How to Plot a Payback

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Pub Date 02 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 02 May 2024

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He crossed an ocean, and it still wasn’t enough to escape his lifelong nemesis. Now he has to work with her.

Successful screenwriter Finn Masters just landed his dream job writing for Neighbors, one of Hollywood’s highest-rated, longest-running sitcoms. The only downside? It will put him back in proximity of the show’s universally adored, optimistic, altruistic star, Lavender Rhodes, who has been inadvertently ruining his life since they were school chums in England. But she doesn’t even know she destroyed his acting career and wrecked his relationship with the love of his life.

He’s not about to let this woman yank yet another dream out from under his feet. In fact, he realizes he’s been given the ideal opportunity to plot his payback: spinning her character in shocking new directions. What could go wrong? Only everything. As Finn’s not-so-brilliant plot backfires one scene after the next, catching him in the blasts, he’s forced to think about this impossible, infuriating…and maybe even lovable woman in an entirely new light.

  • Sweet romantic comedy
  • Stand-alone novel
  • Book length: 88,000 words
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs

He crossed an ocean, and it still wasn’t enough to escape his lifelong nemesis. Now he has to work with her.

Successful screenwriter Finn Masters just landed his dream job writing for Neighbors, one...

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ISBN 9780840702913
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Featured Reviews

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

This is the first book I read of Melissa Ferguson and I'm very impressed! The characters were quite hilarious and lovable. Lavender was a pretty sunshine-y actress and I adored her humble personality. Finn is the grumpy yet tenderhearted script writer who held a lot of resentment for the many misfortunes caused in his life indirectly by Lavender.

It was a pretty good slow burn. I'd love to read more of the same characters if there is a sequel for this.

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HOW TO PLOT A PAYBACK is a delightful and wholesome story filled with lovable characters and a refreshing plot line. Let's say you're offered your dream career, the moment you've been waiting your whole life for... would you accept it knowing it meant working with the person who has been the common denominator to the things that went wrong in your life? Welcome to Finn Master's life.

I fell in in love with Finn and Lavender's dynamic, watching their relationship unfold, and how they both end up seeing the true version of each other. Actress Lavender Rhodes who is more down-to-earth than she appears and screenwriter Finn who actually is kind-hearted and caring no matter how much he tries to hide it behind his scowling. I absolutely adored this book and look forward to reading what the author comes up with next!

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review.

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When Finn Masters is forced to work with Lavendar Rhodes, the unknowing and ultimate "Ruiner of Life." there will be heck to pay! Unfortunately, for him at least, not all goes as planned and he might just find something (or someone) to love! This is a highly anticipated release from Melissa Ferguson and I can't wait to share this romcom with the world in April 2024!

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Finn Alexander grew up in England and is now a well-known writer for a successful TV program, living in Los Angeles. He attends a Hollywood party, for the purpose of networking with the goal of meeting potential employers. Unexpectedly, he does get a fabulous offer of a dream job on a phenomenally successful weekly TV program. He quits his current job with no notice and Monday morning shows up bright and early to his new job, where he has been warmed to “not be late,” by his new boss. Upon arrival, he encounters several crazy circumstances that cause coffee down the front of his shirt, a few tears in his clothing, and finding a home for many dogs. When he finally makes his late appearance to a meeting, in his disheveled state, to his total dismay and shock, he finds that Lavender Rhodes is the much-loved star of the program he will be a writer for.
Finn and Lavender both grew up in the same town in England, however, they were not friends. Finn has a detailed list, beginning at age 17, that goes through his life to age 29, listing the many things the “Transgressor” also known now as Lavender Rhodes, did that ruined much of his life.
Finn is pretty much stuck in the fabulous new job since he quit his old job with no warning, so no chance of returning. When opportunities come up, he plots how he can payback Lavender for all the losses and heartbreak he suffered at her hand.
This is a well-written, creative, fast-paced, delightful story that grabbed my heart and attention right from the start. The characters are creative, loveable, and unforgettable. Often I had to pause to laugh out-loud!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions and comments are my own.

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Melissa Ferguson has done it again! This was absolutely delightful! The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were charming and witty. I highly recommend this fun and quick read! Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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I loved this book so much! I devoured it. Everything about it was just perfect. The characters, the story, all of it.

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Trying to get payback through screenplay writing, this story is takes place on a beloved sitcom set (think HIMYM or Friends). The first chapter grabbed my attention, and I read this well-paced story in one sitting. I laughed out loud several times with the great dialogue. I think this is my new favorite from Melissa Ferguson (though I really love Meet Me in the Margins).

Tropes: grumpy/sunshine, slow burn, Hollywood star, enemies to lovers (one sided), forgiveness

Rating: 4.75/5

Sweet (no spice)

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Melissa Ferguson, thank you for writing this book! I loved everything about it! Lavender is such a great leading lady, Finn is so funny and grumpy. The whole story I was laughing or falling in love with the characters.

