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REVIEW: Beautiful Mess by Lucy V. Morgan

Dear Ms. Morgan,

In our most recent Reader Open Thread, Patty listed “Olly Harris: Wedding Wrecker” as a July book she’s interested in. Something about the title caught my eye and I looked for more about it which lead me to your website which lead me to the fun-ness that is “Beautiful Mess” which is free at Smashwords. Well, can’t get much better than free and in lots of lovely ebook formats too. Win! And what a darling little novella it is too.

beautiful-messTwo months ago Bailey Frost’s boyfriend took her to Euro Disney and she thought she’d get an engagement ring. Instead she got a giant Pooh which should have tipped her off that All Was Not Well. Now rat bastard Craig has dumped her and her two male roommates and male friend Linc are trying to cheer her up with Jagermeister and cutting comments about Craig’s lack of skill.

“If it looks like a prick and quacks like a prick, it’s a prick,” said Olly.

Bailes knows her tolerance for alcohol is low and she blames that on the fact that she lets slip that she never got an orgasm from Craig – or any other lover either.

Working in a wedding cake store makes the remnants of her broken heart even harder to piece back together as she has to stop herself from wishing orgasm-less futures and divorce for all the mushy eyed clients coming in for tastings.

At least she still has her pet rats. Or does until one turns up stiff. But what begins as a Valentine’s date with her unattached friend might just turn out to be the romance Bailey has always dreamed of.

“Beautiful Mess” is cute but not cloying. The guy buddies see to that, though I’ll skip their poo pics. It’s short but sweet and that doesn’t just mean because of the wedding cake shop Bailey works in. It’s also just the right length for an afternoon or evening read.

There’s not a lot of backstory on Bailey. Or Linc and the boys. The thumbnail sketches of all involved are perfect for length of story and we don’t need much more. It is easy to see the hint of what’s to come as the boys console Bailes with Jager and get the awful truth out of her – not that they probably didn’t already have a pretty good idea due to the lack of noise from Bailey’s bedroom. Yeah, they know Craig is a “tosspot wank-bastard fucktarded nonce captain.”

But Bailes pulls it together and becomes “an imp of pure ass-kickery. A fuck-yeah fairy. Right?” as she deals with gooey engaged couples ordering their gooey wedding cakes. Then my first supreme happiness reading moment arrives when Bailes does what every woman longs to do when she finds just the right words for at just the right time for knobhead Craig. Bully for Bailey.

But wait, could her prince charming have been there all along? Yes, we knew it and he’s a “make her scream like a professional porn star” keeper. This is the second supreme happiness reading moment. It’s a nice touch to add the “four months later” spacer and throw in a little “not everything goes exactly smoothly” on the course to true love. Makes it more realistic. And I love the rats too. B





Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Jane
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 08:10:38

    This sounds like I would enjoy the book. “Cute but not cloying” works for me.

  2. Rosario
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 08:34:09

    Same here. Jayne’s description of it made me think of the Bro-Magnet book, and I did love the humour and romance in that one…

  3. Vanessa
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 08:38:33

    This was one of my favorite reads so far this year! I’m glad to see others enjoying it as well. :)

  4. Patty
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 08:39:42

    My comment sparked interest for a review? Day made. Olly Harris – whenever it comes out is like a follow-up in this series, readers meet Olly, Linc and the whole crew in Beautiful Mess which I loved…

  5. Kelly
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 08:44:51

    Read it! Read it! So glad you reviewed this – I’ve been meaning to suggest it for Recommended Reads.

    I especially loved the hilarious first sentences of each chapter – e.g., chapter two: “My Tuesday of Fury started well.”

    I opened up my PC Kindle app to find that quote and wound up reading a couple dozen pages.

  6. Jayne
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 08:49:29

    @ Patty: So the book you’re waiting for is a sequel to this one? Fabulous! But wait… it’s still not out?

  7. Jayne
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 08:57:29

    @Jane: @Rosario: And did you catch the part where it’s free at Smashwords? I’m a great lover of free ebooks as a way to try out authors. You got me started on that Jane!

  8. Brie
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 09:32:47

    You had me at pet rats! LOL

  9. Carolyn Jewel
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 09:35:05

    I read this book 2-3 months ago and I really enjoyed it. I’ve since read other things by her, too. Win all around.

  10. Stefanie
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 09:50:47

    Thanks for the review, Jayne. I got this on my Kindle several months ago and it has been languishing in my TBR category since then. I think I will move it to the top of the list. It sounds like a great evening read!

  11. Jane
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 10:03:31

    @Jayne: It’s free on Amazon too. I “bought” it this morning.

