The Official Description: This arrangement is either exactly what they need–or a total disaster
Oscar is a grouch.
That’s a well-established fact among his tight-knit friend group, and they love him anyway.
Jack is an ass.
Jack, who’s always ready with a sly insult, who can’t have a conversation without arguing, and who Oscar may or may not have hooked up with on a strict no-commitment, one-time-only basis. Even if it was extremely hot.
Together, they’re a bickering, combative mess.
When Oscar is fired (answering phones is not for the anxiety-ridden), he somehow ends up working for Jack. Maybe while cleaning out Jack’s grandmother’s house they can stop fighting long enough to turn a one-night stand into a frenemies-with-benefits situation.
The house is an archaeological dig of love and dysfunction, and while Oscar thought he was prepared, he wasn’t. It’s impossible to delve so deeply into someone’s past without coming to understand them at least a little, but Oscar has boundaries for a reason—even if sometimes Jack makes him want to break them all down.
After all, hating Jack is less of a risk than loving him…
The Love Study
Book 1: The Love Study
Book 2: The Hate Project
Book 3: The Life Revamp
Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.
Just the facts: M/M romance, anxiety, diverse chracters
A group of friends I want to KNOW! A grouch and a jerk are brought together for mutual benefit when life gets tough. – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: Let’s talk about this series of books… I love it! In book one, “The Love Study” I met Declan who is known for leaving his partner the alter, and non-binary YouTuber, Sidney. The two of them met when they decided to do a YouTube series about Declan dating. Book one also introduced they found-family friend group the characters lovingly refer to as the mother-f&*kers.
Book two “The Hate Project” revisits some of these characters but focusses on Oscar and Jack. Oscar is a bit of a mess… but his dysfunction is functional. He is plagued by anxiety, has a difficult relationship with food, and isn’t very confident with his body. The thing is Oscar reads as very authentic and I really liked him from the moment I met him. His life gets super challenging when he loses his job and finds himself facing the social horror of applying for jobs and potentially interviewing.
Having friends means that Oscar gets coaxed out to at least sit in the corner in the presence of other people. I adored the way that his friends accept his anxiety and allow him to be himself. The only person that Oscar doesn’t get along with (let’s face it he actively dislikes) is Jack.
One night, leaving a gathering he didn’t want to attend, Oscar is a little bit shocked when Jack casually suggests that they two of them begin a sexual relationship…but he surprises himself by accepting. They have a steamy encounter and then… Jack drops Oscar off at his car.
Before Oscar can completely spiral out of control about being unemployed, his quirky friends step in and set him up to work with Jack. Jack is facing the task of cleaning out his family home and it’s a doozy of a mess. And my goodness, this is the point at which the fun begins. Jack is an adventure. He is successful in his work but is a bit of a jerk. He can be quite blunt, seems a bit disconnected and almost uncaring at times.
When these two characters are thrown together, it’s the most amusing train wreck I have read in a while. Then, he finds himself working for Jack to clean out his Grandparent’s house and things get all tangled up. Oscar doesn’t have a lot of experience with people that is very positive… with the exception of his circle of friends, he doesn’t do well with socializing. Oscar and Jack have a lot of friction between them that can definitely spark a flame between the sheets, but it causes all kinds of misunderstandings and hurt feelings when they are trying to just exist in the same space.
Here’s the thing about the characters in this book: they are truly diverse. This group of friends seems like they could exist around the corner from me because they are all fully formed and developed characters. They are unique, quirky, wonderful, flawed and sometimes bizarre while still being engaging and endearing. I really enjoying Kris Ripper’s writing and look forward to reading anything else that ze publishes in the future!
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) very clear descriptions of living with anxiety and panic, discussion of medication and side effects, panic and anxiety, character is divorced, descriptions of hoarding and cleaning up the residence of a hoarder, character has body image challenges, character focuses on food and eating in relation to weight and appearance.
I received an ARC of The Hate Project by Kris Ripper from Carina Adores via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.