Review: Forbidden Kisses by Annie Rains

Forbidden Kisses by Annie Rains

Series: Blushing Bay #1

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 11, 2017

Format: eARC

Source: NetGalley

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon


For years, Jack Sawyer’s family has been running their upscale seafood business like a finely tuned machine. But every machine breaks down eventually, and suddenly Jack needs a new office manager, a new kayak launch, and a new lease on life. Then Grace Donner shows up again. She’s smart, motivated, and perfect for the manager position, but if she’s anything like her mom, she can’t be trusted. And Jack has never been able to trust himself around Grace.

Grace hasn’t seen her former stepbrothers since their parents’ messy divorce, but she never forgot them—especially Jack. She misses being part of the big rambunctious Sawyer clan, and if there’s an opportunity to set things right, she means to do it. But she can’t ignore Jack’s irresistibly kissable lips, or the searing way he looks at her when he thinks she’s not looking. Their chemistry is more explosive than ever. And if the Sawyers can forgive and forget, anything is possible.

My Thoughts

Having previously read and enjoyed the four titles in Annie Rains' Hero's Welcome series, I was excited for the first book in her new series. Unfortunately it held few of the aspects I appreciated in the previous books and instead offered up a predictable tale with a heroine who was hard to like.

Grace and Jack were once briefly step-siblings and even as teenagers there was plenty of chemistry. But their parent's acrimonious divorce, after Grace's mother callously sold off many of the deceased former matriarch's belongings to support her own shopping habit, fractured the family and Grace has had no contact with the Sawyer clan over the past 15 years. With her mother now suffering from Parkinson's Disease, Grace is in need of a job to support them both and pay for medical expenses. That job comes in the form of Jack and the Sawyer family business. Naturally, the old feelings are still there and the two of them find it impossible to ignore the connection they've always had. 

I found Grace a difficult character to pull for. While she was resourceful and independent (almost to a fault), I also found her to be pushy and demanding. Within days of starting her new job she was pushing Jack into taking part in a fishing tournament that she had already registered for (without asking him first). She was expecting to use a boat that belonged to his family, expected he and his brother to be the crew and do all the work, and totally disregarded his reason for not wanting to take part. When that fell apart and she was injured while trying to put together another team, she blamed Jack for her accident (i.e., if he had done what she wanted she wouldn't have got hurt). Many of her actions and reactions were so unreasonable that I often found myself wanting Jack to tell her to take a hike. The relationship often felt one-sided, with Jack doing all the giving and compromising.

The main conflict in their story was Jack's animosity toward Grace's mother. His feelings seemed completely justified considering that her mother had sold jewelry (and even a boat!) that had belonged to his mother. Things that were sentimental and could not be replaced. Obviously his family didn't have any warm and fuzzy feelings for her. But Grace was constantly upset that Jack wouldn't set all that aside and be BFF's with her mom. The mom in question had been selfish and greedy in the past and now seemed only mildly (and unconvincingly) remorseful. Grace's expectations seemed unreasonable and she too often told Jack there could be no future for them if he couldn't forgive her mother. Again, it was up to Jack to do all the compromising.

Jack was likable enough and I enjoyed the rest of his family, but between my issues with Grace and the general predictability of the story this one missed the mark. 

2.5/5 STARS

Note: This title was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion of the book or the content of this review.


  1. ugh I can see why this didn't work for you Tanya! Sometimes when trying to make a female character strong some boundaries are crossed. It seems besides pushy and demanding Grace could be very spoiled and entitled! Great review and best luck with the next book!

    1. Thanks. I think what made this one all the more disappointing was the fact that I enjoyed all the books in her other series. Oh well, guess they can't all be winners!

  2. I hate characters like that. There has to be some sort of compromise! Great review though! Hope you enjoy the other books in the series. ~Aleen

    1. Exactly... it's bothersome when one character is calling all the shots and expecting all the compromise to be one-sided. I hope the next book in the series is better, too. Thanks Aleen!

  3. this is like the worse for me when it comes to books in the series, especially when you thoroughly enjoyed the first few books than something like this comes along. I really hate pushy females like that. Even thought I'm probably am one...maybe thats why I dont like em? D:

    1. Yes! Exactly. I enjoyed every book in the previous series so I was certain this one would be another 4-star read. Blah. LOL about the pushy females. :)