Friday, December 4, 2015

{Mini Review} The Play by Karina Halle

From Goodreads

A troubled Scottish rugby player who doesn't play by the rules.
A vivacious man-eater who's given up on love.
When it comes to Lachlan and Kayla, opposites don't just attract - they explode.

Kayla Moore has always been comfortable with her feisty, maneating reputation. At least it was fine until she hit her thirties and saw her best friends Stephanie and Nicola settle down with Linden and Bram McGregor, leaving Kayla to be the odd one out. Tired of being the third wheel with nothing but one-night stands and dead-end dates in San Francisco, Kayla decides to take a vow of celibacy and put men on the backburner.

That is until she lays her eyes on Linden and Bram’s cousin, hot Scot Lachlan McGregor. Lachlan is her sexual fantasy come to life – tall, tatted, and built like a Mack truck. With a steely gaze and successful rugby career back in Edinburgh, he’s the kind of man that makes her want to throw her vow right out the window. But Lachlan’s quiet and intense demeanor makes him a hard man to get to know, let alone get close to.

It isn’t until the two of them are thrown together one long, unforgettable night that Kayla realizes there is so much more to this brooding macho man than what meets the eye. But even with sparks flying between the two, Lachlan can’t stay in America forever. Now, Kayla has to decide whether to uproot her whole life and chance it all on someone she barely knows or risk getting burned once again.

Sometimes love is a game that just needs to be played.

5 "Take a Chance On Me" Stars!

What do you get when you mix a hilariously brash woman, a gorgeous Scottish rugby player with a broken past, and pit bull rescue? One beautiful, heartfelt, amazing love story that is impossible to put down, and will stay with you well after you close the book.
Ladies (and any stray gentlemen), I present to you one of my favorite contemporaries of the year! 

"You only get one life. Well, two lives. The second one starts when you realize you only have one."

"Where did you hear that one?"

"I think I saw it scribbled on a bathroom door. People are philosophical when they're taking a shit."

It's no secret that Karina Halle is my favorite author, and this gorgeous book just reiterated everything I love about her writing. I laughed out loud, I cried, I swooned, and I felt such a deep connection to both protagonists. I finished The Play in a day, and I can say with complete confidence that this will be a reread. If you've never read a Halle book, I highly suggest this one to start you off. 

It's not like I'm a hundred percent pure evil. Just like forty percent. That's less than half.

The Play is a full length, standalone novel set in both San Francisco, CA and Edinburgh, Scotland. Both cities came to life on the pages with Halle's typical style, thrusting me right into the thick of it from the very first page. The story captivated me, and I was loathe to put it down on those few instances real life demanded my attention. 
The story was told in alternating 1st person point of view between Kayla and Lachlan, and their two voices were district, but still flowed together seamlessly. They filled in what the other person's perspective lacked, and it created a comprehensive plot. 

"How long do you have to be absent of dick before you're considered re-virginized?"

Kayla Moore was a fantastic heroine: hilarious, blunt, loyal, intelligent, and completely relatable. I could see a lot of myself in her, and that added to the feel of living in the story.
I loved seeing how and why she chose to follow Lachlan to Scotland, the feelings and challenges she went through while there, and how her perception of life, love, and living changed. There was a good deal of character development for her, and it was refreshing to see.

If you can't find a man to share your heart with....well, share your vagina with him instead. 

I was thrilled to see how unapologetic Kayla was about sex and her sex life. All too often we're forced to endure the prim, dry virginal (ha...that is such a horrid pun) heroine, and I don't know about you, but that's just not someone I can empathize with. Kayla loved sex, and was proud of that. You go, girl!

Lachlan McGregor was such an intense, multi-faceted hero. He was a mass of contradictions; here is this hard, seemingly impenetrable, silent man...who happens to run a sanctuary for pit bulls, had a heartbreaking childhood, and cares so, so deeply for those around him. He broke me, and then put me back together in the next breath. 

Your life becomes all about erasing life, like a memory card wiped clean. I did drugs and I stole and I lied and I hurt and hurt and hurt until that card was blank, and then was nothing new to hurt me anymore.

