The good: So much fun! Sassy and sexy. Plus drummers.
The not-so-good: I read this so quickly, I couldn’t get enough of Mal.
Why I chose it: As Kylie Minogue put it, ‘I like drummers baby…’
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin (Pan Macmillan)
Setting: Portland, Oregon (USA)
Rating: 10 out of 10
Sometimes, a book comes along that just knocks your socks off. Ages ago, I read Lick, the first book in the Stage Dive series and liked it. Then I heard about Kylie Scott’s new series (Dive Bar) and remember I should read the read of the series. Of course I promptly forgot and it’s only now that I got stuck into the second book, Play. Wow! This book should have scorched its way off my shelf and into my hands much, much earlier. It’s a fun, sassy, sexy and surprisingly tender romance about the drummer of Stage Dive, Mal, and Anne, everyday bookseller. I loved it!
I read in my review of Lick that I was looking forward to Mal’s story and that he seemed quite calm and series compared to the other members of Stage Dive. Half of that statement proved to be correct! Mal is this book is crazy sauce, an extreme rock and roller who never fails to entertain. He’s also strangely clued in to Anne and her problems, analysing her life to a T before dancing on a coffee table. Mal’s got issues – everyone in Stage Dive knows that – but he’s not going to play ball with them. It’s Mal to the Max with his fast talking and hard partying ways. So how does he meet Miss Everyday Person, Anne?
Well, Anne lives next door to Lauren, Ev’s friend from Play. Anne has had the day from hell – her flatmate has bailed on her, she doesn’t know how she’ll get rent money and her crush has no idea she’s even interested. Lauren invites her to a party at Ev and David’s place and out on the balcony, she makes a phone call. Mal is lurking in the shadows and starts to tell Anne some home truths about being too accommodating for others. But then he puts up an offer: be his fake girlfriend for appearances and he’ll help her out with the rent. Completely crazy (or crazy eyed as Mal puts it), but Anne accepts the challenge. The next day Mal moves in and it all snowballs from there. Could the fake stuff get too real? What is really happening beyond Mal’s wisecracks?
This book is pure fun to read. Mal is witty and sassy – the perfect rock star. Anne is delightful (a bookworm who uses her spare money to help her sister through college) but she’s hiding a secret from Mal too. As the story continues, she grows as a person, with Mal helping her to realise that she doesn’t need to put everyone else’s needs before herself. She becomes more confident with some pretty good curses and insults coming out of her mouth when she’s angry! I had an absolute riot reading it. Even though I quite like drummers, I’m never, ever underestimating them again! You never know what will come out of Mal’s mouth next. He’s definitely a wordsmith – unless it comes to feelings.
I know that I’m never going to be a rock star and am fairly unlikely to become a rock star’s partner, but reading Play is pretty damn close. It’s great fun and I can only hope that Jimmy, lead singer and somewhat of a grumpy puss to date, is just as redeemable in the next book.