Tony, despite how drawn out the conflicts were.  I ended the book the same way I started it……..with a big smile on my face.

One word of caution – this sounds like a YA book (which is why I bought it).  It’s not – although, it is a mostly-clean read.

This was my first read of T.J. Dell – I’d definitely read more from her!  You can get your copy here.

The Playboy and Plain Jane by LeAnne Banks

Boston hunk Nicholas Barone could hardly believe one-year-old Molly was his daughter. The sexy businessman was committed only to his extended Italian family, to their business—Baronessa Gelati—and to short-term relationships with gorgeous socialites. Then one pintsized female turned his priorities upside down.

Enter Gail Fenton, nanny extraordinaire. Within days she had a cranky Molly smiling; within a few sleepless nights, she had a frustrated Nicholas fantasizing. Bewitched by a virgin. Vexed by the girl next door. Man-about-town Nicholas was in serious trouble, for unlike his former lovers, who wanted only his money or his name, Gail wanted his heart.

Confession time: the nanny/babysitter/governess sub-genre is one of my favorites!  This was a wonderful story and I was drawn to each character, plus the members of the Barone family.  This was my first story by LeAnne Banks, but will definitely be reading more of her (like maybe……..the rest of the Barone series??)  You can get your copy here or here.

A Wedding Story by Dee Tenorio

Ruth Anne Barbellis—unhappily nicknamed “Rhubarb” by her lifelong enemy, Bobby Wichowski—is in Wedding Hell. Why?

Her sister is marrying Bobby’s brother.

She’s trussed up in a bridesmaid dress that must have been designed originally as a Victorian Torture Chamber.

To teach them a lesson, she and Bobby have been assigned to the Kiddie Table.

And that’s only the beginning…

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from story – I’d always assumed Dee Tenorio wrote steamier romantica/erotica so I was pleasantly surprised that this was actually a cute, cleaner read.  It was a short story, but well worth the time.  I’ll be looking for more to read from Ms. Tenorio in the future.  You can get your copy here or here.

4 stars:

Always the Baker Never the Bride by Sandra Bricker:

Thirty-six-year-old Emma Rae Travis has been baking specialty cakes and melt-in-your-mouth pastries at The Backstreet Bakery in historic Roswell, just outside of Atlanta, for the last six years. But here s the rub about her job as a baker … Emma is diabetic. When she tastes her creations, it can only be in the most minute portions. Emma is considered an artisan for the stunning creme brulee wedding cake that won her the Passionate Palette Award last year, but she s never even had one full slice of it. 

When Jackson Drake hears about this local baker who has won a prestigious award for her wedding cake artistry, he tells his assistant to be sure and include her in the pastry tastings scheduled at his new wedding destination hotel the following week. And for Jackson, that particular day has started out badly with two workmen trapped in a broken elevator and a delivery of several dozen 300-thread-count bed linens in the wrong size abandoned in the lobby. But when the arrogant baker he met a week prior in Roswell stumbles into the dining room with a platter of pastries and a bucketful of orders, he knows for certain: It s going to be a really rotten day. 

Can these two ill-suited players master the high-wire act and make a go of their new business venture? Or will they take each other crashing downward, without a net? And will the surprise wedding at The Tanglewood be theirs?

I loved this book from beginning to end.  The chemistry between Emma and Jackson was wonderful as were the wacky, wonderful background characters.  I would highly recommend this one to anyone.

This is categorized as a Christian romance, though it is not overly-preachy and is most definitely a clean read.

This was my first read of Sandra Bricker- I’ve already got the next book in this series in my reading queue (it was an kindle freebie last week!) You can get your copy here or here.

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.

When Julie’s off-campus housing falls through, her mother’s old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side … and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there’s that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That’s because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie’s suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that … well … doesn’t quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.  

This was one of my favorite reads in January.  I loved Julie’s interactions with the whole Watkins family – her big-sister relationship with Celeste, her budding relationship with Finn, and her conflicting relationship with Matt. I think Jessica Parks is a very gifted storyteller and I look forward to reading more of her in the future. You can get your copy here or here.

Healing Hearts by Taryn Kincaid

As a girl, Emma Whiteside asked Adam Caldwell, Viscount Riverton, to wait for her to be of marriageable age. Now, twelve years later, Emma hates Adam as much as she once loved him, holding the former army major responsible for the death of her brother on the battlefield.

Adam already blames himself for the loss of the men under his command. But the fiery young woman Emma’s become sparks his arousal, as well as emotions Adam thought long dead. The passion between them makes him want to reclaim the man he was before the war.

Though she tries to hold on to her hatred, Emma’s longing for Adam is undeniable, especially after the two share a smoldering kiss. Still, Adam is certain no woman would want a man so damaged. Can Emma prove him wrong?

I absolutely loved this story! The beginning was a bit slow, but it soon picked up pace and I devoured it. Wonderful chemistry between Emma and Adam. Would definitely recommend. You can get your copy here.

Married by Mistake by Abby Gaines

Do not adjust your set. That really was Casey Greene being jilted by her fiancé on live TV! And that really was Memphis’s most eligible bachelor who stepped in to marry her instead.

Millionaire businessman Adam Carmichael wanted only to help Casey save face. He isn’t prepared for the news that their “fake” wedding is legal and binding.

While they secretly wait for an annulment, media and family scrutiny forces them to put on their best loving-couple act. Except by now, neither one is quite sure who’s acting….

I am a new “fan-girl” of Abby Gaines and have really enjoyed everything I’ve read of her so far.  This book was a solid 3 stars until the final chapter……which easily moved it to a 4 star rating.  You can get this for free from eharlequin here

2 thoughts on “January Reading in Review

  1. Yay, I'm so glad to see that you read and liked Crush Control. I thought Max and Willow's story was cute.

    I also adored Always a Baker, Never a Bride. That was a cute story. I haven't read the other books in the series though. I should get on that. =)

    Looks like you had a good reading month, keep up the good work! =)


  2. I got “Always a Wedding Planner…Never a Bride” a few weeks ago. It was a Kindle freebie. I hope to read it soon 🙂

    I'm giving my first Lauren Barnholdt a crack…so far, so good!

    Have you read Flat Out Love?


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