Review: The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren
Publication date: March 24, 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Gallery Books and NetGalley
3.25 Stars


From the New York Times bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” (Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author) The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own.

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…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

M Y   T H O U G H T S

Carey had worked for Melissa and Rusty Tripp since she was sixteen and worked in their home décor store. Almost a decade later, as the Tripp’s went from obscurity to fame, Carey had stayed by their side and became an integral, but uncredited, part of their success.

James was hired as an engineer for the Tripp’s mega popular home DIY show but instead found himself thrust into the role of Rusty’s personal assistant. Since his last job ended in scandal, he felt obligated to stay in his role in order to boost his resume before moving on.

The Tripp’s book tour (a book all about maintaining a successful marriage) was about to coincide with a big announcement about the launch of their new TV show. And all of this was happening just as the Tripp’s marriage was imploding. Carey and James were strong-armed into going on tour with Melissa and Rusty in order to keep the peace and ensure their perfect public personas remained intact. And you can imagine just how well that worked out.

While the story is told from James and Carey’s points of view, the focus is largely on the Tripp’s. Their career, their marriage, their drama. It left me feeling like I barely knew Carey and James. And that, in turn, made it hard to feel invested in their relationship and its outcome, or even them as characters. It was easy to empathize with Carey, a young woman who worked tirelessly, had an unhealthy relationship with her employers, and was truly taken advantage of. However, other than a few mentions of her roommates and her brother, Carey had no personal life. Everything about her revolved around Melissa and Rusty Tripp. With James, it was cursory mentions of his former employment and a sister. That was all I learned of James. Again, his story was really told only in relation to the Tripp’s drama.

The Honey-Don't List is billed as a romantic comedy but read more like a sort of humorous look at a marriage going down the tubes and how the fall-out affected those in the wake. Even though it felt very much like the story of Melissa and Rusty Tripp, as told by Carey and James (which was not what I was expecting), it was still entertaining. I enjoyed seeing Carey experience some growth and come into her own. And James was… pleasant. But for me, The Honey-Don’t List was missing much of the charm and humor (and romance!) of Christina Lauren’s previous novels. I think readers who can connect with the HGTV/celebrity aspect will likely get a lot more from this one.

Disclosure: I received a a complimentary copy of this book for review. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.

The Sunday Post #201

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • I don't even know what to say this week. I mean, there's so much happening, things are changing daily, and the news is frightening and grim. What is there to say beyond we're all going through the same thing in varying degrees.
  • The Husband and I just completed our second week of working from home. We've already settled into routines and developed a new kind of normal. We get started early, take a mid-morning walk, have lunch together, and take another afternoon or evening walk. I have found that sitting in a different desk chair all day is wreaking havoc on my back so I've laid off the walks for now and have instead started doing stretching exercises using YouTube videos. Gotta get creative. 
  • It's hard not to get dragged down by the constant bombardment of news. I try to balance staying informed but also stepping away from it before it feels overwhelming. (Well, even more overwhelming.) I'm trying to find more ways to have quiet time, occupy my mind, and provide calm distraction. Yesterday I took a nap, gave myself a manicure, and did some coloring (I love the Colorfy app). What do you do for distraction?
  • Speaking of distractions, I decided I wanted to do some jigsaw puzzles. And guess what... I can't find any! What is available on Amazon (which isn't a lot because apparently everyone had the same idea) won't ship for weeks. Same with Walmart and Target - out of stock or delayed shipping. I'm not really willing to go into the store for something so unnecessary. But it's turned into a total mission and now I desperately want puzzles. LOL
  • This week's 80's music fix... isn't from the 80's at all. Geronimo by Sheppard only came out a few years ago (5? 6?) and it just makes me happy. What better reason to share it today?



In the immortal words of Prince...

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

Review: Bad for You by Abbi Glines

Abbi Glines
Publication date: April 1, 2014
Series: Sea Breeze #7
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Purchased
3 Stars



Addiction is part of Krit Corbin’s nature, and women are his favorite obsession. But that’s the life of a lead singer in a band. He can have any woman he wants—anywhere, anytime.

