20 Oct '12

A Nix Contemporary Review – Sugar Rush by Rachel Astor (3.75 Stars)

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Dulcie was left a legacy to protect when her mother died of cancer. The chocolate shop she was brought up in was a massive part of her mother’s life and it is now up to Dulcie to keep it thriving. On the one occasion that Dulcie decided to try to branch out from her Mothers recipe book, she was humiliated in front of a panel of her peers. Afraid to take any more risks, she sticks to the same chocolates, watching in despair as her business declines. When the invitation to the next Chocolateers competition arrives in the post, it’s clear she has to come up with something original or risk losing it all forever.

Across town, Nick helps manage his father’s chocolate shop that’s in the same town as Dulcie. He hates his job, seeing the busy kitchens from his childhood memories replaced by giant machines and automation. His true passion is cupcakes, but his Father believes too much in the family business for him to even try to suggest it. When he meets Dulcie, he realises that he may have met the woman for him, but then he finds out whom she really is and that he’ll be going up against her in the Chocolateers. Will he allow the competition to get in the way of an attraction that he hasn’t felt in a while?
With dirty dealings and family feuds, will our rival chocolateers be able to see that work isn’t everything? Or will they allow the competition to keep them apart.
This book is sweet. Not sickly sweet but sweet all the same. There is no sex in this book but the chemistry is still well written by the author. I enjoyed it and I’m quite surprised I did. As long time readers of this blog will attest, I like my smutty books but this one hit the right spot. I recommend it to people who like sweet romances, good-guy heroes and a relationship thwarted by misunderstandings.
Dulcie was an odd character to get to know. I wanted to like her but I wasn’t sure I could. She took everything her mother had said or did completely to heart, nearly driving herself to exhaustion trying to do everything she thought she would have wanted. She tried to juggle a master’s degree whilst running the shop; shockingly it doesn’t work. Meanwhile she is so worried about destroying her mother’s legacy, she won’t try to create anything new. She dreams of new recipes but they stay where they are created; in her head.  This, alongside the way she is so quick to believe that Nick is the bad guy throughout the book due to a ridiculous feud, didn’t warm me to her. I never felt I saw the real Dulcie; I just saw a product of her grief and fear.  Only the epilogue did I feel I could connect with her as a character. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t an annoying and mean character; she was just difficult to connect with.
In contrast, I really enjoyed Nick’s character. He didn’t give a toss about family ties; he just wanted to know Dulcie. He really did make an ass of himself at times because he didn’t think before he spoke, he simply stuck to the same routine he assumed women liked and it didn’t go over well! I loved that he made her things, loved that he tried to relate to her about things that she loved and was happy enough to defy his Father in order to get close to her. He was such a genuinely nice man and it was refreshing to see an uncomplicated man in a Romance!
The side story was very sweet and I particularly enjoyed the whole premise of a culinary competition purely for chocolate J  The character of the Grandma was hilarious; a Grandma that was a yoga fanatic with killer legs and a racy history? Just my cup of tea!
This was a sugary sweet treat with a hero that was a truly sexy good guy.  Yes, the heroine was a pain in the ass individually, but without her being that much of pain in the ass, Nick wouldn’t have had so many opportunities to be that jaw-droppingly swoon worthy.  I recommend this book as a beach read or a real feel good indulgence.
   

Nix

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