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Super cute!!! Melissa Ferguson’s romcoms lean more on the com than the rom, and this book is no different, delivering chuckles and giggle with an effortless writing voice, witty dialogue, and a cast of lovable characters. I was totally on board as soon as I read the premise, especially since it’s a storyline I haven’t already read more than a dozen times (give me all the fresh plots please!). You could say this is a grump/sunshine (although he’s really not all that grumpy), enemies-to-lovers (although the hard feelings are only one sided and misguided at that), slow burn, but I just call it a cute little romp of a book.

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This book is so adorable! I loved the characters. Finn Masters has kept a list of everything that Lavender Rhoads has ruined in his life, starting with the moment she took his place in their high school play and wound up in Hollywood as a result. But, when the chance of a lifetime comes in the form of writing for the TV show, he can't pass it up. Even if it means writing for Lavender's character.
This book is such a cute romcom, with likeable characters and funny mishaps. I enjoyed the grump/sunshine storyline. If you are looking for a book that will brighten your day, pick this one up!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. This is my honest review.

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Amazing, sweet, why-are-they-so-cute-together-crying.
Lavender is the happy relaxing woman I think I would be if I had financial stability.
Finn is a grumpy genius completely in love with her.

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SO GOOD! I truly loved “How to plot a payback”, it was the perfect romcom, and I’m so excited for the day it comes out as a movie (Manifesting😉)! It’s light and fun, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and has great MC’s. Some chick lit books have such big conflict/tension that it makes the whole thing seem cliche and forced, but Melissa makes this story have just enough tension to remain interesting, but moves the story along unforcedly.

Big thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review! All thoughts included are my own

No spice!

Ideal Cast:
⭐️Lavender: Lilly James (Big LJ kick as of late)
⭐️Finn: Andrew Garfield
⭐️Paula: Annabelle Apsion
⭐️Sonya: Keke Palmer
⭐️Kye: Glen Powell

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HOW TO PLOT A PAYBACK is another laugh out loud romcom by MELISSA FERGUSON, which also gives us much food for thought as we see how bitterness and unforgiveness has affected Finn Masters, who blames famous sitcom star, Lavender Rhodes, for ruining his life, right from their school days.
Lavender, on the other hand, with her kind and empathetic nature, is quite oblivious to his dislike of her and his payback attempts do not have the desired effect.
Bring in the cast of a ten year old sitcom, script writers, elderly fans, romance, dogs, cats, ehickens and much more, and you will be hooked!…..
I really enjoyed this delightful read and highly recommend the novel to anyone with a sense of humour.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Thomas Nelson. The opinions in this review are completelymy own.

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Finn Masters, a terrific television writer is offered a fabulous job on the TV sitcom Neighbors – a sort of Friends-ish hit starring Lavender Rhodes. It’s a fabulous, life-changing opportunity for Finn but unfortunately, he HATES Lavender. She is the woman who has single-handedly ruined his life on multiple occasions, from stealing roles to destroying his relationship with his almost fiancé. However, as a head writer on her show, he decides he might be able to get even with her. If she weren’t just so darned cute. And nice.

In this adorable rom-com by Melissa Ferguson, the fun characters and situations are delightful and she delivers a slow romantic burn for the vengeful, but really, truly nice guy Finn. He helps little old ladies, loves dogs, is kind and unassuming. And can’t even handle the guilt of trying to cause problems for the mercurial, happy Lavender. I found the book to be a super fun read. Hard to put down with lots of laugh-out-loud moments. The chickens’ situation is hilarious. And the HEA is worth it.

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My rating: 5/5 stars

The story followed Finn and Lavender, who have known each other since they were kids. She’s been muddling his plans for years—now he’s the writer for the beloved character she plays on television, and it’s time for payback.
I loved Finn and Lavender and was so excited that we got both of their POV. Lavender is a super famous movie star and just has a down-to-earth vibe and Finn is a TV show writer who is incredible at his job and he has a sort of cynical look at life.

This book was so fun to read. It was a wholesome, clean, addicting, and sweet romcom. It had everything you want in a romcom. I recommend this book to anyone who likes Hollywood stories, clever romcoms, banter.

Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the ARC!

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Would you take your dream job if you had to work with someone who has been ruining your life since you were classmates?

That's what Finn Masters has to decide for himself. This was such a fun read and I loved the dynamic between Finn and Lavendar. Also, can we talk about the cover? Absolutely beautiful!

If he stopped plotting his payback, he might just realize that there is more to Lavendar than meets the eye.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Completely enjoyed this book! This book is a case of be careful what you wish for because you might get what you ask for. What happens when you think that someone has, through sheer dumb luck, managed to get the best of you at every turn? At some point don’t you just want to, just one time get a little revenge? But when you do what then? This is a meet cute set in Hollywood to the backdrop of a tv show with fun characters, grandma types, and even 4 legged friends that honestly everyone would want to have in their lives!

