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A Sweet Mess

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Korean-American author Jayci Lee delights with this delicious and light-hearted romantic comedy that readers will devour and ask for more. Bake a chance on love. 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 thr Korean-American author Jayci Lee delights with this delicious and light-hearted romantic comedy that readers will devour and ask for more. Bake a chance on love. 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 her gorgeous Korean unicorn 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.


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Korean-American author Jayci Lee delights with this delicious and light-hearted romantic comedy that readers will devour and ask for more. Bake a chance on love. 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 thr Korean-American author Jayci Lee delights with this delicious and light-hearted romantic comedy that readers will devour and ask for more. Bake a chance on love. 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 her gorgeous Korean unicorn 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.

30 review for A Sweet Mess

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    So much delicious food, wine tastings, mouth-watering pastries, chemistry that can put an entire skyscraper into flames, an amazing Korean couple, one night stand-enemies- coworkers- friends-lovers story! Yes, it seems like the best combination to jump in! My fingers already started to get twitchy to give full five stars, as soon as I read the blurb and intrigued by this plot which is so much better than the last ultra-cheesy- Royale with cheese kind of Christmas movies hit the Netflix. A small d So much delicious food, wine tastings, mouth-watering pastries, chemistry that can put an entire skyscraper into flames, an amazing Korean couple, one night stand-enemies- coworkers- friends-lovers story! Yes, it seems like the best combination to jump in! My fingers already started to get twitchy to give full five stars, as soon as I read the blurb and intrigued by this plot which is so much better than the last ultra-cheesy- Royale with cheese kind of Christmas movies hit the Netflix. A small detail: Do publishers work with some illustrators for rom-com books? When I look at the covers of the rom-coms I lately consumed, I feel like living a dejavu! I’ve seen this figure before kind of confusion! Anyways let’s get back to discuss this book! But I have to admit this book gave me complex feelings from the beginning to the end. At first: Pastry-chief Aubrey Choi saves the day and clears the mess her teenage assistant accidentally created by mixing the orders and serving a peanut butter, bubble gummed cake to a food blogger which was cooked for a sweet little girl’s birthday. She cooks another cake for the girl and she meets a charming guy at her best friend’s bar, having a one night stand! And surprise, surprise she finds out the guy she had pant meltingly incredible sex was the same guy, the evil, cocky food-blogger who wrote a shitty review and ruins her business. Well, I found this part a little problematic because how only one review destroys a local business forever and Landon Kim (douchebag who is responsible to ruin sweet Aubrey’s business reputation.) thinks the Aubrey had sex with her because she wanted a good review. Yes…. The book started solid three stars for me… But then Landon understands his mistake and offers her a Godfather-ish offer she cannot refuse (Nope, he didn’t send her horse head to show his determination) and asks her to be guest star of a famous TV show and share some her recipes for damage control. This means a trip to wine country for three weeks, tasting gallons of wines ( YES I ACCEPT! I ACCEPT! I ACCEPT! Oh sorry, nobody asked my opinion, hero just asked it to heroine, dammit! Anyways I cannot cook and if I became a guest star of cooking show, it turned into forensics crime scene with my culinary skills.) So thankfully Aubrey also says yes and throughout their three weeks agreement, we see how their chemistry grows and how they feel for each other. Those parts changed my mind and I decided to give 5 stars! Because it was hot, sexy, romantic, sweet, swoony, tasty and of course a little bit nasty! And then as every rom-coms THE ANGST PARTS knocked the door. I wished the author never opens that door to that frustrating angst parts because the reason this lovely couple’s breakup didn’t work for me. I found those parts as soap opera meets daytime TV melodramas kind of unnecessarily exaggerated and dramatic. And my stars start to move between two to three. At least ending gave me too many: awwwww, ohhhhh moments and sighs. So I summed stars and averaged them which resulted as 3.6666666 (Oh yes, I’m obsessed with numbers) and I thought there so many things I liked about this book. The characters’ back stories, romanticism, witty dialogues, daddy issues, lovely mothers, great wines, greet foods, yummy pastries so I decided to round up my stars to shiny four. I love Korean culture, including TV series (Good Doctor is also Korean show adapted to US TV), BBQ restaurants (once a week I found myself to eat meat till I pass out), traditions, family values, movies (If you don’t watch “Parasites”, probable best foreign movie Oscar winner, go and see it) so it’s impossible for me not to easily connect with characters and resonate with their family stories, their different perspective, importance of traditional values. Overall: I enjoyed it. Period. Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin to share this enjoyable ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This was an adorable book about food, love & second chances. I loved Aubrey so much; her drive, her compassion and her love for baking. Landon was overall a great character but went about saying and doing things all wrong alot in this book. I wish it had more with both of their families and that it would come full circle with that but overall if you love books with baking & food definitely check this one out! This was an adorable book about food, love & second chances. I loved Aubrey so much; her drive, her compassion and her love for baking. Landon was overall a great character but went about saying and doing things all wrong alot in this book. I wish it had more with both of their families and that it would come full circle with that but overall if you love books with baking & food definitely check this one out!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    Food descriptions in Jayci Lee's newest novel are just mouthwateringly delicious! Our protagonist Aubrey Choi is the owner of a small, but very successful bakery Comfort Zone. She is living through a minor emergency at the beginning of the book. Her part time assistant served somebody Aubrey's creation that was designed to go to a six year old birthday girl. Aubrey bakes another identical cake and saves the day. Later in the evening she meets Landon Kim, a gorgeous Asian American and is immediate Food descriptions in Jayci Lee's newest novel are just mouthwateringly delicious! Our protagonist Aubrey Choi is the owner of a small, but very successful bakery Comfort Zone. She is living through a minor emergency at the beginning of the book. Her part time assistant served somebody Aubrey's creation that was designed to go to a six year old birthday girl. Aubrey bakes another identical cake and saves the day. Later in the evening she meets Landon Kim, a gorgeous Asian American and is immediately attracted to him. She has no idea that Landon is a famous food critic whose car happened to break down on his way to a restaurant he was supposed to review. The couple spend an amazing night together thinking they are never going to see each other again. Landon never made it to his assignment, but his boss needs an article to fill the gap, so why not write about the cake abomination he was served earlier on the day - it was amazingly tasty, but also contained strangest fillings possible. Surely this must have been due to the arrogance of the pastry chef... Landon's article has a more significant effect than he expected. A lot of Aubrey's business came from tourists and online orders which disappear almost overnight, just when she already committed herself to her new premises and needs money to rennovate them. Aubrey and just about everyone in her small town begs the editor to give her a second chance, especially since Landon's unfortunate experience was due to an honest mistake. Landon refuses to review Aubrey's bakery again, but would like to correct the consequences of his actions by offering her a place on a cooking show which would involve a week of filming and two weeks of tasting local wines. Aubrey knows this is her chance to save her bakery, however hard it might be to work with and stay in the same villa as Landon... There are lots of good things about this novel, Aubrey and Landon's passion for food being just one of them. I'm not a big fan of insta-love, but Aubrey and Landon's first encounter was more of insta-attraction with no strings. Later the protagonists do find out more about each other and have time and space to let their feelings grow. There is a lot of tension building and even a few fairly melodramatic moments in the last third of the book. Part of the conflict comes from their childhood/adolescence experiences that shaped their ideas on love, relationships and family. As usual, clear communication would have saved them from a lot of misunderstandings and heartache. Cute, emotional, full of traditional romance tropes, A Sweet mess is an entertaining read, recommended to anyone who loves food (esp.Korean food) and cooking. Thank you to Edelweiss and St:Martin's Griffin for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lacey

