Better Than Chocolate (Life in Icicle Falls, #1) by Sheila Roberts
Series: Life in Icicle Falls #1
Published by Harlequin, Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: September 25th 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they're about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. Can Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, come up with a way to save it?After Samantha does some brainstorming with her mother and sisters, inspiration strikes. They'll have a chocolate festival! Time's running out, but the Sterling women are determined and the town's behind them, so everything's bound to go smoothly….
Or not. Events seem to be conspiring against Samantha, and her mother's attempts to help aren't helping. To make matters worse, the fate of her company is in the hands of her archenemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with the football-hero good looks. It's enough to drive her to chocolate. But Blake's also enough to convince her that (believe it or not) there's something even better than chocolate.
I’ve never read anything by Sheila Roberts before but the blurb for this one had me curious so I thought I’d give it a try. This book follows Sam and Blake on their romantic adventure to true love. Or well, that’s what I thought but this story was more about the love that you have for your family and for your town and the people that live in it. I was kind of disappointed that there wasn’t very much to Sam and Blake’s romance, I felt that Sam’s grieving Mom and the town got in the way of all of that.
Sam’s step father just died and with him gone, Sam needs to get to work to fix the family business that her step father flubbed up while he was at the head of the company (thanks to her spineless mother who got on my hot damn nerves a lot). Sam doesn’t have much time to fix the company but with the help of the town and a festival to prepare for, Sam is hoping that things will turn around…especially since the bank wants their loan payments and their suppliers want their money too.
My main complaint with the story was that as much as I liked the town, I wanted more from the romance between Blake and Sam. I wanted more Blake. There’s history there but their story takes a back seat to everything else that is happening in the town and in Sam’s family. Sam’s Mom just buried her second husband and has sunk into a depression that got on my nerves. Her sisters are trying to help Sam as best they can but they’ve got their own stuff to shuffle through. We’re definitely going to be seeing more of them in future books though, I’m sure of that.
I would say that had I gone into the reading of this book thinking that it was a women’s fiction story then I probably would have enjoyed it more than I did. I thought it was a romance and when I didn’t get that, I was disappointed. There’s a lot going on but I spent a good portion of the book annoyed at first Sam and then her Mom and even Blake that I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as I hoped. There were times in the beginning of the book that were slow to get through but I was glad when I finally closed this book because it was an enjoyable read, just not what I was hoping for. The town of Icicle Falls reminded me of my favorite small towns in other series by other authors and while that was good and dandy, I’m not sure that I would want to continue this series for more than a couple more books.
I will say that I want to give the next book a go since I know what to expect from this author now and with what I know now, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the next book a lot more with this new knowledge. Don’t expect a contemporary romance because this story is more women’s fiction than romance but aside from the issues that I had with the book, I’m not mad that I read this one. I’d recommend this book to fans of women’s fiction and chick lit.
Grade: 3 out of 5