Rowena: A new year is under way and there are still so many freaking books to look forward to buying. January promises a bunch of good ones too so I’m so freaking excited.
Like always, sorry not sorry?
1. I Was Here by Gayle Forman.
Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.
Rowena: I like Gayle Forman’s writing so it’s not surprising that I’m jumping on this one. I adore YA and NA books so I am definitely going to buy this one.
2. The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn.
Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second—or third—look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she’s the one.
Iris Smythe–Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something . . . even as her heart tells her to say yes.
Rowena: It’s the last book in the Smythe-Smith quartet. Of course I’m buying it.
Holly: It’s Julia Quinn. Enough said.
3. Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols.
Perfect Couple is #2 in the Superlatives series about seniors at a Florida high school who are selected for their class’s superlative categories in the yearbook, and how the labels change the way they view themselves and alter the course of their lives.
Can your heart be put to a popular vote?
As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for capturing those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce has left her wondering what a loving relationship would look like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody the “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been on her case to ask Brody out.
Brody doesn’t lack in female admirers, but Harper can’t see herself with him. He seems confused about why they were matched together, too. They’re total opposites—the last people in the world who would ever be compatible, let alone the “perfect couple.” Yet ever since the class paired the two of them, they’ve found themselves drawn together–first by curiosity, then by an undeniable bond.
The trouble is, though they’re very attracted to each other and both of them admit this, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating clearly. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But after they walk away, both of them feel so changed from making the effort that they can’t forget each other. What if that means this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?
Rowena: I read and enjoyed the first book in this series so I’m pretty stoked to read the second. I can’t wait to see what Echols has in store for Harper and Brody.
4. We Can Work it Out by Elizabeth Eulberg.
When Penny Lane started The Lonely Hearts Club, the goal was simple: to show that girls didn’t need to define themselves by how guys look at them, and didn’t have to value boyfriends over everything else. Penny thought she’d be an outcast for life…but then the club became far more popular than she ever imagined it would be.
But what happens when the girl who never thought she’d date a good guy suddenly finds herself dating a great one? She doesn’t need a boyfriend… but she wants it to work out with this particular boyfriend. And he wants it to work out with her.
Only, things keep getting in the way. Feelings keep getting hurt. Words keep getting misunderstood.
Penny Lane worked hard to declare her independence. Now she needs to figure out what to do with it — and how to balance what she wants with what everyone else wants. In We Can Work It Out, Elizabeth Eulberg returns to the world of her first novel, The Lonely Hearts Club, and gets to the heart of how hard relationships can be… and why they are sometimes worth all the drama and comedy they create.
Rowena: I read and adored the first book in this series so I’m excited to see what’s next for Penny. This book was a long time coming and I can’t wait to get my greedy paws on a copy.
5. Please Remain Calm (This is Not a Test #2) by Courtney Summers.
In this gripping sequel to THIS IS NOT A TEST, Rhys and Sloane are headed for a safe haven when they get separated along the way. Rhys is determined to reunite with Sloane until he discovers people who might need him more–people who offer him the closest he’ll get to everything he’s lost, if they can just hold on long enough.
Rhys thinks he has what it takes to survive and find the girl he lost, but in a world overrun by the dead, there are no guarantees and the next leg of his journey will test him in unimaginable ways …
Rowena: I like Courtney Summers stuff so this is going on my to be read list for 2015. It sounds like a good one.
6. No More Confessions (Confessions #3) by Louise Rozett.
ROSE ZARELLI is done confessing because confessions are for people who have done something wrong. And I haven’t done anything wrong. Here, I’ll prove it to you.
1) After my mother got that call, I “borrowed” her car. (Because you can’t steal your mother’s car, can you?) I don’t really remember driving downtown, but I do remember…
2) …getting past the bouncer at Dizzy’s (I mean, it’s his job to spot a fake ID, so that’s on him)…
3) …and then later, telling my mother the truth about the bar but lying about how I got in. (A truth totally cancels out a lie, right?)
After all, what’s a little duplicity when finding Jamie Forta is the only thing that’s going to keep you from losing what’s left of your mind?
See? Junior year is off to a great start.
Rowena: I really like this series and I’m really looking forward to reading this book. What the heck happened to Jamie Forta?
