By Renee Carlino
Series: Sweet Thing, Book 1
My Rating: 3 Stars
Sweet Thing is the first book in the Sweet Thing series by Renee Carlino. This book received some great reviews from Goodreads readers so I was interested, though that doesn’t always have an impact on what I choose to read. It falls squarely in the New Adult and Modern Romance genres. And while I thought this book was acceptable, I found myself being rather annoyed for a large portion of my time reading it. Mia was, at times, petulant, heartless, and downright mean. And Will, while I could understand some of his reactions, I felt they were often over the top and often quite cruel. It was painful at times to see how these two characters completely eviscerated each other over and over and over. And while these characters completely annoyed me at times, this may also be the same reason I kept going in the book. And while that sounds a bit odd, I wanted desperately to see them work things out despite how much and how often they hurt the other. I found the supporting characters to also be overly harsh in many ways. When Mia would make mistakes they basically told her she brought it all upon herself. It was a hurtful way to make Mia see the reality of the situation. And for those close to her to subject her too this kind of pain seemed unkind and not very friend-like. I know friends are supposed to be honest but this was honesty to an extreme. They were blunt in their delivery and I often felt like they weren’t there as they should have been for her. Sure, the truth hurts and your friends should give it to you straight, but they should still be there for you. I felt that Jenny and Tyler blatantly berated Mia for her choices and her actions and so clearly took Will’s side on things. This doesn’t seem like the actions of good friends. Aren’t friends supposed to tell you how they feel and be honest with her but stand by you? I didn’t feel like they did this for Mia. The fact that Mia simply took this kind of treatment from her “friends” was also frustrating. I’m not certain I would have reacted the same way. I”m certain there were have been a bit more of a defense on my part toward my “friends.” But that’s me and I digress. All these mixed feelings about the characters could be what made me pull back from this book. It could by why I didn’t connect deeply with the story or the characters. Still it wasn’t a bad book, it just left me with very mixed feelings.
Mia Kelly has been struggling to find where she fits in in the world. Raised by her straight-edged mother and stepfather, Mia considers practicality above all else. Focus and goals are the key the life. But when Mia’s eccentric father dies suddenly, Mia moves to New York to run the cafe he owned and managed. What she finds is a cafe that plays host to undiscovered musicians, poets and other local artists. It’s a neighborhood staple for so many people. Mia quickly makes friends with the locals and the staff. A chance meeting with Will Ryan will make Mia question everything she’s ever thought she needed in life. Torn between having a life with security and structure, and one that allows her to follow her dreams of making music the biggest part of her life, Mia must find a balance that will allow her to achieve all of her dreams.
So, I’ve already said that I had some trouble connecting with this book. I did enjoy it and parts of it were heartbreakingly sad and painful to bear witness too. Maybe because the choices Mia makes are so obviously selfish and close-minded. Will clearly cares for her and would do anything for her but she has unreasonable expectations or at the very least the assumption that Will is or isn’t the way she thinks he’s supposed to be. Mia has so little faith in Will. It’s so frustrating. She continuously leads Will on and rejects him over and over and over. She’s always on him for not having dreams and not having everything together in his life. And maybe he should appear to have it more together since he’s 29, but Mia just makes all these assumptions. Though it’s partially Will’s fault for not being honest with Mia. Honestly, so many of Mia and Will’s issues could have easily been solved with a bit more honesty. And that, my friends, is the root of my issue with this book. They couldn’t just be honest with each other. It’s said several times in the book that all of this or that could be easily fixed if they just told the truth. It wasn’t that they lied, they simply omitted, which is just as bad. Especially when you see your relationship imploding before your eyes. When you realize that by simply telling the whole truth will make everything better, why wouldn’t you? I just didn’t get it. Throughout almost the entire book neither Mia nor Will were willing to share and make the other see or know the truth. Why would you ever do this to yourself? Why would you ever put someone you cared about through that kind of frustration and pain? I just don’t get it. Nothing in this book made me understand these actions for the main characters. Ultimately, I could only give this book three stars because of my complete and utter frustration with it. Will I read the other books in this series? Yes, I have them on my “to-read” list though I’m not breaking down doors to read them immediately. Maybe I’ll be less frustrated with subsequent books than I was with this one. Check it out and see if you agree with my assessment or if I’m completely off-base.