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Ain't She Sweet?

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Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Published: 2006 by Piatkus (first published February 17th 2004)

Format: Paperback , 464 pages

Isbn: 9780749935085

Language: English


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In high school Sugar Carey had reigned supreme. She alone had decided what or who was cool. Her spiral perm had been the perm against which all others were measured, and her opinion on which boys were acceptable to date the only one that counted. A beautiful, blonde - if not always benevolent - dictator, she had a reputation for being the wild child in her home town, the g In high school Sugar Carey had reigned supreme. She alone had decided what or who was cool. Her spiral perm had been the perm against which all others were measured, and her opinion on which boys were acceptable to date the only one that counted. A beautiful, blonde - if not always benevolent - dictator, she had a reputation for being the wild child in her home town, the girl most likely to set the world on fire, and leave a trail of destruction in her wake. When she left home she swore she'd never return. Only now, fifteen years and several husbands later, she's run out of money, luck and options...But Sugar arrives back home to discover that everyone else is living her life. Her half sister is married to Sugar's high school sweetheart, the teacher she schemed to get fired is now a successful novelist and owns her old house. She also discovers that people have long memories - especially where Sugar is concerned...

30 review for Ain't She Sweet?

  1. 5 out of 5

    A.

    5 Stars I'm blown away. Suddenly all other books look pale in comparison. Even those I've five-starred before. You know that saying about readers and different tastes? I wish it wasn't true. Because I want all of you to see its beauty. I want all of you to experience everything I felt while reading it. I want all of you to adore it as much as I do. I am not ready to move on to the next book. Am not ready. 5 Stars I'm blown away. Suddenly all other books look pale in comparison. Even those I've five-starred before. You know that saying about readers and different tastes? I wish it wasn't true. Because I want all of you to see its beauty. I want all of you to experience everything I felt while reading it. I want all of you to adore it as much as I do. I am not ready to move on to the next book. Am not ready.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jasmin

    Have you ever experienced reading and enjoying it, until the author says something, which is quite unforgiveable that it destroyed almost everything? Well, I did. Susan Elizabeth Phillips had done that mistake. One of the characters of the book described a pug, UGLY. I love pugs. How can this pug be ugly? Pugsley, my pet dog, God bless his soul, is really adorable. How could anyone call him ugly? And now, Pugsley is crying. But despite my seething anger, I continued on, chanting She called a pug ugly Have you ever experienced reading and enjoying it, until the author says something, which is quite unforgiveable that it destroyed almost everything? Well, I did. Susan Elizabeth Phillips had done that mistake. One of the characters of the book described a pug, UGLY. I love pugs. How can this pug be ugly? Pugsley, my pet dog, God bless his soul, is really adorable. How could anyone call him ugly? And now, Pugsley is crying. But despite my seething anger, I continued on, chanting She called a pug ugly again and again. But obviously, the chanting didn't work. I still loved this book. How could I hate it, when I was still up 3am in the morning, trying to finish it? And, pray, tell me, how I could hate a book with a hero who has a British accent? That got me all weak in the knees already. Speaking aside, the story is cute and the happily ending well deserved. The bantering of the H/h is refreshing. The dialogues are all witty and humorous. I was laughing loud so often, I thought the doctors are going to take me away. The plot, though not actually unique, (the heroine had three ex-husbands and was a mean ass is high school) is still good, since Susan Elizabeth Phillips added tons of new stuff to it, that it became an original. I should also mention that this book taught me that it's never too late for love. Despite all the heartaches that can come my way, we should never close our doors. And also, it's never to late to ask for sorry. This book is 97th on the All About Romance Top 100 list. And I'm wondering why it isn't any higher. BTW, Susan, I forgive you for saying that a pug is ugly. However, I think Pugsley does not. He takes things quite seriously. He is deeply hurt, thus, the frown.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    5 Stars! A book you can sink your teeth into. It consumed me. In no way did I think these characters could endear themselves to me, particularly Sugar Beth, but much to my surprise not only did I like them, I was rooting for a good outcome! No one, I mean no one, can write snarky witty dialogue like SEP can, and how she managed to make me like some of these characters is beyond my thinking at the moment. I don’t even know where to start with this one, but in the beginning, I just couldn’t see how 5 Stars! A book you can sink your teeth into. It consumed me. In no way did I think these characters could endear themselves to me, particularly Sugar Beth, but much to my surprise not only did I like them, I was rooting for a good outcome! No one, I mean no one, can write snarky witty dialogue like SEP can, and how she managed to make me like some of these characters is beyond my thinking at the moment. I don’t even know where to start with this one, but in the beginning, I just couldn’t see how anything good could come of this story, but hell, what do I know?! You just don’t know about someone, until you really get to know them. You think you know what drives them, but do you really?! Talk about a mean girl, Sugar Beth takes the crown, and yet, she turned out to be one of the most appealing characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to read about. Colin is the last person you would think could forgive, but not until he's exacted his revenge. However, revenge can be bittersweet, especially when the one you want to hurt is the last person in the world you should be hurting, but you don’t realize it until everything is set in motion, then it just becomes painful and you are powerless to stop it. Sugar Beth's strength and resolve floored Colin and me! I will stop rambling now, but if you are looking for something different, a book that will make your head spin, make you contemplate why people do what they do, then read this! The ending is worth the pain it drags everyone through, including the reader! *Thank you KarLyn for recommending this SEP! It’s no wonder it’s one of your favorites, it’s now one of mine too! I can definitely see myself reading this again!

