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…
America’s Sweethearts… or are They?
When the opportunity to read The Honey Don’t-List by Christina Lauren came up I was ready for battle, but luckily the merciful Queen Bee bestowed the great honor upon me. I have a long-standing love affair with Christina Lauren’s books, and while some may say I am biased, I think it just means I have high expectations. Safe to say these ladies didn’t disappoint!
We are introduced to our leading lady Carey who is the assistant to Melissa and Rusty Tripp, the couple whose fun-loving relationship and innovative house designs have won the hearts of America. She’s been with them for every step of their success, from their first store to their current reign over design television. Carey is an essential part of the team managing their lives and contributing some “key” elements to their famous designs.
They’ve recently added a new addition to their motley crew, a new engineer named James. Much to his dismay he is less engineer and more personal assistant to Rusty Tripp.
Together Carey and James have a battle ahead of them, because as it turns out not all is well in HGTV land. Melissa is a success driven slave driver and Rusty is less interested in their new book and TV series and is more interested in less-than-family-friendly activities. All 4 of them have careers to lose if the new book tour isn’t a success, but the struggle is real to keep up appearances.
The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren was the peek behind the curtain to those seemingly perfect celebrity couples that everyone secretly wants. There is an obvious celebrity design couple that comes to mind during this story that made the behind-the-scenes drama even more intriguing to think about. There is a personal struggle that Carey feels between her loyalty to this family who has been with her since she was young and gave her a living, and being true to herself about her contributions to their success and where her true journey lies. Can she break away from the life she’s known for over a decade to pursue her own path even it means leaving her parental figures and risking their success? Should she even care with how they’ve been treating her?
This author duo always has a way of creating characters that you either want to be, or be best friends with and this one is no different. Carey is the girl that you want to be best friends with and James is the guy you hope notices you in math class. We get to watch their relationship build as they deal with trying to avoid the unavoidable train wreck that awaits them, and their back and forth quips are just as adorable as can be.
The Honey-Don’t List strayed from the normal style that I am used to seeing from Christina Lauren, including news reports and police interviews from the present and then traveling back to show the events leading up to the penultimate catastrophe. I didn’t find the back and forth distracting and instead found that it gave a soothing reassurance to the ending without making the rest of the story unnecessary. If you haven’t read Christina Lauren this would be a great introduction to their light-hearted romances and leaves you prepped and ready to devour the rest of their collection. Congratulations ladies on another amazing release!
Amanda is a proud Ravenclaw who was raised in Alaska before traveling the world with her family. She currently resides in District 7 with her husband and 2 kids. As a full-time working mom her time to read is precious and she uses it to devour as many books as possible. All genres are welcome but she does prefer some smooches to be included. She has discovered a love of book signings and has been lucky enough to meet many of her Unicorn authors and hopes to meet more in the future!