    2.5 stars Is it just me or has there been an abundance of rom-coms/romances published this year with a love interest who is somehow tied to a restaurant/pastry shop that is strapped for cash and/or on the brink of going under??? Bonus points if said restaurant/pastry shop is family-owned. Off the top of my head, I can think of, like, three books fitting these criteria that were published in the last two months alone: The Marriage Game, Recipe for Persuasion, and Kiss My Cupcake. With the exceptio 2.5 stars Is it just me or has there been an abundance of rom-coms/romances published this year with a love interest who is somehow tied to a restaurant/pastry shop that is strapped for cash and/or on the brink of going under??? Bonus points if said restaurant/pastry shop is family-owned. Off the top of my head, I can think of, like, three books fitting these criteria that were published in the last two months alone: The Marriage Game, Recipe for Persuasion, and Kiss My Cupcake. With the exception of Kiss My Cupcake (which I haven't had the chance to read yet), all of the aforementioned books were rather bland, unsavory, [insert other food-related adjective for meh here] books whose heroines seemed to think they had more baggage than an airport baggage claim—all because Daddy refused to buy them the latest iPhone for their tenth birthday, or some other equally traumatizing encounter. And now, I have the great displeasure of adding A Sweet Mess to this list of timely classics. To put it bluntly, in case it wasn't already clear, A Sweet Mess was a not-so-sweet mess. Maybe I'm being a touch unfair. There's nothing really wrong wrong with it, except it had a lot of elements that I just don't like. Namely: love at first sight; a wish-washy heroine who was all woe is me and damaged over nothing and couldn't make up her damn mind if her life depended on it; a "conflict" that was nonexistent or, at best, a molehill made out to be a mountain; events/circumstances that were just so contrived and out of touch with reality that I couldn't suspend disbelief or stop pointing out how unrealistic things were the whole time I was reading the book. I've gotten pretty good at sussing out these books early on and, unsurprisingly, my spidy senses were already tingling by the second chapter. So, suffice it to say that I knew what I was getting into and that this wouldn't be the book for me from almost the very beginning. And yet, I persevered 'cuz Mama didn't raise no quitter. See also: pretty cover. But, in retrospect, the book is hardly to blame. I practically went in knowing that it wasn't my type of book and that I wouldn't like it, but I decided to read it anyway. It would be kinda like if my sister, who "only reads erotica" (her words, not mine), picked up It by Stephen King hoping for some kinky sex, only to be let down when—plot twist!—there was no such sex, and proceeded to give it a one-star rating because it just didn't do it for her. No shit, Sherlock. So, consider this a two-star book if you're like my erotica-loving sister reading Stephen King, and a four-star book if you're actually a horror reader—and by horror reader I mean love-at-first-sight-er, in this case.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    This book BAKED me happy! A cup of romance... A heaping teaspoon of humor... A sprinkling of steam... A dollop of friendship... A peppering of family... A pinch of angst... Jayci Lee has written a sweet and charming romcom that made me swoon, smile and crave cake. Girl meets boy. Girl and boy have instant attraction and end up sleeping together. Girl and boy are certain their paths will never cross again. Boy mistakenly gets cake with gummy worms in it from girl’s bakery. Boy writes negative rev This book BAKED me happy! A cup of romance... A heaping teaspoon of humor... A sprinkling of steam... A dollop of friendship... A peppering of family... A pinch of angst... Jayci Lee has written a sweet and charming romcom that made me swoon, smile and crave cake. Girl meets boy. Girl and boy have instant attraction and end up sleeping together. Girl and boy are certain their paths will never cross again. Boy mistakenly gets cake with gummy worms in it from girl’s bakery. Boy writes negative review of girl’s bakery. Girl is pissed at boy. Boy tries to redeem himself. Girl is not having it, but girl cannot deny chemistry between girl and boy. This book was a lot of fun! The audio was narrated by Natalie Naudus. She did a wonderful job with Aubrey and Landon‘s voices. The story is told in third person and sometimes I have trouble connecting with books told in third person, but the audio narration really immersed me in the story. As much as I liked this book I have a couple tiny niggles. I found it hard to believe that Landen’s one review of Aubrey‘s bakery would damage her business so tremendously. But admittedly I’m not up on the food critic scene. Also the final bit of drama in the story was so annoying, I felt like a lot was made out of nothing. But all in all this was a delightful story. I loved both Landon and Aubrey, the food, the friendship, their moms, and the HEA. This book in emojis 🍰 🍓 🥧 🍷 🛀🏼 👩🏻‍🍳 *** Big thank you to St. Martin’s Press & Macmillan Audio for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melanie (mells_view)

