Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Date of publication: October 2nd, 2018
Series: Real Love
America’s Sweetheart—Book 5
Old flames burn bright. When a disgraced starlet returns home to lick her wounds, she discovers that her high school sweetheart is just as tempting as ever.
“No one writes big-hearted bad boys like Jessica Lemmon!”—New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
Allison: When I left for California, I gave myself a new name and never looked back. Now my carefully crafted good-girl image is getting torn to shreds in the press thanks to my Oscar-winning A-hole of an ex-boyfriend. So I escape to the only safe haven I know and trust—my hometown—to take a breather while I plot my triumphant Hollywood comeback. However, when I arrive at my parents’ house, Jackson Burke answers the door instead. And suddenly the past comes rushing back. . . .
Jackson: First kiss. First time. First love. Yep, Allison Murphy and I shared many firsts back in the day. When she left, she took half my heart with her. Now she’s back in town, and even though I swore I’d keep my distance, her parents hired me to remodel their house, and I’m going to finish the job. But one hot kiss later, suddenly the press is calling us the next big celebrity couple. Sure, I’ll play the part, for Allison’s sake—but I refuse to let her close enough to break my heart all over again. . . .
I was excited to read America’s Sweetheart. For the most part, I was happy with what I read. It was a sexy, original second chance romance. But, I was left feeling “meh” about the characters, how a certain character’s backstory was explained, and the romance was boring. Not the sex, the romance.
America’s Sweetheart is a second-hand romance featuring Jackson and Allison. Jackson and Allison were high school sweethearts who broke up in college when their lives went in different directions. Allison became a famous TV star and Jackson is a successful business owner. 10 years after they broke up, they are reunited. After taking the fall for something her famous ex-boyfriend did, Allison came home to figure out what her next move would be. Jackson, a successful contractor, is remodeling Allison’s parents’ house when she waltzes back into his life. Soon, Jackson and Allison are thrown together into a “faux” relationship to throw off the paparazzi. But, what is supposed to be fake soon becomes real. Can Jackson and Allison get through that without breaking their hearts again?
I am a huge fan of second chance romances. I like them because it is awesome seeing two people separated by years fall back in love. But, in the case of America’s Sweetheart, I felt that the romance was boring. There needs to be a rekindling of the romance between those people. Not walking into their lives and falling back into the same relationship. Which is what happened to Jackson and Allison. Plus, I didn’t know what Allison felt from one day to the next about Jackson. Did she want to be with him? Was she using him? In the back of my head, I was going “What the heck is going on!!!“
If I thought the romance was lacking in this book, sex definitely wasn’t. The sexual attraction and chemistry that they had were intense. Which in turn made the sex scenes powerful. I did have an issue with Jackson going bareback with Allison after making sure she was clean. Sorry, but if I were having sex with someone after 10 years of not being with them, I would sure as hell make sure to have a box of condoms there. I know it is nitpicking and weird but I get skeeved out over that. Other than that, the sex was insane.
I thought that the storyline was different. I liked that the author had Allison’s ex-boyfriend steal the Oscar and then frame Allison for it. But what I didn’t like, and what confused the heck out of me, was that Allison’s POV about the Oscar theft was brought up in the middle of the book. Put it this way. I ended one chapter and began the next one with Allison at that party. I was like “What the heck. Shouldn’t that have been at the beginning of the book? Maybe as a prologue????” It made zero sense to have it added in the middle of the book. While it helped me with understanding Allison better, it interrupted the flow of the story.
I couldn’t connect with Allison. It’s not that I didn’t like her, I didn’t understand where her character was going from one chapter to the next. I was also bothered that I couldn’t tell what she felt for Jackson. I couldn’t figure out if it was for sex or if she loved Jackson. She also came across as a little spoiled. Which I expected because she had spent 10 years on a successful show. But still. I wish that I had seen more of the Allison that Jackson knew.
I did like Jackson. I could understand why he was wary of getting involved in any way with Allison. She destroyed him when they broke up. I got it. I even understood why he got involved with Allison’s dating scheme. Unlike Allison, he was pretty good to read. I could tell that he was falling for Allison. Everyone could. Because I couldn’t get a hold on her feelings for him, I was hoping that she wouldn’t stomp all over his feelings again.
The end of the book fell flat for me also. The author did a great job of wrapping up all the storylines. She also did a great job at giving Allison and Jackson their happy ending. It didn’t do it for me. I didn’t think that the ending scene and what Jackson did was romantic. If anything, it stoked Allison’s ego. Call me unromantic, but “eh“.
What I liked about America’s Sweetheart:
- Original storyline
- Second chance romance
- The sex
What I disliked about America’s Sweetheart:
- Couldn’t tell how Allison felt about Jackson for 90% of the book
- Allison’s side of the story thrown in the middle of the book.
- End of the book
I gave America’s Sweetheart a 3-star rating. I did like the storyline. I also liked that it was a second chance romance. Plus, the sex was hot. But, I didn’t like how Allison’s side of why she went home was put in the middle of the book. Which factored in my rating. Everything else that I didn’t like was just me. I couldn’t tell how Allison felt about Jackson. Also, the end of the book fell flat for me.
I would give America’s Sweetheart an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I am on the fence about rereading America’s Sweetheart. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends.
I would like to thank Loveswept, NetGalley, and Random House Publishing Group for allowing me to read and review America’s Sweetheart.
All opinions stated in this review of America’s Sweetheart are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**