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!

My Not So Perfect Life

My Not So Perfect Life

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Standalone-

Wedding Night

Finding Audrey

Shopaholic Series

Shopaholic To The Stars

Synopsis:

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle–from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet–not to mention a possible new romance–the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away–until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Thoughts:

Sophie Kinsella used to be one of my favourite authors that I loved to read as soon as she released a book. Then I started to read more widely and didn’t tend to read her books as soon as they were released (as you can see from this review!) I still enjoy Sophie’s writing, it’s so easy to read and it’s usually got characters that are incredibly relatable and easy to like.

If you’re into books like The Devil Wears Prada then I think you’d enjoy My Not So Perfect Life. It’s incredibly similar. Our main character Katie is working at an agency in London. It’s very trendy. From the outside, looking at Katie’s instagram feed, you’d think that she had the perfect life. In reality, she’s struggling with meeting the demands of London living and is constantly comparing her instagram posts to her friends. Her work isn’t as glamorous as it seems either. She’s always running errands for her boss Demeter. Demeter is the one with the perfect life… or so it seems. Katie ends up being fired and returns to the English countryside to help her family with a new glamping venture. Demeter ends up visiting the glamping site for a family holiday and Katie learns more about Demeter and realises she may have judged her too harshly.

This book is a great summer beach read. You don’t need to think too much about it. The plot mills along (although I think it could’ve benefited from being shorter!) and there are some great characters explore. It is a predictable read but that didn’t bother me. I don’t go into reading a book like this expecting intrigue and mystery.  It does what it sets out to do and that’s okay with me.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A good, light beach read, especially if you’re into this genre!

 

All We Ever Wanted

All We Ever Wanted

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Random House UK

Synopsis:

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenage girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

Thoughts:

In my pre-blogging days, I read 2 of Emily Giffin’s books. When this popped up on NetGalley, I have to admit that I was very intrigued. It was lovely to read Emily’s writing again and I loved how this book didn’t solely focus on romance. Totally refreshing!

All We Ever Wanted centres around social media, the rich kids, racism and self-worth. All so very relevant to what’s going on in the world right now. Initially, I wasn’t sure whether Emily was taking on too much with these topics, but for me, it did work. In this story, an explicit photo was taken of a girl at a party, by a rich guy. It ends up circling around social media alongside a racist caption and all involved end up having to deal with the fall out. We end up wondering who is responsible for the photo being circulated and we wonder what really happened that night.

Nina, the mother of the boy that allegedly took the photo, finds herself questioning her son and his upbringing. Was giving him every single thing he ever wanted a bad choice? Nina also finds herself questioning her marriage. Her husband’s attitude has become increasingly frustrating to her. He thinks if he throws money at the situation it will disappear and their son will have no problem with his acceptance to Princeton.

Lyla’s dad is a single parent and incredibly overprotective. He is determined to not let this incident slide and get justice for Lyla’s own self-worth. I really liked Lyla. I think she was a typical in love, naive teenager who wanted to believe the best in people. I still think I’m like that now.

There are some fabulous characters within these pages and I certainly found this story so easy to read. I was desperate to find out what the repercussions were going to be. If you’re a fan of women’s fiction, then I think you’d find this book very enjoyable!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A decent read from Emily Giffin! 

Some Kind Of Wonderful

Some Kind of Wonderful

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since their first day at university. Now, after celebrating a decade together, everyone thinks they’re about to get engaged. A romantic escape to Dubai is the perfect moment, but instead of the proposal Lizzy hopes for, Ian reveals he’s not sure he even wants her anymore.

Lizzy is heartbroken. But through the tears, she realises this is her chance to seize the opportunities she missed as Ian’s other half. But what does she want? How much of her is really Lizzy, and how much was Ian’s influence? Determined to discover who she is at heart, Lizzy sets out to rediscover the girl she was before – and in the meantime, have a little fun . . .

Thoughts:

This is a tricky one for me to review. I used to predominantly read this genre, but began to branch out a lot more when I started blogging. I still enjoy a book like this. It’s a comfort read often and it’s familiar. I’ve read a lot of Giovanna Fletcher’s books, as you can see in my previously read section. I’m usually onto a winner when I read one of hers. However, I felt like this one lacked a bit of sparkle that her books usually have, which was a shame. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still utterly readable, it’s just not her best in my opinion.

The story centres around Lizzie who is on a dream holiday with her boyfriend Ian. She’s been with him for many years and is sure this is going to be the holiday in which he proposes. However, Ian ends up breaking up with Lizzie throwing her life into turmoil. She moves back in with her mother and her mother’s partner. We learn more about Lizzie’s family (her crazy pregnant sister) and her Dad. Lizzie realises that being with Ian for so long, changed her life. She wants to rediscover who she really is with the help of her new friends and old friend Connie.

I liked Lizzie as a character. She was a little obsessed with marriage at the start of the book, but I feel like she grew so much over the course of the story. I also appreciated how this book didn’t seem to be that focused on the romance. It was more about self-love and I think that’s an interesting departure. Giovanna’s books usually have a beautiful love story all wrapped up, but this one left Lizzie’s love life quite wide open.

I think there are some amazing characters in this story that many readers will resonate with. It’s a great beach read and definitely one to read if you’re looking for a gentle read in this genre.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Not my favourite book by Giovanna but still an enjoyable read!

The Stranger In My Home

The Stranger In My Home

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from my sister, Beth!

Synopsis:

Alison is lucky and she knows it. She has the life she always craved, including a happy home with Jeff and their brilliant, vivacious teenage daughter, Katherine – the absolute centre of Alison’s world. Then a knock at the door ends life as they know it. Fifteen years ago, someone else took Alison’s baby from the hospital. And now Alison is facing the unthinkable.

