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

The Honey Don't List by Christina Lauren book cover

The Honey Don't List by Christina Lauren book coverCan Christina Lauren write a bad book? So far, I’m not convinced that mediocrity is in their vocabulary. They are one of my few automatic buy authors – every book I’ve read by them has been good (and The Unhoneymooners is one of my favorite books ever). Their latest book, The Honey-Don’t List is perfect for HGTV junkies – it focuses around the two exhausted and undervalued assistants to a TV home renovation power couple.

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…

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Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Book cover of Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina LaurenChristina Lauren, the prolific author duo behind hits like The Unhoneymooners, has become a mainstay on the romance bestseller lists. They’re one of the most consistent duos in romance – they release books on a two a year cadence, and rarely do they miss the mark in terms of quality. Sadly, Twice in a Blue Moon is a definite departure from their normally swoon worthy rom-coms – it’s core story is flawed and makes the romance between the main two characters hard to understand and very forced feeling.

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Photo of the book The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Photo of the book The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Photo of the book The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Have you ever finished a book and immediately wanted to read it again? That’s The Unhoneymooners for me. Enemies to lovers is honestly my favorite romance trope – no matter how overdone it is. It often leads to the most chemistry driven romance books in the genre, with the best implementations having the line between love and hate so blurred that you forget when the characters stop hating each other and when they fell in love. This book was one of the cutest romances I’ve ever read – and it dethroned Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating as my favorite Christina Lauren book.

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

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My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

It speaks pretty highly of an author (or in this case, a writing duo) when my least favorite of their books is still a 4 star read. After reading a few of their other books, I’m pretty much at the point that I’ll read anything that they write. While My Favorite Half-Night Stand wasn’t my favorite Christina Lauren book, it was a pretty good entry to the romantic comedy genre.

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

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Roomies by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren is one of my go-to romance author(s) – they consistently put out bubbly, romantic, and fun books that stand out in this crowded genre. When I found out one of her books is set in New York and focuses on a bunch of people who work on and around a Broadway show, I was sold. It was sweet, just the right amount of dramatic, and oh-so adorable.

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient. 

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a bigtime musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

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