Category Archives: The Sweet Spot

Review: The Sweet Spot by Stephanie Evanovich

sweet spotTitle: The Sweet Spot by Stephanie Evanovich
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 355 pages
Book Rating: C

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


A sizzling story of everyone’s favorite couple from amazing Stephanie Evanovich’s New York Times bestseller Big Girl Panties: hunky professional baseball player Chase Walker and his sassy wife Amanda.

When pro baseball player Chase Walker first meets Amanda at her restaurant, it’s love at first sight. While Amanda can’t help noticing the superstar with the Greek-god-build, he doesn’t have a chance of getting to first—or any other—base with her. A successful entrepreneur who’s built her business from scratch, Amanda doesn’t need a Prince Charming to sweep her off her feet. And a curvy girl who likes to cook and eat isn’t interested in being around the catty, stick-thin herd of females chasing Chase and his teammates.

But Chase isn’t about to strike out. A man who isn’t interested in playing the field, he’s a monogamist who wants an independent woman like Amanda. His hopes rally when she discovers that squeaky-clean Chase has a few sexy and very secret pre-game rituals that turn the smart, headstrong businesswoman on—and into his number one fan.

Then a tabloid discovers the truth and turns their spanking good fun into a late- night punchline. Is Amanda ready to let loose and swing for the fences? Or will the pressure of Chase’s stardom force them to call it quits?

The Review:

The Sweet Spot by Stephanie Evanovich is the romance of Chase and Amanda Walker, a secondary couple introduced in her first novel, Big Girl Panties. The two novels stand on their own and can be read independent of one another (but I highly recommend Big Girl Panties).

Chase Walker is an extremely successful and wildly popular squeaky clean baseball player who falls in love  with restaurant owner Amanda Cole pretty much at first sight. Amanda resists his considerable charm but he eventually wears her down and they begin dating. When Chase makes a surprising request that involves Amanda’s career,  she turns him down and what happens next irrevocably changes their relationship and eventually puts them in middle of a very public scandal.

Despite his successful career, Chase is rather humble and does not take his good fortune for granted. His life has not been all sunshine and roses but he does not dwell on his losses and he tries to focus on the positive. Chase is charismatic, appealing and so unbelievably persistent it is little wonder Amanda finds him impossible to resist.

Amanda is a self-assured and independent woman. She has a few residual self-esteem issues that stem from her childhood, but she does not lack self-confidence. She has been so focused on making a success of her restaurant that she does not date much but she is not inexperienced when it comes to matters of the heart or sex. She is bedazzled by Chase but her self-esteem issues come into play and she is left wondering why he is attracted to her. When Amanda finally does agree to date him, they take things slow and their romance is sweet and despite Chase’s hectic schedule, fairly uncomplicated.

But (isn’t there always a but?) Chase has been keeping a kink of his secret and instead of talking about it with Amanda, he makes an unreasonable demand and when she refuses, he turns into a sulky, petulant jerk. The resulting showdown between them takes an unexpected turn and when Amanda is confused and uncertain about what happened between them, Chase becomes an arrogant, condescending jerk  who claims to knows her better than she knows herself (which I always find insulting and rather ridiculous).  Instead of walking away from him at this point, Amanda turns rather spineless, gives in to his every whim and molds herself into what Chase wants her to be. From this point in the novel, I really disliked both characters and I found it impossible to believe either of them had any deep emotion for the other.

The major conflict occurs between them when their secret goes public and Amanda runs from the entire situation. She has good reasons for avoiding Chase (mainly because there is NO way she can live up to his unrealistic expectations), but the real impetus behind her leaving is based on  sketchy advice from someone she knows better than to listen to. When Amanda is finally ready to face the scandal, Chase does not exactly welcome her back with open arms and she goes to pretty extreme lengths to salvage their relationship.

I have a very mixed feelings about The Sweet Spot. I absolutely loved the first half. The characters were wonderfully realistic and likeable and the romance between Chase and Amanda was sweet and romantic. But the second half feels like it was written about two completely different characters (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde come to mind).  I could not stand who they turned into or the direction their relationship took.

