Beware the Ides of March took on a new meaning this year and I am hoping that everyone all over the world is safely able to read this month’s new list. In these uncertain, chaotic times I hope that this little corner can bring on much needed escape with love, laughter and fun. I tried to find reads this month that had an important lesson about love but also delivered real life moments. Read on for more!
The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren
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…
So I was waiting on the edge of my seat for the next thing that the Tripps would throw at Carey and James. I know we’re supposed to be enamoured by the MC’s (and I was) but I was obsessed with the train wreck that is the Tripps. Think Netflix’ Set It Up and HGTV’s Flip or Flop mixed together. But no worries, our MC’s Carey and James do also have great individual stories. I was rooting for them! I think the overall theme here is facing the unknown head on and hopefully doing that with the right partner.
Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams
Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.
Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.
Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.
Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.
I really enjoyed this second standalone in the series. The characters are more fleshed out and stand on their own. In this edition there is a hilarious takedown of a heinous character. The exploration of the #metoo movement is the forefront of the plot, the romance secondary. However, the chemistry between the two characters is a journey from hate love to a slow build of romantic tension that adds spice to the story. This is a really fun book and if you’re looking for some fun with plenty of comedic banter, this is for you.
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
Will Tavares is the dream summer fling—he’s fun, affectionate, kind—but just when Ollie thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After, summer vacation ends and Will stops texting Ollie back. Now Ollie is one prince short of his fairytale ending, and to complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country. Which he minds a little less when he realizes it’s the same school Will goes to…except Ollie finds that the sweet, comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.
Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship, especially since this new, bro-y jock version of Will seems to go from hot to cold every other week. But then Will starts “coincidentally” popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, and Ollie finds his resolve weakening.
The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.
I was pretty devastated for much of this book, in a good and sad way. It’s marketed as a cute rom com but it deals with pretty serious life issues including high school bullying that was very impactful. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, it just takes a bit to get there. There’s plenty of characters here that will resonate, LGBTQ+, latinx, feminine power and much more. This was like a cleansing for me with all of the different emotions that it made me feel, it was cathartic and I’m glad I went out of my comfort zone for it.
Hoping our new normal takes a turn for the better next month. Please reach out and let me know of any great reads you read this month!