eARC Review – Faking It

Title: Faking It

Author: Rebecca Smith

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: August 7th, 2020

400 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Meet Hannah Thompson: wife, mother, teacher and… secret erotica author?

My Guilt List:

1. If we have a date night then I’m always asleep before it’s halfway through and honestly, if I had to choose, I’d rather have a hot bath and read my book than engage in any other nocturnal activity.

2. If we do actually have you-know-what then it’s not unheard of for my mind to wander… and I’m not talking about sexy things – I’m talking about what food there is in the fridge and when the car is due for its next service.

3. I am struggling to write about anything that could be classed as even a little bit sexually adventurous which is a problem when I’m supposed to be an erotica writer and I am speaking at Sex Con in exactly one month.

With a book to publicise, Hannah has no choice but trade her M&S cardis for S&M parties, and become her writing alter-ego. What could possibly go wrong…

Review

Thank you to One More Chapter and Netgalley for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

I didn’t realize until after finishing this book that it is a companion novel to another book on the same characters, but it didn’t really matter as you don’t need to read the first to understand what is going on in the second. The plot is fully identified and explained without relying on previous knowledge.

I was very excited about the premise of this book. I could totally imagine a normal woman starting a career as an erotica novelist and having doubts about being known as someone who writes erotica. The main character, just seemed so normal. Three kids, middle aged life, working as a teacher, having financial problems. But this book just fell seriously flat for me.

First everything about Hannah seemed so contrived. She writes erotica and believed that her sex scenes were pushing the boundaries, then we find out her editor actually thinks they are more humorous than sexy. Hannah is appalled, so she tries to be “sexier” in order to write the next book. But all she does is basically slut shame herself and everyone else for most of the book? I seriously didn’t get it. She made terrible assumptions, put her husband in weird positions, (literally and figuratively) and just overall was a strange character. Also, the snippets of her book we got to read? Not at all entertaining or funny or even erotic.

I’m also missing how this is a romance novel. Hannah is contentedly married, and there really isn’t much focus on her relationship with Nick. There’s more focus on her relationship with her sons and daughter or her friends than there is about her and Nick. Even the main plot, getting ready to attend Sex Con, takes 80% of the book to get to – and then it’s only like a chapter long. Her arguments with her daughter took up more page time.

I think I went into this book expecting humor, romance, and some ~sexy~ writing – and that just wasn’t this. It’s possible that because my expectations were totally different I didn’t enjoy it because I was so focused on getting to the parts that I wanted to be there… but didn’t exist. So reader, if you’re looking for a true romance novel, this isn’t it. it’s more Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit. I’m sure there’s an audience for this book, who will find it to be funny & relatable but that just isn’t me!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The First to Lie

Title: The First to Lie

Author: Hank Phillippi Ryan

Publisher: Forge Books

Publication date: August 4th, 2020

304 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

We all have our reasons for being who we are—but what if being someone else could get you what you want?

After a devastating betrayal, a young woman sets off on an obsessive path to justice, no matter what dark family secrets are revealed. What she doesn’t know—she isn’t the only one plotting her revenge.

An affluent daughter of privilege. A glamorous manipulative wannabe. A determined reporter, in too deep. A grieving widow who must choose her new reality. Who will be the first to lie? And when the stakes are life and death, do a few lies really matter?

Review

trigger warnings: automobile accident, drowning, fertility issues, abortion

First off, I spent most of this book confused, because it was SO WELL TOLD. Like, I couldn’t figure out which way was up and which way was down. Hank Phillippi Ryan seriously has a way of burying every lead so you have no idea what’s going on for most of the book, up until the very bitter end!. I felt the same way about her other book, The Murder List. She has a way of writing about journalism and pharmaceuticals without making it seem boring or making you wonder why you are reading this.

