Tag: Rowena Says

Sunday Spotlight: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Posted February 5, 2017 by Rowena in Features | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be  raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

This week’s Sunday Spotlight is a book that I heard such good things about before reading it myself…and then falling in love with it just as much. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne was well received with a lot of the bloggers that I read on a daily basis. I couldn’t read this book fast enough and when I finally got my hands on it, read it and then loved it…I knew I was going to feature the book on Sunday Spotlight.

You guys, this book is a keeper. I really enjoyed this one. I loved the chemistry between Josh and Lucy and I really loved how they grew to love each other. We see their hate for each other turn around into something so much bigger than the both of them and Josh? Gah, loved him.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Released on August 9, 2016 by William Morrow

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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.

Josh and Lucy spent a huge chunk of the book hating each other. They were always one upping each other and playing games. I’m not normally a fan of game playing between grown ass adults but in this setting and in this particular story, it worked really well. Josh and Lucy played off each other, they inspired each other to do better and they made me laugh so freaking much.

Here are some quotes that worked for me. Some of the reasons this book struck all of my happy buttons.


“He did not smile back, and somehow I feel like he’s been carrying my smile around in his breast pocket ever since. He’s one up.”

Ahhh, Lucy. Of course Josh carries your smile around. He l-o-v-e-s you. Ha!

“Watching you pretend to hate the nickname is the best part of my day.”

Haha, of course he’s right!

“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them. I’ve had a lot of time to compare love and hate, and these are my observations.

Love and hate are visceral. Your stomach twists at the thought of that person. The heart in your chest beats heavy and bright, nearly visible through your flesh and clothes. Your appetite and sleep are schredded. Every interaction spikes your blood with adrenaline, and you’re in the brink of fight or flight. Your body is barely under your control. You’re consumed, and it scares you.

Both love and hate are mirror versions of the same game – and you háve to win. Why? Your heart and your ego. Trust me, I should know.”

Yes!! This was their relationship to a tee. They hated each other so much in the beginning that those feelings had no choice but to turn into love.

“What are you imagining? Your expression is filthy.”

“Strangling you. Bare hands.” I can barely get the words out. I’m huskier than a phone-sex operator after a double shift.

“So that’s your kink.” His eyes are going dark.

“Only where you’re concerned.”

Both his eyebrows ratchet up, and he opens his mouth as his eyes go completely black, but he does not seem to be able to say a word.

It is wonderful.”

Ha, these two are great!

There is so much more but you’ll have to read the book to find out for yourself. It’s good, I promise! Josh and Lucy should be known and you should know them! Enter our giveaway below for a chance to win a free copy of The Hating Game.

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Are you a fan of this book as much as we are? Let us know what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Sally Thorne


Sally Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia, and spends her days writing funding submissions and drafting contracts (yawn!) so it’s not surprising that after hours she climbs into colorful fictional worlds of her own creation. Sally believes that romance readers are always searching for intensity in their next favorite book—and it isn’t always so easy to find. The Hating Game is her first novel.

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Sunday Spotlight: Heart of Fire by Linda Howard

Posted January 29, 2017 by Rowena in Features | 9 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be  raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Rowena: This week’s Sunday Spotlight is on a book that is near and dear to our hearts. A book that Holly and I have spent plenty of hours in our early twenties fighting over. When I say fight, I mean we fought over the hero, Ben Lewis. We fought over him so much that he was deemed off limits and Heart of Fire was both of ours. Yeah, we were weird. Ha!

So if it’s any indication, we love the hell out of this book and out of the hero. Heart of Fire by Linda Howard is a book that I did not have any interest in reading until Holly forced me to read it. This book is all that and a bag of chips guys and we’re going to spend the entire time writing this post, showing you why.

