Review: The Honey-Don't List

Title: The Honey Don’t List
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 24, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

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. 

Review:

Carey works for a designing couple, Melissa and Rusty. She is Melissa’s assistant. Her and James, Rusty’s assistant, join Mel and Rusty on their book tour. The problem is that Rusty is having an affair. Carey and James have to work together to make the tour run smoothly, making them closer to each other.

There was actually a lot of tension in the story, even though it was a light romance most of the time. Some of the chapters, alternating between Carey’s and James’s perspectives, ended with their police interviews. The actual incident that they were being interviewed about isn’t revealed until the end of the book, which kept up the tension. I didn’t think the incident was as big a deal as the police interview made it seem, especially since they moved on pretty quickly after the fact.

Carey had a condition I had never heard of before. She had dystonia, which is a condition that affects the muscle movement in her hands. That condition played into some of the decisions that she made in the story.

Sexism in the workplace was also an important part of the story. Even though Carey had worked with Melissa for a decade, she wasn’t given the same privileges as James, who had only worked for Rusty for two months. This was addressed a little in the book, but this is an important problem in the world that I’m glad was included.

I really enjoyed this book!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Have you read The Honey-Don’t List? What did you think of it?

Review: Fight Like a Girl

Title: Fight Like a Girl
Author: Sheena Kamal
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Beauty of the Moment meets Exit, Pursued by a Bear. Award-winning thriller writer Sheena Kamal delivers a kick-ass debut YA novel that will have fans crying out for more.

Love and violence. In some families they’re bound up together, dysfunctional and poisonous, passed from generation to generation like eye color or a quirk of smile. Trisha’s trying to break the chain, channeling her violent impulses into Muay Thai kickboxing, an unlikely sport for a slightly built girl of Trinidadian descent. Her father comes and goes as he pleases, his presence adding a layer of tension to Toronto’s east-end townhouse Trisha and her mom call home, every punch he lands on her mother carving itself indelibly into Trisha’s mind. Until the night he wanders out drunk in front of the car Trisha is driving, practicing on her learner’s permit, her mother in the passenger seat. Her father is killed, and her mother seems strangely at peace. Lighter, somehow. Trisha doesn’t know exactly what happened that night, but she’s afraid it’s going to happen again. Her mom has a new man in her life and the patterns, they are repeating.

Review:

Trisha is a fighter. She practices Muay Thai kickboxing. She is of Trinidadian descent, and she lives with her mother in Toronto. Her dad comes to visit from Trinidad, and is killed when she accidentally hits him with her car. However, she suspects that there is more to his death. She throws herself into her fighting to distract her from her suspicions about her father’s death and her mother’s new boyfriend.

This was such an original story. There were unexpected twists. There was also lots of tension when it came to Trisha’s kickboxing. She went through a lot of pain and suffering, both mentally and physically, which was difficult to read at times.

I loved that this book was set in my hometown of Toronto. I could imagine where Trisha lived and the things she would do in the city, like taking the subway to her kickboxing class. I had friends when I was growing up who were from Trinidad, so Tricia reminded me of them.

This is a great story!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Lost Ones (Nora Watts #1) by Sheena Kamal

Iphigenia Murphy by Sara Hosey

Have you read Fight Like a Girl? What did you think of it?

Review: Truly Madly Royally

Title: Truly Madly Royally
Author: Debbie Rigaud
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Point
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She’s excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she’s definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who’s an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming…and undeniably cute. Zora can’t ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother’s big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora’s not sure it’s something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy? Find out in this charming romantic comedy that’s like The Princess Diaries for a new generation.

Review:

Zora attends a summer school at her local university. She’s a great student and an active member of her community, where she has created an after school program for children. While she’s at school, she meets Prince Owen, who is from an island in Europe. They become friends, but their relationship causes some problems in Zora’s personal life.

This story really reminded me of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s relationship. Zora is black and American, while Prince Owen is a red-headed royal prince. Owen’s brother is getting married to a mixed race woman, which Zora’s mother is so excited to see happen. Zora was also hounded by the press once they found out that she knew Prince Owen, much like Meghan was when she started dating Prince Harry.

I really enjoyed this fun, summer romance!

What to read next:

Royals (Royals #1) by Rachel Hawkins

American Royals (American Royals #1) by Katharine McGee

Have you read Truly Madly Royally? What did you think of it?

Review: Only Mostly Devastated

Title: Only Mostly Devastated
Author: Sophie Gonzales
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets CLUELESS in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease

Summer love…gone so fast.

Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt’s health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High.

Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most. 

Review:

Grease was one of my favourite movies as a kid, so I was so excited to read this retelling. This book broke my heart and put it back together again!

Ollie and Will had a summer romance while Ollie and his family were visiting his sick aunt. When his aunt was still sick after the summer, Ollie’s family ended up moving there to help her family. Ollie started school and mentioned to some new friends that he had a summer fling with Will. What he didn’t know was that Will went to that school, and no one knew he was gay.

