Clare - Book Reviews

***** - Excellent
**** - Good
*** - Okay
** - Bad
* - Terrible
+ - Half-star

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

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.

You might also enjoy:
The Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins, YA Fiction - In a dark future, a girl becomes part of a deadly televised survival "sport")
Scoundrel for Hire (Adrienne deWolfe, Fiction - An 1800's silver mine heiress hires a roguish charmer to break up her father's engagement)
Survival 101: The Essential Guide to Saving Your Own Life in a Disaster (Marcus Duke, Nonfiction - A basic guide to surviving without modern conveniences in times of crisis)
Concrete Evidence (Rachel Grant, Fiction - A disgraced archaeologist's vengeance against relic smugglers crosses paths with a powerful company, buried secrets, and a hot intern with his own agenda)
Chomp (Carl Hiaasen, YA Fiction - A father-son animal wrangler team deal with an egotistical "survivalist" TV star in the Florida Everglades)
Trials of Artemis (Sue London, Fiction - An unladylike Regency woman finds herself engaged to a headstrong earl against both their wills)
Bound to the Bachelor (Sarah Mayberry, Fiction - After organizing a charity bachelor auction, a woman's impulsive bid lands her a date with a long-time enemy)
When Lightning Strikes (Brenda Novak, Fiction - When a self-destructive actor marries his straight-laced agent as a PR stunt, neither expected to fall in love for real)
Bidding on Brooks (Katy Regnery, Fiction - An ex-Olympian sailor turns to a longtime lady friend for help after being talked into a bachelor auction... never expecting to fall in love)
Romancing Miss Right (Lizzie Shane, Fiction - When a romance writer stars on a reality dating show, she doesn't expect to fall for the bad-boy bachelor contestant)
Shelly's Second Chance (L B Swan and Hope Chandler, Fiction - Two ghosts must grant the wish of a desperate, gambling-addicted woman)
Someone Else's Fairytale (E. M. Tippetts, Fiction - A driven college student unexpectedly catches the eye of America's hottest star)

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