A Sweet Mess
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.

A Sweet Mess Details

TitleA Sweet Mess
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 14th, 2020
PublisherSt. Martin's Griffin
ISBN-139781250621108
Rating
GenreRomance, Contemporary, Adult

A Sweet Mess Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Cristina | CristiinaReads
    January 1, 1970
    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
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  • Alaina
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Chris C - A Midlife Wife
    January 1, 1970
    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 considerationFull Review - https://amidlifewife.com/a-sweet-mess...
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  • ✨ A ✨
    January 1, 1970
    well it seems like 2020 has got all the good rom/comsARC received from publisher via edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
  • Melanie (mells_view)
    January 1, 1970
    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 July 14th!*ARC
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  • Andrea Luhman
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • aarya
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 16%The arc I read could benefit from thorough developmental and line edits. The prose is uneven (obviously this is a subjective opinion, I'm no writing expert). The sentence structure felt awkward and difficult to read. YMMV. Maybe the writing style isn't for me. 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 authors of color because this DNF at 16%The arc I read could benefit from thorough developmental and line edits. The prose is uneven (obviously this is a subjective opinion, I'm no writing expert). The sentence structure felt awkward and difficult to read. YMMV. Maybe the writing style isn't for me. 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 authors of color because this cover is a disgrace.Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    A Sweet Mess asks a lot of questions about what we should do to make up for our mistakes and how willing we should be to forgive others. Famous food critic Landon writes a critical review of a small-town bakery called the Comfort Zone after he unknowingly purchased a cake meant for a child’s birthday party and not the day’s special. When he discovers that the Comfort Zone is owned by the woman he just had a one-night stand with, Aubrey, Landon feels bad but refuses to give the bakery a second re A Sweet Mess asks a lot of questions about what we should do to make up for our mistakes and how willing we should be to forgive others. Famous food critic Landon writes a critical review of a small-town bakery called the Comfort Zone after he unknowingly purchased a cake meant for a child’s birthday party and not the day’s special. When he discovers that the Comfort Zone is owned by the woman he just had a one-night stand with, Aubrey, Landon feels bad but refuses to give the bakery a second review as he wants to avoid any claims of special treatment. This kicks off the events of the story as both Landon and Aubrey struggle to fight their feelings for each other and grapple with these outstanding factors in their relationship.I found the premise of A Sweet Mess really interesting and enjoyed reading so much about delicious baked goods of all kinds. It’s clear that Lee is passionate about cooking and baking, which makes the descriptions of all of the meals and sweet treats even better. The plot was entertaining and made this an enjoyable book to read. (view spoiler)[I did predict the big twist about 1/3 of the way through the book but that didn’t really ruin the fun. (hide spoiler)] Aubrey and Landon both had complicated backstories and realistic reasons for their reservations about pursuing romance. There were a few elements of the story that personally weren’t for me. I’m not a huge fan of insta-lust as a plot device and never felt romantic tension between Aubrey and Landon. The emotional beats could be a bit too heavy for me at times. (view spoiler)[I was not a fan of how much heavy groveling goes on towards the end of the book, especially as I personally saw both characters to blame for the fact that they weren’t together. (hide spoiler)]Overall, this was an entertaining romance and a solid debut. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance and cooking/baking shows, you should check out A Sweet Mess*Actual rating is a 2.5*I received an ARC from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jypsy
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own. A Sweet MessBy: Jayci Lee REVIEW ☆☆☆☆A Sweet Mess is a delightful read with everything you would expect from a good romcom. Aubrey has a bakery, and I love this aspect. I always wanted a bakery, but I can't bake! Landon is a food critic. From the start, they get their wires crossed and have misunderstandings. It's cute and sweet to see the journey these two are on to straighten out Thank you NetGalley for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own. A Sweet MessBy: Jayci Lee REVIEW ☆☆☆☆A Sweet Mess is a delightful read with everything you would expect from a good romcom. Aubrey has a bakery, and I love this aspect. I always wanted a bakery, but I can't bake! Landon is a food critic. From the start, they get their wires crossed and have misunderstandings. It's cute and sweet to see the journey these two are on to straighten out everything and come to realize their true feelings. The story is fairly predictable, but that doesn't diminish its charm or ability to offer a pick me up, which everyone needs right now. I liked it very much, and the characters were adorable together. This story is perfect for a light and easy read, and romcom fans will love it!
