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REVIEW: “Played” by J.L Merrow


Tristan’s in Shamwell for one last summer of freedom before he joins the family firm in New York—no more farting around on stage, as his father puts it. But the classically trained actor can’t resist when members of the local amateur dramatics society beg him to take a role in their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Especially as he’ll also be giving private acting lessons to gorgeous local handyman, Con, who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances. Tristan’s determined to get Con in his bed—not only is the man delicious, there’s fifty pounds riding on Tristan’s success after a bet made with his drama school chum Amanda.

Con’s never dared to act before. A late-diagnosed dyslexic who had a hard time at school, he’s always been convinced he’d never be able to learn his lines—but with Tristan helping him, he might just be in with a chance. Trouble is, the last time Con fell for a guy, he ended up getting his heart broken, and with Tristan due to leave the country in a matter of months, Con’s determined not to give in and start anything that’s bound to finish badly.

Just as Tristan thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes. And the curtain may have fallen forever on their chance of happiness.

Warning: contains a surfeit of Bottoms and asses, together with enough mangled quotations to have the Bard of Avon gyrating in his grave.

playedTitle: Played!
Author: J.L Merrow
Publisher: Samhain
Pages: 216
Release Date: 30-06-2015
Purchase Links: Amazon, Samhain


Played! is the story of Tristan and Con. I must confess that I didn’t like Tristan much. I struggled with him because he seemed arrogant, self absorted, and a bit immature.

I liked Con better. I thought he was pretty likable, and sweet. I loved the fact that he knew what he wanted and what he didn’t want and made it clear for Tristan to know. I think this is something that you rarely see in M/M Romance. I mean, of course we have many wonderful slow burns, but it’s the fact that the character goes directly to the point by saying something like (paraphrasing here): yea, you’re hot, granted… But, I am not what you want, and more importantly you are not what I need. We’re looking for different things, that quite caught my attention.

So, yes, this was great for a start, but then I felt like there was way too much dancing around each other. The story seemed to goo way too  slow, and it started to struggle to keep my attention.

I think there was some great potential here. I think the writer is really good when it comes to descriptions of things, places and people. There is a nice prose, too. I also think there was a great idea brewing there with the whole inclusion of play references. More than once I found myself smiling when I encountered those in the book. However, I think that there were too many, and I’m not sure it was necessary that it was that excessive. Yes, of course it goes perfectly were with Tristan and the theatre group, but I found myself wondering if those readers that haven’t read those plays would get the humor in it. Another thing that I loved here was the british language! Give me british and I will smile!

Despite seeing those great things I must confess that in the end, this book wasn’t for me. It was the fact that I struggled with one of the MC’s that put me off a bit, and in the end influenced my enjoyment of the story.



About Gaby

Mexican. Caffeine addict. Book lover. Early mornings enemy. Wanna be cook.

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This entry was posted on August 3, 2015 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Gaby and tagged , , .

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