May 4 2006
Dear Ms. Hart:
I had Playing the Game on my Fictionwise bookshelf since 2005 but never read it for some reason. When I picked out the winners (or losers as the case may be) for this contest, I thought it would be fair to buy the two sequels to this book. In all, I spent $10.20 on your stories. Your total word count for those three stories: 42914. Let’s compare with some other books. Unchained by C. J. Barry has 82997 words. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty has 100000 words. The Ardent Lady Amelia by Laura Matthews has 72769. In my bookshelf, the only other book that came close to your word count was The Duke’s Downfall by Lynn Michaels which had 51099 words. Why is this a big deal to me? Because your story needed more story and I didn’t feel like I got what I paid for. This is one issue that I read about time and again from people: ebooks cost too much for what you get.
I guess you should feel good because I really wanted something more but I came away very dissatisfied. I’ll be more careful with my ebook money in the future. All right, enough haranguing you for the length/price of your books.
Playing the Game, Opening the Door, and White Wedding all feature the couple Josie and Jack. Only Playing the Game was a story. The remaining two books are a number of sex scenes strung together by about 4 or 5 pages of dialogue and internal monologues. Further, these stories are told in the limited third person for no apparent reason. Does Jack have no thoughts worthwhile? Because other than the faux conflict that appeared for all of two pages in White Wedding (which I guess is alot when your book is only about 30 pages long), there is simply no need for Jack’s POV to not be seen.
Playing the Game features Jack and Josie, two childhood friends, who engage in a contest to see who can score the most with the opposite sex. This story was the shortest of the three but it actually contained real conflict and resolution followed by appropriate denouement. Josie is tired of playing games with Jack. She wants Jack herself but believes he thinks its only a game. Of course, he proves her wrong. It is a short story which features two very hot sex scenes but has a very believable romantic tale. By itself, maybe it was worth the $3.40 but the following two books were not.
Opening the Door served to be nothing more than a placeholder for Josie and Jack to copulate. I was thinking when I started the book about what conflict you would insert to make an already established couple in jeopardy. I kept turning the pages thinking that you would surely insert some conflict? But alas, there was none. There was simply sex. Followed by more sex. Followed by sex. The end.
Okay, onto White Wedding. Again, I hoped for some conflict. Maybe one of them would have cold feet. Reasonable. Would set the stage for great makeup sex. Instead I find some ridiculous setup that is resolved in three sentences, in between several sex scenes. The sad part was that the sex was uninspired that I ended up reading White Wedding in about 10 minutes because I skipped most of the sex scenes.
In all, I thought the series was a poorly conceived and poorly executed concept. Playing the Game is deservedly Amber Quill’s #1 bestseller, but trying to capitalize on that success with a conglomeration of sex scenes sold for $6.80 makes me a bit leery of trying anything else by you. B+ for Playing the Game and D for the other two.