Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

12th Oct 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: The Hating Game by Sally ThorneThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow
Pub Date: August 9th 2016
Pages: 384
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

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 has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

I’m so glad I decided to buy The Hating Game after seeing friends talk about it online because I loved it SO MUCH! I haven’t stopped thinking about the book since I finished!! From the opening chapter, I was enchanted by Lucy’s voice- she was so hilarious but real and I was giggling out loud on the bus, which I rarely do.

The publishing house setting was great, as were the office dynamics and oh my gosh, from the get go you just fall in love with Lucy and Josh and their silly office games. They hate each other soooo muchhhh (wink wink), like genuinely seem to hate each other and get under each other’s skin, that you know it’s going to be great when they stop hating each other.

The secondary characters are fleshed out well enough (loved Helene!), and Lucy and Josh could have been total caricatures but they’re not. She has quirks but she’s not a “quirky girl”. She overthinks everything and collects Smurf figures and misses her family, but she’s intelligent and reaching for her dreams. Josh could have been the stereotypical macho guy with a tender heart but he was so much more than that. He hides his shyness and insecurities with bravado, but he’s such a good person underneath that asshole layer. He’ll really surprise you, in a good way.

I also loved that the drama was believable and not that over the top. Family drama, mild dating drama, office drama, etc. There was some miscommunication but it was always resolved quickly. It helped that Josh knew Lucy really well, including her tendency to freak out in a very I Love Lucy sort of way, so a scene that could have been frustrating (her deciding that stopping by was stupid and she’s going to leave) was turned into something humorous: “Stop. Sit down. I’m making you some tea.” I swear I died when he made Lucy a sandwich, wrapped her in a cozy blanket, and watched ER reruns on the couch with her. Just because. Before anything physical really happens.

One of the best quotes is Lucy monologuing how she realizes that Josh is dangling his upturned hand on the couch like seeds to a skittish chicken (her being the chicken); he knows she needs to go slow (even if she doesn’t want to) and it’s honestly adorable. I loved watching their relationship thaw from enemies to coworkers to friends to Or Something- you’ll get that when you read the book!

This is one of those books that is predictable but you love all the individual elements so much that you don’t care. It’s very well written, from the voice to the characterization to the romantic scenes. And I loooooove the taking care of someone when they’re sick trope, like in You’ve Got Mail! Eep! Delirious medicine talk is almost as good as drunk talk, as far as unfiltered thoughts go ;)

The Hating Game is a pure rom-com and such a delight to read. It reminded me of Sophie Kinsella books but I think I loved it even better. I can’t believe it’s a debut and I can’t wait to read whatever Sally Thorne writes next. It was absolutely hilarious, really really adorable and sweet, and so sexy. One of my favorite books of the year for sure. (I’ve already reread THG since I wrote my review. Take that for what you will!)

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Listen To Me by Kristen Proby

11th Apr 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Listen To Me by Kristen ProbyListen To Me by Kristen Proby
Series: Fusion #1
Published by William Morrow
Pub Date: April 12th 2016
Pages: 336
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads
4 Stars

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy...exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

I picked a copy of this book at ALAMW in Boston this January. I was browsing the HarperCollins booth when the cover instantly caught my eye. I picked it up, read the synopsis, and knew I HAD to get myself a copy. Sadly, they were not giving them out at that moment, so it kind of put a damper on my instabook high (yes, I just made this term up). Luckily for me, they put out A TON of them later on, and I made sure all my friends had this book on their radar and got themselves a copy too.

I’m happy to report that I was not let down! Listen to Me has really great, fleshed out characters. It’s the first book in a series, so we meet everyone, but it didn’t feel like a set-up for the others which happens quite often with first books in series.

Addison and Jake have really great chemistry from the start. Their banter was really great, as she is a smart-ass and he has this charming-cocky thing going on. I will admit I found some parts cheesy at times, like that song toward the end… I was also disappointed with their conflict and breakup/makeup toward the end because it felt so overblown. Neither of these things were enough to make an impact on my overall experience though, so still very much recommend you read it!

These two start out as friends but that quickly turns into more, and things got reeeeeeally steamy. This book turned out to be a lot racier than I was expecting! Not that that’s a bad thing, but I thought I should mention it in case it’s helpful to others. I liked that he was bossy in bed but a total sweetheart all the other times. That’s how all guys should me, amirite?! ;)

Addison runs a restaurant with her four best friends, and these girls are AWESOME. I loved all their scenes together, but there’s this one where they get drunk and that was my favorite because their dialogue was so funny.

I can’t wait to read each of other girls’ books but I may pick up Kristen Proby’s other books in the meantime because I enjoyed her writing very much.

