On the Corner of Love and Hate is a "frenemies to lovers" workplace romance set against the political backdrop of a pivotal mayoral race in the fictioOn the Corner of Love and Hate is a "frenemies to lovers" workplace romance set against the political backdrop of a pivotal mayoral race in the fictional town of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania. It's a charming, mostly light-hearted story that fans of Hallmark romance movies will likely relate to and enjoy, complete with a happy ending.
Emma and Cooper, its two principal characters, have a love-hate relationship that, at least temporarily, is heavy on the hate, light on the love, and fraught with conflict. Theirs is an often-painful journey that's steeped with possibility--but also burdened with unresolved, unspoken, deeply conflicted feelings for one another. Add in their defensiveness and an utter inability to communicate honestly, openly, and non-judgmentally, and it's a recipe for disaster from the beginning until nearly the end. Sometimes I wanted to hug them; sometimes, I wanted to smack them in the head and tell them to grow the hell up. But I felt something, every step of the way. So will you.
Like any good story, the villains are shallow, self-serving, and ultimately doomed to fail. Emma and Cooper are idealistic, intelligent, hopeful, and reasonably lovable, but are also imperfect and relatable. The secondary characters--parents, townspeople, old friends, and co-workers--are quirky and memorable, supporting the MC's while adding depth and setting the stage for two promising sequels. I'm especially looking forward to Henry's story--he deserves his very own happy ending.
On the Corner of Love and Hate is a delightful, thoughtful late-summer read that will happily tide you over until the annual Hallmark holiday movies begin. I hope to see more of Emma and Cooper as the Hope Lake saga continues. I think you will too....more
It's been a long time--too long--since I experienced a book, or a series, that completely blew my mind and left me longing for more. A story that captIt's been a long time--too long--since I experienced a book, or a series, that completely blew my mind and left me longing for more. A story that captured my heart and my imagination and took me on a journey so emotional, so terrifying, yet so uplifting I was left utterly astounded by it. A book that made me sob uncontrollably, but was so overwhelming in every way that I could not, for the life of me, put it down long enough to compose myself. An author whose passion is reflected in every word, on every page, from beginning to end.
Enemies of the State is that book. The Executive Office is that series. And Tal Bauer is that author. I will be forever grateful to the reader whose comment in a random Facebook group led me to this discovery, because I will never, ever, forget this powerful, absolutely epic series. A series I will go back to, time and time again, with characters that have taken up residence in my soul.
I've just finished crying my way through Enemies of the State for the second time in two weeks. The first time, I devoured it, and it devoured me. A flight attendant on my cross-country journey kept checking on me and bringing me water while I sobbed, gripped my e-reader with deadly force, and defied anyone else to interrupt me. I downloaded the rest of the series as soon as we landed, and finished it in less than two days. The second time, I read slowly, savoring the story, hoping it would never, ever end. Still, it ended too soon. And I will always want more of Jack Spiers and Ethan Reichenbach. Always.
This book--this series--has it all. I felt every sensation; I lived and breathed with Jack and Ethan, experiencing the events that shaped their journey in a visceral way that nearly defies description. Gripping ... breath-taking ... scorching hot ... intelligent ... passionate ... compelling ... heart-pounding ... uplifting .... riveting ... utterly unique ... believable ... terrifying ... heart-breaking ... all of the above, and so much more.
Thank you, Tal Bauer, for this brilliant, flawless story. It's the best thing I've read in 2019, and, in fact, better than any series I've read in the last five years. For someone who reads and reviews 2-3 books a week, I hope that speaks for itself. You've made a fan for life....more
I've never struggled with a review for a Helena Hunting book before--not. at. all. Until this one. And, honestly, as I write this I'm still strugglingI've never struggled with a review for a Helena Hunting book before--not. at. all. Until this one. And, honestly, as I write this I'm still struggling with myself over it, because my feelings about it are so conflicted. I expected a romantic comedy, and in the beginning it seemed a foregone conclusion. But while the dialogue was often clever and their initial meeting was hilarious, the comedy ended up taking second place to the drama, and I felt more frustrated than elated 75% of the time. For that reason, I have to give it 3.5 stars this time around.
