Sweet to the Core (Lighthouse Bay #3) by Amy Aislin

Childhood friends Dev and Clark plan to enter a local baking contest for the big money grand prize. Spending time together during the contest is maybe their chance to start a romantic relationship after all these years and get their own HEA.

From the Sweet to the Core blurb:

Dev has pined for his cousin's best friend for years, but no matter how hard he wishes, Clark sees him as nothing but a friend. And it's as a friend that Clark comes to him for help.

Clark’s father is on the brink of losing his house and the fastest way to make a quick buck is to win the $10,000 prize in the inaugural Sweet to the Core apple baking contest. Only problem? He's never baked anything that hasn’t come out of a box.

But Dev has. As a baker, he’s Clark’s best chance.

For the first time, Dev has something Clark wants. Only problem? Dev needs the prize for himself. The only thing he wants—besides Clark—is to buy the local lighthouse where he last spent time with his parents before they died.

Working together means opening a lot more than a barrel of apples, though. They may have found the recipe to love.

But will Dev have to give up the only connection he has left to his parents in order to have it? Or will Clark let his father down? They can't both have everything.

Or can they?

SNik's Review:

Sweet to the Core is the third in series (Lighthouse Bay), can be read as a standalone but can be more fun if read in order as there are shared secondary characters. Friends to lovers. Slow burn. 

Small town baker Dev has had a crush on Clark since they were kids but he knows nothing can ever happen as Clark isn’t interested in a long term relationship. 

Wildlife biologist Clark loves his job, his teaching, and taking care of his family and friends is second nature to him. 

When Clark needs money to help his father, he ropes Dev into helping him try and win a local baking competition and the more time they spend together the more that both of their deeper feelings surface.

Both Dev and Clark are likable characters, every scene where they are together is sweet and their closeness is easy to see build to a romantic relationship. 

Both the background for Dev and Clark’s individual histories are well described and their current life trials and goals are realistic. 

A really enjoyable read with sweetness, friendships, caring and some steamy swoony scenes that all lead to Dev and Clark’s HEA.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Angel's Review:

10,000 dollars are up for grabs at the towns annual baking competition. Dev has contemplates signing up before himself, he could really use the money but he knew he wouldn't be able to keep up with the social media aspect. Enter his older cousin's best friend. Clark. When Clark proposes an idea to have them sign up for this competition as a team Dev is skeptical, why would Clark want to sign up for a baking competition when he knows nothing about baking?  

They both have there own reasons for signing up, Dev's reason is so he can finally put an offer on the lighthouse he's been wanting. He wants to buy that lighthouse because it's the last memory he remembers of his parents. 

Clark needs the money to be able to help his dad out of debt. And to fix his garage and car after a tree decided to fall on it. 

As these two delve deeper into this completion and advance through the rounds these men become close to each other than they ever have before. Yes, they technically grew up around each other but they didn't spend a lot of that time actually taking the time to know each other better. Now they have had that time. Sparks fly, temperatures rise, and a delicious apple fritter  is the result of their teamwork.  

They entered as friends, (ish) and left with not only a relationship but also with happiness and acceptance, along with closure. Dev finally got the reassurance he needed when he found out that his parents had been with him all along. 

Sweet to the Core was a really great read, funny, witty, suspenseful, romantic and has a touch of mystery to it as well! I have not read the other books in the Lighthouse Bay series but I don't think you have to either to enjoy this book. I enjoyed it! I love whenever baking is apart of the book, it makes me feel all warm inside. It also makes me crave whatever the author has their characters making, In this case apple desserts!  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a feel good story and a slow burn romance about two men who've always wanted each other but has never done anything about it. Until now. 

Rating: 4 Stars

Zakiyya's Review:

Sweet to the Core is where we follow Dev and Clark on that ever-relatable journey of self-discovery and acceptance, supporting each other as they learn to find their most authentic selves.

I absolutely loved the idea of the baking contest and it was wonderful to see these two connect and fall in love through it. 

One of my favorite scenes was when Clark practically chased away that guy, Henry, when he was trying to chat to Dev... 🙈😂

Rating: 4 Stars

Miki.J's Review: 

Totally loved this book !!  

I haven't read the previous 2 in the series and yes, there are some spoilers (as the characters from previous books are part of the friendship/family circle to these characters).  

Anyhoo, if you love friends to lovers, low angst, small town, baking and apples, then this is certainly the book for you !!  

I love Dev - seems meek and all but when he decides on something, gives his whole heart.  And even though Clark may be the playboy....there's more to him as well !  And they both have past issues that are unresolved emotionally.  

Sweet to the Core is wonderful to slip into and enjoy - romantic, funny, sweet and utterly adorable.

Rating: 5 Stars

Heather's Review:

Sweet to the Core was at it's core a friends to lovers story, with both characters tentative about making the first step... until they were drawn even closer together by the Sweet to the Core baking contest...  

This story was a low angst read with lots of cameos by previous couples from the series, just a touch of money tension and that true small town vibe! 

I enjoyed getting to know both characters, the story was well paced, sweet, fluffy and definitely made me hungry for apple fritters, homemade gnocchi and so many other yummy treats!  Sweet to the Core can easily be read standalone, I did... 

Rating: 5 Stars

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