Two Contemporary Romances To Read Immediately: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne & Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen

January 21, 2019 / 3 Comments / Recently in Romance, Review

Hello all, I’ve read some crazy good romances recently (look out for more romance reviews soon) but both 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne and Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen are the cream of the crop. They definitely belong at the top of your To Be Read list, and should be read immediately!

Read on for my thoughts!

Two Contemporary Romances To Read Immediately: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne & Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen99 Percent Mine

Goodreads
Author: Sally Thorne
Find the author: Twitter, Facebook
Also by this author: The Hating Game
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: January 29, 2019
Source: ARC from Harper Collins Canada (thank you!)
My rating:
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | The Book Depository | iBooks | Google Books | Audible

Readers and critics alike raved over USA Today bestselling author Sally Thorne’s smash hit debut novel, The Hating Game—which sold in over 20 countries. Now she’s back with an unforgettable romantic comedy about a twin sister and brother struggling over an inheritance—and the sexy best friend who comes between them. This next hilarious romance includes a special PS section with two Happily Ever Afters—one for this novel featuring Darcy and Tom and the other, an epilogue featuring fan favorites Lucy Hutton and Josh Templeman from The Hating Game!

Crush (n.): a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

Review: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

A solid sophomore effort by Sally Thorne, author of the smash hit romance The Hating Game, 99 Percent Mine has similarly well-defined characters, weird metaphors, and the same intensity of Thorne’s first work.

Darcy Barrett is a bartender whose life is a mess. She’s a former wedding photographer whose life crashed and burned when she discovered that her perfect man, family friend Tom Valeska, got engaged. Tom is Darcy’s twin Jamie’s best friend, and she feels that the two of them know way too much about her. In particular, they know about the fact that she has a very weak heart, capable of making her out of breath and incapacitated too soon. Darcy’s always felt a little like people treat her with too much fragility, which is probably why she’s developed such a tough skin.

When Darcy and Jamie’s beloved grandmother Loretta dies, she leaves the two of them her house, with demands that they renovate it but keep it in the family. The house is a mess, but luckily, Tom is a construction-worker-turned-contractor with a new business. Jamie hires Tom to flip the place into a cool, modern sell, but Darcy wants to  keep the essence of her grandmother. As a result, Darcy refuses to leave the site and decides to live in the small shed in the back while helping with the reno. Meanwhile, Tom is also living on site in a tent and really stressed out about his new business and doing right by Darcy and Jamie.

I’ll be honest, I can’t review this book without comparing it to The Hating Game, which is one of my favorite books EVER. What I love about Sally Thorne’s work is how much her characters push each other to the breaking point – and how much she uses metaphors and similes that are weird and out there to describe that intensity. She has a very literary take on commercial romance – her plots and settings underscore a lot of what’s happening in the characters lives.

For instance, 99 Percent Mine is about a renovation of a crumbling house – but one that means a great deal to Darcy. Similarly, Darcy herself is crumbling under a vat of bad decisions and running away. With the construction going on, Darcy is forced to stay – not only to oversee the renovation, but also to deal with the foundations and ramifications of her choices. And of course, there’s Tom – who is a fixer-upper with more than just his hands. He’s always been someone who helps the Barrett twins out of trouble. There’s a lot of playing with metaphor and simile in both the way the characters talk to one another, and the way that things are described. It’s definitely a unique and resonant approach to romance.

I also love how Thorne understands how passion and love mix and make people do crazy things. Darcy and Tom clash in just the right ways. There’s an amazing push-and-pull between them. From the very first moment when they see each other again after YEARS of being apart, there’s a familiarity, a joking, and a tension that just sizzles. There’s a lot of cat-and-mouse circling in both of her books, but more in 99 Percent Mine, where Thorne ratchets up the tension so minutely and skillfully that you’re hanging on for dear life when she finally lets her characters consummate their passion.

Darcy and Tom are far more normal than the characters in The Hating Game, and their story is a little bit less unique – but it’s no less well-defined! Darcy’s tough girl attitude and the way she approaches life is both frustratingly destructive and captivatingly honest. How many of us have made dumb decisions because of love and vulnerability? How many of us spent our 20s tripping from place to place, looking for something to call home? You can’t help but feel for her, empathize with her candy and wine benders, and also want to bonk her on the side of her head.

Meanwhile, Tom’s dealing with learning how to be a boss, how to be a business owner, and how to face up to feelings for Darcy he’s been trying to ignore and tamp down for years. If I’m being honest, for me, Tom just couldn’t measure up as much to The Hating Game’s Josh. Darcy calls him “the perfect man” – and it’s kind of true. He’s a really great guy, kind and generous, strong and sensitive. While I enjoyed him with Darcy, I think I just found him a little bit too typical – he’s pretty much what you expect in a slow-burn romance.

I also really enjoyed the secondary characters in this book. Jamie, Darcy’s twin, is the exact kind of jackass that you want him to be – charming but cold. Truly, Darcy’s underwear designer friend is so fun and caring that you want a happily ever after for her, too. And even though you don’t see her as a character, Loretta, Darcy’s grandmother, plays a huge role in her life and in how Darcy acts and reacts.

For me, 99 Percent Mine wasn’t as strong as The Hating Game. I think what I loved about The Hating Game was just how weird the characters were. It was just a matter of preference – I loved the office romance of The Hating Game, and I loved the quirkiness of the characters. Still, I really, really enjoyed and raced through 99 Percent Mine. It’s a fast, intense read that I highly recommend.