    A Sweet Mess is an emotional, sweet, steamy, and obviously funny romantic comedy. The main characters Aubrey and Landon have serious chemistry and the author, Jayci Lee, does a great job translating that chemistry on page. The steam level in this one is high, but it also more of a fade out read when it comes to the more detailed intimate aspects. This story is written in third person point of view, and that is honestly my only complaint. I personally can not connect as well with the characters w A Sweet Mess is an emotional, sweet, steamy, and obviously funny romantic comedy. The main characters Aubrey and Landon have serious chemistry and the author, Jayci Lee, does a great job translating that chemistry on page. The steam level in this one is high, but it also more of a fade out read when it comes to the more detailed intimate aspects. This story is written in third person point of view, and that is honestly my only complaint. I personally can not connect as well with the characters when that is the perspective it's written in, BUT I will say that it was slightly easier with A Sweet Mess. The story just has a good flow, and I think that's why I was able to connect as well as I did. I will say, without giving things away, that there are a few trope-y plots going on in this one that I personally enjoyed, but I think may bother some people. All in all though, this was a good romcom read. Would I purchase it for myself? Probably not. It's an enjoyable read, and an easy one at that though, and I would for sure recommend it to anyone who loves a well written, trope-y romcom. Available NOW! *ARC

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nadene (Totally Addicted to Reading)

    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 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 unfortunately I would have to settle for liking it. Would I read more from this author, maybe? This review was originally posted on Totally Addicted to Reading

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    I’m extremely bored with this one so I think I may need to read it at a different point. I got about half way through and I’m still not into the story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cristina | CristiinaReads

    FULL REVIEW COMING SOON... SUPER EXCITED FOR THIS BEAUTY! My hands have been itching to read it and I am ready to dive right in... ARC kindly provided by SMP, in exchange for an honest review coming closer to the release date... Follow Me On: Instagram ❁ Twitter FULL REVIEW COMING SOON... SUPER EXCITED FOR THIS BEAUTY! My hands have been itching to read it and I am ready to dive right in... ARC kindly provided by SMP, in exchange for an honest review coming closer to the release date... Follow Me On: Instagram ❁ Twitter

  10. 4 out of 5

    Claire Robinson

    5 - "You’re worth every risk…" Stars! I love discovering a new author and Jayci Lee has added herself straight to my auto-buy list with A Sweet Mess. Great story, likeable characters, beautiful locations and an easy to read writing style. I read Aubrey and Landon’s story in a day. As farfetched as it sounded, they had met by pure chance… A food critic and a baker. It was fucking serendipity… A little bit of forbidden to the romance aspect, and with a storyline built around food and cooking, I w 5 - "You’re worth every risk…" Stars! I love discovering a new author and Jayci Lee has added herself straight to my auto-buy list with A Sweet Mess. Great story, likeable characters, beautiful locations and an easy to read writing style. I read Aubrey and Landon’s story in a day. As farfetched as it sounded, they had met by pure chance… A food critic and a baker. It was fucking serendipity… A little bit of forbidden to the romance aspect, and with a storyline built around food and cooking, I was hooked. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, the drama and angst is nicely balanced and doesn’t weigh down the book either, and I loved it from start to finish. ARC generously provided via Netgalley, in exchange for the above honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jen Ryland

