Title: Sweet on You
Author: Carla de Guzman
Release Date: October 26, 2020
Source: ARC from the publisher
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For barista and café owner Sari Tomas, Christmas means parols, family and no-holds-barred karaoke contests. This year, though, a new neighbor is throwing a wrench in all her best-laid plans. The baker next door—“some fancy boy from Manila”—might have cute buns, but when he tries to poach her customers with cheap coffee and cheaper tactics, the competition is officially on.
And Baker Boy better be ready, because Sari never loses.
Foodie extraordinaire Gabriel Capras wants to prove to his dad that his career choice doesn’t make him any less a man. The Laneways might not be Manila, but the close-knit community is the perfect spot to grow his bakery into a thriving business. He wasn’t expecting a gorgeous adversary in the barista next door, but flirting with her makes his heart race, and it’s not just the caffeine.
It’s winner takes all this Christmas. And more than one competitor might just lose their heart for the holidays.
I’m not sure what or how it happened, but foodie romances have become a favorite of mine. I live for the scrumptious descriptions of whatever food it is that the book’s characters are selling. Also, I’m a huge fan of business rivals in romance. Foodie business rivals? I can’t get enough! Nothing too heavy though – I want to laugh, so I’m not really looking for angst when I read books like Sweet on You. Sweet on You opens with Sari, our heroine and owner of a café, taking note of the new bakery next door. Gabriel, our hero and the owner of said bakery, quickly pokes Sari’s buttons by offering cheap coffee with his baked goods, and coffee aficionado Sari takes it personally. She returns the favor, and next thing we know, a prank war ensues!
Wow, this was such a lovely read! From the get go, I love that Sari and Gabriel, our hero and heroine, despite being rivals, have no intentions of sabotaging each other’s businesses. Their prank war was just that – harmless, funny pranks. I was initially worried that someone would go too far, but thank goodness that didn’t happen here! I laughed nonstop at Sari’s and Gabriel’s ridiculous pranks and how elaborate they were! As the days passed by, it was so much fun to see Sari and Gabriel’s relationship grow behind closed doors, while their pranks entertain the people of Lanesway.
Gabriel was immediately attracted to Sari – in fact, the pranks were obviously partly a way for him to get Sari’s attention, but Sari is hesitant and more careful due to past and current experiences. Their relationship developed wonderfully with them peeling off each other’s layers, and supporting each other as they got to know each other better. Sari is terrified of being alone, and she hates changes, while Gabriel is desperate to show his father that baking can be a lucrative career. It was so satisfying to see Sari and Gabriel push and inspire each other – Sari is now more open to new adventures, while Gabriel learns that success is not synonymous to his father’s approval.
Another thing I liked about Sweet on You is how de Guzman incorporated Tagalog in the story, and how she didn’t directly translate what was said in the next paragraphs. I feel like the book flowed better this way since it showcased how a lot of Filipinos speak. Sweet on You also perfectly captured how important the holidays are for Filipinos, and how big the celebrations are. It also explored how important family is to Filipinos, with Sari’s relationship with her sisters and Gabriel’s relationship with his family a big part of the plot.
All in all, I enjoyed Sweet on You a lot. It’s my first Carla de Guzman book, but it certainly won’t be the last. As a matter of fact, I already bought two of her romance class titles, because I. Need. More! Also, while there are no announcements yet, there has to be more books set in this world, right? I mean, if there is a next book, I can already tell who the main characters are…