Book Review: Play With Me by Piper Shelly

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Title: Play With Me (Grover Beach Team #1) PlayWithMe
Author: Piper Shelly 
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance, Young Adult, Fun 
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: December 2012
Pages: 190
Rating: 3  stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.

Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she’s a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she’s just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she’s prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter

My Review:

Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed – but Liza knows who she wants her first to be. Tony Mitchell – the boy she’s been best friends with since forever. But when he comes back from soccer camp there’s something different about him… and not just his sudden liking for Red Bull. Determined to get his attention, Liza tries out for the soccer team and finds herself way out of her depth. Lucky for her, the gorgeous team captain, Ryan Hunter,  is willing to take Liza under his wing. Are his intentions honourable or does he want something more than just to teach Liza about the game he loves?

Play With Me is short and sweet. It’s a novella and just under 200 pages, this story was a fun one to read although fairly predictable. The characters are a little simplistic but enjoyable to follow. Liza is the slightly naive girl who has a long time crush on her BFF, Tony – who seems to have no idea about Liza’s true feelings. Ryan is a bit of a spoilt rich kid who has money, good looks and girls following him around at all times – except for the one he wants. These people may be slightly stereotypical but I liked reading about them. They’re cute and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.

I have to admit  wasn’t the hugest fan of Liza – she’s clueless and slightly irritating in her complete obliviousness to Ryan’s advances however that has just made me even more eager to read the companion novel, Ryan Hunterwhich is the story of Play With Me from Ryan’s perspective. I didn’t quite believe Liza’s complete turn around from painfully naive to make out queen but that’s just a minor quibble.

This story was fun and sweet. I enjoyed reading it and recommend it for fans of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundread Oak’s series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

(check it out now! It’s free as an ebook from Amazon and B&N for the month of October 2013)

AUTHOR BIO

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The quick-and-dirty:
I’m a cool girl with a passion for writing.
The genres you’ll find me hanging out at are contemporary and paranormal YA, but I’m also snooping into some adult paranormal right now. All of them romances…of course.
The nitty-gritty:
I’m an Austrian lass—totally uncomplicated and up to anything fun.
I grew up in Vienna, not by free will but because my parents decided to move there when I was only 4 years old. I. Hated. The. City. Everything about it. So right after graduation I moved back to Upper Austria, where I settled down with a nice husband and an awesome laptop.
I’ve been a storyteller all my life. Already in kindergarten, I came up with the most exotic fantasies and tales. My teacher would call me a liar. I call it the cornerstone of my writing career.
People always told me you can’t make a living with being an author. So when my first novella PLAY WITH ME came out and shot straight to the stars within the first week, I was totally dumbstruck. Took me a while to realize what was happening, LOL.
And the personal stuff:
At the (awesome) age of seventeen, I met the love of my life. But he was a playboy, and I was so not going to be his next trophy. It took him another four years of fighting for me until I finally decided to give that “couple-thing” with him a shot. I’m now married to this man. 😉

We have an eleven-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and my many stories. Unless we’re in Disneyland. No stress to go home then…

If you still want to know more about me, my FAQ page is the right address for you. 😉

http://pipershelly.com/faq/

Author Links:

 

2013 Debut Authors Bash: Q&A with Liz Fichera!

Hooked (Hooked, #1)

US Cover of Hooked

Today I’m delighted to a part of the 2013 Debut Authors Bash hosted by YA Reads. I’m very excited to introduce you all to Liz Fichera – the author of Hooked (click to read my review). If you’ve not heard of Hooked, it’s the story of Fred Oday – a young Native American girl who loves to play golf. When the coach of the school team sees how talented she is he recruits her for the all male school team – only her new team mates aren’t too happy about it. Fred has to deal with social and racial injustices as well as sexism within a sport she loves to play.

Great characters, interesting relationships and enough drama and romance to keep things interesting – I loved Hooked and because of this I so excited that Liz generously gave up some of her time to answer some of my questions on my blog today!

Q&A with Liz Fichera, author of Hooked!