Holly: I remember the first time I read this book. I was hooked from page one. On the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen as Jillian and Ben trekked through the Amazon, with her fighting her attraction and him determined to win her over. Ben’s snark and Jillian’s wit made for some of the best banter I’ve ever read. I absolutely adore Ben. He’s brash and apologetically male. I honestly don’t know how much I would have loved him if it weren’t for Jillian. She absolutely makes the book for me. He almost crosses the line a couple times, but he never did because Jillian either put him in his place or was so unimpressed he was knocked down a peg or two. If you haven’t already, you need to read this book. Really. Do it. You won’t be sorry.

Heart of Fire by Linda Howard
Series: N/A
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: October 1, 1997
Publisher: Pocket Books

A fabulous lost Amazon city once inhabited by women warriors and containing a rare red diamond: it sounded like myth, but archeologist Jillian Sherwood believed it was real, and she was willing to put up with anything to find it — even Ben Lewis. Ruffian, knock-about, and number one river guide in Brazil, Ben was all man — over six feet of rock-hard muscles that rippled under his khakis, with lazy blue eyes that taunted her from his tanned face. Jillian watched him come to a fast boil when she refused to reveal their exact destination upriver in the uncharted rain forests — and resolved to stand her ground. Neither of them could foresee what the days ahead promised: an odyssey into the fiery heart of passion and betrayal, and a danger that would force them to cast their fates together, immersed in the eternal, unsolved mysteries of love….

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Rowena: Holly mentions Ben’s snark and Jillian’s wit and she’s completely right. Their chemistry is off the charts and they’re a riot together. I loved the way that Jillian didn’t let Ben get away with anything and Ben tried to get away with everything.

Here are some snippets from the book that showcase why we love the book as much as we do.

“It’s not something I can control, damn it. Every man I know wakes up with a hard-on.”

“Maybe so, but they do not—repeat, do not—rub it on me.”

” ‘Every man I know’ wasn’t rubbing it on you! It was just me!”

“And it was just your hair that I pulled, wasn’t it?” she asked sweetly.

Ha! I love the way that these two go at it.

“I’m going to wash my clothes while I have the chance.”

“Good idea. You can wash mine while you’re at it.”

“You can wash your own.”

Wearing a pained expression, he placed his hand over his heart. “You’re an unnatural woman. Don’t you know you’re supposed to want to do things for your man?”

“I don’t remember ever claiming you as mine, so the issue doesn’t arise. But I can’t think of a reason why any woman would want a man who was too lazy to do his own laundry.”

Do you see how awesome Jillian is?

He said, “How long does this usually last?”

“What, my period, or your strange delusion that everything I do is planned specifically to keep you from making love as often as you seem to think you should? My period will last four or five days. I’ve seen no break in your delusion at all.”

He grinned. Ah, he loved it when she talked sweet to him.

“You make it sound as if I’ve been nagging you every step of the way,” she said.

“You have. Silently.”

She gave him a long, level look. “When I decide to nag, you can bet I won’t do it silently.”

He sighed. “No, I don’t guess you will.” Inwardly he felt cheerful at the prospect. With Jillian’s rapier tongue, it was bound to be entertaining.

She was one cool customer, so cool that he just might have met his match. The thought gave him a panicky feeling, because that meant his chances of having her were only fifty-fifty, and he wasn’t comfortable with that. Ninety-ten would be better, no, hell, why give her any chance at all? He wanted to be one hundred percent certain that she’d be his. Anything less was unacceptable.

This is Rowena and me with Ben. dreamy sigh

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Have you read Heart of Fire before? If so, did you love it like we did? Let us know what some of your favorite books are in the comments below.

About the Author

Linda Howard

Linda Howard is an award-winning author whose novels include the recent New York Times bestsellers Shadow Woman, Up Close and Dangerous, and Drop Dead Gorgeous, as well as the Pocket Books releases Kill and Tell, Now You See Her, All the Queen’s Men, Mr. Perfect, and Open Season. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.

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Who Inspired Your Love of Reading?

Posted December 5, 2016 by Rowena in Discussions | 14 Comments


It might come as a surprise to some of you that I didn’t grow up an avid reader. I know, I’m all kinds of ashamed because I missed out on a lot of great YA books. Sure, I think I’ve made up for my lack of reading as a kid with all of the reading that I do now. I’ve read hundreds of books since high school and that warms my book loving heart.

