Release Date: February 21, 2019
Received From: Review requested by the author
It’s not easy hating who’s someone so goddamn hot.
Amir is a rising slam poet who wants to make it big. While he works a day job at a café, he writes poems like his life depends on it and performs at a local poetry slam every week.
When Landon, the hot new guy desperate to prove himself, joins the team, he threatens Amir’s chance to go to Nationals. Landon soon finds himself locked in a fiery battle with Amir, and they’re both out for blood.
They can’t stand each other. But when a huge fight turns from hatred to fierce passion, they can no longer ignore their attraction to each other. Now they must confront their growing feelings while they vie for the last spot on the team. Can one come out on top without losing the other?
This is the first book in the Coffee & Cardigans series, but can be read as a stand-alone. The next books will follow different couples.
SEXUALITY: bisexual, homosexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: biromantic, homoromantic
TROPES: hate to love, rivals to lovers, teammates to lovers, hate sex
TAGS: new adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, POC characters, Black character, Middle Eastern character, Muslim character, Lebanese character, Arab character
WARNINGS: alcohol, mental illness (anxiety), conversion therapy mention, suicide mention, abortion mention, cheating mention, slurs, gendered slurs, kink introduced into play without previous discussion, ableism, religion mention (Christianity, Islam), anti-queer, Islamphobia mention, semi-public play, racism
I very much enjoyed this hate to love romance from CM Valencourt!
Firstly, the diverse cast was wonderful! There were several different POC characters, starting with the main character being Lebanese and the love interest being Black, and there were mentions of different religions–Islam and Christianity–and how they played into and affected the lives of both of them, in the past and in the continued present. Also, there were a bunch of different queer identities! Amir is bisexual, Landon is gay, and there are other queer and trans supporting characters in the two different friend groups we see throughout the novel.
Also, the overall plot was enjoyable, if a bit predictable. The narrative almost immediately delivers on the hate to love premise that the blurb promises and it lasts for a good portion of the book, delivering several delicious scenes full of unwilling sexual tension and harsh words. And while the Big Moment that upends everything was easy to see from a mile away, it still didn’t take away from the fact that the whole situation was an angst fest as Amir essentially explodes every relationship in his life in an effort to achieve his goals.
The biggest part of the story that I had an issue with was the rapidity with which they got together and were suddenly over their negative feelings towards each other. It was basically like flipping a switch from them being antagonistic to them being all mushy and spending practically all their spare time together. I tend to expect a bit more resistance in hate to love stories, rather than the abrupt switch, so it was a bit off putting.
However, overall, I really enjoyed this story and the characters, and I am looking forward to more from this series!
C.M. Valencourt is a new m/m romance author. They started devouring queer fiction when they still had to smuggle it into their parents’ Catholic household, and dreamed of writing books about queer people finding love ever since. They like figure skating, ghost hunting shows, and Carly Rae Jepsen. You can find out more about their books and learn about upcoming releases at cmvalencourt.com.