Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Release + ARC Review: Playing with Fire by Lexi Ryan

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release: July 7, 2015

Dr. Phoenix Reid isn't who she seems...

Everyone knows a phoenix rises from the ashes. What they don't talk about are the people she drags with her into the fire.

I thought one hot night with Max Hallowell was harmless. I never expected it would force me to face my past or bring back the man who swore he'd never let me go. Now Max wants to help me. Wants to save me. But if I let him, he'll be destroyed. I can already smell the flames. 

A woman with a secret past. A man determined to protect her. A dangerous passion that could cost them both everything.

Playing with Fire is the first in a new series of standalone novels featuring the New Hope characters Lexi Ryan fans have come to love. While you wait for Nix and Max's storyexplore Love Unbound, the collection of books set in Lexi's New Hope world. 

*Note: Each series can be read on its own, but for the chronology purists, the reading order is below.

Love Unbound: Splintered Hearts
Unbreak Me (Maggie’s story)
Stolen Wishes: A Wish I May Prequel Novella (Will and Cally’s prequel)
Wish I May (Will and Cally’s novel)
Or read them together in the omnibus edition, Splintered Hearts: The New Hope Trilogy

Love Unbound: Here and Now
Lost in Me (Hanna’s story begins)
Fall to You (Hanna’s story continues)
All for This (Hanna’s story concludes)
Or read them together in the omnibus edition, Here and Now: The Complete Series
Love Unbound: Reckless and Real
Something Wild (Liz and Sam’s story begins)
Something Reckless (Liz and Sam’s story continues)
Something Real (Liz and Sam’s story concludes)

Love Unbound: Mended Hearts
Playing with Fire (Nix’s story, coming July 7, 2015)


About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Lexi Ryan’s novels have been described as intense, emotional, and wickedly sexy. A former college professor, she now writes full-time from her home in Indiana, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a neurotic dog. Find her on Facebook or Twitter to chat about books, TV, and her children’s latest antics.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

Review ( 4 stars )

Playing with Fire is the first book in the Mended Hearts series set in Lexi Ryan's New Hope World. I just learned that all her previous series are set in the same location. Is hard to imagine small town New Hope had endless of love and drama.

Dr Phoenix Nix is a woman with a secret past. It is something she's ashamed and guilty of that she never tell a single soul about it. Settling in New Hope was meant to bring her a new life and new beginning and hooking up with single dad, Max seems to be great until her past came back to haunt her.
Maximilian Hallowell is Mr Nice Guy and Hot Single Dad roll up in one sexy package. He is an easy going, down to earth and a good nature chap. I miss these kind of guys. Too bad he had a big crush on the woman who kept blowing him off. He give patience, tenacity, understanding a whole new meaning with his devotion to Nix.

This is my first Lexi Ryan's book, so to have all her old characters making constant appearances here is rather overwhelming. Is hard for me to keep track with so many couples around. We have couples from Splintered Hearts: The New Hope TrilogyReckless and Real: The Complete Series andHere and Now: Complete Series. There is so much history with these people that I miss. I appreciate having some strong secondary characters, but I think it should be tone down a bit to let new readers adjust better. I don't need scene with these old couple making out and making googly eyes at each other.

Max seems to have such difficult past relationships. He had a daughter with a woman and then he had an ex-fiance to dump him for another man. It baffled me that some women actually can pass up such a great man because by half the book I actually want to have his babies. It make me so mad on his behalf that I actually went over and read up about Here and Now: Complete Series. It seems like that series is a big ole mess love triangle and Max was the guy who didn't get the girl. Poor Max. 

Back to Playing with Fire with Dr Nix. This woman is the cause of much frustration and serious case of blueballs. She just keep pushing Max away and hurting his feelings. I want to be so mad at her, but I can't because her reasons are valid. She had a deranged ex-boyfriend stalking her and may harm her friends. So I get why Nix acted that way. But it make my head hurts to see her giving all these mixed signal to Max.

What did Max do with all of this bullshit? He just ready with his big broad shoulder waiting for her to lean on him. If Max is a chick, I'll surely be screaming 'DOORMAT ALERT'. But since he's a guy, I think he's as rare as a unicorn. Totally book husband material right there.

Overall, this book really had me hooked because I simply want Max to get the girl. He so deserve to have his own HEA albeit one that was so difficult to achieve. The secret past of Nix provide a good dose of suspense and drama. Apart from the problem with too many secondary characters around, I really enjoy the read. Can't wait to Cade, the local cop story. I wonder who is the mysterious Catwoman with him at the end. Meow!