Title: Playing with Trouble by Joya Ryan
Genre: New Adult Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
*Copy provided by Netgalley*
Recently divorced, Laura Baughman is taking her life back. After a decade away, she’s returning to Yachats, Oregon—the small town she couldn’t wait to leave after graduation—to take over her late mother’s beloved flower shop. Yet once she arrives, Laura discovers the store has been neglected and her father has partnered in construction with Jake Lock. The once-scrawny high school band geek is now successful—and irresistibly sexy—and set to inherit her family’s business. That is, unless Laura can prove in the next thirty days that she has what it takes to run the company.
Despite the heat between Jake and Laura, romance is out of the question. After her last disastrous relationship, Laura has sworn off men—especially one bent on crushing her dreams. That’s just fine with Jake, who thinks the gorgeous blonde is a pain in the neck…though admittedly one he’d like to put his lips all over.
Jake has a proposal to mix business with pleasure. But when a deal goes south, Laura is ready to pack up and skip town all over again. Does he have what it takes to convince her to stay?
Firstly, I liked the concept of this book. That Laura just got out of a marriage and returns home after 10 years to try take on her late mothers flower shop. But Laura has a real sense of entitlement and thinks she can just take over which I really didn’t like. I go into more details about her in my character section but she was playing so many different roles which was confusing, it was as if the author couldn’t decide how to really portray her.
One of the downsides to this book for me was the ending which felt so rushed, obviously not wanting to be a spoiler sue I won’t reveal it, but there’s a bit of back and forth with Laura’s decisions where she doesn’t know what to do, run or not? This moment was played out so quickly, I would have liked it to have lasted longer, her indecisiveness and then I would have liked for her and Jake’s reunion to be longer to. Because for me the fact it was all happened so quickly I found the story to be missing something.
I did like Jake and Laura’s relationship, I liked how they shared little snipes at one another but also it was something that could get annoying. Laura kept making decisions without speaking to Jake and I just wanted to scream at my kindle like ‘COMMUNICATION.’ Which I suppose is a plus for the book because it got me emotionally involved with their relationship and their lack of ability to just talk but after a few times you think ‘ok, when are you going to learn to talk to each other?’
My biggest issue with this book was the role of Laura’s dad. I don’t think this part was dealt with properly because it left too many questions up in the air. Laura and her dad have 1 interaction in this book and that is cut short when he rushes to meet his new girlfriend which she knew nothing about. It’s revealed that during their odd phone call her dad never mentioned the extent of how much the warehouse had grown and changed, his new girlfriend, the fact he’s living with her or even the fact he sold their old home. Laura has more interaction with her dad’s new girlfriend than she does him, whilst in some cases we know he’s avoiding her for a reason it just didn’t make sense to me. He was a mixture of a loving dad for wanting to give her a part of the shop and he grieved for her mother but he was also a dead beat? because their was no proper communication between the pair or resolution. For example I was left with questions like why wouldn’t her dad talk to her about why her marriage broke down? Why wouldn’t they talk to each other about their lack of communication and how they drifted apart? She wants part of the business from him but he just isn’t there. We see more of him talking to Jake.
Too many questions were left unanswered for me.
The story is told from the perspective of Laura, when we first meet Laura I found her funny as one of her opening lines is “What the hell was she doing? Oh, right, she was taking her life back. ” – Yes, you go girl.
I thought this was funny and strong but Laura then turned into a confusion for me… and at times an annoying one.
At times it was like Laura was a few different girls rolled into one, she was insecure then confident and bitchy but also at times really stuck up. I cringed at times she had this sense of entitlement that her dad would just give her everything despite being gone 10 years. Her personality just wasn’t consistent for me, there was too many changes, it wasn’t like a shy girl becoming confident or a mean girl really having a heart. It was like every character trope rolled into one but it didn’t work out – for me at least. I just couldn’t be doing with her stuck up persona mixed in with her lack of confidence one, I wished the author had picked one particular type and went with that consistently throughout.
Something I did like which I mentioned before is the jokey-ness shared between Laura and Jake and I would have liked to see more of that sort of relationship than the one depicted. The tension between them two was definitely there but the moments they just didn’t talk to one another was so annoying.
Playing with Trouble was a 3 star read for me, I enjoyed it and liked the funny moments shared between Laura and Jake and I rooted for their relationship but the book left me with too many unanswered questions and not enough resolution. The role of the dad just didn’t work for me either and he could have practically just been scrapped. Other than it being business they were deciding on who should manage it – he wasn’t really relevant. I also think if their was more emphasis on Laura and Jake building up this relationship and they shared more ‘will they- won’t they’ moments with a bigger description I would have liked it a bit more.
How do you like the length of New Adult Romances to be? The shorter the better or as long as a normal book (300+ so pages) so that you can actually see a romantic relationship develop rather than insta-love or frustating lack of communication!
Let me know in the comments your thoughts.