Review: Sweet by Erin McCarthy

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… 


Jessica's father is a preacher of a large church and she was raised in the church. She was also raised to be pure (sexually), follow the rules and restrictions that are set out. She wants none of it. Not that she doesn't believe in God, she does, but she's so busy following the rules the way they've been laid out for her she has no idea who she is or what she truly wants out of life. Her parents sent her to college but will only pay for it if she completes the course of study they want. The ultimate goal is to have her finish college, go home and marry a man that her parents have picked out so she can then be the perfect little socialite wife. Ug.

This particular summer – I believe it's the summer after her sophomore year – she doesn't want to go home. She can't stand another summer of being told what to do. She tells her parents that she's in West Virginia with a mission group building houses when she actually stays in Cincinnati and works as a waitress. She's sublet a room at an apartment but there's a week in between when she can move in and when she has to be out of her dorm room. She asks her occasional hookup, Bill, if she can stay with him but he says no. She's surprised and now stuck with no place to live for a week. That's until Tyler, her roommate Rory's boyfriend, offers his house. Rory, Tyler, and Tyler's younger brothers are going for a week to Rory's fathers house so the only one who will be there will be Tyler's older brother Riley. Riley reluctantly agrees and Jessica moves in.

Jessica and Riley have never really gotten along but through a few events during the week they actually come to like each other and Riley wants more from Jessica. But Jessica is confused. She's avoided relationships because she's not sure how to handle them – how to have a healthy one. The couple have their arguments and Jess's parents do eventually find out the truth about her summer but Riley and Jess find that their love for each other is strong enough to see it all through. 

This was a great book. I really liked True (book 1) a lot so I was a bit worried that this story wouldn't be as good but I was completely wrong. Riley is the kind of hero I really like. He has played around in the past but he's now more responsible and doesn't want to jump into anything lightly. He's never had a one night stand and doesn't want to start with Jessica. She hasn't slept with too many men but she's never done more than have a hookup or two. She doesn't quite grasp that Riley doesn't want to sleep with her right away and believes that because of this that he doesn't want her when in reality he just wants to get to know her better before they sleep together...and I loved it. Yes, there are plenty of books where the couple finds love after they've slept together but I really liked the fact that Riley wanted to have the sex be what came after they fell in love. It was just so damned sweet and not something I would have expected of the guy.


Jessica was screwed up because of her upbringing and that was understood. She wasn't a stupid woman but just didn't understand the intricacies of relationships. I loved that Riley could show those to her and help her to realize who she was and what she wanted out of life.

The story also had the issue of Riley and his custody issues with his youngest brother, Easton, and that brought a wonderful family feeling to the book as well. Riley loved all of his brothers and though he didn't always know how to be the appropriate authority figure he did his best and always showed his love. I adored the whole aspect of it.

I've enjoyed this series so far and after reading the excerpt of the next book I'm looking forward to reading more about this wonderful group of people.


Rating: 4 out of 5



Erin McCarthy