The Hating Game: Sally Thorne. 4 STARS

Author: Sally Thorne 
ISBN: 9780349414256
Publisher: Hachette/Imprint: Piatkus 
Publication date: 09 Aug 2016
Source: Hachette Australia
Publishers Summary
Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person's undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She's charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together forty (ok, fifty or sixty) hours a week, they've become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There's the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can't let Joshua beat her at anything-especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she'll be Joshua's boss. If she loses, she'll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she's got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she's got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn't hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn't hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game

Well, not my usual genre for sure! Usually knee deep in crime books I was in need of something light, easy to read and funny. I grabbed the chance to read The Hating Game as it seemed to fit the bill nicely.

So, how did these two game players end up sharing an office?

Gamin Publishing and Bexley Books were both sinking fast, the solution was to merge the two failing publishing houses to form a new baby: Bexley and Gamin Publishing.
The two co CEOs are chalk and cheese, Helen Pascal is a real Gamin girl (books are treasure) and Richard Bexley is a true Bexley bloke (books are units). Due to their polar world views they could not possibly share just one executive assistant so Lucy Hutton (Gamin) and Joshua Templeton (Bexley) found themselves sharing an exceedingly shiny office on the 10th floor.

 What are these Hating Games all about? For a start, they are childish and, as Lucy admits “dreadfully immature”. They are conducted mostly in silence, like the Mirror Game, every move Lucy makes is mirrored by Joshua on an ever so slight time delay. Then there is theHR game where one reports the other for some real or perceived  infraction. Even the HR lady is fed up to the back teeth with the pair of them.

They hate each other then do they? Hmm, do they really? By page 50 Lucy is having/enjoying a Joshua dream where they are playing an altogether different game!

Back to daytime reality, the co CEOs announce that a brand new position is coming up for grabs, it has the grand title of “Chief Operating Officer” (yes, COO). It is open to outside candidates but Joshua and Lucy are both encouraged by their respective CEOs to apply, the expectation being that one of them would be successful. 
Big problem! 
The loser would be working for the winner, a thought that neither can bear.
This, then was to be the biggest and most important game of all!

I really enjoyed the first part of the book, very witty, very funny and the antagonism between the pair of them is so well described that it isn't difficult to imagine such silly little antics happening in real life. 

The middle part focuses on the process of Lucy admitting to herself that she is falling for Josh (by now, he is Josh).  I did get a bit fed up with her drooling over his amazing body. I also got a bit tired of hearing about her tiny stature, it was mentioned so often that I began to wonder if she were a Little Person, but no, she is 5 foot tall, a respectable enough height which doesn't really warrant all the girly "I'm so tiny" references. 
Then there were some very long, very tedious conversations between the pair of them, I would have preferred it if they had been a lot less chatty!

The final part became a lot more interesting again and the humour returned, I don't want to risk a spoiler so I will simply say that Josh has a secret! Of course, Lucy discovers this under somewhat embarrassing conditions - and that is all I’m saying!
One odd little thing, there is no mention of country of setting, and though the author is Australian, I’m pretty sure it is set “somewhere in America”. The clues are in the terminology, we Aussies, Kiwis, Brits and other English speaking readers do not call our mothers “Mom” nor do we shop at a “drug store,” and we no longer record our body temperatures using the Fahrenheit scale, I reckon these are pretty convincing clues.
An enjoyable book with some really good qualities that makes it suitable for holiday reading; it is funny; it requires no brain effort, and most importantly it is highly entertaining. 

Review copy provided by Hachette Australia.

About the Author

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. (via publisher)

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