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  • Julia ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin's Griffin and St. Martin's Press for the ARC.I read Temporary Wife Temptation from this author back in february and i had a really great time reading it. So of course, I had to request her latest work too. The title says it all and listen baking! baking!I love food romances so I'm all in for this book. Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin's Griffin and St. Martin's Press for the ARC.I read Temporary Wife Temptation from this author back in february and i had a really great time reading it. So of course, I had to request her latest work too. The title says it all and listen baking! baking!I love food romances so I'm all in for this book.
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  • Carrie (The Butterfly Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    Received this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Rating 4.5 StarsThis was a truly sweet read! From the talk of food to the romance! It’s funny and very entertaining! I had a ball reading this one! Can’t wait for more from this author!
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  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    January 1, 1970
    For me, this book was between 2 and 3 stars, but I've decided to rate up since I'm an early review, and because I did think the book was well-written and engaging. I didn't personally care for certain plot choices, but I don't want to put other readers off, as they will not have the same trope opinions as I do. (view spoiler)[I'd be thrilled if pregnancy was never ever a plot point in romance. (hide spoiler)]Aubrey runs a small town bakery that's doing well enough to expand. Landon's a famous fo For me, this book was between 2 and 3 stars, but I've decided to rate up since I'm an early review, and because I did think the book was well-written and engaging. I didn't personally care for certain plot choices, but I don't want to put other readers off, as they will not have the same trope opinions as I do. (view spoiler)[I'd be thrilled if pregnancy was never ever a plot point in romance. (hide spoiler)]Aubrey runs a small town bakery that's doing well enough to expand. Landon's a famous food critic, stuck in her small town due to a flat tire. In a string of coincidences, 1) he is sold a child's birthday cake with gummi worms hidden in the middle, 2) Landon and Aubrey meet, click, and hook up, 3) Landon writes a terrible review of her bakery off of that one cake sample, and 4) Aubrey's shop is in danger. It's a classic hate-to-love premise, with a twist of them having bonded previously. I was super into the whole set-up.The first two-thirds of the book are well done, I thought, though admittedly I didn't get the shippy feels like I would have expected. There's something still just a little bit off about the characters that kept them from feeling real to me and giving me the shippies. But! I love that Aubrey and Landon are pretty mature about everything at the beginning. I also think that the compromise of him not re-reviewing but getting her onto a reality TV show made a lot of real world sense.The reality show setting is fun, though underutilized imo. Mostly that period consists of the lead-up to the show, in which Landon and Aubrey, trying to be friends and coworkers, are stuck together in a villa (tropes, holla!). There's also a really weak side-ship between the head chef on the show. Still, I was speeding through this book with no issues until I got near the end.(view spoiler)[Surprise pregnancies will never be something I love about a book, though, sometimes, I can deal with it. I've come to accept the one in Josh and Hazel's for example, and in historical romance they're sometimes unavoidable due to lack of reliable birth control. The real kiss of death for me with this one was the melodrama surrounding it. Immediately after she realizes she's pregnant but before she tells him, Landon has a freak out and breaks things off for really weak reasons. It all felt very artificial to draw out the book for more pages. When he finds out about the baby, it's not a source of drama at all which is nice, but the baby + nth-hour breakup (two of my least favorite romance plot things) had already taken this book from liked to :/ (hide spoiler)]A Sweet Mess didn't end up really being for me, but I will absolutely try more Jayci Lee novels. I definitely think I could have strong like feelings for one of her books; this just wasn't the one.
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  • Wendy
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come
  • Isabella ~Mikku-chan~
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars - full RTC closer to release dayWhat an exciting story with a very captivating heroine & a hero who showed lots of understanding for personal space - the way he was introduced definitely owned him plus points.The book is well balanced with humor, funny, witty characters & exciting events - from Aubrey's problems with her bakery due to Landon's scratchy review to the upcoming TV show that should help her getting out of her misery & Landon's and her forced proximity - and above all is th 4.5 stars - full RTC closer to release dayWhat an exciting story with a very captivating heroine & a hero who showed lots of understanding for personal space - the way he was introduced definitely owned him plus points.The book is well balanced with humor, funny, witty characters & exciting events - from Aubrey's problems with her bakery due to Landon's scratchy review to the upcoming TV show that should help her getting out of her misery & Landon's and her forced proximity - and above all is their UST & longing for each other, their deepening feelings palpable.I honestly wasn't expecting the turn of the events around the second half/last third of the book - a true surprise (- and I'm pretty sure some will love other will probably roll their eyes about it - ) for me it was a nice add but to be totally honest I think the book would have been great too even if this wouldn't have been added.Yet an unexpected surprise that gave the book another layer of dimension - and fit well to the book's title. :) 4.5 out of it. I recommend it & I'll definitely pick up more books by this author.
