Play, by Kylie Scott

play

Grade: A+

Doing it at: 64%

Catnip: Rock Stars; Tattoos; Drummers; Limo Sex; Stage Dive; Funny Guys; Beta Heroes; Fake Relationship; Gateway Books

Shame Scale: All of the Stage Dive covers are pretty shame-y. A hot tattooed torso stretched across a bed is pretty much not going to belong to anything but a sex book. The plot is real though! And I love the dialog in this one, and would recommend it to a romance newbie I was trying to bring to the dark side. Low-medium shame.

Fantasy Cast: Chris Hemsworth (his giant Thor arms are from drumming in this fantasy) and Rose Leslie

Book Description:

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world-famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast–at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl.

Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls–especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?


Malcolm Ericson might be my favorite book boyfriend of all the trashy romance books I have inhaled this year. There have been a lot of obsessive, possessive, alpha boys– wooing girls into bed with martial prowess and relentless libido. But Mal doesn’t fall under that category. Mal is just really really funny. Mal will make you giggle until you just jump him. He will Literally Charm. Your. Pants. Off.

literally

Basically what I’m trying to say is that this will not be an objective review of Play, maybe Mary could do one, but I wanted to sell everyone on reading this and witnessing the glory.

Anne works at a book shop, she had a shitty adolescence, and has zero romantic life to speak of; minus a big crush on her boss. Until she meets Mal at a Stage Dive party she’s attending with her friend Lauren. She’s having a bad day, her room-mate moved out like a thief in the night leaving her with debt and simmering anger, she is not in a party mood even though she is a BIG Stage Dive fan. More specifically she is a BIG Mal Ericson fan (this book is the first time I’ve ever seen the appeal of a drummer, I tell my daughter all the time Never Date a Drummer). When she meets him in real life she gives him what Mal deems “the crazy eyes”, and he decides that they should pretend to date, for the good of them both. But while Anne knows why it’s good for her– he’ll pay her rent and buy her a new couch and he’s Mal freakin’ Ericson and she’s been in love with him 4Eva– he won’t tell Anne what’s in it for him. In fact he doesn’t want to talk about anything serious, he just wants to keep everything light and funny. And very very flirty.

“Your cheeks have gone all rosy. Are you thinking rude thoughts about me, Anne?”

“No.”

“Liar,” he taunted in a soft voice. “You’re totally thinking of me with no pants on.”

I totally was.

“That’s just gross, dude. A massive invasion of my privacy.” He leaned in closer, his breath warming my ear. “Whatever you’re imagining, it’s bigger.”

As these book fake relationships go, Mal and Anne decide that it will be all business, no sex, no feelings, they’re just FRIENDS. Except Mal is bad at boundaries and Anne really does want to see him without his pants on, she can’t stop having the Crazy Eyes. Mal doesn’t like Anne’s boss, Reece, who she has been quietly lusting after for years. Reece dates A LOT, lots of girls who aren’t Anne, but he likes having Anne as his eternal back up plan. Always good for a hang out, or to cover an extra shift at the book store, always when its convenient for Reece and never when its convenient for Anne. When Reece shows up at Anne’s apartment at 5 am on Mal’s second night in residence, smelling of alcohol and some other girl’s perfume (but with donuts!), Mal is distinctly displeased with how Reece treats Anne:

“A?” asked Mal, crossing his arms over his chest. He turned and winked at me. “You call her ‘A? What, saying her whole name’s too much of a commitment for you?”

And Anne seems to realize for maybe first time that Reece isn’t the dream guy she’s convinced herself he can be, especially when he tells her that she could do way better for a hook up than Mal:

“Shit, Reece, how can you even…” I stared at Mal, frowned, and cocked my head. So much skin. I looked and looked until I hit the dusting of dark blonde hair leading down from his belly button, heading straight for No-Anne Land. He had a treasure trail. A map to hidden delights. The donut box trembled in my hands.

