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.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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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.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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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.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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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.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: Meet Clara Andrews by Lacey London

Rating: ⭐⭐

Summary

Clara works in the fashion industry and finds herself dating two men at once. One is a nice, safe guy and the other is super-hot – but works for her company.

What I Liked

  • I learned new words/events? This book takes place in England, so there were definitely a couple of things that had to look up, such as:
    • Onesie
    • Kerb
    • Highway Code
    • Bonfire Night
  • This book reminded by of The Devil Wears Prada, which I’m not a fan of either. Thankfully Meet Clara Andrews wasn’t as dreadfully descriptive and dry as The Devil Wears Prada. It was a quick, light read.
  • This book has the distinction of being the first two star review on my blog. Two star books don’t come along very often because I rarely finish a book that I dislike. So at least the author had the skill to keep me reading, and to make me feel some sort of emotion towards the book, even if it wasn’t a positive emotion.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This book seems like it’s in the wrong format. Like it would be great as a series of news articles (instead of chapters) or as a TV series or something like that. But the super short chapters seemed unnecessary and awkward, and you could tell that the main character’s voice/personality would come across a lot better on screen than it did on the page.
  • There were way too many ellipses. Almost every chapter ended with them, which drove me crazy.
  • There were also way too many cliche phrases. I wish I could provide examples, but my Kindle Unlimited subscription expired and the book got sucked back to Amazon. 😛

In Conclusion

This book would be better off as a light hearted TV show, but lacks substance as a novel. If you’re looking for a romance novel, there are plenty better out there. (Check out my recommendations here!)

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

Book Review: Secretly Hers by Jamie Beck

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Kelsey is the Sterling Canyon’s notorious hopeless romantic – except she doesn’t seem to have very good luck with men. Trip is the town’s stereotypical playboy. They get together secretly with no strings attached. Trip isn’t interested in long term, but he’s willing to help Kelsey with “Trip’s tips” to help her find a long term husband and, one day, a family.

What I Liked

  • I’m not always a fan of the stereotypical playboy portrayed in romances, but Trip was a really likeable character.
  • It was interesting to see the difference between these characters. Seemingly opposites, especially in their future goals, but still great-at-heart people.
  • The plotline was intriguing and pulled me in.
  • It was adorable!

What I Didn’t Like

  • Not much. 🙂

In Conclusion

If you want a cute ski-town romance (and are okay with adult content) then this book is for you!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

Romance Novel Recommendations

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Romance is one of my favorite genres (young adult being the other), so this topic is right up my alley. If you’re a fan of romance novels, here are some of my favorites. I’ve also tried to rate their adult content to the best of my recollection.

Clicking on a picture will take you to Amazon through an affiliate link.

❤️🍰❤️ For Those with a Sweet Tooth ❤️🍰❤️

Bachelors of Buttermilk Falls series by Robyn Neely
Lots of sweets and a little bit of magic. (On screen adult content)

 

 

 

 

Love and Chocolate series by Beverly Farr
This series follows couple associated with a large chocolate corporation. (Implied adult content)
  

❤️🌟❤️ For Fairy Tale Fans ❤️🌟❤️

Cinder and Ella series by Kelly Oram
One of my all time favorite books ever. Even if you’re not a romance person, if you like young adult, you will probably enjoy these! (First book is clean, second focuses on adult theme but is still PG-13)
 

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Farris
I’ve only read the first one, but it was a very cute fantasy romance. (Clean)

❤️💖❤️ Contemporary Romances ❤️💖❤️

Meet Your Match series by Rachael Anderson
I don’t know how to describe this series, except that it was super cute and very engaging. (Clean)
  

Sterling Canyon series by Jamie Beck
A series that takes place in ski country in Colorado. (On screen adult content)
   

Summer Wedding series by Beverly Farr
Another cute series with marriages of unusual circumstances. (Clean)
 

Weekday Brides series by Catherine Bybee
This series is full of adventure and extreme situations, which I found fun. (On screen adult content)
   

  

❤️💕❤️ Young Adult Romances ❤️💕❤️

Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins
A super cute series that follows American girls who go to school in France. (On screen adult content)
  

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side series by Beth Fantaskey
A paranormal romance for fans of Twilight. (Clean)
 

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Another one of my all-time favorite books! (Clean)

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
I’ve only read the first one, but it was a great romance. School cheerleader meets gang member. (On screen adult content)

Significance by Shelly Crane
A paranormal romance. The main character meets her soulmate at the beginning of the series – the rest is them getting to know each other and fall in love. I loved it! There are many grammatical mistakes though, so if that’s going to bother you, be warned. (Clean)
     