 

 

About Kristen Proby

Kristen Proby

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Bitsy Words: Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

4th Mar 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Bitsy Words: Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Bitsy Words: Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne JohnsonBe Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Published by HarperAudio, William Morrow
Pub Date: February 2nd 2016
Pages: 304
Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
Format: Audiobook | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

A sparkling talent makes her fiction debut with this infectious novel that combines the charming pluck of Eloise, the poignant psychological quirks of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the page-turning spirit of Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she’s flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly Mimi reluctantly complies—with a few stipulations: No Ivy-Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.

When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders.

As she slowly gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank’s father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.

Full of heart and countless “only-in-Hollywood” moments, Be Frank with Me is a captivating and unconventional story of an unusual mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who finds herself irresistibly pulled into their unforgettable world.

It’s not often I read character driven adult fiction but I’ve been lucky to have really enjoyed the ones I’ve read. Be Frank With Me was one of those.

Julia Claiborne Johnson gives us such a unique cast of characters in Alice, Mimi, Xander, and of course, Frank. There were times when I didn’t really understand how Alice didn’t run away from the odd job she’d been assigned as babysitter essentially. But then more we get to know Frank, and the more we learn to deal with his and Mimi’s eccentricities, the more we grow to love him.

The book really kept me guessing on a few things throughout the story, from who Frank’s father was, to what Xander’s story and role were, to what in the world did Mimi type all day long! All the answers revealed at the end gave me such relief.

I loved just how humorous and at time outrages this story is. Tavia Gilbert, the narrator of this audiobook, delivered such an entertaining depiction of these characters. I especially loved her Frank delivery. There were lines of his dialogue that didn’t seem to leave room for her to take a breath in between words, and she delivered them spot on.

If you’re looking for an audiobook to keep you entertained definitely look into Be Frank With Me. You won’t be disappointed.

Check out this interview with Julia Claiborne Johnson (the author), and voice actress Tavia Gilbert (the audiobook narrator)!

 

 

About Julia Claiborne Johnson

Julia Claiborne Johnson

Julia Claiborne Johnson worked at Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy-writer husband and their two children.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

3rd Sep 2014 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2014, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: All Lined Up by Cora CarmackAll Lined Up by Cora Carmack
Series: Rusk University #1
Published by William Morrow
Pub Date: May 13th 2014
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. All Lined Up was a super fun and sexy book that really is Friday Night Lights Goes to College! FNL is my favorite show of all time so I knew I had to read this book. Plus football season is just around the corner!

I liked Dallas a lot, she was strong and interesting and sometimes made stupid decisions. In other words, believable for a college freshman. Coach Cole was basically a sterner version of Coach Taylor in my head, which was delightful. I liked how their father daughter relationship grew and changed for the better. And Carson, ooooomg Carson! Dreamy as hell. Sweet, sarcastic, good with banter. I was picturing him with Matt Saracens’ personality and Chris Evans’ looks. Yum. He was a delight, as was his relationship with Dallas.

I love that it started fast and then crawled forward, a change of pace from most books. And those movie nights on the couch scenes! Torturous and exhilarating all at once, I could feel the nerves and crackling tension between the two. Let’s just say it made me squirm with familiarity! Oh college…

I thought Cora Carmack did an admirable job of making the alternating chapters sound different too. Characters are often hard to distinguish but Dallas and Carson had their own voices and I liked getting both sides of the story. It was refreshing. The football scenes were fantastic as well, definitely written by someone who knows the game! Overall All Lined Up was sexy, fun, and a fast read with a surprising amount of depth and heart (and flutters!!) My first foray into NA was a success!

 

 

About Cora Carmack

I’m Cora Carmack, a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. I’ve done a multitude of things in my life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theater), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). I enjoy placing my characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestseller… and a nerd (mostly the nerd part).

Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary.

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting on Wednesday: Graveminder

20th Apr 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Graveminder

Waiting on Wednesday: GraveminderGraveminder by Melissa Marr
Series: Graveminder #1
Published by William Morrow
Pub Date: May 9th 2011
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Three sips to mind the dead...

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each one Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade earlier. She soon discovers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remembers, and that Maylene had good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in Claysville the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected; beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. If the dead are not properly cared for, they will come back to satiate themselves with food, drink, and stories from the land of the living. Only the Graveminder, by tradition a Barrow woman, and her Undertaker—in this case Byron Montgomery, with whom Bek shares a complicated past—can set things right once the dead begin to walk.

Although she is still grieving for Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility—to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong.

I make no secret of my love for Melissa Marr and her books. Now, after the end of the Wicked Lovely series, I am stocked to see what’s next. Graveminder sounds awesomely dark and I cannot wait to read it!

 

About Melissa Marr

Melissa Marr is the author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series as well as the adult fantasy novels Graveminder and The Arrivals. When not writing, editing, or traveling, Melissa is buried under a plethora of books, dogs, and children in Virginia or online at www.melissa-marr.com.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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