The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst

Publication Date: November 6th, 2012
Gallery Books
Format: ARC
Source: Net Galley
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars


As the new CEO of the biggest up-and-coming bakery empire in the US, Max Gray knows one thing: he absolutely cannot screw this up. Which is the very thing that would happen if he laid a finger on the owner’s–and his best friend’s–younger sister, Carina.
Carina Conte is an ugly duckling in an ocean of swans. Everybody in her family still treats her like a little girl, despite her MBA and everything she’s done to show them otherwise. Even worse? Her long-time crush, Max, barely notices her. Totally unacceptable. While away at a business conference, Carina and Max get caught up in the heat of the moment and have a scorching one-night stand but are busted the next morning by Carina’s brother and mother.
When her traditional Italian family forces them into marriage to keep her good name, Carina is determined to make the best of her new life…until she learns Max wants anything but his new marriage or young wife. Her new husband is about to realize that hell hath no fury like a woman transformed.

I read the first book to this series a while back; and if I may be honest, I can say that I barely remember what happened in that book. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that memorable. The third installment was mildly interesting but it still didn’t rock my boat. In my experience, mind blowing books in this genre are typically hard to find, unless they’re written by Lisa Kleypas. 

Anyway, The Marriage Mistake has a plot that have been used, misused and abused since the beginning of time: girl in love with her brother’s best friend but the boy could only see her as a baby sister. Growing up, they’re pretty much status quo – with the girl still pining for the boy. This time though, she’s willing to move heaven and earth to have the boy, er man even if it would only be for a night. Complications arise when the Conte matriarch surprises them the day after and forced their hands to marry.
I don’t really know anything about Italian family traditions and what not, so I can’t say how preposterous it was to have Carina’s mom forced them to marry just because they had a one-night stand. I would imagine reputations are quite important, hence the extreme resolution to one night of indiscretion. 

I don’t get how Max kept comparing himself to his father who abandoned him when his mom got pregnant. I mean, he was basically going through women like crazy but he wasn’t giving them false hopes that they’ll be something more. He’s a playa, sure. But it doesn’t explain why he thinks himself unworthy of Carina. To be honest, his insecurities tired me out. It was pretty obvious how different he was from his father but he kept subjecting himself through the rigamarole of self deprecation. 
Carina constantly threw herself at Max’s mercy – which I get, to a certain degree. He’s always been the one for her so she did everything to get his attention. Her epiphany toward the end felt like a means to draw the story longer. Because in all honesty, the major plot conflict (the marriage mistake) didn’t really happen until there was about a quarter left to the book. Again, I can only scratch my head. The better half was spent Carina chasing after Max and Max pulling and pushing Carina.
As far as Carina’s concerned, I saw moments of strengths from her especially when it involved Max. But I couldn’t believe how easily she was swayed by her mother.
The conflict was manufactured at best but then again, I didn’t go into this book expecting too much. It screamed dime store romance to me, I’m sorry.
Overall, I wish I could say I had fun with this book but I really didn’t. It wasn’t a painful experience, per se. It was more like…I was going through the motions. 

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