Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Sugar Creek

Sugar Creek
Toni Blake
Contemporary Romance
Destiny/Book 2
Avon/May 25, 2010

From the back cover ~

Welcome to Destiny, Ohio—where two families have been at odds as long as anyone in town can remember.

Rachel Farris returned to her childhood home with one mission in mind: get Mike Romo out of her family’s apple orchard business and out of their lives. But hard-nosed and totally hot Mike, who happens to be the law in Destiny, is convinced the Farris clan stole the land from his family fifty years ago and he’s not backing down. Even when shapely trouble shows up in a pair of designer blue jeans. However, neither the hunky cop nor the sexy prodigal hometown girl can anticipate the electricity that heats things up whenever they’re together—adding new sizzle to an ongoing feud that’s raged for generations, and soon putting both their hearts at risk.

This book and I got off to a rough start. A little background ~ I started Sugar Creek late last year. I had checked it out from the library, started reading, then around page 70 I found a ... stain. I was pretty certain what it was and really grossed out. Let's just say that someone should have used a tissue instead of the book! There was no way I could keep reading this particular copy. I took it back to the library and told the librarian what I had found. Sadly she wasn't surprised. She told me I'd be amazed at the things they find. She asked me if I wanted her to request another copy but I told her no thanks, I was a little gun shy at this point. LOL Anyway, I finally got my own stain-free copy, and went back to Destiny, Ohio. :)

What's wrong with going a little too fast down a country road? Everyone does it right?. It's that speeding that brings Rachel Farris and Officer Mike Romo together and not in a good way. Mike is a by the book cop. No use trying to talk or cry your way out of a ticket with him. Good thing Rachel isn't the crying type. But after trying to talk herself out of a ticket she cops an attitude with Officer Romo and the sparks fly. The Farris/Romo feud is still alive and well, Rachel and Mike's first encounter proves that.

Everyone who leaves Destiny seems to come back. That can be said for Rachel Farris, who left years ago for a fast paced life in the big city of Chicago. She's back now but it's only temporary. Just until the apple harvest is done and her grandma Edna doesn't need Rachel's help with the farm.Rachel is a fun heroine in that she's serious when it comes to her career but she knows how to let her hair down and hang out with her girl friends.

I liked that Rachel doesn't apologize for wanting her career and wanting to live in the city where her career could continue to flourish. She has some very strong beliefs on why she needs the stability of a good job. It's those belief that we see change over the course of the weeks she spends with her grandma and her friends. Blake didn't have Rachel do a quick 180°, instead she had Rachel absorbed that small town life, getting pulled into the friendships and closeness that a community of this type inspires. Rachel also had her feelings for Mike to consider even though she kept telling herself it's not serious. Where have we heard that before!

Mike Romo was born and raised in Destiny. He's known around town as the hard nosed cop with a tragic past. His parents and brother all left Destiny long ago but Mike has his reasons for staying. Mike is very aware of the old feud and there is no way he would ever be attracted to a Farris! The fact that she's so obviously trouble only reinforces his view of the Farris clan. And yet, he can't seem to stop thinking about her, being around her. Mike's funny in how he tries so darn hard to not be attracted to Rachel then gives in, but it's only sex. He's not an easy character to like in that he's closed off, not allowing himself to show his "softer" side. With Mike it was more of a slow burn of liking - the more I got to know him, the more Rachel got to know him, the more I figured he wasn't so bad. He's not high on my list of heroes but in the end he and Rachel worked.

Grandma Edna, Rachel's reason for returning to Destiny, is a hoot! She's far from shy and says what she means. She also has a story to tell. Over the course of the book she tells Rachel how the Farris/Romo feud started. I found Edna's story sweet and sad. She definitely knows how to spin a tale and leave you wanting more. Blake did a wonderful job developing Rachel and Edna's relationship, making it far more than obligation on Rachel's part for being there.

This is a small town romance and with that comes the eclectic group of characters that give the town of Destiny it's flavor. Rachel gets to reconnect with friends from her past and Mike gets to see another side of Rachel, separating her from her Farris heritage. The romance, with all it's influence from outside sources, worked because ultimately Rachel and Mike made their decisions based on what they felt. It did take a near tragedy to get them there but they did finally get there.

The next book, Whisper Falls, is Rachel's good friend Tessa's story. I've already read it and so far it's my favorite of the three. If you like small town romances with strong, well developed characters Destiny, Ohio is a good place to go.

Rating: B+

Books in the series ~

One Reckless Summer
Sugar Creek
Whisper Falls
Holly Lane (Adams story/November 2011)


  1. Whenever I read her, I like her. So why do I always put other books ahead of hers? I can't remember the last one I bought. I should remedy that.

  2. Okay, I'm convinced, I'm going to read that book soon LOL.

    And ewww about the library book ^_^; It sucks you were put off and none of it was due to the book itself ^_^;

  3. Lori ~ I do the same with authors I've enjoyed. I think it's a matter of having so many books to choose from and not enough time.

    Nath ~ I really hope you like it!

    Library books can be scary at times. LOL I had one before that had red stains - didn't know if it was pasta sauce, salsa or maybe blood. Took that one back too. But considering how many library books I read, I do pretty good!