4 out of 5 Stars
Michael Rourke is not getting anywhere writing mystery novels, so when he realizes how well smut sells, he makes a drunken mistake and writes an erotic novel. Using the pen name Christoph Strong, Michael is able to hide who he really is while working on his three-book deal. But when his agent outs him at a book convention, Michael needs to become Christoph Strong so his secret won’t get out.
Meeting the popular blogger who rated Christoph’s books as less than stellar, Monica Singer, wasn’t on Michael’s agenda. When the two are forced to spend time together, they find the type of connection they’ve never been able to have with anyone else. But Monica is also hiding her own identity, and if Michael finds out who she really is, any chance they had for a relationship will be over before it even gets started because Monica’s real name is Lauren, but she writes under the pen name Betty Black, and Betty is Christoph’s biggest competitor.
Word Play is a sweet romance detailing the private lives of authors and providing a glimpse at the behind the scenes moments of book conventions, dealing with agents, and writing a novel. From my experience in the blogging community, this was an enjoyable way of poking fun at all involved.
With both main characters hiding their true identity, there was no getting around the cliché of keeping secrets when they should have come clean. As long as you can accept that up front, the rest of the romance is worthwhile. I enjoyed seeing things from Lauren’s perspective and watching her put the pieces together to find out that not only was Christoph the person she had a one-night stand with eight years ago, but also that he was Michael Rourke.
Poor Michael just didn’t want his mother and best friend to find out that he wrote erotic romance because he was afraid it would ruin his reputation as a mystery writer—except he hadn’t been able to sell his mystery novels. So when his agent circulated a picture of him, he literally had to become Christoph to try to disguise and separate his pen name from his real personality. But for some reason, whenever he was dealing with Lauren alone, he would act more like himself than the character he was trying to play.
Word Play is told in first person point of view, and it begins with Michael’s story. Interspersed throughout the book are blog posts poking fun at the writing community. Eventually the book switches to Lauren’s point of view, and then it goes back and forth a bit between the two. Although multiple first person points of view is not my favorite method, the author was able to accomplish what needed to be done without overlap or backtracking. The story was well written, allowing the reader to grow into the relationship right along with the characters. It had a nice pace, and I was able to feel the passion between Lauren and Michael.
There were some minor editing issues, like comma splices and tense changes, but not enough to detract from the reading experience. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and would definitely read more by this author.