  4. 5 out of 5

    ♥Sharon♥

    No surprise here! I loved it when I read it and I loved it just a little more when I listened to it. ************************************************ Keeping this one short and sweet! ❤ Most of you already know that Susan Elizabeth Phillips is one my most favorite authors. I had gone on a binge not too long ago and read through quite a few of her books, falling in love with most all of them. I had saved a few for my inevitable need for a little of the magic she so easily delivers with her writing. No surprise here! I loved it when I read it and I loved it just a little more when I listened to it. ************************************************ Keeping this one short and sweet! ❤ Most of you already know that Susan Elizabeth Phillips is one my most favorite authors. I had gone on a binge not too long ago and read through quite a few of her books, falling in love with most all of them. I had saved a few for my inevitable need for a little of the magic she so easily delivers with her writing. Ain't She Sweet gave me that magic and it was a fabulous read. It was SEP telling a story in her true form. Giving us two main characters that were completely lovable apart and when they were together they were delectable. Then top that off with side characters that are fun and quirky and you get all of the greatness. They truly are the ones that strengthens the story line and wraps everything together perfectly. I'm happy. I'm content. If you love SEP and haven't read this one, move it up your TBR. You are missing out on a gem.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    The girl everybody loves to hate has returned to the town she'd sworn to leave behind forever. As the rich, spoiled princess of Parrish, Mississippi, Sugar Beth Carey had broken hearts, ruined friendships, and destroyed reputations. But fifteen years have passed, and life has taught Sugar Beth its toughest lessons. Now she's come home—broke, desperate, and too proud to show it Liked this one a lot. Had read it years ago but had sort of forgotten what it was about. Sugar Beth was such a strong cha The girl everybody loves to hate has returned to the town she'd sworn to leave behind forever. As the rich, spoiled princess of Parrish, Mississippi, Sugar Beth Carey had broken hearts, ruined friendships, and destroyed reputations. But fifteen years have passed, and life has taught Sugar Beth its toughest lessons. Now she's come home—broke, desperate, and too proud to show it Liked this one a lot. Had read it years ago but had sort of forgotten what it was about. Sugar Beth was such a strong character. Yeah, she had grown up in the fifteen years since she had left... Aren't most girls kinda bitches in High School? Maybe not all, but some. But would the town of Parrish forgive and forget. And would the High School English teacher forgive and forget also. “Colin : “Perhaps now is the time to tell you that I have a weakness for agreeable women.” Sugar Beth : “Well, that sure does leave me out.” Colin : “Exactly. With agreeable women, I’m unendingly considerate. Gallant even.” Sugar Beth : “But with tarts like me, the gloves are off, is that it?” Colin : “I wouldn’t exactly call you a tart. But then, I tend to be broad-minded.” Colin Byrne (yeah, his Dad was Irish) came across as a bit of a Dandy and a Fop! But still a lovable Dandy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    ★★★½ I've never been around to attend my high school reunions when they pop up, but sometimes I wish I could go just to see how far some of those wannabe socialites have fallen from their high horse. I know it's kind of mean, but let's just say my school years were not kind. In Ain't She Sweet, a whole town is granted this satisfaction. When the once powerful and cutthroat Sugar Carey comes home with her tail between her legs, all the roles are suddenly reversed. No one likes her anymore, no one ★★★½ I've never been around to attend my high school reunions when they pop up, but sometimes I wish I could go just to see how far some of those wannabe socialites have fallen from their high horse. I know it's kind of mean, but let's just say my school years were not kind. In Ain't She Sweet, a whole town is granted this satisfaction. When the once powerful and cutthroat Sugar Carey comes home with her tail between her legs, all the roles are suddenly reversed. No one likes her anymore, no one has time for her anymore, and EVERYONE wants her to know it. Ms. Phillips never disappoints with her characters and Ain't She Sweet is a great example. It has humor, romance, and a life lesson. One lesson I learned from this story and the characters is that people can change...life changes each and every one of us, and we should give others the emotional opportunity to start fresh again. If you like Susan Elizabeth Phillips's writing then don't miss out on this one! My favorite quote: “We’re all works in progress, honey." Note: I was conflicted about my rating. While this wasn't my favorite SEP novel, I did enjoy it. One factor that may have affected my overall enjoyment was the audiobook experience. I typically adore Kate Flemings' (aka Anna Fields) narration but the male lead's voice just didn't work for me. In my opinion, the romance felt less than romantic during the male-toned narration. Reading it off the page may be a better way to go if I do a re-read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jo ★The Book Sloth★

    I thought I'd write a review on this book this time around but.... I thought I'd write a review on this book this time around but....

