Saturday, November 2, 2013

ARC Review: Welcome to Sugartown by Carmen Jenner

Welcome tot Sugartown by Carmen Jenner
Welcome to Sugartown (Sugartown #1)
By Carmen Jenner
Publication Date:
November 3, 2013

* An advance copy was provided by the author for review.

To Sum It Up: Sugartown isn’t the type of place where much of anything happens. For Ana Belle, life consists of baking day in and day out at her pie shop. That is, until the arrival of Elijah Cade and his motorcycle turns Ana’s world upside down. The attraction between them is instant, but Elijah’s past may prove too difficult for them to overcome, especially when it ends up following him to Sugartown. Ana may be the one person who can save Elijah, if only he can earn her trust.

Review: My heart is still experiencing quite a lot of hurt after finishing Carmen Jenner’s page-turner of a debut. I haven’t read many New Adult novels, but damn if Welcome to Sugartown doesn’t make me want to run out and buy a boatload of them. Or put a slew of them on my Kindle. Either way, I really need to explore this genre more, though finding another NA book that matches this one’s impressively seamless pairing of humor and intense drama might be a bit of a challenge.

Welcome to Sugartown manages to be both laugh-out loud funny and very, very dark without making the tone changes feel abrupt. That’s not an easy feat to pull off, considering that I was giggling one minute and wincing a chapter later. Ana and Elijah go through so much over the span of the novel, yet I never thought that their troubles had reached unrealistic heights. I think this is where the humor, which is totally my type, plays such a pivotal role, keeping the book from becoming an all out sob-fest. There are plenty of scenes that will shred your heart into the finest of confetti, but there’s also a lot to chuckle about. Oh, and did I mention that the romance in this novel is scorching? Well, it is, and I’m not even going to pretend like it wasn’t a major reason why I didn’t want to stop reading, even when my eyes and brain wanted to surrender to sleep.

Characters always make or break contemporary fiction for me, and this cast pulls you in from the get-go. Ana and Elijah alternate narrating duties, and both perspectives are equally engaging to read from. Their relationship, which sees its share of high and low points, is absolutely riveting. Our two protagonists are the sort of characters who make empathizing with them very easy. Their happiness brings you happiness; their heartache is your heartache. I also have to highlight how awesome the secondary characters are, too. I love Ana’s best friend, Holly, who says the most outrageous, and obviously hilarious, things. Ana’s younger brother Sammy is simply adorable, and her dad Bob has the biggest heart underneath his don’t-mess-with-me-or-my-daughter exterior. Ana’s cousin, Jackson, is a bit of a latecomer to the story, but he puts his page time to excellent use and is definitely a character to keep an eye on.

I was so absorbed in Welcome to Sugartown that the qualms that often run through my mind when I attempt to read a contemporary never had a chance to form. My emotions received a thorough workout reading this, and they’re all set for a reprise with the rest of the series. Sugartown, you are one hell of a little town, and Carmen Jenner, you have written a fantastic first novel.

All in All: Clearly, I’ve been missing out on a whole lot of awesome by not giving New Adult more attention. That is so going to change because of this book, which had me feeling so many things, often all at once. In fact, I’m still working on sorting them all out.


  1. I guess Carmen broke your reading slump or something. I was so impressed by the entire story. Looking forward to the next one, Holly's plot line sounds interesting.

    1. She most certainly did break me out of my reading slump! I really enjoyed reading this, even when it was splintering my heart.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it so much! Splintering heart reads are needed once in a while :)


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