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Foxe & the Hound- R.S. Grey

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Blurb

When your life is a hot mess at twenty, it’s cute. At twenty-seven…well, not so much.

It’s just that my lofty dreams—making it as a real estate agent, paying rent on time, showering daily—have stayed just that: dreams. Oh, and love? I’ve decided love might be a little ambitious for me at the moment. Instead, I’ve settled for the two guys who will never leave me: Ben & Jerry.

That is, until Dr. Adam Foxe takes up residence as the town’s new vet.

With his strong jaw, easy confidence, and form-fitting scrubs, it’s not long before every housewife in Hamilton is dragging neglected tomcats in for weekly checkups.

Like everyone else, I’m intrigued. Even after I spoil my chance at a good first impression, he still offers me a proposition I can’t refuse: play his girlfriend at a family function and he’ll hire me as his real estate agent. Welcome to love in the 21st century.

It’s too bad I underestimated Adam’s irresistible charm and the undeniable attraction that burns between us. The day he pins me to the wall and silences me with a kiss, the line between reality and ruse begins to blur. Every teasing touch brings me to my knees. Every kiss promises more.

It looks like my hot mess of a life is about to get a little hotter.

Review

The Foxe & the Hound was a great light-hearted and quick summer read.  It was a sweet story about Madeleine and Adam- the handsome new veterinarian who arrives in her small town in Texas.  It’s a standalone book but characters from Anything You Can Do make an appearance, so I would suggest reading that one first.

At 27 years old Madeleine is still struggling to figure out adulating.  She doesn’t pay her rent on time, drives a piece of crap car that’s held together with duct tape and a prayer and feels like she should be closer to figuring things out at her age.  And then along comes Adam who isn’t just handsome put seems like he’s got his life together.

I struggled a bit with Madeleine.  Sometimes she seemed like her own worst enemy and I wanted to see her get out of her way. It would have been easier to believe that she was just out of high school vs. her late twenties.  It seemed that when things weren’t going her way she was either quick to jump into “nothing good every happens to me” headspace or blame everyone else for her problems and act immaturely.

“I hate Diane. I fling her cinnamon roll out into the pasture—I will not eat the bread of my enemies, and that’s exactly what she is if she wants Adam to sit down with Olivia. He loved her for so many years. God, he probably still loves her. If they see each other, all those feelings are going to come flooding back, and the fact that she brought Molly—that underhanded bitch knew exactly what she was doing. I stomp out into the pasture and kick the cinnamon roll another ten feet. It feels good to demolish something, though I am now admittedly starving.”

The book opens with Madeleine’s dog basically mauling Adam; he berates her dog-parenting skills only to find out in the next chapter that he’s the new vet.  Their first meeting has all the ingredients to be a typical meet cute but Adam’s crusty response gives it a great twist.  I love that their immediate dislike of each other leads to a bit of an enemies to friends to lover’s plot.

Adam is finding adapting to small town life isn’t happening as quickly as he thought He’s handsome and professional although he’s a bit grumpy and easily annoyed.  Every woman in town is interested in flirting and he just wants to settle in and recover from his life in Chicago.  I really liked Adam a lot.  I have such a soft spot for a grumpy hero.

The best character in the entire book was Madeleine’s dog, Mouse.  He was just adorable.  I could picture him exactly and he and Madeleine were a perfect match.

Overall, the book drama is all very predictable, miscommunication and surprise arrivals of exes but neither drags on for an excruciating length of time.

I didn’t find this book as laugh out loud funny as R.S. Grey’s previous books but it was still cute and sweet especially if you’re a dog lover or looking for a slow-burn book that isn’t the length of a Mariana Zapata.

Goodreads/ Amazon

About R.S. Grey:

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com

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The Hating Game- Sally Thorne

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Blurb

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.

Review

The Hating Game was hands down one of my top 5 favourite books of 2016.  As soon as I finished it I read it again…and again…and again. When I was debating my fourth reread I thought maybe I should give the audiobook a chance.  It was just as great listening to it on my commute and it was reading it the first three times!

Some of my favourite books are office romances and hate to love plots, but they’re also so difficult to pull off.  I’m not always a fan of rotating POV and so many enemy to lover stories feature an asshole-ish hero who becomes a reformed womanizer, not something I’m a big fan of.  You won’t find either in the Hating Game.  Told from the single POV of heroin Lucy Hutton the story is a slow burn between two co-workers who are straddling the line of passionate and competitive.  Joshua is her surly but oh-so-attractive colleague and when they made out they’re competing for the same position an already tense working situation becomes worse.

I have a theory.  Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them.  I’ve had a lot of time to compare love, and these are my observations.  Love and hate are visceral

Joshua is absolutely everything, and he’s a strong contender to beat out my best book boyfriend of all time, Will Sumner from Beautiful Player.  I love a smart, lanky, broody hero who is self-assured and full of dirty talk, Joshua checks every single box.

…if I were your boss, I’d work you so fucking hard. So fucking hard.

