You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn | Sister Review

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn | Sister Review

You'd Be Mine

A Brand New Sister Review
 This review is a combined effort between me and my sister. We read a book and review it by asking each other questions related to the title we are reviewing. The idea is to provide you with two different perspectives.

 This review might contain spoilers! We might discuss any part of the story (sometimes the questions we ask each other might be general, while other times they might touch upon something specific about the ending, etc). If you have not read the book and do not wish for the story to be spoiled you might want to avoid this post!

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn | Sister ReviewYou'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn
Published by Wednesday Books on April 2nd 2019
Genres: Love & Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

 Iris asks Merel:

After about two chapters of You’d Be Mine I had a country playlist blaring through my speakers. Did you experience the same?

The book certainly got me in that mood. However, at the time I was staying with someone (YOU) who was quite intent on being the DJ. So I didn’t have it blaring from my speakers, but I did get major Hunter Hayes/Sam Hunt vibes!.  

What did you think of the romance and how it developed? 

I really liked how this was a slow burner in terms of romance. In fiction it sometimes bothers me how fast characters go from ‘I don’t want to be in a relationship with this person’ to ‘suddenly being madly in love/lust’You’d Be Mine definitely wasn’t like that. While it was quite clear where the story was going, the book mainly revolved around the story itself and the romance just seamlessly fit into this. 

Did the plot and the way it unfolded surprise you in any way? 

No, but for me that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After reading the blurb, it seemed quite clear to me where the story was headed. However, it’s not the ending that makes a book, it’s how the characters get there, how they develop throughout the story, and how the book is written. I liked the writing style of You’d Be Mine a lot!

What was your favourite character in You’d Be Mine

When it comes to the two main characters, I liked reading about Clay/Jefferson the most. It was very clear that he needed to work through some personal stuff, and wasn’t handling his past very well. I thought it was so interesting to read how he coped, spiralled out of control, and how he got it together in the end. I loved how he slowly figured out who he was, and how he wanted to to go about in the world.

Another character I liked a lot (besides Annie’s grandparents, because they were ab-so-lu-te-ly lovely) was Clay’s friend Fitz. I loved how loyal he was to Clay, and how he always tried to support him. He didn’t always do the right thing, but his character showed that blood doesn’t make a family, but love does. No matter what happened, he was always there for Clay/Jefferson and help him in whatever way he needed help.   

Merel asks Iris:

You were VERY excited about You’d Be Mine, did it live up to your expectations? 

Yes I was, and yes it did! I wanted a feel good contemporary that packed a punch, and You’d Be Mine definitely delivered. I love how it was SUCH an enjoyable read that had me playing country music non-stop, while also focussing on heavier themes, such mental health. I thoroughly enjoyed the You’d Be Mine and feel a reread coming up later this summer!

Was it easy for you to relate to the characters? Who did you like best, and what character did you want to learn more about?

Although I am in no way a good singer, nor am I an up-and-coming country star, I found it easy to relate to the characters in You’d Be Mine. This probably had to do with the fact that the fame wasn’t the most important part of the story. It was about these incredibly talented teens that were embarking on an amazing adventure, while dealing with the hardships of their respective pasts. It was a coming of age story above all else, and I think it was beautifully written.

My favourite characters were Clay and Annie (sorry, it’s a tie). They are also the characters I just wanted to know MORE about. I wanted to know more about their pasts and gobbled up all the bits and pieces of information as they were slowly revealed throughout the story.

I think every girl/woman has a rock star fantasy, how did you feel about the implementation of that aspect in this book? 

I thought it was so wonderfully done! One of my favourite things about You’d Be Mine is how it wasn’t just about ‘famous people’ and how it didn’t glorify that lifestyle at all. If anything it took the fantasy out of it by humanising the characters. It wasn’t so much a ‘rock star romance’ book to me, it was a coming of age story that was sweet and innocent and kept it very real.

This book deals with quite some heavy issues. How did you think these issues were handled? Do you think You’d Be Mine was written in a realistic way?

I think my answers to your earlier questions already somewhat answer this one. The mental health issues, as well as Clay’s drinking problem was handled very carefully in my opinion. I think You’d Be Mine does a very good job of bringing these issues to attention and carefully deals with them in a manner that I found quite realistic. I mean, these issues weren’t magically fixed by the end of the book, it’s a process, and I think that’s part of the message that makes You’d Be Mine such a good story.