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  • FTLOReading
    January 1, 1970
    This book is titled perfectly. A light hearted, yummy, feel good Rom-Com that will make for a perfect summer read. The short of it. Hotshot food critic, Landon, gets stuck in small town due to flat tire, finds a bakery, orders the daily special, gets wrong version that’s meant for a child’s birthday party. Disgusted with his order he heads for a bar where he meets and ends up having an unforgettable one night stand with what he eventually learns is the owner of the bakery, Aubrey. Still decides This book is titled perfectly. A light hearted, yummy, feel good Rom-Com that will make for a perfect summer read. The short of it. Hotshot food critic, Landon, gets stuck in small town due to flat tire, finds a bakery, orders the daily special, gets wrong version that’s meant for a child’s birthday party. Disgusted with his order he heads for a bar where he meets and ends up having an unforgettable one night stand with what he eventually learns is the owner of the bakery, Aubrey. Still decides to publish bad review, later learns in was a mix-up with the order, refuses to change review. Said review cause lots of problems for small town chef and through a series of events it leads to him trying to make amends and the pair falling head over heals for each-other. So the short of it doesn’t do it the justice it deserves. I think it will make it more enjoyable if you discover the story for yourself. The time frames were a little jarring and hard to follow at points. There are days, weeks and months of time passing in between certain scenes that could have been a little smoother in transition. This made their relationship have feelings of insta-lust to pure budding feelings come across rather stilted. I however loved the dynamic between Aubrey and Landon. The growth of their relationship was really nice if you can get around the time jumping issue I mention earlier. Both had very believable reasons for the issues that came up with them denying their feelings for each other. The side cast of characters add extra dimensions to the plot but I feel their needed to be more of a bridge in the familiarity of their respective friend group. We get to see that they are very close but not have any reason for them to be so close for most of them. I’ve seen people comment on the POV issue but I didn’t recall too many myself. I am reading an advanced copy so my version may be a later edit. The food is incredible and left me needing to have a snack at hand while reading. If you’re someone who enjoys food and cooking shows like me this aspect will make readers very happy. There was a wonderful balance between the food and the relationships in this. It really plays out like a favorite chic-flick in your mind and I have a feeling this will be one of the popular reads this year. E-Arc provided by St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Luz Trevino
    January 1, 1970
    A Sweet MessRating: 4 starsThank you to the publisher for the ARC given through NetGalley for review.A Sweet Mess was a delicious read! Landon and Aubrey have a one night stand. She later realizes that it was Landon who wrote a horrible review about her bakery, which caused her to lose money. He learns that what he ate was not meant to be sold to the public, but was for a little girl who had designed a very special cake for her birthday. When Landon realizes that the review he wrote for was for A Sweet MessRating: 4 starsThank you to the publisher for the ARC given through NetGalley for review.A Sweet Mess was a delicious read! Landon and Aubrey have a one night stand. She later realizes that it was Landon who wrote a horrible review about her bakery, which caused her to lose money. He learns that what he ate was not meant to be sold to the public, but was for a little girl who had designed a very special cake for her birthday. When Landon realizes that the review he wrote for was for the woman he slept with he feels bad but is firm about writing a retraction since he has never done it with other restaurants.Landon then figures out how to help out Aubrey with her bakery. He offers her to be part of a reality cook show. She accepts because it will bring in good money to help her financially with her new shop. What kind of drove me crazy was up to this point he doesn't apologize to her for mistakenly writing the bad review based on that special order cake. She even expects him to do so, but he doesn't. Aubrey still decides to be part of the show.As they are assigned to live together in a villa where they are going to film the show their sexual tension is off the charts. For most of the story they are fighting their feelings for each other. Feelings that are going beyond their sexual attraction for each other. Aubrey and Landon are cute together. The parts where they are cooking and baking was so hot and delicious. By delicious I mean the food they were making. The author did an awesome job of giving a very good description of their food. Let me just say don't read this book on an empty stomach. After having to deal with some issues, issues that they both had because of things that had happened to them in the past, they finally found their HEA. The last chapters were so full of angst and emotional. I just loved how Landon redeemed himself to Aubrey. Good groveling happens!Great story!!
