Lick, was Romland’s (or maybe Twitter’s) “it” book for about five seconds. I quite liked it, even though the premise was over the top and it seemed to be one of those New Adult titles that are only NA because the heroine is young and, well, the NA label sells. But I saw a lot of potential in Ms. Scott’s writing, so I was excited to learn that she was releasing a sequel. Unfortunately, this new book came with all the issues and none of the fun.
Anne’s money problems go from bad to worse after her evil roommate disappears, leaving her with no way to pay the rent. I’m not surprised the roommate is evil, because with one exception, all the non-sequel-bait women are evil, something you can tell because they are into sex and skimpy clothes. But I digress. Back to the main plot, poor Anne is desperate and trying to find a solution to her problem, when she conveniently meets the hero, Mal.
Not only is Mal a member of a popular rock band, but he also happens to need a fake girlfriend for reasons that only make sense when you realize that he has the emotional maturity of a six-month-old Golden Retriever. Actually, his behavior is pretty much that of a Golden Retriever, except when he’s haunted by his secret pain, in which case he acts more like a broody Labrador Retriever. But of course our heroine, who used to idolize Mal when she was a teenager, is unable to do much when presented with such a magnificent male specimen, so she agrees to the charade. And by “agrees” I mean that she does nothing when, the day after they meet, he moves into her apartment without even telling her.
“So you moved in with me?” I said, ever so slowly piecing the story together.He behaves like that throughout the whole novel. But that's not the only thing I found obnoxious and incomprehensible. His best friends, the people he works with every day, believe the farce and act like everything is fine, and Anne deals with everything by falling in love and taking all his weird crap, which of course is completely (un)justified by the revelation of the painful(ly obvious) issues he’s (not) been dealing with. And that, my friends, is pretty much the whole novel.
Mal shrugged. “Well, hell yeah!”
“No, I mean, you actually moved in with me. Here. Into my apartment. Um, how did you get in again, just out of interest?”
“Is this going to be an issue?” he asked with a long, winded sigh. “Anne, come on. We talked about this last night. If you were gonna have a problem with me moving in, that was the time to bring it up, not now.”
“I thought you were joking.”
“Dude, that’s offensive. Why would I joke about important stuff like that?”
“Because you were drunk?”
“I get some of my best ideas under the influence.”
“I didn’t even think you’d remember.”
“Again, offended,” he said. “I’m not some fifteen-year-old. I know what I can handle.”
“Sorry.” I don’t quite know why I was the one apologizing. But never mind. My legs felt weak. I perched on the edge of the nearest couch. It was incredibly comfortable, though it did little for my sudden light-headedness.
This is a series that asks its readers to check their suspension of disbelief at the door and just sit and enjoy the over the top ride. But where the first book had compelling characters that grounded the story enough for its many flaws not to be entirely distracting, Play has replaced those characters with a bland, generic heroine and a hero who is nothing but two extreme character traits repeated over and over. If I were feeling unkind, I would say that Lick reads like bad fan fiction of a beloved secondary character turned hero, whose most appealing personality traits have been exaggerated to the point of the ridiculous. Instead, I’ll just say that, much like its main male character, the book has no substance whatsoever.
Review by Brie
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?Play by Kylie Scott
St. Martin’s Griffin. March 25, 2014.