7. Three Amazing Things about You by Jill Mansell.
Hallie has a secret. She’s in love. He’s perfect for her; he’s even single. But he’s out of bounds. And her friends aren’t going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie hasn’t got long to live.
Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won’t be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends – let alone anything more…
Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she’s afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.
THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU begins as Hallie goes on a journey. She’s about to get a new heart. But whose heart is it?
Rowena: If Jill Mansell wrote it, I’m going to want to read it. On my TBB list this one goes.
8. Back to Before (Second Chances #1) by Tracy Solheim.
Chances Inlet, North Carolina, has an infamous power for second chances. But its charms are lost on the town’s favorite son—until she comes along…
When his father’s sudden death puts his family’s construction business in serious debt, architect Gavin McAlister is forced to put his dream career in New York on hold. Making matters worse, his fiancée calls it quits. Desperate to return to his big-city life, he discovers an opportunity to save his family, one that has him reluctantly starring in a home restoration TV show.
Former soap star Ginger Walsh hopes this job as a TV makeup artist will lead to better things. So far it’s only brought her to a hamlet full of people who don’t like her—except Gavin. After a wild night out leads to Ginger waking up in Gavin’s loft—and the rest of town talking—the two of them soon wonder if getting back to before is what they want. Because being in each other’s arms certainly feels like what they need…
Rowena: This one sounds like a good one. I’m sold.
9. Make it Last (Bowler University #3) by Megan Erickson.
After graduating from Bowler University, the last place Cam Ruiz ever expected to find himself is his hometown. A bad job as a bouncer and worry over his mom’s health make living in Paradise anything but. There’s only one thing that can make his return any harder—running into the only girl he’s ever loved.
Tate Ellison made a mistake when she was eighteen, one that cost her the best thing she’s ever had. She’s always hoped the regret of losing Cam would fade over time. Too bad it’s only grown. She took comfort in the fact she’d never have to face him again, so his presence in Paradise throws her for a loop.
The pull between them is instant and when the truth of what happened years ago tumbles out, they share a mind-blowing kiss…which leads to more. But the past has a way of repeating itself. When all the cards are on the table, Cam and Tate must decide what they are willing to do to make it last.
Rowena: I was intrigued by Cam in Book 1 of this series so I’m all over this one. I can’t wait to read it.
10. Catch a Falling Heiress (An American Heiress in London #3) by Laura Lee Guhrke.
She’s an American heiress. He’s a devilish earl. When these two collide, the sparks ignite a shocking scandal in USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke’s unforgettable Victorian-era romance.
Linnet Holland wants nothing to do with fortune hunters. No, she’s determined to marry a man who loves her. But just as she’s about to accept the perfect marriage proposal from the man she wants, the rakish Earl of Featherstone interrupts and ruins everything, including her reputation, with his smoldering kiss.
Jack Featherstone knows all about Linnet’s “intended”, and he’s determined she won’t fall prey to that villain as other women have in the past. But when his attempt to save Linnet ruins her instead, he knows he has to make things right. So he sets out to win this golden beauty . . . and prove to her that being ruined by him was the best thing that could have happened to her.
Rowena: I read and enjoyed the other books in this series so I’m looking forward to digging into this one.
11. Unforgettable (Country Roads #4) by Shannon Richard.
One long, hot summer would never be enough…
Attorney Hannah Sterling lives a life she’s worked hard for. So when she unexpectedly inherits an inn, Hannah decides to take that long overdue holiday and settle her eccentric grandmother’s estate. She knew there would be challenges, but what’s hardest about returning to Mirabelle, Florida, is facing the man who gave her the most passionate summer of her life-and then broke her heart.
Nathanial Shepard never forgot the redheaded goddess who lit up his world and got away. Now that she’s home, Shep vows to make up for their years apart-and if the fire in her kiss is any indication, they’re well on their way. But when a devastating secret from their past threatens their future, Shep must fight to heal Hannah’s heart. Because this time, their love will truly be unforgettable…
Rowena: Shep’s book. Finally.
12. Falling from the Sky (Gravity #2) by Sarina Bowen.
She’s the woman he doesn’t remember meeting. He’s the man she can’t forget.
