Published by Self-Published on November 13, 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
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Melody Cartwright has never had a problem with change, but for the first time in her life the changes are beyond her control—she suddenly has a niece she never knew, but has to prove herself to; her best friend is making huge life changes of her own; and she has to deal with her ex and his crazy new girlfriend who has stalker tendencies.
When Melody meets confident, sexy Julian, she’s not interested in a relationship. He tells her it’s possible for a man and a woman to just be friends, and despite his ultra-charming ways there’s something about him that makes Melody believe he could be right.
During a time of change and turmoil, it doesn’t take long for Julian to become everything Melody never knew she needed in her life. But is it possible for them to remain ‘just friends’ or will Melody be a game changer for Julian the playboy?
Disclosure:I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
// Cover Critique //
The cover is simple, which I like, and conveys the story well I think. The little motif under the title is a nice touch.
// Expectations //
I haven’t read any other of Marie Landry works, although they are on my TBR list, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I don’t read a lot of romances novels, especially in the adult genre, and thus I expected it to follow what I see as the standard romance genre formula. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it didn’t!
The Game Changer has what appears to be a classic romantic premise — quiet, reserved woman meets a sexy, charming and confident young man; will they or won’t they? They always do. & it always seems to be the woman that then goes through a transformation, aided by this new man in her life. However, The Game Changer takes a very different approach to this set up, one that I found refreshing and more enjoyable!
Melody Cartwright lives in a small Ontario town, is in her late twenties, has a best friend and family that she loves dearly, and is just ending a three year relationship with the man she thought would be her husband. Change is in the air for Melody, although she is a bit hesitant to accept it. Her best friend, Olivia, is determined to help set Melody on a new path. On this new path, Melody meets Julian, the complete opposite of her – sexy, charming and overly confident in himself. Realizing the pre-conceived notions Melody has of him, Julian insists that they become friends, but Melody is unsure if it possible for a man and a woman to remain platonic. The only thing she knows for sure is that she is about to find out.
OK, can I just say that I was so happy to see a romance book where the female character 1) doesn’t feel a need to change herself for a man (granted, she had sort of already done this in a previously relationship) and 2) doesn’t feel a need to change the love interest! In this scenario, the man is the one attempting to change, and he had been interested in doing that before meeting our main character. That is what I think I loved most about this book. All of the characters were well developed, and could stand on their own. If I had any complaint it was that sometimes they were a bit too nice, or pleasant, but they all had unique personalities and were complex characters, so it wasn’t a major problem for me.
There are so many sides to this story that make it more than “just” a romantic story about a woman and a man — it is in every sense of the word a love story in that it is about love between family, friends, and romantic partners. I really enjoyed the relationship Melody had with her mother and niece, as well as her friendship with Olivia. None of these were perfect, and all had their challenges, which made them very realistic. Olivia provided a great counter to Melody’s personality, and the banter between them was amazing! Their friendship was one of the highlights of the book for me. When Olivia and Melody had a falling out, it hurt, like you’d lost your own best friend.
Oh, and Julian? He was OK I guess… Just kidding! Julian was smart, funny, and sexy, but not so overly perfect as to make him boring. With each encounter he had with Melody he let a little more and more of himself (… ahem, get your mind out of the gutter, I mean, his personality!) show. I really enjoyed the slow build of romance between Julian and Melody, and how they were truly able to start out as friends. They were so adorable together! & from there it just got more and more intense. Readers are also taunted with some frustrating moments. But these helped add to the realism of the story, although I would have liked to see just a teeny bit more romance between Melody and Julian.
The one thing I didn’t think worked was the side plot of “her ex and his crazy new girlfriend who has stalker tendencies”. It worked well as a plot device, but that was the thing — it often felt like a plot device, especially at the end. The stalker girlfriend plot line came and went as convenient, and something happened that I was not expecting at all, and it felt a bit out of place. It all made sense in the end, but it just felt… weird. I can’t explain it anymore than that really.
Overall, I loved The Game Changer, which I read all in one day! Looking back, this book reminded me of a Canadian version of Sex & the City mixed with Gilmore Girls. If you are looking for a romantic story that is realistic and relatable for women in their 20s, but still swoon-worthy, then I’d definitely recommend you read The Game Changer!
// Share Your Thoughts…//
Have you read The Game Changer? What did you think? If you haven’t, do you have any other recommendations for non-traditional romantic stories?