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Such a sweet story! Slow paced but full of adorably, quirky characters you'll love! It has more depth that a lot of rom-coms but keeps all of the zaniness you'd expect.

The story started a bit slow for me but I loved the MCs so much I pressed on and it was definitely worthwhile!

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This is my first book by Melissa Ferguson and I absolutely loved it!

I devoured it in one sitting & it was unputdownable! Finn and Lavender's characters were fantastic and relatable. We get more than a sneak peek into a Hollywood hit show writers' chaotic lives and it shows the book is quite well researched. Lovely side characters and there's enough of a backstory about them so we can relate to their actions!

I thought Finn's "attempts" of exacting "revenge" were hilarious & Lavender was really adorable! Finn, despite maintaining the facade of a grump is really soft hearted and good natured! The dialogues between Finn and Lavender are not heavy on banter or flirtation (and there's a lack of steamy scenes) but despite this, the interactions between them were super engaging and lively! I think this is a testament to the author's writing skills and creativity! I love how the conflicts were resolved eventually via a gradual "growth" that we see in the characters. As a consequence, nothing feels forced or even rushed in the end.

Overall, highly recommend! I can't wait to read the author's next and would love to check out her previous books!

Thanks so much to Net Galley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

#HowtoPlotaPayback, #NetGalley

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Melissa Ferguson's "How to Plot a Payback" is a rom-com gem that sparkles with these favorite tropes: grumpy/sunshine, slow burn, Hollywood star, and a one-sided enemies-to-lovers twist. Ferguson takes us on a hilarious journey with Finn Masters, our delightfully grumpy screenwriter, who's plotting revenge against the ever-sunny Hollywood star, Lavender Rhodes.

Their dynamic is a masterclass in chemistry and comedic timing, making every page a joy. The slow burn of their relationship, peppered with moments of forgiveness and understanding, transforms this story into something genuinely heartwarming. Ferguson's witty writing shines in the Hollywood setting, adding a layer of glamour to this tale of love and letting go.

A huge shoutout to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this delightful book. "How to Plot a Payback" is a must-read for anyone who loves a good laugh with a heartwarming journey of forgiveness and love.

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I've been a big time fan of this author for a long time now and this book did not disappoint. They need to turn this book into a movie cause it will be a #1 rom com.

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Finn has the opportunity to work on a hit TV show, but it means having to see his nemesis, Lavender Rhodes every day. She's ruined his life on multiple occasions, even causing him to be fired from his new job writing for her show, Neighbors. He manages to get his job back, and decides to use his position to deliver a little payback. But the more time he spends with her, the more he fears he's misjudged her. And is,unfortunately, starting to actually care for her.

This was such a fun read, fast paced and funny. The ending was perfect.

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After reading Famous for a Living, I was really excited about this book. And let me tell you IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT.

I found myself laughing out loud multiple times and I just love it when a book delivers those moments.

This books provides a little bit of most of my favorite tropes, so if you enjoy grumpy-sunshine, second chances or enemies to lovers you should definitely give this one a try.

I have to admit at a certain point I was wondering if Finn's behaviour was becoming a tad too toxic, but luckily it only got better for that point on.

The small-towin vibes the book delivered in Finn's building scenes were just 🤌

Also, if you are a lovely-pets-in- books-lover as I am, you are bound to enjoy this one!

I'd love to see a movie or series adaptation of this one.

To sum up if you're looking for a cute and funny rom-com you can't go wrong with this one.

Thank you so much @netgalley, @thomasnelson and @our_friendly_farmhouse for allowing me to read this wonderful book. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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so cozy and sweet - safe to recommend to anyone - not sexy or smutty but still gives you butterflies

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“They’re little blips on the screen, these dinners and games and weddings, but all these blips put together are what makes up the video of our life.”

So much fun! Melissa Ferguson has again hit it out of the ballpark with this extremely entertaining and poignant romcom. I absolutely loved Finn’s poetic, sarcastic, and slightly resigned first person voice. His multiple plots for payback as the writer of the sitcom lead him down a path so unexpected. I adored Lavender’s optimistic, hope-filled, and bubbly voice as the star of the hit sitcom show quite reminiscent of Friends. I laughed my way through the entire book but there were also noteworthy moments of sigh-inducing romance and heart-warming human connection. The ending definitely surprised me but in a good way. If you enjoy romcom, this book is a must read!

I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Thomas Nelson via NetGalley and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are my own.

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She’s the star of America’s favorite sitcom. He’s just been hired as a writer.
The only problem is, he can’t stand her (he has his reasons).