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    It is six o'clock in the morning. I have no reason to be up right now except for the fact that finishing this book gave me the worst night's sleep I've had in a long time. Man this book bothered me! (Please excuse the following rant, I really need to get this out of my system!!!) First off, I love SEP, and I have a habit of finishing her books in one sitting because of how good they are. This time I finished the book in one sitting because I was so frustrated I couldn't bear to go to bed with it It is six o'clock in the morning. I have no reason to be up right now except for the fact that finishing this book gave me the worst night's sleep I've had in a long time. Man this book bothered me! (Please excuse the following rant, I really need to get this out of my system!!!) First off, I love SEP, and I have a habit of finishing her books in one sitting because of how good they are. This time I finished the book in one sitting because I was so frustrated I couldn't bear to go to bed with it unfinished. To begin with, the whole Winnie premise made not a lick of sense to me - she MARRIED Ryan, for God's sake, and became best friend with every mean hateful girl from highschool. Forgave every.single.one. Not one grudge held on any of them....??? And her best friends hate Sugar Beth for forgetting them after highschool? Seriously? That's the reason to be so cruel? And suddenly they're Winnie's best friends? Seriously? These characters need to GROW UP. I just couldn't handle it. It literally set my teeth on edge. Winnie was uncompromising and mean. Look, she had it rough I grant you and Sugar Beth was terrible during highschool. The things she did were horribly mean spirited and I felt so sorry for Winnie. There needed to be some come-uppance, but I hated how it was handled. I especially hated Winnie's inability to feel ANY empathy. It completely ruined her as a character. From her very first comment: "let the games begin" I started to dislike her. Winnie had already got EVERYTHING - the whole town was on her side, everyone already knew Sugar Beth had been terrible, and Winnie had inherited (and sold) every single piece of Sugar Beth's history. Seriously, the comeuppance had already HAPPENED. So when she was so rude at the party I could agree with Colin that I was ashamed she couldn't rise above the situation. Even after the wine down the front of her shirt when she told Sugar Beth to get her fork...my God I could have screamed. Honestly. Screamed. Sugar Beth needed to be taken to task for her behaviour, yes. But her comment "I feel like I was raped" after Colin's book is published is apt. They really whipped her raw. And no fancy wedding made up for that for me. THIS WAS TERRIBLE.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    RE-RE-RE-RE-RE-----READ!!! FAV HEROINE EVER!!! TOP 1 HEROINE! FAV MAIN CHARACTERS EVER!!!! LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Multiple reread, 5 stars!!! Brilliant, beautiful story!! love this book! Just love it!!! It's my 3 or 4 re-read. I love this book! I adore MCs. Shitty parents don't deserve being parents!!! Reread in 2019. Excellent! Still one of my favourite books!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Proffitt

    3 June 2018 reread: This is as good as I remembered. I acquired the audio via Overdrive to see if that made a difference. It did, but not for the better (which was a surprise as I generally enjoy a Southern accent and this has lots of those). I didn't like the emotional interpretation, particularly near the end when Sugar Beth is uncertain. The narrator added frantic and more despair than I think was warranted. Also, the narrator inflected some of the Grand Sophy quotes (each chapter starts with 3 June 2018 reread: This is as good as I remembered. I acquired the audio via Overdrive to see if that made a difference. It did, but not for the better (which was a surprise as I generally enjoy a Southern accent and this has lots of those). I didn't like the emotional interpretation, particularly near the end when Sugar Beth is uncertain. The narrator added frantic and more despair than I think was warranted. Also, the narrator inflected some of the Grand Sophy quotes (each chapter starts with a Heyer quote) in ways you'd know were wrong if you were familiar with the story and that irked me, too. ----------------- This was a complete delight from start to finish. Francis Elizabeth (who everybody calls Sugar Beth because this is the South, apparently) was a very rich and entitled teen in a very small town. Her dad was the most important businessman and her mom the most important social director. For the most part, it seems her rule was strict though benevolent, but with two exceptions. The first is (view spoiler)[her half-sister (hide spoiler)] Winnie Davis. Sugar Beth takes every opportunity to isolate, pick on, and even terrorize the lonely brain. The second is the new, young teacher she got fired by leveling accusations of sexual misconduct. And then she went on to college where she torched all her remaining connection to the town by callously dumping her High School sweetheart and being too good for her friends. So Sugar Beth was very bad, with some outright evil in her past. And her life went downhill from there with a string of no-good exes and a drop into poverty. And like many (but not all) who find themselves at the end of their resources, Sugar Beth did some soul searching so we find her at the beginning of this book as a reformed woman forced by circumstances to return to town and take all the bitter recriminations and payback she knows she deserves. Making this go from potentially painful to probable torture is that Winnie Davis is now the town social director and she married Sugar's HS sweetheart who is now the owner of the local company enterprise and leading businessman. So Sugar has been a hiss and a byword for near a decade. What made this engaging is that Sugar Beth doesn't indulge in excuses or try to manipulate others on the strength of her reformation. Yes, she's a better person, but she also knows exactly what she did and that she pretty much deserves all the petty spite she receives. Part of her new-found strength is becoming self-reliant enough to trust her heart and to be honestly doing her best to be kind and helpful even as she's trying to find the McGuffin she needs to take care of a dependent who needs her. So she's strong and courageous and in such a way that she doesn't feel she has to prove it to everybody else. And, of course, that teacher she got fired? Yeah, he's back, too, and interested in his pound of flesh. I liked Colin and I was really glad that SEP kept his revenge reasonable (he really is a fundamentally nice guy). Given that this is a romance and we knew he'd come to regret being mean it was good to see him, yes, enjoy the payback a bit, but also to understand that he isn't so much the bitter jerk he could have been as he is a mostly-nice guy presented with a golden opportunity for some quality entertainment. Plus, his banter with Sugar Beth is outstanding. Seriously, it is worth the read for that alone. I really enjoyed the underlying theme of redemption and kindness and empowerment and being true to yourself. And I liked that Sugar's repentance was independent of the forgiveness extended by others. She apologized, sincerely, and that was really all she could do at this stage as her ability to repair anything had been stripped by the disaster her life had become. It took a lot of strength of character and I loved seeing her rise to the occasion—and watching that affect and engage and even inspire Colin was rather fun as well. And SEP knocks the secondary characters and plots out of the park as well. Since this takes place in a small Southern town, that's important to note. I won't go into details except to say that I really liked how it came together with all the complexity it needed, without bogging down the main plotline unduly. So yeah, strong on all fronts and a solid five stars. A note about Steamy: I let too much time pass before reviewing this, so I no longer recall the exact number of explicit sex scenes. It was the middle of my steam tolerance but edging up, as I recall. And yes, there was a secondary romance with some heat to it, as well. Frankly, I really enjoyed that secondary romance as it involved another redemption/forgiveness arc, but in a completely different way from Sugar's.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ingie

