I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing, Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Playing the Player by Amy Andrews
Published by Entangled Publishing LLC on January 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Source: Entangled Publishing, Netgalley
Barnes & Noble
After a long history with crappy guys, high school teacher Em Newman is going man-vegan. Four months of revirginization has opened her eyes to her doormat imitation but, baby’s got spine now, and some smooth-talking—even if he is sinfully hot—rugby player, won’t be adding her as a notch anytime soon.
Lincoln Quinn loves rugby, women, and poker. And he likes to win at all three. When his team mates bet him he can’t break through Em’s resolve, he’s more than up for the challenge. But this lady has a shoebox of stipulations before she’ll even go on a date with him, much less use that mouth for kissing instead of giving orders.
Something’s gotta give but this time Em’s not settling. And Linc’s questioning everything he ever knew about matters of the heart.
I loved Lincoln and Em together. I read the first book in the series, but not the second, and I didn’t have any trouble with this one; it’s easily read as a standalone. I don’t really remember Lincoln from the first book in the series, but that wasn’t a barrier to reading this one, either.
I was a little hesitant to get into a book with a bet as an initial setup, but it ends up being almost completely irrelevant as a plot point, and Em’s reaction to it when she inevitably discovers it cemented her status as a recent favorite heroine. And, frankly, the opening chapter didn’t really do the book any favors, either. I think it was supposed to show us the close relationship between the guys, but they actually ended up coming across as jerks. I wasn’t sure if this was going to work for me.
But once Em and Lincoln are together on the page, it improves by leaps and bounds. Even though they were both young, just twenty-three years old, they’d both been through enough in their lives that they’d grown up quickly. They were both self-aware and confident without being nearly as cocky as Lincoln came across in the beginning. Don’t misunderstand, he was cocky, but it wasn’t the asshole cockiness I’d been expecting. It was more funny cocky. And I do love a man with a sense of humor.
Em was delightful. She’d made a decision to go man-free until she could figure out what was wrong with her picker, but even she couldn’t resist Lincoln. And I loved that when she decided to go for it, she just went for it. She thought about it, it wasn’t an impulsive decision, but she didn’t agonize over it. It was supposed to be just sex, after all, and where’s the harm in that?
My biggest issue with the book was the inevitable breakup toward the end. Even though I appreciated how mature both of them were most of the time, the fact is that they’re only twenty-three. They’ve known each other for less than six months, and they’ve been dating barely two. It was a little over the top to break up at such an early point because of something that may or may not ever happen. They’re discussing a ten-year plan, and when Linc doesn’t agree with Em about certain points, she immediately she breaks the relationship off rather than “…give up ten years or, hell, even another day of my life…”. It took away a little of the enjoyment I had with the rest of the book. It’s not rational to expect anyone to have the same opinions at 33 that they had at 23. Even Em admits she’s looking way, way down the road, so it was silly to insist that he agree with her right now about the rest of their lives or she was out. She refused to even attempt to look at his point of view. If he didn’t come around to her way of thinking, that was it. When even your best girlfriends are telling you that you’re in the wrong, you need to take a good look at what your’e doing.
Other than that, I really enjoyed the book. It was short, around 170 pages, so there wasn’t a lot of room for much personal development, which I think hurt it a little, but it didn’t ruin it. I just would have liked a little more time with Em and Lincoln, and I think it would have helped them both, too.
I loved that Amy Andrews included a glossary in the back for the Australian terms that the rest of the world may have been confused by. There were several of them that I had been confused about, and it was enormously helpful.