January 2022 Books #AmReading

If you’re reading this, then that means the first month of the year 2022 has reached its end!

My intentions this year are to make sure I read what I already have, and minimalise the arcs I request, so I can be writing, too…

Well, last January, I dedicated myself to reading the Bridgerton series, so my challenge for myself this year was to read some of the series of books I have on my Kindle… I do love a good serial binge, reading as well as watching on TV.

How have I done, so far?

I read two series that I had, and I think I only have 2 arcs on my list,left!

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Without A Hitch

Without A Hitch by Bettina Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Without A Hitch is another one of the many books I have had on my TBR for a while, now, and the few days before heading back to work seemed like a perfect time to dip into this lovely little read!
Three brides-to-be, whose journeys become interwoven via an online brides-to-be forum, all share their journey from proposal to the alter in this gigglesome book.
Each of the ladies, along with their partners, are all very different, with their own ideas of a dream wedding, but there is one thing they all want.
A perfect (for them) day.
Complete with a perfect dress, venue, catering and that all-important honeymoon.
If you have been on the journey to wedded bliss, you will recognise the stresses, suffer the agonies of not being able to get what you want, along with a sense of happiness and relief when that day is finally done!
I thoroughly enjoyed this fun, easy to read boo, and am looking forward to diving straight into the second one!

Without a Hitch on Honeymoon: (Short Story Sequel to Without a Hitch ) (Novella)

Without a Hitch on Honeymoon: (Short Story Sequel to Without a Hitch ) by Bettina Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved being able to plunge straight into the next story in Bettina Hunt’s series about the three brides, this time, following their adventures on honeymoon.
Well, not strictly all on honeymoon. Two managed to make it up the alter, and back down as married women, but one had a change of heart.
However, it was still great to continue all three stories, from Sienna and her Social Media influenced frenzy of a trip, to Bryony who was meant to be honeymooning on a shoestring budget, cut even shorter when she discovers her new hubby has a gambling addiction, then rescued with a competition win, and finally to Agnes, who left her ideal Jewish fiance standing at the alter, falling into the arms of her own angel, Gabriel.
Weddings… honeymoons… all stressful, but still the brides are tied together by that forum… and now, I just want to find out what happens next, when they enter the next of the site’s rooms… hopefully, there will be babies without a Hitch, too!

A Tempting Trio by Bettina Hunt

A Tempting Trio: A Romantic Comedy by Bettina Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I must admit to going on a bit of a Bettina Hunt binge, and though I started at the wrong end of her releases, it didn’t detract me from the enjoyment of her writing. In fact, I can see the way her style has developed from book to book.
A Tempting Trio is the story of Sarah, who has managed to find herself, unintentionally in a bit of a dating conundrum.
She’s been in a relationship with David, a married man, though she knows it’s wrong, and she should end in, when she meets a rather gorgeous stranger, Adam, in a coffee shop. He leaves his number. Maybe Adam will be the one who helps her kick her married man to the curb, and back to his wife…
Then she’s offered a job opportunity by her best friend, Alice, which introduces her to Tommy, an aristocratic romantic, who rather fancies our Sarah.
All three men have something about them.
But she’s not that greedy… is she?
There are some moments when you feel glad you’re not in her shoes. I mean, what are the chances of having all three of your men turning up in Paris, and confronting you while you are trying to enjoy a midnight visit to the Eiffel Tower?!
Again another easy to read, fun story, where you don’t quite know where Sarah and her dating future will lead her.

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes, #1)

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have loved Sonali Dev’s Bollywood inspired stories, and the Rajes series has been waiting for me to dive in, for a while now.
This first book, loosely based around some themes from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, was a great read!
Trisha Raje is a surgeon with a plan. She also is part of an Indian royal family. She has ideas that might not always align with those of HRH, or her father. These issues have caused rifts between them.
DJ Caine is a British born man of mixed descent, who has seen a tough life, losing his parents, and other loved ones, as well as being threatened with the loss of his only surviving family member, Emma.
He’s also an incredibly talented chef who has been hired by Trisha’s sister, Nisha, to cater for events leading up to the hopeful beginnings of their brother Yash’s political career.
Secrets.
There are always secrets.
And being a part of a royal family, (even though the royal part doesn’t really exist, anymore), has its own share of burdens.
Trisha and DJ clash, but they both need each other, in order to help their family members, and there is a certain chemistry between them, that they are trying hard to deny.
Family drama, racial and class prejudices, high jinx briberies, and sizzling hot food, as well as chemistry… what more could you want?