Bad boy Hank “Hazardous” Lazarus once had everything: a gorgeous girlfriend, a career as a freestyle snowboarder and a spot on the US Olympic team. Nine months ago, after a bad crash in the half pipe, he woke up in the hospital, unable to move his legs. Now he’s landed there again, but gravity is not the culprit. His family pressured him to try a groundbreaking treatment, but Hank self-medicated with a bottle of tequila instead.
Doctor Callie Anders has the courage to restart a patient’s heart with a thousand volts of electricity, yet she’s afraid to risk her own. So she doesn’t confess to her newest patient they they met just before the accident, an encounter that he doesn’t remember. Even as their friendship develops, she won’t admit that she regrets turning down his dinner invitation, or that her heart stutters every time those inked shoulders roll through the door of the therapy department.
With winter coming again, Hank needs a hand out from under the avalanche of his disappointments. If only Callie were brave enough to take the job.
Rowena: This woman won me over with her Ivy Years series so she’s got a new book coming out? I’m all over it.
Holly: I bought the first book in the series, but I haven’t read it yet. Still, like Rowena, Bowen won me over with her Ivy Years series, so I expect good things.
13. Playing Dirty (Bad Boys Undercover #1) by Helenkay Dimon.
As an elite Alliance agent—the joint undercover operation of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, and the CIA—Ford Decker lives for the adrenaline. But when he befriends sexy property manager Shay Alexander in hopes of finding her cousin, a known national security threat, Ford crosses the line, getting to know her better . . . in bed.
After being burned by her last relationship, Shay wants to take things slow. Yet she can’t keep her hands off the drop-dead gorgeous hottie who’s moved into her apartment building. So when Ford’s identity as an undercover agent is exposed, his betrayal cuts deep. Shay never wants to see him again, but Ford can’t let her go, not when her life is still in danger. He will sacrifice everything to protect her, then be prepared to walk away from the only woman he’s ever loved, even if it breaks him.
Rowena: I heart Helenkay Dimon. Of course this is on my to be bought list.
Holly: I heart HKD, too. Plus, I kind of love these betrayal plots. Don’t judge me.
14. Trade Me by Courtney Milan.
Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.
To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.
But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart…but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.
Rowena: Courtney Milan wrote a contemporary romance? I didn’t even need to read the summary to decide on whether to read this or not but after having read it? DAMN, I WANT!
Holly: I didn’t realize CM was writing contemporary romance. The blurb really got me, too. I can’t wait to read this one.
15. Never Never by Colleen Hoover.
Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. Complete strangers since this morning.
He’ll do anything to remember. She’ll do anything to forget.
Holly: I was really excited about this book, as I’m a fan of Hoover, until she made changes to it and decided to release it as a serial. Now I’m on the fence about buying it. I may just hold out until all the parts are available.
16. A Little on the Wild Side (Wild Thing, Book 3) by Robin Kaye.
A woman who gets what she wants…
Bianca Ferrari—ex-supermodel turned successful business woman—seems to have it all: beauty, brains and a career she loves. And she did it all by herself . . . through sheer force of will and ruthless determination. So when her life is suddenly turned upside down, it’s hard for her to admit that going it alone may not be an option…
A man who knows what she needs…
Sexy, rugged and down-to-earth, Trapper Kincaid has a knack for attracting all kinds of women—mostly the wrong kind. When he finds out that the exhaustingly independent and drop-dead gorgeous Bianca is in serious need of help, he knows he’s the man for the job. But Bianca isn’t going to make it easy…
Holly: I read some of Kaye’s early releases and enjoyed them. She kind of fell off my radar, but this looks good.
17. Contradictions (Woodfalls Girls, Book 3) by Tiffany King.
When everything starts spinning out of control . . .
Three years into college, Tressa Oliver’s life is a nonstop party. She’s skating by in her classes, and there’s no shortage of drinking, dancing, and general hell-raising. The only aspect that hasn’t been much fun: She can’t shake the toxic jerks that always seem to gravitate toward her.
It will take someone totally wrong . . .
Trent Lawson is the classic anti-bad boy: smart, boring, and way too serious. To a wild girl like Tressa, there’s no way in hell they’re compatible—especially since Trent seems to see straight through her defenses.
