Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: Playing With Her Heart by Lauren Blakely

SUMMARY: When you’re acting the role of a lifetime, how can you know if love is real—or all just a part of the show?

Twenty-three year old rising theatre star Jill McCormick has built a life out of pretending. Pretending she’s happy, pretending her long-distance crushes add up to something real, pretending she’s not haunted by the dark secret that shattered her world six years ago. Cast in her first Broadway show, she desperately needs to keep her façade intact, but that’s before she comes face to face with her devastating new boss…

Hot-shot director Davis Milo knows the first rule of directing: never fall for your leading lady. Captivated by Jill’s raw talent, he fights his feelings, but watching Jill on-stage with another man is more than his jealous streak can take. Keeping things professional isn’t an option. He wants all of her.

Soon the ingénue and her director are staying late in the empty theatre, their private rehearsals spiraling into new, forbidden territory. Caught up between fiction and reality, Jill struggles to find the truth in all their staged kisses. But how can she be sure that what she feels is real, and not a part of the play? And when two people spend their lives pretending, what happens after the final curtain falls?

OPINION: This is a cute, hot, and fun read that romances lovers will definitely go for. I love the set up of this one so much... actress trying to get her first Broadway break, and the show director who gives it to her. There is plenty that can go wrong, but considering the undeniable chemistry these two have, there's also so much that can (and does) go right.

I love seeing a guy fall hard and fast for a girl, but also try so hard to resist her. And Davis definitely fits that bill. Closed off from actresses due to an ex who used him for her own career, it isn't just that Jill is in his show that has him trying to keep his hands off. No, he's sworn off actresses, until this girl makes him want to break all his rules. I loved seeing his internal battles there, knowing it's so obviously hopeless. Not to mention, he's quite the dirty talker, with a rough streak to him that is a total turn on yet a softness that even his desires can't fully override.

Jill is a great character, too, though I have to admit, the dark secret from her past hit my peeve button just a little too hard. It's mentioned, multiple times, alluded to regularly, and basically dangled in the reader's face that something bad happened. And honestly, I personally just don't like the blatant secret keeping from the reader. Considering it's still a huge deal for Jill, it's the reason she keeps herself closed off and has a skewed view of love... to not find out what really happened for most of the book bugged me. It didn't at all have the same impact it could've for me. And in that, I didn't connect as much to Jill as I otherwise would've, because the sympathy didn't work the same for me when as a reader, I'm being pointedly teased and led. But that aside, I this she's an interesting character, and I do understand the effects of her past, and I loved seeing Davis work through it with her and for her.

My only other problem with this one was in the pacing towards the end, with the HEA happening with a good chunk of story left to go. That final stuff left me, honestly, not as interested, and felt more like extra sexy times for the sake of it just to be there, rather than because it drives the story. So I admit to not being as captivated by the last chunk, but still, this is the kind of story that pulls you in from the start and leaves you with a big grin on your face.

Source: ARC received from InkSlinger PR as part of the blog tour, in exchange for honest review
Print Length: 292 pages
Age Range: New Adult
Publication Date: August 17, 2013

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