Update: The awesome people at Macmillan Audio have sent us an audio sample of Play over at Soundcloud. Just a friendly warning that the audio may automatically play when you arrive on the link. Enjoy! https://soundcloud.com/macaudio-2/play-by-kylie-scott-audiobook
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?
*blurb taken from Goodreads*
Thoughts on the heroine
Lou: I loved Anne from the moment she first appeared on the page. Anne knows that she allows people to use her sometimes. Things come to a head when her friend, Skye, runs off with all the furniture in the apartment–along with the money she owes Anne. Anne is upset and angry and also dissapointed. She’s going to struggle to pay rent and she might lose the apartment. Her next door neighbours, Lauren and Nate (Nate is Evelyn’s brother. Evelyn is the heroine from Lick, the first Stage Dive novel) make Ann come to a party so she can unwind. But it’s not your average party. It’s your Stage Dive rockstar party, and it’s there that Anne meets Mal, the crazy and lovable (and my book boyfriend) drummer of Stage Dive. Anne can’t help but gaze at Mal with crazy (lust) eyes. For some reason, Mal brings out the assertive side in Anne. She doesn’t let him push her around but her attraction for him is clear as day. I loved her crazy eyes she aims at him, and I loved her narrators voice which reminded me a little of Emma Chase’s Tangled.
Has: I also loved Anne! I thought she was the perfect foil for Mal’s energetic and manic personality. She really balanced his character as well but I agree that she is more assertive, but he also brings out the inner wild side she has kept repressed due to her own family’s issues such as her mother’s depression, and Anne raising her little sister. But it was fun and adorable and their scenes together were hilarious and filled with great chemistry. I definitely agree with you about Kylie Scott’s use of humour, although it was apparent in her previous books. But in Play it really shines. I was laughing out loud throughout the book, especially with Mal’s dialogue and reaction towards Anne who had a fabulous dry wit that interacted with his over-the-top persoanlity. She was the perfect heroine for him!
MinnChica: I adored Anne. I thought it was so cute the way that she was so infatuated with Mal, and how she desperately wanted to come off as normal, but was a total fangirl at times. It really gave her such a sweet and caring personality. I thought that Anne was such a wonderful balance for Mal. She was shy where he was super outgoing. She was grounded while he was a little jaded. They were just all too perfect for eachother, and I really loved that she was able to bring his head out of the clouds and down to earth, that she was able to keep him focused in ways he didn’t seem able to focus before.
Thoughts on the hero
Lou: I adore, Mal. I love, Mal. I think Mal has become one of my favourite romance heroes. The end. Wait. I can’t end my thoughts on Mal like this? Nope, I’m not allowed so I suppose I’ll have to explain why. Mal is humorous, sexy and he’s mad as a hatter. While we don’t get the POV of the heroes in this series, Kylie Scott does a wonderful job is making sure that the readers get to know them. Mal’s personality jumps off the pages. But behind the manic and hyperactive side of him, he’s hiding something tragic and Anne sees through him, which he doesn’t like. Mal may joke to Anne about her being his pretend girlfriend, but he’s certainly not acting in that way. The tension between them is hawt, and their sexy times are actually kept to a minimum. But when they do engage in sexytimes, it was reallllly good. Okay, it was excellent. It was dirty, full of humour and friendship. I loved that Mal and Anne were friends throughout this book. It was that of a growing friendship and romance. I loved it.
Has: I fell in love with Mal who almost outshined the hero in Lick. However, Mal really came into his own in this book and he has become one of the most memorable and lovable heroes in my list of best ever characters. I love that Kylie Scott’s heroes are all different and they stand out because they’re so appealing. But Mal is definitely a character who remains with you for a long while, and in Play, he shows a much more vulnerable side that hints of darkness. In a lot of ways he is the clown of the group but there is underlying layer of tragedy from the events in the book which adds depth and seriousness into his character. I really felt for him when something sad happens to him and it made the story authentic and realistic with his reactions to the events in the book, especially when he hides behind his sense of humour and manic behaviour. It also helped to strengthen and develop the romance between Anne and Mal because while there were moments of humour, the sad components helped to deepen their relationship. I loved that Anne managed to counteract Mal’s exuberant behaviour, as well as play off with it, which she needed just as much as he needed her to ground him. It really made their romance feel refreshing and unique as well as just good fun to read.