Despite not being overly crazy about The Sweet Spot, Stephanie Evanovich is an excellent author and based on how much I loved Big Girl Panties, I would definitely consider reading any of her future novels.


Filed under Contemporary, Rated C, Review, Romance, Stephanie Evanovich, The Sweet Spot, William Morrow

Review: The Sweet Spot by Laura Drake

Title: The Sweet Spot by Laura Drake
Sweet on a Cowboy Book One
Publisher: Hachette Book Group/Grand Central Publishing
Imprint: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 324 pages
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A Love as Big as Texas . . .

Charla Rae Denny was the perfect wife with a perfect life, content to keep the home fires burning while her husband, JB, competed as a champion bull rider. Then their son died in a tragic accident-and everything fell apart. Divorced and saddled with a hill of bills and a failing ranch, Charla must now cowboy up to put her life back together.

James “JB” Denny doesn’t stay where he isn’t welcome. So when Charla shut him out of her grieving heart-and their home-a year ago, he took comfort where he could find it. Now after seeing beautiful Charla again, he wants it all back. She can’t work the ranch alone, and deep in his heart he knows he can be the man she needs. But after so much history and heartbreak, can JB convince Charla to take a risk and give their love a second chance?

The Review:

More than a love story, Laura Drake’s The Sweet Spot is an emotional journey of forgiveness. This deeply moving novel will make you laugh, cry and ultimately rejoice as JB and Charla Rae Denny find their way back to one another after tragedy tears them apart.

Grief and loss can either bring a couple closer together or tear them apart and in the case of JB and Charla Rae, their marriage could not withstand the loss of their son, Benje. Now divorced, Charla Rae and JB’s paths still cross on a regular basis as they handle the day to day business of their bucking bull business. Still angry with JB over his affair, Charla lashes out and forbids JB to return to the ranch to take care of the bulls. With no one to lean on, will Charla find the strength she needs to keep their struggling business from failing while caring for her ailing father?

The Sweet Spot opens about a year after Benje’s death and both Charla and JB are at pretty low spots in their lives. Charla is addicted to Valium and makes it through each day in a drug induced fog. JB’s affair is long over and he is coming to the realization that he is the poster child for a middle aged crisis. When things come to a head between them, Charla and JB realize it is time to make some much needed changes in their lives.

Charla finally comes to terms with her addiction when she is forced to take care of the ranch chores and take a more active role in the bucking bull business. Always content to let life happen to her, Charla finally stands on her own two feet and faces down adversity one challenge at a time. She gradually begins to come out of her grief and as she gains confidence, Charla recognizes that she pushed JB away long before their marriage officially ended. Wary of getting hurt again, Charla continues to keep JB at arm’s length. But as time passes, Charla begins to see traces of the old JB and she slowly lets him back in her life and her heart.

JB is genuinely remorseful for hurting Charla but it takes serious introspection on his part before he realizes what motivated his affair. He is lost without Charla and her father, but he knows he is going to have to work to regain her trust. JB quickly recognizes Charla’s newfound strength but he is slow to realize their relationship will never be what it once was.

JB and Charla spend most of the novel dealing with their grief separately. Both come to realize their marriage was rocky before Benje’s death and although they still love one another, they have to work through their individual issues before contemplating a reconciliation. Charla is angry and defensive for much of the story and it takes her a while to realize that JB is still the same person she once fell in love with. Lack of communication, distrust and quick assumptions continue to plague them as they slowly mend their relationship.

The Sweet Spot is a bittersweet second chance at love romance. The characters are heartbreakingly realistic and their emotions are gut wrenchingly honest. The storyline with Charla Rae’s father is poignant and it brought me to tears on several occasions. Laura Drake’s meticulous research and love of professional bull riding is quite apparent and as a fellow fan of the sport, I was very impressed with her attention to the smallest details.

Heartfelt and engaging, The Sweet Spot will tug at readers’ heartstrings and leave them eagerly awaiting Ms. Drake’s next book pro bull riding book, Nothing Sweeter.

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Filed under Contemporary, Forever, Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group, Laura Drake, Rated A, Review, Romance, Sweet on a Cowboy Series, The Sweet Spot