Cover Image: A Sweet Mess

A Sweet Mess

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Member Reviews

I started enjoying this story a lot until Landon started getting hot and cold with Aubrey all the time and she accepted everything.
Then I didn' t connect with the couple.
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The best part about this book was our heroine and hero. Aubrey and Landon were on fire together and their chemistry was scorching. I was rooting for them from the beginning and all the back and forth was excruciating fun. I also really loved the baking aspect of the story and I was salivating over all the amazing food they were eating. I did think the story started to get very repetitive in the middle and I wish that it had been edited down to keep everything moving at the same pace. This is Lee’s first non category romance which is important to keep in mind because those romances have word count parameters which means that Lee was really given clearance with this story and it shows. There is so much packed into this one book that it was overwhelming. The romance, a reality tv show, baking, family drama and more that would be a spoiler but I think you get the picture. I do love Lee’s writing and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors when it comes to intense emotional and sexual connections.
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A Sweet Mess follows the romantic relationship between a baker and a food critic after the critic is accidentally given a child’s creation and write’s a bad review.

I really enjoyed A Sweet Mess. The relationship felt real, and I could tell the author went to great lengths to keep Landon (the love interest) from having any toxic male qualities but still be a realistic person with flaws - and I appreciated it. Landon has easily been added to my top book boyfriends of 2020, and I can’t wait to see other readers fall in love with him.

The main characters’ meet-up and ensuing romance was really fun and cute. I especially loved all of the different food mentioned, although, I think Korean and Korean-American readers will get EVEN MORE out of the food description and the familial interactions.

I really enjoyed Aubrey (the main character and baker) and thought she was really sweet and cute. However, I thought her initial one night stand seemed out of character for how she seemed to act the rest of the book. I especially thought it kind of weird/immature how she kept on running away from Landon (literally). Even though I liked her as a character, I found this to be annoying and while she later on saw growth, it was kind of annoying to see her running away so many times.

There’s a bit of a “plot twist” later on in the book (maybe around 67% of the way through) that I wasn’t a fan of. But I thought the author still handled the twist and everything that came after very well.

Overall, I found this to be a really cute romcom. I’ve seen some reviews stating that this was “steamy,” and although the characters are “romantic,” I found those particular scenes to be pretty glossed over. The characters clearly had chemistry and their attraction was written well, but the “steam” was not quite there.
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Obviously I’m a sucker for a RomCom, we know that by now, BUT throw in a smorgasbord of tantalizing food descriptions amongst a steamy back and forth love story; and I’ve never had so many sensations (or hunger) triggered by a book before.
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The recipe for success in this book revolves around a small town pastry chef, Aubrey, and a world traveled food critic, Langdon; both with Korean heritage as well as, coming to terms with their family pasts and how it’s shaped them into the people they are today.
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I felt real emotions from the characters, escalating from highs to lows, laughter to tears, as they both navigated working together and discovering how to deal with their desires towards each other; without it interfering with their work. Lee has an innate ability for describing not only food, but the environment, passion, and feelings that make this book really connect with the reader.
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Sometimes it really takes a chance encounter to upend your life and open your eyes to what the world has been trying to tell you all along. There’s love out there for all of us, and it’s always worth finding that true happiness in everything we do.
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And what a pleasant surprise to get Lee’s bulgogi recipe!! 
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Rating: 4.5/5
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In A Sweet Mess, Jayci Lee brings together two Korean-American protagonists who have combustible chemistry with each other that eventually deepens into an abiding love. Lee’s skill as a writer is bringing her characters fully formed to life right from the beginning.  

I really liked that Lee gave her characters room to stretch and grow by allowing their relationship to unfold over a few weeks instead of days, which many books do. So while the beginning is swift, the middle settles in for deep character development. The angst in their relationship is not just interpersonal compatibility but also the clash between professional conduct and personal wishes.

If you love reading about food and about people with great chemistry who’re at odds with each other, all mixed in with a large dollop of laughter and a heaping spoonful of romance, this is the perfect book for you.

[Note: Daniel Dae Kim will produce and star in a romcom film based on A Sweet Mess.]

Full review: https://frolic.media/book-of-the-week-a-sweet-mess-by-jayci-lee/
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This was such a cute book. There is something about main characters fighting their feelings for each other that just drags at my heart. My love story is kind of like that so I can relate. There is a bunch of yummy foods described in here and there is even a recipe at the end of the book! So grab your snacks and a nice glass of wine and curl up with this book. 

I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great feel good romance. That being said the ending was a bit rushed for me but I don’t know if that was the writing or because I wanted more.
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Unfortunately I chose to DNF A Sweet Mess at the 50% mark. This does not mean that there were not some good qualities for A Sweet Mess, but I was not enjoy the romance aspect and moved on to other books.

Pros: Two Korean-American characters, an awesome best friend, awesome food descriptions, good writing.

Cons: The romance didn't work for me at all. I was frustrated with some of Landon's choices to the point that I couldn't enjoy their reconnection.

