Review: HOW SWEET IT IS by Sophie Gunn

Single mom Lizzie Bea Carpenter learned long ago that no white knight was coming to save her. A hardworking waitress at the local diner, she’s raising her daughter to be like the independent women in her “Enemy Club”–high school rivals turned best friends, promising to always tell each other the whole truth and nothing but!

Yet part of Lizzie wishes she did have a man’s help, just for small stuff, like fixing up the house. Her fairy godmother must have been listening, because Dante “Tay” Giovanni soon appears. He’s sexy, kind, and offering assistance–no strings attached.

Slowly, steadily, Lizzie’s heart opens. But the grip of the past is fierce, and nothing in life is ever really free. Tay has his own tragedies to overcome, but if he can, he’ll fix more than Lizzie’s home. He’ll show her just how sweet it is to be loved by him.

Author: Sophie Gunn
Series: Enemy Club Series, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Year of release: 2011, January 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received an ARC from the author for review

First line:
For over a week the envelope sat on the dining room table unnoticed, buried under a stack of birdseed catalogues and household bills like a bomb waiting to go off.

Memorable Scenes:
– The scene where Tay tells Lizzie about the accident > this scene hit an emotional button while the rest of the book was pretty lighthearted and fun

Lizzie Bea Carpenter is a single mom, trying to wing her way through life, supporting herself and her daughter, working as a waitress. I really liked Lizzie. Her relationship with her daughter Paige was depicted in a realistic way (as far as I can judge that from a daughter’s POV, as I’m not a mother).

Dante ‘Tay’ Giovanni caused a deadly accident by running a red light. He’s ran away from his life and is now trying to redeem himself by helping others, trying to escape his past and his memories. Tay is mysterious and guilt-ridden. He has a complicated past but he also has a big heart, is a fixer and wants to be helpful.

My first encounter with Sophie Gunn’s work was a truly pleasant one. I utterly enjoyed reading HOW SWEET IT IS. I was effortlessly pulled into the lives and problems of Lizzie and those who surround her. The easy, crisp writing style definitely contributed to my enjoyment but I also loved the premise and the depth in the characters, their background stories, the small town setting and the impact it had on the romance and story.

I loved the humor in this book. There was a layer of subtle humor throughout the entire book and sometimes that subtle romance would evolve into straight laugh-out-loud moment or put-a-big-grin-on-my-face moments.

Sophie Gunn had a knack for keeping you hooked and curious to know how certain events are going to turn out and I really liked that. The way she combined the main story with the multiple side-stories, without taking away the focus from the main characters, kept the book fast-paced and moving full steam ahead.

Though Tay’s guilt-ridden and self-punishing attitude started to get on my nerves a little at some point, it didn’t bother me immensely because it was needed to make the resolution believable and give it the power of impact it eventually had. It also contributed to the realistic feel of the book and separated it from the fluffy light contemporaries making it a little darker without losing its humorous tone.

Reading this book left me with a warm fuzzy feeling. HOW SWEET IT IS is a lovely, endearing and sweet contemporary romance that any contemporary romance reader can’t help but warm up to within a few pages. It’s about redemption, forgiveness, and the ability to let go and move on, about looking toward the future instead of back to the past. And when you flip the last page, you’ll emit a satisfied sigh, awaiting the HEA for the next member of The Enemy Club.

Favorite Quotes:
“You don’t know what I want.”
“Neither do you, obviously. But I have a feeling it has something to do with this place.”
“Here? Why?”
“I don’t know, but I think you do. Isn’t it kind of obvious, Liz? You do the opposite of what you want because you think it’s right. But I don’t give a shit about right or wrong. I don’t even believe in right or wrong. Just in the truth and being honest. Come on, talk to me Lizzie.”

Then she leaned down and kissed him ever so gently on the corner of his lips. He didn’t move. His eyes were on hers, intense and unreadable.
So she kissed the middle of his lips, softly, lingering on the warmth. She felt the presence of his body under hers, totally still, as if venom from her kiss had paralyzed him.
She stood up again and went back to her chair. They looked at each other across the room.
“Wow,” he said. “That was a surprise.”
“I did it because I wanted to do it,” she said. “And because I don’t give a crap about what you want. I’m going to fix you, Tay, whatever the hell you say. Because I want you. And I’ve decided to get what I want, no matter what it means to anyone else.”
For once he was speechless. “I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.”
“I’m not so sure I care what you think.”
And then, to her utter relief, he smiled.


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