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Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: Playing with Trouble by Joya Ryan

Normally I enjoy the heck out of Joya Ryan's books but this one just fell flat for me. In all honesty it had to do with the heroine. Didn't like her at all.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review.)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: March 21, 2017

Recently divorced, Laura Baughman is taking her life back. After a decade away, she’s returning to Yachats, Oregon—the small town she couldn’t wait to leave after graduation—to take over her late mother’s beloved flower shop. Yet once she arrives, Laura discovers the store has been neglected and her father has partnered in construction with Jake Lock. The once-scrawny high school band geek is now successful—and irresistibly sexy—and set to inherit her family’s business. That is, unless Laura can prove in the next thirty days that she has what it takes to run the company.

Despite the heat between Jake and Laura, romance is out of the question. After her last disastrous relationship, Laura has sworn off men—especially one bent on crushing her dreams. That’s just fine with Jake, who thinks the gorgeous blonde is a pain in the neck…though admittedly one he’d like to put his lips all over.

Jake has a proposal to mix business with pleasure. But when a deal goes south, Laura is ready to pack up and skip town all over again. Does he have what it takes to convince her to stay?

What’s it About? After spending ten years away from her hometown in Oregon, recently divorced Laura Baughman decides to take back her life. She starts by taking over her late mother’s flower shop but when she steps inside the shop she finds it’s been neglected and that former band geek Jake Lock is set to inherit the shop unless Laura can prove she can run it. The last thing Laura wants is a romance with anyone and Jake agrees, however, the attraction between them is too hot to ignore so Jake proposes a no strings fling for awhile but when things go wrong with the business, Jake has to think fast to keep Laura from leaving town again.

Overall reaction to the story? I’ve read Ryan’s books before and have loved them to bits which is why I picked up Playing with Trouble. I didn’t love this story though. I didn’t connect with Jake or Laura very well and I didn’t feel their connection to one another either. The plot is a good one: Small town girl dreams of something bigger and better, leaves home but returns years later a jaded, worn down version of herself only to find love with a hometown boy from her past. I just thought that the characters were lacking a bit and while the physical chemistry was a hit, the romance was a definite miss.

Describe the hero in five words: Smart. Pushy. Dedicated. Loyal. Fair.
Did you like him? Yes, even though I question his taste in women.
Why? Jake was a responsible guy for the most part and he had a practical way of looking at things, especially when it came to running a business. I like practical characters; they tend to do what needs to be done without bringing a lot of unnecessary drama and that was Jake. He wasn’t mean about making the business successful but he wasn’t going to be pushed into failure because of an emotional tantrum so it came as a surprise when he fell for Laura.

Describe the heroine in five words: Stubborn. Childish. Selfish. Irresponsible. Inconsiderate.
Did you like her? No.
Why? Laura acted like she was entitled to the family business even though she had no clue what to do with it. She essentially expected Jake to step aside and take orders from her simply because she had the right last name. She didn’t stop to think that 1.) She had no idea how to get the business going again, 2.) Jake was ALREADY taking steps to do just that and 3.) There were people who depended on the business being successful again in order to make a living. But Laura saw none of that. She essentially threw an adult version of a temper tantrum when she didn’t get her way and in between arguing with Jake and having sex with him, very little was done to change her personality. Laura never tried to be a better person.

Let’s talk about the romance: There wasn’t much in the way of romantic development between Jake and Laura. To be honest, Playing with Trouble was more the sexual escapades between two adults. Which wasn’t a bad thing. I like sex scenes in books, I really do and Joya Ryan writes some really hot ones. I just couldn’t get into a relationship between someone like Jake who was responsible and considerate of people, and a woman like Laura who seemed to only have consideration for herself.

Click It or Skip It? Skip It. A character like Laura isn’t much fun in real life or in fiction, even with a guy like Jake as a hero.

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