Here’s the Plot:
Carey has been the assistant to Melissa and Rusty for ten years. Melissa and Rusty are this big time, famous, HGTV couple who have recently published a bestselling book all about their happy marriage and working together. What only Carey and a few others know is this: Melissa and Rusty can’t stand one another. James is the disgruntled assistant to Rusty. Carey and Rusty are given orders to tag along with Melissa and Rusty on their upcoming book tour to ensure things don’t blow up and the media never learns of their troubled marriage.
First and foremost, if you go, like me, into The Honey Don’t List expecting a good time you will be highly disappointed. No my friends, don’t be fooled by the romcom vibes you get when you look at the cover or read the synopsis! There is nothing comedic about this book. I am holding myself and my reader expectations accountable; it is no one’s fault but my own.. but this book was kind of a downer and low key sucked that I didn’t enjoy it.
This book has one of the best set ups I’ve read in a long time. I read through the set up and thought, Oh this is going to be good! We learn of the trouble between Melissa and Rusty pretty quickly into the story and we are front row centered when Carey and James catch Rusty in a pretty bad situation. We see what happens when doing the right thing backfires. The amazing set up to this book does a disservice to the main premise of the book though; I was way more invested in Melissa and Rusty’s situation than Carey and James’s. Looking back, I don’t think there was ever a moment where I really cared what happened between those two. Melissa and Rusty’ situation, their unhappy marriage was written so strongly right off the bat, that the romance between Carey and James never really stood a chance for me.
Carey is the main character in this book and for ten years she has been the brains hiding in the shadows. I don’t know if the author duo intentionally wrote her In a way that even in the starring role she took a backseat or if that wasn’t their intentions. That’s how she read for me though. The book flip flops between Carey’s POV and James’s and I highkey preferred James’s chapters. Even in the storytelling, Melissa overshadowed Carey.
Both Carey and James have their motivations for having their current jobs; Carey’s being her need for insurance. I think this aspect was one of the two elements in this story I really clung to. The author due via the relationship between Carey and Melissa were able to explore workplace abuse and manipulation. It’s hard to have a good time when the entire book you’re basically reading from the perspective of someone being manipulated and taken advantage of. The other element I thought was done well, again, was the dynamic between Melissa and Rusty. We get a glimpse into a famous married couple. Their marriage has become their brand and while one is ready to just relax, the other wants to keep up the hustle because of all their fame has done for them so far.
I’d never tell you not to read a book, but don’t go into this one for the romance. The premise is amazing, so if you’re into troubled marriage stories and more women’s fiction type stories, absolutely pick it up. Sadly though, if it’s a knockout romance you’re looking for, I don’t think this is it.