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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

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Review- Knot by M. Mabie (Wake Family)

Knot FOR WEB

 

Blurb

He knows everything.

She has all the damn answers. I’ve always been a free spirit. It’s my nature.

I crave control, but with her it’s far more. 

He’s a power hungry climber.

Her wealth could buy and sell me. 

It’s too much pressure being the center of anyone’s focus.

She underestimates my desire for her, my need to please just her. 

When he’s vulnerable, it’s hard to deny him.

Her crooked smile cripples me. 

He hides his demons, but I’m no fool.

She thinks not committing to anyone makes her more honest. She’s wrong. 

A man like him deserves someone who can offer that kind of love.

She promises nothing, yet I feel like a king when she says my name. 

I never let anyone possess me like he did. Not before. Not after.

My greatest regret was compromising. I should have never held back. 

Still, when we’re apart I’m not myself.

I miss the days when she was just down the hall. 

He’s better off without me, and it hurts.

The ugly truth is I need her more than she needs me. 

Our relationship was born out of lust and curiosity.

The lies we told ourselves killed it. 

Together, we found Nirvana.

We learned it was all a mirage. 

I ruined him.

I broke her heart. 

I keep coming back.

I can’t let her go. 


Review

I just finished reading the last word of this book, I opened my laptop to start my review while everything was fresh, but I find I’m just staring at my screen.  I keep starting to type my thoughts before back spacing them out right away.  Nothing I write seems good enough to describe the beautiful and emotional writing in Knot.  M. Mabie has indescribable talent, I loved Bait and Sail and I never thought the turmoil I felt during Blake and Casey’s story could be replicated but here I am, at a loss for words.

 

Knot is standalone but is a spinoff of the Wake series, telling the story of Blake’s brother Reggie and Nora, who we met briefly in the Wake series.  Nothing felt manufactured about Reggie and Nora’s love story. It was emotionally charged but all of the angst was real and personal.

 

“When did we stop telling the truth?” I asked.  “When we fell in love,” she answered. “I guess when you have something worthy lying for, you’ll lie to protect it.  Even if it is just to yourself.”

 

Their romance was one of two emotionally flawed peopled who couldn’t get their timing right.  They were ultimately two different versions of the same person who were lost, lonely and afraid of trusting.

 

Knot is emotional and tense right from the beginning.

 

“Every happy minute we’d shared was solidly grounded in my mind, but each of her tears eroded bottomless canyons into these memories.  She thought it was just her body, but what she didn’t know was I knew so much more.  I knew her reasons. I knew her demons.  I even knew the truths in the lies she told herself”

 

There was a lot of push and pull- mostly Nora pushing and Reggie taking her back.  Initially I really disliked Nora, I felt the same way about Blake in the Wake series. M. Mabie has this amazing ability to write a female character that makes me so angry while still leaving me craving a happily ever after for someone I don’t think deserves one.

But Reggie I loved.  My heart hurt for him.  He knew that Nora only offered herself in pieces and he took them hoping for more but never anticipating it was a reality.

 

“I may eventually find another woman.  I may have sex with her.  I may even enjoy her company and then marry her.  Lost in my thoughts I felt bad for the poor woman who lived in my future.  She’d only get half a man; Nora was the only other human who made me whole”

 

This book is written in a dual POV, with a timeline that jumps between past and present. The present occurs primarily on one pivotal day and the past chapters are flashbacks in chronological order leading up to that day.  You can feel like you’re handed the story in fragmented pieces and often feel like you know what happens without knowing how they got there which gives you a suspenseful feeling. Due to the timeline jumps and dual perspective this is a book requires your full attention.  If you’re attempting to multi-task it may be difficult to follow and you will probably miss something.  The chapters are labelled with the character’s POV, as being past or present but also with a specific day.  I’d suggest paying attention to the dates, there were a couple times I had to flip backward to double check exactly what day I was on.

 

 

One of my favourite features of Knot was that the timing lines up with Blake and Casey’s story.  They overlap almost perfectly and we’re reintroduced to portions of their story from Reggie’s perspective.  It also gave me some fresh eyes since I was re-reading portions of Blake’s story now that I didn’t dislike her as much.  While the book is technically a standalone I would highly recommend reading Bait and Sail first, it will make following the jumping timelines way easier.

 

I absolutely loved Knot and I will be adding it to my re-read list.  It’s the kind of book where you just know you’ll discover something new or find a connection that you missed every time you read it.  M. Mabie is always a favourite of mine so I expected to love Knot, but she blew me away with this one!

