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Fair Game by Monica Murphy
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3 "Average College Girl Lands College Stud" Stars for the Story and 4 Stars for the narration.

Fair Game is a college romance that has a young adult feel to it. Lovers of the romance trope where the average, middle class girl steals the heart of the rich, popular college guy will most enjoy this story.

Imagine attending a poker game with your boyfriend and finding out that not only was he leaving without you, but he had actually bet, and lost, you to a notorious, rich playboy. That's exactly Jade Frost’s reality and the rich playboy is Shep Prescott. Needless to say that's the end of the ex-boyfriend, but is this the beginning of a new relationship?

However, Jade refuses to capitulate to Shep's charm, like every other girl on campus, even if his attentions seem confusingly genuine. After trying every trick in the book to thwart his attentions, and still finding that Shep is pursuing her, Jade finds that it's time to decide whether Shep is just interested in her because she's the first girl that has ever tried to turn him down or whether there could possibly be more to his seeming attraction to her. But can a guy like Shep, who is used to being Mr. Popular, ever settle down with a a plain, average girl like Jade?

Fair Game is narrated in the typical new adult style with Seraphine Valentine narrating the chapters from Jade's perspective and Jack DuPont narrating the ones from Shep's. Both narrators do a good job with producing intonations that match the youthful tone and feel of this romance and adeptly time their delivery to allow the listener to easily understand the action and emotions that play a part of the scene being narrated.

Additionally both narrators are able to produce distinguishable voices for each one of the characters making the reliance on dialogue tags unnecessary. Perhaps my only negative observation of the narration was that Mr. DuPont's rendition of Jade didn't sound completely feminine; though it was slightly higher pitched than his male voices, including the one he used for Shep's dialogues.

All in all, having previously really enjoyed other of Monica Murphy's books (such as Never Tear Us Apart and Never Let You Go) I think I was expecting a slightly different tone and maturity level for the characters in this new adult romance. This story just felt a little too young for my taste--particularly given that the characters were in college, not high school. Perhaps in the right mood, and had I understood this difference going in, I may have found it more enjoyable. But if you don't mind a slightly younger tone, then Fair Game may be a satisfying listen for you, particularly given the above average narration.

Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  B.J.O. | Jun 29, 2016 |

Dicen por ahí que si has leído un libro new adult los has leído todos... Y es cierto. No es la literatura más innovadora ni creativa, y que tenga clichés es algo que el lector da por sentado antes inclusive de leer la sinopsis. Pero hay clichés y están LOS clichés; esos que últimamente los autores más inteligentes intentan evitar. Al parecer Monica Murphy no recibió el memo.

Cliché Nº1: Ojos a la Christian Grey.
Porque si tus ojos no cambian de color con el deseo, no eres 'cool'.

Cliché Nº2: Es un dios, pero soy taaan distinta a todas las demás que fingiré que no me parece sexy porque, o sea, es un idiota.
Tiene el cuerpo de un adonis pero es pretencioso, así que next... Al menos hasta que se fije en mí, gracias a que soy la única que no se muere por él.

Cliché Nº3: Billonario god-sex se fija en chica tímida y "sin nada especial".
¿No les ha pasado que van caminando por la calle sin maquillaje, tipo normal, con su "simple y común" cuerpo de Miss y su rostro de porcelana, y un hermoso/joven/billonario se enamora de ustedes? A mi tampoco, pero al parecer eso es cosa de todos los días.

Cliché Nº4: Tienes el poder de sacar lo mejor de mí.
Toda mi vida he sido un mujeriego que utilizaba a las mujeres como muñecas inflables sin valor, pero desde que te conocí, hace una hora, he cambiado. Ahora conozco el amor, y te valoro como nunca antes valore a ninguna.

Cliché Nº5: Padres ausentes y snobs.
Porque lo que importa no es el amor, sino el estatus social de tu pareja.

Además de eso tenemos slut-shaming, insta-lust y mujeres siendo objetificadas (apostar a tu novia en un juego de póquer, really?). Y quién sabe que más, luego de un rato simplemente comencé a saltar hojas.

