Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Review: Sweet Spot by Susan Mallery

Okay, as you know, I spent the whole week-end reading and so I have a lot of reviews coming... Although Sweet Spot is not the one I want to review first, it's the one which thoughts are coming the easiest... so I'll just get over with it :)

Sweet Spot by Susan Mallery
published by HQN books in August 2008

"Responsibility" should be Nicole Keyes's middle name. After all, not many people would sacrifice their lives to run the family bakery and raise a younger sibling. But with Nicole's twin sister now blissfully married and her younger sis turning out more femme fatale than girl-next-door, super reliable Nicole is getting sick of putting everyone else's needs first!

Enter Hawk. The deliciously sexy former NFL player offers Nicole a taste of the freedom she craves. Hawk may know the way, blindfolded, to her sweet spot, but Nicole's not about to let him get close enough to break her heart. Of course, she might not have a choice in the matter if Hawk's past keeps getting in the way of their present...

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Bakery sisters, book #2

The Story: Sweet Spot picks up where Sweet Talk left off. So to recap a little bit: Nicole and Claire are twins with Jessie is the baby sister. Claire is a genius professional pianist who was sent away at age 6 to focus on her music career and has rarely been home ever since. At the death of their parents, Nicole was the one who had to take care of running the familial bakery and raising Jessie. When she found Jessie in bed with Nicole's husband Drew, let just say Nicole blew a casket and kicked them both out of the house. Then, Jessie used the family recipe to sell Keyes chocolate cakes, further infuriating Nicole who wants to press charges.

Sweet Spot opens with Raoul, the star quarterback of the local high school, trying to steal 5 dozens of donuts. Unfortunately for him, Nicole sees and stops him. Lucky for Raoul, instead of being arrested as Nicole wanted, his coach Ethan Hawkins, aka Hawk, shows up and the trio works out a deal where Raoul will work at the bakery to pay off his 'theft.' There's an instant attraction between Hawk and Nicole, which Nicole is determined to resist until she's had enough with all the sympathy and pitying glances she gets from her surroundings and decided to struck a deal with Hawk: he pretends to be her new boyfriend and they'll have sex. At the same time, she bonds with Raoul who has no family and is living on the street... With these 2 new men in her life, Nicole's life is about to get more complicated...

My Opinion: So I like Ms Mallery writing and I was glad to learn she had a new trilogy out and that the books were being released back to back. However, Sweet Talk turned out to be disastrous. I didn't review the book; however, Anne and Dev did and I agree with them whole-heartedly. Talk about a dysfunctional family!! Claire wasn't so bad in Sweet Talk, but her sisters... although I found Jessie the most annoying... She was just so immature! Ugh. So yeah, imagine my surprise when I wanted to read Sweet Spot, crabby Nicole's story, after reading the excerpt. What can I say, I like jocks in books LOL :)

The good news is that it wasn't as bad as Sweet Talk, yay!! Bad news is that it wasn't such a great book either. Let's talk with what I liked (always easy :P)... I actually liked Nicole here, well at least better than I did in Sweet Talk. Yes, she's still crabby, but she's less unreasonable. I guess it's because you see her from a different point of view. Also, her relationship with Claire is much improved, so there were less arguments. What I like most about Nicole is that she knows she's a crabby, bitchy person... but that's who she is. She's also real in some ways and I like that we got to see a softer side of her personality as well.

I loved Raoul. He was just such a nice kid and definitively brought out the best in Nicole. Seriously, if he was a couple years older and real, I would totally go for him. I like how protective he was of Nicole and how, even at 18 years old and against his coach, he was looking out for her. Also at the end, when he's choosing which college to go to, his desire to stay close-by to Nicole is very sweet. He was definitively the best part of the book, LOL :P

Hawk wasn't what I imagined based on the excerpt. He used to be a NFL player, but when his wife died of cancer, he quitted so he would have time to take care and raise his daughter. Yes, daughter, Brittany, who sure wasn't mentioned anywhere!!! The whole former NFL player retiring to take care of his daughter after the death of his wife reminded me a lot of Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson except that here, Hawk has really loved his wife. Hawk and Nicole did have chemistry and their personalities match quite well, i.e. that Hawk can be crabby and obnoxious at times, as well as be a very stubborn man, but then, he does have more charms than Nicole. The only thing that was off between the two of them is that sometimes, Nicole feels older than her 28 years old. Because he's so responsible and crabby, she sometimes appears to be a frustrated 40 years old woman ^_^;

All right, so up to this point, it wasn't so bad. Sure, the heroine is not sweet and witty, but it's a nice change... the hero is not as moony as I'd like him to be, but hey, there's Raoul. Where it went bad is some of the arguments between Hawk and Nicole, the whole Brittany fiasco and everytime Jessie appeared.

