Review: “The Honey-Don’t List” by Christina Lauren

Happy Monday, friends! (Can a Monday be happy anymore? Was it ever happy? Anyway.) I’m back after a small holiday hiatus! In an attempt to try to get as close to my Goodreads reading goal (100 books!) as possible, I decided it to pick up new adult romances, which I usually read so quickly. So over the weekend, I borrowed this book from the library and managed to finish it. Shocker, I know. I didn’t think I’d do it.

Content warning: verbal abuse, gaslighting

This review may contain *spoilers.*

Title: The Honey-Don’t List
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release date: March 24, 2020
Genre: New adult, romance, contemporary
Length: 308 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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…”

While I enjoyed CL’s The Unhoneymooners and semi-enjoyed Twice in a Blue Moon, I was hesitant to start The Honey-Don’t List. The premise doesn’t sound like something I’d wholly enjoy, especially as it seems to revolve around a home renovating show and that’s definitely not my forte. Something about being afraid I wouldn’t enjoy it but also knowing it would help me (try to) meet my Goodreads reading goal of 100 books this year. Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen but damn, I sure did enjoy this book.

For some reason I felt the way Carey and James falling for each other incredibly natural and adorable despite the latter only working for the Tripps for two months. I loved how they both become something solid to lean and stand on while basically playing babysitters to two grown ass adults (okay, Carey and James are also adults but you know what I mean, right?). I really loved how therapy is shown in such a positive light as well, like James thinks nothing of it when Carey confides in him, even about her dystonia (which is a disease I’ve never heard of in my life until I read this book). Yay for books with disabled main characters. Yes for books with soft boys who understand. 🥺

As I was reading I really hoped Carey became aware of how really awful Melly was to her and that she wouldn’t overlook the fact that just because the Melly and Rusty were there for her growing up meant that the former could treat her so horribly. I wonder if it was something she would have come to terms with if James wasn’t there to show her, especially since there seemed to be some legal things involved (an NDA—non-disclosure agreement).

I’m really happy with the way things ended with Carey and James. I don’t know if it’s the mood I’m in right in this exact moment, but I feel very emotional and delighted with the way she’s moved forward with her life and that she feels like she doesn’t have to have everything together but to do things on her watch, not others. I have this vision that these two will be very happy together. 😭

Needless to say, I’ve already borrowed another CL book from my local library.

You can purchase this book from Amazon (less than $10 at the time of this review), Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, or through your local independent bookstore with IndieBound.

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