Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: Sweet Nothings by Janis Thomas

Sweet Nothings by Janis Thomas
Series: Standalone
Published: July 2nd, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Trade
386 pages (paperback)
Genre: Women’s fiction/chick lit
Acquired this book: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
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Life’s sweetest moments happen when you least expect them . . .

When Ruby McMillan’s husband announces one morning that he’s dumping her for another woman, she’s unable to decide which indignity stings the most: the dissolution of their eighteen-year marriage or the deflation of her white-chocolate soufflĂ© with raspberry Grand Marnier sauce. Without a good-bye to their two teenaged children, Walter leaves Ruby to cope with her ruined dessert, an unpaid mortgage, and her failing bakery.

With only royal icing holding her together, Ruby still manages to pick herself up and move on, subsidizing her income with an extra job as a baking instructor, getting a "my-husband’s-gone” makeover, and even flirting with her gorgeous mortgage broker, Jacob Salt. For as long as she can remember, Ruby has done what’s practical, eschewing far-fetched dreams and true love in favor of stability. But suddenly single again at the age of forty-four, she’s beginning to discover that life is most delicious when you stop following a recipe and just live.

Sweet Nothings is a hilarious and poignant look inside the life of a woman whose husband of almost two decades leaves her unexpectedly, sending her entire world into a tailspin. Ruby is nothing if not reliable and practical. She’s passionate about her job as a baker, but the passion stops there. She’s a great mother and she thought she was a good wife, but when her husband leaves her for another woman, she realizes she was never truly happy with her life.

I really liked Ruby. She’s got a strong voice, and her thoughts are very candid which I loved (for the most part). I felt like I really got inside her head and got to know her - what drives her, what’s important to her, what she wants in life for herself and her family. Her life was sort of like a comedy of errors; things would be going along great and then BAM disaster strikes and she’s left to pick up the pieces. She’s strong and resilient, and I admired her as a woman, a mother, a friend, and a businessperson.

Sweet Nothings starts out strong - I was completely engrossed from the first page - and it carries on strong until about the middle when it starts to lag a bit. It feels strange saying this since I’m a total romance junkie, but it was the romance in the story that fell flat for me. I didn’t like how aware Ruby was of Jacob every second he was around, and she talked incessantly about her vagina’s reaction to him, which I really could have done without. It was funny at first but got to be tiresome pretty quickly. I was actually ready to set the book aside and not finish it because I couldn’t imagine how it could possibly carry on for another 100+ pages, but I fought through, and I’m glad I did. It returned to the style I loved in the beginning of the book, and finished strong.

Ruby’s not the only great character in this book. I really liked her children -they’re believable, and I loved the relationship Ruby has with them. It’s not perfect and it’s definitely not all smooth sailing, but it’s realistic, and I enjoyed that. I liked Ruby’s best friend and business partner, Izzy, and I liked a few of the other minor characters, Shane in particular. The love interest, Jacob, is a real conundrum - in some ways he’s good for Ruby, and in other ways I wondered what she saw in him. I found it hard to get invested in their relationship, even though they have moments I really enjoyed.

Overall, it was a joy watching Ruby grow throughout Sweet Nothings. She learns so much about herself and life in general, proving that you’re never too old to grow and change, even when things seem insurmountable or when it feels like you’re too old to lead a different life from the one you’ve always led. Funny, touching, and genuine, Sweet Nothings is a must-read for fans of women’s fiction.

 3.75 stars
Have you read Sweet Nothings? What did you think? If you haven't read it, does it sound like something you'd be interested in? Do you enjoy women's fiction?


  1. I normally tend to stay away from books dealing with marriage, but this one looks so funny that I think I want to give it a try.

    Great review :)

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  2. This one looks cute. I actually enjoy a fun chicklit book now and then.


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