REVIEW: The Sweetheart Rules by Shirley Jump

Posted April 9th, 2014 by in Blog, Contemporary Romance, Review / 0 comments

In The Sweetheart Rules by Shirley Jump, Mike, a Coast Guard Lieutenant based in Alaska, is back in Rescue Bay. This time he has his daughters with him, daughters he doesn’t really know, after his ex-wife informed him the month was his with the girls. Mike craves order and a schedule, two things that are almost impossible with children. “…schedules kept him sane. Gave him a measure of control over a life that had rarely been in control.” This is a great description of Mike! He has enough on his plate right now, he has no intention of getting involved with anyone.

sweetDiana is a single mother to a teenage boy and a veterinarian in Rescue Bay. She is also the woman with whom Mike had a brief hot fling with a few months ago. Sensing she wanted more than he could give, he snuck away in the night. Neither has seen the other since, until now. Mike is not a settling down kind of guy, and on the surface Diana is a settling down kind of woman. When they see each other again, the chemistry is as strong as ever, but so is the hurt Diana experienced. She has a lot going on in her life right now, and she’s determined not to put her heart out there for Mike again. The more she pushes away though, the more determined Mike is to be with her again, even if he doesn’t think he’s anyone’s long term. She is “…a stubborn veterinarian who made his head spin and wanted things from him that he had no business giving.”

As they slowly reconnect, really getting to know each other this time, Mike makes Diana forget what she wants, and Diana has Mike craving so much more…especially now that he has his daughters with him. But Mike is still so determined to go back to Alaska despite everything. Will anything really change or is Diana setting herself up for heart break again if she gets involved with Mike again? Mike and Diana are both strong characters in The Sweetheart Rules. They are people that despite some frustration with them, are easy to feel close to. Both of them have unresolved issues whether from childhood or adulthood, and some of them will just break your heart. This is making it difficult for either of them to commit to anyone else. I saw a lot of character growth in The Sweetheart Rules, and the growth was paced well throughout the book.

We are faced with more than just the question of what, if anything can become of Mike and Diana. There is so much more to The Sweetheart Rules than the romance of Mike and Diana! When you have mature characters, with a lot of life experience, a lot of ‘baggage’ that comes with them – it is never just about them, and Shirley gives us this in The Sweetheart Rules. It really adds a lot of depth and dimension to the whole story! There are numerous sub-plots that are essential to Diana and Mike’s story…from Mike’s evolving relationship with his daughters, Diana’s relationship with her son Jackson, the appearance and re-appearance of people from the past, and of course the hilarious Sweetheart Sisters, a meddling trio of senior citizens! All of this and the secondary characters really help to build up the story line, giving it strength.

Shirley deals with real issues in a sensitive way that brings the characters in The Sweetheart Rules to life. At the same time, we are entertained by engaging characters in a book that is smoothly written with easy transition from scene to scene. The Sweetheart Rules is the second book in this series, but enough background information is given throughout so that it can be read as a stand alone.

I’d recommend The Sweetheart Rules to any romance reader looking for a romance with mature characters, real life problems, and a strong story line that will carry you easily through the book.

Book Info:

4SPublished April 1st 2014 by Berkley

The Sweetheart Sisters are ready to give some old-school lessons in love…

Rescue Bay veterinarian Diana Tuttle is a great single mom, but she has a harder time taking care of herself. Having been burned in the past by her son’s noncommittal father, the last thing she wants is a man who isn’t in it for the long haul—until a foolish one-night stand from her past walks back into her life.

Coast Guard Lieutenant Mike Stark has never wanted to settle down. But when his ex-wife leaves their two small children on his doorstep, he is forced to become a family man in a hurry. His return to Rescue Bay, Florida and fatherhood isn’t easy, but reconnecting with Diana makes the challenge all the more worthwhile. Except becoming the long-term lover she has in mind may be one commitment too many…

Luckily, when Diana’s and Mike’s pasts begin to threaten their future, the Sweetheart Sisters have the perfect scheme to make this second chance last a lifetime.



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