Book Review: Hot Desk by Zara Stonely

Hot Desk

Author: Zara Stonely
Publisher: Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter (September 3, 2021)
Kindle edition
Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance


T/W: contains references to life after the Covid pandemic

Same desk, different days. A post-it note is just the beginning…

Alice loves her job and wants to keep it – whatever the price. But then she’s told the company is switching to flexible working and hot desking…Alice’s desk might look a mess, but she knows exactly where everything is. Or she did. Until she found out she’s going to share it with the most annoying guy in the office.
Jamie can work from anywhere. He’s quite happy to sweep his work life into a box at the end of the working day. But can sharing a desk with Alice be as much fun as teasing her in person?
With no option but to try it and see, will their relationship turn into open warfare or will it ever progress beyond a post-it note?


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

First, I have to say – this book is a hot mess. It probably didn’t help that I read an egalley that was formatted just horribly, so hopefully those who read a fully finished copy don’t have to deal with that. Still, I found myself lost and rather exasperated through most of the book. It’s written in the first person from Alice’s point of view, and is MOSTLY present tense but occasionally slips into past tense in weird ways that made me confused about if Alice was remembering something that happened before or in the current time. There’s also repeated and rather endless (and annoying) repetition about exactly WHY Alice is so attached to all her stuff. I almost DNF’d at 3%, in the first chapter, because it was so obnoxious and just exhausting being inside Alice’s (jumbled) head.

Then the story really starts to pick up with her interactions with Jamie, and I was briefly sucked in again. YES! Their banter is so cute and fun. And then in the last 10-15% the story just got seriously bogged down with Jaime’s drama side story, which just… was weird and didn’t fit right and just threw the pacing and vibe all off again.

There is also a LOT of British slang in here, and as an American reader I had to look some things up. There are a few bits where I was unsure if there were typos or poor grammar, or it’s just a difference in the two types of English, haha.

So the beginning and end both dragged and were a hot mess, but there were some glimmers of gold buried in there along the middle. Something about it compelled me to keep reading, though, so there’s SOMETHING there! Maybe it just needed a bit more polishing.

I recommend if you have a high tolerance for internal babble BS. I’ll probably not be picking up another book by Zara Stonely for a while, though.

A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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