Not my cup of tea. If convincing the main character that she needs to be spanked because she is a bad girl is your cup of tea, enjoy! The assumption that her successful business and happy life are not enough because she doesn't have a man made me more than angry. The plot twist that she "became" fulfilled when her new man turned on the spanking, was utterly ridiculous. The first half is a pretty fun read. The second half is not worth much at all.
This book is just awful. Starts out with a great premise - Amanda is a funny, smart, beautiful woman, who owns her own successful restaurant. Chase Walker is a famous, handsome, baseball player. He comes to her restaurant for dinner and falls head over heels in love at first sight.
Then it goes downhill. He becomes a stalker, which is supposed to be charming, but it just creepy. Then, S&M is introduced into the story and Amanda changes who she is, what she does, and almost everything about herself to become submissive to him.
Wrong in every way and the sex scenes aren't even well written, they're just bad.
This one started out so good but when it got to the spanking part, it wasn't sexy just wrong and dirty. I think it was because Amanda wasn't completely on board with it and he did it more out of anger that made it yucky, very father figure dynamic with talks of what he felt was appropriate for a lady. I'm not against the Dom/sub thing but this was just had too much of an incestuous feel to it.
The highly anticipated prequel to Stephanie Evanovich's Big Girl Panties, The Sweet Spot is the story of how Chase and Amanda Walker met, fell in love, fell out, and ended up togetherdetailedly following the fiery couple with very singular tastes that we all know and love from the first book. I was a huge fan of the pair in Big Girl Panties, but was disappointed with them in The Sweet Spot. In BGP, we only had short, sporadic moments with both Chase and Amanda, but whenever we did, they were always funny, always charming, and always erotic. In The Sweet Spot, all of that fades to the background and what we're left with is a rather forceful and obsessed alpha hero, lots of unnecessary angst, and mediocre sex. Evanovich proves in this flashback novel that sometimes, using your imagination to know what goes on behind the scenes is better than actually going behind the scenes yourself.
It wasn't a terrible read, by any means. It isn't outstanding or anywhere near as funny as Big Girl Panties, but it is a simple, predictable boy-meets-girl romance with entertaining banter and a light flavor of kink. Featuring two characters who are feisty in their own waya dominant, all-American celebrity athlete and a beautiful, fiercely independent restaurant ownerit's rather amusing and a light, airy read, but along those lines, it isn't complex or suspenseful either. The plot progresses very straightforwardly, and there's really no building action or climax; things just happen. Chase and Amanda just do things. There's no real action or development, and that's one of the biggest issues I had with the book.
Obviously, a complication in reviewing this novel is that my opinions are not absolute, but wholly relative. While reading The Sweet Spot, I couldn't help but compare it to Big Girl Panties the entire timeand by compare, I mean bitch to myself about how it wasn't as good as the prior. It just isn't. Evanovich's style is flatter, with lots of telling over showing, and her trademark humor (that I loved in Holly, the protagonist of BGP) just isn't there. I thought the aspect of Chase and Amanda's little bedroom hobbya little light spanking, nothing explicitwould be sexy at least, but it wasn't. Whatever sexual chemistry that was supposed to be formed between them was completely rushed, and if anything, the "kink" is more of a tongue-in-cheek twist on eroticism; I found it more ridiculous than hot.
Lastly... the one character I couldn't take seriously was the ever-serious Mr. Chase Walker baseball-extraordinaire himself. I know his relentless pursuit of Amanda and over-the-top romantic affections are supposed to show he's the ultimate "alpha male," but they really made him seem corny, pathetic, and REALY CREEPY. Spoiler alert! When Amanda initially snubs him, he pretty much stalks her, showing up at her work every day for a few weeks straight, and even getting his security guys to find out where she lives. For a fictional Babe Ruth, he certainly has a lot of time on his hands!! Spoiler end! He also has the urge to consistently validate his masculinity by saying things like (verbatim!):
"My ego does not require I have a girlfriend half my size to make me a bigger man. I am already a monster. I do not want or need a woman I can bench-press. I prefer a woman of substance, with softness and curves. One I know is able to handle my passion, one that can nurture my babies."
Babies??????? He's about to bone a girl for the first time and he talks about babies???????!!!
Pros: Quickly paced, easy to get absorbed in // Entertaining banter between Chase and Amanda // Amanda is fun, likable
Cons: Rather disappointing; Chase and Amanda's relationship sounded better in Big Girl Panties than it actually was in The Sweet Spot // Very little character or relationship development // Overall pretty bland; very little excitement, no surprises, no twists // Chase sounds hot, but really annoying; I didn't think very highly of him // Logan is only mentioned once. What the hell is this a prequel for?!?!
Verdict: The Sweet Spot, an account of the coming-together of the fun, flirty couple we first fell in love with in Big Girl Panties, overall was disappointing; it doesn't go in-depth with the relationship that I perceived as sizzling and complicated, and in fact, is rather watery and lacks any plot-forward action. While there are some amusing anecdotes about the celebrity lifestyle, true-to-life struggles with control and trust, and some good 'n' clean spanking (yes, I just said clean! Who knew S&M could be made so proper?), I think I was mainly let down because I expected so much after reading the first book. Stephanie Evanovich's sophomore novel isn't anything grand, but it does serve as a mushy romance between a hunky baseball player and a nice-girl business woman with the tendency to misbehave.
Rating: 6 out of 10 hearts (3 stars): Decent for a first read, but I'm not going back; this book is decidedly average (whatever that means!).
Source: Complimentary ARC provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Harper Collins and TLC Book Tours!).