Friday, December 6, 2013

Blog Tour: Review of Girls are Players by Ingrid Seymour

Title: Girls Are Players (G.A.P. #2)
Author: Ingrid Seymour
Date of Publication: December 4, 2013
Genre: contemporary new adult romance


Jessica Norton is a villain in the body of a gorgeous, rich, college girl. She cheats, lies, plays with people’s feelings, and purposely breaks unsuspecting hearts to avenge a personal loss. She’s the kind of girl people love to hate—even if it’s just because she has it all. Except . . . she doesn’t have it all. What she wants most is the love of her high school sweetheart, Taylor Drennon, the guy who got away, the one who left without telling her why and caused all her bitterness.

Not surprisingly, Jessica’s evil has made her a pariah. Alone, without friends or Taylor’s love, her college life is a nightmare. She’s haunted by her own mistakes and drowning in lack of direction. Something needs to change. So when the first opportunity to turn her life around presents itself, she takes it. Home for Christmas break, Jessica runs into Taylor. His unexpected friendliness seems like an invitation to rekindle their love. Inspired by a drastic idea that will both distance her from her heinous reputation and pull her closer to Taylor, she decides to transfer to OSU where he attends under a football scholarship.

Confident she can regain his heart, Jessica reenters Taylor’s life with a splash. Failing to naturally lure him closer, she is then forced to rely on her old games and underhanded scheming. Though Jessica’s heart is in the right place, it is hidden from Taylor by her blunders. More than once their powerful chemistry takes control, leading Jessica to believe she’s winning. But, it’s a hot and cold affair, and she’s not the only one to blame for their stormy love. If Jessica can only coax Taylor into explaining why he doesn’t want her, maybe she could finally walk away from him for good, maybe she could finally be happy.

REVIEW

Jessica Norton is coming off what she thought was the most ingenious game ever. The club she started back at UCI was focused solely on making members of the male gender pay for their two-timing, heart-breaking ways. The game didn't turn out exactly how Jessica planned. She certainly didn't intend to find herself friendless, miserable, and still heartbroken over Taylor.

The absolute definition of lost, Jessica jumps from one quick fix, one plan, one game to another. She thinks she's after one thing, knowing once and for all why Taylor abandoned her with no explanation, but deep down she questions what she's really after.

Having previously read the first book in this series, Guys are Props, and experiencing Jessica's unparalleled near-evil tricks and games, I wasn't so sure about her being the star of her own book. I wasn't sure how Seymour would be able to pull off taking the backstabbing temptress from book one and make readers care about her enough to follow her story. It only took a few pages before the deeper sides of Jessica that were hinted at in book one dawned front and center. I found myself immediately connecting with the lost girl, and despite the fact that her less than stellar situation was almost entirely of her own making, I wanted to see her succeed in figuring her life out and finding happiness again.

The arch of the story was bumpy as far as Jessica's journey goes, but seamless when you're talking about writing and development. Every time Jessica seemed to be getting closer to what she wanted, an agonizing twist would put her two steps back. Even though Jessica definitely has some traits that can turn people off, when she finally starts making an effort to change, readers will want to root her on.  I think readers will find it hard to stop reading once they start.

The main conflict of the book lies between Jessica and Taylor. Jessica is desperate to figure out what went wrong, how she ended up alone when she would have done anything for Taylor. Taylor, on the other hand seems completely in capable of figuring out what he wants. He vacillates between intense desire for Jessica and near hatred. Understandably, this is frustrating for Jessica on many levels, but Jessica wasn't the only one frustrated.

Really, my main qualm with this story was that I had a very hard time liking Taylor. He comes off as extremely egocentric and almost frightening in some instances. At times, I wasn't sure I wanted Jessica to find her way back to Taylor. What was also frustrating, though, was that though the majority of the book Jessica never even considered that she didn't deserve to be treated the way Taylor was treating her, especially given the fact that he left her. All she could think of was getting him back. I do understand that Jessica was struggling to find her strength in a few different areas and she wasn't really ready to see Taylor's faults, but combined with the fact that I found Taylor borderline unlikable through parts of the book, it was frustrating to me as a reader.

Having said that, I never give away spoilers in reviews, but I was very pleased with how the story ended. I felt like the above frustrations were resolved very well and I was happy with the way the story resolved. I just would have liked to have been able to connect with Taylor a little more and been able to root for him as well as Jessica.

This was a fun, quick read. Jessica is a great character who faces a myriad of situational and personal struggles that make her story a hard one to put down. I also enjoyed the secondary characters and I loved seeing had each one impacted Jessica's life. There is a decent amount of profanity in this book as well as some graphic sexual scenes, so it's definitely and 18+ only read.



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Review of "The Guys Are Props" 

Maddie Burch has one goal while she's away at college...stay away from guys at all costs. After having her heart broken brutally, Maddie doesn't even want to risk putting her faith in a guy again. It's safer to just keep focused on her classes. That might have been easier if she hadn't met Jessica. She and her new friend Jessica bond over their recent unhappy relationship endings, and when Jessica comes up with the idea for a type of brokenhearted support group, Maddie's all in. Until the support group becomes more of a "let's get revenge on men" group instead, complete with rules about how to pull plays on guys and break their supposedly deserving hearts.. 

From the beginning you can tell that even though Maddie and Jessica are close friends, they are very different young women. Maddie's soft heart was crushed, but she wants to move on with her life. Meeting Jessica and starting the GAP club seemed like a step in the right direction at first, but when Maddie meets Sebastian everything changes and the differences between the two girls becomes more obvious by the day. 

What I really enjoyed about Maddie's character was that she was someone almost any girl could relate to. She wants to fall in love with the perfect guy, but she's lost faith that there is even such a thing. She wants to be there for her friend, but their clashing morals an opinions make it hard to stick by her. Maddie makes mistakes. She isn't perfect, and she doesn't always know how to fix the messes she gets herself into, but she has a good heart and readers will find it easy to connect with her. 

The relationship that develops between Maddie and Sebastian will keep readers on their toes. Not only is there plenty of steamy moments and intensity, there is a great interplay between their personalities. Sebastian is sweet and believes the best about people. Maddie wants to be that best version of herself that he sees, which includes being honest with him about her involvement in the GAP club. That is easier said than done though. Despite the sweet quality of their relationship, Seymour keeps you guessing with ups and downs, plays and games. Nothing is easy for these two! 

Jessica makes a great villain in this book. She's very believable. Her frustrations and jealousy blossom in a way readers will be able to relate to, even if they couldn't see themselves doing the things she does. But beneath the viciousness Jessica can sometimes show, there are glimpses of a much deeper inner struggle. 

Overall, this was a fun and entertaining read. The characters are well developed and the relationships between the characters are rich and realistic. There is profanity in this book as well as several graphic sexual scenes, so I wouldn't recommend this book to teens, but it was a great introduction to the GAP series. 


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