The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Nemesis (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 sit across from each other every day . . . and they hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. HATE. Lucy can't understand Joshua's joyless, uptight approach to his job and refusal to smile. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy's overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and desire to be liked.
Now they're up for the same promotion and Lucy, usually a determined people-pleaser, has had enough: it's time to take him down. 

But as the tension between Lucy and Joshua reaches its boiling point, it's clear that the real battle has only just begun . . .

On a long train journey down from the middle of the UK to the bottom, I decided to start reading this book, and couldn't put it down. I ended up finishing it that night in my hotel room, not exploring outside, too eager to get to the end of the novel.

Written entirely from our heroine's point of view, the book quickly drops us into the story, smoothly flowing, leaving the reader eager to continue. We quickly begin cheering for our heroine, but, it is a rather quick turnabout attraction from both our main characters, leaving me a touch intrigued as to how mindsets were so quickly changed, but, the plot flows so well it's one of those questions asked at the conclusion, rather than during.

Ms. Thorne doesn't delve too deeply into what exactly caused the issue between our main characters, but the animosity is very quickly shown, and some might wonder if it's too antagonistic towards each other, but again, nothing too deeply noticed during. A few loose ends were still open at the end of the novel, but nothing too drastic. A few places could have been polished, but again, this story was simply too engaging to be noticed.

Overall, a fantastic, page-turning read! And, as a slight addition to the beauty of this book, it's now soon to become a major motion picture starring Lucy Hale and Robbie Amell.

Rating: 4/5

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

Author Spotlight: Meg Cabot

Welcome to another Author Spotlight! This week the spotlight is on one of my all-time ultimate favourite authors, Meg Cabot.

I first fell in love with Ms. Cabot's books back at the age of 11 when one of my friends introduced me to the Princess Diaries series in the school library. I don't think I really picked up too many of her books then, not realizing it was a series (duh...), but once I realized, I absolutely flew through them. As I continued to grow, so did her genre, and I was delighted to move onto her adult series, which are honestly, just incredible. Her books have literally made me laugh out loud (embarassingly loud) in public, and I've had a few curious questions as to what I'm reading. But honestly? I just love her books. There's something just so appealing and honest about them, and it just makes me feel like I'm talking to an old friend.

As mentioned above, I did start with her Princess Diaries series, and actually finished them when I was in high school - the perfect age for reading these as that matches up with Mia's situation. I was surprised to see a later release, The Royal Wedding, and eagerly picked that up too. So, I can continue fawning over her works, but, if you haven't read her books yet, do yourself a favor and get them. I will say that some of her books got me through some tough times in my life, and when I need a cheer-up, hers are the books I turn too.

So, now we come to the hard decision of which ones are my favourite? I'll continue to limit myself to three so that this isn't too overwhelmingly long to read, but know that all of her books are incredible.

1. Every Boy's Got One (The Boys Series Book 3) by Meg Cabot

Every Boy's Got One (The Boy Series Book 3) by Meg Cabot
Cartoonist Jane Harris is delighted by the prospect of her first-ever trip to Europe. But it's hate at first sight for Jane and Cal Langdon, and neither is too happy at the prospect of sharing a villa with one another for a week—not even in the beautiful and picturesque Marches countryside. But when Holly and Mark's wedding plans hit a major snag that only Jane and Cal can repair, the two find themselves having to put aside their mutual dislike for one another in order to get their best friends on the road to wedded bliss—and end up on a road themselves ... one neither of them ever expected.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

2. Princess Mia (also called Bad Heir Day in the UK) by Meg Cabot

Princess Mia (Princess Diaries Series Book 9) by Meg Cabot
Princess Mia Thermopolis has hit an all-time low. Lilly isn't speaking to her. Someone is posting horrible things about her on Grandmere is forcing her to give a speech to two thousand of the most powerful businesswomen in America. And, oh yeah: Michael, the love of her life, has dumped her.
But despite what the press seems to think, Mia has more on her mind than recruiting a new Prince Charming. Like solving a 400-year-old mystery that could mean BIG changes for little Genovia. But is Mia really ready to throw away her tiara – especially if it means destroying a dynasty?
Bad Heir Day, previously published as To the Nines, is the ninth in the bestselling The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

3. She Went All The Way by Meg Cabot

She Went All The Way by Meg Cabot
Success hasn't spoiled screenwriter Lou Calabrese -- it's just given her a taste for luxury. And it's put her in some bizarre situations -- like in a helicopter en route to the wilds of Alaska, sharing too-close quarters with the last man she wants to be with: Jack Townsend! Once a sexy nobody whom Lou helped make a somebody, Jack's just been dumped by a high-profile Hollywood airhead -- who's eloped with Lou's longtime love! So what else could go wrong?


