This book made me so happy! And kept me awake way too late.
Despite liking the characters a lot, I didn’t enjoy the first book in the Swizzle Stick series as much as I hoped I would. This one, however, I loved. It’s perfectly fluffy but not empty, fairly low angst with characters I loved at first sight.
At thirty-three, Vanessa is the youngest of the three Martini cousins (the others are Julia, the star of the first book, Shaken or Stirred, and Amelia, whose story I can’t wait to read). A second-grade teacher, she loves the kids but wouldn’t mind not having to deal with parents. A couple of months into the school year, she meets with the mother of one of her students, Oliver, who went from being a delight to acting out. Turns out his parents are going through a divorce. Because of her own parents’ divorce, Vanessa has opinions on how Grace, the child’s mum, should deal with the situation. Grace isn’t as clueless as Vanessa seems to believe, and she’s tired of everyone – from her mother to her son’s teacher – judging her. Yet when they keep bumping into each other in all sorts of unexpected places, Grace and Vanessa find it very hard to fight the attraction.
Vanessa has a lot of rules on who not to date and a student’s mother is at the top of the list. She’s sweet and smart and funny but she also tends to run at the first sign of trouble. She’s lucky to have her cousins (and Julia’s girlfriend Savannah) to point out when she’s being an idiot. At one point in the story, her running really hurts Grace and it’s a turning point. Watching Vanessa learn from her mistakes was very satisfying.
Grace, on the other hand, seems a lot more mature, even though she’s a few years younger, which I felt came from being a mother. All she wants is for her son to be happy. I ached with her for all the firsts without her son. In classic divorced-dad moves, her soon-to-be ex-husband isn’t helping her feel less overwhelmed, but even though she’s not on the receiving end of the Martini cousins wisdom, she gets really good advice (I’m biased, I’ve given it more than once) from her best friend: if you’re happy, your kids are happy.
One of the reasons Shaken or Stirred didn’t entirely work for me was the writing, which didn’t flow as well as it could have. Beers fixed it in this one, it reads very easily. There’s a lot of laughing through noses, and usually, the repetition would bother me but this book is so lovely, the characters are so charming that I didn’t mind. It actually made me smile even more.
On the Rocks is instalust at its best. And the best kind of instalust, when it’s not just physical but the body being smarter and quicker than the mind and heart. Every time Grace and Vanessa touch is so damn hot. I also really appreciate that Grace’s bisexuality is just a fact, not an issue. It just is.
And I think it every time I see it but I don’t remember writing it in a review yet: whisper is such a sexy word.
I also loved the way the author describes the cocktails Julia works on. I’m not a fan of cinnamon but that Cinnamon Roll drink at Martini’s? I’d love to taste it, just because of how she makes it sound.
One of the secondary characters compares Vanessa and Grace’s romance to a Netflix miniseries and I’d definitely watch it. I’ll end this review by mentioning the pets, because of course there are wonderful pets in a Georgia Beers book. Delilah stole my heart…