Blog Tour: Play With Me by Piper Shelley

Rating: 3 stars
Pub Date: December 9, 2012
Genre: young adult contemporary romance, sports
Format/Source: ebook received from author
Status: book 1 of the Grover Beach Team series
Sequels: Ryan Hunter (GBT #2)
T is for...He's a TOTAL Jerk (GBT #3)

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for my participation in this tour, although I also bought it several months ago from Amazon! Thanks to Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours for hosting. Full tour schedule can be found here.

Ryan Hunter's parties are legend. And tonight she's going to be there.

Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she's a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she's just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she's prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.

The first thing you should know about Play With Me is that it is a very short novel, closer to a novella in length. The pace is very rapid without much "down time." I think this choice was both a help and a hindrance to the novel as it helped the plot move along but I also really missed some of those filler scenes that usually help develop characters and create a connection between them and the reader.

I did like the cast as presented. Liza is a very relatable protagonist. I felt like I knew her, and I could totally sympathize with her situation with Tony. I like that she wasn't afraid to stand up for herself, even when she wanted Tony to do it for her. I'm not crazy about the idea of her joining the soccer team for the sole purpose of keeping an eye on him, but 1. that's a very ya thing to do, so I'll allow it, and 2. I'm proud of Liz for trying something new AND sticking with it when it proved to be difficult. Liza is a smart girl, and I love that she won't allow others to belittle her, from mean-girl Chloe and her nasty friends all the way to tony, her supposed bff. She's tough!

Ryan  is, of course, a total sweetheart, but he's not saccharine and over-the-top. He's a Real Boy. Liz gets very upset with him when she thinks he and Tony had some sort of arrangement about her, but all of his actions and words proved to me that he genuinely cares about her. He is somewhat of a rascal but not in a bad way. He's a good guy with rough edges in a way that makes him realistic. I love the way he spends time getting to know Liza and he doesn't force her into uncomfortable situations. Well, actually, pretty much every situation was uncomfortable for her, from the party to the training to the club, BUT Liza was a willing participant and he always looked out for her, making sure she was safe. The training was really the only thing he had to force her to do, and that was out of a genuine desire to help her learn how to play soccer. In case you're not getting this, let me say it loud and clear: I am wholeheartedly Team Ryan.

Tony, on the other hand, was a miss for me. Liz goes on and on about how much she loves him, but for the life of me, I could never figure out why. All I saw were classic signs of him leading Liz on, keeping her on the hook so no one else (RYAN) could get her, but not reeling her in either. Meanwhile, he's trying to fry a bigger fish (CHLOE), but he gets burned in the process. Booyah, review metaphor! Seriously, though, Tony was soooo inconsistent! Apparently he's been protecting Liz for years by never inviting her to go with him to Ryan's parties, but then when she finally goes, he basically splits at the door to go find his tall-and-trampy bimbo. Honestly, I wasn't surprised to hear about the conclusion of the Tony-Chloe relationship, and I was not sympathetic to him at all.

I always love reading sports novels, especially those about soccer, which is near and dear to my heart. I couldn't quite figure out the mechanics of their soccer team, but I'm thinking this is a culture swap difference as Piper Shelley hails from Europe, where recreational soccer is sure to take on many forms. Here in the US, soccer is so much smaller so teams and leagues are much less common but usually highly organized. I'm being a bit of a critic here because of my experience with youth soccer, but I guarantee most readers won't find anything odd with the situation.

Overall, I found Play With Me an enjoyable read. It was light and quick with plenty of great moments that will make you smile, laugh, and swoon. I'm very excited to read Ryan's story, and, although I didn't like him, I want to read Tony's as well. I want to see the story from their eyes and better understand them.

Book Links:

About the Author:
The quick-and-dirty:

I’m a cool girl with a passion for writing.

The genres you’ll find me hanging out at are contemporary and paranormal YA, but I’m also snooping into some adult paranormal right now. All of them romances…of course.

The nitty-gritty:

I’m an Austrian lass—totally uncomplicated and up to anything fun.

I grew up in Vienna, not by free will but because my parents decided to move there when I was only 4 years old. I. Hated. The. City. Everything about it. So right after graduation I moved back to Upper Austria, where I settled down with a nice husband and an awesome laptop.

I’ve been a storyteller all my life. Already in kindergarten, I came up with the most exotic fantasies and tales. My teacher would call me a liar. I call it the cornerstone of my writing career.

People always told me you can’t make a living with being an author. So when my first novella PLAY WITH ME came out and shot straight to the stars within the first week, I was totally dumbstruck. Took me a while to realize what was happening, LOL.

And the personal stuff:

At the (awesome) age of seventeen, I met the love of my life. But he was a playboy, and I was so not going to be his next trophy. It took him another four years of fighting for me until I finally decided to give that “couple-thing” with him a shot. I’m now married to this man. ;-)

We have an eleven-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and my many stories. Unless we’re in Disneyland. No stress to go home then…
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This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL! Prize is a set of Play With Me and Ryan Hunter. Good luck!
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