What I like about Anne is that she pretty quickly knows that Mal’s hidden delights trump Reece’s donuts, hands down. And even though we don’t get doing it until 64%, we get a pretty awesome bathtub make-out at 57% and a bed breaking scene before that. They’re not technically having sex when they break the bed, but it’s a great scene anyway. And back to that bath tub scene? Fully clothed Mal climbing into the tub with Anne, neither caring that they’re essentially flooding the apartment just does it for me. Despite my rational brain knowing how not sexy wet jeans are in real life, in books they’re just fine and dandy. When the doing it does happen (“Hello Anne’s clitoris. It’s me, Malcolm, your lord and master”) both characters agree that they’re not faking it anymore, this is real and they want to see where it will go.

The last 30% of Play gives us the inevitable book break up and reconciliation, it wouldn’t be a shame book without one, all the couples have to battle for their HEA. I love Mal and Anne so much that I didn’t have any moments of not rooting for them, and very little annoyance and eye rolling. This is my A+ read, it’s fully mybookshame endorsed, and if you’ve got  a friend you’re looking to ruin it would make a fantastic gateway book.

Check it out on Amazon:

Deep, by Kylie Scott

Deep

Grade: A-

Doing it at: 30%

Catnip: Beards; Rock Stars; Bass Players; Tattoos; Strong female lead; Stage Dive; Accidental Pregnancy; Panty Sniffing; Brother in law’s Best Friend

Shame Scale: Shirtless tattooed dude playing a bass is a Shame-Inducing cover. It’s also a GREAT cover. Actual content isn’t particularly shame-y. There’s a real plot, the characters aren’t paper dolls, and Kylie Scott has a good ear for dialog.

Fantasy Casting: Christopher John Millington and Mandy Moore

Book Description:

Positive. With two little lines on a pregnancy test, everything in Lizzy Rollins’ ordinary life is about to change forever. And all because of one big mistake in Vegas with Ben Nicholson, the irresistibly sexy bass player for Stage Dive. So what if Ben’s the only man she’s ever met who can make her feel completely safe, cherished, and out of control with desire at the same time? Lizzy knows the gorgeous rock star isn’t looking for anything more permanent than a good time, no matter how much she wishes differently.

Ben knows Lizzy is off limits. Completely and utterly. She’s his best friend’s little sister now, and no matter how hot the chemistry is between them, no matter how sweet and sexy she is, he’s not going to go there. But when Ben is forced to keep the one girl he’s always had a weakness for out of trouble in Sin City, he quickly learns that what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay there. Now he and Lizzie are connected in the deepest way possible…but will it lead to a connection of the heart?


Lucky readers! This review is a gang bang, Mary and Cleone both dropped everything to inhale Deep the minute it loaded onto our ereaders. We finished within ten minutes of each other, and under the 24 hour mark. There was copious and sometimes frantic texting happening:

deep text

We are big Kylie Scott fans and we adore the Stage Dive series. Ben is the last Stage Dive member to get his book. Poor bassists always finish last.

Cleone: My ranking of the Stage Dive novels is as follows:

  1. Play (Mal 4eva)
  2. Lead
  3. Deep
  4. Lick

We open up with Lizzy, Mal’s new little sister-in-law, peeing on her second pregnancy test and seeing her second set of double lines. She spent one night with Ben, and is now all knocked up,because what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. Liz is also on her way to family dinner where she’ll be seeing Ben, the other band mates and their ladies,and a surprise mystery guest- Ben’s date. Ben’s hipster, burlesque dancer, naturopath date who spills the beans to the whole party that Lizzy (and Lena, Jimmy’s girlfriend from Lead) are both pregnant. Nobody takes this well. Mal freaks out because he specifically asked Ben to stay away from his wife’s baby sister. Anne, Liz’s sister, freaks out because she can’t believe Liz was so irresponsible and was sneaking around with Ben behind her back. There’s an actual melee, boys get bloody, dinner gets ruined, hipster date gets huffy, and Lizzy flees after taking the blame for her and Ben’s hooking up.