You get a few different POV’s in this book – Ellie, a journalist trying to undercover the secrets of Pharminex, Nora, a sales rep for Pharminex, Brooke, the youngest Vanderwald, and Lacey, a member of the Vanderwald family by marriage. The story sets up Pharminex as a drug company pushing an off market use for a drug called Monifan. It apparently helps increase fertility in women for the most part, except in rare cases where it makes them completely barren. The company is also not telling them of this this chance before administering the drug, so obviously illegal. Nora is selling the drugs and Ellie is trying to break the story. But when people associated with the company start turning up dead, they all realize there is more to the story…

The POV’s at some points were pretty distracting, because Brooke and Lacey’s POVs are told in flashbacks. It happens so randomly that it can be hard to keep track of what time period it is in. But that’s basically my only gripe with this book, because the twists and turns were just so outstanding. Even as you start to suspect what is happening, there is one final OMG moment at the end.

Mystery and Thriller fans, go read Hank Phillippi Ryan if you haven’t already, you won’t be sorry!

Thank you to Netgalley and Forge Books for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – More Than Maybe

Title: More Than Maybe

Author: Erin Hahn

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: July 21st, 2020

336 pages

4.5/5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?

Review

**Thank you to Wednesday Books, Netgalley, and Erin Hahn for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

More Than Maybe is a Young Adult (or maybe New Adult) contemporary romance told in alternating POV’s. Luke is a shy and dorky, but very good looking, high school senior with a long term unrequited crush on music blogger, Vada. He runs a podcast with his twin brother Cullen, and secretly sings and composes songs. His father was a punk rock musician who wants nothing more for Luke than to have him famous – but Luke wants nothing to do with it. Vada ALSO crushes on Luke, and has her own dad issues. Vada has a plan to take her music career to the next level and Luke was decidedly not a part of that plan. But when they work together on a school project, they get close enough to throw some plans out the window.

I LOVED this book. Definitely 4.5 stars for me. I loved the emphasis on music and how even though they are in high school, they are able to work in a bar and have their dreams planned out. It’s so NOT how my life was in high school, but I love that they both know what they want – or DON”T want. I loved the characters, especially Luke. My favorite part of rom coms is when the guy also has a POV, and Luke does not disappoint. He is the softest, cinnamon roll of a boy ever and he makes me heart ache. He and Vada are just perfect for each other, because they bond over music and basically create their own language with songs.

There are some plot holes, and a plot line that I felt needed more attention at the end. Basically something kind of major happens and is never addressed again. Would’ve liked to see more closure with that piece.

Overall, the writing is beautiful, the descriptions and plot are pristine, and I loved watching Luke and Vada’s story arcs come together.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – One Hundred Dogs & Counting

Title: One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and A Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues

Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

Publisher: Pegasus Books

Publication date: July 7th, 2020

304 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

After nearly a year struggling to find a home for a particular foster dog, Cara begins to wonder how the story ends—when will all the dogs be saved? Even after the one-hundredth foster dog passes through Cara’s home, the stream of homeless dogs appears endless.  Seized by the need to act, Cara grabs her best friend, fills a van with donations, and heads south to discover what is really happening in the rural shelters where her foster dogs originate.

What she discovers will break her heart and compel her to share the story of heroes and villains and plenty of good dogs, in the hope of changing this world. 

From North Carolina where pit bulls fill the shelters and heart-worm rages to Tennessee where dogs are left forgotten in pounds and on to Alabama where unlikely heroes fight in a state that has largely forsaken its responsibilities to its animals, Cara meets the people working on the front lines in this national crisis of unwanted animals. The dogs, the people and their inspiring stories draw her south again and again in search of answers and maybe a dog of her own.

One Hundred Dogs and Counting will introduce the reader to many wonderful dogs—from sweet Oreo to quirky Flannery—but also to inspirational people sacrificing personal lives and fortunes to save deserving animals.

Join Cara on the rescue road as she follows her heart into the places where too many dogs are forgotten and discovers glimmers of hope that the day is coming when every dog will have a home.