    Review written June 16, 2016 3.8 Stars - An ironic, emotional and entertaining black sheep returner romance in great SEP style 'Ain't She Sweet?', a standalone (non series) romance from 2004 written by one of my absolutely most admired and beloved m/f romance authors in this traditional "light & nice" contemporary genre. Always much joy and heart. ...So even this time. A nearly perfect SEP story, but for me, a few weaknesses in the audiobook edition. Thus, a lower rating ranking this tim Review written June 16, 2016 3.8 Stars - An ironic, emotional and entertaining black sheep returner romance in great SEP style 'Ain't She Sweet?', a standalone (non series) romance from 2004 written by one of my absolutely most admired and beloved m/f romance authors in this traditional "light & nice" contemporary genre. Always much joy and heart. ...So even this time. A nearly perfect SEP story, but for me, a few weaknesses in the audiobook edition. Thus, a lower rating ranking this time. — I listened to the 11:35 hours audiobook narrated by Kate Flemming (aka Kate Fleming or more known as Anna Fields), a established usually very good SEP-narrator. ********************************************** Parrish, Mississippi US 'Ain't She Sweet?' is the 15 years later returning, three times married, admirable tough woman, Sugar Beth Carey's, and the by now famous local author, once a young British highschool teacher, Colin Byrne's, struggling and bumpy "Enemy to Lovers" story. « The tiny town of Parrish, MS, isn't exactly welcoming wild child Sugar Beth Carey home with open arms. Nobody has forgotten the former town princess's selfish and demanding ways... » She, Sugar Beth (a silly name or?), is without even a penny but sha has an old aunt's small legacy and a very famous artist's old painting to hope for. He, Colin has revenge and repayment to look forward to. Moreover, he now owns the big southern house our heroine grew up in. Colin also hangs out with her old boyfriend .... who in his turn now is married to the girl Sugar Beth used to bully and make life miserable for every day then back in their teen years. It is a mess and this, to begin with, rather unsympathetic, by life worn, tired and very cynical heroine has hurdles to cross. Nobody likes her. NO ONE wants Sugar Beth back in Parrish. 'Ain't She Sweet?' is a wonderful story in the very best Susan Elizabeth Phillips style. Funny scenes, heartbreaking moments, hilarious dialogue and a wonderful bunch of interesting second characters. Add, as always, a fantastic brave and easy to like heroine and all in all great (believable adult) heartwarming love. Me loving! (...Me need more SEP books more often.) My only small complaint is that the, in every other way great, narrator this time partly destroyed the sexy hero by doing his voice way too ridiculously silly. Perhaps that is how Americans see and hear the Brits (and their in my opinion mostly fine English language speaking) but for me was it too much. His voice did it in the end hard for me to feel him as the "Dream MAN" and truly take him to my romantic heart. ...Sadly on an otherwise very good and fabulous well narrated audiobook. My recommendation is thus; read the book this time instead of spending money on an expensive audio book. ********************************************** I LIKE - a solid good SEP every time