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  • Jaye Berry
    January 1, 1970
    This... didn't work for me. While I'm not the biggest fan of cooking / food related books, I decided to give this a shot because the premise sounded cute and ugh that cover is adorable.Aubrey runs a bakery and when a cake mix-up happens, she gets a harsh review that threatens her livelihood. She never thought the food critic would be her one-night stand either. Landon wants to make up for the bad review so he comes up with a plan to save her business: spending three weeks in California wine coun This... didn't work for me. While I'm not the biggest fan of cooking / food related books, I decided to give this a shot because the premise sounded cute and ugh that cover is adorable.Aubrey runs a bakery and when a cake mix-up happens, she gets a harsh review that threatens her livelihood. She never thought the food critic would be her one-night stand either. Landon wants to make up for the bad review so he comes up with a plan to save her business: spending three weeks in California wine country working with him so she can guest star on his friend's cooking show.The dialogue is weirdly stilted and formal randomly and it didn't work at all. Plus the POV would switch in the middle of a page with no warning and it was so hard for me to follow because they sounded the same. I get the plot but it all just felt weird and so random too like ??? Why is that the solution? Why is this all so underwhelming.I was never really behind the romance because Landon was an ass and not in a fun way either. I didn't like how it started and it just didn't do anything for me.Who even cares about food reviews whAT? I didn't even know people still DID those, let alone made such a big deal about such a small mistake too. I know nothing about them obviously but I'm pretty sure that isn't how you review them either. Which that was also so strange because who makes a cake look exactly like the daily special and then doesn't label it?? Out of all the cakes to make?This wasn't a sweet mess, just a mess. (I'm sorry I HAD to.)
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    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 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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  • Nenia ☠️ Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Protector of Out of Print Gems, Mother of Smut, and Actual Garbage Can ☠️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    This sounds really cute :D
  • Dany
    January 1, 1970
    If you like Baking in romanceFoodie MCsAdult but not so adult romance ,May I suggest , A SWEET MESS !🌟Korean MCs🌟One night stand to enemies to lovers🌟Baking. Like, A . Lot .A sweet mess felt like a real romance. If you're familiar with Pride and Prejudice , I've always felt the climax confession a bit odd and unrealistic. But this book was so real. I received this e - Advance Review Copy from Edelweiss and MacMillan. This has not affected my opinions.RTC
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  • Zan
    January 1, 1970
    Confronting an influential bakery review gone wrong, an attraction to a stranger, and a conflict-of-interest scenario when said wrong wants to be righted, Landon and Aubrey are whisked(get it?) away into an adventure in California wine country and their insta-attraction makes things interesting for them.This was a book that I really really wanted to finally get to for a very long time! And it happened. And I'm conflicted. See, the biggest appeals of this book to me from the beginning were the As Confronting an influential bakery review gone wrong, an attraction to a stranger, and a conflict-of-interest scenario when said wrong wants to be righted, Landon and Aubrey are whisked(get it?) away into an adventure in California wine country and their insta-attraction makes things interesting for them.This was a book that I really really wanted to finally get to for a very long time! And it happened. And I'm conflicted. See, the biggest appeals of this book to me from the beginning were the Asian-American representation (definitely can't tell by the cover), as well as the cooking/baking aspect that connects the MCs together! The latter was definitely a huge plus for me, as the terminology when the leads were cooking made everything more interesting.Okay. But I do have a few things that I want to go over that did stick out during my reading process the most. I know that I had an ARC and formatting is usually a bit wonky for them, but I'm still going to stress the importance of overall clarity in the narrative structure! I don't think it helped that the third person limited perspective would sporadically shift between the two MCs at times? Or that the general dialogue isn't necessarily the most interesting due to the similarity between all of the characters' voices, so to speak. Normally, I wouldn't notice this too much, but it definitely seemed like there were little to no distinctions between the overall personalities of the characters. It just felt stiff, like everything about the characters' behavior wasn't necessarily natural.With an instant attraction rom-com, that has to involve a certain type of character, I guess you could say, but it's not as enjoyable of a reading experience when the characters don't feel like actual people. From both of the MCs here, they were characterized by their jobs and their relationships to one another, their backstories, but it felt like they weren't very complex or relatable.I also did not like the ending for this book at all, and maybe a lot of that is a personal preference, but I absolutely hated how the final resolution worked out. The plot device (view spoiler)[of the unexpected pregnancy and that bringing the couple together more (hide spoiler)] ruined much of the organic nature of a reunion. And (view spoiler)[the happily ever after ending with the guy moving to her small town and opening his own restaurant (hide spoiler)]is definitely very rom-com esque but I think this was one too many tropes for me by the end of the book.While I didn't understand why the MCs even had a connection to begin with, because all that I feel like happened was the initial attraction, I did appreciate how the author tried to make this a feel-good sort of NA book.My thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC!