  • Plot 80% 80%
  • Writing style 85% 85%
  • Characters 90% 90%
Once Upon a Book Club – April

Once Upon a Book Club – April

Once Upon a Book Club

April

Once upon a time, there was a group of women studying publishing in Edinburgh, Scotland. Neither of them was originally from the country, but they all had something in common: they had a fondness for romance novels. And so it happened, that when they crossed paths, it did not take long before a book club was formed.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

For April we read Meet Cute by Helena Hunting! For this month’s book club there was wine, a large amount macarons, and birthday celebrations (as we celebrated Justine’s birthday on the same day). All in all another VERY succesful book club. 

Be advised that this post might contain spoilers! We discuss various aspects of the book(s) and although we try to avoid spoilers, some aspects cannot be discussed without mentioning parts of what happened in the book.

Once Upon a Book Club – AprilMeet Cute by Helena Hunting
Published by Piatkus on April 9th 2019
Genres: Love & Romance
Pages: 304
Buy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran - quite literally - into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either...

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can't help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn's new celebrity client, there's even more at stake than Dax's custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she'll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

Justine on the plot

I didn’t expect Meet Cute to be so emotional, as the cover gives off a light rom-com vibe. It’s a flirty yet heartfelt, frenemies-turned-lovers love story.

On the first day of law school, Kailyn Flowers is knocked to the ground by Daxton Hughes, a celebrity actor that starred on Kailyn’s favourite TV show as a teenager. Her fangirl infatuation turns into an academic rivalry once she realises that he too is studying law. Their friendly competition leads to a falling out at the end of their last year and the two go their separate ways.

That is, until Dax shows up in her office years later looking for legal guidance of his own. Despite holding a grudge from their university days, she feels bad for what he’s going through and agrees to help. Kailyn becomes Dax’s shoulder to lean on, and provides some emotional stability to he and his sister Emme as they struggle with some enormous life changes.

Not only is the chemistry between Kailyn and Dax great, but I loved the relationship that develops between each of them and 13-year-old Emme. It’s sweet and funny, yet sometimes heartbreaking. Overall, I’d say Meet Cute surprised me in the best way. Helena Hunting strikes a beautiful balance between developing the romantic plot line, while still giving us the family-love dynamic.

 Caoimh on the characters

I loved the characters that Hunting created for Meet Cute. They made me laugh, smile, and cry in equal porportions. I liked glimpsing their lives, watching them grow into themselves, their careers and responsibilities in their own unique way, especially the comedy of Kailyn’s forever fan girl hidden inside her lawyer self.

One of my favourite characters would have to be Dax’s sister Emme. She added so much teenage hilarity in her own way and really added that to Dax and Kailyn’s relationship. I loved that while the story focuses on Dax and Kailyn and their love and relationship, Emme was interwoven as an integral and necessary aspect to both their lives and future decisions, in a realistic manner suited to the characters.

Lauren on the romance

The romance in Meet Cute was so great. They went from friends to enemies to friends to lovers (many ups and downs!). Their relationship progressed so naturally. Kailyn and Dax had such a connection, from the first time they met; he was a celebrity, she was a fan,  but it was never awkward between them because of that (other than the first encounter). I loved how mature their relationship was. Yes, they had some drama, but it wasn’t far fetched- Dax had a reason to be hurt, and they did get over it.

Kailyn and Dax had to be very mature about their relationship from the start because of the circumstances surrounding them, and they didn’t let their drama get in the way of what was important, because they always put Emme first. Despite this, you could still see that the couple was truly in love with each other, and they had so many sweet moments and good banter. She grounded him, and he convinced her to be more daring. Meet Cute was super cute, especially the epilogue; would recommend reading just for that adorable moment!

Iris on her favourite scene

My favourite scene from Meet Cute is without a doubt the epilogue. It was such a fun scene, flawlessly linking back to that very fist ‘fangirl’ moment at the beginning of the book. I absolutely loved that her birthday dinner turned into a cast reunion and her being swarmed and group hugged by all the cast members of her favourite tv-show when she was a teenager. I loved that extra fangirl moment, which, as I mentioned before, links back so perfectly to that first scene when she met Dax for the first time. It had me smiling from ear to ear and was the perfect scene to end the book with.