    This one is a tough one for me. Romance is so taste-specific (wow - bad pun!) and there were things I liked and other things that I really struggled with. On the plus side: I love the overall premise of two Korean-American foodies meeting cute and finding a culinary happily every after. That gets an A++++ from me. The opening meet cute was funny and sweet. The small town setting was charming and then the action moved to wine country *raises glass*. I loved Tara, Aubrey's best friend and their re This one is a tough one for me. Romance is so taste-specific (wow - bad pun!) and there were things I liked and other things that I really struggled with. On the plus side: I love the overall premise of two Korean-American foodies meeting cute and finding a culinary happily every after. That gets an A++++ from me. The opening meet cute was funny and sweet. The small town setting was charming and then the action moved to wine country *raises glass*. I loved Tara, Aubrey's best friend and their relationship. The food descriptions (she's a pastry chef, he's a food critic and aspiring restauranteur) were awesome. There was a recipe for Bulgogi at the end and I'm trying it. *Chef's kiss* for all that. On the negative side: For me as a romance reader, the "one night stand that gets awkward" trope can be hard to pull off. This premise and couple gave off a funny, sweet rom com vibe to me, not a dark, sexy "meet in a bar and rip each others' clothes off thirty minutes later" vibe. (I don't object to the one night stand at all in principle but it just didn't seem to fit the vibe of the story or have enough set-up to be plausible for me.) I could have gotten past that but also really struggled with some of the other tropes used to keep the couple apart. (view spoiler)[ Landon refusing to re-write his review of a special order bakery item he was given by mistake made him seem like kind of a jerk. He goes on and on about ETHICS and then hires someone he slept with for a show he's producing? Yeah, that was really a big WTF for me. Then sleeping with someone who is technically an employee also felt a little ugh. What about those ethics, huh? (On the positive side, the "forbidden fruit" aspect of it did add to the sexual tension.) (hide spoiler)] I am also REALLY REALLY REALLY not a fan of the (view spoiler)[ "surprise/accidental pregnancy as a way to bring a broken-up couple together" (hide spoiler)] trope. When that happened I was like nooooooooooo, not that. Please not that. In addition, there were some narrative and formatting issues. I was reading an ARC and I really hope the formatting is improved in the finished copy. I think having multiple POV shifts occur mid-chapter is super confusing (this was third person close POV that shifted from Aubrey's to Landon's) and because there was no formatting indication that the POV had changed (like empty space on the page or a divider) sometimes I'd be reading for a while until I realized I was not reading his POV but hers, and vice versa. That was frustrating and made the story harder to relax into. I'll definitely check out other books by this author because I think most of my issues were plot- and trope-specific. And if you're okay with the tropes I disliked you'll be fine. Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Let's be friends on Bookstagram! Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brooke — brooklynnnnereads

    This was such a cute romance that was full of all of the angst and drama (while still remaining funny). If you are a fan of "The Kiss Quotient" by Helen Hoang or "The Hating Game" by Sally Thorne, I'd highly recommend checking this one out as well. It was a fun read and surprisingly, I still really enjoyed it when my least favourite trope was introduced (no spoilers, don't worry). At its core, it was a fun romantic comedy that had everything a romance lover would want in a story. I'm looking for This was such a cute romance that was full of all of the angst and drama (while still remaining funny). If you are a fan of "The Kiss Quotient" by Helen Hoang or "The Hating Game" by Sally Thorne, I'd highly recommend checking this one out as well. It was a fun read and surprisingly, I still really enjoyed it when my least favourite trope was introduced (no spoilers, don't worry). At its core, it was a fun romantic comedy that had everything a romance lover would want in a story. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. ***Thank you to the author Jayci Lee and publisher St. Martin's Griffin for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review***

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jules ✨

    Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin's Griffin and St. Martin's Press for the ARC. I read a book by Jayci Lee back in January/February I think? And I absolutely loved it. It was so beautiful and refreshing seeing an asian couple on a book cover. And the story was compelling, sexy and definitely up my alley. So of course I had to request this title. It worked.. but also not. 1) I'm very not happy about this cover, it definitely hides the ethnicity of the characters - which are korean - and from this cove Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin's Griffin and St. Martin's Press for the ARC. I read a book by Jayci Lee back in January/February I think? And I absolutely loved it. It was so beautiful and refreshing seeing an asian couple on a book cover. And the story was compelling, sexy and definitely up my alley. So of course I had to request this title. It worked.. but also not. 1) I'm very not happy about this cover, it definitely hides the ethnicity of the characters - which are korean - and from this cover you can't really see it. I don't agree with the publisher's choice for this one and I'm a bit disappointed and sad about this. 2)The beginning of this book was absolutely incredible, i loved their chemistry and banter was really funny and sweet. Their built up was well done and the writing was as beautiful as I remembered. I really did like it until probably 70% in so this is why it's a 3 stars and not a 2. 3) now to my issue. I don't mind miscommunication most of the time in romances, which is an unpopular opinion, but let me just say as a person with issue with communicating my feelings I get it. But here it literally made me exhausted. It was just stupid. I don't get it why this choice was made. My rating dropped like a meteorite after this. The ending was cute but I couldn't get over my feelings for that particular scene, so the book went from great to average.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris C - A Midlife Wife

