Tag: The Bakery Sisters

Review: Sweet Trouble by Susan Mallery.

Posted September 3, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Hero: Matt Fenner
Heroine: Jesse Keyes
Grade: 4 out of 5

Jesse Keyes has done some serious growing up. With a steady job and a vibrant four-year-old son, Gabe, she’s in a far better place than when she left Seattle five years ago…pregnant and misunderstood by almost everyone in her life.

Now it’s time to go home and face her demons. But her sisters, Claire and Nicole, aren’t exactly impressed with the new and improved Jesse. And then there’s Matt, Gabe’s father, who makes it clear that he never wants to see her again despite the lust that still smolders between them.

Jesse doesn’t know if she can make up for all the mistakes of her past. But the promise of sweet nights with Matt might just give her the extra incentive she needs to make it worth the trouble.…

The last book in this series, Jesse Keyes’ story.

It’s in this book that everything comes to a head. The sisters all make up and start finally acting like sisters. Jesse comes back after five years away, doing what she hoped she’d be able to do…grow up.

And she does, she’s got a four year old little boy named Gabe who wants to get to know his father. His father being the only man, Jesse has ever loved. So Jesse feels it’s as good a time as ever to go back home and face her demons. Her demons, Matt and Nicole. She keeps telling herself that she’s coming back so that Gabe can finally meet his family and they can finally come home but in all reality, Jesse is really coming back because she wants to see Matt again. She misses him so much and she never stopped loving him and she hopes that enough time has passed that he will be able to move on from their past.

Only, she wasn’t expecting to work as hard when she came back to get the issues resolved both with Nicole and with Matt.

But she’s a different woman these days, she won’t be easily scared away and she’ll face down her demons if it’s the last thing she does and she stood her ground and did what was best for her and what was best for Gabe.

I think of all of the sisters, my favorite sister is Jesse. When we first meet Jesse, she’s this spoiled little bratty sister who can’t and won’t grow up. I thought she was a little hooker who didn’t have the same morale code as just about every living, breathing American woman in this country but as I read this book, I came to understand Jesse and what she went through and what she turned herself into.

All without help from those she loved the most.

Nicole was back to getting on my nerves in this book. I don’t know what it is about Nicole from everyone else’s POV but she sure is a bitch. Claire was still as nice as can be and it was good to see their husbands or mention of their husbands.

Jesse was a great heroine. I think what made me like Jesse so much was I saw her from the way she was portrayed in the other books and saw the growth in her from then to now and she grew up to be a stand up woman worthy of the love of a really great guy. She was a outstanding mother to Gabe and she didn’t run away.

I loved the way she stood up for herself and I love how she was with Gabe. You could just tell that they meant the world to each other and I just thought it was adorable. Gabe was such a little cutie patootie and he made my heart sigh more than once while reading this book.

Matt was a different story. When we first met Matt, from their memories of the first time they met and the evolution of their relationship, I LOVED MATT. I loved everything about him but the man that he turned into in the five years since Jesse took off didn’t appeal to me at all. I hated that he turned into a playboy and I just hated his cold front that he put up around everyone.

I really enjoyed seeing these two come back together. It was a pleasure to read through their ups and their downs. It was hard to read through some of Matt’s boneheaded mistakes and to see how lame he was being over things that she didn’t do with malicious intent. She told him about her being pregnant and he was too stuck on what he thought he knew that he gave up on them and she was hurt and ran away to find herself. I don’t agree with it but I didn’t want to see her punished the way that Matt wanted to punish her. That was a bit much in my opinion…and when the shit hit the fan, I was so glad that Jesse didn’t cave and let Matt off the hook so easily. When she was going off on Matt and telling him what a piece of scum he was and why he was said scum, I was cheering her on. The same way I was cheering her on when she finally let Nicole have it. Jesse was a great heroine and she was my favorite part of this book.

This wasn’t my favorite book because ironically enough, my favorite book would probably be Nicole’s book, even though I hate her guts, haha…but it is what it is. I’m done with this series and I can move on, content in the fact that I enjoyed these books and am glad that I read them.