  • Plot 90% 90%
  • Romance 90% 90%
  • Characters 90% 90%
Once Upon a Book Club – March

Once Upon a Book Club – March

Once Upon a Book Club

March

Once upon a time, there was a group of women studying publishing in Edinburgh, Scotland. Neither of them was originally from the country, but they all had something in common: they had a fondness for romance novels. And so it happened, that when they crossed paths, it did not take long before a book club was formed.

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

Apologies for the extreme delay in posting the March book club discussion. ‘Eat Train Read’ switched hosts, and unfortunately experienced some issues during the move. But we’re back! And with a brand new look!
For March we decided to read the latest release by one of our favourite romance authors: Sally Thorne. We all read (and loved) Sally Thorne’s debut The Hating Game, and were really excited to read 99 Percent Mine as this month’s book club pick.

Be advised that this post might contain spoilers! We discuss various aspects of the book(s) and although we try to avoid spoilers, some aspects cannot be discussed without mentioning parts of what happened in the book.

Once Upon a Book Club – March99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on January 29th 2019
Genres: Love & Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

Caoimh on the plot

From just the blurb for 99 Percent Mine the plot had me hooked. The idea of being in love with your twin’s best friend, who was also in construction, had me swooning from page one. I loved the pace of the plot by Sally Thorne, it saw me struggle to put the book down to eat, sleep, move which I always think is a sign of a excellent book. I loved how the plot took the classic alpha male trope and flipped in on its head and instead gave that role to Darcy, who is a major badass can I just say. The only thing I wanted more of in the plot is a more drawn out ending. It felt a little rushed but the bonus epilogue did help my heart when it came to see Darcy and Tom living their blissful relationship on the road flipping houses.

 Iris on the characters

99 Percent Mine was an absolute joy to read. I was pretty pumped when I learned this book is a friends-to-lovers romance AND a second-chance-romance, two things that absolutely DELIGHT my hopelessly romantic heart. Finding out, after having read the book, that the characters have incredibly depth and develop beautifully throughout the story and you have a bestseller in my opinion. What a book!

Darcy’s monologue makes you laugh out loud. She’s intelligent and witty (not to forget that that she enjoys knocking down entitled frat boys a peg or two). She is entirely unapologetic in her ways, which is exactly what makes her such a great character.

Tom is hard-working and so very sweet! Can you just find me my own Tom? I’d be forever happy. I loved Tom and Darcy’s dynamic and the whole opposites attract thing they had going on. I just want MORE!

Lauren on the romance

The romance in 99 Percent Mine was FANTASTIC. It takes the childhood-friends-to-lovers/ brothers-best-friend tropes in an entirely new direction, and I loved it! Darcy has had a crush on Tom for forever, but when he tells her he loves her at 17 she’s just not ready to hear it. A few years go by, a few relationships, a lot of travelling, and suddenly these two are back together and fixing up her grandmother’s house. Watching these two try to navigate a relationship with so much history and so many other people involved was so entertaining. The chemistry between them: off the charts! I loved how well they went together: Tom is Mr. Perfect, and Darcy is Miss Tough Girl, and somehow they work! The banter that these two had, which can only come from years of knowing each other (and the genius mind of Sally Thorne), had me grinning at my book the entire time. And the kisses? So. Much. Chemistry. This romance had everything. My only complaint? I want more of it. Especially Tom, where can I find one?

Justine on her favourite scene

I know there are so many to choose from, and while some readers may disagree, one of my favourite scenes from 99 Percent Mine would have to be the first chapter’s opening scene.

The scene opens up with Darcy Barrett working at a bar, giving her unfiltered inner monologue on the evening unfolding, as she nears the end of her shift. There’s a definite rawness about her which comes through in her assertive, no-nonsense attitude. She enjoys breaking down ‘alpha-males’ with her deadlock stare, and has no problem knocking entitled frat boys down a couple pegs. After getting hit on by said “human Ken doll”, her response to his asking when she gets off work is: “Not for a million years.”

I loved the way this scene introduced us to Darcy’s edgy, albeit sometimes self-destructive nature. Right away, I understood that sarcasm is her default setting, and found her ferocity and sassiness oddly endearing. It definitely set the tone for what to expect from her as the story progressed. A huge applause to Queen Sally Thorne, for once again delivering us a bass-ass leading lady.

