Book Review: Not Quite Dating by Catherine Bybee

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 1 of the Not Quite series

Summary

Jessie is a single mom who shares a one-bedroom apartment with her son and her sister. She works night shifts as a waitress, and isn’t very interested in love. And if she was, it’d definitely be to someone with a lot of money – who can get her out of her current situation. Jack Morrison is the heir to a huge, upscale hotel chain. When he see’s Jessie he wants to pursue her – but he knows she’s a gold-digger, so he pretends to be poor as he tries to win her over.

What I Liked

  • I thought the secret thing was really fun. It was great to read conversations where we (the reader) and Jack know that he’s a multi-millionaire (possibly billionaire? I don’t remember…) but Jessie does not.
  • It was great to discover the characters as they discovered each other. Often we discovered things about Jessie as Jack did, and vice versa.
  • This book kept me hooked. I read every break I got, and then sat in my car and read after work before I even headed home. So it was pretty captivating. I wanted to know what was going to happen in their lives.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This definitely had it’s share of common romance themes. The biggest one being “I can’t tell him/her or they’ll leave me” followed by “Why didn’t you tell me, now I can’t trust you”.

In Conclusion

Another great romance by Catherine Bybee.

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Book Review: It Had to Be Them by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 4 of It Had to Be… series

Summary

Ben Anderson is Anderson Butte’s (handsome) town doctor. He’s always being set up, but this time it’s different. His ex-fiance, Kline, is back in town. And the entire town (half of which seems to be family) is convinced they belong together.

What I Liked

  • Another cute book to finish off the series.
  • I liked seeing the characters from the rest of the series pop up within this one. Anderson Butte (which is named after Ben’s family) is a tight-knit community where everyone is in everyone else’s business.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The book wasn’t very memorable. A cute addition, for sure, but not very different from any other romance novel.

In Conclusion

If you’ve loved the It Had to Be… series so far then you’ll love this final novel.

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Book Review: It Had to Be Fate by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 3 of It Had to Be… series

Summary

Casey Anderson owns a hotel in Anderson Butte – a town where all the residents are paid to ignore celebrities. For now she’s focused on being a good mother to her two boys, and is fighting to ensure she retains custody. Zane Steele is known for being an edgy party-boy rocker, and has come to Anderson Butte to hide out until things settle down. He’s captivated by Casey and wants to date her – but can he convince her to look past his public facade?

What I Liked

  • I really liked the intricacies that came along with Zane’s secret. (His secret is in white text here, if you want to know, but it’s a spoiler: he’s a twin, and its his twin that’s the bad boy. He’s a good guy, but his publicity team wants him to retain an edgy look – so he lets his twin get away with stuff under his name.) I can’t recall reading of a similar situation, although I’m sure I’ve seen it on TV. I liked the contract between public persona/reputation and who someone actually is.
  • Am I allowed to like the food in the book? They have spaghetti dinners and go on picnics and eat Count Chocula and so much more. Which is probably more accurate to a real-life dating scenario than one that doesn’t involve food at all.
  • Overall this is another great addition to the It Had to Be… series. It’s a typical romance, but it still held my interest fairly well, and I read it in one day.

What I Didn’t Like

  • As with any romance, it was somewhat predictable.

In Conclusion

This book is another feel-good addition to the It Had to Be… series.

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Book Review: It Had to Be Love by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 2 of It Had to Be… series

Summary

Tara Carter is new to the town of Anderson Butte. It’s a small, somewhat remote town, which keeps her hidden from her past. However, the sheriff, Ryan Anderson suspects that she’s hiding something – and keeps poking around trying to uncover something she would rather keep buried. On top of that, they keep running into each other and the matchmaking town are trying to encourage them to be together.

What I Liked

  • It’s a super cute romance. Great for a summer beach read. (It’s already 105 Farenheit here in Arizona, so I can safely say it’s summer.)
  • The threat in the book was legitimate. Sometimes authors go for flimsier, over-exaggerated threats to keep the characters in motion. Not this time!
  • I loved the characters. I think I mentioned this is my review of the first book in this series, but I love how authentic the characters are. Lately I feel like I’ve been reading books where the author says one thing about a character, but as a reader, we never actually see it. It’s nice to read one a book where the fiesty characters make feisty decisions, and so on.

What I Didn’t Like

  • I’m not going to shout this one from the rooftops, but it was still a cute read. Hence four stars. 🙂

In Conclusion

If you enjoyed the first book in this series (It Had to Be Him), you’ll love this one as well.

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Book Review: It Had to Be Him by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Meg Anderson has always been a screw-up. Now she needs to move back home with her two year old and face her family and the town she grew up in. As the town’s resident troublemaker, she’s going to have a hard time convincing them to give her another chance. Josh Granger is a former FBI officer, who had to leave the love of his life, Meg, shortly after he found out she was pregnant. Three years later and he’s back, willing to do anything to win her back.

What I Liked

  • This is a re-read since I’m getting back into the series. So the fact that I was willing to read it again is huge. Also, I spent all day on the edge of my seat, waiting for breaks at work so I could find out what happened next. Even though I’d already read the book before. So there’s that. 😛
  • This book is so. dang. cute. Both the characters are more or less already in love, they just don’t trust that their future will work out. I liked reading a romance that was more about learning to trust the other person than questioning whether or not they had feelings for the person.
  • The characters were fantastic. Meg is tomboyish, confident, and resilient. Her grandmother is spunky. Josh is even-keeled. And throughout the book, the author shows each of their personalities through their actions and reactions. She doesn’t just say that the characters are that way. To be honest I feel like I don’t get to read authentic characters like that very often.
  • I admire the characters for the choices they made in the book. If faced with some of their situations, I know I would either shut down crying or try to fight back with a snarky remark. But the characters had the guts to face what they needed to face and not let retorts get to them (usually). And I found that pretty cool.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This book gets five stars from me, so I really don’t have any dislikes.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a great contemporary romance, this is the book for you.

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