Overall, this was a good book. I enjoyed the characters, the storyline and seeing Jesse grow into the woman she became in this book, I enjoyed seeing the Keyes sisters coming together and acting like sisters again and I enjoyed how easy it was to fall into these books, to get mad at the characters, to sigh with delight at the heroes and fall in love with the characters.

Good job, Susan Mallery.

This book is available from Harlequin. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Review: Sweet Spot by Susan Mallery.

Posted September 2, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Hero: Eric “Hawk” Hawkens
Heroine: Nicole Keyes
Grade: 4.25 out of 5

“Responsibility” should be Nicole Keyes’s middle name. After all, not many people would sacrifice their lives to run the family bakery and raise a younger sibling. But with Nicole’s twin sister now blissfully married and her younger sis turning out more femme fatale than girl-next-door, super reliable Nicole is getting sick of putting everyone else’s needs first!

Enter Hawk. The deliciously sexy former NFL player offers Nicole a taste of the freedom she craves. Hawk may know the way, blindfolded, to her sweet spot, but Nicole’s not about to let him get close enough to break her heart. Of course, she might not have a choice in the matter if Hawk’s past keeps getting in the way of their present.…

This is the second book in the Bakery sisters series and I think it’s really funny how I hated, detested, despised Nicole in Claire’s book but really, really liked her in her own book. It was like reading about two different characters, only there were times that Nicole’s bitchiness came out and reminded me, duh…it’s Nicole, what do you expect?

But I really did enjoy this book.

The one that I couldn’t stand in this book was, Brittany, Hawk’s daughter.

In this book, we get Nicole’s story and we find out how Nicole is dealing with the drama with their younger sister, Jesse. We see, Nicole flying off the pan handle, lashing out at Claire (where she shouldn’t have) and even though those things would have driven me right up the wall in the other books, I guess because we’re in Nicole’s head and we’re seeing her logic in everything, it wasn’t so bad.

Nicole, as a heroine of her own book was pretty cool. She’s one of those, I don’t take shit from anyone so you better come correct or deal with the consequences kind of women and the personality suits her. On the flip side, she may be a hard lady to get along with but she’s got an extremely big heart.

Hawk must have loved her if he could see past the bitch to see the woman, capable of loving and being loved in return.

Now back to Nicole’s big heart, at the beginning of this book we find Nicole meeting the hero, who is the football coach at the local high school. The football coach who tries to woo her into forgetting about the police call she called in to arrest his star quarterback. His star quarterback who tried to steal donuts and get away with it. Nicole hears them out and she insists that though she won’t press charges, Raoul has to work the money off by doing chores around the bakery.

Raoul comes back and does such a good job, helping out that Nicole gives him a job and she comes to know him and really enjoys being around the kid. He’s in Foster care and when she finds out that he’s not living where she thought he was living, she invites him to stay with her until they can figure out what to do.

Now, Nicole who’s been hounded by her sister (Claire) and all of the well wishers in her life to find a man to make her life complete wants to find someone so that everyone will get off her back and stop with their pitying looks so with Hawk hitting on her at every turn, she decides that she’ll become his sex kitten if he agrees to act like a devoted boyfriend in public and because he’s a man, he totally agrees.

Because this is a romance, we all know that things begin getting more than just a booty call for the both of them. Feelings develop and they both start wanting more but because this a romance, a lot of drama must ensue before their happily ever after can come to pass.

I really enjoyed the storyline, the characters in this story (even Nicole, shock of all shocks) and my favorite part of this book was Hawk. He was a fantastic hero, a hero that would probably end up on one of my Hero of the Month post since I’ve decided (with the help of a great reader friend) to start that up pretty soon. He was strong, honorable and an athlete. Who doesn’t love an athlete? Cause I totally love me an athlete. And I totally love me some Hawk.

Nicole slightly redeemed herself in this book. I loved the way that she was with Raoul and I loved the way that she became a big part of Raoul and Hawk’s high school sports lifestyle. She was really good with them and she was big enough to admit when she was wrong and when she overreacted.

