4-star,  F/M,  Sweet sweeter sweetest

Sweetheart (Busy Bean #1) by Sarah Mayberry

Release Date: March 1

This is a wonderful little story and a cute, low-angst romance.

However, there’s a trigger that I was unaware of before starting, namely mental illness in a family member. And I can’t honestly say I would have read this book had I known that in advance. The romance-part in itself is low-angst and super sweet. But I can say with certainty that this story will not be perceived as such by those who have personal experience of a loved one with a mental disorder.

Synopsis: This is the story of Haley, newly hired barista at the Busy Bean, and Beck, the hot lumberjack who roasts the best coffee beans in the vicinity. (Wow. When it’s described like that, it sounds lame as hell. But it isn’t, I promise!) Haley and Beck sort of get off on the wrong foot. Or rather, when Beck realize that Haley’s the sister of his ex, he pretty much tries to stay as far away from her as he can. It doesn’t last of course, because they have c-h-e-m-i-s-t-r-y. However, Beck was seriously messed up by Haley’s sister. For Beck to pursue Haley he doesn’t just have to overcome the mental abuse from his past, he also has to invite the person who abused him back into his life.

This story takes place in Sarina Bowen’s True North universe, so you could say I read this book with some heavily, rose tinted glasses. And I realize this is somewhat of a problem. Sweetheart is the start of a brand new series, but for me, the world-building is already done. I know all about it, so it’s really easy to just slide right into the story and immediately feel at home. What I’m saying is that I can’t be an un-biased judge of the world-building in Sweetheart. And I have no idea how someone new to the True North world will view this story.

For me though? It’s like re-visiting old friends. That I love. So despite that this book absolutely can be read as a stand-alone, I still can’t think that the best way to enjoy it is to read all of the True North books first.

It’s like, sure, you can drink that glass of wine all by itself, but wouldn’t you like some cheese and fruit to go with it? And maybe an orgasm or two?

Anyway. Haley and Beck were the sweetest. I really appreciated that the struggles they had, and the obstacles they faced before their HEA wasn’t about them per se, but it was from an outside source – Haley’s sister. I think the older I get, the more I appreciate the MCs being grounded and less high-strung. And both Haley and Beck were like that. Sincere. Mature.

But about the trigger (I really hope there will be a trigger-warning when this book is released), the circumstances described in this story hit me HARD. As someone who grew up with a family-member with a mental disorder, this story had me extremely emotional. The walking on eggshells, the “handling”, the excuses. The parent trying to cover up and shield the rest of us, but failing. It was painful as hell to read because it brought back so many bad memories.

So basically, if you have no personal experience with mental illness, go ahead and read this cute romance! It’s so well-written and an absolute joy! However, if mental illness is a trigger for you, you might want to stay away.


I'm a Swedish book nerd reading mostly steamy English romance novels. And since there is so much good stuff out there, and so much shitty stuff too. I just want to give credit where it's due (and diss the rest).