The book flashes back to Liz meeting Ben for the first time and being immediately into him, like can’t take her eyes off him electric connection into him. There is some cute text flirting. Kylie writes good flirt, and I enjoy text “dialog”, it reminds me of epistolary novels which are another of my catnip triggers. Ben keeps telling Liz, who is 9ish years his junior, that nothing can come from the flirting because Mal has forbidden it, and the band is too important to him to risk jeopardizing. So, hot, giant, tattooed, bearded, man-bunned (I have basically just described my perfect guy) Ben avoids Liz. And then Liz avoids Ben. Until Mal and Anne’s Vegas wedding. When the doin’ it happens. And the doin’ it is hot, Ben is *very* well endowed and doesn’t fit when the duo try to have sex up against a wall in the bathroom at the hotel; Liz is super embarrassed and worried that Ben is going to just give up on the encounter. Luckily, Ben isn’t deterred and figures he just has to make sure Lizzy is properly prepared to accept his largess, so we readers get the first of several odes to how lovely a beard feels between a woman’s legs. I came away from Deep fully sold on that concept if nothing else. The sex is amazing and Ben and Lizzy are about to settle into post-coital bliss when Ben’s phone rings and it is Mal calling to make sure that Ben is not in fact sexing up his sister in law. Ben lies, Lizzie gets mad and kicks him out, and we flash back to current day pregnant single Lizzie.

Ben is kind of a dick, he keeps assuring Lizzy that he will take care of the baby and her financially, but is very checked out emotionally. Lizzy still has a crush on Ben, and she has crazy pregnancy hormones that make her want to jump him every time he gets within ten feet of her, but she also knows that from now on her “Bean” is going to have to come first. I found myself really liking Lizzy, she’s tough and funny and does not want to take any shit from Ben. She very quickly decides that NOT having the baby is not for her; as all women who accidentally get pregnant in romance novels do– I love babies but do wish that abortion as an option could be considered for maybe three paragraphs instead of just one sentence. I was also delighted by any glimpses of Mal who is my main Stage Dive man and all other Stage Dive men pale in comparison for me. Grumpy Ben was coming in at a serious disadvantage.

I give Deep an A-/B+, Kylie Scott is one of my must-read authors and this book was a lot of fun.

Mary:

Stage Dive Ranking:

  1. Play
  2. Lick
  3. Lead
  4. Deep

Soooooo…. this is where I confess that accidental pregnancy romances have a special place in my heart and are a major catnip of mine. I had a lovely shotgun Vegas wedding a few years back, so I had some high hopes for this one going in. Kylie Scott is a one-click author for me, and the Vegas/accidental pregnancy themes made me feel like this book would basically be exactly like my life, except for the wealthy rockstar part. But, I had a hard time getting on board with the characters for the first half of the book. Lizzy seemed a bit childish and star-struck coming out of the gate, which was a contrast to the heroines in the rest of this series who all seemed very nonchalant about the whole fame thing. And Ben. I still hadn’t forgiven him for how much of a dick he was in Lick, I guess. And I had formed a negative perception of him based on his behavior (texting, leaving unannounced) when he went on the date with Lena in Lead.  I enjoyed seeing the date from the other perspective: mainly, he was texting Lizzy and ran off to rescue her from a crappy bar. I had pretty much thawed to him by the time they get it on in Vegas. And then he blows it again by telling Liz that the band comes first and they can’t be together (in a nutshell).

Also, the way Ben reacted to the pregnancy was pretty shitty, if I’m being honest. And this is from someone who’s (then) boyfriend responded to similar news with a hearty, “Well great. Now both our lives are ruined.” Ben basically went from shock, to throwing a large amount of money at Lizzy, to ignoring her for several weeks. When Lizzy joined him on tour and we finally got to see them interacting face to face, rather than via text, they started to grow on me as a couple, and I was finally able to start rooting for them. And the #pantysniffing!!!

The obligatory pre-HEA end of book break-up felt rushed, and I wished we could have gotten more of Ben’s evil sister doing evil things. Evil women scheming against destined lovers are a trope I love to hate.

I’d probably give this one an A-, because it wasn’t as good as the rest of the series. But even though it was my least favorite Stage Dive, I still enjoyed it a ton. I had to put it down at 10% to go to work, and spent the day frantically texting back and forth with Cleone, and lamenting our misfortune of actually having to work jobs that aren’t reading Kylie Scott novels all day long. If this is the end of Stage Dive, then I think I’m finally going to have to read that sexy zombie apocalypse series I’ve been putting off to get my Kylie Scott fix, and I can’t wait to hear what she comes up with next.

Check it out on Amazon: