“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.
Melanie’s 5 (BIG) Star Review:
It’s as if the book gods have decided to shower us with opportunities to review incredible books as of late. Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino is definitely on top of that list. When I am approached by an author for a free copy of a book in exchange for an honest review, I find myself holding my breath and crossing my fingers that it’s a book that I would be able to connect with. Well, I was doing a happy dance within the first few pages of Sweet Thing and had to personally message Renee with a quick note letting her know that I had absolutely fallen in love with her writing. I fell head over heels over her writing style even before I had a chance to fully embrace her characters- this has NEVER, EVER happened to me!!! I am big on characters (especially the heroine) as they drive my relationship with the book. I had to blink away the foreign concept a couple of times just to make sure I wasn’t in la la land, imagining things. Then… BAM! The characters rapidly shaped their way into my heart. It was like the author’s writing being the ultimate climax and then the characters being the unexpected surge of a second leaving me seeing fireworks.
Mia Kelly, a straight laced beautiful young lady who at first glance looks so perfectly put together- someone whose life’s plans are drawn up and harmoniously in tact. Mia’s character was such a conundrum- superbly written, which kept me on my toes. I was so drawn to the heroine that I became Mia Kelly. I was Mia Kelly who had just lost her father and I was the Mia Kelly trying to figure out what the hell I was doing at a cafe in New York City. She invaded me and completely took the “out of body” experience to a whole new level. Mia goes through the very meaning of self discovery as she hangs in limbo and fights against her life’s passion believing that living the “planned” life is what is best for her. The one and half year journey she undergoes with some of the most engaging people, took me for a tail spin- “do I throw my kindle against my wall or do I persevere through each and every page along with her?”
” She is headed somewhere, possibly the first stop on that brutal journey of self discovery. Like the rest of us, she will have to learn the hard way that we are not always in control. Sometimes it takes the love of others to show us who we really are.” – Lauren on Mia
Wilbur (Will) Ryan’s character is soulful, fascinating, and like Mia, enigmatic. He captured me from the very first time I “laid my eyes on him”. His lively and expressive personality had me entirely reeling for more. Will was the cause of my 2 day perma-smile (guess I could thank him for the Joker look I’d had to pull off). I don’t think there has been a male character like him I’d ever met. That’s #2 on the “wait did I just say that?!” on this review. Will Ryan, will you be mine?
“It’s when you realize what mercy killing actually means: it’s when you actually care to the point of tormenting worry. It’s not roses and white horses, it’s fucking brutal, and it can send a person running for the hills. To love is brave, and Will was the bravest person I knew.” – Mia on Will
The author not only gives her readers two very strong main characters, but she surrounds both of them with equally interesting and profound supporting characters. Two of whom I especially loved.
Martha who is a second mother figure to Mia. I thought her character could write fortune cookies and self-help books for a living. Someone who has lived through years of life- who has learned from both the beauty and the ugly of it.
“You have to teach your heart and mind how to sing together… then you’ll hear the sound of your soul.”
And.. Jenny, Mia’s polar opposite best girlfriend. I respected her directness and her ability to be a true friend. She wasn’t afraid to step on Mia’s toes and she knew when to step back. I think that’s a hard medium to give a character.
“Her expression changed from tolerance to sympathy. She had my best interests at heart and I didn’t always like what she had to say, but usually she was right. Sometimes things were as black and white as she saw them, and even though she wanted to help me she knew when to step back- she knew when she couldn’t help.”– Mia on Jenny
Mia and Will’s story isn’t an easy one. It left me frustrated many times and I felt like steam was blowing out of my ears from page to page to page. What kept me from throwing my kindle against the wall was the seamless execution of the story line. Each and every pull and push between Will and Mia and even just Mia herself had a purpose. The author had no intention of leading her readers astray. Each and every exasperating emotion she extracted from me were all so worth while. No reader ever wants straightforward and smooth sailing. We are all driven by the ups and downs, the passion, and ultimately the blissful release at the end of the book. This had it all.
What really blew my mind was that Renee was able to comprehensively build in all four types of love between Mia and Will. They had an undeniable affection (1) towards each other which came so naturally, from the very first time they came into each other’s lives- whether unconsciously for Mia and blatantly obvious to Will. A friendship (2) that fell into their laps which both were so certain about and one that many in a lifetime would pay millions for. A relentlessness romance (3) that could cause tears of joy and grief. One that Mia so fought against and Will to hide behind in fear of losing his one and only. Finally an unconditional love (4) that had quickly built between the two. The magical chemistry they share with each other was truly the icing on the cake for me. Will’s ability to put himself last, in order for Mia to find herself- to deal with the loss of her father and to find her life’s meaning was brutally grand. Their uphill battle of a love story is by far the most worthwhile I’ve read in a long while.
Sweet Thing was a mystical read. I could see exactly why Renee Carlino was picked up by a Publisher and the book a USA bestseller. I thank you, Miss Carlino for bringing me out of my book funk and for breaking an all time “this has never happened to me” record. I look forward to Will’s POV and to many, many more from you.
I Like It Big Quotes:
“Wisdom is not the same as information; It’s something entirely different. It’s often mistaken for good advice, but wisdom cannot be imparted to someone. Wisdom can only be earned; it’s a byproduct of experience, not necessarily knowledge, otherwise I would be stalking Oprah right now, begging for a transfusion”.
“the memory is a reminder of who I am among all the chaos that is life”.
“it’s a sign of pure pain and pure surrender when your soul cries without any fight from your body”
“I grabbed a piece of cheese, ate it, and then drank the tequila, slower that recommended. I’m sure. Gross! That was disgusting. Your theory sucks, Will”…. “I know, I just though we needed an ice breaker.”
” You know I’ve been doing that yoga stuff with Beverly over at the senior center?” There was a long pause.. I turned to read Paddy’s expression. He looked thoroughly disappointed. “But we’re Catholic, Joe.”
“Whatever you need me to be, I’ll be! Friends? Fine! Best friends? Great! I’ll do it, because I want you in my life more than anything I have ever wanted.”
I Like It Big Eye Candy:
I Like It Big Tunes:
You Got Growin’ Up To Do- Joshua Radin
Falling In Love At a Coffee Shop- Landon Pigg
Dream- Priscilla Ahn
Magic- Colbi Calliat
I Like This Author Big:
Renee’s first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven’t gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she’s a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80’s movies staring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.
I Like It Big Author Stalking: