Editorial note: I received a copy of The Honey-Don’t List in exchange for a review.
The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren is a fairly entertaining read that you’ll fly through in one sitting.
Sometimes you just need a book that is easy to read with low stakes. As you can imagine, my TBR (to be read) list is out of a control. But yet, every book I pick up definitely leans more serious and heavy. So I decided it was time to give a rom-com type book a try.
Last year’s The Unhoneymooners is the first book I’ve read from writing duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings (aka Christina Lauren). I enjoyed it—especially the Hawaiian setting. It actually was a bit more serious than I expected from that type of read, which I wasn’t fully convinced that the story needed it. But overall, I liked their quick hit type writing style.
I had seen some mixed reviews for The Honey-Don’t List; it seems that some readers feel they’ve gotten away from the “comedy” part of rom-com. I will say that yes, this doesn’t really have much humor in it. But that didn’t bother me—I still felt it was more of a light read; ideal for a lazy Saturday afternoon.
The authors write a ton of books, at least once or twice a year, and I do feel this was rushed and lacked a bit more depth. There’s a key area especially that I wish they would have expanded on, which I’ll cover below.
Carey Duncan has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp (think Chip and Joanna Gaines) 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. And of course, they start to have feelings for each other.
While I do watch HGTV from time-to-time, I haven’t really watched the Chip and Joanna Gaines’ show but I know so many people who are obsessed. I mean, literally obsessed. So they clearly have built a big empire. So it’s obvious that Melissa and Rusty Tripp were loosely based on them as far as living in the country; building a business from the ground up and becoming super famous. But who knows if any of the marriage problems are anywhere close to reality.
The Honey-Don’t List is an entertaining premise—following the assistants of this mega HGTV couple who actually hate each other in real life. I will say that I felt the authors made Melissa and Rusty way too unlikeable. Also, when it came to Melissa and Carey’s relationship, I definitely wanted more there. Melissa, in particular, is the evil boss from hell but that’s all we really get from her. Carey had worked with the family since she was 16 and there are quick lines about how Melissa and Rusty are pretty much like a second pair of parents to her but it doesn’t explore that area of their relationship much. So I don’t really know why they didn’t expand upon that. It really felt like a missed opportunity.
These kind of books are really make or break when it comes to the romance. And I think it’s good in this one—Carey and James start out as adversaries but slowly being to develop feelings for each other. Their dynamic is interesting and fairly believable—I actually liked this romance better compared to The Unhoneymooners.
Of course, you have the big “miscommunication” portion that leads to a fight. I will say it was a little weak and another area that could have been expanded on.
Romance isn’t really my genre of choice so overall, for me, I felt that everything was fine in that area in this one.
This genre is a good palate cleanser between more heavy reads. While The Honey-Don’t List might have been a bit rushed, there are still entertaining elements. Check out my book club questions here.