Blythe Denton is used to being alone. The minister’s family who raised her never accepted her, and they made it clear how unworthy she was of love. So when she finally gets the chance, Blythe moves into her own apartment. Too bad there’s a loud upstairs neighbor who throws parties all night long.

When Krit and Blythe finally cross paths, Krit realizes he can’t possibly resist this girl—her sexy innocence is just too much for him to ignore. Now determined to win Blythe over, Krit Corbin may have found his biggest addiction yet. But innocence isn’t meant for the addictive

M Y   T H O U G H T S

As much as I loved the Rosemary Beach series, the Sea Breeze series just doesn't do it for me. The characters are all the same, the dialogue makes me roll my eyes (repeatedly) and the storylines are completely predictable. 


I still can't seem to help myself. Because sometimes something by Abbi Glines just hits the spot. When I need something light that doesn't require too much any thought, an Abbi Glines book is like brain candy. And that's what Bad for You was. We have Krit, the unrepentant manwhore who is a total douchbag. His tragic childhood, which obviously explains his manwhore ways, is hinted at but never explained. Then there's Blythe, Abbi's typical heroine. Beautiful but has no idea, virginal, and innocent/naive beyond belief. Naturally Blythe is drawn to Krit and naturally Krit knows Blythe is the one and only girl to change his manwhore ways. I made a note on page *four* that I'd already figured out the big twist and (no surprise) I was right. The foreshadowing was not subtle, my friends. LOL

With all the crap I give the books in this series it probably sounds like I hate them and it's puzzling why I keep reading them. But I actually do enjoy them for what they are: total escapism at its cheesy finest. So eye-rollingly bad that it's good. And even though I gleefully point out the flaws, I'm still so here for it. 😊

What are your brain candy reads?

Review: Anticipating Spring by Lora Richardson (#YA #NewRelease)

Lora Richardson
Publication date: March 23, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Author
4 Stars


Note: At the time of this post, Anticipating Spring is free on Kindle Unlimited or available for purchase for just $0.99! Grab your copy now and experience this heartwarming story for yourself!


Joe Hudson broke my heart. The last thing I want is to be trapped with him at basketball camp.

Coaching a skills camp for little kids was supposed to be a fun way to say goodbye to my high school basketball career. A bridge between my old life and new beginnings. But coaching with the guy who broke my heart last summer?

That was not the plan.

But there he is, across the gym. He hasn't even said anything yet, and already I’m remembering the way my name sounds on his lips. As he comes closer, old feelings are stirred up and all I can think of is the way he used to hold me.


Joe is my past—a very painful and heart-wrenching past. He will never be allowed to hold my heart again. But we’ll be stuck together day after day, so we have to figure out a way to play nice. And I have to figure out a way to keep him from getting under my skin.

M Y   T H O U G H T S

Anticipating Spring is the fourth and final book in Richardson’s Unexpected Love series and it was bittersweet to say goodbye to all the characters I’ve come to know and love. Here, the focus is on Maggie and Joe. Readers already familiar with the series know Joe as Greta’s older brother, and Maggie was mentioned several times in the first book, particularly after their break-up. Their relationship was sometimes hinted at so I was excited to finally get their story.

"I've missed you, Maggie. You were good for me, even if I wasn't good for you."
I pressed a hand to my chest, trying to contain the ache. "You were good for me, Joe. I mean it. We were good for each other, even if things didn't work out."

Maggie and Joe met at a time when he was vulnerable and struggling. Over the years they connected here and there, slowly forming a friendship of sorts, before finally starting a relationship. When the story begins it’s been about a year since their break-up and now Maggie finds that she and Joe will be coaching a summer basketball camp together. She’s determined to make the most of it but the truth is she still has feelings for Joe and so much about their relationship and break-up feels unresolved. At the same time, Maggie is also dealing with feelings of uncertainty about leaving for college at the end of summer as well as the declining health of her beloved grandmother who lives with her family.

