Review: The Game of Love by Jeanette Murray

Review: The Game of Love by Jeanette MurrayThe Game of Love by Jeanette Murray

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Carina Press on August 29, 2011
Pages: 243
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four-half-stars  

First impression, I was drooling over the cover and wondering why no good woman had snapped up the hero, Brett Wallace. Soon I learned he was recently divorced from a money grubbing gold digger and understood his reluctance to get involved again. But let me step back a moment and tell you more about the story before getting into my thoughts.

Chris St. James wants a normal, out of the spot light life without tons of stress. She breaks up with her hockey star boyfriend, quits her professional life as a tennis player and becomes a math teacher and girls tennis coach at a high school. Life is good, but she has a lot of pent up fears, frustrations and baggage to get over.But just because she is new to town doesn’t mean she is bowled over by the fame or hunkiness of the local retired football start turned football coach. With brisk shields up, she has a look that will give a man frostbite.

Brett Wallace retired from pro-football after one too many concussions that could eventually take his life. When he left football, his gold digger wife wanted the fame and left him. Luckily he had a pre-nup his family almost forced upon them. Now he approaches all women thinking they just want his fame when all he wants is a simpler life being a high school football coach.

When the two meet they butt heads right away over an anonymous grant and how it should be used. He wants a new scoreboard, she wants new tennis costumes and to host an invitational. When things get heated up the head of the athletic program decides they have to figure a way to work it. Although there a many missteps getting to a decision, and I mean many…oh and funny ones, they do work it out.

Let’s start with a few things that annoyed me. Chris is a ball buster. She has been hurt by a verbally if not physically abusive boyfriend and a family who cares more about winning than anything. This family is horrible! I seriously wanted to get a court order to keep them away from Chris. It is no wonder she has such a hard time having relationships with people. Spending a lot of time getting physically sick when someone from the past calls her, it got to be a little old. At one time she did see a therapist, but not during this book, which I felt she needed. Never once did she change her phone number, which after a few calls, would have been at the top of my list.

I can’t say I totally disliked Chris, I just didn’t feel much relation to her at times. She is a great coach and as the book progress you see her grow into that role so naturally. If my kids had had her for a tennis coach they might actually still be playing tennis. As a math teacher, she rocks. It seemed you had more capacity emotionally to deal with kids than she did adults, not that she was immature. She just could relate easier to them that the adults in this book.

Brett, gosh I loved Brett. Why couldn’t he be a little more warped? He really is a good guy who loves his mom and has three older brothers. Taking his job seriously, he coaches his team and looks for the best ways to help their future. He is attracted to Chris right away, but she keeps giving him the cold shoulder, but he also keeps putting his foot in his mouth. Bumbling his way through saying what he wanted and it always seemed to come out wrong.

Maybe I am hung up on these things…but I would think the tennis outfits would be the family’s to pay for not the school. But then there are football jersey’s handed down. Maybe they did need new outfits, but I wondered what would happen next year when the sizes were wrong. Yeah, you are saying to me…why is she hung up on this? I don’t know…maybe because I have kids who played tennis? So let’s drop it since that problem was concluded early in the book.

While there were smoking hot love scenes, they weren’t over done. I just wish Chris hadn’t taken the attitude they were just getting their pleasure with no relationship attitude. Brett finds he fell in love with her early on. Even takes her to his Mom’s for Sunday brunch. He just knew she was the one, while Chris kept screwing it up over and over.

There is a pretty big ending to the book with everything crashing in at once. I felt the anticipation of fear, love, anger and so many other emotions as it played out. The scene cumulates all you have learned about the characters and the depth of their presence in why the story was written.

The supporting characters were fun to get to know…Jared, Brett’s best friend since kindergarten, is married to Katie, Chris’s best friend from college. Their story was told a little on the sidelines with Katie giving up her teaching job while she is pregnant with gestational diabetes. Which at one point I wanted to take bread out of Katie’s hands while she was eating it…I know, I had gestational diabetes with all four of my pregnancies. Jared is also the Athletic Director at the high school, so in the beginning he was in between the fighting pair.

There are Brett’s three older brothers, their wives and even his mother. They were a hoot the brief time you see them. Mom had a bigger role and she personified what you hope all mothers are made of: Love.

Chris’s family and former boyfriend had parts too. I just didn’t like them as the author intended, so I won’t spend any more time on them.

That’s a lot for one small review! I really loved this book and now can’t wait to get my hands on more of her work! Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. It’s a fun read, but also an emotional one, that will have you feeling many highs as well as low points.

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!
  • Sophia Rose

    Chris does sound like she has a lot to work through and the battle for the funds sounds hilarious. Sports romances do seem to be really cropping up and I have not read one yet. I need to fix that.

    Thanks for sharing your review!

  • Sounds like a fun, hot short story to read. I’m not really into football or hockey, so I might end up not liking this. 🙁 But, I’m glad that you really enjoyed it!

    Nina@http://jadorehappyendings.blogspot.nl