***SPOILERS from now on, you've been warned!

Let's start with the Brittany fiasco as that is going to explain a lot about Hawk and Nicole's arguments. Hawk and Seneca were very young when they had Brittany and as EVERYONE can expect, it wasn't easy to have a baby at such a young age. Especially since their parents turn their back on them and they were in a new town for college where Hawk had a scholarship. However, they didn't want Brittany to feel unwanted and so they 'idealized' that part of their lives... so much that Brittany bought the fairy tale and decided she wanted to start a family at 17, relive her parents' lives with Raoul. So yeah, she gets pregnant (luckily, it's only a false pregnancy) and is hurt when her father doesn't take it well. Well duh!! What do you think? What I liked about this whole fiasco is how Hawk realized that his daughter was so spoiled and immature and punished her. He grounded her for 6 weeks and she's all like: 'I hate you' and 'I wasn't that bad!' Please!! She wasn't that bad?!?!?!? Hello!!! Let see, first she lied to her father about having sex (not that I blamed her), then gets pregnant. When her father blows a casket, she leaves home to move in with Nicole and Raoul, then gets a fake ID so they can elope. And she wasn't that bad?!? I wonder what bad is in her definition. The girl is totally immature and spoiled and at certain times, came off as a 14 years old girl. That part was bad...

Then, you have Hawk and Nicole in the middle of this fiasco with Hawk taking all his anger out on Nicole. Poor woman, she didn't do anything wrong! She warned him and well, she's not the mother of his teenage daugher and she took Raoul in afterwards... So why is he yelling at her? Luckily, Nicole is a strong woman and can take it and she's even understanding about that part... but seriously... maybe Hawk should calm down and think a little bit with his head. I also disliked it a lot when he walked away when she told him she was pregnant... Guys, whenever you tell a woman that you love her and that immediately afterwards, she announces that she's pregnant... don't walk away. Sit down and discuss it or at least, tell her you need to think. Just don't walk away like that. Ugh.

Finally, Jessie. So, she wasn't the one coming onto Drew and they didn't actually have sex. Still, she was found in bed with her brother-in-law wearing nothing her panties... Obviously, your sister is going to be mad at you and you have some explaining to do. It would help for you to not be a drama queen!! Not accuse the whole world of not trusting you and being wrong... Not play the victim!! No matter what, you have to take some part of the blame and assume the consequences. I still find Jessie way too immature and selfish...

***End of spoilers

So in short, I think that most of the time, Hawk shouldn't have yelled at Nicole, because it wasn't her fault. Also, some of his behaviors were really childish and I was happy that Nicole was strong enough to stand up to him. She was also strong enough to call on his faults, i.e. his big ego and selfishness, which of course, didn't endear him to me. I also thought that there was a lot of drama in this book: Hawk and Nicole relationship, the Brittany fiasco and Jessie, whom I still think is selfish and immature. All Nicole is waiting for is an explanation and an apology and everything would have been solved. All right, perhaps not solved, but they would be on their way to heal the relationship. Thank god there was Raoul to even out everything as well as the minor appearances of Claire and Wyatt. In the end, I think the dysfunctional family has just acquired some new members ^_^;

My Grade: C+ . Not Ms Mallery's best book, but definitively a step-up from Sweet Talk. If you like books with mature teenager bonding with an adult, this is very nice. If you enjoy drama, you definitively want to get this book, LOL :P


  1. Oh man, as I was reading through your review I was thinking that I probably wouldn't read this book, but then at the end of you review you say: If you like books with mature teenager bonding with an adult, this is very nice. If you enjoy drama, you definitively want to get this book

    Dang it! How can I resist it now? I love drama!

    Do you think I need to read Sweet Talk first? I don't really want to, though.

  2. So glad to see that this one was better than the first. I'm still undecided whether I'll read it or not. If my library has it, maybe I will, but I'm not going to buy it.

  3. Thanks for the review, Jace. I think I'll pass on this one. I'd rather not read about immature teenagers. And Hawk sounds like as much of a brat as his daughter is.

  4. Jill - Hi there Jill :) No, I don't think you need to read the first one... if you don't get anything, you can ask me :) Hope you enjoy it, at least a little bit :)

    Dev - LOL, if your library has a copy, definitively wait :)

    Brie - LOL, it's Nath, Brie :) True, Hawk wasn't as manly as I'd wish ^_^; and he has a huge ego.

  5. Hmmm, i think i'll pass on the series.