Title: 99 Percent Mine
Author: Sally Thorne
Published: January 29th 2018
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Crush (n.): a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach . . .
Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that he’s her twin brother’s best friend – oh, and that 99 percent of the time, he hasn’t seemed interested in her. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty – ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.
When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.
Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around – just to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. But sparks start to fly – and not just because of the faulty wiring. Soon, a one percent chance with Tom is no longer enough. This time around, Darcy’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.
‘I thought that having just 1 percent of Tom Valeska’s heart feels like hitting the jackpot, but I think I was wrong. It’s now not enough.
I’m going to make him 2 percent mine.’
Sally Thorne’s debut novel, The Hating Game, was a smash hit. Thorne has kept her fans in mind and has penned a long awaited epilogue to The Hating Game, which appears at the back of her second novel, 99 Percent Mine. I went into 99 Percent Mine cold. I haven’t had the chance to read The Hating Game, but I do enjoy contemporary fiction and romance. 99 Percent Mine is a fresh romance, defined by teasing style humour and a larger than life lead.
Darcy Barrett knew from the age of eight, that she was going to love her brother’s best friend Jamie Valeska for life. But Darcy and Tom have never been able to align their love. Over the years Jamie and Darcy have had different relationships which have eventually run their course. However, admitting their love and taking a chance on a relationship together has never been on the cards, especially with Darcy’s twin brother Jamie in the picture. Things are complicated for the possible lovebirds when the twins inherit a run down cottage from their late grandmother. Their beloved grandmother’s parting wish was that the cottage be restored to its original glory. Darcy shows little interest in this renovation venture, but when Tom shows up on the scene to lend a hand with the renovation process, Darcy cannot resist a chance to hook up with the newly single Tom. As the restoration process of the cottage reaches fever pitch, so does Darcy’s feelings for Tom, can she finally win his whole heart?
99 Percent Mine contains a bonus extra at the close of the book. A ‘Behind the Book Essay’ which gives the reader an insight into the process of writing this book and what it means to the author. It isn’t often that we see these additions to a book, so I was thankful to the publisher for this bonus extra. Like many authors writing their second novel following a hugely successful debut, Sally Thorne had doubts about her talent and creativity. She admits to nearly giving up on this novel, ninety nine times. I get the feeling that the title pays homage to Thorne’s second labour of love.
I enjoy contemporary romance titles and going on from the success of The Hating Game, which was a much talked about novel, I was keen to try out 99 Percent Mine. At its core, this is a slow fire romance, gently flickering in the background until near the end of the novel when it reaches an inferno. 99 Percent Mine also presents a classic friends to lovers style romance. We learn that Darcy and Tom have dodged one another in the romance stakes for far too long.
Another complication in this storyline comes from Darcy’s medical condition. We learn she has a heart condition and it means she is often guarded. Darcy also protects herself from getting close to others. Her brother is naturally protective of his sister too and they are both aware of what over excitement can mean for Darcy – heart palpitations and worse yet, a heart attack. Darcy is an unusual lead, possibly unlikable – if I dare say. Although I sympathised with her medical condition and the way she handled herself, I just didn’t click with her. I think if this were real life, I would find it really difficult to be friends with Darcy! Small doses perhaps! For those who like sharp-witted leads, full of snappy comebacks and overly confident, this character will draw appeal. Darcy is overly developed character wise, almost to the point that her brother Jamie doesn’t get a look in and Tom pales in comparison.
Tom was a genuinely sweet lead and I could see the goodness in his character. He is often described by Darcy in a way that elevates him to swoonworthy hunk status! She definitely has stars in her eyes when it comes to Tom! But, I really wanted to know more about Tom’s past, there was an opportunity missed. However, there is plenty of banter and flirtatious moments that fly between Tom and Darcy. Readers will enjoy the will they/won’t they sequences.
Thorne uses a great little side narrative thread to deflect some of the attention away from the romance side of things with the renovation of the cottage, which is bequeathed to the twins. I appreciated this sub strand to the main narrative.
Once you reach the close of 99 Percent Mine, don’t forget to check out the epilogue, which provides an insight into the happy ever after of the leads. This follows the acknowledgments, an ‘about the author’ section and extra book additions.
The one I’ve always needed beside me, every step that I take.
“One hundred percent mine”.
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne is published by Hachette Australia. Out now. $29.99
To learn more about the author of 99 Percent Mine, Sally Thorne, visit here.
*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.
99 Percent Mine is book #18 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge