Review #124

First review of 2022!!!!!

Title- The Hating Game

Author- Sally Thorne

Series- standalone- turned into a movie

Rating– 5/5

Genre- contemporary romance

POV- first person, present tense, one POV

Trope- office romance, happily ever after

Steam level- 2/5 spice

Cover– cute, fits the genre


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.

Character Development- Lucy learned how to stand up for herself and say “no” more which was great but this didn’t feel like a focal point.

First chapter- I love the prose and creativity in the writing. The work place trope and enemies to lovers trope is quickly established. Lucy and Joshua already have distinct personalities and the unique things she hates about him are shown well. However it’s unclear WHY they hate each other. She already thinks in chapter 1 that she wishes they could be friends, so the hatred doesn’t feel as strong as it should. It already gives them hope.


Her writing is unique and feels so alive, such as “He advances like a floating Dracula.” Or “I’m sure he only fornicates with Amazons.” … I love it

“I look like a gypsy fortune-teller screaming about your imminent death. A crazed lunatic in an asylum, seconds from clawing her own eyes out.”

Vivid sensory descriptions-
yes, especially the office setting

Dialogue- a strong point in this novel

Diversity- not much

Ethics/morals- HR was brought up too often with interoffice dating

Conflict/tension/obstacles– I don’t think it had a strong enough all is lost moment

Ending- super satisfying & tied up in a lovely bow. I still don’t think this qualifies as legit enemies to lovers after the fact.

Pacing- fast/easy/fluid

Best part- the unique quirks they learn about each other

What I would change-

The climax seemed to lack some umph power. The big moment seemed more related to a secondary issue than what the plot had been leading up to. The big “shabang” moment never happened as anticipated. I predicted Mindy & the content of the discussion Josh had with managers. By the way, when she was joking about her size saying she shrunk in the drier I almost peed my pants from explosive laughter. It was a great line.

Thoughts while reading-

Page 76- I don’t understand why she’s crying and why he ruined her. Like in a good or bad way? Is she blaming him or thanking him?

Page 111- I’m mad at contemporary romance because no real man is like this lol. Who takes care of someone sick like this? Ugh.

Page 128- sometimes I’m having a hard time knowing who is speaking when both characters have an action beat connected to the dialogue.

Page 140- I worry that I’m a robot. This character has cried 3x already in this story and I can’t recall the last time I cried.

Page 176- weird metaphor. By the way I adore their stare off competitions

Midpoint- I love their chemistry and connection. The humor is written spot on & their banter is perfect. I still don’t fully believe this is an enemies to lovers trope though. There’s no real/deep reason given of WHY initiation of hatred began and I’m pretty sure it’s one sided the whole time. It’s also living in denial from the beginning. So it feels more like “girl-in-denial to lovers trope” or “girl-oblivious trope”

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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