    Totally enjoyed this book. It was just so romantic all the way through. well, except for the bumpy road. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This book was a wonderful twist on a classic romance. Starring a baker who is enjoying some amazing business growth, she meets a guy who she immediately falls for. Sparks are Flying! It’s a wonderful beautiful connection even though it was just one night. But then things become real and her business grinds to a screeching slow down. The worst thing is it’s because of him. A Totally enjoyed this book. It was just so romantic all the way through. well, except for the bumpy road. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This book was a wonderful twist on a classic romance. Starring a baker who is enjoying some amazing business growth, she meets a guy who she immediately falls for. Sparks are Flying! It’s a wonderful beautiful connection even though it was just one night. But then things become real and her business grinds to a screeching slow down. The worst thing is it’s because of him. And when she finds out she has the ability to get some money to get her business back on track, it also involves him. And what a sweet mess it is! The one thing that struck me about this story is not only are the characters real and humorous, but their connection is literally on fire. The story is one long foreplay session. Filled with romantic and sensual heat, these two can fire up your kindle. The author writes, with intense passion, a story that will capture your attention and light up your soul. With typical ups and downs, these two weather many storms, but they are true to their feelings and the happily ever after is sweet and just so romantic. A delightful story you will fall in love with. I can’t wait for more from Lee. * copy received for review consideration Full Review - https://amidlifewife.com/a-sweet-mess...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. A Sweet Mess was a cute little romcom kind of book. Definitely needed to switch things up genre wise and I feel like I zoomed through this one. In it, you will meet Aubrey and Landon. She is a pastry chef and has her own bakery. She just loves everything that has to deal with baking and making her customers happy. Until the day that Landon walks into her life. Honestly, it was kind of funny on what happened before they met b I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. A Sweet Mess was a cute little romcom kind of book. Definitely needed to switch things up genre wise and I feel like I zoomed through this one. In it, you will meet Aubrey and Landon. She is a pastry chef and has her own bakery. She just loves everything that has to deal with baking and making her customers happy. Until the day that Landon walks into her life. Honestly, it was kind of funny on what happened before they met but once they did - sparks flew. Of course, these two had their fair share of drama as well. It kind of reminded me of Crazy Rich Asians is a way. Or even any sort of romcom on hallmark or lifetime channel. I could also see it being a movie as well .. and I would definitely watch it just to laugh at the funny scenes. The only thing I loved, and super jealous of, is her freaking visit to the wine country! UGH, a three week dream vacation for me.. and she got to go. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book and this couple. It was very cute and something that I just needed without knowing it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Remarkablylisa)

    I think this book is perfect for anyone who appreciates a Harlequin Romance. A lot of events just happen for steam factor and while it's cute, it's not 100% believable. I also didn't enjoy the ending as much as I wanted because of how the trope was handled. I enjoyed the asian-american rep in this book, family relationships, and issues both characters had to go through. It's still a good read! Thank you SMP Romance for sending me copy!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Luhman

    I give this book two out of five stars for poor dialogue construction, lack of connection to the characters, and a lot of manuscript construction mistakes an editor should have caught. The good news is, my review is based on an ARC through NetGalley. I read this book in January 2020 and the publication date posted is July 2020, which means the author and publisher hopefully plan to do some major edits and revisions before this gets released for publication. Some of the things I had problems with I give this book two out of five stars for poor dialogue construction, lack of connection to the characters, and a lot of manuscript construction mistakes an editor should have caught. The good news is, my review is based on an ARC through NetGalley. I read this book in January 2020 and the publication date posted is July 2020, which means the author and publisher hopefully plan to do some major edits and revisions before this gets released for publication. Some of the things I had problems with: 1) Poor dialogue construction: a. The characters all sound the same-none of them have their own unique voice aside from the child Andy, the kid who thinks peanut butter and gummy worms should be cake filling. Even a thorough line edit would improve this. b. American’s born on the West Coast, and born pretty much everywhere else in the United States, don’t swear using the term “bloody”. We leave that to our cousin’s in the U.K.. Its use by American's is generally considered strange and a form of cultural appropriation. The average American does not have "bloody" in their cursing lexicon, so having a highly educated, born and raised Asian American hero using it is odd. Then to have the upper class born and raised Asian American female use it makes the dialog bizarre. 2) I don't like insta-love stories, and I didn't feel any real connection between the characters. The reader is told a connection exists, but never really shown its development aside from a few blushes and electric touches. I get that in order for the conflict of “no second reviews” to work, there had to be a greater moral and even potential legal liability issue to occur. It’s why the protagonists had to fall into bed together to begin with, right? No, I'm not convinced. Did they really need a one night stand in order for the same issue to be a conflict? Why couldn’t the paparazzi said to be following around the most eligible bachelor and famous food critic be the problem? A few pictures of him cuddled up with the heroine at the taproom and published would cause the same inferred but not confirmed relationship that puts the no second review rule into effect. I’m throwing that out there, because the respect factor for both characters drops dramatically with their choice of falling into bed and then falling into “insta-love”. Most romance readers HATE insta-love, me included, and if their connection can become a little more plausible/realistic/healthy adult life choice in the beginning the overall enjoyment of their story will increase. Plus it just creeps me out that the heroine paints herself into a situation that replicates what some of her daddy issues are about. 3) Someone please edit this before July 2020. a. There is an overabundance of the author failing to resist the urge to explain (RUE). b. There were a couple really awful sentences where I seriously didn’t know what was being said or conveyed. There was one line where I couldn’t tell if the hero was asking a question or giving a command. c. The transitions are problematic. The scene where the hero first returns to the office after being stranded in the Sierra’s flows from him having a confrontation with his boss to him suddenly returning from a month overseas. I read that page twice trying to see if it was just me reading too fast for comprehension, but no there needs to be a much cleaner transition there. Most of the narrative would be improved by a clear delineation in the point of view shifts. A good space between paragraphs or even just a chapter break. Those transitions were really rough, and border on head hopping. d. There’s strange formatting around some of the character dialog, where something is said and then immediately followed by an action being taken by a different character that is unrelated to the statement made. *I hope this work gets some editing TLC and I am willing to take a second look and modify my review in the future if it does.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Leone-campbell

