Being a huge fan of the Christina Lauren writing duo’s humorous, contemporary romance style, I knew right away that I would listen to Dating You Hating You. It is a stand-alone contemporary romance that features a contentious office romance between lovers that are competing for the same job. As one of my favorite humorous romances of all time is set against a similar backdrop (Emma Chase’s Tangled), and knowing how witty the Christina Lauren writing team can be, I was expecting big things from Dating You Hating You. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed this title, I’m afraid it just didn’t wow me as I had expected. Instead, this story did provide decent entertainment that kept me engaged, albeit not glued to my earbuds. Additionally, I suspect that my dislike of some aspects of Shayna Thibodeaux’s narration style may also have influenced my enjoyment of this title.
Carter and Evie, both talent agents at competitor agencies in Hollywood, meet at a Halloween party and their connection gets off to a promising start. Given that both Carter and Evie are practically married to their jobs, both are surprised at their initial smooth going attraction and undeniable chemistry.
When both abruptly find out that Evie’s agency has bought out and merged with Carter’s and that they both are among the lucky few that are keeping their jobs in the same department, things start to get awkward, especially when Evie’s boss makes it clear that he expects her to be a “team player” and show the younger (by 5 years), promising Carter the ropes. All that team playing aside, however, Evie’s boss also notes that they likely only have room for one features agent in their office in California. Thus, Evie and Carter are put in the awkward position of competing with each other even as they are just beginning to explore a potential relationship. Could there possibly be a HEA? And just who is going to land the job?
Dating You Hating You is narrated in the typical dual narration style with Thibodeaux narrating the chapters from Evie’s perspective and Lee the ones from Carter’s. This style works generally well, however, I have to admit that I had difficulty falling into any sort of rhythm long enough to enjoy Ms. Thibodeaux’s narration. In that regard, I blame myself because I have noted issues with her narrations in the past (see the AudioGals review of Sweet Filthy Boy), but, I was so eager to listen to Christina Lauren’s latest, that I decided to take a chance and see if Ms. Thibodeaux’s narration style had gotten better. While I think some aspects were better (for example, I didn’t hear as many audible gulps of air), I still found that Ms. Thibodeaux still occasionally lapsed into the repetitive cadence style that I noticed in my 2014 review of Sweet Filthy Boy. Ms. Thibodeaux’s dialogues are much better, though she still doesn’t provide much differentiation among different characters’ voices (especially characters of the same gender).
Deacon Lee on the other hand was fabulous on all fronts. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Lee’s dialogues and narratives. I find his voice somewhat similar to Sebastian York’s in the sexiness factor while at the same time providing more range in distinguishable voices (I love York but his feminine voices aren’t too genuine). I will definitely be looking for more of Mr. Lee’s narrations in the future.
All in all, I’m glad I gave Dating You Hating You a listen. The story was entertaining enough though perhaps not as love/hate chemistry driven as I had hoped for. That said, I think the secondary somewhat mysterious element of the plot (relating to Evie’s boss’ clear animosity towards her) kind of made up for this and balanced the scales by providing a different factor to focus on (the race to find out why Evie’s boss seemed determined to get rid of her). Moreover, while Ms. Thibodeaux’s narration wasn’t my favorite, it was somewhat offset by Mr. Lee’s great narration and overall was still slightly better than her past performances which allowed me to at least listen to the story to the end.
TITLE: Dating You Hating You
AUTHOR: Christina Lauren
NARRATED BY: Deacon Lee and Shayna Thibodeaux
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
STEAM FACTOR: Glad I had my earbuds in
REVIEWER: BJBuy Dating You Hating You by Christina Lauren on Amazon EXCERPT: