Lauren, Christina. The Honey-Don’t List. New York: Gallery Books, 2020.
ISBN-13: 978-1982123918 | $16.00 USD | 308 pages | Contemporary Romance
Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.
James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.
Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…
After their previous effort fell flat for me (it was a DNF), The Honey-Don’t List is a semi-comforting return to form for Christina Lauren. However, it does pale in comparison to some of their prior releases, like Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating.
James and Carey are both nice characters, and I found the plot point of them being subject to the whims of overdramatic reality TV stars fun, at least on a conceptual level. However, strip that away and I can’t think of anything else particularly compelling about either character.
And that leads the negative aspects of the inclusion of Rusty and Melly’s storyline in such a prominent way: I almost wanted the story to be about them instead, except that I don’t know if I’d read a romance novel about them, as they are both incredibly unsympathetic. But by having them steal the spotlight, the two leads lack substance by comparison.
I think, if you love Christina Lauren, this is worth picking up, even if it’s not their best release. And we could all use a good comfort read, especially these days, and if you happen to be on the lookout for one, I would recommend this one.
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The #1 international bestselling coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fifteen New York Times bestselling novels. They are published in over 30 languages, have received multiple starred reviews, won both the Seal of Excellence and Book of the Year from RT Magazine, been inducted into the Library Reads Hall of Fame, named Amazon and Audible Romance of the Year, a Lambda Literary Award finalist and been nominated for several Goodreads Choice Awards. They have been featured in publications such as Forbes, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Time, Entertainment Weekly, People, O Magazine and more. Their third YA novel, Autoboyography was released in 2017 to critical acclaim, followed by Roomies, Love and Other Words, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, My Favorite Half-Night Stand, and the Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal starred The Unhoneymooners.
Lauren Billings (but everyone calls her Lo) has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and before she made writing her full-time job, would spend her days doing nerdy research-type things wearing a lab coat and goggles. She is silly Mommy to two littles, wife to one mountain biking homebrewing scientist, and an unabashed lover of YA and romance.
Christina Hobbs (but you’ll always hear Lo call her PQ) used to spend her days in a junior high counseling office surrounded by teenagers. These days you can find her at her desk, writing or watching BTS videos. She lives in Utah with her husband and daughter, thinks she’s the luckiest person in the world to write books with her best friend, and is an unapologetic lover of boy bands and glitter.
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For official information about their books, events, interviews, movie/TV news and more, follow @christinalauren.
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