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Title: Anatomy of a PlayerMy Review:
Author: Cindi Madsen
Series: Taking Shots #2
Published by: Entangled: Embrace
Release Date: January 25th 2016
Format: Kindle Book
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports Romance
Reading Challenges: Lenoreo's 2018 AtoZ Reading Challenge, Lenoreo's 2018 Author Love Challenge, Lenoreo's 2018 Beat the Backlist Challenge, Lenoreo's 2018 New Adult Challenge, Lenoreo's COYER Winter Switch 2017/18
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A new adult romance from Entangled's Embrace imprint...
This bad boy is about to get played…
After getting her heart broken by a player again, Whitney Porter is done with men. She's focusing on her future career and her first assignment at the college newspaper: Posing as a sports writer for an exposé on the extra perks jocks receive. But Hudson Decker, the bad boy of the hockey team, is about to test her resolve. To keep herself from breaking her no-sex rule with the temptingly tattooed athlete, she decides to use him for a side project: Anatomy of a Player, to help Whitney—and women everywhere—spot a player, learn what makes him tick, and how to avoid falling for one.
With his life spiraling out of control, Hudson Decker's looking for a distraction. When his teammates bet him that he can't land the gorgeous but prickly new reporter, he accepts the challenge, boasting he'll have her in bed by the end of the semester. But Whitney is so much more than Hudson expected, and soon enough, he's in too deep. The last thing he needs is another complication, but staying away isn't an option. One thing's for certain: this girl totally throws him off his game.
4 stars — I don’t know why, but I was cautious about this story…worried it wouldn’t be my thing. But I was surprised by how much I liked both characters, and this one just fit in so well with the series!
Whitney had won me over by the end of the first book in the series, even though she’s not a girl I felt like I’d have a lot in common with. But I loved how sweet and sensitive, and empathetic she was. I loved how she wanted to do the right thing, and while she wanted to expose truths, she didn’t want to hurt anyone…she truly looked at things from all angles. I also liked how Ms. Madsen shows that caring about your appearance and liking doing makeup and wearing heels and stuff doesn’t necessarily make you vain…she brought depth to that and took away some of the stereotyping. It’s an area where I definitely differ from Whitney, but I hate how characters like her are often portrayed. I also appreciated that she was quite clearly not a dumb blonde.
I warmed up to Hudson more than I expected as well. I was annoyed with him at first, b/c we don’t know much about his past, and he does come off cocky and entitled, and doesn’t seem to care too much about others. But there was a lot going on with him that I hadn’t expected, and I appreciated how his past shaped him and how he interacted with others. I wouldn’t have minded if someone had talked to him about anger management though…he had pretty good control, but it would have been nice to see that area explored a bit more. With that depth, I loved how Ms. Madsen made it so that the bet didn’t make you hate him…or Dane. I mean, it was a dick move, and not something to be proud of, but there was a lot more there. And there was genuine remorse. I loved how insecure he was about his standings at school, and how at war he was between his desire to do good, and how he struggled with having faith in himself. And I loved that he had his own nerdy little thing! I’m with Whitney, that was adorable.
I loved the chemistry between Hudson and Whitney…I felt it, and I loved that they learned so much about each other and had a lot of interactions that were NOT about sex…I’m doing a bit of comparing to my previous read here, but I really felt like I understood why they fell for each other. It wasn’t all magic wand hand wavy either, they had a bit in common with their childhood struggles, and though they were quite different, there was a thread of commonality. I truly felt them become friends, and that made their jump to the next level that much more satisfying (and I was able to appreciate the steam more). I also loved that they both had guilt, and they both tried to mitigate it; neither of them were totally innocent, they both had flaws and things to work on.
I loved seeing Lyla and Beck again, especially seeing Lyla and Whitney’s friendship, which was important to both of those girls. I would have enjoyed seeing a bit more interplay with Hudson and Dane though, given that Dane was his best friend for so long…that is one area where I feel like this story missed its mark a bit, in secondary character interactions.
I was excited about the topic of athletic perks/entitlement being addressed through the undercover article, again, especially after my previous read where that bugged me. I enjoyed some of where that went, but I wouldn’t have minded the athletes seeing the other side more. But they were a lot more grateful and less entitled and I appreciated that.
So yeah, I was pleasantly surprised with this one!! I don’t know why I had lower expectations, I truly don’t. But it’s always nice when a book exceeds them!