Friday, May 10, 2013

Sandy's Review of Don't Hate the Player...Hate the Game by Katie Ashley

Sandy’s Review
Don't Hate the Player...Hate the Game by Katie Ashley
“I'm not going anywhere, Maddie. You mean everything to me-you saved me from the darkness and brought me to the light. And I can't imagine a future without you in it. I intend on spending the rest of my life with you.” - Noah
“Don't be ashamed of your emotions, Noah. Experience them and embrace them. They're what make us alive and strong.” – Maddie
For Noah Sullivan being the best friend to a douchebag and player like Jake Nelson has never been easy. It's been a rocky road since kindergarten when Jake duct taped Noah to his chair before recess. With just six weeks to high school graduation, Jake accidentally blows his drunken ass up on his grandfather's tractor, and Noah finds himself immersed not only in a whirlwind of grief, but on a quest to find a mystery girl from Jake's past.

While cleaning out Jake's room, Noah and Jake's dad make a startling discovery. Instead of the obligatory porn collection or pot stash, they find a ring, but not just any ring. It’s half a carat of commitment in a platinum setting-proving even man whores have taste. After Jake's mom pleads with Noah to find the girl who meant so much to Jake, Noah begins a modern day Grail quest to track the girl down.

Since Jake was a notorious player with a legendary collection of trophy panties, Noah finds himself in over his head. There are the usual suspects like Avery, the Ice Princess Jake dated for appearances, or Presley, the school mattress Jake dated for convenience. But the trail begins to point to the most unlikely of suspects: Maddie, the Valedictorian and choir girl who was trying to help the unmotivated jock graduate--the girl who also has surprisingly caught Noah's eye and meddled with his heart.

Hanging out with Maddie shows Noah a different side of Jake--one that was deeply human and surprisingly douche-free. And the more he tries to solve the mystery of the ring and of Jake, the more Noah starts to discover about himself and of love.
Sandy’s Review
You love Katie Ashley? You like your romance with angst, a little mystery and a dose of tragedy? Well here you go! You get all of those in DHTP…HTG and something different than what you may come to expect from Katie. 
Noah knows pain, Noah knows loss and Noah is about to have his foundation shaken to the core.  Then he loses his best friend, Jake, in a tragic accident.  How is it possible that on top of everything else, Noah’s mom, the one person who has always been there, is remarrying and having a BABY!  Jake as it turns out was a mystery to those closest to him.  Playboy Jake, man whore Jake, goes through women like water Jake.  When a diamond engagement ring is found amongst Jake’s belongings – the mystery begins.  Who was the intended recipient of this ring?  Jake’s mom wants to know and so starts Noah’s quest. There are two “girlfriends” vying for the title of “the” one.  Is it Preston (the booty call) or is it Avery (the arm candy)?   Neither one feels quite right. Then Maddie (the preacher’s daughter) gets thrown into the mix and that’s when things get interesting. So begins the journey that will not just show Noah a side of Jake no one knew but will also teach him things about himself that he never expected. 
I didn’t expect to be so caught up by a story told by the POV of a 17 year old boy – but yea I was totally invested.
There are points in the book where you think you have it figured out but you don’t. Or you think you know what’s coming but you don’t.  Even though Jake is dead we get to know him. Once Noah starts asking questions he finds out that his best friend was on a course to change his ways. His love for his girlfriend makes him – I know it sounds corny – want to be a better man. This in turn makes Noah look at himself and the personal choices he’s made in a different way.  Preston and Avery – Noah couldn’t care less about these two.  Now, Maddie, is a different story. She moves something in Noah. Is she the one?  Noah is sure as heck hoping that she isn’t – or in this case – that she wasn’t. Let’s talk about Maddie for a second.  She may be the preacher’s daughter but she’s more than just a hottie.  She is a normal girl with the kind of dreams and desires that are appropriate for a girl her age.  More importantly, she has a brain, she is strong and she has sass!  Noah starts to understand what Jake saw in this girl.  The other thing I wondered, why if Noah and Jake were best friends since kindergarten didn’t Noah notice anything was different in his best friend?  He saw no signs?! There are moments of great sadness here so don’t be surprised if you find yourself doing the ugly cry. However, there are funny moments too – like Noah’s Grammy - who is adorable.
There are life lessons here:  it’s never too late to change; love is the great equalizer; blood is not the only thing that makes you family and most important – BE YOURSELF.
Katie Ashley did a very good job here.  She wrote a story that draws you in, has interesting characters and proves once again that her ability crosses genres.  I was entertained and you will be too.

Playlist by Katie Ashley
Who You'd Be Today: Kenny Chesney

Storm : Lifehouse

Beautiful Boy: John Lennon

Free Bird: Lynard Skynard

Don't Cha: Pussy Cat Dolls

Long Time Coming: Oliver James

Needs: Collective Soul

Crash: Dave Matthews

       Go Rest High on that Mountain: Vince Gill

In Loving Memory: Alter Bridge
Katie Ashley is the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of The Proposition. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her two very spoiled dogs and one outnumbered cat. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Supernatural, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo.

She spent 11 1/2 years educating the Youth of America aka teaching MS and HS English until she left to write full time in December 2012.

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