The Honey-Don’t List revolves around a famous married couple called the Tripp’s and their assistants Carey and James who are trying to keep the fact that their employers are hot messes out of the spotlight, growing closer along the way.
Carey was a little frustrating at times. Melly is absolutely horrible to her for the majority of the book and she can see for herself how manipulative and neurotic she is yet always sticks up for her and puts up with it. Her loyalty is undeserving in my opinion and there really isn’t any interaction between them that supported Carey’s reasonings for her continued efforts. We aren’t really shown how Melly is this supposed mother figure through any actions on her part, which was confusing and again frustrating to see Carey putting up with it for so long. It was gratifying to see her put Melly in her place and finally tell them exactly what she thought of them and how they undervalued her for all these years.
I thought James was a nice contrast to Carey. His perspectives I found to be quite refreshing and illuminating. I was quite sympathetic to his situation and how he has had to rebuild his life after his previous job. I appreciated his honesty and the way he always wanted to communicate his thoughts and feelings to Carey constantly, making sure she was onboard and okay with everything that was happening.
I thought Rusty was hilarious. He was so checked out of the whole ordeal and his constant outbursts in public derailing the whole tour was highly entertaining and kept me engaged in the plot. His candor and no-fcks-given attitude added spark and life to the plot. I appreciate the fact that he was willing to call his wife out on her BS and give Carey the credit she was due.
The whole premise of the story was a little predictable to be completely honest. I found myself anticipating what was going to happen next at every point of the plot. What really drove up my rating was the romance. I love myself a good hate to love romance and seeing Carey and James overcome their previous misconceptions with each other and come together under the most ridiculous of situations was so much fun to read.
⭐️4/5 stars Fast paced, entertaining, cute!
Sex and Vanity revolves around a girl named Lucie who travels to Capri for her good friend’s wedding where she meets George. From their first meeting Lucie decides she doesn’t like him but gradually she is drawn closer to him as the festivities continues and eventually they are involved in a tryst that could damage her families reputation.
Lucie I am kind of in two minds about. I sympathise with her in regards to the casual racism and subtle ostracism she feels from her father’s side of the family but I can’t relate to her at all because of her wealth. She can definitely be likeable at times but she just doesn’t stand up for herself enough. I wanted her to call out her grandmother and her cousins about what they have been doing to her for all these years but she just takes it all out on Christine. And then petulantly running that smear campaign against Rosemary who has been nothing but nice to her was just unnecessary, though I am glad she got called out for it.
We honestly don’t find out enough about George. I wish we got a few chapters from his perspective or just even what he has been up to. His background is alluded to but we don’t really get any concrete facts about him or his personality. The relationship between him and Lucie is kind of lacking depth as well. We get a nice introduction at the start of the book and the foundations are laid but they just didn’t have enough scenes together for me to really be convinced.
There were just a little too many conversations throughout revolving around all of the connections and various famous people that they know. I found myself skimming through a lot of those sections because I wasn’t all that interested in reading all these different random names and titles all the time. If the narrative would have focused more on the actual characters and the relationship at the core of the story and not just name dropping all the time I felt like I maybe would have enjoyed it a lot more.
⭐️2/5 stars A little shallow…
Beach Read follows January and Gus two authors that were rivals in college who end up being neighbours. They are currently both suffering from writers block so they come up with a bet to swap their respective genres and see who can get their book sold first.
This was a fantastic book. I went into it with the expectations that it would be a light fluffy contemporary yet it delves so much more into deeper topics and was quite thought provoking and touching.
I loved January’s character. I was drawn into her life from the first chapter and she kept me highly engaged throughout the course of the book. I found her to be highly relatable and her optimistic way she perceives life refreshing. Moving into that house and being forced to face what her father has done to her and how it has affected her life whilst also having run ins with Sonya was highly entertaining.
Gus I was a little hesitant about at the start. He didn’t really evoke any kind of emotion from me, he was too closed off and standoffish. Once he started opening up more to January and revealing his emotions and thoughts was when I started warming up to him. He definitely has an enigmatic nature to him that initially draws you in to his character but once we got more of his backstory with Naomi and even with Pete and Maggie he became a lot more well rounded and developed.
