Monday, May 11, 2020

Review: The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel

The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781538733332
Release Date: May 12, 2020
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Strong-willed and proudly single, an engineer walks out when her parents set her up with a lawyer – but when work brings them together again, she just might give love a second chance.

Liya Thakkar is a successful biochemical engineer, takeout enthusiast, and happily single woman. The moment she realizes her parents' latest dinner party is a setup with the man they want her to marry, she's out the back door in a flash. Imagine her surprise when the same guy shows up at her office a week later -- the new lawyer hired to rescue her struggling company. What's not surprising: he's not too thrilled to see her either after that humiliating fiasco.

Jay Shah looks good on paper…and off. Especially if you like that whole gorgeous, charming lawyer-in-a-good-suit thing. He's also infuriating. As their witty office banter turns into late night chats, Liya starts to think he might be the one man who truly accepts her. But falling for each other means exposing their painful pasts. Will Liya keep running, or will she finally give love a real chance? Find out in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy debut about first impressions, second chances, and finding the love of your life in the most unexpected way.

Enemies-to-lovers is never so entertaining as when you have strong, intelligent protagonists who don’t back down. The Trouble with Hating You is an engaging romance with well-drawn characters who bring the story to life.

Liya is a heroine with a spine of steel and a marshmallow heart – I loved her. She’s prickly when it comes to Jay and is constantly pushing him away. But when you’ve been betrayed in the worst way, sexually assaulted, constantly have gossiping aunties giving you the side-eye, and are practically shunned by your community…well, you have more than enough reason to put up walls. Liya comes from a traditional Hindu community and she’s a black sheep both by choice and because she was once made a victim by those who should have protected her. Nevertheless, she’s a brilliant, hardworking, successful biochemical engineer with a heart of gold. She’ll do anything for those she loves and I absolutely adored watching her with her three best friends, Reema, Sana, and Preeti (who I desperately hope gets a book of her own).

Jay is an equally successful lawyer, one who is tasked with trying to rescue Liya’s company. The two of them don’t hit it off at the start. Liya is ambushed by her parents trying to set her up with Jay and he has no idea why she took off at their first meeting. It isn’t exactly the meet-cute most people dream of. But Jay is made of sterner stuff. He’s a sexy, loving, caring hero who is devoted to his family. He also doesn’t put stock in gossip but gets to know people for themselves and is intrigued rather than afraid of a woman who speaks her mind and doesn’t conform to tradition for tradition’s sake. He’s a perfect match for Liya, but he’ll have to get past her walls first. Mutual attraction helps with that and I adored not only the sizzling chemistry he and Liya had, but the way Jay also stood up for what he wanted, which was not just a meaningless fling. There’s a lot of push-pull in The Trouble with Hating You and that’s normally something I tire of, but in this case it worked. Jay and Liya have to work for their happily ever after and I was rooting for them every step of the way.

Both Liya and Jay come from a more traditional background and author Sajni Patel does a great job of depicting both the positive and negative sides of this. Ms. Patel brought depth to the world she created this way and also with the depth and unique voices she gave her supporting cast (I absolutely adore Jay’s mother). The only downsides to this book for me was a side plotline that could have been fleshed out better or eliminated (Jay’s guilt over the death of his father) and that Liya was a bit too harsh in the beginning (though I love imperfect characters and her words were understandable to a point, I felt she crossed over into mean territory a few times). But overall I thoroughly enjoyed The Trouble with Hating You; it’s a strong debut and I cannot wait to see what Ms. Patel writes next!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.