The Hating Game

The Hating Game

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

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. 

Thoughts:

I haven’t read a book like this for a long time. I used to read a lot of women’s fiction but stepped away from it a while back. However, I do like to dip into the genre now and again. I’d heard so many good things about The Hating Game, reading so many rave reviews, so I thought it was time to check it out.

The Hating Game centres around Lucy and Joshua who work in the same office. They’ve struggled with their relationship for a while now and are constantly trying to better one another. There’s lots of games being played and both of them don’t want to give in. An opportunity for promotion comes up and Lucy and Joshua find themselves in another battle. Lucy decides that if she doesn’t win the promotion game then she’ll resign. She can manage being Josh’s boss, but she couldn’t bare for him to be in charge of her. If there’s so much hate between them, why is Lucy beginning to look at Josh in a different way? Is there really a thin line between love and hate?

I don’t think you’d enjoy this book if you’re not into romance/women’s fiction. It is very romantic and is full of cliches. It has some very common tropes such as office romance and enemies to lovers. I knew pretty much what was going to happen right from the start, but it didn’t bother me. I was still eager to find out how things were going to unravel.

Lucy and Josh’s relationship is funny to read about. Their daily arguments were entertaining and you could see the underlying chemistry between them. Their banter really did make me smile at points.

I think if you’re looking for something light and contemporary, then this book could be for you.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Although predictable, this book was highly enjoyable!

How To Hang A Witch

How to Hang a Witch

How did I get it?:
Received from Walker Books, in exchange for an honest review!

Synopsis:

After Sam’s father is hospitalised, she has to move from New York to Salem with her stepmother, Vivian. Unfortunately, Sam is related to Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for the Salem Witch Trials, and to say she feels unwelcome in Salem is an understatement… She is particularly unnerved by The Descendants, a mysterious and tight-knit group of girls related to those persecuted in the Trials. At the same time, she must deal with Elijah, the handsome but angry ghost who has appeared in her house, and her new neighbour Jaxon only complicates things further.

Thoughts:

I’m not going to lie, I do love a good witch-y read. Quite often though, they make me cringe. I had heard good things about How To Hang A Witch so when I had the opportunity to read it, I quickly snapped it up. I really enjoyed reading this book. It didn’t take me long to read it at all. I thought Adriana Mather had a very addictive writing style. Her writing is incredibly easy to read. I loved how it was a little bit paranormal but also had element of historical fiction.

How To Hang A Witch is set in Salem. We all know Salem as the place where the infamous witch trials took place. Our main character is Sam who is related to Cotton Mather, a man who practically encouraged witch-fearing. Salem is pretty proud of its history. The town is not happy about Sam’s arrival. Right from her first day she suffers bullying and harassment, especially from a group of girls called The Descendants who are descendants of the convicted witches. Sam also had to deal with a spirit who has appeared in her house and then there’s Jaxon, another complication.

I absolutely adore historical fiction, so the element of the story that involved the witch trials really captured my attention. I loved the descriptions of Salem. A place that fascinates me. It came across as so eerie which I adored! I also loved that the author was a Mather. It gave a personal feel to the story for me that I really enjoyed.

I liked Sam as a character. I didn’t enjoy the relationship with her stepmother though. I found their arguments a little tedious to read. I found Sam’s attitude quite frustrating at times but I liked her determination. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the romance element of this book. It felt to me like the author was trying to make a love triangle happen. I’m not a fan of love triangles at all. It actually turned me off the story a little.

I’m interested to read the next book in the series. Adriana Mather has me intrigued!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I’m intrigued to see where this series goes next!

Girl In Pieces

Girl in Pieces

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

Thoughts:

I knew that this book was going to be a heavy reading experience given its subject matter. It was incredibly tricky to read but so beautifully written. I would definitely give it a trigger warning because I can imagine it would affect many people if they have dealt with the issues raised in this book. Kathleen Glasgow’s story is fantastic at representing realistically how tough it is to live with a mental illness. She did give a glimmer of hope for the character, which I appreciated amongst the darkness.

The story centre around Charlie who is in a bad place. She’s only seventeen but has gone through a lot in her life. She self harms with glass to sooth her pain and feel calm. Each time Charlie cuts her heart gets a little harder. Charlie has to go through a lot to get her back to ‘normal.’

Even though this book is marketed at the Young Adult market, it reads like a lot older. I know teenagers/young adults do struggle with their mental health so it’s not the subject matter, it’s the general feel of it and lack of young adults in the story. Charlie is the only young adult in the story! Even the romantic interest is much older than Charlie.

I struggled a little with the pace of this book. I am usually gripped by books about mental health but this one felt like a chore to get through. There were moments of brilliance which I really appreciated and I felt like some phrases were incredibly relatable. I did appreciate how Charlie wasn’t a perfect character. She kept on making terrible decisions. Life wasn’t instantly easy for her and that’s real life. I do think this is a good book and an important story, it’s just not one that particularly stood out for me.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Beautifully written, if a little slow!

Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Thoughts:

I had heard so much about this book. SO much. As a lover of psychological thrillers, I knew it had to be a book that I picked up. I bought a copy, but have taken a while to get around to it. I wish I hadn’t as it was a bloomin’ brilliant psychological thriller. It’s definitely dark and twisted, so if that’s what you like in your thrillers…then I’d recommend picking up this book. It’s a book where you have to suspend your disbelief. It’s a tad far fetched but I loved it nevertheless.

