As 2021 comes to a close, I’m revisiting my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and that includes Kristen Callihan’s slow burn treat, Make It Sweet! I’ve been a big fan of Callihan’s work for years, but Make It Sweet is now one of my new favorites from the author. It’s got such a great build in intimacy, with complex, dynamic characters, and a hero who is one-of-a-kind. I loved the hot slow burn, and the laidback feel made this a relaxing, refreshing kind of read. It also made me hungry, with some mouthwatering descriptions of food and a baker who knows how to heat up a kitchen. With an unique spin on both a sports romance and a Hollywood romance, this has an original feel. It’s been many months since I read this, but there are some memorable scenes that will stay with me for awhile. Can’t wait to see what’s next from Callihan in 2022!
Read on for my original review and plenty of quotes to give you a feel for the vibe!
I loved this SO MUCH. So very much. I always look forward to this author’s books, and this was absolutely everything that I want from her work: a delicate dance towards love, a slow and torturous burn, intense intimacy, and quiet moments that have such impact. This hero is broken in the best of ways, and I adored his journey towards loving himself again. Lucian hides the sweetest man underneath a mountain of grump, and I was so completely invested in his story. It’s sports romance done in a way I’ve never read before, Hollywood romance done with subtlety, and a second chance at life romance that broke my heart.
The story follows Lucian, a hockey star whose career ended while his body was still in prime condition. After one too many concussions, he made the difficult decision to end his career, but that’s left him adrift. A little broken and licking his wounds, Lucian has been staying with his grandmother on her estate. Isolation and avoidance have worked for Lucian – at least until Emma enters the picture. An actress who just found out that she’s been axed from her starring role, Emma has her own issues. Though the two initially clash, Emma soon discovers that the temperamental yet tantalizing man might just be hiding something extraordinarily sweet behind his stony exterior.
The first book in this series wasn’t a total win for me, so I went into this one cautiously optimistic. I’ve loved – LOVED – several of this author’s books in the past, so I was really hoping this would be good. It blew “good” out of the water. It’s quiet and slow burning, requiring a little patience from the reader, but the payoff is so worth it. I loved the intensity, the intimacy, and all of the CHEMISTRY between these two. I’d consider this to be a hot slow burn, because there were some moments that had me shifting in my seat before things even got physical. This hero is fantastic, and his raw vulnerability took the story to another level. I want more and I want it now; this was so, so good. I was lucky enough to receive an early copy via NetGalley (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this emotional slow burn.
From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Callihan comes a charming, emotional romance about redefining dreams and discovering unlikely love along the way.
Life for Emma isn’t good. The world knows her as Princess Anya on Dark Castle, but then her character gets the axe—literally. The cherry on top is finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman. She needs a break, and sanctuary comes in the form of Rosemont, a gorgeous estate in California promising rest and relaxation.
Then she meets the owner’s equally gorgeous grandson, ex–hockey player and current recluse Lucian Osmond, and she sees her own pain and yearning reflected in his eyes.
He’s charming when he wants to be but also secretive and gruff, with protective walls as thick as Emma’s own. Despite a growing attraction, they avoid each other.
But then there’s an impromptu nighttime skinny-dip, and Lucian’s luscious homemade tarts and cream cakes start arriving at Emma’s door, tempting her to taste life again…
In trying to stay apart, they only grow closer—and their broken pieces just might fit together and make them whole.
About the Author:
Kristen Callihan is an author because there’s nothing else she’d rather be. She has written New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestsellers. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. Her debut book, Firelight, received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence and was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, Best Book of Spring 2012 by Publishers Weekly, and Best Romance Book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she’s not writing, she’s reading.
More of the Best of 2021!
Top 20 of 2021: The Complete List – here
Best of 2021: Top Picks by Trope can be found here!
Best of 2021: My 10 Favorite Romance Series can be found here!
Every 5-Star Romance Novel I Read in 2021 can be found here!
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