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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Hating Game

Hello Fire Enthusiasts. How is the year treating you so far?

At the end of last year, I did a little bit of complaining about how I couldn't read the way I would have liked to. With all of the writing I was doing last year, and still am, I could not possibly devote any real time to reading. It's a shame really, because I really love to read.

In any event, I did manage to get some reading done during the holidays. Although I have new books by Patricia Cornwell and Pat Conroy on my radar, I finished the year by purchasing the works of many of our blogosphere buddies. The last one that I read was so good that I thought I might spend a few moments telling you about it.

As you have already guessed, the novel I read was "The Hating Game" by Talli Roland. For those of you who know me well, not to mention know what kind of novels I write, you may be wondering how I came about reading this particular novel. Well, I'm about to tell you; however, let me first allow the official blurb to describe the book's plot:

"When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy.

After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes.

Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?"

Okay, now let's get back to how a horror-reading guy ends up reading "The Hating Game". Well, truth be told, I love romantic comedies. An Affair To Remember, Casablanca, Notting Hill and Love Actually are just a few of my favorites. I love these and many more. Yet I don't love every single one of them in this genre, especially if they are simply retreading the same old ground. What I want is originality.

Those aforementioned films had it, and this excellent work of Talli Roland's has it as well.

From the reality television game show subject matter to the strong-willed lead character, I found the story to be fresh and timely. The Hating Game as a show sounds like something we might see with next fall's television line up. I also found the unfolding drama to be well-paced and the twists and turns difficult to anticipate. There wasn't one instance where I felt that Roland had become lazy or had taken an easy way out with regard to plot. Her characters are layered and believable, and I felt as if I knew many of them.

I'd like to talk about writing now. Often, we authors do ourselves a disservice by attempting to show off with our mastery of language. As readers, when this occurs, we can find ourselves "tripping" over words that are either out of place or suddenly several grade levels higher than we had thought we had been reading just paragraphs before. Roland doesn't do this. Her prose is so well-written that it is akin to eating comfort food after a difficult day. It is the perfect combination of education and wit and clarity, as if she agonized over each word.

Another thing that I commend Roland on is the quality of the edit. I found no errors in spelling, grammar or formatting. I have bought other novels from some of our blogosphere friends, and they have had formatting errors which brought down my enjoyment. If there were errors, I was so engrossed in the plot that I didn't notice.

This novel is something special. It is a wonderful piece of fiction, and, once again, much different than other books that I have heard of or read. I found it to be an excellent effort and look forward to seeing what Roland has planned next.

We'll talk soon.


  1. Thank you so much for such a thorough review! I really appreciate it.

  2. Talli, you are more than welcome. Congrats on your success. You have a quality work there and deserve much. However, when you swing through California on that book tour, I expect an autographed copy. ;)


  3. James, you surprise me! It's so cool that you read and enjoyed this book. I love how you compared it to comfort food.

    Talli, well done!

  4. Hi, Julie. Thanks. Yes, I did enjoy it, and was quite surprised by my reaction to the material. I just assumed that I was way out of my genre. It it an incredibly strong effort and clearly, from what I read with regard to reviews, it is being well received.



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