ARC Review: Playing It Cool by Amy Andrews

cover96177-mediumTitle: Playing It Cool (Sydney Smoke Rugby, #2)

Author: Amy Andrews

Publisher: Brazen, Entangled Publishing

Expected Publishing Date: September 12, 2016

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Format: eBook, Paperback

Page Count: 163

Rating: 3 Stars



Harper Nugent might have a little extra junk in her trunk, but her stepbrother calling her out on it is the last straw… When rugby hottie, Dexter Blake, witnesses the insult, he surprises Harper by asking her out. In front of her dumbass brother. Score! Of course, she knows it’s not for reals, but Dex won’t take no for an answer.

Dexter Blake’s life revolves around rugby with one hard and fast rule: no women. Sure, his left hand is getting a workout, but he’s focused on his career for now. Then he overhears an asshat reporter belittle the curvy chick he’d been secretly ogling. What’s a guy to do but ask her out? It’s just a little revenge against a poser, and then he’ll get his head back in the game.

But the date is better than either expected. So is the next one. And the next. And the heat between them…sizzles their clothes right off.

Suddenly, this fake relationship is feeling all too real…

♦ Personal Thought ♦

On very rare occasion last year, I got to watch almost all matches of Rugby World Cup on TV. It was quite educational for me who knew zilch about Rugby to familiarize myself with the rule of the game. It was fun to watch. And let’s not forget: eye candy galore!

So, it was with last year experience on my mind that I read this book; having Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and co running around in place of the Sydney Smoke’s guys (maybe I should’ve thought of Wallabies instead of All Black, but …this is my head okay! :D).

Anyways, I’m not gonna lie that having that in my mind put me in favorable mood. I don’t usually do well with long and many steamy scenes; but I found myself okaying this one. Okaying. Such a tame word. The sex scenes here were graphically hawt I needed cold shower reading it! I also didn’t whine “why so many nookie??” much reading this, because I was – sort of – prepared for it. This was a Brazen book, after all.

But what I loved most here was the characters. Dex was charming, I loved how he not saw Harper’s big-size-curvy-ness as flaw and loving them instead. Harper was an amazing heroine: gorgeous, tall and curvy, an artist and gamer all in one. The battle of wits between these two were laugh-induced (a Jedi in wanking for one. Blasphemous! I know. No disrespect to Obi Wan. :D).

Which was why I didn’t like Dex’s botched attempt at trying to win Harper’s back and her WTH way of shoving things under the carpets, acting like nothing had changed. Granted, this paved way to the culmination scene. But – after their level-headed mannerism throughout the book – their handling of the issues was so infuriating.

With how the story started, I was also hoping for more on the matter of one-upping the bad step-family-members. Too bad, unlike in Cinderella, readers don’t get to see the stepbrother/mother paid for their awfulness. Likewise, I wish Dex’s background and how it made him feel not fully secure could be explored more; I thought it would give the story more weight. Alas, I could only satisfy with the tell (and not show) way on this matter.

Having mostly rooted for their courting – for lack of a better word – the declaration part left me grumbling. On one hand it was an understandable move, considering. But over the top gesture rarely worked well for me.

Still, all in all this is a low angst and enjoyable story to read. I’m game to read the previous book – Playing by Her Rules – of the series, and would look for the next installment; kind of hoping it to be Lincoln’s book.


Advanced copy of this book is kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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