[678]: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

25883848 The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Stand Alone
William Morrow | August 9th, 2016
Source: Bought
Contemporary Romance | Adult Fiction
Rating 5 out of 5 Stars

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 was stacking all the books that were on my bedroom floor neatly when I decided to skim through its pages. Hours later, I was grinning like a fool. It was so good, so sweet, and so funny. I mean, I’ve known a few people who swore how good this was but I was not ready to be floored as much as I have. It’s the perfect romcom; lovely characters bright with chemistry, a breathtaking romance with humour and a pinch of poignant sadness.

Battle of the Sexes

Lucy Hutton has always hated Josh Templeman’s guts. He’s a very regimented jerk who saw her as nothing but an amusing little woman with a penchant for wild colours and red lipstick. His total opposite, considering he wears a plethora of uniformed dress shirts for every day of the week. Their one-upmanship and skirmishes on the daily give her life. It’s the source of her motivation, aggravation and oddly enough, her addiction. But their competition is about to reach another level of insanity as they both vie for the same Chief Operating Officer position.  If Lucy wins, she becomes Josh’s boss and if he wins, she has no choice but to quit. Because there’s no way she’s going to work for the man who threatened to “work her so fucking hard” if he wins.

I love this book so much! I have this thing for short heroines rocking the retro look and Lucy personified that ideal. She’s a spitfire who stood up to Josh even if she was a softie to everyone else. Working in the publishing industry has always been her dream so she worked incredibly hard day to please everyone but Joshua.

Josh, on the other hand, is a massive oaf that perfectly contrasts Lucy’s diminutive posture. They’re opposite in every which way but once they let chemistry does its magic, they’re combustible! Love, love their witty banter, their playful provocations (also known as flirting), and the way they cared and worried about each other without the other knowing.

On the surface, these two are all about fun and games. But hidden just beneath their skin lives a loneliness brought on by family estrangement. Josh couldn’t make his father happy no matter what he does. He lives under the shadow of his father’s discontentment and constant disappointment. So he stopped trying and distanced himself from his family to his mother’s heartbreak.

Lucy, on the other hand, was loved. Her parents wanted everything for her but her dream took her far away from them. They’re still close, though no matter the distance. She has no friends, and because she’s the executive assistant to one of the partners, her officemates tend to keep her at an arm’s length. They dealt with loneliness the only way they could: denial. Honestly, no one could be more deserving of each other than these two. Josh is very serious, more often cranky but far more the asshole character that’s been known to grace the pages of a romance novel. Lucy balances Josh’s seriousness perfectly. She’s very quirky, smart and funny. She’s just lovely all around.

The Hating Game is by far the best contemporary romance I’ve read this year. If you’ve ever considered reading this after all the five-star reviews on Goodreads, well, leave your doubts aside. The majority of those reviewers are spot on. Sally Thorne is a brilliant, brand new voice in this genre.



Hot Off The Press [23]: October 18th, 2016

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I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil
Saving Red by Sonya Jones
Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz

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Royally Screwed by Emma Chase
Black Swan Affair by K.L. Kreig
The Sexy One by Lauren Blakely

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Escape Clause by John Sandford
The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa
Twisted Palace by Erin Watt

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Honor by Jay Crownover
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot

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What Light by Jay Asher
Beard Science by Penny Reid
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by R Cohen and D Leviathan
Tattoo Atlas by Tim Floreen
Moon Chosen by PC Cast

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River Traffic by Martha Brack Martin
Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas
The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz

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The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines
The Waiting Tree by Lindsay Moynihan
Messenger by Carol Lynch Williams

Oh, man. I’ve just realized why I quit doing these posts all those years ago. Lol. It is not easy to do! I have to scour the interwebz for a list. Goodreads has a list but Amazon has a more extensive one. And then, this week, I decided to provide a link for each book so, it took me forever to draft it. I do enjoy it, though. And for my benefit, I like knowing what’s coming out this week.

I’m so excited to read Twisted Palace! OMG. The ending of Broken Prince was just so cruel. I can’t wait to read this. Needless to say, I’ve already pre-ordered a copy. I’m also looking forward to reading Royally Screwed by Emma Chase! Love me a good prince and pauper romantic story!

What about you? Anything from this list has you chomping at the bits?

Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 194


Four Letter Word by J. Daniels | Bedmates by Nichole Chase | Heartless by Gail Carrier | Searching For Always by Jennifer Probst | The Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas | Sometimes A Rogue by Mary Jo Putney | For This Life Only by Stacey Kade | Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta | Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo | Meltaltown by Kristen Simmons | Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven | Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge | Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel | Replica by Lauren Oliver | Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews | Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley | Alex + Ada by Jonathan Lune & Sarah Vaughn | Bit Rot by Douglas Coupland | Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland| Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Yes, I know. This is a ridiculous pile. Trust me, I’ve already cut myself off. Like, I went to the bookstore on Saturday for the sole purpose of buying two books (Melina’s and Alex + Ada) and came home with only those. That’s progress, folks. Because in the past, whenever I go to the bookstore with the intent of picking up specific books, I always end up with a new set of TBR pile. So I think I’m learning how to say no.

Anyway, four of these books are for reviews (three from Penguin Random House Canada and one from Tor Teens), so it’s really not that bad…okay, that’s a lie but, whatevs.

So I’m back. I have a few days of Bloglovin to sift through – please bear with me. The last time I checked, I think I have Tuesday, Monday and the previous weekend to read. Lol. How about you? Do you make a conscious effort read past Bloglovin’ posts? I know it’s tough, but I am a Catholic so feeling guilty is like a natural instinct for us. Lol. Especially with everyone being so nice and supportive for my need of a break.


I also got this wonderful box from Hello, Book Lover – which I talked about at length in this post. I can’t wait to devour this book. It sounds like a good mystery about two sisters (obvs). I’m excited to try out the teas as well even though I’m a rare drinker. Are you a subscriber? What has been a good subscription box that you’ve subscribed to lately?


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The Hating Game is so good, you guys. I have a review coming up this week. Wrong and Right are so much fun. However, I wasn’t bowled over by Bittersweet and Idol. The Sun is Also A Star was brilliant but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did her debut novel.

That’s it for now, I think. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Also, Happy, Happy Birthday to my main squeeze. I know you get email notifications whenever I upload a new post but I don’t know if you read them. But I want you to know that you are the Darcy to my Elizabeth. You’re not perfect; you’re cranky at times, but you’ll do everything for me, our kids and even our families. So thank you. And I love you. Most ardently. <3

Have a great week!

Hello Book Lover Subscription Box


Hello, book lovers (see what I did there?)!

I’m back! Did anyone miss me? 🙂 Well, I missed you all. I’m still trying to catch up with everything that I’ve missed during my absence, but I want to take this opportunity to talk to you about this subscription box that landed on my doorstep last Friday.

Monthly subscription boxes are a dime a dozen nowadays and honestly, I’ve struggled with trying to decide from which to choose. When Lauren of Hello, Book Lover contacted me for a partnership, I was absolutely ecstatic. For one, it’s quite flattering. And for another, this is a new thing for me. So I did a little bit of checking. I went to their website to see what they’re all about. I found out that besides the fact that they send out books and accouterments to go along with reading, they also have a book club that enables their members to interact with other subscribers. I thought that it was pretty cool.

This month, they feature what is called, The Page-Turner Box, which includes:

  • The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
  • Bags of Yogi tea (Stress Relief, Bedtime and Positive Energy)
  • Jar of honey
  • Little Flower All Natural Peppermint Lip Balm
  • Little Flower All Natural Lavender Bath Salt

If you’re interested, you can take advantage of a 15% discount by using the code, JOYOUS15. I’m looking forward to reading the book, drinking the tea, using the lip balm and the small sample of lavender bath salt. 🙂 For more information about Hello, Book Lover, I’ve provided the links below. Follow them for special offers and featured items included in the box.


Website  | Twitter | Facebook  | Pinterest | Instagram

[677]: Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap

27876492 Angel of Oblivion
Stand Alone
Archipelago Books | August 16th, 2016
Source: Finished copy from the Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

The novel tells the story of a family from the Slovenian minority in Austria. The first-person narrator starts off with her childhood memories of rural life, in a community anchored in the past. Yet behind this rural idyll, an unresolved conflict is smouldering. At first, the child wonders about the border to Yugoslavia, which runs not far away from her home. Then gradually the stories that the adults tell at every opportunity start to make sense. All the locals are scarred by the war. Her grandfather, we find out, was a partisan fighting the Nazis from forest hideouts. Her grandmother was arrested and survived Ravensbrück.

