Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wicked Games (Jessica Clare and Jill Myles)

Wicked Games
(A Games novel, Book 1)
Jessica Clare and Jill Myles
Jill Myles, publisher
Fiction, Romance
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: When Abby's boss tells her that her next assignment is to be a plant on the reality show Endurance Island, she wants to refuse. Abby writes book reviews for MediaWeek, not an outdoor survival column. But the show and the magazine belong to the same parent company, so she can hardly turn it down without risking her job; besides, there's a potentially lucrative book deal to go along with the offer. Six weeks on a tropical island, playing silly games while researching an expose... Abby could think of worse vacations. But she didn't count on running into Dean.
It's hate at first sight, as he literally steps over her in the first challenge. Only the cruelest gods would have stuck the two of them together as teammates, and it's quickly clear that the feeling is mutual. Yet, despite the friction and her own better judgement, a spark catches in Abby's heart. Could she possibly have found love in the unlikeliest place on Earth, or is this just another game in the race to win two million dollars?

REVIEW: A quick-reading romance, Wicked Games delivers most of what it promises: a sizzling love-hate affair set against the backdrop of "reality" television. Abby doesn't go to the island searching for love, and neither does Dean. The relationship that develops between them catches them both by surprise, if not the reader. It's a fairly even match, with both characters flawed enough to be believable. Naturally, it's not a simple walk into the sunset, as complications on- and off-camera threaten them. The reality show aspects, especially the behind-the-scenes manipulations that are alluded to, feel a little underplayed, and the story goes out of its way to make Abby believe all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons - annoyances that narrowly cost the book a full fourth star. Overall, though, I got what I expected with this title. That shouldn't be a surprise, but lately it seems to be.

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