Book Review – The Play by Karina Halle

by Maryse on January 6, 2016 · 5 comments

in My Book Reviews

I’m a HUGE fan of Karina Halle’s love stories because I’ve always found that no matter what she writes, she plunges into some very deep, unconventional “book” moments. More like… real life moments. And while at first I doubted this sweet, funny story would actually go there”, it totally did. AND I MEAN DID!

Yep, this one proves it! Whether it be horror, or “bad guys” or full-on contemporary romance, there have always been some great-wrenching and/or super-risqué scenes that have absolutely hooked me!

Anne: Just finished The Play and oh boy it was HOT! I tell you those Scottish guys know what they are doing lol. It was a great book!

Sherry: LOVED The Play! Lachlan…..sigh……

Theresa: The Play was really good. What a tortured childhood. …Get the novella Winter Wishes and read before the epilogue of The Play. It flows seamlessly. I” sure the authir had thus planned. The novella just reads as part of the book. Good read.

Marina:  I finished The Play. It’s very hot but also very emotional.

Linda: The Play was great too Maryse!! Oh my heart on that one for sure.

Jean: Hearing great things about The Play. Do those books have to be read in order?

Anne: I recently read The Play without reading the first two and I was fine. Read it! Its a great, HOT, book :)

MichelleF: Karina Halle is one of my favorite authors. An absolute, immediate, no questions asked, one-click purchase on anything she writes!

But yes… I said doubts with this one, didn’t I? I mean, not doubts that it wouldn’t be good. I just love this author’s “voice” no matter what she writes. Her writing style, and the care she puts into her characters, and their personalities. I never doubt that her “people” are real. They are all their own. But this one had all of the makings of sweet contemporary romance with a bad-boy kick, and not much more of anything, but a very sweet message (the wonderful dog rescue).

After all, her main character Kayla was funny, independent and quirky and only interested in “one-nights” and nothing serious. Sort of a flighty, fun-loving friend, ya know?

My cheeks are blotchy from the alcohol, my thick mess of hair is unruly, and I’m dressed like a bag lady.

And you’re all the better for it, I remind myself. Untalkative Scottish peen is the last thing you need.

And our trouble hero, Lachlan? The epitome of bad boy.

He’s probably the most stunning man I’ve ever laid eyes on, and I immediately want to rub myself all over his face. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

Hard life, (and I mean HARD!!),

I never feel fear, or disgust, or pity for these people— the homeless, the addicted, the forgotten. I was them. I know what it’s like. I know too well.

brooding and moody. Huge and tattooed and bad-ass and pretty much… unapproachable.

But f*ck, this dude is not like the others. It’s like flirting with a block of ice.

And even though he’s a huge success now (a star rugby player, with prosperous business investments, and even a dog rescue!!), he still considers himself unworthy of love and attention and holds everyone at arms length. He doesn’t think he can love. He doesn’t even love himself.

“Sometimes… solitude can be blinding.”

God. I know this. I feel those words in my soul.

He was intense. Immense. And I was in! Yep. THAT is what we’re contending with and yet… sounds like our bad-boy romance usual, right?

It was. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it did have Karina Halle’s writing flair, and attention to detail. Laugh-out-loud moments, obnoxious, yet realistic internal dialogue, cast and crew of secondary characters that are just as real as the “mains” and steaming hot sex. I was good with it, and with the progression of the relationship that never should have been, but once I reached the middle, I just… wasn’t glued to it anymore. Dare I say I was a bit distracted? This is where I might have *squirreled* onto something new. I felt too safe overall. I wasn’t as excited anymore.

It was throughout the whole “get to know each other” stage, and while some stuff was dark and had “trouble potential”, it didn’t have that intense “oh oh” feel that I love about this author’s brand of “romance”. It kept me relatively sheltered and calm inside my cocoon of new love, and while brooding Lachlan did show his darkish side a few times, I was sure the author wouldn’t take that chance, in this one. And I was disappointed. I wondered, why is this even a part of the story if it doesn’t… actually… go there?

Until she did.

And she BLEW. MY. MIND. I won’t tell you exactly what it was, but there are two events in this book in the last third that FREAKED ME OUT, had me crying, had me gasping, fuming, and appalled and had me feeling absolutely and utterly devastated. Hopeless. And terrified. Most of these feelings apply to both of these events, and yet in completely different ways. You’ll see. It’s probably some of the best character development (and character reveal), downward spiral, personal introspection and “life realization” scenes that I have ever read.

“You only get one life. Well, two lives. The second one starts the moment you realize you only have one.”

I WAS WRECKED! And I loved it.

This is why I will ALWAYS read Karina Halle. Even in her safe books, she still managed to sucker-punch her readers, snowballing the emotions until they are just out of control and right in our face. And yep. That’s you cringing. That’s you, seething. That’s you crying.


So I’m giving this book a solid 4 stars! And absolutely 5 stars for that whole last part!!

“You get scared?” I ask him, unable to picture this strong, powerful man, afraid of anything at all.

“All the time,” he says frankly. “How can life be anything except terrifying at times? We’re born here. We don’t ask for it. And we’re expected to somehow get through it, to live each day without dying. We live, and if we don’t, we die.” He looks away, gives his head a shake. “Nah. We’re all scared, every last one of us.”

I know I am. Of so many things. My heart melts slightly to know that someone like him could feel the same way as someone like me.

P.S. Thank you to the author for sending me a review copy!!


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Theresa January 6, 2016 at 10:13 PM

Don’t forget The Lie is coming out in February- Brigg’s story.
So glad you read and reviewed. Again, I thought it was a great book.

Michelle F January 6, 2016 at 11:15 PM

The Play felt a little different for me than the usual Karina Halle stories. Usually I feel like I get to live this vicarious adventure or romance through her writing and I love that! This one felt more personal, maybe because I’ve experienced very similar life experiences as both characters in this book. So I found myself relating to them both and it felt like the struggles, choices, actions and reactions of both characters were pretty true to life. This book definitely deserves the four stars. Really looking forward to The Lie coming out next month.

Reader January 7, 2016 at 4:52 PM

This one was a DNF for me. I loved the first two in this series. Looking forward to reading The Lie.

Cheryl January 7, 2016 at 7:19 PM

Spot on review Maryse. :) That evolution of feelings is what I felt too- the difficulty investing in the main characters, until life really happened for them.
I would recommend the novella Winter Wishes, although at times the emotion felt redundant, it did embellish the original story. It says just available thru Jan. 1st, but it looks like you can still purchase it.

Maryse January 8, 2016 at 10:01 AM

Thank you Cheryl!! :D Yes once it finally got “real-life” going, it gave me the proper jolt I needed to realize I was liking it a whole lot.

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