As the narrator grows older, she finds out more. Through conversations at family gatherings and long nights talking to her grandmother, she learns that her father was arrested by the Austrian police and tortured – at the age of ten – to extract information on the whereabouts of his father. Her grandmother lost her foster-daughter and many friends and relatives in Ravensbrück and only escaped the gas chamber by hiding inside the camp itself. The narrator begins to notice the frequent suicides and violent deaths in her home region, and she develops an eye for how the Slovenians are treated by the majority of German-speaking Austrians. As an adult, the narrator becomes politicised and openly criticises the way in which Austria deals with the war and its own Nazi past. In the closing section, she visits Ravensbrück and finds it strangely lifeless – realising that her personal memories of her grandmother are stronger.

The novel begins in a calm tone; a life of rural ideal on a farm near the border of Austria and Yugoslavia. The narrator’s family goes about their lives simply; tending to the farm and their animals while slowly peeling the layers that would eventually show the readers what was hiding behind the calmness.

She’s my Queen Bee and I’m her drone.

The young girl references her great admiration for the matriarch of the family. Her grandmother rules the household with relentless strength rooted in familial love and old tradition. She guides our unknown narrator through early adolescence on through the cusp of adulthood. While in the background is her mother, sensitive and prone to crying. She was hardly shown any respect least of all from her mother in law. In some ways, I felt for her. It was easy to see that she never knew how to raise her own child because someone else did that job for her. So their relationship was fragile and more often unpredictable. The narrator stands in a precarious balance between the love for her mother and her grandmother that ultimately becomes somewhat lopsided.

Throughout the novel, the readers are given a visceral imagery of the kind of influence the grandmother has over our narrator. Her mother tried her best but it was a difficult task to overcome such an overwhelming shadow. And she didn’t get any help from her husband (the narrator’s father) either. He was constantly drunk and frequently unhinged. Though, his instability could be attributed to his childhood experience of unfathomable hell which unsurprisingly influenced the man that he became.

Angel of Oblivion is an unexpected surprise. It’s a glorious feat for an author to leave her readers in a state of complacency all the while telling a difficult and poignant story. Beautiful as it were, devastating in some instances. It reminds us that we are the sum of our memories and even if we feel insignificant now, our stories could hold some influence to someone in the future. This was not an easy read by a long shot but the characters are worth your acquaintance. And because it’s a memoir disguised as fiction, I read it with ease, ironically enough.


Hot Off the Press [22]: October 4th, 2016

October 4th, 2016

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This past weekend, we had a book club meeting (sort of). No one read the book we picked aside from two people (oh, the humanity!). Yep. Our book club is off to a fantastic start. Lol. I’m there to meet up with other people who share the same interest as I, anyway so I don’t really care. The best part of going to the meeting is the venue (it’s at a bookstore, naturally). So I usually end up coming home with a bunch of books.

I was so ecstatic to see Holding Up the Universe so early! So I picked it up along with Crooked Kingdom. But I was disappointed to see that a couple of the books that were released last week was not on their shelves so I went to another location the next day. Lo and behold, I found a copy of Replica and Aerie several days before their release days!

I know authors hate it when we buy books ahead of the release day because it doesn’t count towards the sale for the week. Some authors don’t really care but I remember someone (not naming names) who gave a stink about not making the best seller list because her book was released ahead of time. Whatever. I bought your book. You’ll get the money eventually so staph. Anywho. What about you?

Do you get as excited as I am when you see a book out before its release date?

On the Night Table [42]: Fall TBR


Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap | The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz | The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon | Scythe by Neal Shusterman | Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

It’s going to be quite an ambitious month for me over here. But I feel like I’ve been neglecting so much and I need to do my best to curb-stump by TBR pile – particularly, the books that I’ve gotten for review. And there’d been so many! This past weekend, I made a list of all the books that needed my immediate attention and have come up with what is now my On the Night Table post.

Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap  is a memoir meant to aid the narrator in unburdening herself with what had been a difficult life. I’m in for angst, I think but I’m looking forward to reading this because it’s sort of a historical, racially charged account of how Slovenians were treated in German-speaking Austria. Looking forward to reading this. 

The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz is a family saga set in British Columbia. I’m always on the lookout for books set in my country, so I was happy to receive this from Random House Canada.

The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon I love Nicola’s debut and have sworn to read anything she puts out ever since then. I can’t wait to read this!

Scythe by Neal Shusterman I haven’t read any of his books but I think I have his popular series. I’m looking forward to finally reading one of his books!

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult this is only going to be my second Jodi Picoult reading, believe it or not. Loved her The Storyteller, so looking forward to more of the same.

Have you read any of these?

What do you plan to read this month?

