October 27, 2014

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Sweet (True Believers #2)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Sweet (True Believers #2), by Erin McCarthy
Published October 15, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: paperback, obtained from the publisher
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents’ constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can’t go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann’s house.

Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grin and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she’s hiding herself.

Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing—the best guy—to ever happen to her…

It's been awhile since I read the first book in Erin McCarthy's True Believer's series, True. Nine months, actually. I've meant to get caught up on the series, and recently, my good blogger friend, Hannah, was talking about the fourth book in the series, Shatter, and it inspired me to pick it back up. I read through SWEET in about a day - it was difficult to put down. And, it didn't take me long to remember everything that had happened in the first book, so once I started, I was good to go. 

Jessica Sweet is anything but sweet. The product of a strict, religious upbringing, being in college has given her a chance to let loose and get wild. Going home for the summer is just not an option. Lying to her parents and sticking around with her friends - that's more like it. But, Jessica needs a place to stay for a week until the apartment she's subletting is available. Enter Riley Mann, Jessica's arch nemesis. Riley offers to let her stay in his house for the week, and although it's rough at first, before the week is out, both Jessica and Riley are changed forever.

Above all, my favorite thing about Sweet is the banter between Riley and Jessica. I loved that there was this crazy amount of animosity always simmering right at the surface between them. They pick on each other about everything. They are completely different people - Riley was raised in a broken home with his brothers and junky mother and now is a blue collar worker. Jessica had a very privileged upbringing in a beautiful but cold home. She's never had to work a day in her life. So, thankfully, that makes for plenty of fodder for them to bitch at each other about. 

But, as we see so many times in books with this type of relationship, the intense dislike it seems that these two have for each other is really just foreplay. Passion is passion, whether you're fighting or loving, and Jessica and Riley are two seriously passionate people. 

Both Jess and Riley each have their own side stories. For Riley, it's his fight for custody of his youngest brother, 11-year-old Easton. His house is in terrible shape in a terrible neighborhood. I love how Jessica took charge of the situation without asking, and I love that Riley grudgingly let her. It was something that brought the two of them together and set them on common ground for once. 

For Jess, her story involved her rigid upbringing and her strained relationship with her parents and brother. Jess has been lying to them about her summer plans, and she knows they will eventually find out. I was a little disappointed with the resolution of this situation. Or, should we say, lack of resolution. There is definitely a point where things come to a head between Jess and her parents, but things weren't completely taken care of. There were still bad feelings. I kept hoping that we'd come back to it at some point at the end of the book. But, that was it, and I was left feeling a little unfulfilled. 

But, the relationship building between Jess and Riley are really what the book is all about, and that part was stellar. The chemistry between them was ridiculous, and Erin McCarthy kept us hanging on for what seemed like FOREVER for the physical part of their relationship. In the context of the story, it made sense, and I did love that about it. It was told entirely from Jess's POV, which was a bit of a bummer. With their relationship, there were definitely times that I would've loved to know what was going through Riley's head. 

The best part is, after reading Sweet, I was ready to move right along to the next book in the series, Believe. There's a bit of set up for that book in Sweet, so it was perfect. The True Believers series really is fantastic, and Sweet sealed the deal for me.