Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: Sugar on Top
Author: Marina Adair
Series: Sugar, Georgia #2
Heroine/Hero: Glory Mann/Cal McGraw
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 Pages
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: She’s sassy and sweet
The last thing Glory Mann wants is to become chairman of the Miss Peach Pageant in Sugar, Georgia. Spending months hearing nothing but the clinking of pearls and judgment? No thank you! But when Glory is forced to take the rap for a scandal she didn’t commit, the judge sentences her to head the committee. Even worse, her co-chairman is rugged, ripped . . . and barely knows she’s alive.
He’s ready and willing
Single dad Cal McGraw can’t take any more drama in his life. After a difficult divorce, his little girl became a boy-crazy teenager and his hands are full. The last thing he needs is to spend his down time with the town bad girl. Glory is pure trouble-tempting and tantalizing trouble. But he can’t deny the strong chemistry between them-or how her touch turns him inside out. Now as squabbles threaten to blow up the contest and the town of Sugar itself, Cal must risk everything on the sexy wild card to get a second chance at love . . .
Review: Half-way through this book, I had this thought: I don’t think I have ever rooted for a heroine as badly as I did Glory. I mean, I had my shares of heroines whom I loved, whom I wanted to have their happy ending. However, with Glory, I didn’t just love her, I deeply wanted her to win, both professionally and personally, against the obstacles that she was facing, on a level that I almost never experienced before. All the rating stars I have for this book are for Glory.
Glory has been an ‘outsider’ in Sugar, Georgia, almost all of her life. She grows up with her grandmother, ever since her own mother abandons her, and the man she knows as her father is not her real father (and of course, he leaves her as well). She doesn’t come from Sugar royalty. At the age of seventeen, she was involved in a scandal which drove one of the town’s royal sons to leave town. She was pulled out of school to be homeschooled which left her rather isolated and lonely.
Therefore, Glory is used to keeping her head down while trying to do her best in between taking care of her grandmother, working as junior aide nurse, and developing her proposal for a teen-volunteer program at the hospital. Until one ‘good intention’ of returning a stolen tractor brings her trouble with the sheriff and in front of a judge, who later sentences her to head the Harvest Fest, with co-chairman Cal McGraw, the man whom Glory has crushed over for a long time.
Cal McGraw has enough of people leaving his life – his parents, his wife, and now he feels like he loses control over his own teenage daughter, Payton. He surely doesn’t have time for a new relationship, even if he finds himself being pulled into Glory’s gravity.
I thought Cal was a great guy – he might be overprotective, but I guess it is not easy being a single father of a fourteen year old, who starts wanting to get the attention of a slightly older boy. It doesn’t help that Cal’s ex-wife is manipulative and often he has to be the ‘bad guy’ and let Payton down. This situation cemented my adoration towards Glory. Glory deals with Payton in a mature way, and Payton trusts her to help when the teenager is making a mess out of herself. Glory is also able to make Cal sees that his way can be overwhelming towards his daughter. It breaks my heart when Glory’s best friend doesn’t think of her as a candidate when she tries to set Cal up on blind dates. Because Glory is solid and she is so good for both father and daughter.
I do have several wishes though – I wish Cal and Glory would spend more time together. In between dealing as co-chairman for the harvest fest and handling the feud between the elderly women, working on the community outreach program (for her), dealing with a teenager daughter (for him), I felt that Cal and Glory didn’t have enough time together to connect. In fact, while they have their first kiss 12% into the story, they don’t kiss again until around 72%. I also felt rather cheated because their first sexual scene happens off page. I know, I am moaning about the lack of sex scene… gasp! I am not a reader who demands them; in fact, I’m fine with fade-to-black or off-page sex scenes. However, I felt that I had been waiting for a significant amount of time for these two to get together, that I wanted my reward.
Other than this, in similar fashion to the first book, I found myself being frustrated and on the edge of hating the secondary characters, most especially the elderly characters, or the Pit Crew Mafia (as they call themselves). They act like a bunch of whiny children! I also disliked how one of the patrons, Miss Kitty, goes the whole nine yards to make Charlotte’s life difficult by reminding people about the mistake Glory made when she was seventeen. Heck, a mistake that was shared by Kitty’s own grandson!
Then there is Kitty’s other grandson, Jackson, whom I thought was abusing his power as sheriff to make Charlotte ‘pay’ for her mistake. He has a vendetta against Charlotte because she ‘drove’ his brother away from town. Simply put, Jackson was acting like a jackass. Jackson improves a little bit in the end, and I thought he had an amusing relationship with the town’s female mechanic, which made me intrigued with their own story. Still, I was tempted to bodily harm him, his grandmother, and the rest of the Pit Crew Mafia.
My fuss aside, like I said in the beginning, all the stars rating went to Glory. Glory stands out simply by being herself, being loyal, being kind, being a good listener, and most of all being someone with a huge heart. She is amazing, and I hope that Cal, Payton, and the rest of the town will now be able to show their support and love to make her the happiest woman in Sugar.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*