Mia Kelly is a twenty-five-year-old walking Gap ad who thinks she has life figured out when her father’s sudden death uproots her from slow-paced Ann Arbor to New York City’s bustling East Village. There she discovers her father’s spirit for life and the legacy he left behind with the help of an old café, a few eccentric friends, and one charming musician.
Will Ryan is good-looking, poetic, spontaneous, and on the brink of fame when he meets Mia, his new landlord, muse, and personal heart breaker.
A story of self-discovery and friendship, Sweet Thing shines light on the power of loving and letting go.
“I couldn’t say the words because the feeling had unearthed a new sensation that I had no experience with in a relationship… fear. It’s a plaguing, unruly affliction that clouds any happiness born from real love. It’s a fool who thinks love will set him free. Love equals a morbid and relentless fear of losing the other person. It’s a freak-accident fear, a piece of space junk falling from the sky and obliterating him, leaving nothing but his smoking boots. It’s the unfortunate-organ-defect fear—suddenly, on his thirtieth birthday, the little crack in his heart that’s been there since birth will rear its ugly head and take him in his sleep while he’s spooning you. It’s the only way to know you’re really in love, when you ask the question would it be harder to watch him die, or to know he’ll watch me die? Is there more mercy in being the one who does the watching or in being the one who does the dying? It’s when you realize what mercy-killing actually means, it’s when you actually care to the point of tormenting worry. It’s not roses and white horses, it’s fucking brutal and it can send a person running for the hills. To love is brave and Will was the bravest person I knew.”
― Renee Carlino, Sweet Thing
This is one of the sweetest love stories I have read in a while. Sweet Thing is a romantic tale of self discovery and finding purpose in this crazy world. I swooned hard over Will Ryan. He was my absolute in his imperfections and I loved that this story was more true to real life than most tales that are being told now a days. Will and Mia are far from faultless but in those moments you see how real love works. It’s not always pretty and it doesn’t always have the perfect timing but if you are patient enough and can feel that pull, you can end up with a love that is true and kind and imperfectly perfect. I give this 4.5 stars.
Sweet Thing was inspired almost entirely by my love for music and the music scene. There are so many famous songs not only referenced in my book but performed by the characters as a tribute to those artists and further proof of my obsession. Sweet Thing follows the trials and tribulations of two twenty-something musicians, Mia and Will, who fall in love over the course of a year and find that their shared musical appreciation and talent is the ultimate catalyst in their relationship.
I thought I would list a few songs referenced or performed from the book and then list a few that I just listened to while I was writing it. Many times a song would evoke an emotion in me, which aided in making a scene more dramatic, powerful or sweet.
“Ask” by The Smiths
There is just something inherently happy about this song and when Will sings a couple of lines to Mia, it speaks volumes.
“Yellow Ledbetter” by Pearl Jam
This is an old favorite of mine that Will performs at Kell’s Café. Even though he doesn’t sing the words until the very end, I just had to have him play that smooth, sexy guitar solo.
“Pictures of You” The Cure
This song has stuck with me for many, many years. There is this building up feeling with the guitars in the beginning; it’s like a really delicate crescendo before Robert Smith starts singing. Will plays this in the apartment, just goofing around with the song, when Mia surprises him and discovers how truly talented he is. I always thought of Will singing these lyrics to her because I think the lyrics are powerful and romantic. I chose a live version because they jam a bit longer in the intro and I love that.
“Wash”(iTunes Session) by Bon Iver
and a stem remix called “We Washed Texas” by St. South
THIS IS THE SONG. This song wrote half the scenes in my book. I’m putting two versions because of how much I love it. The emotion in the original version and again that building up, the crescendo that helped me to build the drama in a scene is what I love about it. I would get completely emotional listening to this. When Mia asks Will to make her feel better in chapter (Track) 17, this was the song I was listening to when I wrote it. The second version I just recently started listening to while writing two new scenes from Will’s point of view. It’s a much softer and sort of melancholy version.
“Cheer Darlin’” by Damien Rice
This is such a sexy, bluesy, sad song. I didn’t reference it in Sweet Thing, but I felt like Will was singing this to Mia for much of the book while she strung him a long and especially when he walks in to find her with Robert.
“Hole in the Ocean Floor” by Andrew Bird
I listened to this many times, especially while Mia was in Memphis. It helped me to visualize the scene. I like the fragility in it. It’s one of those songs where you need to be quiet and just listen to fully appreciate it. This extremely talented artist inspired some of Will’s gifts.
Renee’s first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven’t gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she’s a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80’s movies staring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.