Dina's Reviews > Sweet as Sin

Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelley
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's review
Feb 07, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: contemporary-romance, netgalley, dik, ebook
Recommended to Dina by: AJ

Don't let the title of this book fool you. This isn't a sweet and playful read. The story is dark, tough and unforgiving - and I loved every punch it threw at me.

John Murphy is a man tormented by his past. A bestselling young-adult author, he writes dark and frightening fantasy books about monsters where good always triumphs and hope can be found behind the darkness. What no one - except his sister Gina - knows is that those monsters are very real in his mind and hope has no real place in his life.

Pastry chef Livvy Andrews, John's new neighbor, isn't anything like his usual one-night stands and he knows better than to start any kind of relationship with her. He can't resist flirting with her, though. Livvy figths the attraction, sensing that John carries a heavy emotional baggage inside him. She's got her own baggage to carry and doesn't need the heartache that will be waiting for her if she gets involved with him. Nonetheless, involved with him she gets, even though she knows he isn't looking for forever or anything close to that. What she doesn't know is how to prevent herself from falling in love with him and how to protect her heart from the onslaught of his inner monsters when they rear their ugly faces.

I loved this book! Its title - yes, I was fooled by it - and its first pages made me think I was in for a nice and easy sexy read. Even though John was described as a man "tormented by nightmares" in the book description, his first appearances in the story led me to believe that his "torment" would be nothing more than a plot device designed to add some conflict to what seemed to be a fun story about a summer fling that eventually turns into love. John was cocky and flirty, with just a hint of darkness and secrecy in his eyes to make him dangerously appealing to Livvy - and to the readers too, of course. As the story progressed, the walls he'd built around his heart and his inner monsters started to crumble and I realized that I'd been completely mistaken in my first impression of the book and, for that matter, John.

Indeed, this read was anything but nice and easy once John's secrets were revealed. He was definitely a tortured and broken hero, traumatized by his past and imprisoned by guilt. His journey towards recovery wasn't an easy one and Ms. Kelley didn't give him a miraculous "cure" in the end, for which I was very glad. Not that I enjoyed seeing John suffer, but you know what I mean.

Compared to John, Livvy's life was a walk in the park, but she had problems of her own too. Having witnessed her father cheat on her mother for as long as she could remember, Livvy had some trust issues and was rightfully wary of John at first. On the professional front, her business was struggling to overcome the economic crisis: she was still in the black, but she needed to come up with something new to boost her revenue if she wanted to keep it that way. Little did she knew how much those problems would ultimately be used by John to hurt her... Oh boy, how I wanted to hurt him back for that! At the same time, I didn't want to hurt him either because I could see the reason behind his actions. I think Ms. Kelley's writing was great in the way she showcased John's inner turmoil. She made John call Livvy a f*cking b!tch - oh yes, he did! - and while I gasped in shock, I felt he didn't mean to say it. It takes some skills to write that without killing my sympathy/empathy for a hero.

John and Livvy had a sizzling chemistry and their love scenes were steamy hot. Based on their first encounter, I thought John and Livvy would jump into bed at lightning speed. Once again, I was mistaken - and not the least unhappy about it. Livvy's wariness about getting involved with John gave them the time they needed to know each other and made their first time together mean something more than the mere beginning of a summer fling. Not to mention, there's nothing like some sexual tension to keep the heart beating. :)

I found Ms. Kelley's writing very engaging, emotionally speaking, and I really liked the way she's inserted passages of the book John was writing into the story. John's book was as compelling and dramatic as his life. In fact, his book was a reflection of his life and provided an interesting insight into his feelings. Having said that, I must add that the way it was written, the epilogue didn't fully satisfy me. Don't get me wrong, I liked it and it gave closure to the story, but I wanted to see more of John and Livvy.

This was my first read by Ms. Kelley and I don't need to say I was very pleased to "meet" her, do I? :) (Uh-oh, did you hear that? It was the sound of my Wish List groaning in anticipation of the addition of Ms. Kelley's backlist, LOL.)

Note: I received this eARC from Carina Press via NetGalley. That had no influence on my review/rating.
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Reading Progress

February 7, 2011 – Shelved
February 7, 2011 – Shelved as: contemporary-romance
February 8, 2011 – Shelved as: netgalley
February 10, 2011 – Started Reading
February 10, 2011 –
0.0% "Another new-to-me author..."
February 11, 2011 –
32.0% "Loving it!"
February 12, 2011 –
100.0% "Excellent!!!"
February 12, 2011 – Shelved as: dik
February 12, 2011 – Finished Reading
February 13, 2011 – Shelved as: ebook

Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

This was really, really good, Dina! And I rarely say that about non-Historicals. :)

Dina Yeah, I know. That's why I had to add it to my Wish List when I saw your rating. :)

It's been awhile since I saw you here. How have you been? Have you gotten tired of GR and moved to "greener pastures"?

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

lol, No. School kicked my butt last semester and I guess I just got out of the Goodreads routine. I'm trying to come on here more, but life sometimes gets in the way. lol

How have you been?

Dina Everything's fine with me, thanks. Sorry to hear you had to choose between school and GR, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. :)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Dina, do you think this is too erotic for me? It sounds interesting.

Dina It's completely Danielle-safe. There was no "backdoor" action and the kinkiest thing they did was "play" with some of her pastries. ;) I think you'd like this book, Danielle.

Dina YW, Danielle. :)

message 9: by MelissaB (new) - added it

MelissaB Wonderful review Dina, I am going to give it a shot.

message 10: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Melissa. I hope you like it. :)

message 11: by MelissaB (new) - added it

MelissaB It's not out on Kindle yet :(

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

MelissaB wrote: "It's not out on Kindle yet :("

Here it is MelissaB:

message 13: by MelissaB (new) - added it

MelissaB Thanks AJ! It didn't come up when I put in the author's name, the search function must have screwed up.

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

YW! Yeah, I don't know why, but Carina titles have a hard time coming up in Kindle searches... Hope you enjoy it!

message 15: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Great review, Dina! Your review has really made me want to read it, but I'm nervous about if I'll like it or not. Is this actually a Romance?

message 16: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Catherine. Yes, it's a romance. Don't worry, the HEA is there. :)

message 17: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Would you say this is an "issue book" like Sherry Thomas writes? Because I've only actually liked one of those...

message 18: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina I've never read Sherry Thomas so I can't compare. I'm trying to think of an author with a "similar" style but I'm drawing a blank. :(

message 19: by Catherine (new)

Catherine I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and take a chance on it. :) Thanks for answering my many questions.

message 20: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina NP, Catherine. :)

Fani *loves angst* Great review Dina! I"ll check this out if it's still available from NetGalley.

message 22: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Fani. :)

message 23: by Quinn (new) - added it

Quinn Excellent review, Dina. I don't know how I missed it! This one sounds like it's right up my alley!

message 24: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Quinn. :) I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

chanceofbooks This was the review that made me decide to try netgalley, and after reading the book, I appreciate your review so much more--you truly captured the essence of the book.

message 26: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Wavybrains. :) I'm glad you loved it as much as I did.

message 27: by Lisa Kay (new)

Lisa Kay Another great review, Dina. This one's up for BOM in one of my groups. Maybe I'll vote for it. I love books about cooking...yeah, cooking, that's what it is about. Thanks again!

message 28: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Lisa. :) I hope you get the chance to read it. It's really worth it. And yeah, it's about cooking, LOL.

Lizzie I love this book too! Great review! :)

message 30: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Lizzie! :)

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