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  • turniip
    January 1, 1970
    In theory, I'm all for baking romance books - I love baking, I love romance, I salivate at the thought of a GBBO romance book. But this isn't the first one I've read and just... not cared about the food-related plot, so maybe it's not for me.Mild spoilers for the premise below.This book is based on the premise that a food critic comes to town, mistakenly buys a child's birthday cake that the cashier thought was a weekly special, and gives the bakery a horrible review when he gets home from havin In theory, I'm all for baking romance books - I love baking, I love romance, I salivate at the thought of a GBBO romance book. But this isn't the first one I've read and just... not cared about the food-related plot, so maybe it's not for me.Mild spoilers for the premise below.This book is based on the premise that a food critic comes to town, mistakenly buys a child's birthday cake that the cashier thought was a weekly special, and gives the bakery a horrible review when he gets home from having a one night stand with the owner. He wants to help her save her business without damaging his reputation and so they... go to wine country for three weeks so she can guest star on his friend's cooking show and build her name back up.This book had the 'there's only one bed trope' and I didn't like it... how is that possible? I think a lot had to do with the fact that I didn't find Landon likeable at ALL. If I made a mistake like that, based off a harmless cake made for a CHILD, I would break my back to save the person's business, even if it made my reputation slip a little. He had her entire town begging him and he was like "uhhh nope!" but puts her in a situation she doesn't like to save his skin.Plus, when has a food CRITIC been famous enough to warrant paparazzi, hottie or no? Who reads food reviews from someone who isn't Gordon Ramsay now (aka an already respected chef)?The POV switches in this book need work, hopefully the finished copy has some clear transitions because as this early copy stands, a new paragraph will start and suddenly we're across the room with no warning in the other's head, and it doesn't work.And who frosts a kid's cake to look exactly like a weekly special display, with NO name or anything? sprinkles? does she have a SOUL?Iunno, this just didn't work for me at all. Too insta-lovey, too many plot annoyances for me, too much disjointed prose and dialogue. It's a shame.
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  • Kelcy
    January 1, 1970
    This book was pretty light and cute BUT ultimately, I had some issues with it.Firstly, the chemistry between the characters...it was kind of there, but at times it was lacking? Secondly, I was expecting the cooking show part of the plot to be more present. I feel like it was mentioned to structure the main part of the plot ( Aubrey and Landon sharing living spaces), but its hardly a part of the story until about 70% of the way through, and even then.Lastly, I didn't really like how Aubrey and th This book was pretty light and cute BUT ultimately, I had some issues with it.Firstly, the chemistry between the characters...it was kind of there, but at times it was lacking? Secondly, I was expecting the cooking show part of the plot to be more present. I feel like it was mentioned to structure the main part of the plot ( Aubrey and Landon sharing living spaces), but its hardly a part of the story until about 70% of the way through, and even then.Lastly, I didn't really like how Aubrey and the Comfort Zone's struggles seemed entirely dependent on Aria and Landon. I get that they were there to assist, but the resolution was so instant, there was no time for the issues to really take flight/promote character development. As this is an ARC, I do believe many of the editing issues (i.e. choppy transitions) will be taken care of so I won't comment too much on that.All in all this was OK. Thank you St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the eARC.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    Ugh! I hope the final version of the book is better than the ARC. Very predictable romance novel. Aubrey is a very likeable character, but Landon is a good-looking prick. Where is the chemistry between them? Why the "I just can't be with you" plot device? The book is hopefully edited again before publishing. The point of view changes within chapters were strange. Also, the dumping of information (background, past) that was "kind of relevant" but didn't come up again for several chapters was stra Ugh! I hope the final version of the book is better than the ARC. Very predictable romance novel. Aubrey is a very likeable character, but Landon is a good-looking prick. Where is the chemistry between them? Why the "I just can't be with you" plot device? The book is hopefully edited again before publishing. The point of view changes within chapters were strange. Also, the dumping of information (background, past) that was "kind of relevant" but didn't come up again for several chapters was strange.
