I thought I didn’t like second chance tropes, but turns out I just really don’t like them when they’re done poorly or the lead reminds me of my ex-boyfriend. What I’m say is that I went into Hate to Want You a little nervous and then I LOVED it so much. So if you’re putting this off because you’re iffy on the trope, stop it. Trust Alisha Rai, she will not let you down.
First of all, Smart Bitches Trashy Books is hosting a talk about this book tonight at 8:00 EST. They also gave this book a much desereved A in the review from redheadedgirl, which you can see here. So while this is going to be similar to my Book Talk for Hold Me by Courtney Milan, I actually get to participate in a book club tonight so WOOHOOO!
I am going to follow a similar format as I did in that Book Talk so again, please let me know if you want to see something different. I’m still figuring out the format I like as I go along. As a reminder, there will be a divider where I dive in a bit more to spoiler-y thoughts. These thoughts are usually not very spoiler-y, but I want to warn you just in case!
Synopsis: Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler grew up together because their families co-owned a business. When they were teenagers, they became something more. And then, something happened, and their families were torn apart. So for the last decade, Livvy and Nicholas meet up once a year and share one night of pleasure, but just that night. Until this year. This year, Livvy didn’t text Nicholas, but she’s back in town and he doesn’t quite know how to handle it.
Non-Spoilery Thoughts: This book is full of angst and real feelings that have you cheering for Nicholas and Livvy the whole way through. Also, let’s just take a pause to admire this cover and how Avon is KNOCKING IT OUT OF THE PARK lately.
Also, if you’re into tattoos, not only is Livvy a tattoo artist, but she also has the most excellent therapeutic tool involving her tattoos. I was obsessed with how seamlessly Alisha Rai discusses mental health in this book. It was amazing and also, excellent.
The book also really explores themes of family, which I loved. Both Livvy and Nicholas have complicated realationships with their family members. Livvy is desperate to kind of fix her relationship with her mom, and is desperate for a backhanded compliment or an insult because that’s the way mothers in her culture show their love. There’s a few fascinating passages about that throughout the book. Livvy is also close to her widowed sister-in-law, who is the heroine of the next book. I loved their relationship, honestly and I hope it is shown even more in the sequel. Finally, for Livvy, there’s her relationship with her absent twin brother, which, just… Yes. Love.
For Nicholas, he does everything he can to protect his sister Eve, who is the heroine in book three and I CANNOT WAIT. Book three is out next year and I’m already too excited. I need her to find love. She’s precious and I adore her. Then there’s his grandfather who he’s very close to and the CEO of the company. Unfortunately, his grandfather and his father do not get along because his father is trash. Is that a spoiler? I vote no. His father is trash. So yes, yay for families!
So, that’s all I can promise no spoilers on, well plus, the next book is out in November and I am SO EXCITED.
Topic Number One: Let’s Talk About Sex
Priority number one for me in regards to sex in romance novels–scratch that, in literally anything where sex is mentioned–is consent specifically obtained? Priority number two, is the topic of STDs/pregnancy prevention discussed? If no to either of those things, there had best be a reason for it, you know?
Yes, yes. Alisha Rai writes consent in sexual scenes nicely. This one was interesting because the two know each other so well, so much of it was body language and the two of them having a give and take, but there were also explicit verbal questions on occasion. There were several different talks about protection re: birth control/health status and condom use.
As for the steaminess of the sex scenes, um, yeah. If you don’t know Alisha Rai has written some Indie published very explicit romance books that veer into erotic romance and are amazing, honestly. I highly recommend all of the books she’s written that I’ve read, which is most of them.
Topic Two: Is the Trope Well Done?
I say trope here because even though it’s a second chance, it’s also kind of hate to love because they kind of hurt each other pretty deeply. Well, to be fair, Nicholas hurt Livvy very deeply, but he had a good reason! But the point is just that I’m not sure what exactly the trope should be classified as…
Regardless, this book does everything well. The relationship dynamics, which as you know, I can sometimes take issue with in hate to love, are actually so well resolved. And unlike in The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean and July’s Book of the Month, I didn’t feel like Livvy carried the book single-handedly. I love Nicholas. I understand why both characters did what they did. I support the fact that they love each other and that it takes a lot for them to get to where love is enough. But I’m so glad they did because I love them. They are a top notch OTP. So happy they made it.
Topic Three: Is this book good while you’re reading it, but then you forget everything?
Not at all. I devoured this book in one sitting because I was seriously so into the book, but it’s stuck with me anyway. It has one of my favorite quotes and also one that I can’t stop thinking about.
“Society tells women that they have to be responsible for the emotional health of their relationships and then tells them they’re weak for feeling emotions. What kind of message is that?”
Yes, indeed, what kind of message is that?
Topic Four: Girl hate or nah?
I hate girl hate. I think it’s dumb and guess what, NONE OF THAT TO BE FOUND HERE. Nope. Is Livvy different from other girls? Idk, because MOST GIRLS ARE UNIQUE HUMAN BEINGS.
And even better, Livvy and Eve and Livvy and Sadia are truly excellent friendships and I love it. Plus, Livvy looking out for Eve in the bar? Yes. All the yes.
The closest we get to girl hate is when Nicholas is dumb and says that he’s dating someone and he’s not. Livvy gets jealous of this nameless/faceless person, but doesn’t lash out. And when she sees Nicholas kiss some woman on the cheek, she gets mad: AT HIM. What a novel concept, right?
If you made it this far, I’m assuming you read the book, although I really wasn’t very spoiler-y, so good job me. Anyway, comment down below your favorite part or if you have any ideas about how to make this a better installation for y’all!