TITLE: The Hating Game AUTHOR: Sally Thorne PAGES: 384 pages PUBLISHED: August 9th 2016 PUBLISHER: William Morrow GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Enemies to Lovers, Chick-lit, Rom-Com, Humour
MY RATING: 5/5 birds
The story begins with our heroine Lucy Hutton pestering Joshua Templeman. Her mortal enemy at work. She hates him more than anyone and they constantly play passive aggressive “games” to irritate one another while sitting one desk away. Joshua thinks Lucy is annoying and too quirky with her colourful clothes. Lucy thinks Joshua is an uptight jerk.
When a new promotion at work threatens to unbalance the careful hatred Lucy and Joshua have, they both up the game. But at what cost? Especially when the games become confusing and the hatred changes to something more.
I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book. There are many 5 star reviews but the words “chick-lit” “rom-com” and “cheesy” got to me. It was also a GR Best Romance book finalist. I was caught between expecting a lot and expecting nothing.
What I found was a book that made a laugh out loud, made me crave Josh and Lucy’s interactions (both crazy and sweet), and the amount of “cheese” was just perfect. The author really captured that wild obsessive-like behaviour you get when you first start dating someone and start to fall for them. It really put a big smile on my face and reminded me of those good ol’ days. I loved how much they were all over each other from day one, using “games” as a way to keep their infatuation with one another, whether it be mentally noting the shirt colour choices or staring into each other’s eyes (the “Staring Game”) for long periods of time.
The chemistry between Lucy and Josh was wonderful. Some of the best I have read in a while. When Lucy stands up for him against (view spoiler) I just wanted to cheer. Josh was so endearing and the character development we get from the beginning of the novel was very well written. At first he is just an asshole who most likely has a crush on Lucy. No, the reader’s aren’t fooled. He is like the little boy on the playground who pulls on the girl’s pigtails to show her that he likes her. But then we really get to know him, as Lucy does, and we learn about this shy sweetheart who is sometimes hurt, sometimes lonely, and he becomes so real. Their highly witty hateful banter becomes even better sexual tension that was so much fun to read. I actually really enjoyed their banter in the beginning. I know some other readers saw it as childish, and it was, but it was also so hilarious. I loved all of Lucy’s jabs where she insinuates that Josh is the devil, and lives “close to earth’s core”.
Yes, this is chick-lit. Yes, it is predictable, it is sometimes cheesy and sometimes silly, but I loved it. I had a big smile on my face at the ending.
Each week The Broke and Bookish hosts a Top Ten Tuesday based on a chosen literary topic. This week’s topic is all about romance tropes/types! I decided to chose one of my guilty pleasures, the enemies to lover trope. Really nothing is better than having two characters butt heads with witty dialogue and a lot of sexual tension before they both realise how stubborn they’ve been all along and fall madly in love. *sigh*
It is, of course, Valentines Day today which is a holiday I have never really understood. Who wants to buy chocolate or flowers that are overpriced, or try to book reservations months in advanced at some overcrowded restaurant? This Valentines Day I plan on cuddling with my fiance on the couch in a mountain of blankets, eat cookies I baked and watch ‘You’ve Got Mail’.
1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne –I feel like I must start this list off with naming the biggest enemies to lovers book of 2016. The chemistry between Lucy and Josh in this book is amazing.Their highly witty hateful banter becomes even better sexual tension that was so much fun to read. I actually really enjoyed their arguing in the beginning. I know some other readers saw it as childish, and it was, but it was also so hilarious. I loved all of Lucy’s jabs where she insinuates that Josh is the devil, and lives “close to earth’s core”.
2. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West – I don’t want to give too much away, as the love interest is supposed to be somewhat of a secret when you begin this book but you can read my review here.
3. Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This was one of those books where you almost can’t explain why you love the male love interest so much. Daemon is a huge jerk towards Katy who already has a tough go of life after being forced to move to a new town after her dad dies. Daemon is just so overly confident and egotistical but somehow makes it sexy and you want him and Katy to get together so badly!
4. Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1) by Susan Ee – When Penryn sees a single feather floating in the sky, suddenly everything changes, and with an unlikely partnership with the enemy she fights to get her sister back. Angels are regarded as the enemy in this dystopian book and Raffe is no exception. Although this is YA and nothing steamy happens I loved reading about Penryn and Raffe’s uneasy relationship. You can read my full review here.
5. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare – Jace Wayland…oh boy. I think he wins the award for the most egotistical and overly confident character in my list. Even more than Daemon! The love/hate relationship between Jace and Clary was so fun to read.
6. Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard – I have a very special place in my heart for ‘space opera-sci-fi-romance’ type books. Add in the enemies to lovers trope and you have a winner. I was really expecting the whole “I fell in love with my kidnapper” Stockholm-syndrome type formula but it didn’t fall into the typical traps you would expect.
7. Cut & Run (Cut & Run, #1) by Abigail Roux & Madeline Urban – Ty and Zane may be my new favourite couple of 2o17! There is definitely no ‘insta-love’ in this novel as Ty and Zane spend most of it arguing and fighting (both verbal and physical!). I have never read a more convincing novel of two characters that absolutely loathe each other and somehow that turns into something more.
8. Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy – The premise of this was just so good. Edie finds herself in another form of servitude when she is “attached” to Finn, meaning that if she dies, he dies. And if she gets too far away from him, he dies as well. He is her bodyguard from then on, protecting her from any attacks, as she is highly sought after for her special ability as a “cyberteck” who manipulates technology with her hands and can create “life” on inhabitable planets.
The romance was a nice slow build. If you are expecting sexy times right away you will be disappointed but the wait is SO worth it. I kept picturing Finn as Tom Hardy from the Mad Max movie. Stoic, calm, with a violent dark inner turmoil, but also a surprisingly sweet side that we see with his interactions with Edie as their relationship builds.
9. For Finlay by J. Nathan – Finlay lived her entire life in the shadow of her older brother, football star Cole Thatcher. When her brother suddenly dies she tries to live his dreams. She moves to a new town to work for the Alabama college football team which means working beside the new quarterback Caden Brooks. She has reasons to hate him for taking her brother’s place on the Alabama team but soon hatred turns into sexual tension as neither of them can deny the strong attraction they feel. You can read the rest of my review here.
**ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
TITLE: For Finlay AUTHOR: J. Nathan PAGES: 214 pages EXPECTED PUBLICATION: January 30, 2017 PUBLISHER: Self-Published GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Enemies to Lovers, Sports
MY RATING: 4/5 birds
Finlay lived her entire life in the shadow of her older brother, football star Cole Thatcher. She hates always being referred to as Cole’s little sister and always craved an identity of her own. This causes her to push her older brother away, a mistake she regrets every day when her brother suddenly dies.
Two years later, moving to a new town to work for the Alabama college football team she is trying to live her brother’s dream. Even if it means working beside the new quarterback Caden Brooks. She has reasons to hate him for taking her brother’s place on the Alabama team but soon hatred turns into sexual tension as neither of them can deny the strong attraction they feel.
This was a very sweet NA book that reminded me a lot of the Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy. I am glad I picked this up, even though I really have no interest in football because it was very enjoyable! Both Finlay and Caden are great characters. I like how the mistake and the whole reason that Finlay hated Caden as much as she did before even meeting him was very realistic and this book had no drama just for drama’s sake. The conflict was well written and interesting.
The only issues I had was that I could have done without Caden’s POV entirely! I felt like it didn’t really add much to the plot for me and it would have been interesting getting to know Finlay better and learning more about what she wanted to do in life, like picking a major, future plans, her relationship with her parents etc.
I also found some of the scene changes in the novel disorientating. For example, Caden and Grady get into a fist fight and instead of continuing that storyline and finding out what happened, it starts the next scene with Finlay swimming at 4 am. The author could have easily started the new paragraph in Caden’s POV. Where did the rest of the day go? We obviously learn what happened when Caden comes to where Finlay is swimming but I would have rather followed the story closer…or why have Caden’s POV at all?
The epilogue was very sweet and we definitely get a HEA, although I was a bit disappointed that Caden never resolved his issues with his dad because I felt like his dad’s new wife had a point when she spoke to Caden at the hospital when he was sleeping beside Finlay.
Overall this was a very fun and entertaining read but it goes beyond the typical NA novel by talking about dealing with death. If you enjoyed The Deal by Elle Kennedy or Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock I would definitely recommend this!
ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
TITLE: Bound by Honor AUTHOR: Cora Reilly PAGES: 253 PUBLISHED: December 14th 2014 PUBLISHER: Smashwords GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Forced Marriage/Bond, Enemies to Lovers
MY RATING: 2/5 birds
Bound by Honor starts out with us learning that Aria is being forced to marry Luca “The Vice” Vitiello through an arranged marriage between two feuding Italian mafia gangs. Aria’s father has betrothed her at only age fifteen to Luca, whom she is to marry at eighteen. Aria sees Luca as a monster, a killer, whom she has nothing in common with and she is terrified to marry him. Their wedding is not about love, it is only about Aria being a good daughter and living up to her duty as a female in the mafia circle.
This started off interesting but it lost two ‘birds’ immediately due to the cheating. I just can’t believe Luca cheated on his wife only a few days after their wedding! Such a turn-off…I am not sure what the author was thinking. She used cheating as a way to actually bring Luca and Aria back together after they had been avoiding each other and made it a tool to have them actually talk about their relationship, but Aria was such a completely naive doormat. She forgave Luca instantly for no reason. She was a bit too naive, meek, and timid for my liking.
Another ‘bird’ was lost because I did not like the slut-shaming in this novel. It wasn’t too extreme but Luca called Grace a whore for no reason, and he called the girls he used to sleep with sluts. Umm okay, what does that make you then Luca? A huge manwhore and slut, womaniser, and player? Not exactly qualities I like in the main love interest…
I also found their whole mafia world fascinating. It was incredibly sad, women basically being sold off as slaves, their virginity up for auction and worshipped by the men in a creepy way. I can’t say I found any of this romantic, but it was a very interesting and unique plot.
I have a feeling the next novels might prove to be better, especially Gianna and Matteo. Aria’s sister definitely isn’t timid and I have a feeling I will like their story a lot more. The next novel Bound by Duty is about Dante and Valentina. We barely got to see Dante in this novel, I have no idea what his personality is like but Valentina seemed interesting, so we will see where the series goes!