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  • Kendra
    January 1, 1970
    Full review posted at Reader's Edyn on 03/05/20Aubrey is a ridiculously talented baker. Making it through a fairly rough childhood, she has finally broken free and opened her own bakery. Taught by her grandmother, at times she both uses and adapts coveted family recipes, which have helped her become a huge success at both storefront and online sales. Always dedicated and up at the crack of dawn to begin each morning at her shop, she decides to let loose one night at her best friend’s brewery/res Full review posted at Reader's Edyn on 03/05/20Aubrey is a ridiculously talented baker. Making it through a fairly rough childhood, she has finally broken free and opened her own bakery. Taught by her grandmother, at times she both uses and adapts coveted family recipes, which have helped her become a huge success at both storefront and online sales. Always dedicated and up at the crack of dawn to begin each morning at her shop, she decides to let loose one night at her best friend’s brewery/restaurant and unexpectedly meets Landon. Sparks fly and they immediately hit it off, ending in a night of scorching passion. But fate takes an astonishing turn when Landon ends up reviewing Aubrey’s bakery and gives it a scathing review – well, part praise, part horror. She never even knew he was there, or who he actually was; a renowned food critic. Of all the bad luck! With her business in shambles and Landon refusing to write another review, he extends an olive branch in a surprising form. If things work out as planned, she will be able to scream redemption from the rooftops. But their one-night stand must remain secret and they cannot succumb to their still smoldering desire for the sake of keeping their reputations intact. With the amount of heat both in and out of the kitchen between these two, “hands off” will be their biggest challenge yet.Landon, like Aubrey, has huge Daddy issues. Because of the events of his childhood, he has always been extremely careful and steadfast in how he operates, which has grown into a thriving reputation as a food critic. But everything about Aubrey threw him off. Never one to review an establishment based on one single dish, he is basically forced into the review and then promptly heads out of town for a several month-long food tour. Upon his return, he realizes the gravity of the mistake he has made. He absolutely cannot write another review and after realizing Aubrey is the one he’s unknowingly hurt, he calls in a favor to try and rectify his colossal blunder in the best way he can. But he’s also made another miscalculation. Working in such close proximity to Aubrey is going to be the death of him. He wants her like no other and he knows she feels the same. Try as they might, there is no way to douse the burning passion flaming between them. When Aubrey comes to him ready to give up pretenses for a chance at love, he stubbornly refuses, remaining adamant that such a move would be career suicide. When Aubrey leaves, he refuses to listen, so she heads back home with a revelation that could change everything. If Landon doesn’t stop acting like a pompous jerk, he’ll ruin any chance with Aubrey and cost himself more than he could have ever bargained for.I had a super fun time with this story. It was quite predictable but still amusing and entertaining. I very much love cooking, with baking at the top of the list. The food in this book was a serious highlight. The way each dish was described, I could almost taste everything – and you can bet I definitely wanted to. This is where smell-o-vision would have been ridiculously helpful. Although I found myself hungry quite frequently so perhaps something like smell-o-vision would have been not so great after all. As the main characters, Aubrey and Landon go through a few emotional modifications throughout this book. At first they are carefree and fun, really enjoying each other’s company, just out for a bit of fun. Following the disaster, they switch to angry, hurt, betrayed, wary, and distrustful. Neither knows exactly where the other stands any longer and each has the power to hurt the other. However, as they begin to work with each other, they slowly dismantle the shields they desperately erected in an effort to protect themselves from their greatest weakness; themselves. But in weakness strength can be found … it just takes an inordinate amount of time for both of them to realize it. The passion they share on their first night together hasn’t dulled in the slightest and the “partnership” they have forged of necessity only continues to feed those desires. Eventually, they succumb which wasn’t hard to guess at. However, they did make a good show of resistance. The lower the shields fall, the more vulnerable each becomes yet again and ultimately Aubrey decides that love and happiness is worth the risk if they take the leap together. But Landon is stuck in his stubborn ways and makes decisions for them both without really even allowing himself to glimpse a possibility of a future. The road back isn’t pretty, and it ultimately takes sound advice from friends and family to enlighten the big jerk.There were, at times, unclear transitions