One thing I love about sweet romcoms is their ability to let me sink into a love story that doesn’t cause anxiety, make me blush, or make me to think too much. Especially when current things in life feel heavy, I cannot overstate how much I appreciate lighter reads. However, there have been times when this category can start to feel a bit formulaic or just lack that extra originality that sets them apart from all the rest.

Which is why—

How to Plot a Payback was such a breath of fresh air in the romcom category. It felt fresh and had some delightful elements that gave it a little extra something. I loved the behind-the-scenes peek at writing a sitcom and the 90s nostalgia that came with it (even if thinking of Friends brings its own bittersweetness these days 😭). It was witty and funny and even cringey at times when looking at all the reasons the two main characters were enemies at the start. But every bit of it felt fun and I couldn’t wait to keep reading.

This comes with no content warnings (no language or sexual content), so I wholeheartedly recommend it if you’re looking for some lighthearted fun in your reading.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for the advanced review copy. How to Plot a Payback releases in April 2024.

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I have liked every Melissa Ferguson book I’ve read so far, so I knew this would be good, but this one exceeded all expectations and became my new favorite, hands down. The concept, the execution, the voice of the characters, it was honestly so good.

Lavender Rhodes is the star of a popular sitcom, and the thorn in Finn Masters’ side. She doesn’t know it, but Finn has a long list of grievances against her, starting with her stealing his career hopes and even ruining a 3 year relationship of his. So when he gets hired to write and produce her sitcom, he decides it’s the perfect time for payback.

Honestly I loved both these characters so much. Finn is so funny, and the hilarious things that happen to him (due to Lavender even though she doesn’t even mean to cause them) made the book so fast paced and exciting to read. I couldn’t put it down. Each of his attempts at retribution made me laugh in how horribly they went awry, and I loved how realistic it actually all was (something I often find is rare in books with pranks or celebrity settings). Finn’s hate for Lavender was masterfully written. I really, truly believed he actually hated her (and not just pretended to hate her while really loving her and being attracted to her the whole time like in most enemies to lovers books). I felt sorry for him and understood his distaste for her, all while simultaneously rooting for her while reading her perspective. Somehow Melissa Ferguson was able to write an enemies to lovers book filled with revenge that was also lighthearted, funny, silly, and heartwarming all at the same time.

This one was a 5 star read for me for sure and I’m so glad I got an advanced copy to enjoy! Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity!

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Oh I loved this book! I am local to Melissa and have read a lot of her books. This one was one of my favorites of hers. Definitely a must read.

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Melissa Ferguson is becoming a beloved, must read all of her books, author with her back to back phenomenal novels!

How to Plot a Payback is a delightful breath of fresh air in the romantic-comedy genre. This book will have you giggling over the one sided enemy to lovers trope and supporting cast of elderly & canine friends. Plus you’ll tear up reminiscing over the behind-the-scenes storyline of writing a sitcom that will leave you nostalgic for the 90’s classics we all know & love!

But How to Plot a Payback doesn’t stop there, through witty dialogue you’ll be pondering alongside the main characters how certain events in our lives impact us, as well as how two people in the same situation can perceive events in completely different ways. Perspective is everything and sometimes it takes trying to plot a payback to realize where the truth lies.

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This book was so much to read. I really enjoyed Finn's list and how he kept adding to it. I also enjoyed that lavender was so nice and everything she found about him she enjoyed and he enjoyed it too. I loved the paybacks because they bombed every time and it was such a fun book to read

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So, this was fun.

I just needed something like this that is sweet and funny. It took me on a quick ride of “revenge” and how life takes it time to destroy your plans.

:) I am grateful to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with this ARC.

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Fantastic. I loved it. Finns denial and attempts in hating Lavender is so fun to read. I found myself smiling while reading this book... There is so much clever remarks...very witty. I need more.....

"I have the horrible urge to put my hand behind her back, a sign those boys should back off. Frankly, this urge makes me feel equally concerned." “And before you say anything more, please don’t guilt me on this. I’ve lived a good life. I pay my taxes. I take my neighbors’ pets to the vet. I just want this.”

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Another delightful Melissa Ferguson novel! Her romcoms are among my favorites, because her plots are more thought-out, the twists are more surprising, and once the love connection happens, it hits on a deeper level. This newest offering is no exception! The story twists and turns (not so much to give you whiplash, but plenty to keep it entertaining), and the characters deepen at each turn. A romcom is by definition predictable, but Ferguson finds just the right places to keep you guessing, and it's always hard to put her books down.

My only complaint about this one (I'd give it 4.5, if that were possible) is that the two main characters are British, but they don't read British. Aside from the occasional "mate" instead of "friend," their vocabulary and phrasing are very American. Neither of them has lived long enough in the States for their upbringing to have slipped so far into the background. I wanted either more of their humor, mentality, and perspective on living abroad, or they might just have grown up in some out of the way American small town, with the same effect, but less distraction for the reader.