Sapphires are a Guy's Best Friend

Sapphires are a Guy’s Best Friend by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, ahem, I haven’t read anything racy for quite a while, so I was thankful for the heads up, on this one.
However a bit of raunch never deters me from reading a good book, and I had great fun reading this one!
Sapphire is trying to keep her family’s jewellery business afloat.
Patrick is trying his hardest to gain the approval of his parents, as he works to launch a collection for their successful couture fashion house, in Melbourne.
They both need each other, really, but there is history.
This relatively short, but snappy read details their interactions as they try to combine business with pleasure, and aim to bring both their companies to success.
An enjoyable, easy, but naughty in places, read!

A Sunrise Over Bali by Sandy Barker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a solid Sandy Barker fan and have devoured all her previous books, in a flash, so to know there was a fourth coming in her travel romance series, was just fantastic.
I love how each story is individual, but that there are links and characters that tie them all together. so, yes, it could be a stand-alone, but equally, it’s always fun to read books in a series, in order, to keep track of each character’s story.
This book centres on Jaelee Tan.
She’s a bigwig VP back in the US, and the daughter of a mother who doesn’t show much emotional involvement in her life but expects big things from her only child.
After bumping into her ex at her best friend’s party, and feeling her world unravel, Jaelee takes a sabbatical from work, which ends up being the catalyst for her leaving her job.
She moves to Bali to UROP, a place filled with ‘digital nomads’, where she hopes to ground herself.
Jae finds herself in paradise, with new friends, and ideas for a new future for her career.
As I was expecting, there was going to be romance, and it came in the form of Hot Scot, Alistair. An intense romance that gathers speed fast in this idyllic location.
But, romances are not meant to be smooth-sailing, are they?
There are exes involved, then families and their issues have to crop too…
So Jae swaps the beauty of Bali for the gloom of Scotland…
All in all, an easy, fun read, with lots of laughs, love and sizzles!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 11th February, 2022

Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes, #2)

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think first off, if you are looking for a light-hearted, fluffy read, then this probably isn’t quite the read for you.
That doesn’t make it a no go, though.
Recipe for Persuasion is another Austen inspired book, the second in the Rajes series bu Sonali Dev, this time focussing on Ashna Raje, daughter of the younger of the Royal Raje brothers, who was uprooted from her life in the palace in India, to the US.
Struggling to keep the memory of her father alive, as she works hard to steer his restaurant, Curried Dreams, in the right direction, Ashna is confronted with a face from the past, as she swallows her nerves and ends up signing up to a reality cookery show.
Rico, a world-renowned soccer player, ends up as her partner on the show, but his reasons for being there are a little more calculated.
Yes, there is second chance romance within this story, obviously, with the above two characters, but the story is so much more. From the complex relationships between estranged mothers and daughters, marital expectations, rape, PTSD, Dev has explored so much within the pages of this novel.
I felt invested in the family, having read the first book, and though it wasn’t as easy a read as the first, Recipe for Persuasion was just as good.
Bring on book 3!

Incense and Sensibility (The Rajes, #3)

Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve become invested in the Rajes siblings and their dramatic lives, and Yash was definitely a character I was intrigued by, via the snippets I learned in the previous two books.
A romance at heart, with politics, racism and yoga as the sub interests.
Yash has been maintaining a facade for the last ten years, of a relationship with his friend, Naina, while they both chase their dreams, unencumbered by the pressures from family to settle down.
A horrific event at one of Yash’s political engagements throws both their worlds into further confusion, as she appears to have real feelings for him, while he is beginning to realise what he really wants, and needs, though it may not be the choice his family would make, on his behalf.
India tries her hardest to distance herself from the brother of some of her closest friends. Yash and she have a history, that no one else is aware of, though the tragic event stirs up feelings of concern that she thought she had finally left behind.
The story follows how their journey, almost a second chance romance, evolves, and the reactions of the families as truths are unearthed.
A great read!

