Publisher: HarperCollins

Divider

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.

 

Divider

Hard As You Can – Laura Kaye – 4.5 stars

February 23, 2014 Avon, Read in 2014, Sent 1

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

Hard As You Can – Laura Kaye – 4.5 starsHard As You Can by Laura Kaye
Published by Avon, HarperCollins on 2014-02-25
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense, War & Military
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Five dishonored soldiers.Former Special Forces.One last mission.These are the men of Hard Ink.Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he's shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister's sake, Crystal can't get too close. Until her job and Shane's mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed.Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn't want him to uncover. Too bad. He's exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can—and never let go.

I’ve got to just come right out and admit it..  I LOVE THIS SERIES!!  Sexy as hell men with heroines that aren’t completely pushovers…  what’s not to love?

This installment picks up near where we left the last installment with the rescue of Charlie. In this one we get to see more of the waitress that didn’t blow their cover but instead helped the men escape by buying them a critical couple of seconds.  As we get to see more of the nightmare she lives every day we also get to see more of the Churchmen and the gang that holds key information that could help our men clear their names.

Crystal isn’t 100% certain why she didn’t scream when she saw the men in masks fleeing the basements of the club she works at but something about the grey-eyed man made her decide to play along and let him go.  She also knows enough to not say anything when questioned by her boyfriend and his associates but for the life of her she isn’t sure why.  All she knows is there is something about him that makes her want things she has kept buried for a long time while playing a very dangerous game.  We get to see her struggle with what she wants and what she has to do for the next eight months until she can run away forever.  She’s strong and doesn’t throw pity parties for herself even when the situation she is in would break most people.  She’s smart, practical and above all else she is a survivor!  She’s taken everything that life has thrown at her to make a life for her sister that seems as normal as is possible but still on edge.  I loved watching her start to trust our hero and even though he presents danger to her in more ways than one she does see that he does nothing to hurt her or force her to do anything other than what she needs.  Seeing her take something for herself was an amazing moment and I’m glad we got to witness it via this book.

Shane is a classic hero in that he takes everything on himself with no thought about maybe just maybe things weren’t his fault.  He’s always blamed himself for a tragedy in his childhood but that tragedy made him the perfect man for Crystal.  He sees things she isn’t willing to show others and witnessing this giant of a man be so gentle with her and her sister was beautiful.  He instinctively knows what she needs but instead of forcing her to see things his way he lets her take the lead.  You’ll break a bit watching him struggle between what is right for his team and what he knows is right for her but the good news is she is smart enough to step back and figure it out without letting him go.  I think the moment that made me feel for him the most is when he finally opens up about what happened in his past and seeing the support he got was heart wrenching and yet so satisfying.  The fact that he finds a woman that will push him as needed but also be someone he can satisfy his need to protect his loved ones is such a wonderful thing.

Special thanks to Avon and Laura Kaye for giving me the chance to read this one early!  I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to seeing the rest of the men find their matches….  More more more please!

four-half-stars

Divider