WHY I READ IT
I was intrigued by the blurb and I’m always looking to discover something new
WHAT I RATED IT
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
STEP BY STEP:
I’ve simplified my life into a three-part process:
I binge—I fuck—I come…until I come to my senses.
That’s what my world has been ever since she came into my life.
And I was perfectly content with it staying that way…
Until I actually met her.
My best friend’s soon to be sister-in-law.
Enemies before we’d ever laid eyes on each other, we were a match made in Hell—a cautionary tale of how not to get along.
But when the spark between us sets our passions ablaze, how do we prevent the unexpected matches from turning our flame into an inferno?
HOUR BY HOUR:
My head says, “Fuck Lukas Griffin.”
My clitoris says, “Go ahead!”
I gave in to him, submitted myself to our fiery passion… and it blew up in my face.
I can’t afford to do this again—not when he holds all the cards. Not when he makes all the rules.
He’s lured me into a game—a game I’ve never played.
A dangerous one.
And if I raise the stakes and place another bet on him, will he burn me again?
MINUTE BY MINUTE:
I’d heard that chess was a game made for the Gods of Men.
You are not a God… you’re just a man.
But even you can make the rules…
Rule no. 1: Trust no one.
Not even the ones you like.
Not even the ones you love.
Especially not the ones you love.
Rule no. 2: Do not fuck the irresistible blonde.
Not even if she asks.
Not even if she begs.
And she just may…
Rule no. 3: FUCK THE RULES.
To Hell with them.
Set fire to them and watch them burn…
Realize that under the right circumstances, everyone is capable of betrayal.
I took a chance on The Games & Diversions series (“Step by Step”, “Hour by Hour”, “Minute by Minute”) because I’m always looking to read new authors. I don’t mind reading serials because if done right, serials are awesome (i.e. The Affair by Beth Kery). So, when these arrived on my Kindle, I was anxious to sink my literary teeth into something new.
The first installment, “Step by Step” introduces us to the cast of characters. The series follows two people: Elena and Lukas, who have never met but have the task of planning an engagement party together. What intrigued me about this first story is that Elena and Lukas carry on a contemptuous relationship mainly via phone and email. It is clear that they don’t get along but it’s also clear that opposites attract. I loved the addition of a hot and steamy Skype session because it really set the stage for an explosive first meeting. Natalie Wrye doesn’t disappoint her readers when Lukas and Elena finally meet – she gives us a fiery encounter both inside and outside the bedroom. I love when an author creates love-hate relationships because it always leads to some seriously explosive and steamy scenes. In “Step by Step” Natalie Wrye also begins building the element of suspense – someone is out to get Lukas, but who? There seem to be too many suspects. And that’s where she leaves it.
Natalie Wrye ups the element of suspense in “Hour by Hour”, which really kept me interested in the story. Lukas is no longer the only target, which widens the suspect pool. Adding to the suspense is the fracturing of Lukas’s support system – his group of close friends. I can easily see Lukas becoming unhinged as the attacks continue and the distance between him and his friends grows. I will be honest and say that while I was totally invested in this story, there were some confusing elements. First, Elena and her sister Kat seemingly start to argue with each other out of nowhere. Second, Lukas and Elena are still at each other’s throats but it’s not really clear why they dislike each other so much. Yes, the love-hate relationship totally works for them, but when there’s no cause for their behavior, I start to feel robbed. Could Natalie Wrye have done more? These are relatively short stories, shorter than a novella really so perhaps she could have invested a little more time in laying some more groundwork. But, the suspense kept me interested enough to power through to the third installment.
The third installment, “Minute by Minute”, is by far the longest and clears up some of my earlier confusions. It seems that Natalie Wrye devoted more time to this part of the storyline. The attacks on Lukas and friends get bigger and bolder, drawing Lukas and Elena closer together. The distance between Lukas and his best friends grows as well. Natalie Wrye seems to be setting up her readers and her characters for quite the showdown. I want to say it was an epic showdown but honestly, I was felt a little let down by the culprit. It was someone I was already suspicious of but….I think it could have been handled better. It’s just not what I imagined.
As a whole, the Games & Diversions series has really good bones. I loved the suspense that Natalie Wrye creates. I love the love-hate relationship between Lukas and Elena. I love the added layer of communication via text that’s included in the storyline. But there were some confusing elements that any good beta or editor should have pointed out. The writing style was also a little bit jarring at times as well, which contributed to my confusion as well. At the end of “Minute by Minute,” Natalie Wrye leaves us with a bit of a cliffhanger, which makes me wonder if there will be a fourth and final installment. I’d be interested to see where she takes the story next!