Book Review: A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee
With two Korean-American MCs, I’m definitely disappointed the publisher didn’t take the opportunity to make their race clear on the illustrated cover for this first edition (American edition, I’ve just seen an Australian edition where they do actually look non-white). This couple look way too white. However, I’ve just heard that apparently this is going to be a movie starring Daniel Dae Kim, so maybe we’ll get a lovely cover with him and a Korean co-star on a second edition, which would be fabulous. I’ll live in hope.
This is yet another book being billed as a rom-com that is not actually a comedy. It’s a contemporary romance, specifically a foodie romance between a chef and a restaurant critic, but it’s not really as fun and light-hearted as a rom-com should be. In fact, it’s pretty high-angst and high drama, some of it manufactured and not really making sense, such as the bit towards the end where Aubrey and Landon reunite and she basically tells him he broke her heart and she doesn’t want to risk it again. She doesn’t even mention what to me would be a massive issue, which was that he’d known she was pregnant for WEEKS and… did absolutely nothing about it? There’s a weird time skip in there and we never really get an explanation why or what Landon was thinking and doing during that time.
This isn’t terrible. Aubrey’s charming and her romance with Landon was believable; yes, insta-lust does happen but it takes a while to grow into something more. Having the two of them thrown into forced proximity and unable to act on their feelings was nicely done. Their sex scenes were very hot.
But there’s too much I didn’t like. Aubrey hiding a pregnancy test in a bottle of decorative stones instead of actually TELLING Landon about it? The weird subplot with Aubrey’s rich, controlling dad which was just… dropped? These were things which needed focussing on, not several pages of description of every meal the two ate. It needed some stern editing, and a lot more humour and less angst in order to live up to the rom-com billing. I’m giving it three stars, because it was just OK for me… but I’m going to hope the screenplay of the movie adds in some more comedy and tones down on the angst.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.