  • Plot 95% 95%
  • Romance 100% 100%
  • Characters 100% 100%
Once Upon a Book Club – February

Once Upon a Book Club – February

Once Upon a Book Club

February

Once upon a time, there was a group of women studying publishing in Edinburgh, Scotland. Neither of them was originally from the country, but they all had something in common: they had a fondness for romance novels. And so it happened, that when they crossed paths, it did not take long before a book club was formed.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

For February we decided to go a little theme crazy. If you’ve looked closely at the cover of The Proposal you might have noticed the little illustrations of cocktails, cupcakes, and taco’s… Now, with this month being February. (Meaning: Valentines Day.) We went all out and decided a cover recreation was in order for book club day.

Once Upon a Book Club – FebruaryThe Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
Published by Berkley Books on October 30th 2018
Genres: Love & Romance
Pages: 327
Buy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn't come as a surprise--or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn't the hard part--they've only been dating for five months, and he can't even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans...

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He's even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik's social media blows up--in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can't be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes...

Justine on the plot

In true feel-good-romance-fashion, Jasmine Guillory delivers the ultimate ‘meet cute’ to launch us into Carlos and Nik’s story. After their swift escape post-jumbotron fiasco, the two remain in touch and quickly develop a connection. Albeit sometimes a tad cheesy, the plot offers a surprisingly accurate portrayal of modern contemporary romance. While Nik and Carlos’ interactions are believable, they are constantly convincing themselves that neither wants a serious relationship. Instead, the two remain in the ambiguous ‘no-label’, ‘grey-area’, ‘friends-with-benefits’, whatever you want to call it, zone. So, naturally they fall in love. The diverse character representation (Black, lesbian, Latino, plus size, Korean, etc.), witty dialogue, and overall themes surrounding love and dating were, in my opinion, very much on point. My only qualm in regards to the plot is that I felt there were several missed opportunities for tying up loose ends (mostly to do with secondary characters). Overall, The Proposal is a low-stress, light-hearted read, that pairs nicely with a pool-side holiday, or that mid-week glass of Pinot Grigio.

 

Lauren on the characters

The two main characters in The Proposal were both fantastic and very well written! First of all, Nikole is such a badass! She handled the entire situation with Fisher like a pro! I loved that she was so independent and did what she needed to do to protect herself. (Those self defence classes? Yes!) Second of all, Nikole had THE BEST friends. I would love to know more about Courtney and Dana (and Natalie too)! They were all such interesting characters. I would love to see their stories rounded out a more. Lastly, Carlos. (Need I say more?) He was so amazing. Reading about him with his family and friends was wonderful. Plus, I felt like him and Nik really balanced each other out. He was definitely swoon-worthy in my opinion. I mean, who doesn’t love a guy that cooks, is a paediatrician, sweet, and quick witted? Sign me up please! 

Iris on the romance

The Proposal is a sweet and funny love story about two people determined not to fall in love (but, of course, ends up doing anyway). I thought the story was enjoyable and its portrayal of romance felt surprisingly accurate and realistic. I loved how it was a friends first and romance later type of relationship (and how supportive Carlos was of Nik!). However, I felt like Nik and Carlos’ chemistry lacked a little something. Sure, they were great together and I was rooting for them, but something kept me from fully connecting with them as a couple. It might have to do with the third person writing, or with the fact that the ending felt rushed, but I wasn’t fully invested. All and all, the romance in The Proposal was very enjoyable, just not the most memorable to me.

 

 

Caoimh on her favourite scene

I have been racking my brain to try and come up with my favourite scene in The Proposal. It has been a struggle because there are just SO many to choose from! So, I decided to cheat a little and choose two! *Drumroll please* For Nik and Carlos it has to be their attempt to make enchiladas and the infamous sour cream face mask. From its horrifying application to it cracking and ending up all over the floor, it was just hilarious. Nik and Carlos’ laughter was contagious and I could not stop giggling as the entire situation unfolded. My second favourite scene is one between Nik, Courtney, and Dana. Specifically when they sign up for the boxing class. From them underestimating their own strength (and the strength of their trainer) and ending up loving it and feeling powerful. It was the ultimate girl empowerment stance!