Review

Thank you to Cara Sue Achterberg for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

100 Dogs & Counting is a narrative of one woman’s experiences with fostering over 100 dogs in her county of PA – and going on an emotional journey of the South’s animal shelters and “dog pounds” to learn more about the challenges affecting animal shelters striving to be “no kill”. In an emotional tale, Cara meets with many administrators in the South working to educate the public, save animals, and change attitudes towards pets. Most animal shelter workers spend their own money, time, and resources to help these animals in these underfunded counties.

Okay, I did not go into this book expecting it to be as emotional as it was. I was expecting an interesting memoir about Cara’s fostering journey – and enjoying some lighthearted stories about my favorite, furry animals. Now, that is the first part of the book – you learn about Gala and other dogs that Cara pours her heart and soul into (to the chagrin of her husband, Nick). But the second half of the book really shows Cara’s journey into the South and the eye opening experiences.

Y’all it is terribly sad the conditions animals are living under. This book made me so angry on behalf of the dogs and cats living in those situations – it is something that I’ve never really thought about or heard about before, and it is just awful. It was heartwarming to hear that even under those conditions, there are people working tirelessly to save as many animals as possible.

For an educational book, it didn’t read like non-fiction books can. It was interesting and kept me turning to page to learn more. The writing style is less a structured story, and more of a time lapse – if that makes sense. Basically it seems like a summary of a few months of her life, used to really portray the issues and her work to assist in the ways she can. Also, she talks about her own experiences and how even fostering over 100 dogs – it is really just a drop in the bucket.

This book made me want to foster dogs IMMEDIATELY. If I lived in more than a shoebox sized town house with my fiance and personal dog, I definitely would be. I’ve already told the fiance that we will be fostering once we buy our own house and have enough space.

Please read if you love dogs and animals!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Just Saying

Title: Just Saying

Author: Sophie Ranald

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: July 3rd, 2020

300 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

I almost gave up on love. My ex, who called his private parts ‘Nigel’, was enough to put me off men forever. But then I met Joe.

Alice thought she’d found Mr Right. Her blue-eyed boyfriend Joe gives her butterflies, makes her bacon sandwiches when she’s hungover, and doesn’t have a nickname for any of his body parts.

She should have known it was too good to be true. Because one day, Alice and Joe bump into Zoe. According to him, Zoe’s ‘just an old friend’. But Alice saw the way they froze, and heard the strange note in Joe’s voice when he said her name.

Then, out of the blue, Zoe needs a place to live. And Joe has the bright idea of inviting her, and her fluffy ginger cat Frazzle, to stay with them.

Alice tries her hardest not to feel threatened. But the thing is, Zoe doesn’t survive off microwave meals, or go days without washing her glossy copper-coloured hair, or accidentally get mascara in her contact lenses.

Joe’s ex might be pretty much perfect, but there’s no way that Alice will let Zoe steal him. She’s on a mission to prove that three (four, if you count the cat) is definitely a crowd…

Review

TW: sexual assault

Just Saying follows Alice and Joe, trainee lawyers in England as they finish up their training years. Alice and Joe have been dating for a long time, and it’s just natural that they will continue to be together. Until it all starts to come apart. They bump into Joe’s college girlfriend Zoe, Alice loses her job prospect and becomes a bartender at a dive, and Zoe moves in with them when she breaks up with her boyfriend. Alice is convinced Zoe is there to steal her man, and it doesn’t help that Joe doesn’t particularly approve of her new profession. But as Alice comes to love her work at the bar and Joe becomes more distant, Alice wonders if they can continue like this. Are they meant to be together, or has he been in love with Zoe since college? Time will tell…

I genuinely thought this was a cute story with a LOT of layers to it. Just Saying tackles not only relationships and the drama that comes from exes, but sexual assault, career crises, and just in general being friends with the opposite sex. There are some communication problems between the characters, but I didn’t feel the main conflict could’e been resolved with one conversation so that’s a positive for me. As much as there are a lot of layers in this book, I didn’t feel like they were overwhelming or popping up randomly. The story arc flowed pretty smoothly even with new topics being broached.

