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REVIEW: Game for Anything by Bella Andre

Dear Ms. Andre:

book review I’ve often wondered why sports stars are not the subject of more romance books. The men fit the standard mold: aggressive, wealthy, dominant, ambitious, usually in possession of totally hot bodies. As I read the few sports related fiction books I can find, I am more convinced that the reason is because so few authors actually know about sports to effectively write a sports related hero.

Game For Anything features the SuperBowl winning quarterback, Ty Calhoun, ordered to undergo an image makeover by the new team owner of The Outlaws. A top image consultant, Julie Spencer, is brought in to effectuate the makeover. Julie and Ty went to high school together and on graduation night, Julie, the school’s rich good girl, gave up her virginity to poor football hero, Ty. After an explosive night, Julie runs off and the two don’t see each other again for ten years.

Julie’s impression is that all jocks are dumb and has only watched one football game in her life. Ty still feels like he can’t quite shake the dirt off his feet despite all his success and Julie represents both the good and the bad of the world he thinks he wants to be a part of.

This book didn’t take long to read, but much of the enjoyment was sucked out by the issues in the story.

First is the football details.
The book essentially starts with Ty being surprised with a new owner five months after the Super Bowl. There are so many things wrong with that. Five months after the Super Bowl and teams are in the midst of Spring Training camp. Owners meet in May where they vote on things like the sale of a franchise which can’t happen without approval of the league. An individual has to file an application and pay a fee and present a letter of credit in order to be considered an owner. None of this would happen with any secrecy. If Jerry Jones was going to sell the Cowboys, you don’t think Tony Romo would know?

There was also reference to suspending an owner and a press conference that was totally not in keeping with reality. Yes, yes, I know this is fiction but why use an already existing sports setting if you don’t intend to follow the rules? Make up your own league, your own rules. By relying on the reader to invoke certain aspects about the setting based on reality, you also run the danger of readers being upset (like me) with how fabricated the setting is in the story.

Second is the setup of the sexual relationship.
Julie is supposed to be making over a bad boy football player. So she wears fishnet stockings to a meeting with him and within hours is “role playing” with her tongue down his throat. Wow, that’s super professional. I understood that this was the vehicle used to get the two of them in a sexual situation early on but it just made me doubt that Julie could be the top in her profession in anything except maybe groupie-dom.

Third is the character inconsistencies.
Ty is portrayed as a good guy who really doesn’t nail everything that moves. Many of the anemic looking scantily clad babes around him are for show. He wants to nail Julie because he can’t get her out of his mind for ten years. But then he thinks to himself that she is just a “youthful infatuation.” But then he does everything he can to get her into bed. Ty was at his best when he was unapologetically irrepressible. I felt like there was little confidence that a hound dog Ty who was living the sports dream could be seen as a hero. I.e. On the one hand Ty monologues that he “very rarely has sex with anyone in his house” which seems to be contradicted about 10 pages later by the fact that he monologues that his “master suite was for shut-eye and sex.”

Fourth was this passage from Julie:

“She’d known plenty of men like Bobby Wilson-men who prided themselves on wielding power in the most distressing way possible. Without fail, the women who best them were not simply beautiful to a fault, they were feminine and ever-gracious as well.”

OMGWTFBBQ! That’s all I’m saying about that.

Fifth was the continuity issues. I addressed some of the Ty problems but there were other seemingly simple ones like when, on page 100, the two of them were about to share their “first real kiss” and I kept wondering what the basement kissing that took place about forty pages earlier was.

Having endlessly enumerated the irritants I had to this book, let me say that I found parts to be very readable and I think that maybe in another book with a different setup, I might very well like the story.
If one doesn’t know football or doesn’t mind some minor continuity problems, this would be a good way to pass a few hours. However, I do know football and I do mind continuity problems and thus, I had some real issues with this story. I wavered between a C- and a D. If I had purchased this book, I don’t think I would have wanted my money back so I’m going with the C-.

I know that I was more forgiving with the baseball book by Kate Angell but it had to do with the readability factor.