❤️🕇❤️ Christian Romances ❤️🕇❤️

Lowcountry Romance series by Rachel Hauck
Probably some of the first romance novels I read. (Clean)
  
Maya Davis series by Erynn Mangum
The main character of this series is a coffee-aholic, choc-aholic, which is fantastic! (Clean)
  

Lauren Holbrook series by Erynn Mangum
The main character gets herself into all sorts of trouble trying to set up other couples. (Clean)
  

❤️🕯️❤️ Historical Romances❤️🕯️❤️

Archer Brothers by Karen Witemeyer
This Christian romance series takes place in the Old West. (Clean)
  
Warrior Maids of Rivenloch by Glynnis Campbell
This series follows a set of strong-willed sisters in medieval Scotland. (On screen adult content)
  

What are your favorite romances? I’d love some recommendations!

❤ Annette

Romance Recommendations

Book Review: Accidentally Hers by Jamie Beck

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Avery is the leading physical therapist in a ski town. She shares a home with her brother who made one bad mistake and went driving drunk, hitting a passerby. That passerby happens to be Grey – who has no choice but to go to Avery for his physical therapy for recovery. The complicated situation is made even more complicated by Grey and Avery’s attraction for each other.

What I Liked

  • The premise was really intriguing. Normally romances follow a pretty straightforward plot, so it was nice to have one that was pretty complex.
  • I loved the town that they’re in. Part of me would love to live there someday, but the other part of me would hate to live in a place where one mistake can define me, or where I don’t have options in complicated situations.
  • The characters seemed to be like real humans, not just stereotypes or cliches. That was really nice.
  • Complex or not, it was still a romance, and it made me happy enough to give it five stars!

What I Didn’t Like

  • Not much. 🙂

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a cute but complex romance, this book is for you.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

Book Review: The Christmas Wedding Ring by Susan Mallery

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Molly had a crush on Dylan for years while she was growing up. But he was ever only interested in her sister. After Dylan and Molly’s sister break up, Dylan moves out of town, leaving Molly with a ring and a promise of an adventure. Over a decade later, Molly has had the epitome of bad weeks and decides she’s had enough. She tracks down Dylan and asks him to follow through on his promise for an adventure.

What I Liked

  • It’s sort of Christmas themed. Which is a big plus for me!
  • This book was more fade-to-black than Susan Mallery’s typical romances. That’s not to say it was squeaky clean, nor is it to say that I rate books solely on their adult content. I just found that this author (and many others) tends to focus on the plot more when she can’t use adult content as a filler.
  • The characters aren’t perfect. Neither of the two main characters (Dylan and Molly) are cookie-cutter. It was fun to discover their quirks, and it was also great to see them struggle with their inadequacies. It made the story more realistic.
  • The story wasn’t insta-lovey. The characters have history, and I got to see the characters grow in their feelings for each other. They didn’t just start out with an instant attraction.
  • Overall, this was just a super cute story, with lots of little revelations along the way that hooked me and kept me reading.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It wasn’t on-the-edge-of-my-seat-oh-my-gosh sort of exciting, but it was exactly what I was looking for in a holiday romance. Just keep that in mind if you’re looking for something a little bit more adventurous.

In Conclusion

If you want a cute holiday romance (and are okay with PG-13 content) then this book is for you!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

Book Review: The M-Word by Beverly Farr

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Brenda is done with dating altogether, but still wants to have children someday. Then she meets a Marius, piano tuner who needs help getting a green card. She decides to risk it and asks him to marry her.

What I Liked

  • This book is SO CUTE. I keep going back to reread certain scenes because I just love how the characters interact.
  • I loved Marius. He’s pleasantly different from any other romantic interest I’ve read. He’s positive and down to earth and doesn’t let things “ruffle his feathers”. In some ways, I would love if my personality reflected his! He also dreams of becoming an opera singer, which was another thing I’ve never really seen in romance novels. It was fun to see a new career/personality than I was used to.
  • Although it’s been years since I’ve seen it, I think this book was loosely based on La Traviata, the opera by Giuseppe Verdi. So that’s pretty cool.
  • This is another “fade-to-black” romance so you don’t have adult content distracting from the plot of the novel.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This book is shorter than many novels, so it didn’t have as many twists and turns. However, the length and complexity seemed to match the character’s stories perfectly. I wouldn’t change anything about this book, it just wasn’t worthy of a five star rating. (Does that make sense?)

In Conclusion

If you like fade-to-black romance novels, you’ll probably love this one.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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