Book review: The Hating Game

 

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Title The Hating Game

Author Sally Thorne

Rating ★★★★★

Synopsis 

Nemesi

s (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

“It’s a corporate truth universally acknowledged that workers would rather eat rat skeletons than participate in group activities.” – The Hating Game

Argh this might be one of my favorite romantic comedies ever, I absolutely loved it.

The two main characters Lucy and Joshua are co-workers and mortal enemies. They are executive assistants to the owners of “Bexley & Gamin” publishing house, and the two of them have been enemies since the very start.

The story is told entirely from Lucy’s POV and she is a wonderful narrator. She is kind, funny, and a genuinely good person, who has taken a chance when she left the security of her hometown, and struggles with the what ifs. She was extremely relatable that way, and how she hides her loneliness by being a people pleaser, always wanting people ot like her. Lucy considers whether or not it would be a good idea to go home – go back the the known and familiar, if she ends up losing her job, but she persists (YASSS).

Josh on the other hand, came across as stoic, arrogant at at times a little cruel, but with a great sense of humor, and a love of colorful shirts. He comes across as an asshole most of the times, but as the story evolves, you get to peel away the layers of this man and both of the characters.

The two characters were just beautifully written, they had insecurities and flaws and they stood up to each other, they fought, they had passion, tenderness and just hilarious banter.

The banter between the two was amazing, and the games they play, oh boy. I laughed out loud several times, and I clutched the book tightly in my hands when the sexual tension was at all time high, pretty much screaming to myself KISS DAMMIT KISS!

I can’t believe this is a debut novel, but that being said, I am so excited to read more from Sally Thorne! I NEED MORE NOW.

You know those books that just make your heart sing and then you clutch it to your chest after finishing it, while you exhale a big sigh of giddy happiness? This was the book for me, I honestly wish I could read it all over again for the first time, but I’m a sucker for the enemies-to-lovers-trope 😍

So if you’re looking for a enemies to lovers story, with great characters and great writing, do yourself a favor and read this wonderful book ❤️

Book review: Beard Science

 

IMG_0388.JPGTitle Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3)

Author Penny Reid

Rating ★★★★★

Synopsis

2016 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist
USA TODAY BESTSELLER

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

‘Beard Science’ is the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone.

Review

I am so happy to finally have Cletus’ story! From the very first book about the Winston Brothers (Truth or Beard) I’ve been intrigued by Cletus. I’ll admit, I found him to be a complete (but totally adorable) oddball in the first book, but at the same time he was one of the most interesting characters.

AHhhh I loved this book, loved, loved, loved it!

Cletus has always been the odd one, and as the stories about the Winston brothers progressed, we as readers learn more about Cletus, and his mysterious ways.

Cletus, as it turns out, was a master puppeteer, manipulating and misdirecting the people around him to achieve his desired outcome. The man would not do anything unless he has an agenda, he is crafty, insanely clever, and devious.

Cletus is not one to just fall in love either, not unless the woman is properly “suited” for him.

“I glared at him, not willing to explain the obvious. Clearly my brother didn’t understand the concept of research: the value of gathering data, the necessity of testing theories, and the importance of post-coital analysis.”

I mean honestly!

Enter Jennifer Sylvester – aka The Banana cake Queen.

She knows a lot about the people in the city, and she knows a lot about Cletus. You see, Jennifer is an astute, people watching wallflower and that turns out to be pretty darn advantageous for her.

Jennifer doesn’t like being the Banana Cake Queen, but she is completely under her parents’ thumb, and bids to their every whim.

The job and image of being the Banana Cake Queen has been carefully crafted by her mother and Jennifer has been groomed for the job, she has had her brunette hair dyed blonde for years, wears house dresses (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and is always polite and ready to work (which she does for free!). Meanwhile, Jennifer would much rather get married and start a family, wear overalls while gardening, and bake anything but banana cakes. If that is going to happen, some things need to change, and in her desperate situation, she turns to the only person who she knows can help her, Cletus Winston.

It is so great watching Cletus slowly, but surely falling for Jennifer, and despite the fact that he doesn’t find the two to be properly suited, he just can’t help himself.

Ah just sit back and enjoy this story, you’ll find both Jennifer and Cletus to be so endearing, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the Winston brothers  ♥︎

 

Book review: The Foxe and The Hound

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Title The Foxe and The Hound

Author R.S.Grey

Rating ★★★★★

Publication Date June 1st 2017

Source I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis A full-length STANDALONE romantic comedy from USA TODAY bestselling author R.S. Grey.

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

OY with the covfefe, this book was great!

Ahem is this thing on? Taps imaginary microphone … Because you need to listen up, this is an amazing contemporary romance novel and you need to read it asap!

