Wednesday, 19 April 2017

*** REVIEW *** PLAYERS by Jayne Dixon

Title: Players
Author: Jayne Dixon
Genre: Romantic Comedy
 Length of book: 250 pages
"When Gretel mistakenly crashes into her one-night-stand while sheepishly trying to escape out his front door, she is surprised to find that they are both equally committed to non-commitment – he was trying to run out on her, too. In a moment of brilliance, she offers a mischievous proposition: Why don’t they team up as Pennsylvania’s most successful wingman duo?

The scheming soon begins. But their perfectly-constructed manipulation of the Game of Love starts to fall apart at the seams when a friend and professor of psychology offers them five-hundred dollars each to participate in a very suspect experiment to test her theory of the workings of personality type. As emotional walls fall and these two “players” begin to face the demons of their past, the big question quickly becomes: Who is manipulating who?"

Players is the first book I’ve read by Jayne Dixon.  It is a very enjoyable romantic comedy with a little psychology included.  

After reading the blurb, the first thought that came to mind is this can be really good or just plain yucky but I am in the Rom-Com frame of mind lately so I gave it a go.  I don’t like over-the-top characters who use other people, and I expected a bunch of sexcapades.  Fortunately, Ms. Dixon shows the two main characters realistically as they are adapting to life after major hurt and disappointment in their past.  Both Gretel Bigley and Breccan “Brec” Hide are good people who are protecting their hearts the only way they know how—as Players.  

Players is essentially Gretel’s story written in first person from Gretel's point of view.  She is a love em and leave 'em girl who hooks-up with a love ‘em and leave 'em guy.   They hit it off when they realize neither of them are into commitments.  That realization allows them to move forward as good friends and roommates.  The third roommate is Angelika, Brec’s cousin.  She is working on her PhD in psychology and allows her roommates to talk her into using them as part of her personality study.  I did a little eye rolling during the study as I don’t think the Meyers-Briggs boxes are always a perfect tool but hey it is fun to think a personality device can be a relationship measure.

The banter between the characters is often funny and light with the occasional angst filled moments thrown in for added spice.  Angelika is a perfect support character that brings out the real people hiding in plain sight, so to speak.   Gretel and Brec have so many walls that hide the hurt it takes a lot for them to break down.  I love the roommates and the crazy hook-ups they plan. 

Players is a sweet friends-to-lovers romance.  The story got a little off (for me) in the middle.  I get a tired of the push-pull trope if it hangs on too long.  I understand why the story and the push-pull is written this way it just felt a little long.  Seventy-five to eighty percent of the story moves at a quick pace with an excellent conversational flow. 

Jayne Dixon tells a good story.  Her characters become the readers’ friends as the story progresses and that makes the reader continually turn the page.  I recommend Players to anyone who likes good friends-to-lovers romantic comedy.  It is a delight to read.  The psychology behind Angelika’s study made me curious, and I did a little research. When Players ended, I’m thinking there is more to learn about Angelika, Peggy, and Kinny.  It will be interesting to see if these characters have an opportunity to carry their own story in the future.