FANTASTIC!!!! Though I knew it would be. It’s K.A. Tucker and she’s always a sure thing or me (and for quite a few of us in our book crew).
Harper: I just finished The Player Next door. …I absolutely loved it. It’s one of those books that you read with a smile on your face and where the characters communicate as they should at their age. It reminds me of the Simple Wild. It will be on my list of favorites books of 2020.
Maryse: I’m TOTALLY into “The Player Next door” (37% in and OMG I just highlighted the WHOLE chapter it was so good and intense!!!!)
I love this author’s writing style, I love that she lets me live the story through the eyes of the heroine (her POV only) and experience all of her observations, and assumptions – whether valid or not – as I would in real life. Me, the reader, not knowing the “truths” of everything right off the bat, but living it and growing as we go with her. <— This is my favorite.
I fell in love with her believable characters, whether it be the mains or the side characters, they had me grinning or fuming. and I became the heroine (and really liked her, even despite her jealousy issues… or maybe especially because of them since I felt I could relate… tee hee!!). 😏
And I crushed SO hard on Shane. A single dad, so helpful and considerate to her (heart of gold!!), so gorgeous with his sweet dimples… and the hottest firefighter in town. 😉 Though he’s not perfect. In fact he ripped her heart out once…
I was so wrong.
Ignoring me earlier was not the worst thing Shane Beckett could have done today.
…and well… there’s the most delicious amount of push-pull, and jealousy in this one that had me absorbed!
In fact, there were 2 or 3 chapters in a row around the 30% point that were HUGE for me. So incredibly emotional and real and relatable, that I felt her jealousy and angst BIG time.
I’m not about to cry over Shane. If anything, my tears will be sparked from anger. Not anger at him; he’s being himself. No … I’m pissed that I allowed emotions to stir. I told myself I would never care about Shane again, and yet here I am, my insides burning with jealousy…
I almost forgot I was reading the entire time other than the fact that I pretty much highlighted the whole entire section. Just heart-piercingly gooooooood!
Lump that in with plenty of funny-quirky situations, tense moments (oohhhh my favorite), infuriating moments (her bully from when she was a teen is still right there, front row and center!!) and it all flowed perfectly for me.
So what’s it about?
Scarlet Reed is moving back to her small town where she grew up. She just bought the tiny, somewhat depilated house with tons of charm that she always wished to live in as a child. She has a few bad memories from her childhood and teen years in that town (her mom being known as the town temptress – and still is, the mean girls that were relentless b*tches to her, and of course, the one popular boy on a fast-track to the NFL, that broke her heart after their summer together).
But she’s no longer that mousy, heartbroken teen anymore. She’s grown up, she’s got her life right on track, she’s got a great job as a teacher lined up… and most of all, she’s happy.
And even happier when she notices her hottie-neighbor next door.
That is… until she sees exactly WHO he is.
What a stroke of luck that would be, to live next to a gorgeous man. A single, gorgeous man, I pray.
Finally, my silent pleading is answered as he turns and his gaze drifts my way.
I struggle not to spew coffee from my mouth as my keen interest turns to horror.
Oh my God.
Someone, please tell me this is a mistake.
Yep. You guessed it. And his son is going to be in her class this year. Let the fun (and angst!!) begin!!
And I would say my only hiccup as I was reading (the part where I wanted to know MORE as I was reading and felt I didn’t quite “get him” in this regard), now that I’m finished, I DO get it. It’s actually so simple.
So as I analyze that certain part of the book – what pretty much derailed her teen-self when it came to him – and my experience of it, you might want to skip this next part of my review.
I don’t spoil the story as a whole, mind you, but I do go into some depth about that part in their teens.
Okay now… *spoiler alert*
My initial hiccup, that I actually now find even more believable: The reason he dumped her as teens when he seemed so into her? No huge dramatic secret. For the entire time I read I kept waiting for the reveal as to why his change of heart – he seemed so into her, and then when school started again, he broke up.
As if last night, sitting in his father’s car outside my apartment building, he didn’t tell me that we were getting too serious, too fast, and he couldn’t handle a relationship right now, that he needed to focus on football, and I was too much of a distraction.
That one vacant, meaningless look from Shane Beckett in the hall today was worse than anything else he could have done, and it sent me stumbling away, dragging my obliterated spirit behind me.
The rest of the day has been a painful blur…
Could it have been an incredible dark secret that he was hiding from her and dumping her, for her own good? Maybe an ultimatum by his friends or family forcing him to break her heart in the process?
Nope. Simply a case of normal teen boy thinking she was just too complicated for him, and he didn’t feel like it anymore. And also the popular red-headed she-devil caught his eye.
And I was all…. Ugh! ROOOOAR!!! 😠
I wanted it to be something huge and deep for hurting her that way, so that we could forgive him. And the WAY he did it… double UGH!!! Let’s just be friends, and the very next day he was strolling and making out with her bully. HOLY. MOLY. But you know what? It just made it all that much more believable. They were hormonal teens with short attention spans, and well… *shrug*
And at times I thought she was over-reacting to him now as an adult, pushing him away so intently, for something that happened when they were teens, YEARS ago even, before they grew up.
But you know what? That was her first experience with love, and it remains a huge part of who she is now. It formed her, in a way. Her head-over-heels in love, and the devastating heartbreak came back just as real and raw, especially with him back in her face like that, ya know?
But oh boy does all that change now that he’s a grown man, had his fair share of the red-devil’s wrath, and sees the sweet girl that he regrettably dumped and hurt, move back to town, and in the tiny old house next door.
*spoilery section done*
*spoilery section done*
Melinda: I also loved The Player too Maryse. Except the end! See what you think?
Maryse: I actually liked the end a whole lot. Sure… it could have had an epilogue but I feel satiated. 😉
Soooooooo good, my friends. A perfectly real-feeling contemporary romance with just enough silly and fun, and pining and hurt to keep you hooked and rooting for them!
4.5 STARS <— So that’s it!! I highly recommend this for an easy-to-read, wholly satisfying and truly great rainy-day or even beach-day read!!