Their pilot could try to shoot the most adored man in America. They could crash land in the icy, mountainous middle of nowhere. And at the worst possible moment, when survival should be their only consideration, Jack could start wondering if maybe he wasn't a wee bit too hasty for not giving this sexy screenwriter a second look -- while Lou could start noticing how superstar Jack is kind of hot after all ..

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

What's your favourite novel from Ms. Cabot?

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.

The Host written by Stephanie Meyer introduces us to a new form of an apocalypse, an alien invasion where aliens are inserted into the human body, erasing the human mind. Wanderer, an alien, is inserted into the body of Melanie, one of the last humans left. Unlike most host bodies, Melanie does not fade into the background, instead fighting Wanderer, giving her memories, leading her to fall in love with her partner, Jared, and her brother, Jamie. The book follows Wanderer as Melanie leads her to her loved ones and the danger that the journey holds for both Wanderer and Melanie.

This reader broke one of the cardinal rules of book lovers by accidentally watching the movie first. Having read - or tried too, as the case may be in terms of Breaking Dawn - Miss. Meyer's teenage series, Twilight, I was highly skeptical when seeing this book. I had no inclination to read the book, and only after seeing the movie, and slightly falling in love with the premise, I decided to read the actual book.

I flew through the Host, reading it in a number of hours, eagerly turning the pages, waiting to get to the parts of the movie that I loved, and waiting to see it described, and was very disappointed with the lack of justice that the movie did to the book, as frequently happens. Many poignant scenes and events were omitted from the movie, but added another element to the book. I greatly enjoyed the Host,  and almost immediately after finishing it, I picked it up and re-read it a second time, to quickly follow with a third. 

However, as with Miss. Meyer's other books, my only concern while reading the Host was that while the plot was highly enjoyable, the writing was not on par with the events, and at times, seemed rather juvenile. Certain expressions that Wanderer used seemed more suited to a poorly-written dialogue of an American teenaged girl, rather than a highly evolved alien who has been alive for thousands of years. Similarly, such as with the fight between Edward and Jacob for Bella in the Twilight series, a love triangle is inserted here which leads to a highly evolved alien behaving in ways one would not expect. Again, while the plot was highly enjoyed, the writing style and choice did not quite seem to match, leaving this reader somewhat disappointed with the lack of detail in certain cases. Overall, I highly enjoyed this book, even with it's flaws, and I would highly recommend it.

Rating: 4/5

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

Saturday Night Film Night

Hi everyone! I hope you've all had fantastic weeks and read some great books.

Welp, it's officially official, I have now entered my third decade and moved from my 20s into my 30s! I still don't understand where the time went either...

And since it's my actual birthday now, I think that means that since it's my day, I get to choose my favourite film! Having said that though, I don't actually have one specific one, there's a lot, depending on my mood. So what am I watching tonight?

Set It Up 2008 film

Two corporate executive assistants hatch a plan to match-make their two bosses.

I love rom-coms who show a plot outside of just the romance story. I know they're going to fall in love with each other, that's the point! But I want substance in my story. And this film does that perfectly. Adding in a perfect strangers to friends to lovers, it just works perfectly. I will also say that our male lead is also really easy on the eyes ;)

Hope you all have a fantastic evening and let me know what you're reading this week!

Happy Friday (and last day of my 20s)!

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you've all had a fantastic week.

On a personal note (not that I've been going on about it all week...HA), today is officially the last day of my 20s, and my 30s start tomorrow! I honestly can't believe where my 20s went, a bit emotional to say the least...ha. BUT, at the same time, I know I've accomplished a lot during this decade, and I'm hopeful for the next! It's not quite the 30th that I'd imagined, but I'm sure it's the same for a lot of people. It'll be unique, but I am grateful to be having it at home with some of my family 😊

And back to this week! I've read a few interesting books this week. I don't like to comment on all of them that I read here as some of them I just wouldn't recommend, and I don't like talking badly about things. I read one last night that I picked up just before midnight as a lull to sleep, and ended up finishing it about 3:30am. It was a great novel and I just couldn't wait to see what happened next, but at the same time, it was actually quite emotional and had some hard moments to read through. I would recommend it as a great read, but I don't think it would be one that I would pick up again, simply because it did have such tough moments to get through. Beautifully written, but emotionally difficult at parts.

