Explaining my thoughts about this book is much easier than choosing a numerical rating. This book has the pieces that appeal to a reader like me but some of them needed better definition and the assembly is slightly off. I found this book to be an entertaining and quick read with above average writing and it’s on my recommend list if you can deal with the following:
I think this is Ainsley Booth’s first published work and whether it is fair or not, I’m grading on a curve because I think this writer has a lot of potential and I hope she finds enough success to keep at it. Hate Fuck is about a D.C. fixer, Cole, and the daughter of a wealthy family, Hailey, embroiled in a scandal. Cole is seemingly assigned to handle (Olivia Pope style) the negative publicity surrounding Hailey’s family and specifically to work with Hailey. The chemistry between Cole and Hailey is crackling and I found all of their interactions to be electric and entertaining. There is a good current of humor and comedy that runs throughout this book in just enough proportions to add flavor to the plot but not so much that it overshadows the story line. The steam level is a good 4.5 stars even though it’s more foreplay than actual hiding of the snake action.
The first piece of assembly that goes slightly askew is that Cole and Hailey have an antagonistic relationship from the outset of the story but the reason for the hostility, at least from Hailey’s perspective, isn’t entirely clear. It seems that Cole’s antagonism is based on his repressed attraction to Hailey and I’m guessing that Hailey’s feelings are based on Cole’s consequent behavior. The problem is that I’m guessing because the character’s motivations for their feelings isn’t developed enough.
This is a book that attempts to veer into the romantic/suspense category or maybe that is actually the category in which it is supposed to exist, I’m not sure. What I do know is that there were hints of mystery but they kind of seemed to come out of nowhere. The hints didn’t subtly blend into the story line, they were too blunt for that. For example, Hailey starts to suspect that something more is going on with Cole than what he says but it just kind of happens. What minute she thinks Cole is one thing, the next moment she makes five leaps of inference and she’s all “what’s really going on here?” Also, Hailey keeps talking about “the murder cover up” but I have no idea to what this refers, it just pops into the story and back out again every few pages.
The last thing that isn’t well assembled is the references to Cole being “bad” for Hailey and her being “sweet and innocent.” We are never told what is so bad about Cole, maybe we’ll find out in the subsequent books in this series but for the time being we don’t know. As for Hailey, there doesn’t seem to be anything innocent about her. At one point Hailey says “hold my hair, make me choke, paint my face.” Now, I am HERE for all of that. I love a heroine a who is confident and not afraid to say what she wants, HOWEVER, I don’t know any women I would describe as innocent who are out here asking to have their faces painted.
One thing that just needs more development is Hailey’s physical appearance. I have no idea what Hailey’s body looks like. Hailey seems to think she is fat but I don’t know if that is in the same way that like every woman feels that way or if she is actually chubby. Hailey makes repeated references to her weight but there is never a good physical description of her given and that just irritates me.
The ending of this book is a interesting cliffhanger if not a little sudden. I’m intrigued and I definitely plan on finding out what comes next.
The petty note list: I hate it when breasts are referred to as boobs. If Cole was a “Dupont Circle” guy, he would be gay. I don’t know any D.C. girls who wear jean skirts.
**ARC provided by NetGalley**