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Monday, May 16, 2011

Playing Hurt, by Holly Schindler

Playing Hurt, by Holly Schindler is a story of two different tragedies that end up bringing two lost souls together.  It's a story of hope and resilience, of things lost and things gained, of new love and old love, of right and wrong and mostly it's a story about perseverance.  Chelsea Keyes has everything going for her as the star of her basketball team, with her choice of excellent recruiters lining up hoping to be her college pick.  She knows the ache in her hip will go away if she just gets some rest after this next game...  Tragedy comes in many forms.  Sometimes we lose someone we love, sometimes it's some thing, sometimes it's the chance at the life we always thought we'd have.  For Chelsea, basketball is everything.  Without it, will she even know who she is?  Can she learn to ignore her regret or learn to think about things differently?  Or will she drift and wallow in self-pity?  This was a different kind of read for me, since I don't normally seek out romances or sports-themed books, however it was definitely worth my time, because it reminded me a lot of my competitive spirit and of my love confusion in my younger years as well.  As we grow up we learn there are different kinds of love and different amounts of passion are possible in a relationship and that is something Chelsea is able to find out throughout this book too.  I keep talking about Chelsea as if she is the only main character in this book and perhaps that's because I relate more to female protagonists, however, there is another leading role and he goes by the name of Clint.  He's had his own share of tragedy in his life too and although it's very different than what Chelsea went through, the loss and the pain are the same and eventually it brings these two together.  They need each other, to learn from and to grow from.  They help fill a void for each other that neither one even knew was there.  Clint is the strong, outdoorsy aloof type, but it's his heart and his past that connects him to Chelsea as soon as she arrives at the Lake of the Woods fishing resort in Minnesota.  Chelsea expects a boring family vacation with some outdoor activities and Clint expects another boring summer working at the resort.  What they end up getting is much more memorable and life-changing instead.  I would recommend Playing Hurt to any older (16+) fans of romance, sports, stories about overcoming adversity, moving on after grief, summer flings or books about finding yourself and finding real love.

Favorite things:  the sports references brought back some nostalgia for me as I remembered winning races and competitions in school, the descriptions of nature in Minnesota, the two main characters and the way they grew and changed, the tone of the book which wasn't sad even when dealing with sad topics, the theme of the book which was not letting your circumstances define you and finding a way to love your life even in the face of great challenges, the pace was pretty good and kept me interested and I also loved the moments of suspense that were integrated into this love story.

Criticisms:  I really didn't like the amount of similes in this book, I am not a fan of the cover because those two people don't seem like the two main characters and it also seems like they're on a dock by an ocean and there wasn't an ocean in the setting of this book, there were a ton of explicit moments in this book which was very surprising to me (I was under the impression this book was YA, but I definitely wouldn't call it that based upon what I read) and I felt the book was wrapped up too nicely and it didn't sound like a sequel was in store, but I think the overall tale could be better if there was one lined up.

Overall:  4 out of 5 stars.  I caution younger readers and parents about this book, because it's a bit excessive when it comes to the sexual content. 

Note:  I was able to read this book as part of an ARC tour in exchange for my honest review.  I did not pay for this book, however that did not affect my opinion or review in any way.

7 comments:

  1. I have this one on my wish list. It sounds like something I would enjoy, especially you know me I read adult romance so I don' shy away from more heated moments. Thanks for the honest review.

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  2. I bet you would like it Lexa. :)

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  3. Thanks for the review, this is high up on my TBR list! ~ Jen @ A Book and a Latte

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  4. I just realized earlier this morning I hadn't been to your blog in awhile so I thought I'd stop by!

    I'm REALLY wanting to read Playing Hurt. I read her last book A Blue So Dark and loved it. Maybe one day...too many books out there. :P

    Hope you are doing well!
    Amanda

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  5. I'm lucky I keep getting accepted for ARC tours. I haven't had any extra money for buying books since I found out I was pregnant, so it's been great timing. Between my already huge TBR pile, the ARCs and the NetGalleys, I won't even need a new book for awhile. I just buy like 2-3 a month if something just came out.

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  6. Honest review! I think your criticisms are insightful and will be on the minds of other readers. Appreciate you being on the tour!

    Jen

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  7. Thanks for having me Jen and I appreciate that! <3

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I read and appreciate every comment! Thank you for taking the time to give me some feedback. ♥