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Play Your Heart Out by Crystal Kaswell
(Sinful Serenade #4)
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
He parties like a rockstar.
She’s there to make sure no one finds out…
Jess James has her eye on the prize. She is finding the money to pay for law school. Period. She is starting a new life on her own. Period. And she’s absolutely staying in Los Angeles, three thousand miles away from the people who expect her to lie for them. It doesn’t matter how lonely she gets on her own, how exhausted she is from working overtime as a cocktail waitress, or how deep the knife wound in her back cuts. She is going to be a lawyer, whatever it takes.
Only she doesn’t have what it takes. She can barely afford to pay her rent.
Sinful Serenade bassist Pete Steele has enough to pay Jess’s rent and buy her a small island in the Caribbean. The famous, talented rock star has everything… except the one thing his manager wants. Pete rose to fame as a devoted boyfriend. Doesn’t matter that his ex slept with his best friend, he needs to stop screwing his way through Los Angeles to keep his reputation clean. Pete works hard, and parties harder… and the sweet, blond waitress is exactly the girl he needs on his arm if he wants to keep the record company happy.
Their arrangement is simple: he pays her tuition, she plays his girlfriend. They’ll lie to the world, but not to each other. Especially not when they’re alone, in his bed, him figuring out exactly which buttons to push to get her moaning his name.
Jess is good at keeping up appearances. She can play the enigmatic rock star’s girlfriend. But Pete shouldn’t play games with a girl who’s been broken before…
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4**** – Broken hearts & rock stars, a perfect combination
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **
We expect broken hearts when we read romance novels, this one’s no exception. Pete and Jess have both gotten their hearts broken by partners. In both cases, said partners chose Pete’s and Jess’s best friends to cheat on them with. That’s mean! And unforgivable.
It’s also way too hard to cope with and try to mend the pieces. Jess decided to leave it all behind and start a new life on the other side of the country where she got in Law school. However, her decision creates a few new problems for Jess like lack of friends or family to help her heal and lack of funds to pay her college tuition.
Pete’s situation is a bit more complicated with his life under constant scrutiny by the press and fans. You see, he’s a hot rock star – in many senses – but his reputation is that of the nice, quiet one in the band; the one who never causes any trouble and who has been dating his high school sweetheart since forever. (Yeah, the same b@$## who cheated on him. That’s the one!) Label starts getting fidgety with Pete’s coping mechanism when he bangs every girl in town and then some; so their solution is giving him an ultimatum. He either finds a nice, next-door-neighbor type of girlfriend and go back to his old image or they’re done with his band, Sinful Serenade. You can guess what happens next.
Jess and Pete’s chemistry is immediate and explosive. Their story is as bitter-sweet as any rebound one can be but I still believed in it and rooted for them. Jess can get a bit on the annoying side at times but I could see why and forgive her. Besides she’s also sassy, independent, and intelligent, which redeemed her in my eyes multiple times. Pete’s the ultimate book boyfriend – physically perfect, emotionally scarred, adorably insecure, and insatiably seductive. Jess and Pete’s interaction is heart-warming and their love scenes are scorching hot. What else do you want from your romance novel right?
I was introduced to this series with this book, which is the forth one. Because they’re standalone stories, it didn’t matter for me. However, if you’ve read the others, you’ll probably enjoy more the supporting characters’ appearances. I did as well, mainly because the author didn’t try to retell any of their past stories. On the contrary, she throws you in the middle of their fun banter and you just wish you knew more about those fascinating people.
At this point you’re probably wondering why I rated it as four stars if it seems such a great story, right? It IS a very good story but some little things distracted me to the point of hindering total immersion in the book, which is my personal way of rating a book as a five stars one. You know when the story is so good and the text flows so well you forget it’s a book? In Play your Heart Out, the typos and even some editing issues, like misplaced sentences or parts of dialogues, distracted me a bit. But the main distraction came from the repetition of expressions, words, and metaphors as well as the style of writing. I like short sentences and use them myself in my books to convey a sense of urgency. When there are too many of them, I get a bit tired. But hey that might be just me so don’t let this small detail prevent you from checking the book for yourself. LOL After all, as I said, it IS a very good book.
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Crystal Kaswell writes steamy new adult and erotic romance books. She loves when flawed characters fall head over heels for each other. Especially if they fall into bed first. She loves police procedurals, tea, and The Hunger Games series. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.