The Final Word:

I read 99 Percent Mine in a day and a half and barely slept – and when I slept, all I dreamt about was Darcy and Tom. I really, really enjoyed it, and I think readers who loved the intensity, incredible description, and quirky characters of The Hating Game will also adore Darcy and Tom’s house-flipping slow-burn romance. Darcy and Tom had me riveted from moment one, and they didn’t let up until I was finished.

*****

Two Contemporary Romances To Read Immediately: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne & Overnight Sensation by Sarina BowenOvernight Sensation

Goodreads
Author: Sarina Bowen
Find the author: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Pinterest
Also by this author: , The Fifteenth Minute, The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, Blonde Date, The Understatement of the Year, The Shameless Hour, The Fifteenth Minute, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Keepsake (True North, #3), Him, Us, Untitled, Hard Hitter, Good Boy, Keepsake (True North, #3), Goodbye Paradise, Pipe Dreams, Stay (WAGs, #2), Pipe Dreams, Temporary, Man Hands (Man Hands, #1), Man Card, Brooklynaire (Brooklyn Bruisers #4), Speakeasy, The Accidentals, Top Secret
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #5
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Hard Hitter
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Publication date: January 22, 2019
Source: Author's publicist (thank you!)
Format: eARC
My rating:
Buy It: Amazon.com | iBooks | Google Books | Audible

Everyone knows the girl is off limits. But it's so good to be bad.

There’s this girl... 

Heidi and I have been trading hungry looks all year, and everything she does makes me smile. But I don't do girlfriends, and I certainly can't get involved with the league commissioner's daughter. I need shots on goal, not a hookup and a widely misunderstood paparazzi photo.

Can I resist her, though? The way she teases me should be a game penalty for interference with my libido. 

There’s this guy…

Jason wants me, but he won’t admit it. That man looks at me the way a hockey player eyes the lunch buffet after practice—and I love it. 

But when victory is finally within my grasp, I blow it and humiliate myself. Even then I can’t even avoid him—as the team intern, I’m in constant view of his hard body and cocky smile. 

I need another chance. Jason Castro is about to learn the true meaning of an overnight sensation. 

Review: Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen

Overnight Sensation is the story of star hockey player and ladies’ man Jason Castro – and how he ends up with the league commissioner’s daughter and team intern, Heidi Jo Pepper. It’s the fifth installment in Sarina Bowen’s excellent Brooklyn Bruisers hockey romance series – and one of the best.

Jason had a great last season with the Brooklyn Bruisers, scoring a ton and making his name. But this season, he’s been moved to right wing instead of left, and he’s out of his depth. Also rankling him? He can’t seem to get the team intern, Heidi Jo Pepper, out of his mind. He’s a one-and-done kind of guy, so this long-time crush is surprising him. But after a paparazzi photo makes it seem like Jason’s been with Heidi, her father forbids him to date her. No problem, right?

Meanwhile, Heidi Jo Pepper, the league commissioner’s daughter, is in a transition phase in her life. She’s dropped out of college and realizing how hard it is to be broke after being a rich girl her whole life. Now that her father realizes she’s not going back to school – he assigns her every manual labour and odd job in the Bruisers organization to try to convince her to finish college. But Heidi Jo isn’t about quitting (usually). She’s also resourceful and sassy, and she’ll get what she wants – and that includes convincing a certain defenseman that she means what she says when she says she’s okay with casual sex.

I really got it bad for Heidi and Jason – Overnight Sensation surprised me with it’s chemistry and depth. There was something so natural about the way Heidi and Jason responded to each other. The slow-burn story made you work for the relationship like the characters did, and I felt every little milestone and hiccup.

What I loved about this romance, though, is that it never felt forced. It didn’t shove plot devices in the way in order to create challenges for the characters. Their feelings and actions evolved naturally out of the circumstances, from Heidi not being able to afford an apartment (and living with Jason and his roommate Silas), to her turning her odd jobs with the team into an opportunity to report back to the team owner. It was such an inspiring read in a lot of ways, because this plucky 21 year old never stops fighting for herself and for the female characters in the series.

And speaking of fighters, Jason is also fighting, but in a different kind of way. He has PTSD after a death in his life several years ago, and he still hasn’t dealt with it. I loved how many facets of him we got to see in this book – from the fun-loving toastmaker (he quotes Dickens!) to the sweet lover to the goal-chasing player. You get a lot of his personality and I really enjoyed it.

And of course, as this is a Sarina Bowen novel, there are a lot of little cameos from some of our favorites from previous novels, as well as some new secondary characters (Silas!) who made it into my heart. I also love how much we got of the Brooklyn Bruisers as an organization – how many jobs and people it takes to run the franchise.

The Final Word:

Overnight Sensation hit all the right notes for me – from a natural, easy romance, to strong and plucky characters, to swoons. This is one romance you don’t want to miss – and yes, you can totally read it as a standalone, too! Pick it up immediately!

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99 Percent Mine comes out on Jan 29, 2019 and Overnight Sensation comes out on Jan 22, 2019. Are they on your to be read list? Have you read books by Sarina Bowen and Sally Thorne before? (If not, you are SERIOUSLY MISSING OUT). Are you into the romance genre? What have you read recently? 

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3 responses to “Two Contemporary Romances To Read Immediately: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne & Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen

  1. Glad to see someone else enjoyed 99 Percent Mine. I thought it was fun, and yes, it took a while for Darcy to grow on me, she was really angsty, but once I started to understand her, I liked her more. Tom, I liked from the very beginning, and I was really surprised to learn what was going on in his head. It was fun, and the ending was great, and I would love for Darcy’s brother to get a book.

  2. Wow … we usually agree on books, but The Hating Game didn’t live up to the hype for me. I’m all for a hate to love story, but for me the hate was the entire story. There wasn’t really anything else. So not sure if I should try this. I do like angsty characters.

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