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Don't Stop Readin'

Hi guys, I'm Anushka (or Annie, if you like). I'm a serial reader and a more-than-occasional reviewer and I like to mention authors by their names in my reviews. (Ha! Suck it GoodReads!)


Playing Dirty  - Jennifer Echols
Also find this review here and here.

Two words: 
Drama Overload.


There was an overflow of emotions in every page of every chapter! Good God! It was WAY too much and the last couple of chapters which were supposed to be climactic turned into a hectic read. I had a scowl on my face which said just get it over with already during the last 50 pages or so.


From the very first meeting between our hero and heroine, there were sparks, tingles, intense attraction and all that lovey-dovey gooey shit which we are so damn tired of reading in every book nowadays. 
My thoughts on Playing Dirty are almost similar to what I had about the first book, Star Crossed. (Yeah, I went out of my way to read it only to find out that these books aren’t related at all. What a waste.)


I thought the first one had a better story and characters whereas Playing Dirty was just flat-out boring. Wendy, in the first book was interesting, smart and funny but Sarah in this book just tried too hard to behave like a person. There was nothing unique that stood out about her in the book, except her hair maybe. Like Wendy, she was also on the brink of losing her job (and had great hair as well) so she set out to do this last gig to save her career and all she did while working as a PR specialist for the country-band The Cheatin’ Hearts was to lust over Quentin, their lead singer.  If getting turned on by the lead singer of a band isn’t one of the biggest clichés ever, then I don’t know what is. (Although, this was a country band, not a rock band so it didn’t fit very well with me.)
She didn’t have any advice to improve band’s status or help them, she used to mention her job once in a while when she got a break from lusssssting over Quentin, otherwise? Nothing. All she did was flirt with him, whine about her previous job-gone-wrong and lead Quentin to the bed then say “We can’t. It would be wrong.”




Not. Again.
I’m tired of this theme. 
First, the characters have insta-love but they force themselves not to fall in love because it would be wrong or unethical or against their job policies but they end up having sex anyway. 
Well, if you had to do it, why didn’t you do it in the first chapter itself and save us all this trouble, dammit!


There are two major events in this book. First is when Sarah and Quentin check each other out, realise the passionate flames between them, the other is when they put their sexual tension to the end. Everything that happens in-between is messy, complicated and unsurprisingly yawn inducing. The whole band, together, has more problems than the White House. Each one of them has some or the other petty secrets hidden away from each other and not to forget that Quentin keeps lying to Sarah over and over and over again about everything. It is not as much lying as it is hiding things from her but it’s all the same. After a few pages I lost track of all the issues they had so I just skipped 60 pages at once. I know, bad on my part, but can you blame me?


The writing was mediocre, I’d say. In the first book the writing came out as very “try-hard”. All the scenes were described with a lot of effort and jokes were somehow pushed in the story to make us feel that what we’re reading is a rom-com. In this book there was less of the try-hard factor and the narration was kept plain and simple, that could probably be because our heroine had a sense of humour of a rock. Contrary to this book, I liked the characters in the first one, despite the passable writing I think Wendy was sketched very well. Another thing about the writing I ought to mention are the sex scenes, or what I would call an attempt to write one. Just so you know, I’m not against steamy scenes but they should be written very well into the story (like the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead or Fever series by Karen Marie Moning) otherwise they seem like waste of pages, time and effort to me. There were very few such scenes in this book as compared to Star Gazer but they fell flat nonetheless, in my opinion.


The last thing that I’m going to mention is the copious amount of drama thrown in the final chapters. Climactic part should always be concise, fast paced and must show more than tell. But in Playing Dirty, there were just too many things going on at once. Someone’s spilling their secrets, some people are confessing their love for each other, someone is getting love letters one moment and death threats by a stalker the other (Again, what’s with the similarities between 1st and 2nd book?). Ever head of the phrase TOO MUCH? Yeah, that applies here. Half of the problems were being rushed and half were slowed down to a rate that it became frustrating to read. The pacing and the spacing of the storyline was a major drawback here. Every issue was procrastinated in the middle only to reveal it at the end which made things into one huge lump of hodge podge.



So, final verdict – 1.5 to 2 stars because there were shreds of story unlike other books which don’t even deserve to be called “books”. Not recommended to a crowd because I’m sure there are better romantic comedies out there.


*This arc was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and I thank them.