I don’t even know why I didn’t read more. I was surrounded by a whole lot of readers. 4 of them lived with me and they’re actually the ones that inspired me to pick up my very first book back in 1999.


My sisters (from L-R): Blanche, Me, Ingrid, Delene & Helen

My sisters Blanche, Helen, Delene and Ingrid inspired my love of reading. They used to read all the time. They read Harlequin category romances, paperback romances but their preferred genre was historical romances (still is, come to think of it) so after high school when I was bored and in need of something to fill my time, I picked up Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught. As they say, the rest is history but listening to my sisters discuss the books after they read them inspired me to check them out. I wanted to know what the big deal was and meeting Jordan Townsende for the first time really clicked with me. After that book, I got it. I got what the big deal was and I have never stopped reading since.

What about you? Who inspired your love of reading?

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Book Riot’s 100 Must Read Romantic Comedies

Posted November 17, 2016 by Rowena in Discussions | 10 Comments

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Book Riot released a list of the 100 Romantic Comedies everyone should read and it’s a really good list. I wanted to see how many of the books from the list that I read and how many I haven’t read but are on my TBR list so I took count. Here is where I landed.

Everything in bold are books that I have read.
Everything in italics are books I have not read but are sitting on my TBR pile.

  1. A Little Bit Naughty by Farrah Rochon**
  2. About That Fling by Tawna Fenske
  3. Absolutely Positively Not by David Larochelle
  4. Act Like It by Lucy Parker
  5. All of Me by Jennifer Bernard*
  6. Almost Like Love by Abigail Strom*
  7. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins*
  8. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  9. Beach Thing by DL White
  10. Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren*
  11. Becoming Latina in Ten Easy Steps by Lara Rios
  12. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
  13. Between a Rock and a Hot Mess by Phyllis Bourne
  14. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
  15. Brash by Nicola Marsh*
  16. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding*
  17. Delicious Temptation by Sabrina Sol*
  18. Different Tastes by Tina Martin
  19. Driven to Temptation by Melia Alexander
  20. Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen*
  21. Elevate Me by Ashley Nicole
  22. Enticed by Chanta Rand
  23. Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst*
  24. First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones*
  25. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
  26. Fool For You by Rina Gray
  27. Game, Set, Match by Nana Malone
  28. Geoducks Are For Lovers by Daisy Prescott
  29. Her Perfect Catch by K.L. Brady
  30. Hot in Hell Cat Canyon by Julie Anne Long
  31. How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell*
  32. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
  33. It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips*
  34. Let’s Pretend by Raine Weaver
  35. Level Up by Cathy Yardley
  36. Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen*
  37. Love at First Spite by Alexandra Warren*
  38. Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan*
  39. Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey
  40. More Than a Kiss by Layce Gardner & Saxon Bennett
  41. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
  42. Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid*
  43. Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper*
  44. Noble Intentions by Katie MacAlister*
  45. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  46. One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva
  47. One Night in Santiago by Audra North**
  48. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
  49. Pitifully Ugly by Robin Alexander
  50. Playing for Keeps by R.L. Mathewson*
  51. Playing It Close by Kat Latham**
  52. Playing With Fire by Kate Meader**
  53. Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James
  54. Ready to Fall by Olivia Dade**
  55. Rescued Heart by Georgia Beers*
  56. Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley*
  57. Roman Crazy by Nina Bocci & Alice Clayton
  58. Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare*
  59. Romancing the Fashionista by K.M. Jackson
  60. Seduction & Snacks by Tara Sivec*
  61. Self Preservation by Ethan Day
  62. Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan**
  63. So Sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon*
  64. Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
  65. Somebody Killed His Editor by Josh Lanyon*
  66. Soulless by Gail Carriger*
  67. Steam and Sorcery by Cindy Spencer Pape*
  68. Sustained by Emma Chase**
  69. Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl**
  70. Tell Me Something Good by Jamie Wesley
  71. The Big Girl’s Guide to Buying Lingerie by Amie Stuart**
  72. The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon*
  73. The Duchess War by Courtney Milan*
  74. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn*
  75. The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior by Megan Frampton*
  76. The Guy Next Door by Meg Cabot*
  77. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
  78. The Hooker and the Hermit by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid*
  79. The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston*
  80. The Outlaw Viking by Sandra Hill**
  81. The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins**
  82. The Pirate Lord by Sabrina Jeffries*
  83. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  84. The Rogue and I by Eva Devon*
  85. The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean*
  86. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion*
  87. The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
  88. The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin by Colette Moody
  89. The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis**
  90. The Truth by Christina C. Jones
  91. The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale**
  92. There’s Something About Werewolves by Thalia Eames*
  93. Totally, Sweetly, Irrevocably by Kira Archer**
  94. Touched By an Alien by Gini Koch*
  95. Try Me On for Size by Stephanie Haefner*
  96. Unbuttoning the CEO by Mia Sosa*
  97. Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson*
  98. Wallbanger by Alice Clayton*
  99. Well Hung by Lauren Blakely
  100. Wild Child by Molly O’Keefe*