Funny, engaging, sweet, smart--highly recommend!

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First of all thankyou to the publishers Thomas Nelson for such a brilliant Rom-Com

I've not read a book by Melissa before but i'm a Rom-Com queen i had a feeling i would enjoy this book and i did WOW!! it oozed everything i need from a romance book .
an enemies to lovers story perfect i was sold . i loved the whole plot it was joyous ,funny ,witty , and cosy vibes we all need .

The characters Finn and Lavender was brilliant both in their own quirky ways and dry sense of humour just perfect .

Melissa writing is stunning and now as my Rom-Com heart forever

I'm giving this Rom-Com of the year 5 stars

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I love author Melissa Ferguson's stories as she has a way of making me laugh while at the same time bringing truth. Screenwriter Finn Masters has a nemesis, Lavender Rhodes. He feels she has been the cause of so many things that have gone wrong in his life (an accident; wrecking his acting career; a botched romantic relationship). Things finally go his way when he lands a job writing episodes for the TV sitcom where Lavender is the star. There are so many ways he can make her life miserable.

Holding on to past wrongs or choosing to forgive makes all the difference in the lives of Finn and Lavender. There’s a lesson to be learned here and the comedic way in which it is presented isn’t preachy in the least. I loved seeing the moment when Finn realizes that Lavender is not the enemy. She is truly a loving and kind person that sees the good in life. I highly recommend reading this book.

Some (but not all) things I loved:
Shared secrets
Senior community night
The kiss
You’ve Got Mail vibes
The power of forgiveness

I received this book through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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This one had everything you'd want in a rom-com! It was cute, funny, sweet and something new! The plot isn't something you've necessarily read before, which is refreshing. I loved the famous actress/screenwriter duo who were connected by an invisible string throughout their whole lives and the LA film set setting.
I genuinely loved both of the main characters.
Finn's sweet, kind and almost nurturing nature shining through in between his need for payback and Lavender's sunshine personality, who is at her core an incredibly kind and good person, whom you can't help but fall in love with. They were both relatable in their own way and the ending was everything I could have asked for.
If you’re looking for a rom-com that will make you laugh and swoon definitely check this one out!
How To Plot a Payback is out April 2nd 2024! laugh and swoon definitely check this one out!
Thank you to Thomas Nelson fiction for the earc.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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✍️ I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I will read absolutely everything Melissa Ferguson writes. I was STOKED when her book, How to Plot a Payback came up on @netgalley and I was granted an advanced copy by them and @thomasnelson 👏👏
✍️ This book may be my favorite by her yet. There wasn't even any chemistry between the two main characters until halfway through the book...or so I thought. It had been slowly building right beneath my nose and let me tell you - when the tension showed up, it was PALPABLE. 🔥🔥 Like all the sudden, I said "THAT'S what I've been waiting for!!" But it was so much better because of the build up. Genius.
✍️ The relationships in this book felt so authentic to me, which is on par for Ferguson. These people could've been my cousins. Or neighbors. They just felt so down to earth despite their Hollywood occupations.
✍️ Per usual, no content to raise an Eyebrow in the least. It was magical and I'm being totally honest when I say I didn't want it to end 😩
✍️ Oh! And she even referenced the quirky intro song on You've Got Mail. I've never heard anyone reference it. Ever. But my husband and I joke about it all the time, so it was really fun to see 🎶 If only I could have a puppy...I'd call myself so very lucky🎶.....
✍️ Please please drop whatever you're doing and pre-order this amazing book. It'll be published in April!

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This is my first Melissa Ferguson read and I loved it. Finn and Lavender are great albeit very different characters that I loved for very different reasons. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more from this author,

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Each book I read from Melissa Ferguson just gets better and better, and this one is at the top of the list for me. Finn and Lavender's chemistry had a screwball comedy feel to it. Like all of her books, there isn't any steam, but I personally didn't miss it because the story kept me engaged the whole time. I would love to see this book made into a Hallmark movie, it had that feel to me. I recommend for her fans and people that like a well-paced enemies to lovers romance.

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Give me any Melissa Ferguson book and I will read it. I was so excited to start this one and it didn’t disappoint. I loved the enemies to lovers aspect and the history between Finn and Lavender and just the comedy also between the pages. It was a feel good book that didn’t give me anxiety—I was firmly just able to enjoy the plot and story and romance.

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I enjoyed this light hearted, pretty innocent romcom. It brought all the elements of a well written, light hearted story that was just pure fun to read.

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This was such a wonderful and enjoyable read!!!! I loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre. Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Great read that starts off somewhat flat but smooths out into an exceptionally good read.

The plot has Finn bearing a huge grudge, and he's not subtle about that. Lavender is a huge Pollyanna, sharing sunshine without listening to those whom she tries to help. No nuance in the characters to start, and for the first part of the book, I contemplated whether to finish or not.

