Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Honey Don't List by Christina Lauren

The Honey Don't List by Christina Lauren
Release Date - March 24, 2020
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 308 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**arc received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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… 
I eagerly anticipate each new book from Christina Lauren because I know exactly what I am going to get from them. Their books are fun, joyful reads that tend to leave me in a better mood than when I started. Their latest is what I've come to expect while still offering up some surprises.

Christina Lauren's newest, The Honey Don't List, is a bit of a change in that it falls quite low on the romance heat scale. Their books have always had varying degrees of spice, but when compared to some of their other novels this one is on the tamer end of the spectrum. It feels like a perfect introduction to the romance genre for those wanting to 'dip their toe in' but are not really sure what to expect.

I found, sadly, that I did not connect with the characters in this the way I normally do in their books. I did not like Melly or Rusty at all and I struggled to feel the connection between James and Casey. As a result  I couldn't become as invested in the story as I normally do. This felt like it was more story than character driven and I enjoy when there is a balance of both.

The book was, for me, funnier than some of their others. It has a charm to it that will definitely appeal to readers because they use humour to help balance the story being told. I also think that those who love the HGTV shows this is clearly inspired by will find elements they love in both the humour and other aspects.

The story is interspersed with snippets of some interviews that take place in the aftermath of a big incident. This usage is perfectly done because it piqued my interest in a way that kept me reading. I needed to know the circumstances that lead to these interviews. The reveal did not disappoint for me and fully aligns with the tone of the rest of the story (which I did have some concern about early in the story).

While this is would not be my favourite Christina Lauren novel, I did still find it an enjoyable, fun reading experience. It is a quickly consumed  shot of happiness that will satisfy when you are looking for that exact type of read. I am, as always, looking forward to whatever they write next.

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