Aug 3, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood

Contemporary Romance
August 7 2012
Hardcover
368 pages
Dutton
Received from publisher

Yummy Man – Grayson Kinkaid
Kick Ass Chick – Olivia MacKenzie

From Goodreads –
When FBI agent Grayson Kincaid first encounters Olivia MacKenzie, she makes quite an impression.

The beautiful, tough, young attorney has stumbled into the middle of an FBI sting operation and has reduced it to chaos. Months of surveillance and careful planning down the drain, Kincaid’s partner is furious and lets Olivia know that she’s ticked off the wrong guy. After all, he’s FBI.

Olivia isn’t intimidated by his partner’s bullying because she’s something even scarier . . . she’s IRS.

And working for the IRS isn’t for the faint of heart. She’s on the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of naive and unsuspecting victims, and one she has personal reasons to be angry about. But after she asks questions of the wrong people, her life is suddenly endangered. She’s accustomed to fighting for the underdog but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when to call for reinforcements, she contacts Grayson Kincaid.

Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose.

———

Ever read a book that had all the elements of an awesome story but things just didn’t quite click for you?  Have you ever read a book that you didn’t quite connect with yet you still found yourself reading as quickly as possible because you really wanted to know what would happen next?  Yeah…that was this book for me.  I didn’t feel the book as much as I had hoped I would yet I found myself having trouble putting it down.

Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood is about Olivia, an attorney who now works for the IRS and Grayson, an FBI agent.  Olivia hears that there may be cuts at work so she decides to try to find a new job before she gets laid off.  She goes to a restaurant to meet a potential employer and inadvertently blows an FBI investigation.  That is how she meets Grayson.  It’s an interesting meet-cute to say the least.  Olivia is being chased and gets smacked by a bodyguard and Grayson comes to her rescue.  Aw…how romantic.  😉  As is expected, Grayson can’t get Olivia out of his mind and decides that he will be the one to go visit her when he has a few more questions about the little incident at the restaurant.

We are introduced to many story lines at the very beginning of this book and that was one of them.

Another is told in the prologue.  Yes, I am aware that I probably should have started out with this part but I’ll explain why it’s not a main plotline to me in a bit.  Olivia had an aggressive form of cancer when she was a child.  She was sent to a hospital where a doctor treated her using traditional and experimental forms of therapy.  Olivia befriends three other girls while there and together they are quite the trouble makers.  It’s cute really.  They all assume there is no point in a future since, even if they were to get better, they could get sick again at any moment.  The girls have remained best friends even now that they are all grown up and each in remission.  I assumed that this prologue was a sign that this was the first in a new series with each girl getting her own book but there was nothing about a series on GR or on the author’s site.  So I emailed the publisher and was told that nope, this is a stand alone.  So why all that set up?  All so we could understand why Olivia is reluctant to fall for Grayson?  The same thing could have been done in a simple ‘thinking back’ paragraph or two and without really going into detail about the other girls and their personal situations.  We get a glimpse of what they are going through, actually become curious about them all, get little snips here and there during the book too showing where they are now…and that’s pretty much it.  Well, actually, there is quite the side plot about Jane (one of the girls) and how she is sick again and her newly-clean brother is very upset to see her so sick and they are all worried that the cancer is back…but really that entire side story was not necessary in my eyes.  I just felt there was a lot of information in this book that we really didn’t need to know about.

When we meet Olivia as an adult, she is not only looking for a new job but she is trying to find hard evidence that her father is a schmuck who is running a massive investment con so he can go to jail and stop tricking people.  THAT is the main plot of the story and the one I was most interested in.  I liked how it was all done.  How are they going to convict him – because really, it’s a romance book and in order for Olivia and Grayson to get their HEA, the bastard of a father needed to be convicted – and what proof would they eventually find?   Of course the path to the truth was not an easy one and that made the story very interesting too.

Olivia and Grayson were great characters but I had trouble truly caring about them.  Olivia is a spitfire who is not afraid to do the right thing.  Grayson just took in his nine year old nephew and is a really thoughtful and loyal guy.  Both are smart and witty and their chemistry was quite strong.  Yet I still didn’t click with them.  🙁  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I had trouble really getting into their relationship.  I mean, they barely spent any time together!  Example, he kisses her one night and then doesn’t call or see her for two months after that.  And weeks go by after the first time they have sex!  How can you build a solid relationship if you hardly ever see each other?  Of course they eventually spend more time together but by then, they are already pretty much in love.  And it’s not that there were huge gaps in the story where they were interacting with other characters.  Nope.  The story just says stuff like ‘it had been weeks since she saw him’.  I love romance books where the hero and heroine have a wonderful and intricate ‘mating dance’ and unfortunately this was not one of those books.

Sweet Talk is definitely a romantic suspense book and if you are looking for an interesting suspenseful story that deals with money laundering and investing and so on, then this is a story you will most likely enjoy.  If you are looking for an amazing romance story, this may not be your most favorite book.  I still like the author’s writing voice and the pace was excellent (as I said, I had trouble putting the book down) but for me, there were just too many unnecessary story lines and characters and not enough quality time with the main couple.  I am still giving it a decent rating because the main story was able to capture my undivided attention.

3 stars

Giggle worthy quote

‘’Martin, did you see what she did to me?’ he howled.  ‘Get her, get her.’

Get her?  Was he 12?”

  1. You know, try as I might, I just can’t read her as a romantic suspense author. (She’s one of the authors I blame for me not being able to read this genre, lol.) Have you read any of her historical romance novels? The Gift is one of my all time favs.

  2. Totally agree with you Colette. JG’s historical romances are some of the best written HRs of all time!! She is a Master of the genre. But her contemporary suspense books all just seem to be lacking something.

  3. Oh, I really enjoyed this review. So thoughtful about the prologue – why include something like that? It’s a good point. So strange when a book has everything in setup, yet somehow doesn’t deliver.

  4. I must be the odd one out. I’ve read Julie Garwood books since her beginning and enjoy both her historical and her romantic suspense.

  5. “Sweet Talk by Julie James is about Olivia” that should be Julie Garwood of course.
    I have not read her books in years, but I have most of them on my shelves, someday …

  6. Colette & Michele – I have heard amazing things about her historicals!

    Carolyn – It just threw me off…

    Diane – Sometimes an author’s voice just speaks to us more than it speaks to others. How many times have I thought a book was amazing only to have someone else say “it was okay” lol

    aurian – Gah! Do you know how many times I read through my reviews before I post them? How did I miss that? Thank you so much for pointing out my booboo. 🙂

  7. Awe man, I just want to write another historical! I have a few contemps and they are not bad but nothing like the magic of her historicals.

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