But as the story develops, the talented author smooths down the edges of her characters, and they become individuals the reader really cares about. At some point in the narrative arc, I became committed to learning how the story would end -- and it ends beautifully! Lots of warmth and encouragement in this book.

You will want to read this one -- pub date is April 2, 2024. Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Publishers (!) for a compelling story, lovely romance, and a scintillating plot line.

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This is another winner by Melissa Ferguson! I love a good enemies to lovers trope and this one was so well done. Lavender and Finn were such a fun pair. They balance each other well and their character development was very satisfying. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance, enemies to lovers, and celebrity dating stories!

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This was so good! I loved the premise of an actress who has no clue the main man has a lifelong hatred of her. They are forced together and, of course, are a perfect fit. The writing was excellent and I was always squeezing in time to read. It’s all closed door - no spice on the page except for a few “heated kisses”.

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When the opportunity of a lifetime presents itself to successful Hollywood screenwriter Finn Masters, he jumps at the chance for change and successfully negotiates a job for his mentor, as well. Finn knows he’ll need a friend in his new job.

Despite the pay raise and prestige of writing for a famous producer of a wildly successful long-running sitcom, Finn will enter the orbit of his nemesis. For over a decade, Lavender Rhodes has inadvertently caused every life disaster Finn experiences—starting with breaking his ankle (causing his broken ankle, not literally snapping it in two) right before the school play back in England and stealing his role while he suffered multiple surgeries.

Lavender’s list of iniquities takes up almost an entire sheet of paper. This could be his breakout opportunity if Finn can ignore America’s darling and keep his nose to the grindstone.

Unfortunately, Finn discovers why everyone loves Lavender—she’s down-to-earth, genuinely kind, and upbeat. But she’s still causing career problems for him. Within weeks, he gets fired. Things only get worse.

Finn goes on the offensive and plots a series of perfect paybacks. Only each attempt at a payback goes horribly wrong, and forces Finn to realize his feelings for Lavender have changed dramatically.

Why I Love This Book

Ferguson knows how to plot a perfect rom-com—even one based on revenge. Readers will love the hopelessly optimistic Lavender, especially once they understand her journey. Finn’s attempts to avoid Lavender (or even liking her) will make the reader laugh out loud. Ferguson proves the impossible can happen with proximity, compassion, and friendship.

Fans of Emma St. Clair will love this book.

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Another winner from Melissa Ferguson! Such a fun read. (Can't wait until release so I can hold it in my hands!)

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Melissa Ferguson is becoming a go to author for me. She does an excellent job. This was such a fun read. Witty dialogue and loveable characters. Successfully covers many popular tropes making this a must read for many. It won’t disappoint.

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This was too cute! Honestly, easiest 5 stars I've given.
It's all based on the enemies to lovers trope, my favourite. Well, at least based on Finn's POV 🤣

Such an easy and fun read. I have really enjoyed reading Finn's change from hating Lavender to loving her. The list of apparent infractions Lavender commited towards him, was hilarious.

Talking about Lavender, I have honestly loved reading about a FMC deciding she wanted someone and then went for it. We usually wait for the man, but here it was refreshing reading Lavender going for it. She wasn't perturbed much about the list, she just kept going on.
Finn couldn't do much about it, he had to cave. Especially after all his attempts to payback basically backfired in the most ridiculous way!

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An ending slow slow romance that engages from the start. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Finn Masters is a successful screenwriter who has sporadically landed his dream job as a writer for one of the highest-rated sitcoms in Hollywood. The only downside to this new job is working directly with his nemesis, Lavender Rhodes, who just happens to be Hollywood’s sweetheart. Lavender, unbeknownst to her, has been ruining Finn’s life since they were classmates back in England. Finn takes advantage of the control he as as a lead writer and plots his payback by creating chaos for Lavender’s character. His plan is going perfectly-until its not. Every plot twist he writes, backfires and creates more of a headache for Finn. Through all of it Finn must finally admit that there is more to Lavender than he originally thought and maybe, just maybe he has certain feelings for the woman who has continually changed the trajectory of his life through one mishap after another.

Melissa Ferguson brings us another a highly entertaining, swoon-worthy romcom that all will enjoy. How to Plot a Payback will have you laughing out loud, slightly cringing at Finn at times, and wanting to stay up all night to finish the book.

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I absolutely loved this sweet romance. I loved all of the characters and how they added so much to the story. At times I felt I was right there in Fin's courtyard with everyone. I found myself laughing out loud one minute and sighing the next. Although Lavender and Fin knew each other many years previous, their recollection of the past are very different. Come into the lives of a writer and, who he believes to be his nemisis, actress in How To Plot a Payback.

