Genre: Humorous

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The Hating Game – Sally Thorne 4 stars

July 6, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Hating Game – Sally Thorne 4 starsThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published by HarperCollins on August 9th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Romance, Contemporary, Humorous, General
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
                       2) A person’s undoing
                       3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.
Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

One of my absolute favorite romance tropes is enemies to lovers.  I love watching the characters go from snapping and snarling at each other until they give in to their physical attraction.  They often then tell themselves that their attraction is purely physical until their emotional connection smacks them upside their head.    When I sat down to write this review I thought about why I am so drawn to the trope two reasons stood out.  The first is that insta-hate seems much more plausible to me than insta-love.  This isn’t necessarily specific to romantic relationships for me, but carries over to friendships as well.  Most of my closest friends are people I didn’t like when I first met them and now I can’t imagine my life without them.  The second reason is that I think so many of us have a list in our head of exactly what we think will make us happy in life, including our relationships so we avoid situations that don’t fit those narratives.  The reminder that what seems like it would make us happy on paper doesn’t always fit in reality is something I think we could all use now and then.  So given my love of the trope, when I read the blurb for The Hating Game I couldn’t wait to read it.

Most of us can relate to working with someone who we don’t care for, but can you imagine sitting directly across from them day in day out?  No thank you!   That is exactly what the main characters in Sally Thorne’s romantic comedy The Hating Game are dealing with.  Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are  executive assistants at very different publishing houses.  Lucy comes from Gamin Publishing whose employees see literature as art.  Josh on the other hand worked at Bexley Books where the employees believe the bottom line matters far more than the words on a page.  The differences in the styles of the two companies is never more clear than when we see Lucy and Josh interact.    To say that these two don’t like each other would seem to be an understatement in the beginning of the book.   They both take passive aggressive to a whole new keeping score on everything from who looks away first, smiles first etc… even going so far to keep score and a list of what they deem to be violations that they could report to HR (Think an in case of emergency break glass kind of situation).  When both characters are up for the same promotion their antics reach a whole new level.

Initially I felt that the antics of both main characters was very immature and I worried the book was going to be too “cutsie” for me, but once Lucy and Josh were thrown into situations where their game-face started to crack and we got a glimpse into their true feelings I was rooting for them all the way.  Josh’s character was so swoon worthy once you uncovered all of his cool composure and understood that much of what appeared to be dislike on his part was his own defense system.   I actually found myself irritated with Lucy because she was constantly overlooking the good things that Josh was doing for her well past the time it felt reasonable.  She redeemed herself in the end when she stood up for Josh when he needed her the most.

I don’t want to spoil any of the fun scenes that you will encounter in this story so I’ll just say that if you like the enemies to lovers trope this book should go on your TBR list right away.  You won’t regret it.

 

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Don’t Walk Away – Vivian Arend/Elle Kennedy – 4 stars

April 30, 2015 Read in 2015, Sent 0

I received this book for free from the Author . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Don’t Walk Away – Vivian Arend/Elle Kennedy – 4 starsDon't Walk Away by Vivian ArendElle Kennedy
Published by NLA Digital LLC on 2015-04-21
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Humorous, Romance
Pages: 211
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Book 3 of the DreamMakers. A red-hot collaboration from New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors VIVIAN AREND and ELLE KENNEDY.

He wants to rock her world—in bed and out of it

For former Army Ranger Dean Colter, sexual escapades and wild flirtations are the norm—but it wasn’t always that way. Years ago, the DreamMakers co-owner was a one-woman kind of guy until he tore Emma Lee’s heart apart. Yet he’s never forgotten her, and when Emma waltzes back into his life, a second chance is suddenly within his reach…and he’ll be damned if he’ll screw up again.

She wants her world to stop spinning apart

Emma’s no longer the naïve girl she used to be. Now a successful designer in the fashion world, she refuses to let Dean’s killer smile and sweet-talking ways distract her from her goals. But being the target of Dean’s full-out seduction isn’t easy to resist, even as the dynasty she’s built teeters toward disaster. This time she might the one who breaks both their hearts when she has to walk away.

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DreamMakers
All Fired Up (Parker & Lynn)
Love Is A Battlefield (Jack & Pepper)
Don't Walk Away (Dean & Emma)

I have to start this off with the note that I adore Vivian Arend as both an author and a person I have been lucky enough to spend time with in real life.  I am sad that I won’t get to see her this year but I still have her writing to keep me company….

I have been looking forward to seeing our resident Casanova get knocked on his ass by love and this story was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO worth the wait.  He’s down for the count and we get to see a side of him that we had a feeling was there hidden underneath the swagger.  Dean is such a sweet, sensitive man under the talk and OHHHHH BOY can he talk….  I loved seeing his confidence take a back seat to truly wanting something real with Emma.  He shows his vulnerability to her and I enjoyed seeing him struggle with what he wants while not being certain if she is on the same page with him or not.  He’s so willing to show her all that he has to offer her but at the same time acknowledging that he might lose her this time.  I loved his personality and the glimpse of what made him in to the man we adored in the first two books.  He’s deeper than many give him credit for and for this I adored him.

Emma was a surprise to me.  I didn’t always care for her dismissal of him at the start but I understood where it was coming from as we got the story of their younger years.  She’s strong but isn’t always aware of how strong she truly is.  She hides behind a shell but with Dean’s affection and support we see her step out of the shadows to be her own person.  She doesn’t need Dean to carry her but needed the kick in the pants he provides her to show her she really is strong.  I liked seeing her start to open up to those around her and even more enjoyed that she didn’t hesitate to ask Dean for everything he had not just a pretty, soft side of himself.  She’s definitely his match and I enjoyed seeing them surprise each other.

Overall this has been a fun series of books and I hope to see more from this duo of authors….

four-stars

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