Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Play by Karina Halle - Review

A troubled Scottish rugby player who doesn't play by the rules.
A vivacious man-eater who's given up on love.
When it comes to Lachlan and Kayla, opposites don't just attract - they explode.

Kayla Moore has always been comfortable with her feisty, maneating reputation. At least it was fine until she hit her thirties and saw her best friends Stephanie and Nicola settle down with Linden and Bram McGregor, leaving Kayla to be the odd one out. Tired of being the third wheel with nothing but one-night stands and dead-end dates in San Francisco, Kayla decides to take a vow of celibacy and put men on the backburner.

That is until she lays her eyes on Linden and Bram’s cousin, hot Scot Lachlan McGregor. Lachlan is her sexual fantasy come to life – tall, tatted, and built like a Mack truck. With a steely gaze and successful rugby career back in Edinburgh, he’s the kind of man that makes her want to throw her vow right out the window. But Lachlan’s quiet and intense demeanor makes him a hard man to get to know, let alone get close to.

It isn’t until the two of them are thrown together one long, unforgettable night that Kayla realizes there is so much more to this brooding macho man than what meets the eye. But even with sparks flying between the two, Lachlan can’t stay in America forever. Now, Kayla has to decide whether to uproot her whole life and chance it all on someone she barely knows or risk getting burned once again.

Sometimes love is a game that just needs to be played. 

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: November 2015.

From the very opening of the prologue I was utterly captivated by this story, as we take in the world through the eyes of five year Lachlan I felt every bit of confusion, hopelessness, fear, pain and loneliness he felt, it was as though Lachlan never really stood a chance at life, but we know from the blurb that he definitely made something of his life, he's now a successful rugby player currently on leave in the States from Scotland to assist his cousin Bram with his housing project. Even the most successful of people can have dark and sordid pasts, which is evident from the heartbreaking prologue.

Kayla has always been a brash, abrasive, man eater, as she popped up throughout The Pact and The Offer, she's always seemed like she pretty much has it all figured out, she has a job she seems to enjoy, a family she loves, and a constant stream of men to warm her bed, but that's the thing about perceptions, the truth isn't always what it seems. Kayla's life is okay, her job pays the bills but doesn't particularly satisfy her creative needs, her family is large but she has little contact with her brothers, each week she makes time in her schedule to her friendships with Steph and Nicola are solid, her relationship with Bram and Linden is much rockier, and with the four of them coupled off, Kayla seems to be the perennial fifth wheel. Swearing off men and casual hook ups seems like the best way for Kayla to get her life on the right path. It all seems so simple really, no men, no sex, and it is...until she meets Bram and Linden's cousin Lachlan...the beast of a man is the very definition of the strong silent type, he says very little and keeps to himself. he shouldn't be the most alluring man she's ever seen, he barely speaks so she shouldn't feel dizzy just hearing his voice wash over her, and yet Kayla is more insanely attracted the dashing Scot than any man she's ever met.

Generally in romance books so much of the story comes from the hero and heroine getting together, finding one another, but what I loved so much about The Play is that yes, Lachlan and Kayla find their way to each other, but that's only one pit stop in the journey, because life can be dark, people can be haunted by memories, by insecurities, by fears, and two topics that Halle deals with in The Play, with such sensitivity, that hold such a dear place in my heart, anxiety and depression have such far reaching effects in our society even when treated with therapy, medication and under watchful medical supervision, when not people can find their own ways to self medicate, with drugs, alcohol, self harm...once on a downward spiral, it's often hard to come back. Halle's words sucked me in, I felt every second of torment and agony, every fraction of grief and regret, every splinter of pain and hopelessness, because sometimes when someone you love is hurting, and is in turn hurting you there's nothing you can do, you can shout your love from the rooftops, you can hold onto them until your fingers bleed, you can pray to a higher power, and sometimes it's not enough to change them, to fix them, and that right there is a testament to the author...because I felt every inch of that, I felt it acutely as if Halle sliced open my chest and held my battered heart in the palm of her chest.

For all of these reasons The Play was easily coasting to GOLDEN LIPSTICK perfection for me, Kayla and Lachlan's connection only added to this books appeal, infatuation that jumped off the page, a chemistry that was undeniable, and sex that made the pages burn. Unfortunately though, the more I read the more I found myself skimming the sex scenes to get back to the story, at first where I loved the intimate scenes as it was the way the characters interacted, I got to the point where I was so invested in the story that the sex almost felt like it distracted me from the emotional pull, and that's what I was so captivated by. Even with that, I devoured this book, all 150,000 words of it, I was invested and desperate for more, I'm grateful for being taken on a journey with these characters, characters who became friends, friends who I loved like family, I applaud her for taking us down a dark path, for not sugar-coating it, and yet not exploiting it for the sake of shock value, and more than anything, I thank her for helping me to shed some of my own guilt, for telling me it's okay to forgive myself for the times that I was that person who was holding on until my fingers bled, shouting my love from the rooftops, praying to a higher power, and still feeling that person slipping away, leaving me powerless to do fix them.

Download The Pact from Amazon

Download The Offer from Amazon

About Karina Halle:

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, Racing the Sun, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook.


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