I loved Griffin Mills - not as much as his brothers Bane and Lex, but that's only because I don't feel like I got to know him well enough. His back story lacked the depth I needed to appreciate the contradictions in his personality--one minute playful, the other wildly possessive; one minute skilled and confident, the next awkward and unsure. Yes, he'd been burned by a manipulative ex; but his back story left out important details about that relationship as well, almost as if the story was over-edited in the interest of word count. And, acknowledging Griffin's need to protect himself, to lick his wounds privately over the breakup, his failure to disclose anything other than they'd been in a relationship for four or more years felt like a serious gap in the storytelling.
On the positive side, his awkwardness is genuinely endearing, and sometimes hilarious. The depth of his feelings for Cosy was never in question, at least to me, and I loved that about him. I also loved that he was willing to "do the right thing" when faced with any man's ultimate nightmare (no spoilers, you'll have to take my word for it). I felt for him as he struggled with the 10-year age gap, which, honestly, shouldn't have been such a big deal.
I could not, despite my best effort, connect emotionally with Cosy, the heroine of the story. I really wanted to, but her immaturity and histrionics were hard to take. Yes, she's only 22, and maybe deserves some leeway for a lack of emotional intelligence, but I found her stubborn, too quick to judge, too consumed with and insensitive to the aforementioned age gap--not to mention her over-reaction to finding out Griffin's true identity and every other flaw she found as an excuse to reject him, time and time again. Honestly couldn't see what Griffin saw in her, no matter how hard I tried. Short of being unpretentious, I could not find another redeeming quality that made me care about her enough to want her to deserve the happy ending she got when Griffin - once again - did everything n his power to get her to give him a second chance. She just annoyed the heck out of me.
What redeemed the entire story for me, despite a stunted back story, was Griffin Mills. I felt for him, I pulled for him from beginning to end. I wish he'd had more to work with, that Cosy's character arc would eventually make up for my initial impression of her. It just didn't.
As I read on, I found myself wondering if there was too much input from the publisher and editor, primarily because the story was neither as playful as other books in the series nor as poignant as some of Helena's other series (I'm looking at you, Cupcakes & Ink. The depth was missing to the point that at times the narrative felt forced, almost superficial, definitely out of sync with what I know this wonderful author is capable of. The book needed more time to become what it could have been.
Although it wasn't my favorite, I still love this series as a whole, I respect Helena and am in awe of her ability to come up with so many wonderful romances, and I look forward to seeing more from these characters as the Shacking Up series continues. ...more
Reading a new Sarina Bowen novel is always a joy. I know to expect a sweet romance full of heat, heart, humor, a little suspense, a little angst, and Reading a new Sarina Bowen novel is always a joy. I know to expect a sweet romance full of heat, heart, humor, a little suspense, a little angst, and a happy ending. An engaging story with lovable, colorful characters whose flaws and insecurities make their stories both unique and relatable; romantic escapism at its best. Superfan ticks all the boxes, making it a perfect summertime indulgence. Easily read as a standalone, it's both a perfect addition and an introduction to the popular Brooklyn Bruisers hockey series.
Honestly, I was a little concerned that the combination of two popular romance genres - rock star and sports romance - might result in a novel that failed to deliver on the promises their readers expect. But I was wrong. In Sarina's more than capable hands, it was plausible and seamless, delivering on all its promises, and then some. At a time when it often feels as if originality is being sacrificed on the altar of mass production, and books are rushed to publication to keep up with the demand for the next big trend, there's a lot at stake for popular authors trying to keep their fans satisfied and attract new readers. Only the best authors can rise to the occasion, and I count Sarina among them.
Silas and Delilah are delightful, individually and as a couple. I felt for them, deeply, every step of the way, because although a lot of the story is lighthearted and fun, an aura of suspense hangs over nearly every scene and keeps the story moving from beginning to end. I highly recommend Superfan to diehard Sarina Bowen fans as well as to new readers looking for a new twist on two enduring and popular romantic genres....more