    A Sweet Mess is an adorable love story about Landon Kim a workaholic food critic and Audrey Choi a successful bakery owner. The two meet and have a one night stand thinking they will never see each other again. But when Landon writes a scathing review of Audrey’s bakery Comfort Zone, not realizing she is the shop owner, disaster looms. Audrey’s business begins to fail just as she has signed a contract to expand. Audrey confronts Landon but unfortunately he has a never retract policy and refuses t A Sweet Mess is an adorable love story about Landon Kim a workaholic food critic and Audrey Choi a successful bakery owner. The two meet and have a one night stand thinking they will never see each other again. But when Landon writes a scathing review of Audrey’s bakery Comfort Zone, not realizing she is the shop owner, disaster looms. Audrey’s business begins to fail just as she has signed a contract to expand. Audrey confronts Landon but unfortunately he has a never retract policy and refuses to write another review. Landon feels terrible and decides to make it up to Audrey. He offers her a paid spot on a TV cooking show which his best friend hosts. Audrey is to design three new dishes and debut each on the show. Audrey, who is desperate to save her business agrees to the arrangement. There is only one catch. They must share lodging for the duration of her stay which both of them are afraid will go terribly wrong. But they agree and of course sparks begin to fly. But something deeper begins to happen. This story goes beyond your regular boy meets girl and they fall in love. Added to the plot are values such as the importance of family and how even though there can be disputes the love of one’s family never dies. Family can pick up where they left off any time. It also delves into how the trust you learn from your family at an early age can mold how you accept yourself and others later in life. Entwined in the story are beautiful descriptions of wineries, villas and food. And of course who can resist a happy ending? Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sGriffin #JayciLee #ASweetMess for the advanced copy. The book will be out on July 14.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    I loved this book! Not only is it brilliantly written but the story is engaging and lovely. Our heroine has a successful bakery and a handsome fiancé. Then after one horrible day, she has neither. Now can the man who was just supposed to be a one night stand save her failing life? Can he help her find happiness? And can she help him? A wonderful romance with two people who love to cook and lots of misunderstandings. .

  20. 4 out of 5

    aarya

    DNF at 16% I wasn’t enjoying it and so I stopped. YMMV. Unrelated to the content, but worth bitching about: the cover is terrible. The publisher should be ashamed for whitewashing the Korean MCs in the ugliest cover I've seen all year. Do better for your BIPOC authors because this cover is a disgrace. Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    ✨ A ✨

    well it seems like 2020 has got all the good rom/coms ARC received from publisher via edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sheena ☆ Oh, the Sheenanigans!

    Was it just me or did Landon and Audrey lack an actual connection? Sure the sexual attraction was high and you can easily cut the tension with a knife but that was it. I just couldn't picture this couple together and just about the majority of the lines were focused on their 'spark' which became more than exhausting after the first few chapters. Furthermore I had an issue with the dialogue, scene transitions, POV structure and the instant love feels with a side dish of unexpecte Was it just me or did Landon and Audrey lack an actual connection? Sure the sexual attraction was high and you can easily cut the tension with a knife but that was it. I just couldn't picture this couple together and just about the majority of the lines were focused on their 'spark' which became more than exhausting after the first few chapters. Furthermore I had an issue with the dialogue, scene transitions, POV structure and the instant love feels with a side dish of unexpected pregnancy that I won't further elaborate on because everyone knows how much I hate those types of romances with a passion. It was an absolute mess. The POV was all over the place and the scenes and dialogue hopped back and forth so often that it got to the point that it took me a second to figure out whose POV I was reading, where the hell they were and what they were trying to convey. The characters didn't have a unique voice which caused them to all sound the same. It definitely wasn't smooth sailing but I have read worse. I just really hope prior to this release, the author does some fine-tuning and major editing to save this from being a complete disaster of a romance novel.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cat Duffy

    Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin's Griffin and St. Martin's Press for the ARC. A Sweet Mess centers on Aubrey Choi, a young woman who owns a brand new bakery, Comfort Zone. Aubrey has an intense one night stand with a hot stranger she meets at her best friend's brewery -- a stranger who turns out to be famed food critic Landon Kim. Prior to meeting Aubrey, Kim received the wrong order from Comfort Zone and after nearly choking to death on gummy worms, writes a scorchingly bad review which sends th Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin's Griffin and St. Martin's Press for the ARC. A Sweet Mess centers on Aubrey Choi, a young woman who owns a brand new bakery, Comfort Zone. Aubrey has an intense one night stand with a hot stranger she meets at her best friend's brewery -- a stranger who turns out to be famed food critic Landon Kim. Prior to meeting Aubrey, Kim received the wrong order from Comfort Zone and after nearly choking to death on gummy worms, writes a scorchingly bad review which sends the fledgling bakery into a tailspin. After finding out that Aubrey owns the bakery he torched, Landon embarks on an endeavor to help Aubrey save Comfort Zone from financial ruin while attempting to preserve both of their professional reputations. This book has a lot of great ideas, but it tries to force too many different plot points into one book. There's family drama, there's an accidental pregnancy, there's a cooking show, there's love at first sight, enemies to lovers, *and* forbidden love elements at different points -- it's just too much. The "will they, won't they" between Aubrey and Landon never really makes a ton of sense, as both characters whiplash back and forth between wanting to be together and believing there's no way they could make it work. I had high hopes because I love Hallmark movies and this had all the trappings of a Hallmark in novel form but it doesn't quite pull it off.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    The light-hearted romance between master chefs, a food critic, and baker. I enjoyed A Sweet Mess. It was a quick easy and entertaining read. I received this ARC copy of A Sweet Mess from St. Martin's Press - St. Martin's Griffin. This is my honest and voluntary review. My Rating: 4 stars Written by: Jayci Lee Paperback: 320 pages Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (July 14, 2020) ISBN-10: 1250621100 ISBN-13: 978-1250621108 Genre: Romance Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Mess-Jay... Barnes & Noble: https The light-hearted romance between master chefs, a food critic, and baker. I enjoyed A Sweet Mess. It was a quick easy and entertaining read. I received this ARC copy of A Sweet Mess from St. Martin's Press - St. Martin's Griffin. This is my honest and voluntary review. My Rating: 4 stars Written by: Jayci Lee Paperback: 320 pages Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (July 14, 2020) ISBN-10: 1250621100 ISBN-13: 978-1250621108 Genre: Romance Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Mess-Jay... Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-sw... Want more check us out on Tome Tender Book Blog or on Facebook

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    A Sweet Mess is, as expected based on the title, a sweet rom-com. It is set in California and the lead characters are a pastry chef and a celebrity food blogger. Aubrey Choi loves baking and is proud of her bakery Comfort Zone in a small, charming town in the California hills. She bakes from her heart and loves dreaming up new treats. She plans on expanding to a larger space previously occupied by a diner and enjoys dreaming about the new space while listening to her favorite 80s music. One day, A Sweet Mess is, as expected based on the title, a sweet rom-com. It is set in California and the lead characters are a pastry chef and a celebrity food blogger. Aubrey Choi loves baking and is proud of her bakery Comfort Zone in a small, charming town in the California hills. She bakes from her heart and loves dreaming up new treats. She plans on expanding to a larger space previously occupied by a diner and enjoys dreaming about the new space while listening to her favorite 80s music. One day, Landon Kim shows up in town after his car breaks down. He meets Aubrey at the local brewery and the two immediately have sparks. Of course, some misunderstanding is thrown into the mix. Landon inadvertently posts a bad review of Comfort Zone, not realizing it was Aubrey's bakery and Aubrey's business takes a serious financial nose dive. Landon becomes determined to make things better. Aubrey was a likable character but I had a few issues with Landon. (who wants a perfect characters, anyway?) I liked that this was a Korean-American spin on a rom-com. I loved all the mentions and descriptions of food. It made me want to do a ton of baking...not that my family would mind that. :) This was a fun, adorable, quick read. 3.5 stars What to listen to while reading (or during reading breaks) Chocolate by the 1975 Sweet Life by Frank Ocean Just Like Honey by the Jesus & Mary Chain Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran Take on Me by Aha Lips Like Sugar by Echo & the Bunnymen I Melt with You by Modern English Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stacee

    I loved this premise and Jayci’s previous book, so I was really excited to jump into this one. I liked Aubrey and Landon well enough. They’re both passionate about food and the cooking scenes were some of the best parts. They also both have some daddy issues and that really impacts their relationship. I will say BFFs Tara and Aria were both delightful and I would read either of their books. Plot wise it was sort of meh. There are a lot of POV changes without an indication that there’s a switch. I loved this premise and Jayci’s previous book, so I was really excited to jump into this one. I liked Aubrey and Landon well enough. They’re both passionate about food and the cooking scenes were some of the best parts. They also both have some daddy issues and that really impacts their relationship. I will say BFFs Tara and Aria were both delightful and I would read either of their books. Plot wise it was sort of meh. There are a lot of POV changes without an indication that there’s a switch. Instead of their hot and cold, push and pull coming across as flirty banter, it was boring and repetitive. And I’m rarely a fan of an accidental pregnancy, so if I would have known that was going to be a plot point, I likely wouldn’t have requested. Overall, I liked the idea, but neither the characters nor the story had the spark I was hoping for. **Huge thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin for providing the arc free of charge**

