I requested this book off NetGalley, because the blurb made it sound like a fun, lighthearted contemporary romance, and it certainly began with a lot of promise. Unfortunately about a third of the way into the book the tone of the novel changed abruptly, leaving me a bit confused. Rules of the Game feels like 2 different books, and while I enjoyed the novel, I think the blurb is a little misleading, and the book needed to be a bit longer to develop fully some of the issues the heroine faces.
The book begins with romance author Maddie Sawyer living in New York City and having to return to Pottsville, Indiana, for her high school reunion. While her author persona, Kathryn West, is sexy and outlandish, Maddie is anything but that, so she decides to find a sexy biker and pay him to pose as her boyfriend for the reunion. She has almost immediate success when she meets hunky Scott Brady at a biker bar, and the two start dating. Both Scott and Maddie have their secrets, but they really hit it off. She agrees to pose as his girlfriend to get his friends and family off his back about dating, and he agrees to accompany her to Indiana for the reunion.
This lighthearted contemporary romance goes off the rails when Maddie and Scott arrive at the reunion, and suddenly Maddie’s orderly life is a disaster. An unexpected visitor to the reunion makes an announcement to the crowd that forces Maddie to face her unpleasant past, and the remainder of the book focuses on how Maddie deals with the changes this brings. Throughout Scott is very supportive and helpful with the changes in Maddie’s life, but when Maddie learns Scott’s real profession (which isn’t down-and-out biker, as she originally believed), it’s the last straw for Maddie. Can she salvage her relationship with Scott while dealing with the astonishing changes in her life?
Despite the abrupt change in tone of the novel, this was an enjoyable read. A LOT happens in only 76,000 words, and at times I felt overwhelmed with what was going on with poor Maddie. You definitely won’t be able to put the book down, because you’ll be frantically turning the pages to see what could possibly go wrong next. I also liked Scott and Maddie’s romance in the beginning of the novel. It definitely was a meet-cute, and both hero and heroine come across as, likeable characters with great chemistry.
While I enjoyed the book, there were some issues that bothered me. First, the unexpected visitor to the high school reunion completely changed the tenor of the book and created a new source of conflict. I thought the change was too abrupt, but I was intrigued by where the novel would go from there. I wish that the blurb were less misleading in how it described the book, but I also think that the first third of the book needed a bit of foreshadowing of future events. One plus is that the reader experiences how out of control Maddie feels at the changes in her life, and the pace of the novel helps with this. However, the conflict is resolved rather quickly at the end, and I felt that this section of the novel could have been developed a bit more. Maddie and Scott’s relationship problems are resolved too quickly.
My other issue has to do with Maddie’s reaction to Scott’s profession. She immediately rejects him for it, which just struck me as bizarre, given her reasonable and mature reactions to other events in the book. Events in her past are supposed to explain Maddie’s knee-jerk reaction and subsequent rejection of Scott, but it was too over the top for me.
Despite feeling like two different books, Rules of the Game was a lot of fun to read. I liked the hero and heroine, and the drama in the book raised some interesting questions. I’ll definitely check out future books by Ms. James and recommend it with a few reservations for lovers of contemporary romance.(less)
Very sweet story and I loved the girls' basketball team. I liked the hero's issues with literacy and how his friend/agent called him on them. I also a...moreVery sweet story and I loved the girls' basketball team. I liked the hero's issues with literacy and how his friend/agent called him on them. I also appreciated that more than one person called the heroine on her own issues. Would have liked to see the principal get a good kick in the pants, but c'est la vie. Definitely recommend this one!(less)
You can also read this review at my link text">Reflections on Reading Romance
Kristan Higgins has long been a favorite author of mine. I love her co...moreYou can also read this review at my link text">Reflections on Reading Romance
Kristan Higgins has long been a favorite author of mine. I love her contemporary romances, no doubt because they ALL have adorable dogs in them! Somebody to Love is no exception, and it has some howling good times. While Somebody to Love is a stand-alone novel, the heroine, Parker Welles, is the best friend in The Next Best Thing, and most of the action takes place in the small town of Gideon’s Cove, Maine, setting of Catch of the Day. I’m afraid Catch of the Day has the dubious distinction of having caused me to bawl my eyes out, because a certain pivotal character passes away, but I still re-read it regularly, thanks to my highlighting feature on the Kindle, which allows me to skip any crying parts. Just like Catch of the Day, I plan on re-reading Somebody to Love many times, because it’s another winner, with strong, likeable characters and a good dose of humor.
As the novel begins, Parker Welles’s father shows up at the family mansion and announces that he’s lost all his money on Wall Street (through insider trading, no less), including both Parker and her son Nicky’s trust funds. They’re broke, and single mother Parker has to find a way to find them a new home. In the wreckage, Parker discovers that a great aunt left her a house in Gideon’s Cove, which hopefully can be flipped and turn enough of a profit to bulk up her small savings while she finds work.
James Cahill is one of Harry Welles’s lawyers, but he’s not the yes-man Harry’s other lawyers have been. He offers to help Parker flip her dilapidated house in Maine, since he spent years as a teenager working construction, and Parker reluctantly agrees. Add in the presence of a rescue dog named Beauty and some hot summer lovin’ and you have the makings of a great romance.