September: A Month of Indulgence


According to Environment Canada (our weather channel), Fall will be in full swing next week; meaning, low temps, rain, and blustery wind. Goodie. But I don’t really mind Fall. It used to be my favourite season but since my football team has been sucking lately, I can’t summon enough enthusiasm for the changing season. I wish they’d figure out which personality would show up and none of this really good and really awful see-saw they’ve been doing for the last three seasons. My heart simply can’t take it. Sigh.

Anyway, September has come and gone. There are less than three months before Christmas and I’m freaking out just a little bit. My job is a temporary position that ends in April. I’m not really looking forward to going out there again to pound the pavement but I suppose I have no choice. I know I have a bit of time yet, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately. I don’t know why. I think it’s because as the year draws nearer to a close, the more I’ve been stressing out over it. Then again, I may just be borrowing trouble.

So, September. Gosh, what a month! I’ve been sick for the better part of last week and have not yet fully recovered. I went back to work just because I missed so much time already and even though my company pays for sick leave, I didn’t want to take advantage. My ears are still plugged and I still have bouts of coughing fits so needless to say, my quasi-fitness regiment has stalled as well.

The good news is I read 26 books for the month and well on my way to reaching my Goodreads reading goal way ahead of time. The bad news is I doubt I’m going to be able to write a review for all the books that I’ve read.






Not in the picture is The Swan Riders because I technically didn’t finish the book. So I only read 25 and 1 DNF. I blame this surge in the tally to my appetite for romance in September. When I was bedridden for almost a week, all I wanted to read was Romance books. So you can say most of the books I read this month were pure indulgence.  I unearthed my Kindle and downloaded a whole bunch of books. I enjoyed The Royals by Erin Watt and the collaborative (unrelated) series by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward. Three books, three different flavours. Loved every minute of it!

This is it for now, ladies and gents. I hope to write a few short reviews for these books sometime this month. I have a massive Fall TBR that I will share with you this week, as well new releases that I’m dying to read! I hope you’ll all have a spooky October filled with books that will scare the pants out of you!

What was your favourite read in September?






Morsels [17]: Nothing Good Can Come From This

Series: Prisoners of Peace, #2
Margaret K. McElderry Books | September 20th, 2016
Source: ARC paperback from Simon & Schuster
Young Adult | Science Fiction
Rating: DNF

I’ve not DNF’d a book in a long time because I didn’t believe in the practice. I believe that I’m doing a disservice to the authors who worked hard at their craft. But after a considerable time, I’ve also learned that I cannot, in good conscience, allow my TBR pile to grow bigger because I’m stuck reading a book for weeks at a time. Such is the case with The Swan Riders.

I read The Scorpion Rules a month or so ago because I got this sequel for review. And while I struggled with that book as well, I somehow managed to get through it just fine. It wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve read but it was passable, at least. I had hoped that The Swan Riders will redeem it all for me, though. I rooted for it to get better. But after a few weeks of trudging along, I could no longer do it.

I had an overwhelming feeling of apathy with this book. It was unbelievably slow, sterile, and clinical. Greta as a human left me cold. Greta as an AI left me feeling hopeless. I just didn’t have it in me to be gracious and patient. I was bored and wishing I was reading something else. And it wouldn’t be fair if I couldn’t give it the attention it deserves. I had to abandon this one.

Series: Mister, #2
Self Published | June 22nd, 2016
Source: Bought
Erotica | Adult Fiction
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

This book made me rage. Romanticizing rape is never okay. And if you tell me that “fantasy rape” is not romanticizing rape, don’t. You’re wasting your breath.

“Mr. Romantic isn’t as dark as some of my characters. James Fenici is dark. Merc is dark. Hell, I think Ford is probably darker than Mr. Romantic. So that’s why there’s no trigger warning in my blurb. This isn’t a dark book and if you think it is, you missed the point.” (from the page, End of Book Shit).

The author writes that readers who will find this book to be dark will have more than likely missed the point entirely.  And I’m okay with that. I don’t care if your book is something that’s not written with my taste in mind. What I care about is the level of patronizing superiority to assume that you know what would and wouldn’t set your readers off.   I’ve read some pretty fucked up Erotica in my life but nothing could ever be this level of fucked up. The man, “Mr. Romantic”, likes to exercise his dominance with fantasy rape. He’s physically and verbally abusive. And yet, the author decided not to put a trigger warning on her blurb, because, like she said, this is not dark. But who are you to decide?

Mr. Romantic has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. He grated on my nerves from the get go. I enjoy dominant characters from time to time, but I was not ready for this man. Ivy Rockwell is the fly trapped in his web. And if there’s anything I hate more than asshole characters it’s the doormat heroines that plays opposite them.