Title: Playing Dirty
Author: Jennifer Echols
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Format Read: eBook, 416 pages
Publication Date: 29th October 2013 by Pocket Books
Synopsis: “Who’s zooming who?
Sarah Seville knows how to handle a rock star. As Stargazer PR agency’s expert in crisis management, it’s her job to keep the talent in line. But she’s never encountered a star quite like Quentin Cox. The sexy, enigmatic leader of the raucous country band the Cheatin’ Hearts is full of secrets—the kind that could destroy the band before they finish their breakout album. Sarah’s mission: get up close and personal with the country heartthrob and find out everything she can before the band goes bottoms up.
Trouble is, Quentin is just as wily as he is irresistible. Convinced that the key to keeping the band together is helping him win his bandmate and former lover back, Sarah decides to play his latest fling and make his ex jealous. But long lingering nights in Quentin’s arms leave Sarah breathless— and wondering whether she’s fooling anyone but herself. She’s falling hard and fast for Quentin, and is in serious danger of bringing the band—and the man—to its knees…”
[label type=”alert”]This book contains adult themes.[/label]
Playing Dirty is one of those indulgence books I pick up whenever I want something that’s purely fun, full of romance and maybe a little naughty. I read this back in November last year when I’d just finished uni and didn’t want to think all that much. This book was just what I needed, and I thoroughly enjoyed it even though it’s outrageously over-the-top.
Sarah Seville works of Stargazer PR as a crisis manager who goes around trying to fix the problems of major music stars. Having barely escaped from a dangerous stint in Rio De Janeiro with her previous client, Sarah is sent off to salvage the rocky relationships of a country band called the Cheatin’ Hearts so they would finish their latest album on time. The band is full of tension, secrets and has a potential love-triangle happening that’s looking to break them up forever. Convinced that the answer to fixing the band’s problem is to help the lead singer, Quentin, and his on-again-off-again band member girlfriend return into each other’s arms, Sarah decides to be Quentin’s latest fling to make her jealous.
Yes, the whole premise of the book is extremely ridiculous. As a PR graduate, I can say that the methods Sarah uses is definitely unprofessional and liable for many, many lawsuits. But hey it’s a book and you know what, I quite enjoyed how crazy everything got.
The Cheatin’ Hearts may be on the rocks with each other, but it’s just a front they put on for the paparazzi. Behind closed doors they’re all good friends who look out for each other and abide by three set rules to ensure the band does stay together. Every person is hiding a secret, but they’re also dedicated to making their careers work, despite the tumultuous band front they put on. Sarah on the other hand is hiding from her previous client, whose creepiness ended up with him in jail and now he’s out for her blood.
I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters in Playing Dirty. They all had their own backstories and Echols has created them realistically. The chemistry between Sarah and Quentin was also sizzling hot and I enjoyed their banter and the denial of their feelings for each other. There was a back-and-forthness in their relationship that fortunately did not annoy me as the story moved along at a nice and fast pace.
As the deadline for the album approached, shit starts going down as all the secrets are revealed. Despite how over-the-top the story is, I still enjoyed the little glimpse into the music PR industry that this book offered.
You don’t need to have read the first book in the Stargazer series to follow this story. But fans can expect to see beloved characters return for small cameos. Overall I found this book really fun, I would recommend it for anyone looking for a summery beach read!
Thank you to Pocket Books on Netgalley for providing an ecopy in exchange for an honest review.