So what have I been reading this week? I was really excited to see the new release from best-selling romance author Tara Sivec's newest series, Summersweet Island, with Kiss My Putt. Then I had to go back and re-read some of best-selling romance author R.S. Grey's older books, Hotshot Doc. Both are absolutely great reads, and thoroughly recommended. Click on the pictures below to check out my reviews.

                 Kiss My Putt (Summersweet Island Book 1) by Tara Sivec          Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey

I also increased my book browsing and have a look at what I'm most excited for releasing this month here.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey

Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot. I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s-ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway…half-hidden behind a plant.

Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant. That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated. It’s fine. I’m fine. I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the supply closet. (Well, no more of those.)

What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.

Having only discovered that Ms. Grey existed as an author in mid-March 2020, I'll say that I'm even a little surprised with myself at how quickly I've gone through her works. Having read some  read a few of her novels that follow a similar format, I was a little dubious to keep going in the event that I'd be re-reading the same plotline, but I continue to be happily surprised with yet another new novel and plotline that kept me reading and finishing this novel within four hours.

Similar to some of her other novels, this book does have a medical setting, but this is something that adds to the story, and in no way detracts. While I do love romance novels, I don't simply like just reading romance, but want some substance to my book that keeps me intrigued, and gives me a believable story for how the romance blossomed, and this book does exactly that. While there are a few tropes that are used, again, they're not noticeably visible or over-used, and everything in the plot simply just makes you want to keep reading.

I'll confess at the start of the novel I was simply interested, but as I continued, I was quickly hooked. Our heroine doesn't attract your attention immediately, simply another character, but she quickly begins to grow on you. Likewise, our hero isn't someone that you immediately like from the start, but you begin to understand his actions and his choices as more of his story is revealed, and both combined simply just pull you into the story.

There are many positive things about Ms. Grey's books, but one of the things that I love most about her novels is the human aspect and element that she brings. While we tend to look at romance novels through a perfect lens of humanity, that no one needs the bathroom, or makes a silly choice, or is unreasonable, Ms. Grey doesn't shy away from these factors and uses them to enhance her novels. I find myself more and more in love with her stories simply due to these elements that make me want to read more.

Overall, a fantastic novel and I think my new favorite of her works.

Rating: 4.5/5

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

August Releases!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I'll admit that I haven't managed to fit this post in yet, but we're officially in a new month! Which means, more book releases. So, what am I excited to read this month?

1. Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting (11th August)

Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting
Blaire Calloway has planned every Instagram-worthy moment of her cupcake and cocktails shop launch down to the tiniest detail. What she didn't plan on? Ronan Knight and his old-school sports bar next door opening on the very same day. He may be super swoony, but Blaire hasn't spent years obsessing over buttercream and bourbon to have him ruin her chance at success.

From axe throwing (his place) to frosting contests (hers), Blaire and Ronan are constantly trying to one-up each other in a battle to win new customers. But with every clash, there's also an undeniable chemistry. When an even bigger threat to their business comes to town, they're forced to call a temporary time-out on their own war and work together. And the more time Blaire spends getting to know the real Ronan, the more she wonders if it's possible to have her cupcake and eat it too.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

2. The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery Flynn (25th August)

The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery Flynn
I can’t believe I have to go home to Nebraska for my sister’s wedding. I’m gonna need a wingman and a whole lot of vodka for this level of family interaction. At least my bestie agreed he’d man up and help. Too bad he had to catch a different flight than me. Then his plane got delayed. And finally—because bad things always happen in threes—instead of my best friend, his evil twin strolls out of the airport.

If you looked up doesn’t-deserve-to-be-that-confident, way-too-hot-for-his-own-good billionaire in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of Will Holt. He’s awful. Horrible. The worst—even if his butt looks phenomenal in those jeans. Ten times worse? My buffer was supposed to be there to keep me away from the million and one family events. But Satan’s spawn just grins and signs us up for every. Single. Thing.