This story had great representation. There were gay and bi characters. Some of the characters made comments that they thought were jokes in front of others, who they didn’t realize were gay. The guys who were friends with Will would make jokes about being feminine or liking guys, which just made him more uncomfortable with revealing his true self. At the same time, there were others who were more open and accepting.

I loved this story! I highly recommend it!

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Have you read Only Mostly Devastated? What did you think of it?

Review: Pumpkinheads

Title: Pumpkinheads
Author: Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Contemporary
Publisher: First Second
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

Review:

This is an adorable graphic novel!

I loved the setting of a pumpkin patch fair for this story. It’s a great fall graphic novel! There are so many great stories for summer or winter, but not as many for fall. This one fills that gap.

There were tons of food mentioned that sounded delicious! It made me realize how many special foods are made for the fall. There were caramel apples and pumpkin pie. There was also freeto pie, which I’d never heard of. It’s a mixture of frito chips in the chip bag. There was also a pumpkin bomb, which was an ice cream sandwich made with two slices of pumpkin pie and covered in chocolate. My mouth is watering just thinking about that!

This is a great fall graphic novel with a great story of friendship involved too!

What to read next:

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu, Suzanne Walker

Have you read Pumpkinheads? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Foul is Fair (Foul is Fair #1)

Title: Foul is Fair (Foul is Fair #1)
Author: Hannah Capin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target. 

They picked the wrong girl. 

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly. 

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes. 

Review:

This story is a modern retelling of Macbeth. I only read the play once, years ago, but I was surprised at how much I remembered while reading this book.

This story has a modern twist, with Jade seeking revenge. She was assaulted by a popular group of boys at St. Andrew’s school. She reinvents herself and orchestrates a plot to take them down.

This story is told from the perspective of Jade, who is the Lady Macbeth character. It took me a while to catch on to who she was meant to play. She uses her friends, the witches, to influence Mack to murder his friends.

There were a lot of characters in this book, and I got them mixed up sometimes. A few boys had names starting with D, so I got them mixed up. They were sometimes called their first name, and other times their last name. It was confusing when there were scenes with many characters because they were all moving and doing things, like they would in a play, but it made the scene really drawn out in the book.

I enjoyed this story. I’m curious to see what will happen in the next book.

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

Killing November (Killing November #1) by Adriana Mather

Author Info:

Hannah Capin is the author of Foul is Fair and The Dead Queens Club, a feminist retelling of the wives of Henry VIII. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, sailing, or pulling marathon gossip sessions with her girl squad. She lives in Tidewater, Virginia.

Have you read Foul is Fair? What did you think of it?

Review: Wildfire

Title: Wildfire
Author: Carrie Mac
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: January 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Into the Wild meets The Serpent King in this story about Annie and Pete, two best friends on a dangerous and emotional trek through the woods. 

Annie and Pete have been best friends since they were little. They know each other better than anyone, and they’ve been on more adventures than they can count–they even have a notebook filled with all the times they’ve almost died. But they always survive, because together, they’re invincible.

And they’ve always been just friends. But lately, Annie has been thinking that maybe friendship is just the beginning, and she’s been mentally replaying all the times they were almost something more.

Now they’re heading out on their next great quest: a ten-day backpacking trip through the mountains of Washington State, ending at Fire Camp, where they’ll learn to fight the area’s growing wildfire problem. The woods spark with the promise of adventure, but a freak climbing accident interrupts their progress, and as the wildfires close in and smoke envelops them, Annie and Pete wander farther from the trail. Carrie Mac’s gripping story of the power of unrequited love and the danger of the elements is harrowing, beautiful, and unforgettable. 

Review:

This was a heartbreaking story about friendship.

Annie and Pete are best friends who have experienced many tragedies in their young lives. They have both lost their mothers and Annie’s grandmother. They have also almost died many times. In this story, they embark on a hike through the forest. They intend to end their journey at a camp, where they will learn to fight forest fires, but they have to face many obstacles along the way.

I loved Annie’s narrative voice. At the beginning, the story jumped around a bit between a difficult time in their journey where Pete was sick and a few weeks earlier when Annie’s grandmother died. After a couple of chapters, I became hooked on the story. There were some parts of their lives, such as when and how their mothers died, which weren’t explained until close to the end of the story. That kept up some suspense since I was wondering what happened to them.

This story was heartbreaking and terrifying. On Pete and Annie’s journey, they faced unpredictable threats. They weren’t immediate threats, like wild animals, but more subtle things that threatened their lives. They were fairly close to civilization, but they were also too far to get help.

I became really attached to the characters throughout this story, which made the ending of it all the more difficult. This is a great book.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac

Paper Towns by John Green

Have you read Wildfire? What did you think of it?