Title: The Sweet Spot by Stephanie Evanovich
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 355 pages
Book Rating: C
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
A sizzling story of everyone’s favorite couple from amazing Stephanie Evanovich’s New York Times bestseller Big Girl Panties: hunky professional baseball player Chase Walker and his sassy wife Amanda.
When pro baseball player Chase Walker first meets Amanda at her restaurant, it’s love at first sight. While Amanda can’t help noticing the superstar with the Greek-god-build, he doesn’t have a chance of getting to first—or any other—base with her. A successful entrepreneur who’s built her business from scratch, Amanda doesn’t need a Prince Charming to sweep her off her feet. And a curvy girl who likes to cook and eat isn’t interested in being around the catty, stick-thin herd of females chasing Chase and his teammates.
But Chase isn’t about to strike out. A man who isn’t interested in playing the field, he’s a monogamist who wants an independent woman like Amanda. His hopes rally when she discovers that squeaky-clean Chase has a few sexy and very secret pre-game rituals that turn the smart, headstrong businesswoman on—and into his number one fan.
Then a tabloid discovers the truth and turns their spanking good fun into a late- night punchline. Is Amanda ready to let loose and swing for the fences? Or will the pressure of Chase’s stardom force them to call it quits?
The Sweet Spot by Stephanie Evanovich is the romance of Chase and Amanda Walker, a secondary couple introduced in her first novel, Big Girl Panties. The two novels stand on their own and can be read independent of one another (but I highly recommend Big Girl Panties).
Chase Walker is an extremely successful and wildly popular squeaky clean baseball player who falls in love with restaurant owner Amanda Cole pretty much at first sight. Amanda resists his considerable charm but he eventually wears her down and they begin dating. When Chase makes a surprising request that involves Amanda’s career, she turns him down and what happens next irrevocably changes their relationship and eventually puts them in middle of a very public scandal.
Despite his successful career, Chase is rather humble and does not take his good fortune for granted. His life has not been all sunshine and roses but he does not dwell on his losses and he tries to focus on the positive. Chase is charismatic, appealing and so unbelievably persistent it is little wonder Amanda finds him impossible to resist.
Amanda is a self-assured and independent woman. She has a few residual self-esteem issues that stem from her childhood, but she does not lack self-confidence. She has been so focused on making a success of her restaurant that she does not date much but she is not inexperienced when it comes to matters of the heart or sex. She is bedazzled by Chase but her self-esteem issues come into play and she is left wondering why he is attracted to her. When Amanda finally does agree to date him, they take things slow and their romance is sweet and despite Chase’s hectic schedule, fairly uncomplicated.
But (isn’t there always a but?) Chase has been keeping a kink of his secret and instead of talking about it with Amanda, he makes an unreasonable demand and when she refuses, he turns into a sulky, petulant jerk. The resulting showdown between them takes an unexpected turn and when Amanda is confused and uncertain about what happened between them, Chase becomes an arrogant, condescending jerk who claims to knows her better than she knows herself (which I always find insulting and rather ridiculous). Instead of walking away from him at this point, Amanda turns rather spineless, gives in to his every whim and molds herself into what Chase wants her to be. From this point in the novel, I really disliked both characters and I found it impossible to believe either of them had any deep emotion for the other.
The major conflict occurs between them when their secret goes public and Amanda runs from the entire situation. She has good reasons for avoiding Chase (mainly because there is NO way she can live up to his unrealistic expectations), but the real impetus behind her leaving is based on sketchy advice from someone she knows better than to listen to. When Amanda is finally ready to face the scandal, Chase does not exactly welcome her back with open arms and she goes to pretty extreme lengths to salvage their relationship.
I have a very mixed feelings about The Sweet Spot. I absolutely loved the first half. The characters were wonderfully realistic and likeable and the romance between Chase and Amanda was sweet and romantic. But the second half feels like it was written about two completely different characters (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde come to mind). I could not stand who they turned into or the direction their relationship took.
Despite not being overly crazy about The Sweet Spot, Stephanie Evanovich is an excellent author and based on how much I loved Big Girl Panties, I would definitely consider reading any of her future novels.