Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week-End's Minis XXIX: Playing to Win by Jaci Burton

Playing to Win by Jaci Burton
published by Berkley in September 2012
Someone’s going to have to let down their guard…

Football star Cole Riley is notorious for doing as he pleases—on the field and off. He parties hard and fights harder, but if he doesn’t clean up his act, his career is over—so Cole reluctantly agrees to work with image makeover consultant Savannah Brooks. He’s not used to being told what to do, especially by some (admittedly hot) Southern belle. As for Savannah, she’s not convinced she can transform this cocky (and aggressively sexy) force of nature. But she’s determined to give it her best shot.

When the sparks start to fly, Savannah lays down the ground rules: no personal complications. If she can turn off the tingle she feels every time Cole gives her a hot stare with his gorgeous baby blues, he can turn off his desire as well. But for two people determined to have it all, a hands-off policy can only last so long before one of them yields.
Genre: Contemporary romance, sports romance
Series: Play by Play, Book #4

What do you need to know? Cole Riley is a good football player, but he has some attitude problems and a bad reputation, most of it over-exaggerated by the media. Thanks to Elizabeth Darnell, Cole got a contract with the Traders of St. Louis... To ensure that Cole remains with the Traders, Elizabeth has hired Savannah Brooks, an image makeover consultant, to rebuild Cole's reputation. And let just say that Cole is very resistant to the idea, deeming that he is not the problem, but the lies that the media make up are. In addition, he's been attracted to Savannah from the first glimpse, so he's not thrilled that she's been hired to change him. As for Savannah, she doesn't want to miss business with pleasure, but the temptation is hard to resist...

Why this book? I read a few good reviews about this book, so wanted to give it a shot :)

What did I like? As usual, I enjoyed Ms Burton's writing. It flows well, it's easy to read and it suits the books she writes :) I also thought the storyline had a lot of potential... and the H/H definitively have chemistry together and that makes for some very intense and hot scenes :)

What didn't work? I'm most probably in the minority here, but I had difficulty connecting and liking Cole and Savannah. I thought Cole could really be paranoid and a jerk at times and he seemed to have some anger management issues. Some of behavior was explained, but some of it not and that's the part I had difficulty with. Like insisting he didn't need to change and his family making excuses for him when I felt some of it was a bit overboard. As a whole though, Cole wasn't that bad, but I didn't fall in love with him, didn't feel like rooting for him.

Then, there was also Savannah. On the surface, I thought I'd like her more than Cole... but in truth, I think I had more issues with her character ^_^; What bothered me the most is how she felt she had the right to get into Cole's business, but not the other way around. I know she was hired to be his image makeover consultant, so indeed, she had a right. But very quickly, her relationship with Cole was more than just client-consultant. As her lover, I thought he had a right as well. It just made for a very uneven relationship I think. In addition, I would have liked to see Savannah work with other clients. She said that Cole wasn't her only one, but we had no proof. Furthermore, I felt her approach with Cole was very personal, too much... Especially for someone who said she didn't want to mix business and pleasure. From the start, it felt like untrue by the way she acted. Finally, as I said, Cole wasn't that bad... so I'm surprised that no PR person could actually salvage Cole's image before. I know that otherwise, we wouldn't have a story, but I thought it could have been harder for Savannah.

My Grade?C. I had some issues with Playing to Win, but I still think it was an okay book. I would have enjoyed it better if I had connected with the characters. Gotta say though, I'm really looking forward to the next book, Thrown by a Curve, having read the excerpt :)