Despite Parker’s trust fund baby roots, she’s a really appealing heroine. I love her sense of humor, especially with the Holy Rollers, characters in the children’s books she wrote. As a sarcastic joke, she pitched a story about young angels needing to earn their wings and travel around on roller skates, eating only angel food cake. Naturally the saccharine sweet mess was a huge success, and Parker finds herself “talking” to her now teenaged characters throughout the mess that is her life. Her humor makes her a likeable character, but it’s her reaction to learning that she’s lost everything that makes her so engaging. She manages to keep it together for the sake of her son and works hard to make the best of things without dwelling on her situation.
James is a fabulous hero, sexy and vulnerable. He has a troubled past that’s caused problems within his family, but ever since he met Parker he’s had a thing for her. Unfortunately his choice of profession and relationship with Parker’s father has made it hard for Parker to see what a great guy he is. My one complaint with James is that he had a bit of a martyr complex, but once you learn about his past that becomes more understandable.
Overall, Somebody to Love was a heartwarming romance with two very likeable characters. This is the second contemporary romance I’ve read recently that features a formerly rich girl with a greedy Madoff-like father, and I enjoyed both of them. (Serendipity by Carly Phillips is the other – also a winner) If you’re looking for a fun summer read, I definitely recommend Somebody to Love.
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher through NetGalley.(less)
After the last book in the series, I decided I'd check this one out of the library, and I'm very, very glad I did. The book's well-written, Merit is a...moreAfter the last book in the series, I decided I'd check this one out of the library, and I'm very, very glad I did. The book's well-written, Merit is a fabulous character, and the mystery behind what's happening in Chicago was well done. Unfortunately the last 2 chapters were a big disappointment. I'll definitely wait for reviews of the next book before deciding if I even read it.(less)
I think this is more of a 3.5 out of 5 for me. The last few chapters of this book felt a bit odd, like they were added in last minute. Suddenly Anita'...moreI think this is more of a 3.5 out of 5 for me. The last few chapters of this book felt a bit odd, like they were added in last minute. Suddenly Anita's having lots-o-smexy times, so I'm interested to see where the story goes from here. (less)
This was a cute PNR! I like the idea of fairy godmothers, and even though this is the third book in the series, it's definitely a stand-alone novel as...moreThis was a cute PNR! I like the idea of fairy godmothers, and even though this is the third book in the series, it's definitely a stand-alone novel as well. I hadn't read Ms. Stevens before, but I won the book from the Qwillery blog and enjoyed it so much I'm planning on catching up on the first two books in the series. If you're a fan of PNR, I think you'll enjoy this lighthearted romance.
I do wish the publisher had done a better job with the cover. This cover is just awful! When I got the book I thought it had been self-published, because the cover image is so terrible. The male's hair looks like a bad toupee, and the tattoo on Stormy's left shoulder looks like she got some dirt on her shoulder. This does a serious disservice to the novel, because I would never in a million years have picked this book up in the bookstore. That's a real shame, because the novel is well-written and obviously professionally edited. Hopefully Ms. Stevens' books will do well enough that Tor will spend a bit more on her covers in the future.(less)
Just a warning - this features a hero who cheated on his wife. I felt that this book did a great job of touching on difficult topics - soldiers return...moreJust a warning - this features a hero who cheated on his wife. I felt that this book did a great job of touching on difficult topics - soldiers returning home and infidelity. I'd give it a higher rating, but I find it really hard to believe that a couple could resolve their issues in a week after the husband has a one night stand. Otherwise an excellent read.(less)
In the interest of full disclosure I should say that I'm not usually a fan of romantic suspense, mainly because I'm a WIMP and don...moreRating: 3.5 out of 5
In the interest of full disclosure I should say that I'm not usually a fan of romantic suspense, mainly because I'm a WIMP and don't like to read violence. However, I really enjoyed this book. The heroine, Megan, was really kick-arse, and she and Mitch were great together. I would have liked to see the obnoxious Zak get a good kick in the pants, but maybe he'll make another, less successful, trip south of the border, lol.
If you're a fan of romantic suspense, I definitely recommend this one.(less)
I enjoyed this romantic suspense featuring Russian Major Larissa Petrovna and OMEGA agent Dodge Hamilton. This is the first book in the OMEGA series t...moreI enjoyed this romantic suspense featuring Russian Major Larissa Petrovna and OMEGA agent Dodge Hamilton. This is the first book in the OMEGA series that I've read, but it easily stands alone. I think this suffered a bit from the shorter length of the category romance. I just had a hard time buying the HEA, and I would have liked to see Dodge and Lara's relationship develop a bit more. Still, I think if you enjoy Romantic Suspense, you'll enjoy this book. (less)
Very cute category romance. The tension/ big misunderstanding between the hero and heroine didn't rear its head until a bit late in the book but was r...moreVery cute category romance. The tension/ big misunderstanding between the hero and heroine didn't rear its head until a bit late in the book but was resolved nicely. Really enjoy the Banksia Bay books.(less)
Very cute third installment of the magical cats series! I definitely prefer this one to the second in the series, as the heroine Kathleen comes across...moreVery cute third installment of the magical cats series! I definitely prefer this one to the second in the series, as the heroine Kathleen comes across as much more capable and her involvement in the mystery seems more natural. Owen and Hercules (the cats) are as charming as ever. Definitely a must read for lovers of cozies. (Not sure this would stand alone well, though.)(less)