Ahora, deja lo que sea que estés haciendo y lee este libro. Comparte mi sufrimiento. ( )
  Glire | Jun 22, 2016 |

An illegal, off-campus gambling party has Jade bored to tears until she finds herself in the betting pool and in the sights of the game's winner. But even though Shep's got more money than most of us could ever imagine — and the swagger to back it up — Jade's no piece of property to be passed around. He may have won her, but it will take a hell of a lot more than good looks, lines, and charms to win her over.

Judging Covers: Well… I guess the font is cute? It's really a pretty boring cover, if I'm being totally honest, and I browsed right past it the first several times it came into view. The flat white text against light skin tone doesn't do it any favors, and…well, there's just not really anything there to make me notice, much less think it's a book I'd want to read. Fortunately, my calendar was pretty bare, leading me to go back through all the books I'd been offered that I hadn't paid any attention to, and the whole bet concept piqued my curiosity. But still… I hate to see a good story languishing behind such a dull design.

I suppose I should also mention that the interior formatting was a bit off for me as well. I suspect it's because I have to increase the text to “blind old lady” size on my Kindle, which led to the POV markers showing up at the bottom of the previous page instead of at the beginning of each character's take on the chapter. It didn't ruin the reading experience at all — it was just weird.

The Verdict: After reading the synopsis, I have to admit that I expected this story to go horribly wrong. I mean, any relationship that starts out with a bet is bound to be fraught with cliches, and given the premise, I pretty much expected Jade to be a doormat. I requested the book, though, on the off chance that an author might finally get this kind of plot right, and I do believe I lucked out!

While Jade's boyfriend bets her in a high stakes poker game, this girl is no pushover. She's already pissed off the guy he's up against, and (as any woman in this century would hope) she's not about to play along when he loses. I was initially a little disappointed that she didn't just stand up and storm out, but it turns out that her reaction was worth waiting around for. There's a strong physical attraction between her and Shep, the guy who “won” her, but his rich boy persona kills that off before she can even consider it.

On the surface, Shep is the stereotypical poor little rich boy. He has everything he wants that money can buy, but it's all pretty empty. He does have a cousin and good friend who are pretty much in the same boat he's in, so he's not entirely alone. But he's good looking and loaded, so he bed-hops and parties and doesn't give any real thought to taming his ways. His bet over Jade is clearly the product of extreme boredom. It's not like he really expected to own her or anything, but when money means so little, figuratively throwing her in the pot makes things more interesting. It's clear that he's just looking for something to break the monotony and to show up the guy across the table from him, and Jade… Well, she's just there.

The bet serves as little more than a way to introduce these two, but I have to say it's a great concept. It brought out Jade's fiery and independent side, piqued Shep's interest, and got rid of the boyfriend all in one fell swoop. Jade's lack of any real interest in Shep made her a challenge for him, but since she refused to fall at his feet or really even treat him with any deference, he began to see her as more than just another girl.

With the attraction already there, the relationship with these two heated up very quickly, even though they didn't just throw caution to the wind and jump into bed together. Some ill-timed interruptions helped them keep their heads on straight, even as they spent more and more time together. And while there were about a thousand places where this story could have gone down some all too familiar paths, Monica Murphy keeps it fresh and real throughout. It's really impossible to explain what's so great about this couple without simply retelling the whole story, so I'll just say that Jade is down-to-earth and easy to relate to, while Shep doesn't play the entitled, rich, jerk card that one might expect. I went into the story holding out for that small chance that I'd enjoy it, and I ended up loving it. Now I just need the rest of the series!

***FicCentral received this book from Wordsmith Publicity for free in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  ysar | Jul 8, 2015 |
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When your boyfriend bets you in a poker game, you better know when to run. It's Bad enough Jade Frost's boyfriend dragged her to a boring poker game. It's even worse that he actually threw her into the betting pot during an intense round-and lost. Talk about the perfect excuse for Jade to make him her ex-boyfriend. Now she supposedly belongs to the ultra rich, extremely gorgeous Shep Prescott. He could have anything he wants yet he seems to be in hot pursuit of her. No matter how rude, how snarky, how impossible she acts, it doesn't stop him. Her horrible behavior seems to make him want her more. When she finds herself starting to fall for him, Jade's confused. There's more to Shep than the carefree rich charmer he portrays. No way could he want a serious relationship with her-or could he?… (more)

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