Maggie was such a truly likable character. She was family-focused, a good daughter and a good friend. I loved her openness and her willingness to share what was on her mind and really give of herself. Unfortunately, it was her total openness and Joe’s emotional distance that eventually drove a wedge between them. I loved watching as they tiptoed around each other and finally talked about their break-up. It opened the door to a renewed friendship… and maybe more.

"Maggie? I hope you don't have any regrets about us."
"Joe, I have a million regrets about us."
He blinked, taken aback. "But it's me who messed up. You were perfect."

Anticipating Spring was told almost completely from Maggie’s point of view but there were short chapters from Joe’s perspective. I adored those. Being in Joe’s head, understanding his thought process, and realizing how he really felt about Maggie was priceless. Lora Richardson has created another sweet, heartwarming, small town romance that gave me all the good feelings (the road trip was the best!) and left me with a smile on my face. I may be saying goodbye to these characters and this series, but I’m already looking forward to what Richardson delivers next.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.



As a child, Lora lived on a pig farm. She spent time swimming in the creek with snakes, playing in the hayloft, and tapping out stories on her mother's typewriter. These days she lives in a small city in Indiana with her high-school-sweetheart-husband and their two children. She spends her time reading, writing, and hanging out with her people. She still has pigs, though now they are of the guinea variety.

You can find Lora here: * FACEBOOK * TWITTER * GOODREADS * INSTAGRAM *

Top Ten Tuesday: Feel-Good Romance (No Angst Allowed)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
Feel-Good Romance

With all that's going on locally/nationally/globally, I haven't been able to read at all in the past week or so. Just can't concentrate. Which is unfortunate because if ever I needed the escape of books it would be now. I decided I needed some total brain candy. Something I didn't have to give a lot of thought to, something easy. Because seriously, who can handle an angsty read right now? (For the record, I picked up Bad for You by Abbi Glines. Total brain candy.) 

So I'm going to share some of my favorite feel-good romances. No angst allowed!

Have you read any of these feel-good books?

The Sunday Post #200

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • So is everyone else's days feeling more and more surreal? Businesses shutting their doors, food shortages, restaurants and malls closed... it's so strange. People are fearful, not knowing what's coming next or how bad it's going to get. And then there are the idiots who are carrying on as usual, gathering together, as if they - and everyone around them - are invincible. As if this is all one big vacation. Those people make me ragey. 
  • The Husband and I went to the Commissary yesterday (the grocery store on the Navy base where we do our shopping). They were opening at 9 AM and we got there a little early thinking it might be crowded. We arrived to a line of about 150 people, snaking all along the front of the building waiting to get in. They were checking every person's ID - no visitors/guests allowed inside. Most everything was well stocked, but there were also limits in place. We kept our distance from people as much as possible, but one woman actually put her hand on my back to move around me and I thought I was going to lose it. First, even under normal circumstances, don't touch me. Personal space, people. But now... seriously? Gah!
  • It's funny how quickly your thought process can shift when there is a change in the norm. Without being conscious of it, I've found myself reaching for the fresh foods at home first, saving the pantry and frozen items for later. I'm conserving more because any waste seems foolish and dangerous. 
  • The Husband and I are both working from home and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I'm working in our home office and he is set up in the dining room. We meet up for lunch every day in the employee break room (formerly known as the kitchen). In other exciting news, Robert was named Employee of the Week. (It still counts if I was the only one voting, right?) Fingers crossed that I get that honor next week. :) 
  • We are self-isolating as much as possible and not leaving the house unless necessary. I keep seeing jokes about couple losing it because of the forced proximity, but there's no one else I'd rather be cooped up with. All this togetherness is the one bonus in this situation. It's like I get to see my best friend all day, every day and that's pretty awesome.
  • We went to check on my mom Friday night and took dinner with us. We had a picnic on her driveway - about 10 feet apart. It was kind of bizarre and pitiful - but also necessary now. No way will I risk her health.
  • For this week's 80's music fix: I was going to skip my 80's song this week but you know what, I need a little lift now more than ever. This one is actually from 1978, not the 80's, but whatever.