from one person’s view to the next and a bit of editing that needs to occur, but this is an ARC and it is January. This book does not release until July, so there is plenty of time to polish this story up just a bit. Also helpful, would be a bit more of a firm distinction in the time lapses. They weren’t over much, but when they transpired, I became confused a couple of times and had to go back to see what I had missed – if in fact I had missed something. One complaint is that I felt like Landon took a bit longer coming around than he should have, but once he did, he went big! Aubrey capitulates fairly easily, but she knew what she wanted so I suppose that wasn’t all that hard to believe. This book is an HEA after all, so the ending won’t be a surprise. I found Aria to be a vibrant addition to the cast of characters and enjoyed her immensely. What confused me about her and Lucien’s relationship is that they seemed to have one heck of a back story. I have never read anything from Ms. Lee before, so I have no idea if these characters are newly introduced or came from another book. But let me tell you, there is a book’s worth of content woven throughout these pages. They didn’t overshadow Landon and Aubrey at all, but their own dilemma helped guide Landon and Aubrey along the way. One thing is for sure, this amazing couple shares an obsession for food, which is ultimately what continues to bring them back to one another. I could easily see this book made into a Hallmark movie and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened in the future – with a bit of toning down on sexual content and language, of course. Probably my biggest issue within this book is that Aubrey is really the strong one of the couple. She knows what she wants and goes after it and if it doesn’t go her way, she finds another way to make it happen. She has help along the way, but she never wastes her resources or takes anyone for granted. This is in stark contrast to Landon who starts out as amazing, then turns out to be a real asshat. He just keeps making error after error and continues to do so until he pulls his head out of his rear-end. And finally, I both loved and disliked that we were treated to a delicious recipe at the conclusion of the book. And I will be using that recipe! What is disliked was that there was only one. I mean come on! There were so many amazing dishes in these pages. I wouldn’t have been the least bit upset with another recipe or two added on.Overall, this book is enjoyable. The plot, while predictable, kept me engaged throughout. I am willing to bet that changes will be made between this Arc and the final release, making it that much more delightful. Think of this as a Food Network Romance. There will be a lot of time in the kitchen – not all of it baking. The language is a bit rough. A lot of F-bombs. I can see some of them as appropriate I suppose, but a few getting cut out would be nice. With as quirky as Aubrey can be, she could almost have her own swear word – something she blurted out and created in the throes of a baking disaster. The sexual scenes aren’t all that descriptive. I wouldn’t describe this as erotic in the least. Most is glossed over, and those that are not aren’t anything over the top by any means. I should also mention that both main characters are Korean, so there is a lot of reference to tradition that I found fascinating. My family is rather boring and at times I crave having a strong heritage to draw from. For me, I loved the addition of the Korean elements to the book. I don’t know that I have ever come across a Korean couple before and hope that I do again in the future. If you like strong women and thick-headed males who need several nudges along the way (perhaps a skillet to the back of the head), then I am certain you will find this “strangers to lovers to inconveniences to co-workers to lovers” book enjoyable. Ha! What a mouthful!Personal Addendum:While this book is not perfect and did contain errors in editing, character development, and formatting (which could simply be the eReader itself), I did want to take a moment to say a couple of things. I generally never read others reviews until after I have written my own, but I fell behind a bit and when I was gathering information for the top portion of my review, one of the reviews caught my eye, so I started to peruse. What I noticed in several reviews were the reader admitting that they don’t even care for baking. I’m not even sure why anyone would pick a book up knowing they hold that bias and then think the book will magically become compatible in reading preferences. Another thing that annoyed me was that several others knocked the rating due to the editing errors. Now I agree this should be mentioned, but as an ARC, we are to have a clear understanding that errors will more than likely be present. I have never knocked an ARC based on editing with the exception of one single book in which the editing flaws were so horrific, I could not even complete the book. In that case, I would understand. But that was definitely not the case here. So as I stand on my soapbox for a brief moment, please be aware of the reviews you choose to read and those you provide. You should take them seriously as they often times help form a decision as to whether someone will read the book or not. You are, in effect, making or breaking an author’s career. Never will everyone agree and it would be foolish to assume they could. However, given the time frame between now and the publishing date, I have no doubt my rating of 3 can easily become a 4 between now and then with a few slight adjustments applied to this advanced copy. At the end of the day, this book is much more sweet than mess. 😊Kindle version provided by NetGalley/St. Martin’s in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jen {Novels and Notions}