  12. 5 out of 5

    Duchess Nicole

    I loved this book...except for the moments I hated it. This review is for the audiobook version. The narrator did a fantastic job on everything except for the hero's voice. It was awful. It sounded like some eighty year old British guy...no exaggeration. It was terrible So unsexy that it really ruined the romance aspect for me. Oddly enough, she did a fantastic job at all of the rest of the voices. Inflection and accents and everything were just spot on. Aside from narration, this book was one o I loved this book...except for the moments I hated it. This review is for the audiobook version. The narrator did a fantastic job on everything except for the hero's voice. It was awful. It sounded like some eighty year old British guy...no exaggeration. It was terrible So unsexy that it really ruined the romance aspect for me. Oddly enough, she did a fantastic job at all of the rest of the voices. Inflection and accents and everything were just spot on. Aside from narration, this book was one of SEP's that I wasn't sure about reading. Well...I knew I would read it eventually. It is Susan Elizabeth Phillips, after all. But the premise is very different, and the heroine was not someone I was at all sure that I could like. I was wrong. She ended up being the best part about this book. It was all the other grown up twelve year olds that bothered me. The big deal of the story is that the heroine, Sugar Beth Carey, was the poor little rich girl back in high school. No one knew about the "poor little" part, however. Because, like most bullies, Sugar was hiding behind a false bravado of fantastic clothes and masses of limp followers. The person she tortured most of all? Her father's illegitimate daughter. The one he really loved, the one he spent time with, the one he treated as a father should treat a daughter...and the one he left his vast fortune and all of his earthly treasures. Sugar Beth is returning home now, after three marriages...two of which failed miserably and one that broke her heart. But her hometown, and especially the man who is now living in her childhood home, want nothing more than to put Sugar in her place....again, and again, and again. After the initial introduction and setup for this story were in place, it really settled into a classic SEP feeling. Sugar Beth turned my heart fairly quickly. High school was a long time ago, and people forgive and forget. Or they should. But this town doesn't, and they treat Sugar Beth horribly. I'm talking humiliating her at every chance they get, bringing her as low as she's ever been and then forcing her lower. It's a combined effort and not one single person is on her side. Not even the hero, who admittedly was one of the people Sugar tormented. But come on...that was fifteen years ago! He's an English professor who fell in love with the south and used to teach Sugar Beth in high school until she told a lie to save her own ass but got him fired. In revenge, he wrote a book, made it big, moved back to town and bought her childhood home. And the revenge continues. I kept picturing Sugar Beth as a cross between Dolly Parton and Miranda Lambert. Trashy-southern and cute as hell. And while I'd like to picture Colin as this guy: what I really pictured was this guy: Still, this was a feast for my prejudiced mind. And a wonderful testament to the strength and resiliency and sheer heart of this wonderful woman. If I take one thing from reading this it's that what people show you...be they bully, nice guy, or somewhere in between...is rarely what the truth is. Most people put on a show in public, but in private, they are vastly different. Sugar Beth improved with age, and it took a town of assholes a long time to see what a wonderful, giving, repentant woman she really was.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Armina

    Buddy read with Gavin (though it was not planned as such ^_^) 4.5 STARS So very, very funny! Strong and well-developed heroine and hero. Fully fleshed out secondary characters. Sarcastic to the bone and at the same time wildly romantic. The smoothest change of POVs I've read in a very long time. Sensual sex scenes. Southern. :) You can see that I enjoyed this a lot. It was a bit formulaic but I've always loved the enemies to lovers trope and here it was executed in a very believable and grea Buddy read with Gavin (though it was not planned as such ^_^) 4.5 STARS So very, very funny! Strong and well-developed heroine and hero. Fully fleshed out secondary characters. Sarcastic to the bone and at the same time wildly romantic. The smoothest change of POVs I've read in a very long time. Sensual sex scenes. Southern. :) You can see that I enjoyed this a lot. It was a bit formulaic but I've always loved the enemies to lovers trope and here it was executed in a very believable and great way. I wish to have more time for a full review. I have the right to extend this one in the near future. This comes highly recommended to everyone(men included) who love to hide their poetic souls in strong sarcasm!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Another stunner! I will never expect less from SEP! Another stunner! I will never expect less from SEP!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    The contemporary romance genre is not one of my favorites, but if there was more books like Ain't She Sweet then it would be! This was a surprisingly fast paced and fun romance. I loved the witty dialogue, the sarcastic humor, and the complicated characters. Sugar Beth was a great character and totally unlike any other I've ever encountered. She was strong, tough, and cynical, but not afraid to admit that she had made some mistakes in her younger days! Her relationship with the eccentric English The contemporary romance genre is not one of my favorites, but if there was more books like Ain't She Sweet then it would be! This was a surprisingly fast paced and fun romance. I loved the witty dialogue, the sarcastic humor, and the complicated characters. Sugar Beth was a great character and totally unlike any other I've ever encountered. She was strong, tough, and cynical, but not afraid to admit that she had made some mistakes in her younger days! Her relationship with the eccentric English author Colin Byrne was really fun. They made a great couple despite the fact that they had good reason to be bitter enemies. This book also benefited from having a number of interesting subplots and well drawn secondary characters who all had problems of their own. This was different and fun. I'll definitely be reading more SEP books in the future. Rating:4.5 stars. Audio Note: I spotted a bit of criticism for Kate Fleming's performance on the Audible reviews, but I actually think she did a decent job. I liked her voices for both Sugar Beth and Colin. Most important of all is that she really got the sardonic humor.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amber’s reading

    4.5 stars. Another great book by SEP. She has become one of my favorite writers and hasn’t ever let me down. Although most of her books have an element of hate-to-love, they are all unique and I never get bored. Ain’t She Sweet is the story of the shunned “It girl” making her way back to the small town where she grew up. Sugar Beth used to be the envy of all, but now she’s broke and down on her luck. She comes back to her hometown in Mississippi looking for a valuable painting she inherited from 4.5 stars. Another great book by SEP. She has become one of my favorite writers and hasn’t ever let me down. Although most of her books have an element of hate-to-love, they are all unique and I never get bored. Ain’t She Sweet is the story of the shunned “It girl” making her way back to the small town where she grew up. Sugar Beth used to be the envy of all, but now she’s broke and down on her luck. She comes back to her hometown in Mississippi looking for a valuable painting she inherited from her aunt to help get her back on her feet. When she returns, she discovers her old English teacher is living in the mansion where she grew up. He’s back living in Parish after Sugar Beth lied to get him fired when she was in high school and he’s determined to pay her back for her deception. The writing in this book it top notch. Great developed characters and some of the best witty banter. I was laughing throughout. As with all books by SEP, I highly recommend. Love her!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ally Blake