The Emma Project (The Rajes, #4)

The Emma Project by Sonali Dev
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have enjoyed all of the previous three books and was excited to read this, the final book in the Rajes series.
This time Sonali Dev has taken the youngest of the sibling,s Vansh, as the main character, and oh, my, the twists, as his romantic interest is revealed!
There is extreme forbidden lust, as he finds himself drawn to his older brother’s (not really) ex, Naina.
Both are passionate characters with worthy causes they want to contribute towards, but with difficulties from their upbringings raising their heads constantly, the conflict gets juicy.
I was a little sad, as I really wanted to know more about Esha, and knowing this was the last book, I began the book thinking I was going to be missing something, once the series finished, but I was glad she got her own subplot in this final instalment, and that we can leave the Rajes clan with a happy heart!
Many thanks to Avon and Harper Voyage for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Releasing 17th May, 2022

Brown Girl Like Me

Brown Girl Like Me by Jaspreet Kaur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been following Jaspreet Kaur on Instagram for a couple of years, and seeing her upcoming release, Brown Girl Like Me, filled me with excitement.
I was over the moon to be able to read an advance copy.
Being a Brown Girl, and especially a British-born Brown Girl, it has always been hard to find ourselves out there, in anything other than stereotypical roles, via a novel, or on film and in TV series.
Brown Girl Like Me is a great attempt at pulling together all the feelings that we may have encountered through our lives, from the lack of strong role models to not being understood in myriad circumstances.
It is certainly not a quick and easy read. Something to sit, read, digest and savour.
Personally, for me, it made me realise that I am lucky. There were many instances Kaur wrote about situations that I hadn’t experienced, but there were so many of her personal stories that resonated with me.
I have always had a lot of support and openness within my family, where we were able to speak out about pretty much anything.
But yes, I will always be that Brown Girl, and I am bringing one up, too, who I hope will be a strong Brown Girl in herself, who knows there is a strong Brown Girl right behind her, too.
There is also cause to celebrate our culture, customs and backgrounds, and reasons to ensure we stay proud and remember that w might be Brown, but our heritage has more colour in it than many others.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 17th February, 2022

A Wedding in Provence: From the #1 bestselling author of uplifting feel-good fiction

A Wedding in Provence: From the #1 bestselling author of uplifting feel-good fiction by Katie Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Katie Fforde has accompanied me through my young adult years, all the way to the present, and I know that whenever I pick up one of her books, I will be engulfed in the story, immediately.
A Wedding in Provence is much the same.
Alexandra is en route to Switzerland, in Paris, enjoying her last moments of freedom, before she has to enrol in a finishing school, as expected by her relations.
Not very eager to take this route, she jumps at the chance to stay in gay Paree for a little longer when a temporary job offer comes up, but it ends up in Provence, as a nanny, rather than something more glamorous.
She finds herself in a chateau, looking after three children, unaided, two of which aren’t keen to have her there, with a grandmerè who doesn’t feel she is qualified, an estranged mother of said children, who wants to whisk the children away, and a friendly dog.
What’s more, she appears to have some feelings for the father, who just happens to be a Count.
Oh, it could just be straightforward, couldn’t it? The Nanny and the Count fall in love and the children have a ready-made happy family…
But where’s the fun in that?
We get to meet Alexandra’s friend David, who comes to help her tutor the children, and he also happens to be homosexual, something frowned upon in England during the setting of this story. He’s her best friend, but also like a surrogate father to her.
There are many interesting characters in this book, that help to add colour to the story, and the market scenes make me want to go and visit similar places, too!
Yes, the romance is there, absolutely, simmering, in the background, but I do wish there had been more of the build-up, as the inevitable conclusion is so sped up!
However, we do get to enjoy the development of the relationship between the young nanny and her charges, as they go from wary to not wanting her to ever go.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Releasing 17th February, 2022

So hot off the press, we don’t even have a cover, yet!