I will definitely try more from Jayci Lee, with the quality writing and well done characters it was really just the romance that did me in.
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A sweet mess reminds me a lot of Helena huntings books. The style of writing is very similar. I enjoyed this book. I did find myself skipping over a lot of the banter though. I felt like Landon and Aubrey were lacking some depth in their relationship. There is no doubt they had sexual chemistry but aside from that it was hard to see past surface level. All in all a good quick read. Thanks for allowing me to read this book.
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I received a copy for an honest review through NetGalley. 

I loved this book!  It was well written and the characters were well Liked.  I will look for more by this author Jayci Lee.  Thank you

An enjoyable romance with wonderful descriptions of food and sweets.  A delicious Read.

I highly recommend picking up a copy.
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A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee highlighted how important communication was in any relationship. If only the characters featured in this book had communicated with each other, they could have avoided half the problems encountered in this story. With that being said, this proved to be a sweet story involving food (I am sure I packed on some pounds just reading about all those baked goodies) and romance.

The story introduces Aubrey and Landon, two driven, ambitious and compassionate characters who shared a love for food. Aubrey specialised in baking, while Landon was a well-known food critic.

The banter between the main and secondary characters was fun and cute. I especially enjoyed Aubrey’s interaction with her best friend, Tara. Tara was what one would call the life of the party.

I am on the fence as it relates to the romance. I loved the outcome which I found sweet and adorable, but I was not a fan of the journey it took to get there.  The many obstacles in the form of abandonment and daddy issues, failure to communicate, pride and cowardice proved to be the major hindrances in their journey to a happily ever after.  Landon did something that had me fuming, and frankly I thought Aubrey should have made him grovel a lot more. I never felt the connection between them. I believe that the fact that the reader was told of the chemistry between the characters instead of it being showed was a contributing factor.

The story featured the POVs of both main characters, which I had no issue with. However, what I found frustrating was the there was no warning when a change in the POVs occurred, therefore it took me awhile to figure out which of the character’s POV I was reading. The fact that this was an ARC may have been a contributing factor to the confusion surrounding the change in POVs. I sure hope that is the case.

Conclusion/Recommendation
I had hope to love this book, but alas I would have to settle for liking it. Would I read more from this author, maybe?
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everything about a sweet mess is charming. the two leads, aubrey and landon are just so, so adorable. 

aubrey has worked hard to build up her small business, a bakery. when a food critic is accidentally served a specialty cake, it leads to him writing a terrible review. but his code of ethics prevents him from just retracting the piece. 

but before the disastrous review is published, aubrey meets landon at a bar. and they have one intense, incredible night together. 

when landon's review publishes, aubrey is devastated. when he realizes that the review he dashed up to fulfill a deadline hurt the woman he couldn't stop thinking about he knows he has to do something. 

so he comes up with a plan. a plan that puts them in close proximity. and they just sizzle together. 

everything about this book, i loved. it's just an absolute delicacy!

**a sweet mess will publish on july 14, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.
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I was excited for the Asian American couple and representation but this is rather bland. Nothing about the characters was particularly Asian and they could’ve easily been white people. We’ve seen a lot of bakery/restaurant romances lately. I also didn’t like the trope of sex first, relationship later. It’s a bit slow like a Hallmark movie too.
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"The chocolate cake was moist, not quite dense, and just the right amount of bitter and sweet. It was a perfect balance of the devil and the angel."

I don't usually read or watch romcoms, but my Great British Baking-loving self was drawn to 'A Sweet Mess' by Jayci Lee. A pastry chef's bumpy romance with a celebrated food critic, with a 'Crazy Rich Asians' vibe? This might be a recipe for certain summer bliss for many readers, but I came away from 'A Sweet Mess' all the more certain that romance novels -- at least this one -- are not my kind of bundt cake.

But, let me start with the good, for those readers for whom a semi-"open door" romcom would be a treat. I most appreciated the fact that the protagonists -- small town bakery owner Aubrey and jet-setting culinary blogger Landon -- are Asian Americans. They have family and identity struggles that resonated with me, adding a touch of dimension to the characters and the plot. On top of this reliability, what kept me going were the fun food descriptions and feather-light humor scattered throughout the story.

There were too many tropes and somewhat unbelievable drama, though, to make it a satisfying read. Other reviewers might not agree with me, but despite the repeated claims of irresistible chemistry, I still wasn't convinced about Aubrey and Landon's connection beyond the physical. I also don't personally enjoy lusty gazes over perfect bodies and semi-explicit love scenes, even if these were couched in a pseudo-cute way. I kept closing my e-reader starting around a quarter of the way through, but kept forging on to see if the book would grow on me.

I'm more of a 'Like Water for Chocolate" and 'To All the Boys I've Loved Before' kind of food and romance gal. Really, 'Pride and Prejudice' is more in my lane. So I will leave this less-than-perfect sweet mess to other readers who might enjoy more sexy frosting than cake in their reading.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's press for the opportunity to read this advanced copy!
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This was a delightful, delectable romance, perfect for anyone looking for something to make them smile. I loved watching Aubrey and Landon's relationship slowly shift and transform, all in a fun, new world of food and competition and wine.
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I loved the chemistry between Landon and Aubrey. This one is full of the intense gazes and overheated bodies! And since they aren’t supposed to date to protect each other’s careers, it made the tension even more intense. Obviously, we know how it’s going to end but I thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

I loved the #OwnVoices Asian-American representation in this. Landon and Aubrey are both Korean-American It's rare to see a romance between two Asian characters. And as a Korean-American myself, I'm so happy this book exists. 