Tuesday, March 17
Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Friday, March 18
WWW Wednesday #80

Not a thing. I'm finding it hard to concentrate on reading or audio books. If I do pick something up you better believe it will be the lightest, fluffiest, happiest book ever written. I can not handle angst right now. Ugh.



How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

WWW Wednesday #80 | March 18, 2020

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.
Just answer three questions and share what you're reading.

Day by day things get more surreal. More restrictions, more businesses closing their doors, entire cities on lock-down. The Husband and I are both working from home now. Whatever things are like in your area, I hope you're being cautious and staying safe.



Currently reading: I started Anticipating Spring on Sunday and I'm so happy to be back in this world. Each book in this series can easily stand alone but the characters are all interconnected. It's like revisiting friends. And getting Joe and Maggie's story... I've been waiting for this since the first book! It's told mostly from Maggie's POV but here and there are a few brief pages from Joe's perspective and I'm living for those. :) 
Current progress: 53%

Currently listening: Two YA novels in progress at the same time? Who am I??? I'm just not particularly drawn to YA stories these days but there are rare exceptions. And these two authors are among them. When it comes to Simon, my love knows no bounds. My re-reads of this one are about to hit double digits, but it never gets old. 
Current progress: 88%


Another Christina Lauren release that left me with mixed feelings. I haven't written my review yet but I will say that so much time was spent on the celebrity couple whose marriage was crashing and burning that it completely took center stage. And that left me feeling like too little time was given the main couple and I never really got to know them. Actually, despite it being from their POV's, they often didn't even feel like the main couple because the celebrity couple's issues were constantly the focus. It left me frustrated and feeling like the balance was off. 



Not sure exactly what I'll pick up next but these are all strong contenders. 

What are you currently reading?
I wanna know! :)

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring 2020 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
Spring 2020 TBR

If you've been around here any length of time you know me making a TBR is an exercise in futility. I don't make TBR's. I don't plan what I read. And even if I did I wouldn't stick to it. I'm a total mood reader and never know what I'm going to feel like picking up next. 

But, that being said, I've also never met a list I didn't like. So, just because it's fun to peruse my GoodReads lists and imagine reading all the books, here's my Spring TBR. Disclaimer: This list has absolutely no bearing and should be taken with many grains of salt. ;-)

Are any of these books on your TBR?

The Sunday Post #199

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • Like everyone else, I suppose, life seems to be consumed with coronavirus/COVID-19. Whether it's seeing the news reports online, hearing the talk (and the off-the-wall conspiracy theories) at the office, or just staying up-to-date with the latest CDC announcements, there's really no escaping it. There are confirmed cases in my city. Schools here are all closed for at least the rest of the month, all concerts and events are cancelled, the libraries are closed. And, naturally, grocery store shelves are empty because people do enjoy a good panic. It's all very surreal.
  • This Tuesday (the 17th) is when my area votes in the presidential primary so I'm curious to see how that process will be affected. Hopefully I can get in and out without too much of a delay.
  • Friday was my mom's birthday so The Husband and I took her out to dinner (nothing new since we have a standing Friday night dinner date with her every week). And yesterday my two sisters and I took Mom out to lunch at Chicken Salad Chick (love that place). 
  • The Husband is working from home for the next two weeks and I'm actually a bit envious. My office hasn't taken that step (yet?) but I'm still daydreaming about working from home in yoga pants and a tee shirt. :)
  • For this week's 80's music fix: It's Hold Me Now by the Thompson Twins. Who were actually a trio. Don't question it... it was the 80's. :)


I always get excited for every new release from Lora Richardson. This one releases on March 25 and I plan on diving into it today. Can't wait!

I will never, ever get tired of this one. On Friday I was craving more Simon in my life so I started a re-listen of the audio version (which is absolute perfection). Between the book and the audio this is probably my 8th or 9th re-read and it never gets old.



How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!