Melissa Brayden – How Sweet It Is


Molly O’Brien is a sweetheart.  Her friends and neighbors all think so.  While she enjoys her quiet life running the town bakeshop in Applewood, Illinois, she wonders if there could be more.  After losing the love of her life four years prior in a plane crash, Molly thinks she’s ready to navigate the dicey dating waters once again.  However, you can’t always pick who your heart latches on to.  When Jordan Tuscana, the beautiful younger sister of her lost love, returns to town, Molly finds her interest piqued in a manner she wasn’t prepared for.

All secrets are uncovered, Molly and Jordan must figure out how to navigate the difficult terrain of their multi-faceted relationship.  Especially when something much deeper seems to be bubbling between them.

The publisher’s summary of this book definitely gave me pause. Just to wrap my head around the storyline of girl falls in love with deceased lover’s little sister…. it seemed too heavy of a read for me.

This might sound a little ridiculous, but what nudged me over the edge was that the woman on the cover of this novel looks a lot like Jillian Michaels. I have a minor crush (okay fine, I own 7 of her DVDs) on her. And How Sweet It Is was the only Melissa Brayden novel that I hadn’t finished. It really turned out that I saved the best for last.

Just a forewarning, if you have a sweet tooth, you may want to read this book on a full stomach. Or just imagine that the Jillian Michaels look-alike is yelling at you to abstain from eating cinnamon rolls and to drop and give her 20 for even thinking about it. I don’t think that it’s a stretch to assume that the author enjoys chocolate and sweets. Actually, I think she’s really borderline obsessed with chocolate. (Midnight Chocolate, anyone?) Maybe I can bribe her into writing one more book for her Soho Loft series. Melissa Brayden, I will give you 500 chocolate Santas if you make my Christmas wish come true. Please?! Pretty please?!

Aside from the description of the decadent desserts that make my thighs feel like they’re ever expanding, the writing in this novel is a real treat for its readers. The author has a mighty set of ovaries for writing this story. She treats each of her characters with dignity. There isn’t a sense of real betrayal, and thankfully, no one in the story is demonized or dehumanized. It’s written sensitively and respectfully, without undermining the love in the past between Molly and Cassie, and the love in the future between Molly and Jordan. Brayden doesn’t gloss over the tough conversations on the complexities of the different relationships, and navigates the readers through those waters with ease.

You really experience the small-town America feel with this novel. The author is adept at changing settings without compromising the writing, or the readers feel for the story. Although, Brayden’s writing has a familiarity and comfort between the stories, that’s not to say that she’s a typecast author. Her stories are as varied as her characters, who are always interesting and unique. What I also enjoy about Brayden’s writing is how she subtly ties the characters in her novels together. Just to give you an example (and this hopefully isn’t too much of a spoiler), in How Sweet It Is, Jordan has a meeting with a potential investor Emory Owen, one of the main characters in Heart Block.  The reader gets a sense that none of the stories really end. Perhaps, this is a clever way for the author to have her readers revisit her novels? If it is, I’m a sucker every time. I’ve reread her books so often, that I’ve practically memorized the words. No joke.

After finishing this review, I’m almost tempted to add a dessert section…

1.  Heartless Bastards – Skin and Bone
2.  Elliott Smith – Sweet Adeline
3.  Duncan Sheik – She Runs Away
4.  Ani DiFranco – You Had Time
5.  Paper Kites – Bloom
6.  David Grey – This Year’s Love
7.  City and Colour – We Found Each Other In The Dark
8.  Iron & Wine – The Trapeze Swinger
9.  Fisher – I Will Love You
10.  Sam Palladio – When The Right One Comes Along

This book would be best read with a….

-2 oz of Godiva chocolate liqueur
-2 oz of creme de cacao
-0.5 oz of vodka (I would recommend Belvedere)
-2.5 oz of half and half

Mix all the ingredients in a shaker. Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake Chica Shake Shake, Mentirosaaaa. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Ladies and gentlemen, you are now entering chocolate heaven.


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