Wednesday 30 September 2015

The Name of the Game by Jennifer Dawson - Book Review
From the Blurb:

Some people follow the rules. . .

A professor of forensic anthropology, James Donovan is the reasonable sibling among the passionate, impulsive Donovans. But there's nothing reasonable about his reaction to baker Gracie Roberts. She's all wild curls and mouth-watering curves, as deliciously tempting as the sugary treats she's famous for--and twice as irritating. But before long, James decides that getting a taste of her is one indulgence he can't pass up. . .

Some people play to win. . .

Independent, smart, and sexy, Gracie's year-long dry spell has her itching for a man. Responsible, health-obsessed James? Not in a million years! She needs a guy who knows how to let loose! But when James sets out to show her just how satisfying a disciplined man can be when pleasure is at stake, she learns just how sweet--and spicy--he really is.

Have James and Gracie found the recipe for love?

The Review:

Gracie and James can’t stand each other. But they can’t get away from each other either. Gracie’s best friends are James’ siblings and there’s no avoiding spending time together. Unfortunately, no matter how hard they try, they can’t help pushing each others' buttons. It’s not just that James refuses to eat Gracie’s cupcakes (although there is something deeply suspicious about anyone who turns down cake), but there’s also a simmering tension between the two that riles them up every which way. So Gracie comes up with a plan: Maybe they should just have sex and get it out of their system. But getting anything to go her way with control freak James is harder than she plans.

There’s been build up to Gracie and James’ relationship throughout the Something New series (though this novel can definitely be read as a standalone) and I’ve been pretty much dying for this book. They have a fantastic angry-sexy-rage-lust that burns off the pages and makes this book impossible to put down.

Gracie is a baker. She’s perky and gorgeous, adored by her friends and lusted after by every man she meets. She’s not a relationships sort of girl, typically preferring friends-with-benefits situations, but lately she is feeling like the odd one out when around her friends who are settling down and getting married. Which isn’t to say she’s looking for any kind of commitment. She is definitely not. But it makes her feelings… complicated. Her feelings about James are certain, though. They are completely incompatible and she would never be in a relationship with him, but angry-sexy-rage-lust is a problem that needs to be resolved.

James is a professor and forensic anthropologist. He’s a straight laced, glasses-wearing nerd and total control freak, but he has a passionate side too and the way Gracie makes him feel so out of control unsettles him. He’s not happy about the habit she has of getting under his skin. It doesn’t fit with his ultra-practical system of living. And he’s definitely not convinced of Gracie’s plan. He knows the tension between them won’t burn out with a casual romp, so he proposes the more radical plan of actually getting to know each other.

The problems of these two are entirely of their own making, with a storyline that could so easily have become irritating, but which instead somehow makes for an enthralling read. I love everything about this couple and their romance. The sexual tension is turned right up from the start, with a fantastic control/lack of control balance. Gracie and James are the perfect enemies to lovers and watching them lose control as they fall in love with each other is simply delicious. They bond over Doctor Who, chocolate peanut butter bars, and mouth-watering sex. One of the things I particularly enjoyed was that, throughout the drama of their relationship, their sex goes beyond that initial desperate angry lust, to a place where they have a lot of fun with their fantasies and sex becomes a really playful and important part of their developing romance. There’s also some A+ groveling from James when everything falls apart. I do love a man on his knees.. ahem.

I wasn’t surprised to enjoy this novel, since I love a) cakes, b) nerdy-heroes, c) apparently everything that Jennifer Dawson writes, but The Name of the Game exceeded my expectations. I was lost in love with this novel. I read it in a single sitting and finished at 4am happy-sobbing in my bed – yep, that’s the way I like romance to leave me.

I also really loved James’ friends Jane and Anne and think it would be AMAZING if they could have their own prequel novella (yeah? maybe?).

I wish I could think of something I didn’t like about this novel, something…anything… but literally the only thing I didn’t love was that Gracie didn’t enjoy Firefly, and I just refuse to believe anyone doesn’t like Firefly, so I’m pretending that line didn’t happen.

As with all the Something New novels, The Name of the Game has witty dialogue, hot sex and delightful secondary characters and relationships. Dawson creates a wonderful balance between sweet small town romance (with just a touch of the city) and a sexiness that verges on erotic romance, in a combination that works to perfection. This was my favorite in the series so far, which is really saying something.

The fourth book in the Something New series, As Good As New, is scheduled for release in March 2016, which cannot come soon enough.

The Name of the Game by Jennifer Dawson is a contemporary romance, released by Zebra Books on September 29, 2015.

Find this Book: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Goodreads

More from Jennifer Dawson on Love Reading Romance:

Take a Chance on Me by Jennifer Dawson - Book Review
The Winner Takes It All by Jennifer Dawson - Book Review
The Winner Takes It All by Jennifer Dawson - Book Excerpt 
I Write Romance by Jennifer Dawson - Guest Post 
Crave by Jennifer Dawson - Book Review
The Name of the Game by Jennifer Dawson - Book Excerpt