The Hate Project by Kris Ripper: Review and Exclusive Excerpt

Book information

Book Description

This arrangement is either exactly what they need–or a total disaster

Oscar is a grouch.

That’s a well-established fact among his tight-knit friend group, and they love him anyway.

Jack is an ass.

Jack, who’s always ready with a sly insult, who can’t have a conversation without arguing, and who Oscar may or may not have hooked up with on a strict no-commitment, one-time-only basis. Even if it was extremely hot.

Together, they’re a bickering, combative mess.

When Oscar is fired (answering phones is not for the anxiety-ridden), he somehow ends up working for Jack. Maybe while cleaning out Jack’s grandmother’s house they can stop fighting long enough to turn a one-night stand into a frenemies-with-benefits situation.

The house is an archaeological dig of love and dysfunction, and while Oscar thought he was prepared, he wasn’t. It’s impossible to delve so deeply into someone’s past without coming to understand them at least a little, but Oscar has boundaries for a reason—even if sometimes Jack makes him want to break them all down.

After all, hating Jack is less of a risk than loving him…

The Love Study

Book 1: The Love Study (available now!)

Book 2: The Hate Project (available April 27)

Book 3: The Life Revamp (coming November 30)

Read more

Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon

Annika Dev is the founder of Make Up, a dating app to help couples with relationship problems. She’s horrified to find out that her company is going to be in the same building as Break Up, an app that helps people end relationships. Ani had a summer fling with Hudson Craft—Break Up’s founder—and she’s pretty sure that he stole the idea for his app from her. Needless to say, she’s less than thrilled to see him again, especially since he’s so different from the man she met over the summer.

And of course, all of a sudden, Hudson is *everywhere* and Ani can’t avoid him. Not only does she run into him at the office, but she also finds him at her yoga class and at the same restaurant—the man is practically omnipresent, but not in a creepy way.

Read more

This is Not the End by Sidney Bell

Anya is married to Zac, a rock star, and while marriage and a baby have led them to a more sedate lifestyle than what once knew, they have brought a third person into their relationship many times. These have always been one-time encounters, and that’s fine with Anya and Zac. After all, they weren’t looking for anything deeper than that.

But then Anya realizes that she’s attracted to Cal, Zac’s best friend and bandmate, and neither Anya nor Zac knows how to process these feelings. Cal doesn’t know about the open relationship, and furthermore, if the feelings aren’t reciprocated—or even if they are and things take a bad turn—the aftermath could do permanent damage to Zac and Cal’s two decades of friendship.

Read more

Admission by Julie Buxbaum

Chloe is a high school senior living in Los Angeles. Her mother starred in two popular television shows as well as Hallmark movies. Her mother also engaged in an elaborate scheme of cheating and bribery in order to help Chloe get into college.

The narrative alternates between Then and Now, exploring the dual perspectives of the events that preceded Chloe’s mother’s arrest as well as what she and her family do after being implicated in the scandal.  

Read more

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

April is a talented geologist, but her true passion is writing fanfiction for Gods of the Gates, a series of books based on the Aeneid, which turned into a popular fantasy series on television. April’s favorite ship is Lavinia/Aeneas.

Little does she know that her best online fanfic buddy is secretly Marcus, one of the stars of the show.

Meanwhile, when Marcus sees April’s Lavinia cosplay photo on Twitter, he feels compelled to ask her out. She tells him about her fanfic, but he can’t bring himself to confess *his* fanfic identity.

Read more

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

Jo Jones is a former child star who played the adopted Chinese daughter of a white family on a popular television show. As an adult, she is the showrunner for a successful television drama.

Emma Kaplan is her assistant, who hopes to become a director one day.

Jo asks Emma to accompany her to the SAG Awards—as her assistant—but they are photographed together on the red carpet and the whole world assumes that they’re dating.

A different book might handle this with a set of (convoluted) circumstances in which Jo and Emma are obligated to pretend to be dating and end up falling in love during the course of their fake romance.  

There’s nothing wrong with the conventional fake dating trope, but that’s not what happens in Something to Talk About. Instead, Wilsner has taken a romcom staple and given us a thoughtful and nuanced story.

To begin with, there are reasons for hesitation on Jo’s part: there’s a bit of an age difference- Emma is in her late twenties and Jo is forty-one years old. There’s also a power differential: Jo is Emma’s boss, and the #MeToo movement has shown us how people can be exploited by someone who has the power to advance or destroy someone’s career.