The book in the end did not go how I was expecting, in a GOOD way. It avoided the one part of romance novels that I don’t like. I can’t really be more clear without giving away a spoiler, but it ended the way I would have wanted it to. Alice makes tremendous progress in tackling her own issues through this book, and as much as he is her boyfriend Joe really is a side character in this story almost. It is THEIR story as a couple it’s really Alice’s story which I appreciate.

The story was missing something to take it to a full 5 star level, I think some subplots were cut off too quickly or easily. Some more depth could have been added to take this to a 5 star level for me. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and stayed up until about 2am to finish it!

Thank you to Bookouture, Netgalley, and Sophie Ranald for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Crushing It

Title: Crushing It

Author: Lorelai Parker

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

Publication date: June 30th, 2020

336 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In life, as in gaming, there’s a way around every obstacle . . .

To pitch her new role-playing game at a European conference, developer Sierra Reid needs to overcome her terror of public speaking. What better practice than competing in a local bar’s diary slam, regaling an audience with old journal entries about her completely humiliating college crush on gorgeous Tristan Spencer?

Until the moderator says, “Next up, Tristan Spencer . . .”

Sierra is mortified, but Tristan is flattered. Caught up in memories of her decade-old obsession as they reconnect, Sierra tries to dismiss her growing qualms about him. But it’s not so easy to ignore her deepening friendship with Alfie, the cute, supportive bar owner. She and Alfie were college classmates too, and little by little, Sierra is starting to wonder if she’s been focusing her moves on the wrong target all along, misreading every player’s motivations.

Maybe the only winning strategy is to start playing by her heart . . .

Review

**Thank you to Kensington Publishing, Netgalley, and Lorelai Parker for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Sierra is a video game developer with a horrible fear of public speaking, which causes issues as she’s trying to convince her investor to let her present at Gamescon to promote their new game. Her coworker and roommate Aida convinces her to go to an event being put on by a new bar near their home, a competition to get up in front of everyone and tell humiliating stories for the amusement of others. The catch is that it is for mostly alumni of their college, and the reason Sierra has public speaking fears dates back to college. When the source of her fears is in the bar, also in the competition, Sierra has to face all of her demons if she wants to further her career.

I liked the premise of this book a lot, and I really enjoyed the resulting romance. I liked the growth that the characters went through, and the strides Sierra made in overcoming her fears. I didn’t enjoy all of the side characters, for reasons you’ll probably understand when you read! I won’t say who though, because it would be a bit of a spoiler for you all and I don’t want to do that. I respected Sierra’s investor for making her prove to him and herself that she can represent the brand and game how they want it to be represented.

This book was a tad predictable though. I could see where it was going, and what the big reveal would be. I still enjoyed it, but some parts were just too obvious and maybe could’ve been covered up better.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Chosen Ones

Title: Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones #1)

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: HMH

Publication date: April 7th, 2020

432 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise: five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons—and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice.

A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.

Review

Thank you to HMH and Netgalley for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review

Chosen Ones flips the fantasy script and focuses on the aftermath of what happens when you’re Chosen to save the world. 10 years after they vanquished the Dark One, the gang gets pulled into another dimension/universe to slay another villain. Told exclusively from Sloane’s POV, Chosen Ones strikes a balance between being Chosen and being human. Characters are dealing with alcoholism, PTSD, drug addiction recovery, and racism is even touched on briefly. As readers, you don’t really get to see what happens AFTER the big battle – and especially not 10 years later.