Behind Closed Doors tells the story of Jack and Grace. On the surface, they look like the perfect couple. They are incredibly well matched and their love for each other is clear to see. However, when everyone leaves their parties, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want to be Jack and Grace. No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors…

I immediately didn’t trust Jack, (but maybe that says more about me) he seemed too good to be true. He was highly successful, defending victims of domestic violence and was desperate to have Grace’s sister who has Downs Syndrome living with them. Hmm… I started to wonder if there was more to him than met the eye? No one is that perfect, right?

I thought this book was an incredible read. I didn’t want to put it down. It’s one that can easily be read in a day. It may not be full of amazing twists and turns, but it’s a shocking read and that’s what makes you turn the pages. B.A. Paris has really created a wonderfully tense atmosphere. I loved how the author used past and present moments to tell their story. I don’t always enjoy books told in this way, but it was great to see Jack and Grace’s relationship from the start and to ‘witness’ the moment that things started going wrong for them.

I would highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a fast paced thriller!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic debut! I hope B.A Paris writes more in the future!

Love & Gelato

Love & Gelato

How did I get it?:
I received a copy from Walker Books. Many thanks to them!

Synopsis:

The dying wish of 16-year-old Lina’s mother was for her daughter to live in Tuscany and get to know her father, whom Lina has never met.

“Howard is the best man I’ve ever known,” her mother says, “he’ll keep you safe.” Why did her mother wait so long to tell her about him? Lina has a happy life in Seattle and doesn’t want to leave. Shortly after she arrives at Howard’s home, Lina meets Sonya, who gives Lina a diary that belonged to Lina’s mother, the one she had kept while she was a photography student in Florence. While Lina is living her life and exploring Tuscany with her handsome neighbour, Ren, she follows in the footsteps of her mother and gets to know her as never before. She also finds out the truth about her father. Mostly she finds out about herself.

Thoughts:

I have had Love & Gelato on my radar for the longest time, so I was incredibly happy to be able to read a copy, thanks to Walker Books! It’s a wonderful summer read. I think if you’re a fan of the contemporary YA genre, then this book is certainly for you this summer.

It’s set in Italy and follows Lina. Lina moves to Italy after her mum dies on her mum’s request to be with Howard- a man from the past. When Lina arrives in Italy, she is given her mother’s old journal. Lina starts to read the journal and learns much more about her mum and herself than she had ever anticipated!

I loved following Lina, who I found incredibly easy to connect to. I felt for her, having to deal with the loss of her mother and then have to move to Italy to live with a man that she had only just heard of. Lina really gets herself into awkward situations, but this made her all the more realistic in my eyes.

I was impressed that the author took their time with Lina’s grieving process. She did struggle at first, she did question. She didn’t just move to Italy and everything was magically better. That’s more real to read about!

Love & Gelato has made me want to visit Italy. The author really painted a picture with her words. It left me craving gelato too… I’m definitely more inclined to go to Italy after reading this cute story!

I can’t believe that this book was the author’s debut as it feels incredibly established. I would definitely pick up her next book!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A very cute YA contemporary read. Perfect for the beach!

Phantom Limbs

Phantom Limbs

How did I get it?:
I received it from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review!

Synopsis:

Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind. Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives.

Thoughts:

I had heard some buzz around Phantom Limbs, so when I was given the opportunity to read this powerful debut, I jumped at the chance. Phantom Limbs is a fantastic, accomplished debut. I was engrossed from the start.

The story centres around Otis and Meg who used to be inseparable until an awful accident in which Otis’s younger brother died. It affected both of their families, leading to Meg and her family moving away. Since the accident, Otis hadn’t heard from Meg. He became close to Dara, a senior, who was training Otis in the hope he would become the Olympic swimmer she always wanted to be. Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town. Both Otis and Meg have to face the past and either move on and away from it or learn to deal with the past, even if it has changed them.

I couldn’t put this book down. I was completely captivated by the characters. I wanted to see if all was going to end well for them. It’s not an easy journey. It’s emotional and Paula Garner really does take you on a journey with the characters. I loved that the characters aren’t flawless. It makes them even more realistic. There’s so much loss, regret, loneliness but there’s also love and moments of humour. It really was a special read to me. It for some reason, just wasn’t a 5 star. I have a feeling it could be for many readers though.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course! 4.5 stars

If you’re a fan of realistic, emotional YA reads then this book is for you!

If I Was Your Girl

If I Was Your Girl

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Amanda Hardy is the new girl at school.

Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she’s falling in love with.

Amanda has a secret.

At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out.

A book about loving yourself and being loved for who you really are.

Thoughts:

I’m a big fan of everything diverse and I knew If I Was Your Girl had a transgender character at the heart of the story. Whilst this isn’t my favourite book on the topic, it was a decent read that didn’t take me long to read at all. As you’re reading it, you want to learn more about the LGBTQIA community and it certainly made me feel empathetic towards them.

If I Was Your Girl centres around Amanda, who is a transgender girl. All she wants is to get through school without being picked on. She has recently moved to a new school to finish her senior year. At first, things go really well for Amanda. She’s totally accepted as a girl (they don’t know otherwise), she makes friends and also gets a boyfriend. Amanda is in a great place, but she’s always torn between keeping her happiness and telling the truth about her past to her boyfriend.

This book really didn’t have much action at all. It just plodded along. It was quick enough to read and I loved the main character. It just didn’t have as much oomph as I would like it to have. It’s not a book that necessarily stands out in the genre, however, it’s still a book that I believe many will enjoy. It’s got a sweet romance and a wonderful main character.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Not what I expected- but a sweet, important story nevertheless!