Last Time We Met: The must-read romantic comedy for summer 2022 by Emily Houghton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Before I Saw You, and was thrilled to be asked to review the next release from Emily Houghton, Last Time We Met.
A kinda second chance romance, but with a whole lot of other circumstances to navigate through.
Eleanor and Finley have been best friends since they were dots, then life happened, and Fin disappeared from Eleanor’s life.
Fast forward to fifteen or so years later, and Eleanor is feebly trying to get over an awful break-up with her long-standing partner Oliver. No amounts of tea and sympathy from her mother, sister Freya, or even her best friend Sal are helping her get over him.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Fin is reeling from a phone call from England, telling him his mother is at the end of her life. A mother he left behind and hasn’t spoken to for many years. As well as many other people who were precious to him at one point. Oh, and he’s just ended his current relationship, too.
It’s inevitable, isn’t it, that the two former best friends end up meeting, and they haphazardly work their way through the difficulties they both faced, both at the end of their former friendship and over time they had no contact.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that when they were young and innocent, they signed a contract that if they were both singles at 35 years old, they would have to marry one another?
As it is, they are both 34, and not in relationships.
That would just segue into such a predictable ending for the story.
No. I shall not spoil it for you, and tell you that they live happily ever after, but I will say that I finished the book with a smile on my face, but not before shedding some tears, too.
So much covered, from alcoholism to estrangement, and how hiding your feelings can be the worst thing you could ever do.
I whizzed through this in a day and loved each moment of the book.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House UK and Transworld for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 12th May, 2022

Beach House Summer
Another exciting no cover yet one!

Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another Sarah Morgan stunner!
This time we have a multi-POV story, from the eyes of Joanna, a woman who hears of her ex-husband’s death, Ashley, the girl who was with him at the time, and Mel, Joanna’s childhood friend.
Joanna lives a blessed life, apart from one thing. She has no privacy. Having been married to a famous TV chef, who often cheated, she has got used to a life spent with cameras following her every move, and even post-divorce, her life is not her own.
Ashley, is young, and pregnant, with something important to tell Cliff, the man driving the car they are travelling in, when a horrific accident happens.
Mel and Joanna were best friends for most of their young life, until Joanna upped and left, suddenly, at 16, supposedly breaking Mel’s twin brother, Nate’s, heart, and taking up with Cliff soon after.
The accident that took her ex-husband’s life affects Joanna more than she thought, as she ups sticks and leaves her beautiful home, which feels like a prison, and heads off, back to her home town, with young mum-to-be, Ashley in tow.
A great story, that shows how not everything is what it seems to be, all of the time. I enjoyed this read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 26th May, 2022

Golden Healer (The Curse of Time #2)

Golden Healer by M.J. Mallon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It feels like an age since I read the first book in The Curse of Time series, but it was great to pick up where we left off, with the continuing story of Amelina and her mystical powers.
This time, she is a little wiser and is aware of the powers given to her, and wary of certain individuals, such as Ryder, who has his own dark secrets.
There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing throughout the story.
I felt so sorry for poor Esme, trapped in the mirror, and I wanted to shake Jade until she realised the error of her judgement.
But, I can feel another story coming as the ending was definitely not a Happily Ever After!

So, I managed fourteen books. What were your first reads of the year?

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leanne
    Feb 05, 2022 @ 01:09:04

    I also get excited about books by those who look like me and about people who look like me when written with authenticity.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. johnrieber
    Feb 01, 2022 @ 18:44:28

    Nice collection of books to begin the year!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    Feb 01, 2022 @ 14:30:00

    ❤ My first read? Really? 😉 The newspaper! Lol Sorry! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. TanGental
    Jan 31, 2022 @ 22:19:03

    Goodness you are prolific; you must have a reading clone to do the work while Ritu No. 1 does all the rest

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. lssattitudeofgratitude
    Jan 31, 2022 @ 21:42:30

    Wow

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Daisy Willows
    Jan 31, 2022 @ 20:30:05

    Congratulations

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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