Book Review: Playing to Win by Jaci Burton
Book description:

Book Four in the Play-by-Play Series
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.

My thoughts:

This book really carries out its cover. Every aspect of the story seemed to engage with the male character. At least at the beginning it did. For the beginning part of the book I had no idea what to think of it. Do I hate it or love it, or just read it and forget I did? The main hero is a typical bad boy and the heroine is just there, without any proper characterization. And I know for a fact that is not the way Jaci Burton writes because I have really enjoyed the previous books in the series and so I read through that block and ended up loving the book. It would seem I was impatient for the story to unveil and prove to be so much more which it proved to be by the end of the book.

The storyline is a classic one: a bad boy, a goody-goody girl, and her attempt to tame the bad boy. And, as you can guess, she successfully does. What makes this story a success is Jaci Burton's ability to write such a mundane story adorned with "character", she gives the story a sexy male lead that will turn the minds of all the ladies who have always wanted a "bad boy to tame", or not tame (*wink*), and giving it just the right amount of erotica not making it seem cheesy. The book is a wonderful story of romance opening reader's ability to dream of love and happy endings. 

Furthermore, you know how authors often say that they plan every aspect of their storyline in advance and then just put them to paper? Jaci Burton's novel seems to be quite the opposite. But I kind of even loved that. Seemed like the author was meeting and experiencing the life of her characters as the book unwind. This made the whole storyline more plausible and characters more-real-life-like people. She let the book write the words that were needed for a bad boy to become a Prince Charming (though not completely perfect :D), and the story behind the heroine's life that made her into a very successful, but unhappy, person who will eventually learn how to open herself to the people around her and be happy. Every had that problem? Then read the book and maybe you'll find a solution in there, too. Not? Maybe read just for the super hot-sexy-steamy romance then?

 I just have to mention the title also. Playing to win? Oh, connotations, connotations! Personally, I think Jaci Burton (or whoever did) chose wisely with giving it a two way meaning to the title, win the girl - win the game. Yep, the series is about sports too, so giving it a suggesting title is a smart way of accentuating that aspect of the books. The author really does a great job giving the readers an insight on what does it really mean to be a professional sportsman. Yes, women do understand some boy-stuff (since they're the sports' lovers, and not us), too. So, you sports-lovers, there's even something for you with these books!

Everything considered, the book is a fun and easy read to rest your brain and body after a long day's work, accompanying you with the stories about love, life, friendship and family. A perfect mix for a romantic soul. And football, for a fanatic like myself.


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