Except when it came to Jesse. It was like, she saw what she saw and nothing or no one could change her mind of what transpired between her sister and her husband. No matter how Jesse tried to talk to her and explain her side of the story, Nicole just couldn’t forgive her….and I guess since if I was thinking the same thing, I’d probably would have reacted the same way that Nicole reacted but I don’t know. If there was a reason why Jesse wasn’t apologizing for what happened, she should have listened. But I couldn’t even be mad at Nicole for her reasoning because since we were in her head, I understood where she was coming from and why she stood her ground.

Overall this book was good. It’s not the best book in the entire world but it was a delightful read and I’m not mad at all that I picked this book up, which shocked me because I didn’t know how SM was going to redeem Nicole in my eyes. Big ups (that’s congratulations in ebonics) to Susan Mallery for a job well done on writing Nicole’s character and on an overall good read.

This book is available from Harlequin. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Review: Sweet Talk by Susan Mallery.

Posted September 1, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 7 Comments

Hero: Wyatt
Heroine: Claire Keyes
Grade: 3 out of 5

Don’t ask Claire Keyes. The twenty-eight-year-old piano prodigy has never had a regular boyfriend, much less a real romance. Her music career has left little room for friends or family—which is just part of the reason she hasn’t seen the family bakery or her two sisters in years.

But now Nicole is sick, and Jesse is AWOL. Despite the fact that Claire can’t boil water, she’s determined to play caretaker. Connecting with her sisters tops her to-do list…along with falling in love, or at least in lust, for the first time.

Ruggedly sexy Wyatt just might fit the bill. Although he keeps saying that he and Claire come from entirely different worlds, he lights up hotter than a bakery oven whenever Claire is near. If this keeps up, she just might sweet—talk him into her bed…and her life.

This is the first book in the Bakery Sisters or Sweet series and I’ve been seeing reviews on this series going up around the blogosphere and none of them had any really good things to say about it. But I wasn’t deterred from trying this one out because there was a Bakery with lots of baking going on and because I’ve been looking for some bakery themed books, I decided to give this series a go.

I finished each book in one day. I read this book on Friday and finished it that same night. I had to take a long break from the book in the beginning because I wanted to rip Nicole’s heart out and beat her with it. I think I hated Nicole even more than I hated Lillian from the Wallflower Series by Lisa Kleypas…and that’s saying much because Lillian annoyed the shit out of me but she aint got nothing on Nicole Keyes. Nicole Keyes and all of her righteous anger at her sisters seriously pissed me off, there were times aplenty that I wanted to strangle the bitch.

But anyway, this book is about Claire Keyes. The professional piano player who walked up to a piano at age 3 and started playing and has been playing ever since. Her grandmother took her and put her in piano class after piano class and soon she was playing in a different city and country everyday. The grueling schedule got to be too much for their grandmother so she retired and their Mother took over. Their mother was killed in a car accident and Nicole, who was left behind to raise their younger sister Jesse and take over the family bakery has been seething mad at Claire ever since.

Now, Claire and Nicole are fraternal twins. So all of their lives, they’ve had each other. They were really close until Claire had to leave and tour the world, leaving a distraught Nicole behind. Nicole is so consumed with her own crap that she can’t stop and take a minute to realize that Claire lost her too. Claire lost her mother too and though Nicole had responsibilities that were thrust upon her, so did Claire….but atleast Nicole had their family after their Mom died. Nicole had Jesse and she had their Dad, but after Nicole yelled and screamed at Claire about killing their Mom, Claire took off and never came back, though she wanted to. She sent letters, she sent emails, made phone calls, all of which were left unanswered and seriously, what else was Claire to think?

So Nicole is all high and mighty in her righteous anger because the prodigal sister has returned to help her while she’s out recovering from her surgery. She’s on the outs with their younger sister, Jesse and so Jesse figures if she can’t be there to help Nicole recover, then Claire can.