MinnChica: Like Has and Lou, I think Mal is wonderful. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he has such a fun-loving personality. I loved that we got to see a different side of him in his own book, and that we got to watch him struggle through an extremely difficult time in his life. It gave the reader the chance to see behind the clown to the man deep down. And I loved him even more for it!
Favourite scene of the book
Lou: I have so many favourite scenes in this book. But the one that sticks out most to me is the bath scene where Mal returns all angry and they end up rolling around in the tub, making out, close to having sex when his parents interrupt them. I just have to mention the humour again in this book. It just made me smile so much.
Has: That was one my favourite scenes too! I also loved the scene when they broke the bed by faking great orgasmic sex so Anne’s friends next door got a dose of their own medicine which had me chuckling. But I also felt a scene towards the end when something sad happens was moving, and heart-wrenching and it added another layer to the story.
MinnChica: Those were both awesome scenes! I have to say though, I loved the beginning, when Anne and Mal first meet. I love when Mal starts calling her crazy eyes, and how he jokes about them being in love and moving in together. Poor Anne had no idea what was going on, and yet at times she was so starstruck she just smiled and flashed him her crazy eyes. It was too cute and sweet!
Lou: I don’t dislike anything in this novel but if there’s one critique, I have to mention the ending which I found to be very quick. Like I briefly mentioned above, there’s a heartbreaking secret that Mal is keeping hidden from the band and Anne. When the secret is revealed, it’s heartbreaking and I wasn’t expecting to feel all sad and emotional in the book. I wished that more time had been spent on Mal’s response to the tragic secret when it concludes. It seemed glossed over a little.
Has: I totally agree! I also felt the same way, and I wished there was more to expand on that ending and the aftermath as well more on their relationship because they were so fun together. It did feel that there was something missing and I wonder if there will be a followup to this storyline because while I was happy with how the romance developed, I did feel that there was more to the ongoing story and I got a feeling that there will be a follow-up.
MinnChica: I have to agree once again. The end did feel a bit rushed, and I wish that the plot would have been a bit more flushed out at the end. I could have done with a little more development both with Mal and Anne’s relationship, as well as Mal’s personal struggle with what was happening.
Misc. thoughts and final grade
Lou: To me, Kylie Scott can do no wrong. Which is something I rarely say when it comes to my reading. I just adore her writing and her characters. Play was everything I wished for and it’s fast become one of my favourite releases of 2014. It’s a sexy and very funny romance with engaging characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. When the book ended, I felt as if there is more to be seen of Mal and Anne, and I have NO GUILT in aiming puppy dog eyes towards Kylie Scott for a possible novella of Mal and Anne. Me thinks I won’t be the only bookpusher doing this ;).
I give Play a A-
Has: Heh. I have been a fan of Kylie Scott’s since I discovered her zombie apocalypse romances, but her Stage Dive series really kicks up a notch and Mal’s book definitely lived up to its promise of being a wonderful installment in this series. Play is heartwarming and hilarious–and even poignant at times–romance. Mal is a sexy and funny hero with a perfect foil of a heroine who can handle his antics. And I am joining in with Lou with the puppy eyes because I was left wanting more the moment I clicked on the last page on my ereader. Kylie Scott I salute you for writing memorable and funny characters and I think this is a series that gets better and better!
I also give Play an A-
MinnChica: All in all, I’m a new fangirl of Scott, but I have quickly come to adore her. I love the Stage Drive guys and their relationship with one another. I can’t wait to see how the other band members fall for their ladies, and how it will continue to change the dynamic of the group as a whole. I thought Mal and Anne were perfect, both as individuals and a couple, and I can’t wait to read more about them in future books.
I give Play a B+