 

 

 

You can find more about M. Mabie and her other books online here:

Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Find Knot on Amazon:

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Everything by Erin Noelle

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Blurb

With my twin sister by my side in our indie-rock duo, Singed Wings, we were ready to finally see our name in lights when we opened for the hottest act to sell out stadiums – Jobu’s Rum Summer Reunion Tour.

 

The life I’d always wanted was finally within my reach. All I had left to do was finish out my last semester of high school.

 

But there was one problem: Ms. Sloan, the new art history teacher.

 

The same Ms. Sloan I’d met as Belle, the sexy little pixie who’d captivated me at a New Year’s Eve concert last year.

 

The same Ms. Sloan who’d owned nearly every one of my thoughts since that night.

 

The same Ms. Sloan whose class I was in danger of failing.

 

With my dream gig dangling just on the other side of that cap and gown, all of my focus should’ve been on my school work and improving my music as I prepared for my big shot to rock the world…

 

But I never expected her to rock mine first… and to change everything.

 

Everything is a standalone novel. It is a spin-off from the Book Boyfriend Series.


Review

This book showed up as a suggestion on my Facebook page.  I’ve never read anything else by this author and the blurb described it as the story of Everett, a hot virgin rock star who falls for his high school teacher, Belle.  Initially I was put off by Everett’s age, but I decided I just had to at least attempt a book that tried to cover so many themes.

Everett has a great relationship with his family and twin-sister. His father has arranged an opportunity for him and his sister to go on tour as the opening act for his very successful and famous band as soon as they graduate.  Everett has dreams of a career in music, he’s quiet, introverted and worried about doing anything that will affect his future.  He’s determined to keep his head down and stay out of trouble until he can get finish high school and get on the road.  His plans are derailed when he meets Belle during a gig at his family owned bar.  She’s new in town, getting settled after a bad breakup up, and their chemistry is instant and undeniable.

Imaginary lightning cracked overhead in the cloudless, star-dusted sky we stared at each other.  Intense is too mild a word to describe the electric charge that buzzed inside of me as if tiny needles prickled my skin from head to toe.

 

Everett is young and sometimes you can really see it in his personality; I thought of him like an alpha male in training.   He took control, knew what he wanted and he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.  I felt his age and selfishness really showed when he was determined to convince Belle that she shouldn’t try to deny their chemistry.  For someone so consumed with his own career and success he didn’t seem to think seriously about how hers would be ruined if anyone found out about them.  She sacrificed much more for him but he jumped to conclusions over and over about Belle’s relationship with other men and then instead of communicating with her through a temper tantrum.

 

The veins in Dad’s neck pulsed and his dark brows bunched together, his menacing glare speaking a thousand words.  ‘Obviously, something’s happened between you and Belle that’s what’s gotten you so worked up that you’ve forgotten who you are and who the hell is still in charge around here, so I’m going to forgive you for that outburst just once,” he said his voice low and intimidating”

 

The threat of discipline from Everett’s dad, Mason was a big fat reminder that Everett was still a kid who didn’t have a grasp on being in an adult relationship.

All that being said, I liked Everett a lot more than I liked Belle.  He was sweet and simple whereas Belle could come across as immature and indecisive.

 

I’d consider this book to be a teacher/ student romance more than anything else.  The male-virgin and rock star parts kind of seemed kind of like they were mentioned in passing simply to make the book more taboo.  While the plot of this book left something to be desired for me I’d definitely give more books by Erin Noelle a chance.  Her descriptions of the chemistry between Everett and Belle were detailed and very poet.   If you’re looking for a taboo read with a HEA pick up Everything, or try out Erin Noelle’s Boyfriend series which tells the story of Everett and Ashlyn’s parents.

You can find Erin Noelle online here:

Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Find Everything on Amazon:

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Cover Reveal- Something So Right by Natasha Madison

There has been a lot of hype about Natasha Madison’s debut novel coming out this summer and I’m super excited to be apart of the official cover reveal!

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Blurb

The moment everything changed didn’t happen in that cliché rockets-red-glare kind of way, it happened in the form of a waking nightmare. I caught my husband, my high-school sweetheart, the father of my children, balls deep in a sordid affair.
That was when I gave up on men and love.
I didn’t count on the NHL’s golden boy, the beautiful, arrogant Cooper Stone turning my life and my hockey rink upside down.

My kids are why I wake up in the morning.

Hockey is what Cooper breathes for.

We’re from different worlds and places in our lives but when our hearts collided something so wrong and different turned into something so right.

Something So Right is a STANDALONE

Releasing on August 1/2016!

Add it to your TBR

About the Natasha

When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…

 

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