Read: 18

Of the 100 books listed, I’ve only read 18 and of the 18 books that I read, I enjoyed them all. Some of my favorite books are on this list like Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Sustained by Emma Chase, Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James and then it’s nice to see some new goodies on here too like The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and P.S. I Like You by Kasie West.

On TBR Pile: 25

There are a lot of new to me books that I hadn’t heard of or even authors that I haven’t heard of this list but I did manage to find some books that I know are on my TBR list. 25 books to be exact. Some of the books that I’m most looking forward to reading made the list and that makes me happy. I’m so glad to see Roman Crazy by Nina Bocci & Alice Clayton on here as well as Well Hung by Lauren Blakely and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan.

New to Me/Not on my TBR List: 57

The other 57 books listed, I either haven’t heard of or didn’t seem all that interested in but I am mighty curious about now. Game, Set, Match by Nana Malone, All of Me by Jennifer Bernard and About that Fling by Tawna Fenske are all on my TBR list now.

What about you? How many of these books have you read, plan on reading and are there any books you think should be on this list that didn’t make the cut?

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Characters I Hate

Posted July 18, 2016 by Rowena in Discussions | 10 Comments

Recently, Nick and Neyreda posted a list of characters that they hated on their blog and I was nodding along to most of the people on Nick’s list. That post got me thinking. There are quite a few characters that I could think of wanting to punch in the throat so I thought, write it up and post it on the blog. Your comment would be too long.

Thanks to Nick and Neyreda for the inspiration.

Here’s my list:

Ming LeBon from the Psy/Changelings Series by Nalini Singh: This is a freaking no brainer. At every turn, it seemed like he was making more and more enemies and I was included in that lot. I wanted someone to shoot him dead so many different times because he was a grade A asshole! The crap that he put Sienna through, the shit that he thought he could get away with where the Arrows were concerned? That shit he tried to pull with Vasic??? Yeah, that motherfucker needed to die a slow and agonizing death. Mostly, he just needed to die.

Santano Enrique from Caressed by Ice and Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh: Ugh, talk about evil. Every time I think about the evil he inflicted on Brenna and those other girls and then on Kaleb? Ugh, I want to kill to die all over again. What a freaking psychotic jerkhole!

The guy that dicked Audrey over from BCG in Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen: I don’t even remember his name but the guy that sent Audrey out to finagle some produce off the farmers while trying to stiff them and Audrey at the same time. He was such a punk. He knew he was sending Audrey to do the impossible and he did it anyway. He was only worried about his bottom line and to hell with the farmers and poor Audrey who had to sit there and get laughed out of every farm in Vermont. Ugh.

