Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Review: Love, Hate, and Other Lies We Told by Deirdre Riordan Hall

Love, Hate, and Other Lies We Told by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Series: Standalone
Published: January 17th, 2017
Publisher: Self-published
300 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Acquired this book: From the author in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon US || Amazon CAN}

Let go from her job and feeling lost, Navy Carrington takes a position as coffee-girl at a publicity firm. Their newest client is Carrick Kennely, the former love of her life and her fiercest adversary. She thought she'd let go of the past by playing it safe with book boyfriends—and avoiding frustratingly sexy guys like Carrick.

When Navy's roommate finds the Boyfriend Book, a silly relic leftover from Navy's teens, it prompts a dare; Navy is to go on five dates and pick one to be her Valentine. Despite her reservations, she can't say no, especially if it means proving to herself and Carrick that she can move on.

Navy chronicles her brief romantic entanglements with the Hottie in 7G, the Man-Bun-Barista, the Gym Stud, and the Book Boyfriend who turns out to be a toad—not the kind that when kissed turns into a prince—on The Boyfriend Book Blog. She doesn't want to let her readers or herself down, but as Valentine's Day nears, none of the guys comes close to being her one true love.

Except Carrick. He’s infuriating, attractive, confusing, catnip…and it turns out he has a secret.

With a love letter and a plane ticket in hand, Navy leaves her baggage behind and must decide between love, hate, and the lies she told to protect her fragile heart.

Having read and loved Dierdre Riordan Hall’s Young Adult novels Sugar and Pearl, I was excited to read her debut women’s fiction novel, Love, Hate, and Other Lies We Told. For that reason, and because the author is a truly lovely person, I wanted to love the book, hurts my heart to say this...I didn’t. I’ve been reading a lot of women’s fiction lately, and rom-coms are totally my jam, both in book and movie form, so I had high hopes for this one. While the story had good elements and a fun premise, what kept me from ever fully connecting to it was Navy herself. There were things I sympathized with - mostly her feelings of being lost and unsure - but for the most part, I just couldn’t connect with her. She frustrated me from the beginning with how she constantly compared herself to Kat and laid out all the things she wasn’t - beautiful, fun, able to trust, successful, etc. She focused so much on negative things and on the past, and refused to move on. Every time she took one step forward, she ended up taking two or three steps back, and she was constantly going over how she’d been hurt, how she couldn’t trust men, especially Carrick, how she kept herself guarded, etc. I did appreciate her ultimate growth and how she really came into her own, but the journey was rocky.

All that being said, my issues with Navy could totally be ‘me things’ that might not bother other people. There were things I enjoyed about the book, such as Navy and Kat’s friendship. I’m a sucker for strong female friendships that have their ups and down, but where the characters ultimately love each other unconditionally. Navy’s dates were also fun and often had me smiling...and glad I’m not part of the dating scene!

I enjoyed the overall premise of Love, Hate, and Other Lies We Told. Navy was an avid reader and had far more book boyfriends than real boyfriends - both of which I can relate to. I think many of us live inside fictional worlds for various reasons, and sometimes forget there’s a whole real world out there waiting to be discovered and lived in. It was nice to see Navy maintaining her love of books and book boyfriends while realizing she can still have a real and fulfilling life outside the pages.

Despite my issues, Love, Hate, and Other Lies We Told was a book with a fun premise, interesting characters, and a lot of real-life emotion. If you’re a fan of women’s fiction, I’d encourage you to give this one a shot!


{My review of Sugar || My review of Pearl}

Have you read Love, Hate, and Other Lies We Told? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you read any women's fiction lately that you'd recommend?

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