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?

Blog Tour Review: The Grace Kelly Dress

Title: The Grace Kelly Dress
Author: Brenda Janowitz
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Graydon House Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly-lookalike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice—one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security, and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.

Review:

This story follows three perspectives. The first is a bride in 2020. She has been given the wedding dress that her mother and grandmother wore, but she doesn’t want to wear it. The second perspective is the bride’s mother in the 80s when she was going to get married. Her own mother had give her her own wedding dress, but she has some uncertainties about getting married. The third perspective is a seamstress in Paris in the 50s. She suddenly has to take over the designer’s studio when she dies, and she has to secretly design a special wedding dress under the designer’s name.

This story had a lot more tension than I expected. There were cliffhangers at the end of many chapters, so I had a hard time putting the book down. There were some shocking twists that I didn’t expect.

I loved the way the wedding dress was woven throughout three generations, yet it had very different meanings to each woman. The original dress was inspired by Grace Kelly’s famous dress, but I expected Grace Kelly to have a much bigger part of the story. The theme of marriage and the meaning behind the dress was prevalent throughout the story.

This was a great story!

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

What to read next:

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson

The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly

Author Info:

Brenda Janowitz is the author of five novels, including The Dinner Party and Recipe for a Happy Life. She is the Books Correspondent for PopSugar. Brenda’s work has also appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Salon, Redbook, and the New York Post. She lives in New York.

Have you read The Grace Kelly Dress? 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: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1)

Title: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1)
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

Review:

This new Sandhya Menon book definitely lived up to my expectations!

This story is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Jaya is a princess, who chooses to attend the same boarding school where her family’s rival goes. She thinks that he leaked some photos of her sister to the press, so she wants to make him fall in love with her so she can break his heart and get her revenge. At the same time, Grey lives with a family curse. His father ignores him because Grey’s mother died in childbirth and he is destined to be the end of their aristocratic line. When he sees Jaya’s ruby rose necklace, he suspects that it is the jewel that sparked the rivalry between their families. If it is, that means that when the last piece of the ruby falls off the necklace, his life will be over.

I loved the way this story borrowed from the tale of Beauty and the Beast, but it wasn’t an exact copy of the story. The imagery of the rose really reminded me of the original tale. It was a clever way to include the rose as a necklace that slowly drops its jewels. There was also the added drama of Jaya’s and Grey’s families being rivals, which really increased the tension of the story. Another great dramatic addition to the story was that Jaya was getting revenge on Grey to protect her sister, rather than the way she wanted to protect her father in other adaptations of the tale.

I really loved this book! It was a great retelling!

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

What to read next:

When Dimple Met Rishi (Dimple and Rishi #1) by Sandhya Menon

Royals (Royals #1) by Rachel Hawkins

Have you read Of Curses and Kisses? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Witness Protection Widow

Title: Witness Protection Widow
Author: Debra Webb
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Thriller
Publisher: Harlequin
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Can the witness protection program keep her identity secret? 

After Allison James finally escapes her marriage to a monster, she becomes the star witness in the case against her deceased husband’s powerful crime family. Now it’s up to US Marshal Jaxson Stevens, Ali’s ex-boyfriend, to keep the WITSEC widow safe. But as the danger escalates and sparks fly, will Jax be able to help Ali escape her ruthless in-laws?

Discover more spine-tingling suspense in the Winchester, Tennessee Thriller series:
In Self Defense
The Dark Woods
The Stranger Next Door
The Safest Lies 
Witness Protection Widow

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

Review:

This is the first Harlequin romance that I’ve ever read. It is part of their line of thrillers, called Harlequin Intrigue.

Ali is in the witness protection program. She was a witness to her husband’s murder by his father. They were part of a crime family, and she had information about the crimes they had committed. Ali was assigned a marshal to look after her, but when he was injured, they had to call in another man. It turns out that the new marshal, Jax, and Ali used to be engaged. They spend a lot of time together while he is protecting her, and they rekindle their romance.

This was an interesting concept for a thriller. I’ve never read a book about someone in the witness protection program, but I’ve seen it in many movies. This situation made many twists when her life was threatened.

There was a lot of build up to the court case at the end, which I found kind of disappointing. The whole story was about protecting Ali for her witness testimony, but that was the shortest part of the story. I wished it was longer because it could have created more tension.

There was also a lot of internal monologue of the two main characters. They spent a lot of time reflecting on their feelings, rather than doing things. This may be the format of these novels, but I wish there was more action and less reflection.

This book was a good introduction to Harlequin’s intrigue series.

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

What to read next:

In Self Defense by Debra Webb

About the Author:

DEBRA WEBB is the award winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 150 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, the Colby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama. Visit Debra at www.DebraWebb.com

Have you read Witness Protection Widow? What did you think of it?

Review: Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1)

Title: Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1)
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.” 

And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turnGone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.

But not every student is quite what they seem:

Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.

Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.

Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.

And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.

When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.

Review:

This was an exciting book about a group of teenagers sent to Loveboat, where they are supposed to learn about their culture but end up partying instead.

The characters were complex in this story. They each had a detailed backstory and storyline, though Ever was the main character. They had all been through things, which shaped the choices they made. They also changed throughout the story, so my opinions of them were different by the end from when they were first introduced. I was surprised at how some of the characters developed, but I won’t give the names so it isn’t spoiled.

The kids in this book were pretty wild. They snuck out of Loveboat and had wild parties. There was also tons of romance. It was fun to read, because it seemed like a summer long party.

I really enjoyed this book!

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

What to read next:

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

Have you read Loveboat, Taipei? What did you think of it?

Review: One Week ‘Til Christmas

Title: One Week ‘Til Christmas
Author: Belinda Missen
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Publisher: HQ Digital
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Two people. One chance meeting. Seven days to Christmas.

Isobel Bennett is waiting for the number 11 bus when a man quite literally falls into her lap. Snow is falling, Christmas lights are twinkling, and a gorgeous man with dark brown hair has just slipped on ice and is now pressed against Isobel.

Isobel knows she’s not imagining the chemistry between them. But then his ride arrives and, embarrassed, he beats a hasty retreat, murmuring apologies – and Isobel realises only too late that she didn’t manage to catch his name…

When she runs into him again the next morning, she decides it’s fate.

It’s a second chance for Isobel and Tom – but there’s only one week until she’s leaving London for good. Seven days of enjoying all the festive delights the city has to offer: ice-skating at Somerset House, mulled wine on the Southbank, Christmas shopping at Liberty.

There’s magic in the air and mistletoe in the trees – but what will happen when the week is over?

For fans of Josie Silver, Lucy Diamond and Marian Keyes, this is one Christmas romance you don’t want to miss!

Review:

This was an adorable Christmas romance.

It was a short and sweet story. The whole story takes place in the week before Christmas. Tom and Isobel meet while she’s on a writing assignment to interview him. They end up having a whirlwind romance that has to come to an end when she leaves for Christmas. The question was, were they going to stay together even if she left to go to Australia for Christmas?

I loved all the references to London in this story. Isobel is originally from Australia but she’s on a holiday in London during the book. London is one of my favourite cities, and it’s so pretty when it’s decorated for the holidays. I loved all the locations mentioned in the book.

I really enjoyed this Christmas story!

Thank you HQ Digital for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Lessons in Love by Belinda Missen

Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage by Katie Ginger

Have you read One Week ‘Til Christmas? What did you think of it?