Brooke from Paper Princess by Erin Watt: This woman needed to get all of her hair pulled out, one strand at a time and then she needed someone to slap her into next Tuesday. This gold digging, no morals having plus what in the hell was she doing with Reed in the first place? She’s an ol’ nasty thang that needs a come to Jesus talk. My hate game is strong for this one.

Charlie from Out of the Shallows by Samantha Young: I absolutely loved all of the drama in Into the Deep and was so looking forward to seeing where Charlie and Jake landed in Out of the Shallows but holy cow, I wanted to pull Charlie’s hair in every part of Out of the Shallows. I couldn’t stand seeing her having no backbone, her reasons for why her and Jake couldn’t be together made me want to punch her in the face and the way that she freaking used Lowe like he was a piece of man-meat pissed me off too. I wish I hadn’t read this book. I wish I had stuck with all of the love I had for these characters in Into the Deep.

Madison Carrington from I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne: Maddie got on my hot damn nerves in I Wish You Were Mine. The entitlement she felt, the way that she treated Mollie and hell, even the way that she treated Jackson made me want to punch her in the throat. She was just a nasty person all over and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how anyone, let alone Jackson freaking Burke could love her.

Rush Finlay from Fallen too Far by Abbi Glines: Ugh, this guy. I couldn’t stand this guy. He was supposed to be this rich, bad boy who fell in love with a girl he thought was a fraud and while it could have been one of those guilty pleasure type of books, I just could not freaking stand Rush. The way that he treated Blaire when she first shows up with nowhere else to go? Ugh. The way that he continued to treat her like trash even after he knew that she wasn’t what he once thought? Ugh. The way that he kept her in a freaking slave room at the bottom of the stairs like she was worth absolutely nothing? Freaking ugh. If he would have brought her out of the room under the stairs a whole lot sooner than he did, maybe things would have changed for me but he didn’t. He kept her there to degrade her, to make her feel like she was nothing to him even when she started to become someone really important to him and her dumbass let him. I got that she didn’t have anywhere else to go but the way that she let him continue mess with her head, her emotions and just everything pissed me off. Yeah, I hate this guy.

Charles & Jason Fielding from Once & Always by Judith McNaught: Charles and Jason did a lot of manipulating over the course of this book and while I let it slide back when I first read this book, after reading it a couple of months ago for my book club, I couldn’t let a lot of the stuff they did go. I couldn’t stand the way that they manipulated Tory. They played with her emotions (freaking Charles), they emotionally abused her (I’m looking at you, Jason) and even though Charles had good intentions, he still messed with a lot of lives and changed the course of so much that I spent a lot of time pissed off at the both of them. Jason, I was furious with when he went to London. I know you guys know what scene I’m talking about. Also, all of the forced seduction, the humiliation that Tory suffered at Jason’s doing. Ugh. Just freaking ugh.

Stanton Shaw in Overruled by Emma Chase: After I finished Overruled, I called Holly on the phone and ranted to her for about a half hour about everything that I hated about Stanton Shaw. I hated the way that he strung Sofia along while he tried to woo his girl Jenny back. I hated the way that he didn’t think what he was doing was freaking creepy as hell and just all around icky. He spent his days trying to woo Jenny back and when he failed, he would spend his nights rocking Sofia’s world in bed. This went on for weeks and weeks and even in the end, he doesn’t choose Sofia first. She runs home to get over Stanton (cause she can’t take it anymore) and that assshole waits until after Jenny’s wedding to another man before he runs to win Sofia back. Ugh. His whole entitled demeanor and just the icky relationship he had with Jenny in college and then his attitude before he finds out that Jenny is getting married? Ugh.

Michaela from Angels Blood by Nalini Singh: Umm, this bitch needs to go. I know that I’ve only read one book in the series but I don’t give a damn. She tried to kill my girl Elena and that business just doesn’t fly with me. Her ol’ jealous ass thinks that she can do whatever she wants, kill whoever she wants because she’s an archangel? I don’t think so boo boo kitty. Bye, bitch.

What about you? Are there any characters that you just absolutely hated while reading a book? Share with the class!

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