Book Review

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

Rating: ☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 308 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: March 24th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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…

I FEEL LETDOWN.

I’ve been a big fan of Christina Lauren as of late. I haven’t read all of their books, but most of their newer contemporaries. I was excited for this one, but I have been letdown. This was not a gem.

My biggest gripe was that the focus was way too much on Melissa and Rusty. So much so I feel like their arguing and battles between each other completely overshadowed the story about James and Carey. I felt like James and Carey were hardly even there!

The handful of times they were alone, I was loving those snippets. They were cute, I could feel the chemistry and vibe between them, and everything was fine and dandy. With the focus on other things it forced their relationship to appear fast and without much lead up. One scene we’re throwing out a bit of a frenemies vibe. Then we’re having a hot make-out in a pool, then sex, then break-up, then back together. It was disjointed and hardly gave me a chance to appreciate the stellar characters they were.

I really did enjoy Carey and James. I thought Carey was resilient, brilliant, and a genuinely nice person who wanted what was best for others (and sometimes forgot to think of herself). James was trying to overcome a poor situation, clearly handsome, and easy to talk to. They both worked really well together I loved their open and honest conversations.

I’m still here for reading Christina Lauren books. I know not every book by every author will always be a hit. I’m looking forward to what the plan on writing next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few mild detailed love scenes
  • Violence: arguing resulting in items being thrown at another person; an accidental fire
  • Trigger warnings: a cheating spouse

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Book Review

Book Review: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: December 4th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

AMUSING.

What a quick, cute, simple read. I’ve had this one sitting on my TBR stack for awhile and in interest of clearing out some of those books picked up an audio version from my library to read it (which I highly recommend, I enjoyed the audio book!).

One of the things I loved was that there was a guy’s perspective in this book. We got to see the story from Reid’s point-of-view and I felt that help me understand him and Millie more. Millie’s group of friends were funny, a bit ridiculous, and caring all rolled together. I laughed at their text/IM interactions and the amusing charade of everyone using a dating site together.

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about Half-Night Stand starting off with a half-night. I’m not a fan of too steamy books and these scenes were definitely a bit much for me. While that bothered me a bit, it didn’t take away from the story and especially the clear chemistry between Reid and Millie. I actually really liked this friends to lovers trope and how the catfishing issue worked out too. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’m not a fan of lying online like that (who is?), but I thought it allowed for some great character development in Millie. She went to him, honestly apologized, and was able to have a constructive conversation about her inability to let other people in. It made me appreciate her character all the more.

The setting was perfect. I love the idea of professor friends hanging out and the older ages of the group (late 20’s, early 30’s). All-in-all this was a great Christina Lauren pick and I’m enjoying slowly going through their backlist, while keeping up with their new releases.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; three very detailed/explicit love scenes
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a parent at a young age, coping with a parent with dementia

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: April 2020

Y’all. This month started out so great, then I got really sick for a few weeks (NOT COVID, don’t worry y’all) and the last half just plummeted. I’m not in an awful book slump where I can’t even get myself to read a few pages a day.

I know its not a huge ordeal to stop reading for a bit, and this too shall pass, but it’s still weird not reading so many books. I’m focusing solely on the ARCs I’ve already received and titles that I’ve already pre-ordered so I can try to at least keep up with those.

I dd manage 17 books in the first chunk of April, and some good titles at that!

My favorites this month were: King of the South, Dark Skies, Voyager, Elantris and a A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.

My least favorites were: The Kingdom of Back, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird and The Honey-Don’t List.

  • King of the South (Belgrave Dynasty #1) by Calia Reed – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) by Danielle L. Jensen – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn – (☆☆☆)
  • Elantris (Elantris #1) by Brandon Sanderson – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu – (☆☆☆)
  • Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co. #5) by Jonathan Stroud – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver – (☆☆☆)
  • Moment of Truth by Kasie West – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) by Sarah Morgenthaler – (☆☆☆☆)
  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle – (☆☆☆)

There we have it! My reads for April. Were any of these books you read too? See some favorites? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Expected Release Date: October 22nd 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment Weekly) My Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…

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.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

Thank you to Gallery Books and Goodreads for the ARC. This was my first ever Goodreads win! All opinions are my own.

YES, I READ THIS IN ONE SITTING.

Why you ask? Because Christina Lauren can do that to me.

I thought this was a great read, not my favorite by them, but still a solid quick book.

I liked most of the story line. The first love romance that happens on vacation and then is dramatically cut short and they are apart for years. The insta-young love happening here actually worked out well for me in this context. I am wary of second-chance romance stories and loved how this one was done.

What I didn’t love was the movie that Tate was filming during the second half of this book. It was fine and dandy and everything, but was taking up a lot of space in the story. Reading lines, doing scenes, etc. It made that feel like it was almost more important than Sam and Tate’s story. It also took away from Sam’s background. I never got to know much about him and wanted to connect deeper with his character.

Sam was precious though. I really did enjoy them re-connecting. They actually tried to communicate with each other and Tate had a chance to learn what actually happened between them. The very ending was the perfect Hallmark movie moment that I was SO HERE FOR. It was tender and sweet. Exactly how I expect and want CL books to end. HAPPY ENDINGS ALWAYS.

Leading up to the ending was a bit abrupt and rushed. I think there were a lot of unresolved Daddy issues that were NEVER resolved. Tate, for whatever reason, didn’t call out her Dad or stand up to him when she had multiple chances to do so. It left this line open ended, and trust me, her Dad deserved it. UGH.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: strong language throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a handful of detailed love scenes (I didn’t find them as vulgar as I’ve seen before, but they are definitely adult scenes)
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouse

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