Hi Liz, I loved reading Hooked and am delighted that I have the opportunity to ask you some questions.

Thanks so much, Kate! I’m very honored to answer them.

· What inspired you to write Hooked?

True story. I was coming back from a desert hike near my home in Phoenix, Arizona, which is in the southwestern part of the United States. I was driving down a long stretch of mostly deserted road called Pecos Road. The Gila River Indian Community stretches south of Pecos Road as far as you can see. Anyway, for some reason I got this image of a young Native American girl in my head and she was waving a golf club at me. Fortunately I did not swerve off the road. But I went home and started to create this story.

· Fred is an American Indian who lives on a reservation. Is cultural diversity important for you in your writing?

Yes. That said, it doesn’t seem natural to me to not include a Native American character in a story set in the American Southwest. Native American culture is important to this part of the world. In my state of Arizona alone, there are over twenty tribes. It bothers me that there aren’t more Native American characters in young adult literature.

Hooked

Australian cover of Hooked

· Golf is an important part of Fred’s life. Is sport something that you’re passionate about?

I do enjoy the sport, although I am dangerous at best at it. Golf is a popular sport in the American Southwest too. In Phoenix, there’s a golf course on practically every street corner (perhaps a slight exaggeration, but not by much). I had a lot of help writing the golf parts, making sure that the technical aspects were correct. My father loved the sport and taught me a lot. My sister, husband, and brother-in-law all play and are much more skilled at it than I am.

· Fred and Ryan as such different people! Did you find it hard to switch between their point of views and which POV did you find harder to write?

I loved writing both POVs for different reasons. Fred’s life experiences were very different from my own. It was intriguing to me to get inside her head. Fortunately I had a number of Native American beta readers who helped me to understand her. With Ryan, it’s always fun to get inside a teen boy’s head and try to think how he thinks and understand the decisions he would make. Teen boys fascinate me.

· Are there any similarities between you and Fred?

While her life experiences may have been different than mine, I completely understood her shyness and determination. I was very shy and (mostly) quiet in high school but people should not mistake shyness for weakness, especially when it comes to Fred. She will surprise when you least expect it.

· Hooked was your first YA novel but you’ve published a couple of adult romance novels previously. Was it difficult for you to switch from writing adult novels to writing for a young adult audience?

My first published novel, CAPTIVE SPIRIT, was written as a YA, interestingly. The protagonists are sixteen years old. However, since it is historical fiction, the publisher Carina Press was able to market it as women’s commercial fiction. My second novel, CRAVING PERFECT, had a twenty-something protagonist and could now probably be considered New Adult before New Adult became The Next Big Shiny Thing. My writing voice is very comfortable in the young adult genre so making the switch was not difficult.

· Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you have other dream careers in mind?

I’ve known since I was ten years old that I wanted to write stories. Unfortunately life kind of got in the way for a while but I never lost sight of the dream or desire.

· I loved the photos you had on your blog of the spaces different authors write in (click here to see Liz’s blog post on writing places) . Apart from where you write, do you have any other writing rituals?

Thank you so much, Kate! Glad you enjoyed them. I write every day, usually in the afternoons and into the evenings. However, when I’m deep in a story, it can go pretty much 24/7 where I’ll lose all sense of time and other normal things, like eating and combing my hair. J I’m also an avid hiker, so I like to hike in the mornings (before it gets too hot) and think about what I want to write about that day.

Fountain Hills, Arizona is just one of the places Liz enjoys writing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Hiking, reading, spending time with my husband.

· What books do you think have influenced your life the most?

There have been so many. I probably read 2-3 books each week, mostly YA. I love contemporary realistic YA and wish there was more of it. As a kid, I devoured all of the Little House books as well as The Boxcar Children series. I’m pretty sure I checked those books out of my school library a thousand times.

· What are you currently reading?

I just finished Bennett Madison’s SEPTEMBER GIRLS which was quite edgy. I’m currently reading GONE GIRL, a thriller, which is usually not my cup of tea. However, I am unable to put it down!

· Are you working on anything now?

