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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ARC Review: Playing With Fire by Alison Bliss

This book has potential but there are some things that are just really hard to get past.

This is the story of Anna and Cowboy. Let me just stop right here for a moment. At first the Cowboy thing was kind of cute I guess. And it might have remained that way if Cowboy was just a nickname or like a MC road name. The first time the whole Cowboy thing became a problem for me was when I realized our Hero actively worked to hide his real was just too weird for me. Moving along. Anna is a librarian in the small town where Cowboy is the Chief of the fire department. From the beginning of the book you get that Anna has some bad ish in her past and a serious fear of fires. Through a series of unfortunate coincidences Anna lands on Cowboy's radar as kind of a pyromaniac's a long story. As Cowboy investigates the mystery of his predecessor's death, he becomes more entangled with Anna and slowly a romance emerges between the two of them.

Let me just blunt, I really really didn't like Anna. She got on my very last shaky nerve. First of all, she is rude to Cowboy because she has a crush on him and the emotional intelligence of a Kindergarten. She spends most of the book, terrified, shaking and talking in a whisper. When she's not acting all PTSDish, she is being a bish and throwing what I can only describe as temper tantrums. By the time Anna and Cowboy hooked up, I was not here for it. I wasn't rooting for Anna as a character or her relationship with Cowboy.

As for Cowboy....this issue is not the fault of this author but seriously you guys, how many manwhores can we read about in these books? Don't you ever wonder how these dudes maintain working peens considering how much random action their genitals have seen? I feel like if I had been drinking while reading this book, I could have been more tolerant of this issue but I was stone cold sober and it just irritated me. There were just too many references to Cowboy's slutish ways for me to comfortably ignore it.

The rest of the story was just really standard contemporary romance without a lot of creativity or variation. There is Anna being determined not to get hurt and vowing to resist the panty whisperer. Then there is Cowboy who stares deep into Anna's eyes and mesmerizes her right out of her objections (and panties). We have the standard drama at the end of the book and a little mystery sprinkled in to give us something to look forward to. This is not a bad book. The author is a good writer and the mystery does help to move the plot forward. There is a twist in the plot which in my opinion saved this book from being a total loss. The problem was that I just personally could not stand these characters and didn't really want to see them together. If you like the blushing, stammering, almost virgin who hooks up with and reforms the manwhore, here you go, knock yourself out.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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