Cover Image: A Sweet Mess

A Sweet Mess

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Member Reviews

A Sweet Mess was a delicious contemporary rom-com. Jayci Lee does a great job of making her characters seem real and likeable. I also like that the characters were Asian-American. The plot was pretty predictable except for a few twists. However, this "feel good" story was a real treat that I would recommend.
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I really enjoyed this book.  This is the first book I have read by Jayci Lee, but I will be looking out for more of her works in the future.  

This book is about a celebrity food critic, Landon, and his unsuspecting subject of a bad review, Aubrey.  Landon was supposed to go to a Michelin star restaurant for a dinner review one night, but the truck he was driving blew a tire and he had to unexpectedly spend the night in a small town in California while waiting on the truck to be repaired.  As he was wandering around the town, he decided to enter a bakery and try their cake because the aroma was mouth watering.  Unfortunately, he was given the wrong cake (one for a 6 year old's birthday party that was filled with gummy worms inside instead) and it ticked him off so bad that the pastry chef would think it is okay to create such a horrid cake that he decided to feature a negative review for this bakery in his column.   However, he didn't know that the pastry chef was the same one night stand from that night that he couldn't get out of his mind.  He was obsessed with Aubrey and he was disappointed to find her gone from his hotel room the next morning.  But he had a month long trip to Asia so he swept away his worries and left - even though he thought about her every day he was gone.

When he returned, he discovered that his one night stand and the pastry chef were the same person.  Did she know who he was before she slept with him and she was using that night to coerce a good review out of him?  What did he do when he realized that she had written letters to his magazine no less than 20 times during his absence to explain what had happened and to ask for another shot at a review?  What did he do when he realized his bad review was going to run her out of business (even though he now knew she was a very talented pastry chef that had only tried to make a 6 year old's birthday party complete).

This book is full of delicious descriptions about wine and food.  It is also a really cute story and I loved all the side characters that were introduced in the book.  I hope she decides to make a sequel with some of the other characters' stories.

I was provided this ARC in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated above are mine without biases.
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**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**

Title A Sweet Mess

Author Jayci Lee

Description from Amazon

Aubrey Choi loves living in her small town nestled in the foothills of California, running her highly successful bakery away from the watch of her strict Korean parents. When a cake mix-up and a harsh review threaten all of her hard work and her livelihood, she never thought the jaded food critic would turn out to be her one-night stand. And she sure as hell never thought she’d see the gorgeous Korean hunk again. But when Landon Kim waltzes into her bakery trying to clean up the mess he had a huge hand in making, Aubrey is torn between throwing and hearing him out.

When she hears his plan to help save her business, Aubrey knows that spending three weeks in California wine country working with Landon is a sure recipe for disaster. Her head is telling her to take the chance to save her bakery while her heart—and her hormones—are at war on whether to give him a second chance. And it just so happens that Landon’s meddling friends want them to spend those three weeks as close as possible…by sharing a villa.

When things start heating up, both in and out of the kitchen, Aubrey will have to make a choice—to stick it out or risk her heart.

Release Date July 14, 2020

Initial Thoughts

This book was recommended to me on GoodReads from several of the other rom-coms I read recently. I was looking it up on Amazon and discovered that it was actually on NetGalley. I was excited to be able to read it early.

Some Things I Liked

Cooking show. I’ve been watching ever episode of Top Chef during this quarantine so I was super into the idea of a rom-com that incorporated a cooking show.
A perfectionist and a screw-up. I loved the contrast between Aubrey’s lifestyle and the way she built her business up as compared to the way Landon’s perfectionist ways led him down a road where he gave up on his dreams. I thought they made a great pair with excellent balance.
Banter and sass. This rom-com had top notch dialogue. I loved the characters, especially Tara. I hope Jayci Lee writes a spin off about her.

Series Value

I liked this book. I can see the author continuing with this series in the form of spin-offs. I’d like to see more of Landon’s brother and more backstory on both Aubrey and Landon’s moms. I’d definitely keep reading and I’d read any other books that Jayci Lee writes.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a fun rom-com with a sub plot (the cooking show), that I hadn’t seen before. It was a smidge predictable but most HEA rom-coms are that way so I didn’t mind that. I would continue with this if it becomes a series.


Recommendations for Further Reading

The Marriage Game by Sara Desai – if you liked the cultural references and the idea of living up to family expectations that A Sweet Mess explores, try this new release by Sara Desai.
Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras – if you liked the themes of a character who felt like she was not living up to her family’s expectations but managed to build a business for herself, try this new release by Priscilla Oliveras.
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This is a wonderful book.  Aubrey runs a bakery.  Landon,  a renowned food critic, goes into Aubrey’s bakery while his car is being repaired.  He orders the cake of the day.  The delicious chocolate Bundt cake he gets is the special cake made with peanut butter filling and gummy worms; a 6-year-old’s special birthday order.  Not at all what he expected or appreciated.  Landon meets Aubrey in a cozy bar and they quickly establish a connection.  She is not aware he is a food critic, and he has no idea she owns the bakery. The one-night stand becomes unforgettable to them both and when Landon’s critique of the bakery is published, Aubrey comes close to losing her store.  To make it up to her, he arranges a guest television spot.  The setting transports the reader to a quaint small town, and the breath-taking wine country.  What goes on in producing a food show is insightful.  The characters are special, and the families are as complicated as Aubrey and Landon’s relationship.
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A Sweet Mess is such a great rainy day read. I admire the characters and their passion for their work, family and in the end eachother. I felt like a carrot was dangling in front of me as I read almost half the book waiting for Aubrey and Landon to stop hiding from their feelings and just get physical again. It was so worth the wait though, Jayci Lee did not disapoint!
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A Sweet Mess is a phenomenal contemporary romance by Jayci Lee. This is my first book by this author, already I can't wait to read another. Ms. Lee has provided readers with a well-written book furnished with a spectacular collection of characters. Kudos to Ms. Lee for snappy, snarky, fun dialog. Aubrey is the owner of Comfort Zone, her own little bakery. Landon, a famous food critic, is on his way to a restaurant when the tire blows and he has to be towed to the nearest town. Landon and Aubrey's story is packed with drama, laugh-out-loud humor and sizzle. I enjoyed every word of this book and look forward to reading more from Jayci Lee soon. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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When a mix-up at Aubrey Choi's bakery sends a 6-year-old's custom birthday cake home with a food critic, the fall-out nearly shuts down her bakery. Landon Kim's scathing review of her baking scares away all of her out-of-town business. Can she hang in there long enough to keep her shop open? 

