#Book Review #A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee

If you love food (especially all sorts of cakes and desserts) and romance books, you should definitely read Jayci Lee’s A Sweet Mess – the characters’ passion for food is undeniable.
Our protagonist Aubrey Choi is the owner of a small, but very successful bakery Comfort Zone. She is living through a minor cake 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. Aubree bakes another identical cake and saves the day. She is busy chatting away with her best friend Tara when 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…

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 the protagonists 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.

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