Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood

August 7, 2012 | Dutton Adult
Source: Provided by publisher
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Attorney and IRS agent Olivia Mackenzie is the kind of tough, wise-cracking, powerful woman fans expect from a Garwood protagonist—but this time she has outdone herself. Olivia is not just any woman, she is every woman; flawed in the familiar ways so many of us are. 
On the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of na├»ve and unsuspecting victims, Olivia suddenly finds her own life is in danger after she asks questions of the wrong people. She is accustomed to fighting for the underdog, but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when enough is enough, Olivia calls for reinforcements. 
When she meets FBI Agent Grayson Kincaid there is an immediate and obvious attraction, palpable on both sides. 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.

Sweet Talk was an enjoyable read with a likable protagonist and an engaging plot. Unfortunately, it also contained a romance that I found lacking in chemistry. In fact, I would have rated this story higher if Olivia and Grayson had never developed an intimate relationship.

Thanks to the epilogue, I was intrigued by Olivia's character before I ever reached the first chapter. As a child, she spent an extensive amount of time in the hospital due to a rare disease that was treated with experimental drugs and testing. She formed a strong, familial bond with three other children who shared the same ailment. 

Fast forward to Olivia as an adult and she is an agent for the IRS, as well as an attorney for children. Her reasons for wanting to pursue a career with the IRS are somewhat complicated and involve her desire to end her father's investment schemes. 

Olivia has had a difficult relationship with her family, excluding her aunt Emma, since her childhood. They treated her as if she were a burden and an inconvenience for staying ill, and the relationship became even more strenuous once Olivia branded her father as a fraud and a thief. 

Her determination was an admirable trait and she wasn't a woman who could easily be pushed around. She was selfless, caring, and strong-willed. Garwood did a commendable job creating such a well-rounded, believable protagonist.

Olivia meets FBI agent Grayson Kincaid during an altercation with a potential employer. They are instantly attracted to each other, but both reluctant to pursue any form of a relationship. Due to Grayson's job and the circumstances surrounding Olivia and the controversy with her family, they find themselves spending a large amount of time together. And then there are times during the story where they distance themselves and remain separated for long periods of time. There was a lot of back and forth between these two.

There was something about Grayson's character that just didn't work for me. Other readers may find him likable, but I found his overprotectiveness and know-it-all manner to be a little irritating. He just didn't seem to be the right fit for someone like Olivia. And there was something about the sex scenes that didn't appeal to me. It was a combination of not feeling the spark between the characters and the descriptions that seemed to be lacking in...sexiness? I'm not quite sure how to describe it. This may be to blame on my paranormal romance and urban fantasy reads. I'm used to their raw, explosive, carnal love-making. The sex scenes in Sweet Talk contained very vague descriptions that were a little too, um, cleaned up for my taste. 

Overall, Sweet Talk was an interesting read with many aspects that I enjoyed. But unfortunately, I don't see myself seeking out Garwood's novels in the future. 

Click here to read a Sweet Talk excerpt.


Carmel B said...

Paranormal fiction definitely ruins the sex in regular romance books. I think I'll pass solely on the "lacking sexiness" factor. Thanks for the honest review.

Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy said...

Haha! The best part was where you wished the couple had never developed a romantic relationship! LOL.....I don't know why but that made me laugh so hard. Thanks for the review Cat!

Addicted2Heroines said...

Carmel - I had no idea the sex in contemporary romance was so different! Lesson learned. I guess what I have read that I thought was contemporary romance was more like erotica LOL

Vain - Ha! It felt strange even having to write that. If this author wrote mysteries without the romance, I would be all over that.

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