the player, by kresley cole

The-Player-Smaller1ingredients:
Drama and suspense.

servings:
If you’re a fan of Cole’s Game Maker series, this is the final installment.

rating:

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preparation:
I was sucked into this series with the first book, The Professional. That book was released in 3 parts and I was on pins and needles waiting for each installment. The Master came along and my expectations were very high, but weren’t quite met. And now we have The Player

This book follows a family of con artists. And not being familiar with the con industry, I was considerably lost with all of the jargon that was being used. What’s worse, I didn’t really care what the words meant. The only problem, you needed to know the lingo in order to follow what was happening–especially at the end.

Victoria Valentine is a grifter and Dmitri Sevastyan is a self-made billionaire and computer genius. Victoria’s family is made up of grifters and they owe a lot of money to someone who has given them little time to pay up. When Dmitri appears on the scene, he seems ripe for the picking. Seducing a ‘mark’ like Dmitri is normally left to Karin, Victoria’s sister. However, after all but dismissing Karin at a party, Dmitri becomes obsessed and focused solely on Victoria, good news, right?

The majority of the story is spent with Victoria agonizing over taking Dmitri for a ride and the reader wondering what mysterious secret Dmitri himself is hiding. The problem is, there isn’t enough character development for Victoria or her family for you to really like her or to become attached. And Dmitri, while like-able, is more creepy than anything else due to his immediate obsession with a woman he just met.

By the end of the book there’s a big revelation by both the hero and the heroine. Which has to culminate with a long explanation because jargon aside, it’s just so confusing as to what is going on with the 2 of them. The Professional was such a strong start to this series that of course there were high hopes for the other books. While The Master was tolerable, The Player is just an utter disappointment.

difficulty level:
Medium. Being a fan of Cole’s and the series it was incredibly upsetting that the final installment in the series was such a let down. Coupled with the hero and heroine both being annoying, it made for a challenging read at times.

 

the master, by kresley cole

the-masterIn case you hadn’t noticed, the majority of the books I read are romance novels. Recently, I read that it’s the most popular genre in the country–not surprising to me. And while I’ve read some pretty risqué books in this favorite of America–DebtRaw… The Master is probably the closest to book porn I’ve ever read. The first third of the book is nothing but sex, so be warned.

This is the second book in Cole’s Game Maker series and I loved the inaugural novel, The Professional. Initially, I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to like the heroine in this installment, Ana Lucia “Cat” Martinez–but I came around. I immediately loved Maksimilian “Maxim” Sevastyan–there’s just something about those Siberian mafiya brothers, I tell you.

31-year old Maxim, the billionaire politician and mafiya dom has hired Cat, the 22-year old community college student and house keeper by day to be his escort for one night. Only he’s not privy to this being her first foray into prostitution. Maxim breaks his, “never hire the same escort twice rule,” by actually holding Cat prisoner in Miami’s most swanky hotel penthouse suite and then ‘blackmailing’ her into attending his older brother’s wedding with him.

This “Pretty Woman-esque” story asked that we make quite a few suspensions of belief. Maxim openly discusses his mafiya dealings with Cat. (So much for the Michael Corleone motto of never discussing his business.That’s a Godfather reference for all those not in the know.) And while their love for one another develops quickly, for a politician and mobster, Maxim works a total of about 2 days throughout the whole book.

After the majority of the sex is out-of-the-way, the book takes off. There is some Dom/sub play going on but I wouldn’t bill this book as such. Cat being on the run, finding out about Maxim’s childhood, and ingratiating herself into his world is interesting. It just would’ve been nice if the steamier scenes had been woven in to the plot throughout, rather than front-loading them and then getting to heart of the story more than halfway through the book.

All of that said, it’s a quick read and the interactions between Cat and Maxim are quite often light-hearted and fun. There were some parts of the story that were not entirely clear, Cat’s mom’s death, the source of her money. However, you almost put those details out of your mind because you enjoy the character interactions so much, especially when you get to the wedding festivities of Alexandr and Natalie.

I assume there will be a 3rd book in this series, devoted to the youngest brother, Dimitri. Based on everything we’ve learned in the first two books, I can only imagine the intensity that book will have and I look forward to it. The Master, as the sophomore effort in  The Game Maker series bridges the gap for the next one on tap.

rating:
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