Fine. “Cutthroat” Scrabble? I’m in. I can’t wait to take this guy down a notch. But somewhere between Pictionary and the teasing glint in his eyes, our bickering starts to feel like more than just a game…

Click here to purchase from Amazon, and click here to check out my review.

3. The Trouble with Quarterbacks by R.S. Grey (6th August)

The Trouble with Quarterbacks by R.S. Grey
CANDACE: KAT & YASMINE! DO NOT DALLY! Come straight home after work. Kat, don’t take the long route from the subway station just so you can pass by Cute Hot Dog Guy. This is important!

I’ve had THE BEST DAY. You won’t believe it. There I was in my preschool classroom, washing a bit of poo out of some soggy trousers, when this absolute babe came to collect his nephew from my class.

Truthfully, I thought I’d blacked out for a moment when I first saw him. He was a proper hunk with glorious brown hair, quite tall, and he had these arms. Are muscly arms supposed to turn me on? I’m panting just thinking about them.

Anyway, he told me he’s a professional foosball player. At least, I think that’s what he said. The tots can get quite loud near pick-up time.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

4. The Anti-Boyfriend by Penelope Ward (31st August)

The Anti-Boyfriend by Penelope Ward
At first, my neighbor Deacon frustrated me. Sure, he was great-looking and friendly. But our walls were thin, and on occasion, he’d bring women to his place and keep me awake while he “entertained” them. As a single mother to an infant, I didn’t appreciate it. So, finally it was my turn.

When my daughter wouldn’t stop wailing one night, Mr. Manwhore came knocking on my door. Miraculously, at the sound of his voice, Sunny stopped crying. And when he held her…she eventually fell asleep in his arms. Deacon was rough on the exterior, but apparently on the inside? Mr. Single-and-Ready-to-Mingle was a baby whisperer.

After that night, we became friends. He’d go for coffee runs. Come over to chat. Normal friend stuff. But over time, our conversations ran deeper. We got closer. Until one night we crossed the line. Our friendship turned into a complicated mess. I’d gone and fallen for a guy who’d sworn off commitment and kids. I knew Deacon was starting to care for me too, even though Sunny and I didn’t fit into any plan he’d ever imagined for himself. He was wrong for me—so wrong that I’d dubbed him the “anti-boyfriend.” Then why did I wish more than anything that I could be the one woman to change him?

What are you looking forward to reading this month?

Kiss My Putt (Summersweet Island Book 1) by Tara Sivec

Kiss My Putt (Summersweet Island Book 1) by Tara Sivec
After spending my entire pro golfing career being known as the quiet, controlled, no-nonsense golfer on the tour, there’s nothing more humiliating than throwing all of that down the drain—or into a water hazard—on national television. Needing some place to hide, to lick my wounds and figure out what I even want to do with my life once this blows over, I can only think of one place I need to be. Summersweet Island, where everyone treats me like one of their own, and they’ll all be happy to have me home again.

Well, except maybe one person. It’s been two years since I last set foot on Summersweet Island or spoke to anyone there. But I’m sure Birdie Bennett, my best friend since I was 15 and the clubhouse manager of my favorite golf course, has had plenty of time to forgive me for that tiny little misunderstanding where I blocked her on social media and blocked her in my phone. Oh, and I guess I kind of, sort of accused her of being a stalker. It’s fine!

Once my sexy, spunky, former best friend gets over the shock of seeing me again and stops trying to drive a 9-iron into my skull, I can finally let her know I’ve also kind of, sort of always been in love with her...

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

I don't know why I didn't know that it was coming out, but I only discovered best-selling romance author (and one of my personal favourites), Tara Sivec's newest book, Kiss My Putt was coming out about three weeks ago. Then imagine my joy and elation when she announced it was being released on Kindle Unlimited! Best. Day. Inawhile.

I picked this up as soon as I was aware of that (not that I wouldn't have bought it full price, but, I already have a large list of books begging to be read), and savoured this over three days. More because I was exhausted and couldn't keep my eyes open, but even last night I had to keep reading justonemorechapter, and ended up going to bed at 2:30am again.

To the novel itself! It was STEAMY. As in, seriously seriously steamy. I'm not sure why but I'm thoroughly enjoying sports romances at the moment, mainly hockey (that is my catnip), but I'll take anything. Having said that, this was the first time I've read a golf romance, but, it worked. Adding in a best friends to enemies to best friends to lovers trope, also great.

