Sugar Springs (Sugar Springs, #1)Wow. Sugar Springs seems to me to be more of a viper pit than a town. Everyone gossips – about everyone. And there seems to be a contest going on between Mrs. G, the town’s biggest gossip, and Lee Ann London’s mother, Reba, for who can ‘scoop the most poop’ if you get my meaning. Heck, Reba even gossips about her own daughter – the daughter, by the way, who took in the twin babies of her nasty, self-centered half-sister when Lee Ann herself was just out of high school. The sister, by the way, who banged Lee Ann’s boyfriend, Cody Dalton, on the living room couch, knowing that Lee Ann was due home any minute and would walk in on the scene. And when said banging produced the baby girls, Candy and Kendra, and nasty sister Stephanie died five days after the birth, Lee Ann took them to raise as her own. Working two jobs, as a waitress in the local café in the mornings and as a studio photographer the rest of the time, Lee Ann has done a marvelous job raising strong, capable, sweet natured girls for thirteen years with minimal help from her flighty mother. They own their own home, the girls are happy and healthy, and everything is good.

Until Cody Dalton comes back into town. He is only staying for six weeks, filling in for the local vet who is going on maternity leave. Cody was the local bad boy who went out with a bang, smashing windows, hooking up his foster father’s truck to the statue in the town square and dragging it behind the truck till the bumper fell off, and stealing said truck to run off into the sunset the same day he did the nasty deed with Stephanie. And now, he is back – and Lee Ann has to decide whether it is safe to let him see the girls. He told Stephanie the day the girls were born that she could just toss them into foster care, so why would Lee Ann even consider placing ‘her’ girls anywhere within the vicinity of a man who could be so cold and callous? And yet, she does.

I wanted to like this book, I really did – but in the end? It was just too sugary sweet, an overdose of precious with a side of smarmy forgiveness. It doesn’t ring true, or believable. It is just flippin’ irritating. And that hurts, because Kim Law’s Montana Cherries was amazing. What a letdown.

Maybe it is simply that I have had a bad run of books lately, but “Doormat” seems to be in fashion. Cody betrays not only Lee Ann in the end, but also betrays his own daughters, never mind that he has sworn that he will ‘do his best to be a good father’. And the betrayal is nasty, planned, and unforgivable. And yet, Lee Ann, and even the girls, simply roll over and take it, and it is all sunshine and lollipops and hugs and kisses within two pages.

Bah. Humbug. The whole thing is just over-the-top, though I am sure other reviewers will find it, “Just so Adorable, Bless your heart! A star for the cover, though this book got Kim Law kicked straight off my Read List.