The characters in this book all have problems, like serious problems. If you’re looking for redeemable characters that leap off the page with their airy lightness and happiness, keep it moving. Sloane is seriously dealing with PTSD and trying to hold it together. She is dating Matt, but when he proposes she freaks out and burns the relationship to the ground. Matt honestly isn’t much better, but it helps to show that they all aren’t quite back. I happen to like them even more that they aren’t redeemable, but I do feel like some conflict could have been avoided by having simple conversations.

I truly feel like Albie and Ines got shafted in this book. They have SO LITTLE page time, so I really wonder what the purpose was. The beginning to this book (where they existed) was fairly slow going and some scenes seemed unnecessary. However, the book really picks up when they are pulled into the other dimension. This is when the book really starts to get good and I got invested in the story.

THE ENDING. Without spoilers, the ending is a wild ride. I definitely did not see parts of it coming, especially not the big reveal. Along the way I picked up on some clues, but I was still fooled. The ending is fairly clear, there really isn’t a cliffhanger even though I believe there is a sequel. However, I found the writing in the ending to be very confusing and hard to follow. This could potentially be cleared up in edits, as this is an ARC.

Overall, I would give this a 3.5/5 (rounded up to 4 for Goodreads). I will read the next book, however there were some significant enough issues for me that I couldn’t give it a whole 4 stars.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Circus Rose

Title: The Circus Rose

Author: Betsy Cornwell

Publisher: Clarion Books

Publication date: June 16th, 2020

288 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A queer retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” in which teenage twins battle evil religious extremists to save their loves and their circus family.

Twins Rosie and Ivory have grown up at their ringmaster mother’s knee, and after years on the road, they’re returning to Port End, the closest place to home they know. Yet something has changed in the bustling city: fundamentalist flyers paper the walls and preachers fill the squares, warning of shadows falling over the land. The circus prepares a triumphant homecoming show, full of lights and spectacle that could chase away even the darkest shadow. But during Rosie’s tightrope act, disaster strikes.

In this lush, sensuous novel interwoven with themes of social justice and found family, it’s up to Ivory and her magician love—with the help of a dancing bear—to track down an evil priest and save their circus family before it’s too late.

Review

**Thank you to Clarion Books, Netgalley, and Betsy Cornwell for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The Circus Rose is a magical fantasy told in alternating POV’s from twin sisters, Ivory and Rosie. The writing is so different based on what twin is narrating, and provides different context. Ivory is the more reliable narrator. Seriously the magic in this book is off the charts. Ivory and Rosie are a part of The Circus Rose, the circus hosted by their mother. For twins, Ivory and Rosie couldn’t be more different – Ivory prefers to be a stagehand behind the scenes and Rosie is the high flying trapeze artist, star of the show. They are like Yin and Yang, fathered by two separate men who both loved their mother.

The main plot of the book revolves around the circus and challenges that pop during the circus. The first part of the book lays a lot of background into the twins and the circus before it gets into the main conflict. I thought the circus aspect was very compelling, along with the amalgamation of Fey, righteous Church groups, humans, a feminist world where girls can go to engineering school.

I loved the LGBTQIA pieces of the book. The Fey are described as being more androgynous, they are non-binary and have the pronouns of fe/fer. Rosie clearly identifies as only being attracted to females, and Ivory is attracted to males and Fey. Being in an open relationship or practicing polyamory is not strange. It’s a very progressive and refreshing book.

The Circus Rose is an easy and quick read. The writing of Betsy Cornwell just flows so easily and it’s simple to lose track of time around you as you delve into the world of the circus. For fans of Caraval, The Circus Rose is an enthralling, magical tale of sisterhood and finding yourself.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Plus One Pact

Title: The Plus One Pact

Author: Portia MacIntosh

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication date: May 21st, 2020

Unknown # of pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

What if your plus one could be the one…?



Cara has officially run out of men. Her most recent dates have gone from bad to worse, and when her dating app informs her there is no one left in her area to choose from, she is at a dead end.