  • Plot 75% 75%
  • Romance 70% 70%
  • Characters 90% 90%

Once Upon a Bookclub – January

Once Upon a Bookclub – January

Once Upon a Book Club

January

Once upon a time, there was a group of women studying publishing in Edinburgh, Scotland. Neither of them was originally from the country, but they all had something in common: they had a fondness for romance novels. And so it happened, that when they crossed paths, it did not take long before a book club was formed.

One Day in December, The Royal Runaway, & The Hating Game

One of the perks of studying publishing is that you’re surrounded by avid readers all day, every day! An added bonus is that there are plenty of enthusiasts around when you’re thinking of creating a book club. And so this romance book club was formed. Because this month started off with a three-week break for us, we decided to read not one but three books.

Be advised that this post might contain spoilers! We discuss various aspects of the book(s) and although we try to avoid spoilers, some aspects cannot be discussed without mentioning parts of what happened in the book.

One Day in December

Once Upon a Bookclub – JanuaryOne Day in December by Josie Silver
Published by Broadway Books on October 16th 2018
Genres: Love & Romance
Pages: 416
two-stars

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic... and then her bus drives away.

Certain they're fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn't find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they "reunite" at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It's Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

Caoimh on the plot

When I read the blurb for One Day in December I instantly thought this was going to be a version of my favourite movie “Love Rosie”. I loved the similarity of plots with the missed chances between the characters to be together that had me screaming at the screen with Alex and Rosie and Laurie and Jack at the beginning. Josie Silver really wove an intricate plot over the ten years the story is told which was detailed and kept you wanting to see where the characters were each year and how they would end up. However, the cheating element of the plot between Laurie and Jack didn’t make me want to invest in their relationship quite the same as I did with Alex and Rosie, which was my only negative with the plot.

Lauren on the characters

There were some good characters and some bad characters in One Day in December. My favourite character, by far, was Laurie’s friend Sarah. She was such a good friend to Lori, and a great girlfriend to Jack, even when things went wrong. I loved where her storyline went: the success she found both professionally and romantically. When she moved to Australia with her husband I cheered! Good for her, for finding happiness after the mess that was her relationship with Jack.

Laurie was fine, but I feel like she pitied herself a lot and should have been a better friend to Sarah. If she had just told her the truth about knowing Jack at the start, SO MANY problems could have been solved. I feel like Laurie made a lot of mistakes (which is realistic), however, a lot of them were unnecessary and avoidable. (First of all, you NEVER kiss your friend’s boyfriend! I don’t care what the circumstances are. It’s not okay).

Finally, Jack. I think Jack is what ruined the book for me. I didn’t understand Laurie’s attraction to him. Sure, physically, but his personality left a lot to be desired. He cheated on Sarah, he whined A LOT, and he was very mean to Laurie at various points. By the end, I didn’t see what Laurie saw in him. This is not what I want out of a love interest in a romance novel. A book about Sarah and her happiness? Now THAT, I would read and enjoy.

Iris on the romance

Unfortunately, I did not ship the romance in One Day in December, AT ALL. I started this book thinking I would end up loving it (blame all the raving reviews…), but I was sorely let down. The romance wasn’t cute or heartwarming. The meet-cute was fun, but everything that followed just felt so wrong that it frustrated me to no end. I think this mainly had to do with the fact that Laurie is in love with her best friend’s boyfriend. I just have a massive problem with the fact that the boy from the bus stop, which they tried to find together, a few years later is introduced as her best friend’s boyfriend and she NEVER TELLS HER BEST FRIEND. The cheating aspect of the book made the romance as unenjoyable as could for me and, as a result, the story just fell flat.

The Royal Runaway

Once Upon a Bookclub – JanuaryThe Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory
Published by Gallery Books on October 9th 2018
Genres: Love & Romance
Pages: 290
four-stars

Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent is so over this princess thing.

After her fiancé jilted her on their wedding day, she’s finally back home after spending four months in exile—aka it’s back to press conferences, public appearances, and putting on a show for the Driedish nation as the perfect princess they expect her to be. But Thea’s sick of duty. After all, that’s what got her into this mess in the first place.