Claire shows up to take care of Nicole, only to be informed that her help isn’t needed or wanted and the messenger? The sexy Wyatt, Nicole’s good friend.

This is where my frustration with this book starts. I got that Wyatt and Nicole were really good friends, I get that he didn’t trust Claire but he didn’t know her. He didn’t know Claire’s side and the way that he acted towards her pissed me the hell off and for the first time since I started reading romance novels, I was afraid I was going to hate the hero. Now if you know me, you know that I’m all about the heroes and for me to instantly think I’m going to hate a hero just about surprises the hell out of me.

Claire as a heroine was a great heroine. She reminded me of my sister, Helen. The peacemaker, the one that wants everyone to get along. She’s the one that fixes everything and is just so nice. That’s kind of what Claire is. She’s really nice but she can also be a very big bitch if you get on her wrong side. Claire had to learn this and she did throughout this book. I’m glad for it because the longer she let Nicole stay mad at her for things that were out of her hands made me want to karate chop Nicole in her damn stupid head and pull her hair right out. The way she handled Nicole was good and the way she was with Wyatt made her my favorite part of this book.

As for Wyatt, he was just a pain in my ass from the beginning. I didn’t like the way that we were introduced to him and he got on my nerves with everything from the way he overreacted (just like Nicole would have done) to Amy’s mention of the implant to the way he treated Claire when he first met her, the way he was needlessly cruel and just his attitude. He got on my hot damn nerves because he may have thought he was trying to save Nicole from Claire but he really just looked like a stupid and childish.


As much as Nicole and Wyatt got on my nerves, I still finished this book. I couldn’t NOT finish the book after starting. I mean, there were plenty of things that I liked about the book like how Claire stuck it out and made Nicole come to grips with the fact that she was there to stay and they were going to fix their damn problems and she was going to realize that Nicole wasn’t the only person who was hurt from Claire taking off, but she had nowhere else to go, but back and it was Nicole that made it happen.

I guess I just couldn’t get over Nicole. She was a big part of the reason that I was so frustrated with this book. Everything in her world was about her. Claire left her and traveled around the world and she was stuck at the bakery, not getting to choose what she wanted to do with her life because she had Jesse to think about. Yeah, I get it, you were bitter because of it but instead of just dealing with it and having all of those things better her life, she let it control every emotion. Everything was, oh poor Nicole, she got stuck while Claire didn’t. So the eff what? Get over it. I hated that instead of delighting in the good things in her life, Nicole held onto her bitterness over things that couldn’t be helped and struck out at those people in her life that she should’ve held onto to.

The way she went to visit New York and didn’t visit Claire, knowing that Claire wanted to reconnect with her. The way she didn’t even invite Claire to her wedding pissed me off, I guess because I didn’t understand it. I couldn’t connect with her and her bitterness drove me insane. I hated the way she talked crap about Claire, painted Claire to be this monster when in reality, she wasn’t that bad.

It was those kinds of things that I could not stand.

But I loved the romance between Claire and Wyatt. I loved how carefree and loveable Claire was. I love how she brought Wyatt around, when he was being a dick over stupid shit, she still loved him and I loved the way that she was with Amy. I loved that she had Amy as an ally when nobody else wanted to take the time to get to know her and I think it was this part of the book that kept me going.

I adored Wyatt’s daughter, Amy. I adored the courage she faced day in and day out with her not being able to hear. I adored that she taught Claire how to communicate with her and I just really appreciated the relationship that bloomed between these two. Wyatt didn’t have a chance.

This book opened up the entire series and I think that SM did a good job of spouting off the storylines that we were to look forward to and I jumped right into the next book right after finishing this one and was surprised at how much I liked that one.

Should you read this one? Yes. I enjoyed the book and was glad that I finished it. It’s the beginning of the Keyes sisters stories and it brought out the emotions. So yeah, even though this is not my favorite book or my favorite anything, I’m still glad that I read it and I think that if you want to read this book, you might surprise yourself and like it.

This book is available from Harlequin. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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