Landon was only looking to kill some time while his car was being fixed. He wasn't looking to kill himself! The cake he bought was beyond delicious, until he got to the filling and almost choked on a gummy worm. Deciding he was justified in warning unsuspecting customers of the baker's odd choice, he writes his review. Then, he goes out for a drink and meets a woman named Aubrey who rocks his world. Their one-night stand sets more than the sheets ablaze. Not until Landon leaves town does he realize that "his" Aubrey is the baker whose livelihood he trashed.

Scrambling for her business, Aubrey also is stunned when she finds out that the hot guy she slept with was none other than food critic, Landon Kim. How could that fantastic guy be such a slimeball? When he waltzes back into her life - not offering to apologize, or re-do his review - but offering her a way to get her bakery and her expansion plans back on track, she is understandably skeptical. Can she survive three weeks in California wine country, sharing a villa with Landon when he lights up her hormones like a 4th of July sparkler? 

The more time they spend together, the more sure Landon is that Aubrey is his "missing piece". Can he convince her to give them a chance?

This is my first Jayci Lee book, but I enjoyed the lighthearted humor throughout, and the story was unusual enough that it sparked my interest. Aubrey and Landon light up the page from the beginning. I would definitely recommend to romance readers who like some heat in their stories.
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Enjoyed this book.  It might not be the most original take, but it was still an enjoyable read. Looking forward to reading more by this author in the future.
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Wanted to like it, but it just wasn’t for me. I was initially drawn to the premise of the book, but had a hard time getting into it.
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This truly was a delicious book! I feel like the author did a great job at building up the tension between the two love interests and made us as readers really root for them. Of course, as with any other romance novel, there were a few bumps in the road. But, they got past them, it was a sweet ending for all! 
I really do enjoy books like this. A fun, light read that I can easily finish in one sitting. It was a perfect beach read where you just want to be able to giggle a little and relax! 
I would totally recommend it!
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This was a dull read for me. I finished 60% and didn’t care to read anymore. 

I will showcase this one because I know others will love and devour this read. Just wasn’t for me unfortunately.
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A delicious read! I loved the plot and premise of this.It was an easy read, and so much fun beginning to end. A perfect romance book to take your mind away while also making you hungry. The chemistry of the two protagonists is sexy and fun and you can't get enough of.
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. I was excited to start this book. Unfortunately I just couldn't finish it - just not for me.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

I give this book 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

I enjoyed reading the story but it's more romantic than comedy. The comedy aspect didn't really shine through. Some of the dialogue was a little cheesy but overall, it was a very cute book. It's a very easy read. I got through the whole thing in 1 day. It's not your typical romance novel in that there were no steamy scenes. There was a lot of build up to what was going to happen and then the intimate moments were just sort of glossed over. Overall, if you're looking for a quick, cute read, I would recommend this book.
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Romance with a bit of humor, a bit of sweetness, and delicious food! Enjoyed the setting and the characters.
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Very interesting book, love the cooking and the way 2 people find each other in the world.  Sometimes we have to much in common; for our own good!  Sweet ,fast  and takes us away book!
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A sweet story. I enjoy books that feature chefs and baking. This was a nice story, if a little predictable. I did struggle with relating to the characters, I didn't find them as likable as I would have hoped and the dialogue between the two fell flat for me.
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I really enjoyed the beginning of this book.  The premise was interesting and clever. I laughed a few times. And I had high hopes for really loving this story.

I didn't love it. But I didn't hate it. I just feel some more time could have been spent developing the chemistry between Aubrey and Landon and fleshing these characters out so their connection felt more visceral and made more sense. Some of the characterization, in general, just didn't work for me. For example, Aubrey's father was almost cartoonishly awful.

I don't think this is a bad book. I think there are lots of readers who will enjoy it. I just think maybe this author isn't for me.

Thank you for the opportunity to read this advanced copy.
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Netgalley provided this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I'm a foodie and not at all ashamed, This book was adorable and I'm not going to lie I was a little apprehensive after reading some of the reviews, but it was actually really good in my opinion. 

The romance was really good and I fell in love with the baker vs critic aspect of the book almost immediately! 
Their relationship didn't start off great and no spoilers here but I was very happy with the development od the relationship as well as the characters. I can't tell you how much I appreciated this authors attention to details and descriptive writing skills. Just a really fun and well written story! 

 Wonderful romance and I hope you all give it a chance!
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Great novel I enjoyed the ending I found the plot endearing and I enjoyed the conflicts. I wish there was more of an epilogue, but I almost always say that. The characterization was good and I enjoyed the writing style. It was 3rd person limited which is unusual but I enjoyed it.
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