The daughter she brought home doesn’t belong to her.

When you have everything you dreamed of, there is everything to lose.

Thoughts:

My sister, Beth thought I would enjoy this book, so she brought it over for me to read. I’ve read and enjoyed some Adele Parks prior to blogging, so I thought I’d give this book a go. I thought it was enjoyable, but it wasn’t what I expected it to be. I guess from the blurb, I envisaged a psychological thriller but it wasn’t. It was a story about family. Don’t get me wrong, I did still enjoy it, it just wasn’t the book that I’d anticipated.

The Stranger In My Home opens with a man named Tom, knocking on Alison’s door one day. It appears that there’s been a massive mix up years ago when Tom’s wife and Alison had their children. Olivia, Tom’s daughter, is actually Alison’s daughter and Alison’s daughter Katherine actually belongs to Tom, a recent widower. It’s come to light that Tom’s wife died of breast cancer and Katherine might have the gene. She needs to undergo tests to determine whether she has inherited the gene from her real mother.

The story then focuses on Alison and Jeff reacting to such terrible news. They were an incredibly happy family before the bombshell was dropped on them. There are so many questions to be asked and answered. Adele Parks slowly trickles information into a tightly weaved plot.  I had some ideas of what might be going on throughout, but I feel like there’s definitely enough to keep you guessing.

I enjoyed most of the characters. They certainly were in the most unusual and horrific situation. I didn’t envy them at all. They behaved in a realistic manner. However, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the main character, Alison. I found her to be slightly irritating and I couldn’t connect with her, despite feeling sorry for her and the situation she had found herself in.

I thought there was definitely enough in this story to capture your attention. So many secrets and lies to be discovered. There was a lot to get your head around and become fully immersed in.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A good read, but I struggled with the likeability of one of the main characters!

Still Me (Me Before You #3)

Still Me (Me Before You, #3)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world. 

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

Thoughts:

This book is going to be incredibly tough to review. I make no secret of the fact that Me Before You is one of my favourite books of all time. I wasn’t sure about it having a sequel. I really wasn’t. I missed Will desperately even though I knew he couldn’t be a main character. Then when I heard there was going to be a third book, I really didn’t think I’d read it. I have though. I wanted to finish Louisa’s story. I’m pleased I read it, but I’m still not a fan of the series as a whole. I just wish Me Before You was a standalone.

Louisa moves to New York to assist a wealthy socialite named Agnes. Agnes isn’t very well liked in her social circles because her husband was once married to the friend of the other socialites. Agnes is a younger woman and not as well respected as her husband’s ex-wife. Louisa finds herself running around New York and attending fancy events. Her life couldn’t be more different. However, Louisa wants to maintain her relationship with boyfriend, Sam. He’s incredibly busy as a paramedic. The insecurities between them grow more and more over time. Louisa meets Josh who looks scarily similar to Will. Over Louisa’s year in New York she experiences new friendships, new challenges and both funny and sad situations.

I liked how there were references to Will in this book. He hasn’t been written out of Louisa’s life because he was clearly a massive part of it. I liked how Louisa gained strength from things that Will had said to her. That itself warmed my heart. I loved how Louisa was desperately trying to find herself. It was interesting to follow her journey after Will. Is it still bad that I’m pining after him?

As for Jojo’s writing, I can’t really fault it, she is a wonderful writer. I think I was personally satisfied (although devastated) at the end of Me Before You. It’s nice to see Louisa move on, I’m just not sure her story was engaging enough for me. She stood out in Me Before You and in my opinion, could just be any character in women’s fiction in the next two books. That said, I do think there’s a lot to enjoy in this series, which is why I’d still recommend it, it’s just the follow ups just didn’t work for me.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

An easy to read book that continues Louisa’s story. It didn’t work as much as I wanted it to for me, but still lots to enjoy!

The Friend

The Friend

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

What secrets would you kill to keep? 

After her husband’s big promotion, Cece Solarin arrives in Brighton with their three children, ready to start afresh. But their new neighbourhood has a deadly secret.

Three weeks earlier, Yvonne, a very popular parent, was almost murdered in the grounds of the local school – the same school where Cece has unwittingly enrolled her children.

Already anxious about making friends when the parents seem so cliquey, Cece is now also worried about her children’s safety. By chance she meets Maxie, Anaya and Hazel, three very different school mothers who make her feel welcome and reassure her about her new life.

That is until Cece discovers the police believe one of her new friends tried to kill Yvonne. Reluctant to spy on her friends but determined to discover the truth, Cece must uncover the potential murderer before they strike again . . .

Thoughts:

I am a long time fan of Dorothy Koomson’s books, way before my book blogging days. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her books. They do tend to be long, but with such complex characters and gripping plots. I know I can’t go wrong with a Dorothy Koomson book. Whilst her most recent release isn’t my favourite of hers, it is still deeply intriguing and quick to read.

It centres around Cece who has moved her family from London to Brighton to support her husband’s career. She has given up her job, her home and her friends. She has to build a new life surrounded by strangers. As a reader, we learn that there has been an attack at Cece’s children’s new school that leaves a parent in a coma. The police have no idea who could be responsible for the attack. Cece recognises there are some mothers acting very oddly. Cece is welcomed into their group but she soon finds out they’re all hiding information…

As expected with a Dorothy Koomson book, the storyline is fantastic. I kept thinking that I had a character all worked out and then something would be thrown into the mix and I’d start questioning myself once more. I thought the plot twists were so well thought out. Dorothy Koomson really is a master of story telling. I was captured by the story and didn’t want to put it down! It was a little slow to start with which is the only reason why I haven’t given it the full five star treatment!

Would I recommend it?
Of course!

A gripping read by one of my favourite authors!