Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: "Playing for Keeps" by Kate Donovan

When Erica McCall finally gets her big break in advertising, she knows just which spokesperson to pitch: gorgeous football superstar Johnny Spurling. She has followed his career since college and knows he’s perfect for the spot, even though it’s common knowledge his famous family doesn’t do product endorsements, ever. But Erica knows Johnny’s weak spot, and she’s confident she can use it to gain his trust and seal the deal. Quarterback Johnny Spurling is running out of time. His father’s health is failing, and there’s one last thing he’s asked Johnny to do—settle down and produce a son, before it’s too late. Which means Johnny needs a new kind of girlfriend. No more casual hookups or high-maintenance divas. When his sister-in-law claims to have the perfect candidate, he urges her to set up a postseason blind date. Then Johnny meets long-haired, long-legged Erica and can’t resist her outrageous proposal—or her. So he decides he’ll do the commercial and have one final, hot-as-hell fling before settling down. They set the ground rules, then proceed to break every one of them as fun turns to the kind of true romance that just doesn’t end with the final touchdown—and with luck, never ends at all.
Thank you to Netgalley and Beyond the Page Publishing for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

I quite enjoyed "Play by Play" by Kate Donovan, which I also received for review from Netgalley.  I found it a quick, light, romantic read.  So I decided to give "Playing for Keeps", second In the Play Makers series, a try.  Alas, it fell a bit short for me.

Erica and Johnny, the two main characters, are likable enough, but I felt a bit detached from them.  The synopsis sounds great, but the plot just dragged on and on.  There were so many details about flights between cities so Erica and Johnny could be together that I felt Erica could have been a better travel agent than an ad exec.

There was a bit of a side story thrown in there, too, that I didn't really like.  When the characters involved were first mentioned, and then mentioned sporadically through the first half of the book, I kept thinking, "What do these guys have to do with anything, and why is Erica talking and thinking about them all the time?"  It just seemed odd, out of place.  Things became more clear later on, but I still think this secondary story line didn't really add to the overall plot, but rather detracted from it.  Plus it just added unnecessary length to the book.

The sex was lukewarm.  More tell than show, if that makes any sense.  Like Erica would think back on how amazing their sex was, but all we were shown of that was that they did it in a room other than the bedroom.  Not much of an emotional connection between her and Johnny, either.  When Johnny said that he was in love with Erica, it seemed to come out of left field.

One last thing I'm going to mention that bothered me.  Johnny made a joke in the beginning about how his sister-in-law was going to set him up on a blind date with a teacher, someone who was wanting to settle down, get married and have kids.  Erica was absolutely convinced that Johnny was going to marry this blind-date-teacher right after the Super Bowl, but really, who would do that?  I thought she was pretty silly to leave this future blind date hanging over their heads and not really discuss it with Johnny.  If she trusted him at all, she would have realized that he wouldn't do something like get married to a stranger right after falling in love with her.  

My rating:

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