    January 1, 1970
    I love me a good rom com, and A Sweet Mess was such a cute read!Approximately 5% of the way in to the book, I thought to myself 'oh no it's going to be an insta-love story" but I'm here to say it isn't and I'm so glad it wasn't.Aubrey runs a bakery and she makes an odd and gross sounding cake for a six year old customer. Her front desk girl accidentally sells it to someone (she doesn't know who) and Aubrey scrambles to make another cake for the birthday child.Well, it turns out that the cake was I love me a good rom com, and A Sweet Mess was such a cute read!Approximately 5% of the way in to the book, I thought to myself 'oh no it's going to be an insta-love story" but I'm here to say it isn't and I'm so glad it wasn't.Aubrey runs a bakery and she makes an odd and gross sounding cake for a six year old customer. Her front desk girl accidentally sells it to someone (she doesn't know who) and Aubrey scrambles to make another cake for the birthday child.Well, it turns out that the cake was sold to a highly regarded food critic, who Aubrey has a one night stand with later that day (they both have no idea who the other person is in regards to the bakery and such).What follows is some amazing romantic tension that had me clamoring for more while reading this book. I love, love, love a slow burn romance and this totally delivered for me.Also, I really love foodie books so I felt my tummy rumbling in hunger while reading this. I'm not much of a baker myself, but I'd totally eat at Aubrey's bakery. If you love rom com reads, definitely check this one out because I loved it!
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  • Cassandra
    January 1, 1970
    I am conflicted. I liked this but I also did not like it?The problem, for the most part, seemed to be the flow of the story. The transitions between each chapter and even within each chapter were rough and need some fine-tuning. The ARC doesn't have breaks so it will literally go from Aubrey's POV to Landon's with no break or indication that you're switching over POVs. I'm hoping this is just because it's an ARC but it took away from the overall read because I had to go back multiple times to ma I am conflicted. I liked this but I also did not like it?The problem, for the most part, seemed to be the flow of the story. The transitions between each chapter and even within each chapter were rough and need some fine-tuning. The ARC doesn't have breaks so it will literally go from Aubrey's POV to Landon's with no break or indication that you're switching over POVs. I'm hoping this is just because it's an ARC but it took away from the overall read because I had to go back multiple times to make sure I hadn't missed anything.Additionally, the conflict is one that could've been avoided. There are some romances where there is such little communication between the characters when there is an issue and it ends up leading to a bigger problem altogether. I really don't like it because... well you're adults. Act like one. I read books with communication like this when I was knee-deep in YA romance novels, which makes sense given their age? Also, it was a little insta-love-y.... which I kinda let go of as I went on reading but that thought still kinda lingered. At the end of it all, it was still rather enjoyable but this isn't a book I see myself revisiting at any point in time.Thank you Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for a review.
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  • Trianna/Treereads
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5This is a fun romance that follows two Korean MC's. One is a pastry chef and the other is a food critic. It is engaging and there is enough depth with the main plot and the side characters to keep things interesting. It did take me forever to read because of my reading mood, but I wish I could have sit and binged it. The books would switch POVs without warning, but that could be due to the fact that I read an eARC. *thanks to NetGalley for an eARC of this novel in exchange for an honest rev 3.5/5This is a fun romance that follows two Korean MC's. One is a pastry chef and the other is a food critic. It is engaging and there is enough depth with the main plot and the side characters to keep things interesting. It did take me forever to read because of my reading mood, but I wish I could have sit and binged it. The books would switch POVs without warning, but that could be due to the fact that I read an eARC. *thanks to NetGalley for an eARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review*
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