The Play gave me a frank, hard look at the life of a recovering addict. Getting to see that constant, all consuming struggle, the pain of the past and the uncertainty of the future, gave me a whole new outlook on the topic. It was beautiful in a sad, twisted way. Despite what he thought of himself, Lachlan was one of the strongest characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
Plus, there's nothing sexier than a guy who loves dogs. #fact

I need to fuck her, messy, hot and wild. I want her body, I want her touch, her light to replace all the darkness that creeps into my dreams.

Holy....fuckin'....hell, those sex scenes practically lit my Kindle on fire. The Play struck the perfect balance between "how does her pussy still work?!" and "okay, your adults, let's get to it!" sex. It wasn't overwhelming, but goddamn did they pack a punch. Can someone please send me my own gorgeous, dirty talking Scotsman for Christmas? 
There's this one shower scene...and a locker room scene (I did not realize I even had that fantasy until then!)...and I just...fuck.

And now, now I'm going off with him. And so he is mine. My Lachlan. My beast. My big, broken man. 

Kayla and Lachlan's connection, while not insta-love, was intense and fairly fast to develop. It worked well for the story though; being on the time crunch they were, it was no surprise that adrenaline, feelings, and hormones ran high. It tied in perfectly to the story, and worked for the couple.

"I understand these dogs. I know what it's like to be cast aside, to feel unwanted, to believe you have no one to fight for you. Time and time again. It hurts like hell, but if I don't fight for them, who will?"

One of my favorite aspects of The Play was the emphasis on dog rescue, and pit bull rescue especially. Just a few weeks before the book released, I rescued my own pit bull from the brink of death, and that experience gave me such a "yes, this! This is how it feels!" feeling when I read the rescue parts. 
These dogs are so misunderstood, it's just sad. My girl is the sweetest, most loving dog you could ask for, despite the horrific life she led before me. Their capacity for love and healing despite what life throws at them is inspiring, and I wish more people realized that. 
The similarities between Lachlan and the pit bulls he rescues was so well done, and made me love him all the more. 

"'re my girl. You're my beautiful world. And I'm whatever you want me to be, just as long as you know that I have never, ever felt this was about someone in my entire life. I'm losing myself in you. Every day."

Overall, The Play is a gorgeous love story about taking risks, overcoming adversary, making differences in the lives of things smaller than you, and finding love in it all, with a healthy dose of smexy smut and plenty of humor to balance the heavy. 5 stars, one of my favorites for the year. Highly recommend!

"In the light of day, I can see all your cracks and your darkness and your flaws, and I fall in love with it all. And I hope you can fall in love with everything I am, all that lurks in my dark, all that shines in mu light. I want you to love every little piece of me, because it all belongs to you."

- The Bibliophile Babe

P.S.: My mini reviews never wind up being very "mini". Sigh. 
P.P.S.: I had nearly 80 notes/quotes for this book. Beautiful!


  1. So what you're telling me is he's Scottish, plays rugby AND loves pit bulls? That is my dream man right there Amanda! I have a soft spot for men who love animals, especially those that are so abused, so I need to read this immediately!!!!!

  2. Lol, not very mini of a review - you crack me up! Glad you enjoyed this, but I had no doubt with your love of Halle!

  3. Well that was fun. I enjoyed the quotes you shared. I really need to read something else by Karina, I only read the first book in her Experiment in Terror series.

  4. I'm glad this one is not as heavy as per her usual. Maybe I could finally get a Karina Halle book under my belt. :D

  5. Okay, totally got me with the pitties. :) Yea, the humor interested me but that totally sealed the deal. :D

  6. Ooh sounds like a good one! And I'm pretty sure i'm going to picture this actor from a Brisih soap oper I watch when I read it because he's Scottish and his character's name is Lachlan - but they call him Lockie.

  7. Sounds like I need to give this author a second chance -- I must've just started with the wrong book because this one sounds like some fun sexy times to me! Awesome review!

  8. I love the quotes and have been meaning to weave this author into my tbr pile!

  9. I own a Halle book but still haven't read it. This one sounds so good! Love the settings so much. And that totally wasn't mini lol!! Great review and quotes!