I loved the actually writing that took up a lot of time in the plot. The way they prioritised their work even though they were crazy for each other I think was very mature of them. I feel a lot of time in romance the main protagonist would just give up everything for their love interest and would of missed the deadline.
This was definitely a slow burn. There were various scenes that got me very eager to read on and find out whether or not January will get her happy ending!
⭐️5/5 stars I devoured this book!!!!
Chloe Brown has been sheltered most of her life and has pushed away a lot of her friends because of the chronic pain she deals with on a daily basis. That is until one day she is involved in a near death experience that prompts her to move out of her house and start to fulfil some of the dreams she has put on hold because of her condition.
I really liked Chloe. She really knows her limits and is just currently trying to still live her life even though she is in pain. I find her not to be the most relatable of characters because of her wealth however, I think she is still quite down to earth and has really tried to step up and live by her own means. There isn’t a lot of positive representation of plus sized characters in literature and I really enjoyed the way that Chloe was portrayed and the language used to describe her. She didn’t really display any insecurities about her size and it wasn’t really a big factor of the story it was just who Chloe was.
Red really charmed me right from the start. From his relationship with his mother and the way he takes care of a lot of the older tenants in the complex, yet he is still kind of a badass with a motorbike. The banter between them was wonderfully entertaining, with the tension at the start slowly morphing into a friendship and then the way they both kind of push away their feelings before finally succumbing… I was a huge fan! He is just so considerate of her and is always asking how she is feeling or preemptively will make things easier for her. He was just such a sweetheart but still had his own issues he has had to deal with and sort out his feelings about his ex before he stepped fully into the relationship with Chloe.
One thing I appreciated about the book was the communication between the characters. If one of them was upset they would express that to each other and kind of work their way through all of their obstacles. Even when they had their fight and weren’t talking to each other Red was still working towards a resolution!
I thought Chloe’s sisters were really distinct and funny. Again they were always making sure Chloe was ok and checking in on her and was very supportive of her and her chosen lifestyle. I’m really interested to hear more about them and I am very excited to pick up the next book when it is released!!
⭐️4/5 This was just wholesome, endearing and highly entertaining.
Khai has no interest in dating or marriage so when his mum goes over to the Vietnam and brings a potential wife back to live with him for the summer he is outraged. Forced to cohabitate Khai starts to get used to the idea of Esme living with him and she is starting to see that he does have feelings after all.
I absolutely loved this story! It was a very fast paced, quick read for me that I finished in one sitting and I came out of it with just warm fuzzy feelings. I think the book really explored the cultural differences between the generations. Like how Khai’s mum is perfectly comfortable interviewing for potential wives for Khai and trying to push him to get married ASAP and how uncomfortable and resistant Khai and Quan are about the whole situation. Also Esme’s mum telling her to seduce Khai just to marry him quickly because he lives in America and is handsome.
I love how unique and interesting Khai’s character is. I thought his autism was represented very well throughout the course of the plot and his reactions to certain situations was consistent and felt real. The way he struggled to understand other people’s emotions when he processes things in a very different way was interesting to read. He felt like a truly well rounded character and his naivety and inexperience really endeared him to me. The whole conversation he had with Quan and Michael after his first time was super cute!
I had some mixed feelings about Esme throughout the course of the book. I was a little skeptical about her reasoning’s for accepting the deal in the first place and I can’t help but feel that she was intentionally trying to just seduce Khai at first without even attempting to get to know him. But as the story progressed I definitely warmed up to her as she started to dig into her own background and better herself whilst she was there; trying to find her father and going to back to school and getting her GED.
The whole concept for the story I found super entertaining and I just can’t help but think that this kind of situation really happens in real life; mothers pushing their sons to get married because everyone else in their families is getting married. I don’t know if they would go as far as to return to their home countries to pluck a random girl from a bathroom but that’s the beauty of fiction. I was highly entertained and engaged throughout the book and I can’t wait to see what Helen Hoang comes out with next!
⭐️5/5 stars Loved it!