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased in trade paperback from Amazon or Powells. No ebook format yet.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

23 Comments

  1. Jill Myles
    Jun 21, 2008 @ 13:22:41

    And jeezus, who would sell their team after going to the Superbowl?

    ReplyReply

  2. Sarah Frantz
    Jun 21, 2008 @ 13:38:38

    Exactly, Jill! That’s the one that got me.

    SEP is the standard for football books. And I’m sorry, but there’s a difference between the “rich” of being the good little rich girl in a small town and yet still going to the public high school and the “rich” of a Superbowl winning quarterback.

    ReplyReply

  3. katiebabs
    Jun 21, 2008 @ 20:20:40

    Those white pants on the cover really emphasize a certain part on the model’s body :P

    ReplyReply

  4. Jill Myles
    Jun 21, 2008 @ 21:47:21

    No complaints here!

    /dirty

    ReplyReply

  5. Jane
    Jun 21, 2008 @ 21:51:52

    LOL. But the locker behind him looks like a high school locker room.

    ReplyReply

  6. Lisa
    Jun 22, 2008 @ 06:14:52

    This is so unfortunate! I love sports. A good sports romance would be perfect in almost every way, if I could find one!

    Football, baseball, hockey, you give me a hot guy at the top of his game, and I’m there! But they all get them so wrong!

    I wonder why I’m less willing to suspend my disbelief on the diamond, rink, or field than I am with, say, police procedurals? The errors seem to throw me out of the story more when it’s a sports story.

    I guess I’ll give this one a miss, too. *sigh*

    ReplyReply

  7. Kristie(J)
    Jun 22, 2008 @ 13:38:39

    I’m not sure sports heroes would make the best heroes. Call me cynical and more of a sports fan then a lot of romance readers, but I wouldn’t touch a superstar athlete with a ten foot pole!!! While some of my best reads are sports books – they tend more towards hockey stars then baseball or football. I can’t get past the fact that in RL, good athletes are pampered and babied their whole lives. Yep I know I’m generalizing things a good deal and not being necessarily fair to the more upstanding ones.
    Then there’s the whole ‘away for half of the year’ thing. And the groupies. I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with a guy who is constantly having women throw themselves at him.

    ReplyReply

  8. Karmyn
    Jun 22, 2008 @ 17:30:06

    I love football and totally fangirl the Manning brothers, but I have never really read a sports themed romance. And I agree with Kristie. Most of these guys I wouldn’t touch. They’ve got questionable women throwing themselves at them all the time, many of them have drug problems or serious brushes with the law. Or they’re spoiled brats who thing they can do or get whatever they want because they can play a sport. But one day they’re going to get injured or too old to play and have to grow up.
    There are some good, decent sports stars out there. But they tend to already be taken.

    ReplyReply

  9. SonomaLass
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 01:25:14

    Hey Karmyn, I’m a Manning fangirl too!

    I think sports heroes could make great romance heroes, much as upper-class rakes and billionaire playboy tycoons do. Lots of romance novels draw their heroes from classes of people who are stereotyped as immoral and dissipated, but we love them anyway. Yes, we expect them to be pampered, and to treat people badly. But in romance novels, some of them learn to be better (reformed rake, anyone?), while some turn out to have been decent human beings all along. Many professional athletes give to charity, raise funds for great causes, and do their best to be positive role models for young people. As for “spoiled brats who thing they can do or get whatever they want because they can play a sport,” I don’t think they are much worse than the dukes and lords we love in our Regencies, who are waited on hand and foot and can buy pretty much whatever they want because they happen to be the first born legitimate son.

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  10. Samantha
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 09:20:47

    I read a baseball romance last year and it was very obvious that the author had no idea about the sport. Baseball is my favorite sport so I just got more irritated as the book went on. I finished it but will probably never read that author again and I stay away from sports themed romances because of it.

    ReplyReply

  11. katiebabs
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 10:24:16

    Well Jane, since I am an old lady I shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts about jocks in high school locker rooms :P
    Right? Erm…

    ReplyReply

  12. Kristie(J)
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 10:27:39

    LOL that happened with me and Dierdre Martin. In her first book, which I quite liked, the hero was the captain of the team. In the next book, he was the coach of the team. Now this was supposed to be an NHL team. That would NEVER happen in RL and it ruined the book and the author for me.
    If you’re going to write a sports book – at least KNOW sport! And I once read a baseball romance where the hero was a pitcher who had pitched 30 no hitters in his career. Most pitchers never even get one! And I’m not sure about exact statistics, but I think the most ever pitched by one player is 3.

    ReplyReply

  13. Karla
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 12:40:30

    Actually, Nolan Ryan holds the record at 7 no-hitters, and the next guy has 4.

    Maybe we are tougher about inconsistencies in sports because so many of us are familiar with that world.

    Karla

    ReplyReply

  14. Jane
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 14:04:58

    Really, KristieJ? Wasn’t Gretsky at one time a player/coach? I know that there were a couple in Basketball.

    ReplyReply

  15. Bernita
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 14:24:37

    I believe George Armstrong was both player and then coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs.Bernie Geoffrion for the Montreal Canadiens

    ReplyReply

  16. Kristie(J)
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 16:01:52

    Jane: yes, he is/was owner/coach – but not the year after he quit as a hockey player. It was a number of years later before he became a coach. A player they are actively grooming to become a coach is Steve Yzerman formerly of the Detroit Red Wings. But he still has to pay dues for a few years in other positions before he can become coach.
    And Karla – I was pretty sure it was Nolan Ryan who holds the record. I didn’t know it was 7 – but it’s still a long way from 30!
    Bernita: they may have been player/assistant coaches – but were they head coaches? And if they were, that was years ago before hockey was the business it is today.
    I suppose it’s possible – but rare enough that it took me out of the story altogether.
    And another interesting player/owner was Mario Lemieux. At the time the Pittsburg Penguins didn’t have enough money to pay his salary so they gave him part ownership of the team instead.

    ReplyReply

  17. JolieDreyson
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 16:07:35

    I’m not a reader of romances with “sports star” heroes. Yes, many do wonderful charity work and support great causes. But hero worthy? For a romance to work for me I need to truly believe that by the final page the hero wants only one woman… and can remain faithful to her. Most players (at least the group that I hear about) don’t fit that. Call me cynical. LOL Oh, and I don’t read race car drivers either. ;)

    ReplyReply

  18. Ann Bruce
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 18:50:59

    Most players (at least the group that I hear about) don't fit that.

    I can definitely confirm this one.

    ReplyReply

  19. Jill Sorenson
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 22:04:49

    I love football, love SEP’s Chicago Stars series, and have wanted to read a Bella Andre book since I heard about the plus sized heroine in TAKE ME. Did I mention that I have a jock strap fetish? That cover works so well for me I keep trying to click on it for a better view.

    ReplyReply

  20. Lil
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 01:52:45

    For a contemporary author, I recommend Christina Jones. Some of her early books had a horse racing setting which somewhat fits with the sports theme we are discussing here. One I liked particularly was Jumping to Conclusions in which the heroine moved to a new town and opened her own bookstore, learning after she got there that it was a racing hotbed. Because her father was a serious gambler, she did not want to be around people enamored of that lifestyle – so who does she fall for? Well, you will have to read it for yourself…

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  21. Caffey
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:03:58

    I haven’t read much with sports heroes. I don’t watch sports, except for racing, but really haven’t seen much with racing heroes (except a few years back of Kimberly Rayes series). I don’t read the Harlequin series of them, they were too sweet for me. I think if I read these, I wouldn’t have caught anything because of not being familar with the sports. I still love to get this one, I enjoy Ms. Andre’s books.

    ReplyReply

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    Aug 05, 2008 @ 04:00:24

    [...] I read one of Jane’s reviews of a sports themed novel (using football instead of hockey). You use the world of the NHL as the background for your hero, [...]

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