Strengths: Fun, lots of references to nice looking men and chocolate.
Weaknesses: The evil bank manager is allergic to chocolate.
Why I read it: ARC from Harlequin MIRA – thank you, an excellent choice!
Pages: 320 (ARC)
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Setting: Icicle Falls, Washington, USA
Rating: 9 out of 10
Don’t dismiss this book by its cover (c’mon, who DOESN’T lick chocolate off the spoon?) or name. It’s not a Fifty Shades book – not at all. This is a sweet, fun book about a woman and her sisters who are trying to save a family business from ruin. Add in a Mr Dreamy competition, some good guys (and bad ones) and life lessons, and you’ve got an entertaining book on your hands.
Samantha Sterling runs Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company, which has been in the family for generations. Life was pretty sweet until the untimely death of her stepfather leaves the business in managerial and financial shambles. Add in the untimely return of former football hero and man with something to prove, Blake Preston, as Samantha’s new bank manager and she’s in serious trouble – not even chocolate can fix this one! Or can it…Samantha decides to host the ailing town’s first chocolate festival in a last ditch attempt.
Filled with warm and funny characters – from Samantha’s financially inept mother (whose sideline is self-help type books) to Bill Will, cowboy who isn’t averse to stripping – in public – this book will put a smile on your face. There are plenty of gratuitous references to chocolate (particularly salted caramel and other new delights) – so much so that I’d put in an order to Sweet Dreams if I could! The luckless in love Sterling sisters – Samantha, Bailey and Cecily are like the sisters you wish you had. I would have liked to read a little more about Cecily and Bailey, but I hear that this book is the first in a series, Life in Icicle Falls, so perhaps we will later.
Samantha’s attempts to get the chocolate festival underway were both fun and frustrating. I loved reading about the Mr Dreamy (Icicle Falls’ hottest man) competition and I emphasised when her plans were thwarted by Prissy of the local council. The unresolved sexual tension between Samantha and Blake was also well played out, as it was more of an accompanying plot to trying to save Sweet Dreams rather than the main focus. However, there are plenty of potential romances blossoming around Icicle Falls if that’s what tickles your fancy!
Definitely yummy, this is a book that chocolate addicts shouldn’t miss! Speaking of that, Australian residents have the opportunity to win $500 of Haigh’s Chocolates (truly the finest Australia has to offer in my opinion) on Harlequin’s website.