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I’ve had a number of friends recommend Melissa Ferguson’s work to me, but How to Plot a Payback is my first time reading her work. All I can say is why did I wait so long?

Finn Masters just got his dream job of writing for a highly successful sitcom. There’s just one problem. Lavender Rhodes, the the delightfully upbeat actress on the show. It just so happens that Finn can’t stand her. He, of course, has his reasons, misguided as they are. And now he plots his revenge, but things don’t go as he planned. Enemies-to-lovers is a classic romcom trope and definitely works well here, even though the ‘enemy’ angle is really only one sided. This is a really fun story, with some seriously funny moments. In fact the comedy definitely outpaces the romance angle in this romcom, but I was perfectly fine with that. I’d like to thank Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an eARC of How to Plot a Payback.

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This story reminds me of the classic Nora Ephron romantic comedies of the nineties. I read it in a day because it was so hard to put down. It's a funny, effervescent, low-angst tale that was perfect to read on a chilly grey day. Finn and Lavender are complete opposites, and as far as Finn is concerned, they've been enemies since school days, although Lavender is completely unaware that this is the case. When they are reunited on the set of a television show where Lavender is the star and Finn is the chief writer, Finn's inept attempts at payback for Lavender's past actions are hilarious as they continue to backfire, and Lavender remains oblivious both of those attempts and the unintentional results of her actions that inspired them. The secondary characters in the story are also a lot of fun and good foils for the main characters. The pace of the novel was great--I didn't become bored for a moment. Seeing how Finn's perceptions of Lavender change over the course of filming the show, and his realization that she is innocent of any wrongdoing leads to a slow-burn romance between the two. I would highly recommend this one to readers looking for a fun light read with a lot of humor.

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This was so good! I could not put this sweet Romance down! I was hooked from the beginning and I couldn't get enough of it. So perfect! This is the 5 star Romance that i needed to read!
I just reviewed How to Plot a Payback by Melissa Ferguson. #HowtoPlotaPayback #NetGalley
[NetGalley URL]

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really cute and fun romance that had some really wacky tricks. something I'd say would def fit a nice summer romance.

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Thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review.
"How to Plot a Payback" by Melisa Ferguson is a delightful and humorous exploration of love, revenge, and the unpredictable twists life can throw our way. As a first-time reader of Ferguson's work, I found this book to be a pleasant surprise that combines wit, romance, and unexpected turns.

The title itself is intriguing and sets the stage for a narrative that promises a unique take on the familiar theme of plotting revenge. Drawing parallels to the charm of 'How I Met Your Mother,' Ferguson weaves a narrative that cleverly blends humor with the complexities of relationships. Ferguson's writing style is engaging, filled with witty dialogue and comedic situations that keep the reader entertained. The characters are well-developed, each contributing to the overall humor and charm of the story.

One of the strengths of the book is its ability to infuse humor without compromising on the emotional depth of the characters. The balance between funny anecdotes and heartfelt moments creates a well-rounded reading experience. The pacing is well-maintained, ensuring that the plot unfolds at a comfortable speed, keeping the reader invested throughout.

The central theme of the story, emphasizing how even the most carefully plotted revenge can be derailed by the unexpected, adds a layer of intrigue and unpredictability. It's a reminder that life, much like a good story, is full of surprises.

While the book follows a familiar romantic comedy formula, it manages to inject freshness into the genre through its well-crafted characters and the author's witty narrative style. "How to Plot a Payback" is a lighthearted and entertaining read that delivers on its promises, leaving readers with a smile on their faces. "How to Plot a Payback" is a humorous and enjoyable novel that successfully captures the essence of unexpected encounters and the twists that love can bring. I look forward to exploring more of Melisa Ferguson's work in the future.

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Melissa Ferguson and enemies to lovers troupe…two of my favorite things!!

I truly enjoyed this story and its characters. It was entertaining, relatable and just all around enjoyable. I also appreciate Ferguson’s ability to write clean, wholesome books that still entertain and are fun to read.

I definitely recommend How To Plot A Payback…and all of Ferguson’s other books too!

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OMG, guys, listen up! So, imagine this, there's this super cool sitcom, and the main dude gets hired as a writer, but guess what? He totally can't stand the star of the show! Like, he's got his reasons and stuff. Drama alert!

But then, get this, it's like a romcom dream come true! This book called "How to Plot a Payback" swoops in and changes the game. It's like a breath of fresh air in the romcom world, seriously. It's all about behind-the-scenes drama of writing a sitcom and brings back all those rad '90s vibes (I'm talking Friends vibes, y'all! RIP to the good old days 😢).

And let me tell you, it's hilarious! Like, I was laughing my socks off at how these two were total frenemies at the start. But it's all good vibes, you know? No heavy stuff to weigh you down, just pure fun.

Oh, and get this, there's no content warnings! So, like, you can totally recommend it to everyone. No awkward moments or anything. It's just good, clean fun.

