on September 14, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
I'm Payton Blake. Just another twenty-something girl, living the dream.
That’s what I tell myself every morning. That I’m successful, self-aware, and well-balanced.
It's just a tiny fib. I would be all of those things, if I had friends who didn’t work with me at the bank. And if I made it to pilates more than once a quarter. And if watermelon slushies weren't the main source of nutrients in my diet. It wouldn’t hurt if I’d had sex in the last year, either. (My best friend insists Jorge the Nightstand Boyfriend doesn’t count.)
But when you know where you're going, you don’t need to enjoy the ride. Right?
Even if some teeny part of me did want to fool around, Max Donovan would be the last guy I’d call. Sure, he made the indie video game that broke the internet. And yeah, his eyebrow piercing’s sexy, in a ‘what-are-you-in-a-band?’ kind of way. And fighting with him gets me going faster than Jorge on bezerker mode…He’s still colder than a cactus and twice as prickly. And I’m not talking about his face, because the guy’s barely old enough to shave.
It’d really be best if we just ignored each other. Which is a problem, because Max Donovan is my new biggest client.
So what happens when the girl who lives to work meets the guy who was born to play?
PLAY is a fun and quirky, quick read with plenty of sweet, nerdy and funny moments. I’ve never read a story about video games, much less a game creator, so this one was definitely new to me but I really enjoyed it! PLAY has every element that I love in a romance novel: a strong heroine who knows what she deserves, a hot as hell, occasionally arrogant hero with a tough shell and insides sweeter than fresh chocolate chip cookies, a dash of heat, a sprinkle of angst, PLUS witty and charming banter and secondary characters. This book really does have it all.
“So… did you want to talk?” I prompted when I thought I’d won the battle against my nausea.
“I don’t know. The weather? The Fed’s interest rate policy? The Red Sox pitching lineup? Though if you want the last one, you’ll have to take the lead.”
What an unlikely pair Payton and Max were, but sometimes those are the best to read about. From the first interaction between else two, I was hooked. If I could’ve managed to stay awake, there’s a good chance I would’ve just read through the night, but alas, a kindle to the face doesn’t feel too nice. Max was abrupt and prickly, with good reason of course, but I loved watching Payton break down his walls, even when he tried to fight it. Watching these two grow closer was a real treat because it wasn’t instant, you never knew what would happen in each situation and how they would react to each other. The reader experiences those small, budding romantic moments that you might see in a real relationship during its developmental stages. It feels real. Then as they grew closer, the tension grew. Have I mentioned that I’m an INSANELY HUGE fan of tension? Just making sure everyone is aware.
This is the type of story that you pick up and just want to keep reading. The connection from scene to scene, the dialogue, banter between characters and settings, is all incorporated smoothly and flows with precision. I don’t know if I would market this as a RomCom, but it’s definitely cheeky and has its funny moments. I’ll even admit to a small snort or two while reading. Only a small one since I’m a lady, of course. 😉
“It’s hard to play a video game when you’re imagining your face under a skirt.”
*See what I mean? Max is a bit of a cheeky bugger!*
Something that was great about PLAY is that not only was this book revolving around gaming and how Payton and Max’s careers intercepted, but how they both additionally had background stuff going on in their life as well. It gave the characters more dimension and really aided in their likability, growth, and shows the reader why they have the thought processes they do and made the decisions that they did. I loved getting an inside glimpse into what else they both have going on – no one likes one dimensional stories.
“ […] you’re my escape, Payton. You’re the good place I get to go when I need to forget about work, and all the shit that goes along with it. And, maybe I wanted to keep you out of the darker bits of my world.”
His words touched me. “Max?”
“I kind of want to be in all the bits of your world.”
For some readers, myself included, angst is like bacon. When you crave bacon, you eat bacon. But sometimes when you aren’t craving bacon, but still find bacon bits, you’re extremely happy. You’re all like “Hey! There’s bacon bits in my salad. AWESOME!” Because who wouldn’t be happy with surprise bacon? This is how I feel about angst. I was not at all in the mood for an angsty read, even though I love them to pieces. Sometimes you just need something a little easier on the heart. But then there were small delicious bacon bit morsels of angsty goodness and I feel a little more in love with this book because of this. These moments were well written, throughout and expertly placed within the storyline. I agreed with every single one, all the while they were never over the top.
“Maybe you were right, Max. Maybe this thing with us wasn’t ever meant to last.”
“I don’t want to be right. Not about this.” Desperation edged into his voice. It made me miss him horribly—how was it possible to miss someone when they were sitting right next to you?”
*insert my heart cracking here*
Piper is a new to me author but I definitely want to look into her other stuff! Sometimes when I see new releases or am asked to review an ARC, sure they’ll look good but I can be hesitant towards new to me authors. But then I remember that some of my favourite authors started out either lesser known or relatively new, and I like to take a chance on people – sometimes it works, sometimes you might find something that isn’t your cup of tea. In relation to PLAY, this decision definitely paid off! I’m so glad I was given a copy of this book, I can’t tell you enjoy how cute and enjoyable it was. I really do love stuff like this.
“Did you sleep with him?”
I shot her a look. “Definitely not. And I’m not going to,” I felt the need to add as a flush crept up my neck.
“We’ll see. But in the meantime, what are you going to do about him?” she asked as we carried our finds back down the hall.
I juggled my sandwich and chips so I could take a long sip of my watermelon slushy. Today, I’d gone straight for the large. No dicking around.
“I’m going to go find him,” I decided. “And then I’m going to kill him.”
“Hot. There are few things that get a guy going more than the threat of impending death.
There were two relatively minor things I found that could’ve been changed and these were why I didn’t rate this book as five stars. One, is that some of the sentences were worded slightly funny or should’ve been written in a different order. Same words, just slightly shifted placings, if that makes sense. This definitely wasn’t an all the time thing, just something small that my neurotic little brain picked up on. The other was that some concepts might have needed to be explained a teeny tiny bit more in laymen’s terms, and expanded upon a little. For the most part I could keep up, but then there were times when either gaming or financing or loans would be discussed, and there was a lot going on at once. Between these unfamiliar concepts (to me, since you know, adulting isn’t really my thing), the scenes being breezed over and the fact that there is a lot of information at once, it was a little confusing at times. I get that the author tried to keep the pacing smooth and not bore anyone, but I think a bit more explanation in a few key areas could’ve helped out tremendously.
“So did you want to drive the boat or are you going to let me?” I teased, lifting my sunglasses to perch on my head.
“I’m not insured for klutzes.” He squinted again the sun. “Besides, we could just stay here.”
“I thought you needed to get out? Taste freedom?” I mimicked his posture, stretching my arms along the back of the seat and turning to look out toward the channel as sailboats, motorboats, and the odd fishing boat passed.
“This is freedom. Being here, in the middle of the afternoon, with you.”
If you’re looking for a new book to read, something catchy and out of the norm, check this one out. I’m not a video game person but this book was a lot of fun with loveable characters and an intriguing story line. A sassy heroine, crusty turned sweet hero and ComicCon convention round out the package quite nicely and gives a unique reading experience. Give this one a shot, or better yet, take a chance and PLAY.
*An ARC was received from the author and Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
*Graphics from @mells_view
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