So Jo is reluctant to risk doing anything to put Emma in that position; even though she doesn’t have any intention of doing anything exploitative, the implication could be damaging enough. Likewise, Emma suppresses her feelings for Jo because she respects her boundaries and keeping things professional is a priority.     

But that doesn’t stop the rumor mill from thinking that Jo and Emma are dating.

The book takes place over the course of a year and Jo and Emma spend most of it being awkward and stilted around each other as they try to remain professional, despite a handful of “almost” moments between them. But honestly, there’s not that much time for pining because there’s a television show to run, and Jo has the additional responsibility of writing the script for the next Agent Silver movie, a popular superhero franchise.

There’s a nice balance in this book between lighter material like bonding over youth sports and cupcakes, and heavier material, like the aforementioned power dynamic (with a minor character). Even though they spend most of the year avoiding their growing mutual attraction, Emma and Jo’s bond deepens. This makes their eventual romance even more satisfying, as it becomes clear that they are perfect for each other.  

I would absolutely recommend Something to Talk About. I loved the way that Jo and Emma worried about each other; they both demonstrated their concern in a unique way. I also appreciated the way in which toxic people were handled. This was such a good book, and I am looking forward to reading more from Wilsner in the future.   

I received an ARC of this book from Berkley/Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

 

51e5kwbwvyl

 

Kai Sheridan is a senior at Fairvale Academy. He’s also gay, but he’s not out to anyone.

Bryson Keller is one of the most popular boys at Fairvale. He’s also involved in a bet/dare: he becomes the boyfriend of the first person who asks him out at the beginning of the week. At the end of the week, they break up and the process starts over.

It’s all about the futility of commitment when it comes to high school relationships.

To be clear, the definition of dating is more akin to the “olden days” than contemporary times: dating involves rides to school and carrying books and there’s no physical stuff—not even kissing.

So, as the story begins during a hectic Monday morning, Kai asks Bryson to date him and Bryson becomes the first person Kai comes out to. Bryson is totally cool with the arrangement; he even points out that the dare involves the first “person” to ask him out, not the first “girl”. Bryson is also fine with not telling people that he’s Kai’s boyfriend for the week since Kai isn’t ready to come out to everyone yet. Read more

Lucky Break by A.M. Arthur

51e1gyji7tl

Lucky Break is the fourth book in A.M. Arthur’s Clean Slate Ranch series of mlm contemporary romance novels. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I loved all of the previous books in the series, and I wanted to know what was going to happen next on the ranch.

I usually avoid revealing plot points, but in the interest of content warnings, readers should know that Shawn was sexually molested and then outed as a teen.

Shawn Matthews appeared in a supporting role in Saddle Up, the third book in the series. He has been working as the pastry chef at the ghost town’s restaurant. Shawn has not had an easy life; the restaurant job has been a huge help, but he’s been living in his car to save on expenses. Read more

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

51rtbp03gbl

 

The Kiss Quotient was written by Helen Hoang. I’d heard a lot of buzz about this book, so I was very excited when I found it on the new release shelf at my town library. To make a long story short, I enjoyed this book so much that I purchased my own copy- and I added the Audible edition as well.

Stella Lane is a young woman on the autism spectrum. She has a long list of academic and professional accomplishments, but she has not had very much success with romance. Stella decides that she needs to change this by hiring an escort to teach her to be better at the physical aspects of a relationship- from kissing to intercourse, and everything in between. Stella’s first encounter with Michael Phan is fairly benign, and Michael agrees to work with her exclusively- eschewing all other clients. Instead of being irritated by her eccentricities, Michael is patient, and willing to work with her. He finds himself feeling genuine attraction instead of faking it like he usually does with clients. But is there any possibility of a future together with such different backgrounds? Read more

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

51gbju9wj1l

Little & Lion was written by Brandy Colbert. I read this book a while ago, but I’m woefully behind with my book reviewing. I found this book on the new release shelf of the young adult section of my town library. I’d seen this book on a few lists of Hot YA books, so I happily added it to my pile.

Suzette returns home to Los Angeles from boarding school, and tries to settle into life with her blended family. Her stepbrother Lionel has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she wants to be there for him. Rejoining her family serves as a pleasant distraction from having to think about what happened at school. Read more