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REVIEW: Sweet Spot by Susan Mallery

Dear Ms. Mallery:

book review The benefit of reading books out of order is you don’t get all that messy character build up. Yes, that is a bit tongue in cheek, but the truth is, if I had read Sweet Talk first, I don’t know if I would have liked Sweet Spot as much (again with the virtually meaningless titles).

Nicole, the heroine and oldest sister of the Keyes trio, appeared in Sweet Talk and was pretty mean. The things that she told her sister Claire (I wish you had died instead of our mother) might have been honest, but were super painful for Claire to hear and for me to read. Nicole is fairly intractable and has an always right demeanor (those two traits are reportedly commonly found together in the homo sapien species according to a MTV study called Real World: Bakery).

Yet for all Nicole’s faults, I found her to be very likeable. Nicole’s fraternal twin, Claire, left the family at age 6 which was a loss that Nicole never really got over. This loss was compounded by the fact that her mother left the family to shepherd Claire through her career. Nicole was left with a disinterested father and a younger sister at the age of 12.

Recently Nicole’s life is going through major upheaval. Her sister Claire has come back and is getting married to her best friend, Wyatt. Nicole’s youngest sister was caught nude, in Nicole’s bedroom, with Nicole’s husband’s hand on her breast. And they were kissing. Plus, Nicole is recovering from knee surgery. She’s due to have something good happen in her life.

Instead, she gets Hawk. Hawk is a former pro football player turned high school football coach who left the NFL when his wife became stricken with cancer. She died and Hawk was left to be a single parent to his beautiful young daughter who has blossomed into a seventeen year old on the cusp of adulthood.

Hawk becomes part of her life when she threatens to send his star quarterback to jail for trying to steal doughnuts from the Keys’ Bakery which Nicole owns and runs. He likes what he sees and tries to make a play for her which Nicole promptly shoots down. This, of course, whets his competitive appetite. Hawk’s courtship of Nicole is different. He invites her to football games and film days, and post football pizza parties.

Like many Mallery heroes, Hawk is a serial monogamist who has no plans of ever settling down again. With Hawk, it’s a bit less of a conscious decision, but his actions, the very way he lives his life, shows women that it’s Hawk, his daughter and his dead wife and there isn’t room for anyone else. Nicole is smarting from the betrayal of her husband and doesn’t want to get involved with someone who puts their own needs first.

Nicole forces Hawk to come to the realization that his cheery attitude is reinforced by being the center of attention. When Nicole refuses to play the role of adoring girlfriend, Hawk’s suaveness looks a bit tough around the edges. One problem, though, is that Nicole has very little character development and while the story wasn’t set up to necessarily require her to change, it made the story less compelling.

There’s a lovely secondary plot involving Nicole taking in the star quarterback and housing him. It was like her second chance at parenting. I probably liked Rauol, the kid, better than Hawk most of the time. B-

Best regards,


This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Elly Soar
    Aug 04, 2008 @ 18:57:46

    Wait, so Nicole gets rid of her husband first right? What happens with the younger sister – the next book isn’t going to be her and Nicole’s husband is it?

  2. SusanB
    Aug 05, 2008 @ 09:07:47

    I like Sweet Spot; Nicole is bitchy and sweet by turns. Hawk is hot, but on occasion so dumb.
    Re: ex husband: he is out of the picture before this book starts and does have a role in this book as an excellent schmuck. He definitely is not in the third book with little sister Jesse as the hero.
    I liked the way Nicole worked with her issues with Jesse in this book. First book was all fighting, this one involved more thinking. I am looking forward to final Sweet Trouble.
    The way Nicole dealt with her desire for a family while everyone around her seemingly was getting pregnant (even the dog) was good too.

  3. Leeann Burke
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 09:38:48

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this series.

  4. Gail Dayton
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 14:44:46

    I picked up Sweet Talk and Sweet Spot on the basis of these reviews. Also Irresistible. I liked Irresistible and Sweet Talk so much that I went to the online store (because the store didn’t have the other books in the series) and ordered the rest of the books–including a second copy of Sweet Spot because I forgot I’d bought the book at the walk-in store. (sigh) (I hadn’t read it yet, and it got lost in the bottom of the second bag. I’m allowed to forget.)

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I really liked the books I’ve already read–I’ve been in a “straightforward, no-suspense contemporary romance” mood lately–and I’m looking forward to getting the rest.

    Every so often, I think I should quit reading these reviews–but the reviews tell me about books I think I’d like to read–and when I get them, I do. So keep ’em coming.

  5. Jane
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 17:20:26

    Glad you liked them Gail. I’m looking for good straight contemporaries too. They are more hard to find than a paranormal without a vampire. Irresistible remains my favorite Mallery book. I haven’t yet started in on her category romances although I remember trying one (a Sheik one) and it wasn’t to my taste.

    Jasmine Haynes is another contemporary author I like (although I’ve had very differing responses to her backlist so I can’t give unqualified recommendations) but her trade paperbacks for Berkley – The Fortune Hunter and Show and Tell are B/B- reads.

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