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robin Loves Reading

    Aubrey Choi struck out on her own, leaving her strict Korean parents to make something of her life. She has pride in the fact that she has created a very successful bakery. However, one incredibly harsh review from a food critic could very well be enough to cost her business to plummet. Any success she has gained could go down the drain. Meanwhile,Aubrey enjoyed a delicious one night stand with a very sexy stranger she met one night. What are the odds that the man she slept with and the food cri Aubrey Choi struck out on her own, leaving her strict Korean parents to make something of her life. She has pride in the fact that she has created a very successful bakery. However, one incredibly harsh review from a food critic could very well be enough to cost her business to plummet. Any success she has gained could go down the drain. Meanwhile,Aubrey enjoyed a delicious one night stand with a very sexy stranger she met one night. What are the odds that the man she slept with and the food critic are one and the same? Landon Kim feels like he will never be the same after an incredible night with a beautiful woman. When he discovers the cake he was to criticize for his column was not intended for him - and baked by the woman he met just the one time - he seeks to make things right for Aubrey in order to help her save her business. He has an idea that just might work for the both of them. By so doing, he will not only help her, but he will be able to save the respect and reputation he has worked to achieve. Now the question is whether or not his plans for working together for several weeks will work considering the intense attraction they both share. The plan Landon has in mind? Three weeks at a villa in wine country to help Aubrey prepare as a guest star on a famous show on television. Can the pair spend three weeks pretty much alone and leave their hormones at the door? With likable characters, witty dialogue, a romance that made me swoon, as well as the most wonderful ending, all worked together to make A Sweet Mess a thoroughly delightful story. I also enjoyed reading a book that was part of Korean culture. Many thanks to St. Martins and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    If there’s any connection to food in a book I’m immediately interested and the first time I saw this cover I knew this one would be for me. Throw in an enemies to lovers romance, great humor and wit, and did I mention there’s a lot of food? From desserts to five course meals to wine, it made my foodie heart happy. Audrey is a pastry chef who has her own bakery. Landon is a food blogger and critic who stops in one day and accidentally gets the wrong order in the form of a cake with a surprise fil If there’s any connection to food in a book I’m immediately interested and the first time I saw this cover I knew this one would be for me. Throw in an enemies to lovers romance, great humor and wit, and did I mention there’s a lot of food? From desserts to five course meals to wine, it made my foodie heart happy. Audrey is a pastry chef who has her own bakery. Landon is a food blogger and critic who stops in one day and accidentally gets the wrong order in the form of a cake with a surprise filling of gummy worms intended as a special order for a little girls birthday party. He writes a scathing review and her business takes a nosedive, then he feels bad and ends up offering her a spot on TV as a guest host on a hugely popular food based show. So I definitely liked the premise and besides my love of food I’m a TV addict as well so it basically combined some of my favorite things all in one book. This one was really charming and cute, the characters had great chemistry and banter and I liked Aubrey more than Landon but I did end up like them together in the end.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Rohrs (words we love by blog)

    This book is the sweetest concoction of lust, love and all things food! I absolutely loved every second of this book and I didn’t want it to end! Every word, every chapter just had me falling more and more in love with Landon and Aubrey! From the first time they met till the last word I loved their dynamic and how their relationship grew! I love a story that has my heart clutching in pain as the characters grow and face challenges because it had me feeling just how real the emotions are between This book is the sweetest concoction of lust, love and all things food! I absolutely loved every second of this book and I didn’t want it to end! Every word, every chapter just had me falling more and more in love with Landon and Aubrey! From the first time they met till the last word I loved their dynamic and how their relationship grew! I love a story that has my heart clutching in pain as the characters grow and face challenges because it had me feeling just how real the emotions are between the characters! It puts me front and center and I love when you feel a part of the book! Nothing makes me happier than reading a story that allows you to feel every emotion the characters are! This is definitely the beginning of my love for this authors writing!

  30. 4 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    A sweet story about food, pastry, love, and heartache. Aubrey Choi owns a bakery in a small town and one her employee makes a mistake with a birthday by selling it to a walk-in customer, she now must save the party by remaking the cake. Not simply because inside of the cake is to be filled with peanut butter and gummy worms a six-year-old dream. When her busy day is over, she heads for her friends’ bar Tara and she has a nice conversation when a stranger sits next to Aubrey. This leads to a one- A sweet story about food, pastry, love, and heartache. Aubrey Choi owns a bakery in a small town and one her employee makes a mistake with a birthday by selling it to a walk-in customer, she now must save the party by remaking the cake. Not simply because inside of the cake is to be filled with peanut butter and gummy worms a six-year-old dream. When her busy day is over, she heads for her friends’ bar Tara and she has a nice conversation when a stranger sits next to Aubrey. This leads to a one-night stand but she is good with that. Landon Kim is a food blogger and a very popular one at that. He has turned that into a food critique job at a magazine and he believes what he writes. Because he is always right. So, when he writes a review about a small-town bakery that he liked the cake until his second bit had peanut butter and gummy worms in it and his tender pallet could not handle the combination so he almost choked and then threw away the rest of the cake. When returning from his month-long trip abroad he is asked by his editor to re-review the bakery, he says no. after many, many letters from people in town and from a visit by the girl who mistakenly sold him the cake he still says no. First, he thinks that she slept with him for a good review, but then he gets that thought out of his head. He then comes up with his own idea and goes to her with his idea. He wants to help her and decides to have her appear on a new T.V. show she agrees and for three weeks she is with him and another famous chief while tasting wine and getting to Landon. He is also getting to know her since they both have daddy issues; they each have other issues also. When the two of them become closer. A problem arises and when she tells him how she feels about him he says nothing, so she leaves. The story continues from there and is actually a little better, but you will need to read the rest to find out what happens. Good characters and just an overall good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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