Wednesday, September 8, 2021

At First Hate by K.A. Linde Release Blitz

At First Hate by K.A. Linde Available Now.

A new standalone enemies-to-lovers romance from USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde…

Derek Ballentine and I have always been on opposite sides of everything.

I went to a public Savannah high school. He went to a private Catholic school. I went to Duke on scholarship. He went to UNC as a legacy. When we both end up at Harvard for graduate school and we’re finally on a level playing field, I think it’s all going to change.

I was wrong.

The only thing that changed was ending up in his bed.

Now my grandma has passed away, and Derek is the attorney helping the people trying to steal her legacy. I’ll do anything to stop that from happening. Even take on my lifetime enemy.

I hate him at first sight… but I also want him at first hate.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Coastal Chronicles!
For book one, Hold the Forevers, click HERE.


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At First Hate by K.A. Linde

Book 2
Buy Links

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Audiobook (US)  ~  Paperback (US)



He was intoxicating. And I was drunk off of him in one glance.



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the second book in a related series, but stands alone.

If you like books which slip backwards and forwards in time, then this is for you. I am generally not a great fan, as it takes a lot of skill to develop a character over time and so dealing with three points in time is particularly complicated. I thought Derek showed change over time, but Marley less so. Admittedly, her upbringing by her grandparents had been carefully controlled, so that she did not become like her own mother. She is now a tenured professor who had taken a sabbatical to be with her beloved Gran, who sadly died before she had a chance. Now she has another task, to save the house with her twin brother, from her mother and aunt, who are keen to realise its value.

When it turns out that her nemesis from school, Derek, is going to represent her mother, she cannot believe it. The chemistry between them, however, is strong, and the line between professional and personal is blurring. We learn more about how intense their pasts have been, which adds depth to how they see things differently. In principle, this could have led to more angst than it really did – but I enjoyed the push and pull between them and the reasons that they never made it before this time.

What I think worked very well was the use of nicknames, which flowed through the story, and sometimes were terms of endearment, but other times were a weapon. It was really clever how we learned which was which, and how powerful a word can be when wielded in anger, or in love.

Definitely a good read, with a very satisfying ending.

3.5 Stars

As a huge fan of K.A. Linde's, a great lover of angst, and as someone who adores the back and forth of timelines to draw an entire picture, it pains me to say At First Hate didn't work for me. I "wanted" to love it. While the premise was an engaging one, the execution and "voice" is what tore me from the story itself.

This is Marley and Derek's angsty tale, as told by Marley in several time spans. High school, the cheerleader from public and the rich boy from a rival private school, butting heads and love-hating one another in the past and in the present.

High school Marley is directly influenced by her mother's life choices – the teen mom of a pair of twins, dumping the toddlers on her own mother's doorstep, their grandmother, and never to parent again. Gran is exacting in the morality department, refusing to allow her grandchildren to repeat the parenting mistakes she made with her own daughter, and the mistakes her daughter made. This shapes Marley, creates a hard-working, people-pleaser, who is very innocent, sheltered, and world weary.

College Marley is still just as socially reserved as High School Marley, the same innocent voice.

In the present, Gran has passed away, and the twins are fighting tooth and nail for their inheritance (their ancestral home important to them outside of monetary value) against their mother and their aunt, neither good daughters which is why Gran didn't leave the home to them in the will.

Derek is your classic bad boy, rich boy, using girls as tissues boy. He gets beneath Marley's skin, irritating, aggravating, and making her blood boil in several ways. They begin a dance, Marley an active participant.

The past and the present collide when Derek serves Marley with a lawsuit, acting on behalf of her mother and aunt. Former crush, past aggravator, current enemy.

All of this sounds amazing. The plot deliciously angsty, ripe for love-hate, push-pull, and witty repartee. Except it felt forced to me. Very forced, very fast, and not fully fleshed out into a whole story due to the back and forth timeline, something in which Linde usually excels.

Marley's voice does not change over the years. The sheltered teen who sounded years younger than her age, she still sounded like that in college, and as a grown adult in the now. It's hard to explain, as juvenile doesn't fit, as she's not silly and empty headed. Merely a beyond sheltered mindset for someone who had been out in the world, been to college, and is an adult. Her "voice" never changes, while Derek's matures as he ages. It was off-putting, as if Derek was dating a girl from junior high.

To be quite honest, I felt the shifting timelines chaotic, the introduction of nobody characters that fit into Marley's life at the time, the setting barebones as it was of little consequence. I felt as if they were just scenes woven together. Yes, it created a tapestry, but they felt incomplete, more focused on mundane daily trivialities than the actual plot. Characters were introduced, like a current boyfriend the reader only knows for a handful of paragraphs, what was to be a fun and angsty situation lessened because the scene itself is just a few short pages with no true depth, fun on the surface but emotionless. A few sentences summary, I could have just written them out in a linear timeline and understood the story but at the expense of experiencing the journey.

On the surface, At First Hate was a fun book. If you're an empathic person, if I told you Marley's grandmother died and her mother was suing her for the inheritance, you'd get the feels just from that statement. You could read between the lines. That was my problem, with the execution and the rapid way the back and forth scenes were written, I'm unsure if the story itself captivated me or if I was merely empathizing with the summary of the plot, since I never felt as if it was fully developed on the pages. The events were all there, but I never felt as if I was experiencing them.

I wanted to like At First Hate. I adored the premise. I just felt it wasn't actually on the pages. I overthought things, and that's entirely on me. Fans of Linde will no doubt adore the novel. If I had read it fast, not thought too deeply, moved on to the next portion without mulling over anything, I'm sure I would be in the five-star camp. But my mood was contemplative, and that in and of itself affected my entertainment value. While it was partially my mood's fault, it doesn't erase the fact that these issues did exist within the novel itself.

Want more of Erica’s thoughts? Click HERE to read the rest of her review on Goodreads, which includes commentary on the twins' behavior and Gran: (the "lying" about being at practice punishment).



Author Bio

K.A. LINDE is the USA Today bestselling author of the Avoiding series, Wrights, and more than thirty other novels. She has a master’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia, was the head campaign worker for the 2012 presidential campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as the head coach of the Duke University dance team. She loves reading fantasy novels, binge-watching Supernatural, traveling, and dancing in her spare time.

She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband and two super-adorable puppies.

Connect with K.A.

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: K.A. Linde Books



It was easy to drown in Derek Ballentine.


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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of At First Hate (Coastal Chronicles #2) by K.A. Linde to read and review for this tour.

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