To set her right.
When a college prank goes terribly wrong, Tressa starts to suspect that her partying ways are leading nowhere fast. Now she has to turn to the last person she ever thought she’d ask for help—and quickly discovers that there’s more to Trent than meets the eye . . .
Holly: I liked the first book in the series and thought the second was just okay. I hope Tressa’s book is good.
18. Don’t Walk Away (DreamMakers, Book 3) by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy.
[summary of book]Dean Colter started DreamMakers to help others keep their love lives strong, but years before the love of his life walked out on him. He’s aware of the irony, but until Emma Lee shows up on his doorstep, getting a second chance at forever had never looked so possible.
Holly: This is such a cute series. I’m really looking forward to Dean’s book.
19. I Do! (Lovett Texas, Book 5) by Rachel Gibson.
In New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson’s newest novella, Vince Haven and Sadie Hollowell are headed to the altar, and all their friends are headed to Lovett, Texas, to join them for the party of the year.
But Becca Ramsey doesn’t have time for all that. Fresh out of beauty school, Becca’s all business … and the last thing she needs is bad boy Nate Parrish anywhere in her life.
In the past, Nate was trouble. He’s been trying to repair his reputation—heck, he’s even got just one girlfriend. The problem is, she isn’t Becca. Now Nate’s in a whole lot of hot water. He needs to get Becca from “I won’t” to “I do” … but how can he do that when she won’t even say “I might”?
Holly: I’m a fan of Gibson’s Lovett, Texas books. I’m not a big fan of her novellas. Some authors can do short stories really well (Meljean Brook, for example), but Gibson…eh, not so much. I’m going to buy this, but I’ll be going into it with low expectations.
20. Rise by Karina Bliss.
You have the ability to make controversial characters sympathetic. Maybe I just want to be understood.”
Acclaimed literary biographer Elizabeth Winston writes about long-dead heroes. So bad boy rock icon Zander Freedman couldn’t possibly tempt her to write his memoir. Except the man is a mass of fascinating contradictions – manipulative, honest, gifted, charismatic, morally ambiguous.
In short, everything she sought in a biography subject. When in her life will she get another chance to work with a living legend? But saying yes to one temptation soon leads to another.
Suddenly she’s having heated fantasies about her subject, fantasies this blue-eyed-devil is only too willing to stoke. She’d thought self-control was in her DNA, after all she grew up a minister’s daughter. She thought wrong.
Outside your comfort zone is the only place worth living…
Zander Freedman has been an outlier – many would say an outcast – for most of his life. But there’s no disaster he can’t overcome, from the break-up of his band to the fall-out on his reputation. His Resurrection Tour is shaping up to be his greatest triumph – if his golden voice holds out. Contracting a respected biographer is simply about creating more buzz; Elizabeth’s integrity the key to consolidating his legacy as one of rock’s greats.
All the damn woman has to do is write down what he tells her. Not make him think.
Or encourage the good guy struggling to get out. And certainly not to fall in love for the first time in his life.
Turns out he is scared of something – being known.
Rise – a redemption story of a rock star going straight(er) through the love of a good(ish) woman.
Holly: I loved What The Librarian Did. I’m so glad Bliss is continuing this series.
21. Bliss and the Art of Forever (Hope Springs, Book 4) by Alison Kent.
Now that she’s committed to leaving Hope Springs, she’s falling for the wrong man…but he just might give her all the right reasons to stay.
Two years after her husband’s death, kindergarten teacher Brooklyn Harvey is leaving Hope Springs for her in-laws’ vineyard in Italy—with no plans of coming back. That is, until she meets a disarmingly sexy biker-turned-chocolatier. He might be the man of her dreams, but he’s also the father of one of her students; as such, he’s strictly off-limits.
Callum Drake knows a good thing when he sees one, and he doesn’t want to let Brooklyn get away, even if his rival for her affection is the ghost of her dead husband. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her over, including making chocolates concocted just for her—chocolates that evoke memories of their time together. But can he create a second love bright enough to pull her, and her heart, out of living in the past?
Holly: I really like this series and I’m looking forward to the latest installment.
What books are you looking forward to in January?