Monday, October 7, 2013

Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino

4.5 Star

"You have to teach your heart and mind how to sing together…then you'll hear the sound of your soul."

Mia Kelly thinks she has it all figured out. She's an Ivy League graduate, a classically trained pianist, and the beloved daughter of a sensible mother and offbeat father. Yet Mia has been stalling since graduation, torn between putting her business degree to use and exploring music, her true love.

When her father unexpectedly dies, she decides to pick up the threads of his life while she figures out her own. Uprooting herself from Ann Arbor to New York City, Mia takes over her father's café, a treasured neighborhood institution that plays host to undiscovered musicians and artists. She's denied herself the thrilling and unpredictable life of a musician, but a chance encounter with Will, a sweet, gorgeous, and charming guitarist, offers her a glimpse of what could be. When Will becomes her friend and then her roommate, she does everything in her power to suppress her passions-for him, for music-but her father's legacy slowly opens her heart to the possibility of something more.

Jen - 4.5 Star

There were more “highlighted” passages of Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino than my poor old phone could probably keep track of. This book equals sweet sweet music to me. 

I love when a book encompasses so many emotions but still doesn’t seem too busy. Mia Kelly thinks life is all planned out, in an easy going, vanilla sort of way. That’s what happens when you’re stalling on your true dreams and just going the easy route. But when Mia’s dad unexpectedly dies, she’s forced to go down a curvy, slightly more bumpy and definitely unknown road than the one she’s currently on. 

She packs her bags and moves to New York City to take over the cafe her father left behind. On the trip, she meets Will, a musician who I pictured looking a lot like the actor Adrian Grenier, but with more tattoos. I loved how Sweet Thing started off with all the sweet things in life, right off the bat. A new adventure, good memories, a cute guy and fun friends. 

I was so relieved when the cute musician she met on the plane comes back around to the cafe. Coincidently, Mia needs a roommate and that’s where the fun of the book begins. The author does a great job of teasing the reader with Mia and Will’s “will they or won’t they?” tango back and forth. Of course I was yelling “come on, kiss already!” at my e-reader but the fact that Mia and Will’s relationship goes way deeper than just a crush makes the book more meaningful to me. On top of meeting a great guy, Mia also has a lot of other things suddenly swirling around her. Memories of her father, unanswered questions about her past, her new job as a cafe owner and the unexpected resurgence of her love of music all come at Mia at once. You’d think she’d sink under the pressure but she actually blossoms. 

It’s funny how Mia thought she had it all figured out but once the ball of her life really starts rolling, that’s when her story actually begins. The sadness of her father’s passing is dimmed, luckily, by the light his death sheds on other parts of her life that had been pushed back into the shadows. She finally embraces her musical talent with Will at her side to coax her creativity. I loved the scenes where they collaborated musically. I could hear the tunes in my head and tapped my foot along with the beat. 

Sweet Thing is sweet because it’s a story we all need to hear once in a while: that unexpected things do happen, that wounds do heal and that there is always something new to learn about ourselves. 

Thank you to Atria Books for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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