Review: Playing for Keeps, by Kate Donovan




Category: Adult


Genre: Contemporary Romance


Pages: 295




When Erica McCall finally gets her big break in advertising, she knows just which spokesperson to pitch: gorgeous football superstar Johnny Spurling. She has followed his career since college and knows he’s perfect for the spot, even though it’s common knowledge his famous family doesn’t do product endorsements, ever. But Erica knows Johnny’s weak spot, and she’s confident she can use it to gain his trust and seal the deal.

Quarterback Johnny Spurling is running out of time. His father’s health is failing, and there’s one last thing he’s asked Johnny to do—settle down and produce a son, before it’s too late. Which means Johnny needs a new kind of girlfriend. No more casual hookups or high-maintenance divas. When his sister-in-law claims to have the perfect candidate, he urges her to set up a postseason blind date.

Then Johnny meets long-haired, long-legged Erica and can’t resist her outrageous proposal—or her. So he decides he’ll do the commercial and have one final, hot-as-hell fling before settling down. They set the ground rules, then proceed to break every one of them as fun turns to the kind of true romance that just doesn’t end with the final touchdown—and with luck, never ends at all.





I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.
I can’t resist a romance when sports is an important part, so when I saw this one on Netgalley, I thought that it should be right my alley. It was my first book written by Kate Donovan and unfortunately, I’m quite disappointed. Let me explain why.
First, while the plot itself is quite easy and classic when it comes to that kind of story, it’s not the thing that bothered me. The plots and sub-plots are quite all over the place, sometimes exploding in all and every direction to the point that it becomes more ‘difficult’ to follow or at least enjoy the adventure. It’s a damn shame because it could have been really amazing. To be honest, I even think some parts weren’t believable and even contradict other parts in the story.
For example, Erica bothered me to no end. She was always changing her mind to the point that it wasn’t even logical. I mean, I don’t mind at all when a character is having trouble settling her mind and when she’s fighting with herself when it comes to a guy because it’s often thrilling to read about, but here it’s not how it felt. In fact, I couldn’t feel her at all most of the time. It’s a big problem when it’s the main character.
Johnny is a good enough male lead character even if I couldn’t see the real chemistry for a good part of the book. I missed it completely in fact. The author had to point it out through both characters’ words for it to be understandable, which is, once again, a real issue to me. Johnny won’t leave any mark in my mind, I think.
I really like the secondary characters like Bam and Decker. These two were awesome to read about, and I’d love to read a book centered on them to better see their friendship and how silly Bam is and how sweet Decker is. The best kind of mix. Hopefully the author will write them books and maybe I’ll enjoy it more if the characters are better characterized and if the plot is better polished or at least better built.
Also, now that I think about it, I miss a higher stake in this book. Since the chemistry between Johnny and Erica isn’t that obvious most of the time, a higher stake would have helped me to get into the story and then fear for the characters. It’s just an idea, because I truly think that there’s material for a good book, but it missed the mark for me. I always feel bad when it happens, almost as if I’m the one who failed a book and not the other way around. I’m weird, I know.
So, obviously, I didn’t like reading this book. Maybe you’ll feel differently if you read it, maybe I was expecting too much or maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, but either way, I’d love to know what you think about it.



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