Short Take Reviews: Well Played & Parental Guidance

  



WELL PLAYED
Jen DeLuca
Series: Well Met #2
Published: September 22, 2020
Source: Overdrive Audiobook
4 stars

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it's been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she'll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined "The One," it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she's not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey's shock, it isn't Dex—she's been falling in love with a man she barely knows.


*****

Well Met was a surprise hit when I read it in 2019, so I was excited to return to De Luca’s Ren Faire world in Well Played. Stacy was a character who had put her life on hold and was torn between the status quo and making big changes in her life. When she started an email correspondence with her summertime hook-up she was surprised to find there was much more to him than she thought. But all was not as it seemed.

While this one did not have the same charm for me as Well Met, it was still a fun read. Stacy was likable and relatable and I totally enjoyed being back at the Ren Faire with familiar characters. I was never fully sold on the romance aspect or how easily the conflict was resolved, and those issues kept this from being quite as big a hit as the first book. Still, it was a fun read, and having Brittany Pressley return as the narrator made for an engaging listening experience.

Avery Flynn
Series: Ice Knights #1
Published: June 17, 2019
Source: Hoopla Audiobook
3 stars

All I want is to play hockey on the Ice Knights, instead, I’m in a viral video for all the wrong reasons and my mom—yes, my mom—has taken over my dating apps. Then, when I think it can’t get any worse, the fates deliver Zara Ambrose, a five-feet-nothing redhead with more freckles than inches and who’d rather be anywhere other than on a date with me.

Now a bet with her friends and my PR nightmare have us both stuck in this go-on-five-dates-with-the-same-person hell situation. 

What could go wrong? Nothing—as long as I remember the rules. Don’t notice the way she looks in a dress. Don’t react when she does that little shivery sigh thing whenever we touch. Don’t think about the fact that she’s never had a toe-curling orgasm that wasn’t self-delivered and just how badly I want to change that.

Five dates—that’s it—and then we go our separate ways. At least, that was the plan.

*****

I downloaded the audio for Parental Guidance because it has been languishing on my TBR for over a year. Plus it was available on Hoopla so it had that going for it. Hockey player Caleb and artist Zara are matched (by his mother) on a dating site and agree to five dates. Caleb needs to do damage control and repair his image, and Zara was badgered to take part by her BFF. Naturally, these two opposites clash/come together and, over the course of several dates, find that the other person is exactly who they want and need.

This was cute but I found some things just didn’t add up for me. Like why Caleb was the one whose image was tarnished and in need of a PR fix when he didn’t do anything wrong? His teammates were caught on video talking trash and, while he didn’t shut it down, he also didn’t take part. So that made no sense. And the way he and Zara were so adamant about not doing certain things because it went against the “rules.” Um, they were the ones who set them, so just agree to ditch them! So, while this one was not particularly memorable, it was still a cute read and provided some entertainment.


HAVE YOU READ EITHER OF THESE BOOKS?

14 comments

  1. I'm happy that Well Played was another winner for you! I really liked Stacey but like you, found the romance lacking. I'm incredibly excited for Mitch and April!

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    1. Same here, Amber! I can't wait to see the confirmed bachelor take the fall. LOL

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  2. Well, Tanya, I read both of these books. I thought Parental Guidance was funny, though the second book was my favorite. I think the appeal of Well Played was identifying with Stacey, that feeling of being stuck.

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    1. Yeah, I remember you enjoying both of these a lot. And I keep hearing the second book in the Avery series is everyone's favorite. :) Well Played was a good one and I liked Stacey.

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  3. I've read both of these. I really loved Well Played. Parental Guidance was good, but since I loved the second book AWK-WEIRD so much, it came in behind that one.

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    1. Funny how I keep hearing that Awk-Weird is so much better than Parental Guidance! :)

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  4. It can be so frustrating when books have little inconsistencies or plot points that clearly don't make sense - but it sounds like it was still a decent read!

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    1. Yeah, the stuff that made no sense bugged me, but it was still a decent read. Entertaining. :)

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  5. These both sound like fun listens. I still need to read Well Met!

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  6. I have Well Played on my wishlist but I still need to read Well Met (which is languishing away on my kindle) before I take the plunge.
    Come to think of it, Parental Guidance is another one that's on the kindle and neglected... Oops.

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    1. I loved Well Played. The audio version was perfection!

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  7. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Well Played. I liked it too and found Stacey very relatable.
    I'm really looking forward to the third book because I loved the chemistry between Mitch and April in this one.

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