But with a summer of events ahead of her, she needs to find a solution, fast; someone to keep her company at the never-ending weddings, family gatherings and gender reveal parties that she can’t face going to alone. So when she meets handsome, confident, Millsy on a night out she may be in luck. They could not be more different in personality, but he too has a summer of events ahead and is desperate to get his family off his back about finding a ‘nice girl’. What if they made a pact to help each other out and be a plus one for the summer? Just as friends of course…?

Review

**Thank you to Boldwood Books, Netgalley, and Portia MacIntosh for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The Plus One Pact is an adorable and clean Adult Contemporary Romance. Cara is struggling with the dating scene. She strikes out every time she tries to date someone on a dating app, and she’s beginning to give up. When she is stood up by the last available guy on her dating app, she is ready to throw in the towel. At least until a handsome stranger comes over to save her. Millsy notices Cara has been stood up, and wants to help her. He enlists friends to give her a makeover and revamp her life as he tries to help her navigate the dating scene. They become fast friends, but could it ever be more?

I found this book to be so cute and I liked that it focused more on Millsy and Cara’s friendship for the summer instead of forcing a romance. Sometimes books jump straight into romance, but there are a lot amazing relationships that begin as just friends and organically grow into something more. That is Millsy and Cara’s story. They spend the summer being each other’s Plus One’s to family events – while trying not to ruin said events (there are some close calls!). At every point of the books, they are what the other needs in that moment, it’s truly beautiful.

As much as I enjoyed the friendship aspect, I almost wish the book was longer so you got to see more of the relationship aspect. It seemed to end kind of abruptly so I feel another few chapters could have continued the story without feeling unnecessary.

The Plus One Pact was an easy read that makes you wish you have a friend as good as Millsy. Because at the end of the day, it’s important to be friends with your partner.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Trouble with Hating You

Title: The Trouble with Hating You

Author: Sajni Patel

Publisher: Forever

Publication date: May 12th, 2020

384 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy debut about first impressions, second chances, and finding the love of your life in the most unexpected way. 

Liya Thakkar is a successful biochemical engineer, takeout enthusiast, and happily single woman. The moment she realizes her parents’ latest dinner party is a setup with the man they want her to marry, she’s out the back door in a flash. Imagine her surprise when the same guy shows up at her office a week later — the new lawyer hired to save her struggling company. What’s not surprising: he’s not too thrilled to see her either after that humiliating fiasco.

Jay Shah looks good on paper…and off. Especially if you like that whole gorgeous, charming lawyer-in-a-good-suit thing. He’s also arrogant and infuriating. As their witty office banter turns into late night chats, Liya starts to think he might be the one man who truly accepts her. But falling for each other means exposing their painful pasts. Will Liya keep running, or will she finally give love a real chance?

Review

**Thank you to Forever, Netgalley, and Sajni Patel for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

TW: sexual assault, domestic abuse, slut shaming

The Trouble with Hating you is a more serious contemporary romance where both characters have more tragic backstories and have some demons to overcome together. Told in alternating POV’s, Liya and Jay are being set up by their traditional Indian families. Neither wants to be set up to get married, but in this culture it is hard to say no. They both have different reasons for not wanting to get married, by when Liya flees the meeting Jay is interested in knowing why she is so against the idea of marriage.

Liya and Jay do not initially get along, this is a definite hate to love plot line. Liya has her defenses up so high due to her past and she can’t accept that a man is seriously interested in her for more than just a night. Jay means well, but Liya’s brand of honesty and bluntness causes him to rile her up further, even without always meaning to. It was a good transition from hate to love, it wasn’t too fast or too slow. There also was not a lot of steam.

There were very serious aspects to this book too, which can make it hard to read or be triggering for some people. Please see the trigger warnings at the top of the page before you read. I do believe the scenes were handled well and weren’t too much to handle at any given point. It was heartbreaking to see Liya shunned by her community and her father over something that was done TO her.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and think it was a solid contemporary romance.

Happy reading, folks!