Review: Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

Posted September 19, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Holly‘s review of Changing the Game (Play-by-Play, Book 2) by Jaci Burton

Most people play by the rules. Gavin and Liz aren’t most people…

Win at any cost. That’s always been the mantra of sports agent Liz Darnell. When she carries things too far and risks losing her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley, Liz realizes that she’ll have to work extra innings to win him back. It might not be too much of a stretch. She’s had a thing for this player’s moves since she first laid eyes on him, and by the looks of it, he wants her just as bad.

Gavin’s more than ready—especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. And as much of her as Gavin wants. For added thrills, he decides to throw a little curve ball Liz’s way to see just how far she’s truly willing to go to keep him as a client. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of them all.

I went into this book with some trepidation. Although I didn’t hate Liz as much as many other people in the last book, I wasn’t sure I was going to love her either.

Liz is a sports agent. In order to make it in her chosen field, she’s had to be on top of her game. She’s known for being cold-hearted and ruthless, which suits her just fine. If she happens to be in love with Gavin Riley, well..that’s no one’s business but her own. It’s not like he’s ever going to find out. Things change when Gavin’s brother fires Liz and she’s worried she’ll lose Gavin, too. The Riley’s aren’t just her clients, they’re her family. She’s already lost one, she doesn’t want to lose the other.

Gavin lets Liz ignore him for a few months, but then he corner’s her, drags her back to his place and…ends up in bed with her? Ok, whoa. That wasn’t his plan at all. But now that he’s got her there, he doesn’t want to let her go. Which is crazy, because Liz is a cold-hearted snake. She screwed over his brother and hurt his fiance. Only…the Liz he takes to bed isn’t the same Liz he’s known for the past 8 years. He’s learning things about her that change his perception of her for the better.

Neither of them is ready to commit to anything more than a temporary fling, especially since Mick is so disapproving of their relationship and neither has a great track record. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from caring….

I really thought it would be Liz I’d be angry at in this book. So I was surprised when it was Gavin who turned out to need a swift kick in the ass. He made silly, dumbass man mistakes from day one. Liz wasn’t perfect, and it did take some time for me to let go of my anger at her from her actions in the previous book, but it was obvious she felt true remorse for what she’d done and she learned from her mistakes. Plus, she paid a high price in the end.

In the beginning it was Gavin who pushed for more than just one night together. He wanted Liz to spend the summer with him. Then he wanted to get to know her better and pushed for details of her life. As the story progressed, however, he got more freaked out at the level of commitment they were reaching. I think I was so frustrated by it because it was so surprising. He was the one who wanted the relationship to begin with..so why freak out about it?

Aside from that I really enjoyed the novel. I liked that the focus was on the couple, without a lot of external conflict. Although Gavin and Liz were both flawed characters, they shared amazing chemistry and an obvious emotional connection.

If you’re looking for an emotional, sweet contemporary romance this is for you.

4 out of 5

The series:
The Perfect Play (A Play-by-Play Novel)Changing the Game (A Play-by-Play Novel)Taking a Shot (A Play-by-Play Novel)

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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6 responses to “Review: Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

  1. I’m a little confused by your use of the term “sweet” in describing this book. Are you saying that it’s not sexually explicit (the definition of “sweet romance” in the genre, where all sex is kept off the page) or are you using that as more of a general adjective—it’s a “nice” book or it’s an “engaging” or “agreeable” book? Because the front cover sure doesn’t jive with the idea that this is a sweet romance instead of a sensual/erotic one.

  2. Anonymous

    This one didn’t work for me at all. Call me crazy, but there was too much (repetitive) sex in it!

    I would have liked a better explanation for why the heroine was so awful in the first book too – her reason was not good enough!

    @ Kaye Dacus
    It’s definitely erotic!

  3. I really enjoyed the first book and will eventually read this one, but I will be definitely going into it with some preconceptions when it comes to Liz.

  4. @Kaye – I apologize for the confusion. I hadn’t really thought about “sweet” meaning less sexy. I meant it more as a description of the romance itself – which left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside at the end.

    There is quite a bit of sex in this book. That’s actually something I forgot to mention in my review. At times I felt like the sex was gratuitous and didn’t do anything for the story. I could have done with a few less sex scenes.

    @Anon – You’re right about there being quite a bit of sex, but I thought the first book was the same way.

    I felt Liz’s actions were explained pretty well. Not only did she admit she was wrong, she also did her best to make it right. Plus, Mick spent the entire book punishing her. So I guess I was able to move past it.

    Sorry it didn’t work for you. Are you going to read the 3rd book?

    @Marg – I hope you’ll let me know what you think. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this based on what Liz did.

  5. Rowena

    Before I start this one (of course I have it, with that cover- how could I not? =P) I have to finish the first one. I remember that I hated the heroine from this book in that book. It should be interesting to see how Jaci makes me forgive her.

    Though if you liked it, I’m gonna love the hell out of it. =)

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