So when she sneaks out of the palace and meets a sexy Scot named Nick in a local bar, she relishes the chance to be a normal woman for a change. But just as she thinks she’s found her Prince Charming for the night, he reveals his intentions are less than honorable: he’s the brother of her former fiancé, a British spy, and he’s not above blackmail. As Thea reluctantly joins forces with Nick to find out what happened the day her fiancé disappeared, together they discover a secret that could destroy a centuries-old monarchy and change life as they know it.

Lauren on the plot

The Royal Runaway had the most outlandish, unbelievable plot, and I loved every moment of it. This book was a new take on the royal romance genre, and it kept me entertained from beginning to end. Even though the book was completely unrealistic, it was still so fun to read. It had enough plot twists to keep me guessing and keep me interested in the story. The story was well paced. The romance developed fairly naturally through the crazy situation the characters were in (without spoilers: it involves a missing fiancé, a possible murder, stolen money, and a stalker to tie it all together).

My only complaint is that the ending was too quick. Most issues were resolved and the romance was tied up nicely on the last page. However, I would have liked a longer epilogue to further see the couple work things out. It felt too abrupt, but that was the only part of the plot that wasn’t perfectly paced. If you’re like me and love completely wild, unrealistic plot lines (in the best way!!) I would definitely recommend this book

Iris on the characters

The Royal Runaway was quite unrealistic and frankly so are its characters, but that’s exactly what makes them so enjoyable! The two main characters, Thea and Nick, could have used a little more depth but were very likable and a lot of fun to read! Although there are some other characters introduced in the book, the story really revolves around Thea and Nick. Thea is clearly struggling, but loves her family and the history of her country somewhat fiercely. Nick is all gruffiness and very very Scottish. Their banter is so much fun to read and their sweet moments are just that: sweet. All that plus some scenes where their chemistry sparks and you have found the beating heart of this fun and wildly bizarre romance/mystery story!

Caoimh on the romance

I am a sucker for any type of romance that has the word royal proceeding it. So I eagerly snapped up The Royal Runaway. The main couple, Thea and Nick, and their budding romance as they tried to uncover the royal secrets ended in all sorts of scandal and tension. I really enjoyed their development as singular characters but also as a pair – they each retained their core qualities without sacrificing anything to be together. Their romance was the perfect mix of swooning and sexy all rolled into one, especially with Nick being a sexy Scot. There’s not a whole lot that can beat that!

The Hating Game

Once Upon a Bookclub – JanuaryThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow on August 9th 2016
Genres: Love & Romance
Pages: 384
five-stars

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 hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive-aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Iris on the plot

The Hating Game captured my heart with its hate-to-love slow-burner romance. I literally cannot think of anything that I disliked, because the story is THAT perfect! The story doesn’t sag and the way the romance unfolds over the course of the story gave me ALL THE FEELS. The pace of the story and the way the plot unfolded was believable and constant. I literally could not put this book down. The Hating Game was just so well-written! Definitely my favourite book out of the three titles we read!

Caoimh on the characters

I loved every second and every page of The Hating Game. Most especially I loved the two main characters, Lucy and Josh. Their dynamic was hilarious as their hate for each other jumped off the page in the most hilarious of situations at their publishing company. I loved how Sally Thorne skirted the line between hate and love with Josh and Lucy and how she used that to slowly develop their relationship over the course of the book. I couldn’t put down the book I HAD to see how it ended between them and I was not disappointed. Of all three books, I think Josh and Lucy were my favourite couple to watch come together as they realised there really is a very thin line between love and hate.

Lauren on the romance

The romance in The Hating Game is AMAZING. It’s everything I want out of an enemies-to-lovers romance, and out of an office romance. Joshua was the perfectly imperfect romantic hero and the scene about the colour of his bedroom walls? My heart exploded. He unconsciously (and then consciously) loved her for so long, and was never outright mean to Lucy. Their banter and flirting were perfectly written, and the progress of their relationship was natural and believable. They felt like a real couple, and the obstacles they had to overcome to be together were perfectly resolved. Overall, this book had all of my favourite elements of the romance genre, and it got the publishing world right as well! I would read a dozen more books about Lucy and Josh, just to see more of their banter and undeniable chemistry.

  • One Day in December 25% 25%
  • The Royal Runaway 75% 75%
  • The Hating Game 100% 100%