    I once heard another author say they struggled for years to read this Susan Elizabeth Phillips book because they couldn’t imagine enjoying a book about a heroine named Sugar Beth. I know how they feel! Every time I picked it up I thought, mmm, maybe later... Oh my god. Really!!! This is one of those rare books that I spent the entire time thinking I WISH I’D WRITTEN THIS!!! This with a heroine who was the most popular girl in town, stepping on anyone who got in her path along the way, who now dow I once heard another author say they struggled for years to read this Susan Elizabeth Phillips book because they couldn’t imagine enjoying a book about a heroine named Sugar Beth. I know how they feel! Every time I picked it up I thought, mmm, maybe later... Oh my god. Really!!! This is one of those rare books that I spent the entire time thinking I WISH I’D WRITTEN THIS!!! This with a heroine who was the most popular girl in town, stepping on anyone who got in her path along the way, who now down on her luck has to return home. And a hero so foppish he at first appears in a smoking jacket and slippers! I tell you this because I do not want you to be put off by these opening pictures. As this book is magnificent. The dialogue is biting. The back stories and character revelation unique, deep, heartbreaking, real and juicy. The hero and heroine are nothing short of fantastic. So strong. So stubborn. So well matched. AIN'T SHE SWEET by Susan Elizabeth Phillips is funny, smart, touching, raw and wonderful. BUY IT TODAY!!! Next I’m reading... SWEPT OFF HER STILETTOS by Fiona Harper. What are you reading? Which book MUST I read this year?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rosina Lippi

    First: I listened to this as an audiobook, and I’m going to evaluate the book separately from the reading. The book is, for my money, probably going to be my favorite Susan Elizabeth Phillips. It’s funny and sweet, but it’s also quite thoughtful. It’s a twist on Cinderella and her stepsister — because you don’t know which one is which, and by the end, you’re still debating. In a good way. Can they both be Cinderella, with dashes of stepsister? Pretty much, because the main female characters (Sug First: I listened to this as an audiobook, and I’m going to evaluate the book separately from the reading. The book is, for my money, probably going to be my favorite Susan Elizabeth Phillips. It’s funny and sweet, but it’s also quite thoughtful. It’s a twist on Cinderella and her stepsister — because you don’t know which one is which, and by the end, you’re still debating. In a good way. Can they both be Cinderella, with dashes of stepsister? Pretty much, because the main female characters (Sugar Beth, the former high school beauty queen of Parrish, Mississippi, now down on her luck) and Winifred (her half sister by her father’s open relationship to another woman) are complex in the way they see themselves, each other, and the world. In the end I liked Sugar Beth the best, because she comes a long way, learns a lot, but doesn’t lose her edge. The novel is very atmospheric, full of southern smells and sights and sounds (I’ll get to more about this in a minute) and does a great job of capturing the good and bad of small town life. I highly recommend it for anybody who likes a well done love story. Unless you’ve got a lot of biased, preconceived notions about romance, you should read this book. Now about the audio. The reader is Kate Flemming, and she knows her way around a variety of southern accents. Flemming reads Sugar Beth with just the right amount of vinegar; I don’t think I would have liked Sugar Beth quite so much if I had been reading rather than listening. Really. The problem is Flemming’s reading of Colin Byrne, the main male character. A successful author, once Sugar Beth’s reviled high school English teacher — she got him fired by telling a lie after he proved that a man could be immune to her charms. Colin is supposed to be the son of an Irish mason, a boy with ambition who managed to get an education beyond his social standing and pulled himself up by the proverbial bootstraps. I don’t believe there’s ever a mention of where he went to university, but it’s clear that he worked for what he’s got, and re-cast himself. And then Kate Flemming goes and reads him with an outdated posh upper class accent. There are lots of examples of current day upper-class English accents out there. Colin Firth in What a Girl Wants jumps to mind, along with a dozen other examples from modern movies. But this Colin Byrne talks like an overdone Basil Rathbone circa 1930, all glottal creak (which is, in fact, a technical term) and plummy vowels. I kept thinking it was a joke, that there would be some explanation in the story of why he affected such an outlandish accent, but nope. It was so overdone it almost stopped me from listening to the book, but the story pulled me along and I learned to ignore it. I think I would have liked the character Colin Byrne a lot more if he hadn’t sounded like such a dweeb of a throwback. Please note that I do have some grounds for making such judgments — my husband is a Brit with the kind of educational background that Colin Byrne is supposed to have. I played a bit of the audiobook for him so he could hear the character, and he burst into laughter. But. In the end Flemming does such a great job with the other characters, I have to give the audiobook a pass.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sophie ♥

