a fine mess actually explores some deeper mental health issues than one expects to in a romance novel. we first met the two leads in my perfect mistake, the delightful first novel of this series which i bought impulsively while rocking my daughter to sleep and then ended up making the poor choice to stay up till 5 reading. it was that good.
anyway, so a fine mess has been on my too-read list since then. i enjoyed sawyer and lily a lot in the first novel, since their mutual attraction was obvious and there were also complications worth exploring. one of the things that is nice about the series is that so far each book has it's own personality. sometimes series like these can end up with the books feeling a bit cookie cutter, but that is not the case here. sawyer and lily's story is not the same as kolton and shay's.
a fine mess picks up a couple months after the events of my perfect mistake. it's not a requirement to have read the first book to enjoy the second, but in this case it does enhance the reader experience. and even though we know a bit about sawyer and lily given their roles in the first novel, a fine mess really develops their characters and gives them quite a bit of depth. there is a lot of emotional weight here, and this makes sense, especially given the kind of issues both leads struggle with.
both sawyer and lily pretend to be well-adjusted. but they both have deep-seated abandonment issues and trauma that expresses itself in different ways. one thing you never really doubt is the fact that they love each other, but you wonder if they will get out of their own way in order to get that happy ending they deserve. they work through a lot of stuff, but it's not doom and gloom. there are light frothy moments too. the characters get to experience joy together, it's how you know they are a perfect match. and when they do have to face painful things, they get through it. not easily, but they do. and i think their journey is so interesting. very much worth the read.
**a fine mess will publish on august 2, 2016. i received an advanced reader copy courtesy of netgalley/forever (grand central publishing) in exchange for my honest review.