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Review: Serious Play – Carina Press – Summer Devon & Bonnie Dee

Expected Release Date: April 30, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Carina Press
Author’s Websites: http://summerdevon.com & http://bonniedee.com/
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: No
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy

Official Blurb:

Luke Bailey has dreams of building homes and putting down roots. But for a man with a rough past, finding any job isn’t easy. When Mary Scott offers him a job-and a place to stay-mixing drinks and tapping beer at her theme bar, My Parents’ Basement, Luke accepts. Customers flock to the cozy pub, designed to evoke memories of lost childhood, to meet and mingle and play games.  For Mary, her gorgeous new employee should be off-limits. She’s his boss. And they’re very different-something her interfering family constantly points out. But Mary’s done playing the good girl. And Luke isn’t the bad boy everyone thinks he is. Their attraction simmers until Mary seduces Luke into playing some deliciously adult games. Then a shocking betrayal threatens everything..What Worked For Me:

  • I loved the entire concept behind My Parents’ Basement. Heck, I wish we had a pub like that around here!
  • Luke was delicious. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he was still a good guy who really cared about Mary, and for that, I loved him.
  • I really enjoyed the entire Mary vs. her family subplot, especially in regards to her father and Luke.
  • There was just the right amount of steam. While I wasn’t thrilled about witnessing Luke flirt heavily with the town bicycle, I have to admit that the heat and chemistry between him and Mary was absolutely perfect.
  • I really enjoyed how realistic the story felt, with Mary’s insecurities about Luke’s “ex-con” status, and Luke’s insecurities about being forever judged and labeled because of a past mistake.  These two had quite a few issues to work through, and I adored it.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • I originally found it a bit strange that an ex-convict would be able to work in a bar and consume alcohol without being in violation. However, since the entire sum of my “knowledge” of the legalities of parole/probation can be attributed to having watched far too much Law & Order in my life, I freely admit that this was a minor point.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am very picky about my contemporary romances — I’m far stricter on my ratings for contemporary tales than I am on historical or fantasy-based stories, if for no other reason than I’m typically more familiar with the way the world works for a contemporary story. While I initially found it a bit odd that Luke was allowed to work in a bar straight out of prison, I quickly fell in love with the setup.

Mary’s insecurities stemming from her family life as well as well-meaning comments from friends added a lovely amount of tension to the relationship, and Luke’s own lack of confidence because of the constant judgement from others created such an interesting dynamic between the two.  The chemistry between them was scrumptious, and when they finally gave into their attraction, they lit up the pages.

Recommended for fans of tortured heroes trying to get back on their feet, of sweet heroines determined to prove themselves, and of believable romantic problems and solutions.

A very solid 4.5 Stars.

2 Comments

  1. Posted April 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    That thing about a parolee working in a bar worried me, too. I spent a long time combing sites like the probation supervision site on the Michigan government site, and I’m almost certain that employment in an alcohol-free establishment isn’t an automatic condition set for every parolee–as it is in some states.

    I discovered that world is fascinating–except maybe not to the people who have to deal with it every day.

    Despite all the research at sites like that and prisontalk.com (mostly because I think those sites are addictive as soap opera) I’m sure we managed to get stuff wrong.

    Kate/Summer
    Kate R recently posted..so much to do todayMy Profile

  2. Posted April 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Man oh man, I really like the word “site.” Next time I think I’ll read my post before I hit send.
    Kate R recently posted..my synopsis handout from todayMy Profile

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  1. […] (Historical) 4.5/5 Stars for Hunter’s Prey by Moira Rogers (Historical Western/Steampunk) 4.5/5 Stars for Serious Play by Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee (Contemporary) 4.5/5 Stars for Silk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase (Historical) 4/5 Stars for Shadow’s […]

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