I don't read a ton of small town romances because many times that can be code for middle of America white small town and I'm not interested in that. Happily, K.M. Jackson's Sugar Lake series is definitely not. Jackson's writing of family dynamics shine particularly when Kellen's love for his grandmother is allowed to take center stage, as highlighted by his hesitations and actions.
Kellen's grandfather has passed away before the book begins and Kellen is working on selling his grandparent’s small town movie theater. Meanwhile Drea is collaborating with his grandmother, Mrs. Betty, on renovating and updating said theater. Of course they have major conflicts over this and various hijinks ensue. Generally those hijinks really worked for me, as banter is my catnip and Drea and Kellen immediately butt heads upon meeting and trade sarcastic barbs quite a bit. He's thrown off by her opening the bakery a bit late and then when he finds out about her involvement with the renovations things only get worse. I loved Mrs. Betty's meddling as she encourages the chemistry that develops between them.
What didn't work as well for me was that I never quite got a grasp on Kellen's motivations for really wanting to sell the theater. He wants to have bigger and better - which I definitely understood - but he also clearly loves his grandmother. I spent much of the book waiting for the other shoe to drop as to the real reason he was so anxious to get rid of the property, but it never came. There’s also a cute use of nicknames throughout the book and I liked it…to a point. At the beginning of the book it’s a bit too much, so much so that I couldn’t follow who they were referring to. But when the names settle into one name for each MC I appreciated and enjoyed them.
I enjoyed book one of this series but this one stands alone and can be easily picked up without confusion. If you love black and white classic movies or if your favorite aunt is constantly baking you the most amazing pies, Too Sweet to be Good could work well for you.
[Editor's note: this is a low-heat romance with a couple of on-page kisses.]
Content Warning: death off page
Melinda received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.