My favorite parts of the story other than the excellent chemistry were all the food! Oh my.. if you have a sweet tooth or a love of wine you have been forewarned. All the descriptions of yummy warm gooey desserts paired with wine sounded so delicious. The characters are staying at a villa and it added a wonderful vacation feel to it.

My least favorite parts of the story were how the author wrapped up years of familial conflict and hurt. Both Landon and Aubrey hold a lot of pain and resentment towards their families. But in both cases, it only takes one phone call with their perspective mothers to resolve this part of the story. And both of the conversations happen soon after the other which made everything feel so rushed.

Also, some of the dialogue between Landon and Aubrey when they were being romantic sounded super cheesy to me. I much preferred the dialogue when they were flirting or fighting. For some reason, the romantic scenes sounded a bit overdramatic soap opera-ish to me.

There are several sexy moments in the book but I wouldn’t say they are really detailed/graphic. They are definitely still sexy just not intimately detailed.

* Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with an arc to review.
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This was such a cute rom com! Baker Aubrey Choi and food critic Landon Kim have a whirlwind night together before they realize the other's profession. Now the two are at odds when Landon writes a bad review for her bakery! It was a simple mix up, it just happened to the wrong person. Now his review could ruin her future. Once Landon realizes the mix up he tries to make it up to Aubrey, but at what cost? They both have a lot on the line and their attraction to each other could only cause problems. Right?
These two drove me crazy with their back and forth, and it could be cheesy at times-what rom com isn't?However, the idea of a baking+romance story is such a good one!
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Aubrey Choi loves her bakery and creating whatever her customers desire. That's what causes her to make a rich chocolate bundt cake filled with peanut butter cream cheese frosting and gummy worms. What a six-year-old girl desires is her goal, but the cake ends up in the wrong hands. The food critic that gets it leaves a less than pleasing review and it threatens to ruin Aubrey's business. Worse, she had a one-night stand with him.



Landon Kim never goes back on his reviews. The gummy worms in the cake were hideous, and he won't give Comfort Zone a second chance. Not even if the owner is a woman he found himself falling for. What he can do is make it up to her by getting her to appear on his best friend's cooking show. He's the producer, and he hopes the exposure is all that's needed to save her bakery.



Working side by side with a woman who is not at the top of his list is hard enough. Realizing he's falling head over heels for her is worse. If they go public with a relationship at this point, her business and his reputation are doomed.



Sometimes, I read a romance and wonder what the characters are thinking. So much of this story could have been fixed by just a moment of honesty with readers. Those who chose to think otherwise could simply be ignored. For that reason, Landon's insistence on ignoring his feelings and doing what he thought the public would expect of him drove me nuts.



I loved the food descriptions. The blurb says "Delicious Dessert Recipes Included." I did have one recipe in my advanced copy from Netgalley, but it was for Bulgogi and not a dessert. I wish there had been a recipe for the chocolate bundt cake and peanut butter cream cheese frosting as it sounded amazing.
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This is a book that, once you start reading, you cannot put it down. Funny, a little sad, a little sassy, it's a wonderful summer read.
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After a mistaken cake is served to esteemed food critic, Landon Kim, Aubrey Choi's bakery is in ruins. His review is less than stellar after receiving (mistakenly) a cake made specifically for a child, complete with hidden gummy worms.

Landon Kim prides himself on never reviewing a place twice. Nor will he admit any mistakes. But he and Aubrey hook up before they realize each other's true identities.

Enter a food competition. Since Landon is now in lust with Aubrey, he still cannot provide a second review. But if she's a part of a TV baking competition, she can rebuild her reputation. Only Landon is an executive producer and he can't seem to stay away from Aubrey. Especially after he offers her to share his lodgings. 

This story is a case of too much male pride, not enough communication, and lots of physical attraction and lust. The story is cute but I was hoping for more. More chemistry. More depth in characters. And more time being swept up in their love affair. There are moments of squee-ness, but I wasn't enraptured. But there's potential. And I love how the leads are Korean Americans. It's awesome to see a story where or main characters are diverse.
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A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee is a romance based on the interaction of a food critic and a pastry chef. After having a one-night stand, giving a terrible and unfair review and refusing to re-do his visit to Comfort Zone Landon comes up with a new idea to overcome the bad review. Aubrey will be a guest on his friend’s cooking show. Aubrey agrees as it will give her the needed financing to move Comfort Zone to a bigger location as well as salvaging her reputation. Upon arrival she learns she will be sharing a villa with Landon. What else will be shared?
I liked this book. It is a quick read, I personally thought there was too much thinking about or jumping into bed that distracted from the story, but that’s just me. I give this book 4 of 5 stars.
I received an advance copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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