I’ll just admit it right away, I have a soft sport for R.S.Grey’s books, she always writes great characters and they way she builds up this slow-burn atmosphere is incredible. I always find myself almost crushing my Ipad, practically shouting for the characters to do something about their obvious chemistry, and this book was no exception.

Madeleine is a wonderful, quirky 27 year old real estate agent who, like many other milennials, is just trying to get by. I found myself relating to Madeleine in a lot of ways, I know what it was like to just scrape by, wondering how on earth I was going to get money for next month’s rent, and just feeling like everything was against me.

Madeleine has a wonderful man in her life, someone she can always trust. Her lovely, mischievous puppy Mouse. I need a Mouse in my life, doggos are everything! Madeleine can rely on her her gorgeous puppy, who seems to grow bigger by the minute.

One thing that is missing in Madeleine’s life, is a man. I loved the fact that even though it has become some sort of, I won’t say taboo, but somewhere along those lines,  to actually come out and say that you want to be in a relationship, that you want a man, Madeleine isn’t afraid to say that she’s looking for someone special

Enter Adam Foxe, a gorgeous, tall, brown-haired, muscular vetenarian who has just moved to town.

Thanks to Mouse, some mutual friends and oftentimes pure coincidence Adam and Madeleine are thrown together at every turn.

This book has everything you could want, I mean dogs, a hot vet, a female character you can relate to, humor, a battle between attraction and reluctance? Yes please. This book had these things in spades. There was so much back and forth between these two, and it was glorious, because of the fantastic chemistry between Adam and Madeleine.Teaser#1.png

This book made me snort, it made my heart hurt and it made me so happy that you have an author like R.S. Grey who weaves these brilliant stories together filled with both fluffy and heavy emotions.

Make sure you pick up this wonderful romantic comedy, you won’t regret it and seriously, I need to know more about Adam and Madeleine’s life!

Book review: A Monster Calls

IMG_9742.JPG Title A Monster Calls

Author Patrick Ness

Rating ★★★★★

Synopsis The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

Review

How do you begin to describe and gather your thoughts about a book that turned your heart to shreds?

As much as I wanted to this review right after finishing this beautiful book, I simply couldn’t. Tears were running down my face, I was a sobbing mess and I had to leave it for a few days to clear my head.

Imagine waking up night after night at 12.07 am from the same nightmare, until one day you wake up and find a monster in your bedroom. This is exactly what happens to Conor, a young teenage boy, who has had recurring nightmares that began after his mother started her treatments for cancer.

When he wakes up one night and finds a monster in his bedroom, he is convinced that he is still half asleep, but the monster is so vivid, so real and when he finds physical evidence from it the next day, he slowly starts to come around to the notion that the monster might actually be real.

It soon becomes apparant that Conor must feel as if he is carrying the problems of the world on his shoulders. He lives alone with his mom, and because of her illness, Conor has taken on the responsibilites of caring for the home, making sure to eat his breakfast and cleaning after himself and he makes sure to go to school on time.

You quickly get the feeling that Conor is a lonely boy, he seems and feels invisible to other’s around him, however throughout the book he also shows his humorous side and his strong defiant spirit. Even more so, you get to see a childlike hopefulness that is so incredibly difficult to read about, and is something that just makes you want to grab him and give him the world’s biggest hug.

The monster arrives at time where things seem to be going downhill, and it wants to know the truth about Conor’s nightmares, in order to get the young boy to talk, the monster wants to tell Conor three tales.

Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.

Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

The tales at first seem random, however they all reflect people and situtations from Conor’s life, and although it takes time for Conor to comprehend them, the tales show the readers and Conor that life isn’t always as straightforward as we could hope, there are twists and turns that causes us to make decisions that may seem incomprehensible but actually make a lot of sense.

“Stories don’t always have happy endings.”

This stopped him. Because they didn’t, did they? That’s one thing the monster had definitely taught him. Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn’t expect.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

The monster forces Conor to share his truth about the nightmares that he has been having. I don’t want to spoil you, but the truth is a difficult one to read through, Conor deals with issues and feelings that are difficult for everyone to go through.

It is such a brutally and honest book about grieving, about illness and about life and it really resonated with me. I’m still fortunate enough to have both of my parents, but I almost lost my dad four years ago due to a brain hemorrhage and he’s never been the same. I recognized Conor’s feelings, I recognized his hesitance of sharing the truth, and when the truth finally came out, I recognized that one as well.

You were merely wishing for the end of pain, the monster said. Your own pain. An end to how it isolated you. It is the most human wish of all.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

This quote hit me so hard, even now four years later, it still resonates with me, and sometimes I still feel this way, especially when things become too difficult to manage, or when I look at my dad and no longer see the man who raised me, but rather the shell of someone I used to know. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad, I’m so thankful that he is still here, but he’s not the same anymore and sometimes those angry, sad and annoyed feelings just take over.

