Tag Archives: Sally Thorne

So You Want to Read a (Historical, Contemporary, New Adult, Paranormal) Romance …

Alternatively: The Worst Romance Novels I Have Ever Read

This recommendations list is gleaned from at least 80 authors and over 500 books.

Ten Great Romance Novellas to Get You Started

Looking for something specific? Here’s a list of authors I’ve read enough to see thematic consistencies and it’s hard to go wrong with these writers:

Tessa Dare – FUN, bring your willing suspension of disbelief, on double-secret probation right now
Laura Florand – contemporary romances set in France, great intensity
Carla Kelly – lovely Regency romances, often military-themed
Lisa Kleypas  – the gold standard, also writes contemporaries
Julie Anne Long – extremely clever and funny
Courtney Milan – The very best currently publishing, one for the pantheon.
Julia Quinn – An excellent place to launch your reading. Start with The Bridgertons.

I lovehate Jennifer Ashley’s sincere romance mired in tortured heroes and overwrought plotting.

This list is an edited version of my Complete Reading List by Author. Reviewed books are linked.

Mallory, a frequent commenter, asked me to make a personal Top 5 list. I tried. I couldn’t do it.

CLASSICS

  1. Balogh, Mary Slightly Dangerous – historical
  2. Bowen, Sarina Blonde Date  – new adult novella
  3. Chase, Loretta Lord of Scoundrelshistorical
  4. Gabaldon, Diana Outlanderhistorical
  5. Heyer, Georgette Venetia (Dameral/Venetia) – historical
  6. Jenkins, Beverly Indigo  – historical
  7. Kinsale, Laura Flowers from the Storm old school, historical
  8. Kleypas, Lisa Dreaming of Youhistorical
  9. Kleypas, Lisa The Devil in Winter  – historical
  10. Long, Julie Anne What I Did for a Duke – historical
  11. Milan, Courtney A Kiss for Midwinter – historical novella
  12. Milan, Courtney The Suffragette Scandal  – historical
  13. Montgomery, L.M. The Blue Castle – historical now, but not when published
  14. Quinn, Julia Romancing Mr. Bridgerton  Bridgerton Book 4 – historical
  15. Thorne, Sally The Hating Game – contemporary

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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Barring a dark horse in December, I am quite sure this is going to be the best romance I read all year. It’s that good.

Over with my friends in Kissing Book Corner, there’s one book we’ve all been reading and (mostly) heaping praise on. Now it’s my turn to review The Hating Game and I have already added it to the “Classics” section on my Romance Recommendations Quick List. The writing is fantastically witty and fresh, the love story sweet, and I have already pre-ordered Sally Thorne’s next book.

Lucy and Josh work together in similar roles supporting the co-chiefs of a publishing house. They have a hate/hate relationship which evolves into love/hate but is, of course, actually secretly love/love. How they sort that out makes for a wonderful bit of escapism that almost feels like it could be real life, if one could be as funny as the heroine and men really existed who are romance novel constructs.

I keep a lot of lists for recommendations and such, but particularly of pet peeves for historical and contemporary romances. Logically, I know Sally Thorne didn’t read my lists, but apparently we are of one mind on several items: Josh and Lucy have a significant height difference which they acknowledge and that is unusual in and of itself, but they find it tantalizing and work to manage it; Josh’s not insanely wealthy, just financially secure; he’s romantically experienced enough to know what he’s doing, but not a player; moreover, his body’s “astounding masculine architecture” is justified and the product of tremendous effort. There’s just so much going on in The Hating Game that I appreciate as someone who reads many of these books. It’s not just the writing that’s clever, the construction is, too. Thorne follows tropes that work and plays with the ones that need to be put out of their misery.

As a first person narrator, Lucy’s perspective is an absolute riot. Thorne gives her an insouciantly melodramatic voice that had me in stitches:

  • I begin screaming like an injured monkey.
  • Of their paintball location: The ground is dusty and stark. The trees ache for death.
  • …taking my hand and stroking it like an obsessive sorcerer.

In addition to being wry, Lucy comes across as clearly capable and together, while her interior monologue matches so many of ours in that she feels she is a bit awkward and is convinced she’s not managing as well as she is, even as she works to fulfill her ambitions. She and Josh are just so human.

There have been some great romances featuring difficult men (a few this year alone) and there’s always  something fun in the successful redemption of a man who would potentially be too irksome in real life, but can be matched to the right woman and the two of them work beautifully together as a team*. This is one of those books. The director Billy Wilder said, “You’re as good as the best thing you ever did,” and The Hating Game guarantees I will be checking out every thing Sally Thorne writes for quite some time.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

*This may require another list. Suggestions are welcome. Harry Rutledge is a given.

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