Author: Sally Thorne

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on 29th January 2019
Pages: 352
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Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

… If Darcy Barrett hadn’t met her dream man when she was eight years old, the rest of the male population wouldn’t be such a let-down. No one measures up to Tom Valeska, aka the best man on Earth, not in looks, brain or heart. Even worse is the knowledge that her twin brother Jamie saw him first, and claimed him forever as his best friend.

Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. One percent of Tom has had to be enough for Darcy, and her adoration has been sustained by his shy kindness. And if she’s honest, his tight t-shirts.

Now Darcy’s got three months left to get her life together before her twin insists on selling the tumble-down cottage they inherited from their grandmother. By night, she’s working in a seedy bar, shooting down lame pickups from bikers. By day, she’s sewing underwear for her best friend and wasting her award-winning photography skills on website shots of pens and novelty mugs. She’s enjoying living the messy life, and a glass of wine or ten… until that one night, when she finds a six-foot-six perfect package on her porch.

Tom’s here, he’s bearing power tools—and he’s single for the first time in a decade.

As a house flipper extraordinaire, Tom has been dispatched by Jamie to give the cottage a drastic facelift that will result in a ton of cash. Darcy doesn’t appreciate Tom’s unsentimental approach to knocking down walls, and he really, really doesn’t approve of her current burnout boyfriend. They can’t be in the same room together without sparks flying- and it’s not the faulty wiring. One bedroom wall separates them at night, and even that’s looking flimsy.

Will Tom ever see Darcy as anything other than a little-sister obstacle to get around? And can she stand up to her most formidable opponent—her twin? This time around, she’s determined to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers, and he’s never managed to say no to her yet…

I’m not sure how to deal with my own sky-high expectations after Sally Thorne’s ‘The Hating Game’, so ‘99 Percent Mine’ having to match these is a tough order to boot. And as much as it pains me to say, my struggles started as I was barely past the first few pages.

Now that didn’t bode all that well. Getting on board with Darcy Barrett’s voice, her inner musings—neurotic, bitchy, lonely and tetchy—written in a first-person POV, New Adult style storytelling was difficult to begin with. There were too many tangents that a single, small thought of hers took, to the point where I wondered what Darcy really was trying to ramble on about as the story wound round and round with her self-deprecating bitterness and her observations of her surroundings (this swung from random things to other random things like a stream of consciousness) before moving forward with some significant developments.

Darcy was also quite the runner in every sense of the word, which isn’t the kind of protagonist I can say I honestly like. (Somehow characters in romantic fiction who drift from country to country, never putting down roots are those who in some clichéd manner, never seem to find their home until the one thing that’s been always bothering them gets put to bed.) Her endless pining for Tom Valeska was described with bombastic, exaggerated care, though much of it just came off as hopeless and reckless, just like what Thorne seemed to portray of Darcy—an annoying and burned-out mess who has descended into a deranged spiral of morbid thoughts of Tom and his supposed fiancée, while going at her own love life and career like the tanked things they were.

In any case, I couldn’t even finish the book at all. Maybe someday in the far distant future, ‘99 Percent Mine’ might be just what I need. But not today.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game by Sally ThorneThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on August 9th 2016
Pages: 384
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five-stars

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 40 (OK, 50 or 60) 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.


Whimsically written with such panache, and so many laugh-out-loud moments of a journey from so-called hate to love, ‘The Hating Game’ is such a sparkling diamond I’m so glad I unearthed in my usual trawl for these rom-com types. It’s the voice of Lucy Hutton that holds the entire story together and what begins as a hostile relationship with Joshua Templeman in the office slides into odd games, insults and banter that you never quite know where the truth and fiction between them actually lie. In fact, it’s akin to getting on with a boy who torments a girl he likes, only that it takes place in the office and spills out of it, leaving the grown-ups not knowing what to do except to play along and pray nothing goes out of hand.But it does, obviously. In a way that makes you take a breath for the confrontation that’s lurking around the corner on page 200 while you hope for several curved balls to be thrown your way.

In the end, I laughed, I clutched my chest, I ached for Josh and wondered why the heck they circled each other when it was obvious they simply needed to get it all on.

And the tone that Sally Thorne adopts throughout – smug, unsure, kind, contradictory, bitchy and all – is so richly nuanced that I never felt prouder and more grossly horrified at being female. It’s what makes Lucy and Josh the odd-pairing that is simultaneously so wrong and right and what makes their chemistry zing with a tension so thick I wished it exploded with greater fireworks. I loved all the humour (and that very Aussie way of smart-alecky writing) and the comebacks, but the moments I really waited for were buried in the second half of the book, when the sobering bits finally emerged after spending a lifetime simmering underneath the banter and the verbal foreplay that never quite got to the heart of Lucy’s and Josh’s feelings.

‘The Hating Game’ thankfully doesn’t sink with heavy angst; any problems were resolved with lightning swiftness, leaving us with an ending so tooth-achingly sweet I knew it had to be fiction.

five-stars