Books That Didn't Make the Cut Pt.20

January 16, 2024

Hello hello! I'm back with some more books that didn't really work for me, but might be winners for you.

Let me know if you've read any of these or plan to. I'd love to know your thoughts :)

The Last Phone Booth in Manhattan by Beth Merlin

Women's Fiction

Avery Lawrence thought she had it all—a charming fiancĂ©, a Broadway-themed star-studded engagement, and a picture-perfect life. But when her fraudster of a fiancĂ©’s true identity is exposed and he’s hauled away in handcuffs, Avery’s world comes crashing down faster than the chandelier in Phantom of the Opera. Left stranded on Christmas Day outside the federal prison without her cell phone or wallet, Avery stumbles out of the cold and into the last phone booth in Manhattan. With nothing left to lose, Avery is directed by a mysterious voice on the line to the doorstep of the college boyfriend she thought she’d moved on from over six years ago.

When a second encounter with the phone booth leads Avery to a life-changing audition for Marley Is Dead, a new musical based on Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Avery is blown away by the striking similarities between the show and her own life. Convinced the phone booth is somehow responsible for reuniting her with “the one that got away” and reigniting her acting career, maybe she will finally have the chance to rewrite her future. But as she grapples with the ghosts of her past and the uncertainty of her present, Avery must decide whether to follow her heart or pursue her dream.

My Rating: — Why is this categorized as a romance?


Luckily, I got this as a free book from Prime or I'd be pissed!!

It's about a woman named Avery finding herself, rediscovering her past with a man named Gabe, and getting closure so she can move forward.

Honestly, if I'd known what it was about, I'd probably still read it. I just wouldn't have gone in with these expectations of a love story.

What a downer :(

Bad Boys After Dark: Carson by Melissa Foster

Contemporary Second Chance Romance

As the founder of a multimillion-dollar international security business, Carson Bad exposes secrets for a living. He knows better than to forge relationships built on them. But for years he did just that with his best friend, and secret lover, Tawny Bishop. She brought a sense of calm and understanding to his life—in and out of the bedroom. Until one fateful night when a knock at the door changed everything.

Tawny is no longer a naive college student. She’s a sought-after perfumer living in Paris. She has plenty of resources at her fingertips, and lots of lonely nights to think about the only man she’s ever loved—the one she ran away from all those years ago. She needs to move forward with her life, but how can she when Carson still owns her heart?

Maybe showing up in the middle of the night unannounced isn’t the best route to unraveling the past and figuring out her future, but Tawny has played it safe for ten long years, and it's only made her long for the man she never should have walked away from. Now she's back in Carson’s life, and he’s determined not to make the same mistake twice. If only he knew what that mistake was…

My Rating: — I really wanted to like this one because I really like this author.
But it was hard to deal with the heroine.
She and the hero, Carson, were college besties... and something more.
She left him.
She married another man (poor Keith) when her heart still belonged to Carson. Married him, made him feel second class, had him begging to be with her again after their divorce, etc.
It's been ten years and she's looking for something from Carson.
And he just accepts her back into his life because he's such a great guy.
But I didn't like her.
I didn't trust her.
So no. I didn't care for a happy ending for her.
Carson deserved better.

The First Taste by Jessica Hawkins

Contemporary One Night Stand Romance

Andrew Beckwith has already devoted his life to one girl—and as far as he’s concerned, she’s all he needs. The rough-around-the-edges bad boy left his reckless ways behind six years ago when his daughter Bell was born. To the female population’s dismay, he’s unapologetically single. When Bell’s mother walked out on them years ago, he vowed never to let another woman close enough to hurt them again.

Amelia Van Ecken isn’t just another woman. She’s an independent, smart, and savvy businesswoman who doesn’t have time for sex, much less love. In the midst of a drawn-out, bitter divorce, all she wants is to bury herself in work. But when sharp-tongued Amelia and stubborn Andrew cross paths, sparks fly—and burn. Two things are obvious in an instant: they want each other, and they’re from different worlds. It’s the perfect formula for an off-the-charts one-night stand. After all, it’s not as if opposites ever attract.

My Rating: — I’m a sucker for a story about a single parent. I’m not sure if it’s because I enjoy the parallels I can draw between fiction and reality, being a single parent myself. I just enjoy watching the way these characters, who give so much of themselves to their child(ren), trying to navigate a world in which they are people separate from said child(ren). Who says having kids and raising them alone means you stop being an individual with wants and needs?

Andrew was content to live the life of a bachelor raising his daughter. And honestly, I couldn’t blame him. After Bell’s mother abandoned them, he became everything to make sure his little girl wanted for nothing. Both suffering from abandonment issues, he doesn’t want to try for anything permanent again. He’s all about having some fun and when he meets Amelia, it seems she’s all about the same thing. Coming out of bad divorce, she doesn’t think she has what it takes to give herself over again.

Sounds like a good story right? And it would be for many people. I’m just not one of them. I actually enjoyed both characters… separately. When they were together… not so much. I couldn’t feel their chemistry and I couldn’t connect with the idea of them evolving into anything serious. They didn’t work well for me and the more I tried to convince myself to give them a chance, the harder it was. So I had to just let this story go.


  1. Okay. I saw that first one on both Amazon Prime and NetGalley. I had a feeling it was going to be eactly what you said it was, so I skipped it. I'm glad now. It would have made me so mad if I was expecting a romance!

    1. Right?! I was freaking livid. I wish I could have approached it with a different mindset. Maybe it wouldn't have been such a letdown.

  2. They are categorizing so many books as romances that ARENT romances. They basically take advantage of the large romance community. That series by Melissa Foster isn't my favorite from her. I just don't think its that good lol

    1. I usually enjoy anything I read from Melissa Foster. But now I know to avoid this series lol.


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