  12. Jayne
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 10:11:12

    @Jane: Looks like it’s free at B&N too. Kobo doesn’t seem to be able to figure out how to find it.

  13. Willa
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 10:40:05


    Found it at Kobo – free too . . just snaffled it

  14. Patty
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 11:02:37

    @Jayne: It was supposed to be out in July but because Lucy V Morgan self pubs this series, not 100% sure…

  15. Jody
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 11:14:31

    This one sounds great! BTW, thanks so much for reviewing freebies & weeding out the clunkers for us.

  16. LG
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 13:13:29

    @Brie: Me too!

  17. Christine M.
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 13:36:27

    I’ve dled the books from Smashword straight from work and mailed it to my personnal email address just to be sure I wouldn’t forget about it. It sounds right up my alley, thanks!

  18. Jenny Lyn
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 13:55:57

    Love, love, LOVE Miss Lucy! I cannot wait until Olly’s book comes out. I encourage everyone to nab her other books, The Chairman of the Whored and The Whored’s Prayer. They’re not as “light” as Beautiful Mess, but still very clever and sexy and full of LOL moments.

  19. Maria.Maria
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 14:44:04

    My favorite part was the gnomes of self-pity riding on the owls of despair.

  20. Kelly
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 16:05:53


    I’m still waiting for the perfect opportunity to call someone a tosspot wank-bastard fucktarded nonce captain.

  21. cleo
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 17:19:12

    @Maria.Maria: Mine too! It still makes giggle. What a great story.

  22. Annemarie
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 18:53:33

    Jayne, I’m developing a girl crush as I type. This review landed in my inbox with a note “You may like this” and I didn’t even need to guess who wrote the review before I clicked lol.

    This book sounds very Marian Keyes. Definitely next on the TBR list.

  23. dri
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 22:58:10

    Oh this sounds fab. And I’m so glad to find something worth reading on Smashwords! I keep searching and searching, eternally with hope … :p

    Off to add this to my library!

  24. Kaetrin
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 01:50:39

    Downloaded it and then realised I already had it on my TBR. Moving it on up :)

  25. Jayne
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 04:14:45

    @dri: I’ve found some good things there that weren’t previously released as print books but have discovered that sample pages are my little friends.

  26. Jayne
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 04:16:36

    I’m going to try and remember to check frequently for Ollie’s book but if someone would email me when it’s out, I’d appreciate it.

  27. Anne
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 05:41:37

    Not really, really. The language felt strained, while the attitudes were so absolutely yesterday and stuffy. The poor girl just needs a good doing-over, the ex is all bad and even if we’re kick-ass we still have to marry, right? No thanks.

  28. Ellen
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 07:02:23

    I am with you. I felt like I have heard it all before.
    It also seemed stilted in that the dialog seemed to happen for the express purpose of being cute and witty and charming, none of the flow of repartee I enjoy in this type of novel/novella.
    Maybe it was a matter of the age of the characters. But then I would hope the 20 somethings these days aren’t calling each other “gay” and some form of “tarded” or “retarded.” Maybe the compressed format made the use of such terms seem to be more prevalent than they were but the usage would take me out of the lighthearted, this-is-fun mode.
    I also felt that the characters seemed much younger than the mid 20s they were portrayed as. But maybe I am so far from that age I have no grasp on what the mid 20s are saying these days.

  29. Sarah
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 11:01:30

    I read this in one sitting last night and while I did enjoy it, I was rather abruptly taken out of the story when the character, Olly, remarked that his girlfriend was going to let him live out one of his fantasies by pretending to rape her. That just… well, for me, that’s not a fantasy I would like any guy to have. It didn’t seem like a “joking” remark either so it definitely threw me out of the story.

  30. Ellen
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 12:28:19

    I forgot to mention the present Chan was going to gift Olly. What it made me think was if Olly is the hero of the next one, I am not interested.
    It was a jarring throwaway statement.

  31. Anne
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 12:56:19

    @Ellen and Sarah:

    What I meant, this has such a yesteryear feeling and catered to so many male clichés, such as ‘she needs just a good fuck’, ‘the guy makes the success of sex’, ‘girls marry, always’, ‘some nice spanking never harmed a chick’, ‘adult women are incapable of dealing with a break-up’, ‘women cry and are soooo hapless’, not to speak of the abysmal, almost hateful portrayal of the men with all those pretty mean digs at them. And while I’m all for rape fantasies, that moment sort of also went with how negatively the guys were depicted.

    One thing is fortunate, I now have a story I can point people to when I need to explain why I dislike current ‘kickass,sarky, strong female leads’. This here is the epitome of why I hate this type of heroine.

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