Don’t let the candy coloured, cartoonish cover art and slow burn fool you, this book isn’t chick lit.  It has some steam! I’d categorize as New Adult, falling in that middle ground of not quite erotica and not quite romance.

Like every good hate to love the banter is key and Sally Thorne nails it.  Joshua was totally swoon-worthy and his one-liners were hot.

-‘I didn’t ask for you advice, Joshua. I get so mad at myself, letting you drag me down to your level all the time.’
-‘And what level are you imagining me dragging you down to? Horizontal?’

The Hating Game is the debut book by Australian author Sally Thorne, although you’d never have guessed this was a first book.  I’m sure it’s going to remain a constant on my reread list and I’m anxious to read anything else she puts out!  I highly recommend reading, and then rereading.  The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

Goodreads/ Amazon/ Kobo/ Barnes & Noble/ iTunes

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Sally Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia, and spends her days writing funding submissions and drafting contracts (yawn!) so it’s not surprising that after hours she climbs into colorful fictional worlds of her own creation. Sally believes that romance readers are always searching for intensity in their next favorite book—and it isn’t always so easy to find. The Hating Game is her first novel.

 

You can find more about Sally Thorne here:

Goodreads/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram

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Dirty Work by Chelle Bliss and Brenda Rothert

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Blurb

From authors Chelle Bliss and Brenda Rothert comes a smoldering standalone enemies to lovers romance that will, ahem…check all your boxes.

Reagan

I hate him. Jude Titan is everything that’s wrong with the male sex: cocky, domineering and loaded with swagger. Oh, and did I mention he’s a Republican? Yeah, the guy’s so conservative he leans to the right when walking. And lucky me, I’m running against him for Senate. But I’ve got plenty of fight in me. A golden boy war hero opponent with a smile that leaves melted panties in its wake? Bring. It. On.

Jude

Damn, she’s sexy. Reagan Preston intrigues me from the moment I lay eyes on her. And speaking of laying…I want between those thighs. But I want to make her burn for me first. Every debate and stolen moment is foreplay for us. She claims she hates me, but her body tells a different story. I plan to win this election, but I also want to win the sharp, fiery Democrat who captures my attention like no woman ever has. Politics is filthy, just like all the things I want to do to Reagan Preston.

Review

I’ve actually been in a serious book slump lately.  I feel like I just can’t get more than a few chapters into a book before I realize it’s just not hitting the spot and I need to try something else.  That was until I was sent Dirty Work by Chelle Bliss and Brenda Rothert to review.  I’m a sucker for a romance with a politician but I was ready for a heroine who wasn’t an intimidated secretary.

 

I’m so glad I picked up this book, because I loved it!  I’d never read anything by either Chelle Bliss or Brenda Rothert before but both seem to have quite a fan following separately. I can definitely say they were a solid writing partnership and I hope to read more by them together in the future.  The writing transitioned well enough and each author gave Jude and Reagan a different tone and voice.  While I didn’t know which author wrote which part, it was fairly clear when the style changed; regular readers of both authors will likely be able to pick it out.

 

If the idea of a book about politics is making you pause, you shouldn’t.  This was simply a sweet, sexy story of two opposing candidates who should have been off limits to each other fighting their feelings while out on the campaign trail. The story seems like it’s going to start off as a classic “frenemies” to lovers but shifts gears pretty quickly to to be more like forbidden romance with a slow burn.

 

Jude is a veteran who is set on making a change and feels duty bound to run for office to fight for the rights of the regular citizen.  He’s also a bossy, semi-alpha with a romantic streak and knows his feelings for Reagan aren’t worth fighting against.  He didn’t waffle or fight his feelings for Reagan, I loved that he dove in with both feet even though being together could hurt both of their chances at election.

“Is it the thrill of the forbidden? Will you still want me once you’ve had me?”

 

He lowers his brows. “Once I’ve had you? You mean once we’ve fucked?”

 

I nod once.

 

A wolfish smile creeps across his face. “That’s not having you, Reagan. To me, having you means you’re mine, body, heart, and soul. It means we belong to each other.”

I really liked Reagan at the beginning, she was strong and feminine but in no way a push over.  She fought against the idea that her age made her inexperienced and that she was being elected on her name alone.  So much of the first half focused on her wanting to be seen as hard working and not as someone falling back on her famous political family to build her own career.  Whereas Jude was diving into a relationship with both feet Reagan was concerned about how it would work and she didn’t want to be perceived as compromising her integrity to reach her goals.  Unfortunately, I felt that some of the decisions when made in the second half of the book didn’t match the Reagan we met in the first half of the book. To me, this made Jude a much stronger and more developed character than Reagan was.

 

Overall this was a great book with a sweet story that did a fantastic job at pulling me out of reading slump.

You can find more about Chelle Bliss and her other books online here:

Website /Facebook /Twitter/ Goodreads

You can find more about Brenda Rothert and her other books online here:

Website/ Facebook / Twitter /Goodreads

Add Dirty Work to your TBR List or purchase it for your Amazon or Kobo