    "She rolled her eyes, back in the game. “Are you telling me that little bit of guilt is all it takes to make you tuck your tail between your legs? And you call yourself a man.” He’d been reading too much Victorian erotica because he wanted to bend her over a chair and . . . do something quite nasty." "Did you scare her? I swear, Colin, if you said one thing to upset her . . .” He slapped a foil-covered casserole on the counter. “Why would I upset her when I was conserving my energy to upset you?” Sh "She rolled her eyes, back in the game. “Are you telling me that little bit of guilt is all it takes to make you tuck your tail between your legs? And you call yourself a man.” He’d been reading too much Victorian erotica because he wanted to bend her over a chair and . . . do something quite nasty." "Did you scare her? I swear, Colin, if you said one thing to upset her . . .” He slapped a foil-covered casserole on the counter. “Why would I upset her when I was conserving my energy to upset you?” She abandoned the side of the bed to sit cross-legged on the rug so Gordon, who’d slithered under the bed during her tirade, could emerge and put his head in her lap. Her eyes had started to leak, but she took deep breaths so Colin didn’t know his desertion had turned her into a regular little watering pot. “How could you have left?” I la la loved this book! Sugar Beth is by far the wittiest heroine of SEP's. Every line of dialogue in this book was sheer genius. SEP really had to work hard to make readers look past Sugar Beth's Wild Child past and fall in love with her mature adult self. In many ways, Sugar Beth was like Daisy from Kiss an Angel and I'm certain that those who enjoyed that book will enjoy this one too. I personally enjoyed this one a lot more, but I'm sure some of you would disagree. Sugar Beth Carey's come back to Parrish, Mississippi, and she's brought her reputation for wreaking havoc with her. She's broke, desperate, and too proud to show it, even with her old enemies lining up for a chance to get even. Winnie Davis, her longtime rival, is fully armed with the money, power, and prestige that had once been Sugar Beth's. But worst of all is Colin Byrne, the man whose career Sugar Beth had destroyed — and not exactly accidentally. Now Colin's a famous novelist living in Sugar Beth's old mansion, and this modern day dark prince is using his writer's imagination to figure out how to bring the town's beautiful former princess to her knees. But despite her sassy mouth, feisty spirit, and hardheaded ways, Sugar Beth's no longer the spoiled rich girl they all remember. No, now she's a woman to be reckoned with ... and a great big reckonin' is about to happen, not least of all for one dark prince who might—just might—be thinking about falling in love with the wickedest girl in town. For those of you who love a good chick lit I would recommend running to find the nearest copy of this book. This is chick lit at its best and Susan Elizabeth Phillips at her wittiest.

  20. 5 out of 5

    *The Angry Reader*

    I’m considering giving this 5 stars because I’ve spent 3 years looking for another woman like Sugar Beth. I’ve prolly read 1000 books since I read this one - but it’s still in my head. I think that’s worthy of 5 stars. ****original review July 2015**** 4.5 stars. I deducted half a star bc I didn't love the relationship btw Sugar Beth and Colin. They just didn't give me tingles. But every single other thing about this book did. I loved Sugar Beth's past and her present - her journey and where she I’m considering giving this 5 stars because I’ve spent 3 years looking for another woman like Sugar Beth. I’ve prolly read 1000 books since I read this one - but it’s still in my head. I think that’s worthy of 5 stars. ****original review July 2015**** 4.5 stars. I deducted half a star bc I didn't love the relationship btw Sugar Beth and Colin. They just didn't give me tingles. But every single other thing about this book did. I loved Sugar Beth's past and her present - her journey and where she arrived. Winnie. Gigi. Ryan. Gordon. The entire supporting cast was funny and witty and intense. This was the story of a woman who was awful in HS returning to her hometown after life had taken her down a few pegs. Then all the people she hurt took the opportunity to hurt her - and hurt her - and hurt her again. At times the book made me uncomfortable - the way Sugar Beth was treated and the way she took it. But the end made it all worth while - the whole cast turned out pretty incredible. Loved this book - it was a grand adventure.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mo

    The Audible dropped some ratings ...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    It's not that this book is perfect. There are a lot of things that I, personally, couldn't care less about. For example the whole story about Winnie's marriage. ( NOBODY GIVES A SHIIIIIIT ) Or, I really couldn't see Colin's allure. He was pretentious as hell. I like that his conscience worked and that he felt bad for what he put Sugar Beth through, but I never really warmed up to him. That's the thing with SEP's heroes. I have still to find one who I'm going to actually like. It's her heroines wh It's not that this book is perfect. There are a lot of things that I, personally, couldn't care less about. For example the whole story about Winnie's marriage. ( NOBODY GIVES A SHIIIIIIT ) Or, I really couldn't see Colin's allure. He was pretentious as hell. I like that his conscience worked and that he felt bad for what he put Sugar Beth through, but I never really warmed up to him. That's the thing with SEP's heroes. I have still to find one who I'm going to actually like. It's her heroines who are the soul of each story. I loved Sugar Beth. She is strong and proud and confident. Her speech about claiming your power resonated with me and her character left a huge impression. So yeah, in conclusion, this is one of my favorite books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (and ever) and Sugar Beth is one of my favorite heroines EVER.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nikki ღ Navareus

    This was such a sweet story. Sugar Beth was such a horrible person when she was younger. She was spoiled rotten, ruining relationships and ending up hurting everyone who ever cared about her. Sugar Beth made a game of terrorizing and making miserable her half sister Winnie all through school. SEP transforming Sugar Beth into such an amazingly strong, charismatic and lovable character despite her despicable history was a true gift. I loved everything about Sugar Beth. She was so upbeat and strong This was such a sweet story. Sugar Beth was such a horrible person when she was younger. She was spoiled rotten, ruining relationships and ending up hurting everyone who ever cared about her. Sugar Beth made a game of terrorizing and making miserable her half sister Winnie all through school. SEP transforming Sugar Beth into such an amazingly strong, charismatic and lovable character despite her despicable history was a true gift. I loved everything about Sugar Beth. She was so upbeat and strong, despite how the Universe Bitch Slapped her ass, and took her down about 100 notches. As the story progressed, Sugar Beth proved herself to be a real sweetheart in the end. Winnie, even though she had been terribly mistreated by Sugar Beth, was kind of a butthead. I had a much harder time warming up to her and her petty jealousy, but it was fun watching her daughter Gigi bringing these 2 sister together as a family to the point of bonding again. I enjoyed the whole story; from the humiliating dinner party, to Sugar Beth reclaiming what was left of her family, to getting her HEA with her nemesis Colin. Gordon was pretty cute too, despite his grumpy demeanor.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jane Stewart