I’m always working on a story. Right now, I’m working on two more YA contemporary stories.

· Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

I’ve been overwhelmed by the support of readers from all over the world. It’s always quite amazing to hear how a story can touch people. Words truly can’t express how grateful I am when someone takes the time to read my book.

Thanks so much for your time! I can’t wait to read Played (Riley and Sam’s story) when it’s released next year!

Thank you so much, Kate! I loved your questions and thank you so very much for your support and love of books.

I hope you all enjoyed having Liz stop by as much as I did! I have to admit – after reading Hooked and liking the characters and story so much – I was a little star struck. Thanks again Liz for stopping by!

 ***About Liz Fichera ***

 I’m an American author living in the American Southwest by way of Chicago.  Born and raised in Park Ridge, Illinois, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, after college, never expecting to live more than one year among cactus and people who’d never seen snow. I was wrong.  It certainly didn’t hurt that I met my future husband in Phoenix too.

Most of my stories are set in the American Southwest because I think the desert is a cool place.  Living in Phoenix, I’m surrounded by Native American culture and influences, not to mention intriguing Hohokam petroglyphs and centuries-old canals.  There are over 20 tribes in Arizona and I’m lucky to be neighbors to the Gila River and the Salt River Indian Communities.
When I’m not busy writing my next novel, I like to travel, visit museums, support local theater productions, hike, and pretend that I’m training for a triathlon.  I post a lot of photos from my desert and mountain hikes on my Facebook and Twitter pages.  In no particular order, I’ve been chased by javalinas, rattlesnakes, coyotes, and even one curious black bear.  Would love to connect with you there too!

Book Review: Hooked by Liz Fichera

Title: Hooked (Hooked #1)
Author: Liz Fichera
Genre: contemporary romance, sports, golf, Native American, realistic fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: Feburary 1 2013
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
When Native American Fredericka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred. But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile…

My Review:

If there’s one thing Frederika “Fred” Oday is sure of, it’s golf. No matter what else is going on in her life – her alcoholic mother, her rebel-without-a-cause brother, not fitting in at her primarily white high school – she knows that when she’s on the golf course it’s just her and the ball. And her Native American ancestors who live among the stars looking down on her.

When the high school boy’s varsity golf coach recruits Fred for his team – it causes some drama. Rich boy Ryan Berenger isn’t happy when his best mate gets kicked off the team for some Indian girl. But as he gets to know the girl behind the falling apart plaid golf bag and rusted clubs, he sees there’s more to Fred than just her gender and the colour of her skin.

Fred has to face the prejudices and injustices of being an outsider in a rich man’s world. And in the process finds Ryan – who seemingly has it all together but might be just as out-of-place as she is.

I’m coming to realize that whilst I’m not a sporty person – I enjoy reading sports romances. This one is no exception. Fred is real. She has her problems but she doesn’t cut herself off from the world because of them. I found Ryan hard to like at the start (much like Fred found him I suppose) but as the story went on and we got to see his hidden depths, I found myself more inclined to see him as worthy of Fred.

The secondary cast are great. From the citizens who live on the Reservation to Ryan’s family and the other members of the golf team – they add the extra spice to the novel. Seth is one of those characters who show that villains don’t just exist in paranormal novels and Disney movies. I’m excited to see that there will be a novel with Sam Tracy and Ryan’s sister Riley (There’s a sample chapter at the end of my copy of Hooked and it looks like it should be a good read).

I enjoyed how Liz Fichera handled the theme of racial injustice throughout the novel – it wasn’t overpowering or in-your-face but managed nicely underline the story. Bullying, prejudice and the mistreatment of ethnic minorities are all things Fred and the other reservation kids had to deal with and it was nice to see how they coped.

There’s drama, action and a fair amount of golf in this book. It’s romantic at times and deals with family drama too – Hooked is a fun novel that shows that golf is for more than just country club folk!

 

Thanks to Harlequin Teen for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Read as part of the:

Eclectic Reader Challenge (published in 2013)

2013 Debut Author Challenge (author’s debut into YA fiction)