On a personal note, I will say that best friends to lovers does somewhat stick in my craw, only because I went through that. And then discovered after about eight or so months that I'd never actually been his best friend and he just used me for his own benefit and was promptly thrown away, despite having made major changes for him. Reading this kind of trope always makes me second guess that situation, and it does suck. I thought I'd lost my best friend and love of my life, but, I guess I didn't and it was a lucky thing he chucked me when he did and he sucks. But, I digress. Let's pretend that never happened to me, and just read this in isolation.

One of the things that I absolutely love about Ms. Sivec's books is that she instantly throws you into the book, but fully immersively. The book isn't just based on the lead characters with secondary thrown in briefly just to say they have, it's well-rounded and pushes a plot that encompasses and progresses the romance, rather than a romance novel just pushing romantic situations. Her books always make me laugh out loud and just honestly cheer me up.

If you're looking for a steamy hot summer read, complete with a lot of laughs, this is your book.

Rating: 4/5

Happy Monday!

Good morning everyone, and happy Monday! I hope all your weekends were great and you had some fantastic books to read.

In continuation from last week, thankfully my arm has calmed down a bit, although I will say this is thanks to kinesio tape, and thus giving my arm an interesting look, LOL.

Thankfully I was able to beat my reader's block this weekend with the release of best-selling romance author Tara Sivec's newest romance release, Kiss My Putt, which I only actually found out about three weeks ago that was coming out! It was absolutely gorgeous and while I did try to read in one sitting, my eyes just couldn't stay open past 1:30am anymore, so had to be split over a few nights. That review will be coming tomorrow, drop by and make sure you check it out!

I've also been a bit surprised that some of my highest read posts on here have been from older romance novels, not recent or upcoming releases. So, I'm grateful to know that you'll be continuing down the rabbit hole with me a bit as I re-read older favourites.

In astounding news, it's almost the time of year (8th August) where I turn another year older, and this time I'll be entering a new decade, leaving my 20s behind and starting my 30s. It's safe to say that it's not the birthday that I was expecting, but that's ok. I sadly never get used to the fact that I'm turning another year older, much as I try.

There are things that I thought I would have accomplished by now that I haven't, but there's also a lot of things that I have, and I'm very grateful for that. My 20s were jam-packed with adventures, starting out with two summers working for the most magical place on earth (Walt Disney World Resorts International College Program, honestly, two of the best summers of my life), and then starting my adventures working at sea on cruise ships. It's a difficult life, but one that I do love, much as it has had its ups and downs, and this year has not been one I expected for the industry. Having been off since November, this is the longest time I've spent at home and in one country for eight years, and that by itself is unusual. But, we will be back, I do have faith in that, and until then, I'll keep enjoying my time at home and with family. To conclude, I'm a little scared about entering my 30s and this new chapter, but, you're as young as you feel, and that's the important part! (Or please feel free to give me advice about this!!).

To celebrate some milestones with this website, and considering it's my birthday week, I'd like to say thank YOU all for reading my website. As a thank you, I'm giving away two free Book Review Trackers to two lucky people! All you have to do is comment on this post to win! The winner will be selected by random on Friday.

                           Book Review Tracker Journal Book Blogger

Hope you all have a great week, and let me know what you're reading this week!

Saturday Night Film Night

Welcome to another Saturday Night Film Night! Surprisingly enough for me (as this is predominately a book website), the most popular post of this site so far is a Saturday Night Film Night edition (here). So, I'm hoping you keep liking them and let me know what you're watching!

What am I watching tonight? Tonight's film is What's Your Number, starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans.

A woman looks back at the past nineteen men she's had relationships with in her life and wonders if one of them might be her true love.

It's always an interesting premise thinking of one's number, and I'll admit, this film made me realize some important truths. For some reason, older romance novels that I read always tended to mention either directly or indirectly, how many 'relationships' both our leads had been in, and tended to focus on the fact that the heroine had not, while the hero had. This unconsciously formed an opinion in my mind about my relationships (what can I say? I was young and impressionable), and this film made me really question that.

Combining it all together though, I really did just genuinely love this film. Chris Evans is simply gorgeous, and Anna Faris always makes me laugh. Honestly, a fantastic film to watch!