PJV Quickie: I loved Playing Games!! The premise was fun, the writing was good and I was hooked from the first page. I don’t even watch reality TV but this is becoming one of my favorite contemporary series!
Playing Games opens with Katy Short giving an interview for the producers of Endurance Island. Katy owns a cupcake company, but her brother Brodie really wants to be on the show, so she agreed to audition with the intent of getting Brodie more attention. They wore matching outfits and she made cupcakes for the crew. When the producer tells them they’ve already cast the “blonde Southerners” for Endurance Island, Katie feels bad for her brother, until the producer adds that they are looking for a brother/sister team for the TV show The World Races. Katy doesn’t really want to do it, but Brodie is convinced that if he can make it onto a reality television show then he’ll be able to move into show-business from there. When she hears there’s a $20,000 prize just for participating, Katy decides to do it and use her half to make improvements to her business.
Liam Brogan is lead guitarist for the popular rock band Finding Threnody. He’s not really interested in being on The World Races but his lead singer, Tesla, wants to be on the show so his label tells him he’s got to be her partner. Liam is not a fan of the limelight and would much rather be in the studio working on his music.
After the first challenge to pick numbers that determine their initial order, Katy decides she really, really does not like Liam – he jumped on her and stole her numbered football!! But after her brother sells her out and they’re forced to switch teams, Katy finds herself teamed up with none other than the “guitar-playing asshole”. How is she going to make it through 21 days in close contact with this jerk?
Last week I mentioned how much I enjoy reading about Rock Star heroes. I didn’t realize when I picked up Playing Games that it would have a Rock Star hero – honest!! I really enjoyed Ms. Clare’s book, Wicked Games (free on Amazon here), and when I saw she had a second book out in the series, I didn’t hesitate to hit ‘Buy now with 1-click’. (Jessica Clare is also Jill Myles and Jessica Sims, both of whom have books I love.)
This book was awesome, y’all! I loved the way Katy and Liam started out disliking each other and slowly got to know each other better. The ‘bites’ at the beginning of each chapter were genius – Liam is in turns hysterical and sweet and each bite made me smile. Katy is a great heroine – smart, snarky, and won’t turn down a challenge. Liam is a sexy, sexy hero – tattoed, pierced *ahem*, and quiet. She doesn’t know how famous he is, so he doesn’t get any special treatment from her, and Liam learns quickly that she’s not a boring little cupcake baker. The game challenges were fun to read about and provided a perfect backdrop for Katy and Liam’s relationship to grow. As they continued to play through each challenge, and they got closer to the end, I was bouncing in my seat with excitement about both their romance and their chances of winning.
As far as secondary characters go, Katy’s brother Brodie was shameful: he was selfish and obnoxious, and the way he played Katy throughout the game had me gnashing my teeth in frustration. On the ‘yay!’ side, we also got to meet Abby and Dean from Wicked Games again, as they are a team in The World Races. It was fun to catch up with them and see how they’re doing.
I’m telling you – this book was so much fun to read, you don’t want to miss it! And with the first book being free, you can’t lose! I’m super-excited to see that the third book in the series, Ice Games, will be out July 31 (no links yet)!!
If you’re a fan of any of the following tropes, Playing Games is the book for you: Rock Star heroes, reality TV fans, contemporary romance, and enemies to lovers.
Still not sure? Try the first book free:
- Wicked Games by Jessica Clare