    Delightful. Nice, fun story. I usually don't like books if I don't like the heroine. However, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading about this awful, bad, bad girl Sugar Beth. She did terrible things to others when she was young. She tortured Winnie with humiliation and dumped her boyfriend Ryan. She then ruined her own life with poor choices. But things changed later. She had a fighting, bickering relationship with Colin which was fun to see. Later in the book, there were a couple of sur Delightful. Nice, fun story. I usually don't like books if I don't like the heroine. However, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading about this awful, bad, bad girl Sugar Beth. She did terrible things to others when she was young. She tortured Winnie with humiliation and dumped her boyfriend Ryan. She then ruined her own life with poor choices. But things changed later. She had a fighting, bickering relationship with Colin which was fun to see. Later in the book, there were a couple of surprises revealed about Winnie and Ryan. DATA: Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: five. Setting: current day small town in Mississippi. Copyright: 2004. Genre: contemporary romance. OTHER BOOKS: For a list of my reviews of other Susan Elizabeth Phillips books, see my 5 star review of “Glitter Baby” posted 1/15/09.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Loved this! Hilarious banter with a great enemies to more type story.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    This is my first SEP book and I had to admit it might just be my last. Where shall I begin? First of all I couldn't stand the heroine's name. It was infuriating. Once I got past that, I was disturbed at the fact that the people of this town were angry at her for childish reasons. There was her so called friends who held a huge grudge because she left town. I mean are you kidding? Let it go! She moved out of town...nobody said she was entitled to stay there forever. It was like they lost their Qu This is my first SEP book and I had to admit it might just be my last. Where shall I begin? First of all I couldn't stand the heroine's name. It was infuriating. Once I got past that, I was disturbed at the fact that the people of this town were angry at her for childish reasons. There was her so called friends who held a huge grudge because she left town. I mean are you kidding? Let it go! She moved out of town...nobody said she was entitled to stay there forever. It was like they lost their Queen B so they couldn't function. Then there was Winnie...who irked me. I understood she was teased and tormented in school by the heroine but after a while I was like move on...she seem mighty content with moving on with the heroine's former friends, who had also teased her. She looked real pathetic to me..and I didn't understand how she was a part of the group and at the end they had to vote her in. I wanted her husband Ryan to leave her. I didn't connect with their relationship. I also didn't really connect with the h/h...Overall there was no real depth to the grudges and hatred in this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Krissy

    What a surprisingly delightful book this was. I loved the banter between Colin and Sugar Beth. It always put a smile on my face. Plus the narrator of the audiobook did a great job. Final rating 4.5 stars but rounded up to 5 :)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    Had a hard time getting into the story. I'm DNFing for now but I might return to it later.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hollie

    ~3.5 stars~ This was no where near my favorite Susan Elizabeth Phillips read but it still made for a pretty sweet romantic read. the heroine was a total bitch but I felt she redeemed herself.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Just A. Bean

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Oh man, I really didn't like how this book ended. The premise is bitch queen from High school comes back to small town and has to deal with the consequences of her actions, and she does, and it's going pretty good. I liked her inner strength and grace, and how she's obviously matured but still had the same core. The focus is a lot on the Ideals of Southern Womanhood and how they can either provide strength or screw you up, depending, forgiveness, mother-daughter and sister relationships and why Oh man, I really didn't like how this book ended. The premise is bitch queen from High school comes back to small town and has to deal with the consequences of her actions, and she does, and it's going pretty good. I liked her inner strength and grace, and how she's obviously matured but still had the same core. The focus is a lot on the Ideals of Southern Womanhood and how they can either provide strength or screw you up, depending, forgiveness, mother-daughter and sister relationships and why acting like a dick in highschool is bad, but continuing that behaviour into adulthood is the real problem. The romance plot is more push me pull me than I usually go for, but they two characters are so much emotional and intellectual equals that it felt more like a game then vindictive. But then the hero, now a famous author, publishes a tell all about how her mother was a bitch and she screwed him over. Mitigating factors being that she did screw him over, he wrote it before she came back and they were reconciled, it was too far along in the publication process to change, and he did give her an ARC once they were reconciled as a heads up. STILL! Infuriated, she tries to dump him, or at least seriously put the breaks on their relationship, then decides to leave town to get away from him because he doesn't want to. He calls her a coward, then leaves town himself so she doesn't have to. When she wants to resume the relationship, having weathered the national media attention that the book brought by herself (since he's vanished), he says he'll only come back if she not only agrees to marry him, but is standing at the alter waiting. Everything has to be on his terms. And the worst part is, she agrees to this! The push me/pull me relationship ends with her putting up a white flag and doing what he tells her. Then it turns out he wrote a sequel to his book as a love letter to her, and everything's fine. So basically he screws her over via public humiliation in a way that gets national media attention, then refuses to give her space, then will only give her space as a punishment, then wants her to live on his terms. Why the fuck would you marry this guy?

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