Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Perfect Play by Jaci Burton

Hey everyone! How are you doing? Hope everyone is doing well and if you're on the East Coast, safe and prepared. We're lucky up here because we'll be spared by Irene. Good thing too since today is my annual BBQ! We didn't do one last year, but this year, decided to go back to our traditions :) I'm trying to figure it out, but if I'm not wrong, this year will be our 10th edition!! 10th! That's a nice number and the core group is still the same and I think that's what makes me the most happy :) We're still all here, all friends after more than 10 years. Sure we've dropped a few or been dropped through the years... but most of us are really still here :) Okay, will stop here cos I'm planning a post probably tomorrow for a little recap of the BBQ LOL.

In the meantime, here's a review!! Enjoy :)

Perfect Play by Jaci Burton
published by Berkley in February 2011

The last thing event planner Tara Lincoln needs is the jet-set lifestyle of a football pro like Mick Riley; even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand proved that Mick is an all-star-both on the field and in the bedroom.

Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn't intend to put herself out there again, especially with a certified heartbreaker. But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind to catch this sultry vixen.
Genre: Sport romance, contemporary, erotica
Series: Play by play, Book #1

The Story: Mick Riley has had enough of the jock lifestyle - the starlets, the notches on his bedposts, etc. He wants a normal relationship - a woman who won't be impressed by who he is, won't expect the jet-set lifestyle, who will be herself... and he finds the perfect woman in Tara Lincoln.

Sure, Tara is flattered that such a big star like Mick would be attracted to her. However, a one-night stand with him is all she can afford as Tara is working hard to expand her business, but more importantly, to provide a better future for her fourteen years old son Nathan.

However, she hadn't counted on Mick's persistence and very soon, despite her protests and excuses, Mick and Tara are dating. However, both bring a lot of baggage to this relationship... can it last?

My Opinion: Perfect Play has been on my radar for a while. I enjoy Ms Burton's writing, but sometimes, I found her books a bit too repetitive... especially the sex scenes ^_^; The other hang-up I had about Perfect Play was that it was trade-size and that made me hesitant to buy it... but then, the buzz won me :) After seeing good reviews after good reviews, I had to get my hand on the book :) The good thing about the wait though was by the time I was ready to buy it, I could wait a bit longer to meet Ms Burton at RWA and have a signed copy :)

Okay, enough chit-chat. What about the book? Well no surprise, I enjoyed it :) It was a very good and solid book and one of the best sport romance I've read in recent years :) The strength of this book was really the characterization of Tara and Mick. These characters definitively felt real, were people we could relate to, and that's what is needed in sport romance. At his age, Mick is looking of normalcy in his life, he's done with the partying and such and that made sense to me. At the same time, he's still going to attend to premieres and big events, because it's part of the job, to have his face out there. I liked that Tara wasn't star-truck by Mick. Sure, he's a superstar and was famous and she enjoyed the perks, but she wasn't a groupie or completely tongue-tied with him. At the same time, she didn't act the way she did simply to attract his attention. She was herself and I think that's what mattered the most :)

I also liked the fact that Mick came from a functional family. He had a regular background, a good relationship with his parents and his siblings. That was another winning part of the book. Another aspect that was well-done was the sport reference and incorporation in the book. There was just enough to give the right ambiance to the book and not overwhelmed the story. Reading Perfect Play, you knew you were reading a romance and the focus was Mick and Tara's relationship, as it should be. Speaking of romance, Mick and Tara really had good chemistry, their romance was sizzling and very nice :)

As I said, Perfect Play was solid. Good characters, good romance and nice feel to the book. What can you ask more? I was also a little bit wary of Tara's son, Nathan, at first because he's a teenager. However, he turned out fine and not annoying at all. The other secondary characters were also good and served their purpose. My only complaint would the part where Nathan got drunk ^_^; Immediately, Tara was like "I'm such a bad mother" and Mick took Nathan to an AA meeting, to share with him his past, but also show him the consequences. Personally, I thought both really over-reacted. Unfortunately, it is reality that some teenagers party and get drunk... I thought that part was a bit superfluous. I have to admit, there was also a lot of little problems between Mick and Tara, but they were immediately solved. I guess they were meant to showcase Mick's patience and persistence... but I could have used a few less "misunderstandings." As for the conflict of the storyline, but big problem - I thought it made sense and I liked the resolution. I think that Mick should have talked a bit more with Liz, but ultimately, Liz crossed the line. However, all those little issues were small when looking at the big picture :)

My Grade: B. All in all, a good and solid read :) Enough that it made me pick up the next book, despite my reservation towards Liz.


  1. I had seen this book around but since I've never read this author before I didn't pay much attention.

    However, I'm starved for a good contemporary book,so I think I'm going to give this one a go. I too think that the reaction you described was a bit exaggerated, but with the fair warning going in, I think I can cope.

    Thanks for the awesome review

  2. Tara got on my nerves a bit, always using her son to keep Mick at a distance and then she flipped out on him when he took her son out of a bad situation. *sigh* But overall, I really really enjoyed it too.

  3. Glad you enjoyed Nath. Yes Jaci comes through with Liz. You will "get" her & you won't mind that Gavin digs her.

  4. Alex - Nod nod, Alex. Well Ms Burton writes erotica romance. I think Perfect Play is well balanced though. There's more sex scenes than in regular contemporary romance, but it's not mindless :P

    You welcome for the review :) If you give this a chance, I hope you enjoy it :)

    Ames - Nod nod, I remember our discussion. I know what you mean... Nathan was like her wall... but at least, they worked it out and it made sense :)

    Mary G - I actually read Changing the Game already and you're right, Liz didn't bother me. Mick did though ^_^; I was planning to do a two-fer, but ran out of time ^_^;

  5. I have this book in the TBR pile. I picked it up a few times to read but put it down immediately. I can't seem to start reading. I need to be in the mood to read this because of the erotic romance elements.

  6. I liked this one too and am curious to see how Liz is portrayed in the next book. I didn't have as much of a problem with her as some readers. I do think she crossed the line but it wasn't malicious so much as a poor attempt at protecting Mick.

  7. Tabitha - You should give it a try, Tabitha :) Personally, I think Ms Burton really did a great job at blending the erotic elements into the storyline.. Seriously, I was tempted not to categorize this as an erotica because it's really well written in :)

    Leslie - I actually read Changing the Game already :) Liz was okay. You're right, she's not malicious... although I wouldn't go to the extent of saying she was protecting Mick. She was just doing her job a bit too intently.

    For me, Mick was the issue in Changing the Game... and well Gavin to an extent.

  8. Jaci definitely knows how to write exciting and sexy contemporary romances, that's for sure.

  9. Christine - Definitively :) And I think she's learned over the years as well. For example, the sex scenes aren't as formulaic anymore... which is good :)