“And if one day,’ she said, really crying now, ‘you look back and you feel bad for being so angry, if you feel bad for being so angry at me that you couldn’t even speak to me, then you have to know, Conor, you have to that is was okay. It was okay. That I knew. I know, okay? I know everything you need to tell me without you having to say it out loud.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

This book is one of the reasons why I read, it makes me feel, it makes me angry and it makes me hopeful that everything is going to be alright.

Book review: The Night Circus

Title  The Night CircusIMG_7331.JPG

Author Erin Morgenstern

Rating 4.5/5

I’ve decided to try something new instead of just writing, writing, writing. I got the inspiration from adear friend Anniek and how she divides her reviews into: plot, characters, writing style and conclusion. We’ll see how that goes 🙂

 

Plot

Two brilliant magicians have to train two protégés of their own choosing, and have them battle.

The protégés are children when chosen and they are trained by each magician, learning different skills.

The two opponents as they become have no clue who they are up against, they don’t know who the other opponent is and they are also left in the dark about what the contest is actually about, they only know that they are to show off their magic.

This is where the circus appears and this magically enchanted place becomes their battlefield. This is where the magic happens … I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself!! 😀

There is a lot of guessing throughout the book, you keep wondering what the end game is, how will a winner be chosen, why are we jumping back and forth in time, what can they do, etc.

And then in the midst of all of this, a love story also starts to unfold between the two opponents without either of them knowing what the outcome of the game is.

I found myself constantly guessing, and I wanted to skip ahead to see what would happen!

Characters

There are several characters to keep track of in this story (around 15 I think), I’ll just mention a few, otherwise this will be waaaay too long.

One of the main characters in the story is Celia Bowen, and I decided to highlight her, as she grows up with the circus and you follow her story from childhood.

As a young girl Celia’s mother dies and she goes to live with her father, Hector Bowen – one of the brilliant magicians. Celia appears to have natural abilities when it comes to magic, and her father wants to take advantage of those and he does so by training her from a very young age.

Celia is one of the opponents in the game, and she is a performer in the night circus, where she has her own tent.

It would be silly not to highlight the other opponent in the story, an orphan boy, whose name is Marco.

Marco is taken in by the other brilliant magician and trained mostly throught books and practice. He does not appear to have natural abilities, but rather learns to manipulate the world around through hard work and determination.

His role in the circus is not as obvious as Celia’s, as Marco actually stays put in London where he works as an assistant to Chandress, the proprietor of The Night Circus. But as the story goes on, you find out just how much he contributes to the cirus.

As mentioned there are around 15 characters in this story to keep track of, and they all have a significant role to play in the circus, however I’ll let you discover them yourself, if you decided to read the book 🙂

Writing style

Magic is a constant in “The Night Circus” and the writing of the story itself is also purely magic. You are drawn into The Night Circus, and it is described eloquently that you can practically smell the popcorns popping, feel the bright lights on your face and sense the atmosphere after you purchase your ticket at the ticket booth to enther this asthonishing place.

Honestly the setting and mood sold the book for me, and Morgenstern’s style of writing fits the story so well, however it was also a challenge, as it goes back and forth in time, weaving together characters, plotlines and settings, and it takes a bit of effort to keep up.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a story where there are additions in a second POV speaking directly to you as the reader, who is about to enter the circus, and that really added to the magic of the book.

Conclusion

This was a brilliantly written book, driven by its amazing setting and atmosphere. And those two aspects really kept me invested.

The plot was interesting, I liked the love story that starts to unfold as well, and you never quite knew where the story would go, which was fun. The ending was rather interesting as well.

If you are into magic, beautiful prose and descriptive settings, then join the circus as it arrives without warning, and who knows? Perhaps you’ll be a rêveur  of the circus as well 🙂

Review: The Cosmopolitan Islander

What a journey!

Chloe, her husband Konrad, and their young son move from London to the Isles of Man, due to her husband’s relocation.
Chloe is well-educated, strong and smart. She’s lived her life in buzzing cities all over the world, and relocating to a small, quiet island is a challenge for her.

Through M.P Tonnesen’s writing we go on a wonderful journey of self-discovery with Chloe, as we jump back and fourth between the present and the past, so we as readers and outsiders get a sense of how Chloe got to be the woman that she is today.

The writing was beautiful, and so descriptive of the surroundings and the people in Chloe’s life, you were at the Isle of Man with her, I will say though that the writing may not be for everyone, it can get a bit too descriptive and that slows it down quite a bit.
At times, it became a tad bit dramatic, but it offered a unique perspective to what it’s like as a Scandinavian to relocate and overcome the small, yet significant cultural differences you might encounter as you embark on your life.

The book was a journey of self-discovery and finding your way, even though it seems scary at times and Chloe is truly a cosmopolitan islander.

Check it out on goodreads