Seriously, I was living for every minute of this romantic comedy. The setting was awesome, the main couple were goals, and even the side characters (especially the furry ones) were epic. Like, I need a sequel ASAP! Give me more of this goodness, please! 🥰

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This book was so fun!!! I adore Melissa Ferguson and have enjoyed her other books. This one was just as wonderful!

Through a series of bad events that are all attributed to his nemesis, Lavender, Finn has tried to avoid her at all costs. Whenever she’s around his life is tipped on end. Then he gets a dream job as a writing executive on a hit sitcom. Unfortunately the star is none other than Lavender.

Try as he might, his life is thrown into chaos from his first day on the job! After an especially irritating happening he decides to plot revenge on Lavender, just to make her suffer as he has.

I loved everything about this story.
Finn’s Grumpy to her Sunshine
The backfires
The Senior neighbors
Of course the puppy’s shenanigans

If you’ve never read anything by this author I certainly recommend you give her a try. If you have, what are you waiting for? Get this book!

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I loved this sweet romcom. There were several moments in the book when I aughed out loud. If you are needing a feel-good romcom that makes you laugh, read this book!

Favorite Quote:

"Isn't it nice to live in a world where so many can specialize in their gifts, and we can enjoy the fruits of each other's labors?"

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you Thomas Nelson and Netgalley.

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Why I chose this book: The description and title caught my attention. I hadn’t read Melissa Ferguson before and the humor caught my attention.

Type of Book: Sweet romantic comedy; Stand-alone novel; contemporary inspirational fiction

Favorite Quotes/Characters: I have nearly a dozen highlights in my book of quotes I loved. One in particular spoke to me, just because it’s what authors go through all the time. As an editor, I get to be a part of it as well: “It is both grueling and adrenaline-pumping to watch your work be torn apart and analyzed to pieces, then remade into something so much better. Exhausting but exhilarating.” YES!
Both main characters are my favorite here. And the supporting cast is pure perfection. Every scene, every character, every line moves the story forward.

Overall: I have a new favorite author. Melissa Ferguson, your writing has captivated my heart. Every heart needs a good laugh and this book is a great source for that. Previously, my go-to author for a light-hearted read that can make me laugh is the great Jen Turano. It’s nice to have another author on that list!
Oh, ok—the book. Yes, the story is fantastic. We have a great plot. Dynamic characters that you get the privilege of walking beside in their journey. The Dialogue is stellar. Wonderful hooks and chapter closings. The story is in first person, with two POVs.
And y’all—you know how I love tension and this book has it! (I really don’t think I give books five stars unless there is great tension.)
If I was going on vacation and wanted some light and fun reads while I sat on the beach or cozied up in the mountains I think I would take the Melissa’s along; Melissa Ferguson & Melissa Tagg.

Bookshelf worthy? YES. Buy it now. You’ll want to reread it or share it with friends.

Teenability: Absolutely teen friendly.

Five Stars

**I was given an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. If I don't love it, you'll know. If I do love it, you'll know.**

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I absolutely loved this book. It was well written and I highly enjoyed the Grumpy X Sunshine and slow burn tropes.

Finn is a well known writer for a successful TV show in LA. He gets his chance to land his dream job not knowing that his "enemy" is the lead of the new show- Lavender Rhodes. Not knowing what to do initially- Finn decides that this is opportunity that he has been waiting for to have his payback.

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Melissa Ferguson never fails to delight me, and 'How to Plot a Payback' is definitely no exception. There is so much depth in the study of human nature in the worthless practice of holding grudges and in the joy of forgiving all wrapped up in perfect humor. I would give this book more stars if I could!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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This books is a warm, fuzzy hug. Finn has hated Lavender since high school. They come face to face again on the set of Lavender’s hit tv show that Finn now writes for. There opposite personalities are soon not so opposite. Their dogs become best friends and feelings change. This book is so dang cute!

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Sooo cute!! Thanks to much to @netgalley and Thomas Nelson publishing for the chance to review How to Plot a Payback by Melissa Ferguson. I adored this book. Finn Masters is a screenwriter and he is offered the chance to write on a very popular sitcom. The only problem is that Lavender Rhodes - his archnemesis - is the star. He harbors anger for her every since their teen years when she got the part that he wanted. Lavender remembers things a little differently, though... In his quest to get his payback, he writes strange situations for her into the sitcom, all of which seem to backfire on him.

This was cute and funny, and I loved how Finn got to learn that Lavendar wasn't exactly as bad as he thought she was. The grumpy/sunshine trope was perfect, and I actually cackled a few times. The writing was that good. No sex, no profanity... good clean payback... er, fun!

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This is such a cute rom-com and was a light, refreshing read! I loved all of the characters and also loved learning about the writing process. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while and was not disappointed!

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the ARC!

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