Kylie Scott’s PLAY: Puck with a Beat



  Play by Kylie Scott Cover Stage Dive #2

by Kylie Scott Series

A Stage Dive Novel (Book 2)

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW Andi Arndt (Narrator)

Unabridged Audiobook: 8 hours and 35 minutes

Publisher: Macmillan Audio  

  • Paperback/E-Book: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (August 26, 2014)

  Audiobook purchased by blogger.  No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.  

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast – at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. But he didn’t count on exactly how much fun he could have being with the one right girl. Anne Rollins has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a demented drummer was never going to be a good idea. No matter how hot he is. She’s had her sights set on her male bestie, Reece, for years. And now that she’s supposedly taken, he’s finally paying attention. If only the chemistry between her and her rock star would stop hitting new heights.

  My Take Oblong

 I had heard that Mal’s book was really funny and this was a great addition to the series.  In the end I agreed that this story was occasionally funny, sweet and sad; it was also “hot” and at times frustrating.

Let me explain: Frustrating: Mal is the drummer in the band Stage Dive.  Apparently people overlook the drummer so when he is recognized,  it’s cool. We first met Mal in LICK when he rescues a damsel in distress and is considerate and funny in doing so. 

Mal seems bipolar, generous, goofy, selfish and immature, even adolescent, throughout the book.  He is under a lot of stress with his band mates and with a family problem, but the Tasmanian Devil from cartoons comes to mind.

How can a character be both generous and selfish?  He is happy to give monetarily, but when he is backed into an emotional corner he can be irrational and selfish. 

Anne, is not willing to compromise and make a promise she may not be able to keep and that causes problems.

The sweet, sad, funny and hot are not so contradictory: in the course of any length of time we are likely to feel all of these emotions regardless of what is going on.  Mal is funny and manic even as his heart is breaking and he is filled with despair.  

But, I found Mal too immature, too goofy, and too crazy to imagine any sane woman would allow him to let into her life and heart. I am pretty sure the degree of goofiness  is an artifact of the audio narration; the narrator’s voice imbues characters with all kinds of personality the writer may not have intended and which my mind may not have come up with if I had been reading the book.

When the hook ups do finally happen they are undoubtedly hot and bothering, although often interrupted by humorous incidents.  I like how Scott brings the attraction level to the fore and then makes us a little unsure of whether Mal really is interested. Sometimes, Mal seems a little preternatural in sussing out how to get past the full-stops and set people up. 

That’s another thing: Mal is Puckish. I have to admire that Anne is willing to take the stand she does; after all, Mal starts off calling her a door mat, so when she realizes she has been one and refuses to go along to get along.

If this were being filmed the antics would be hilarious.They are funny to hear, and I think they would have been funny to read as well. But, add in visuals and it would be slapstick. But, in this band, Stage Dive, Mal is actually the guy with the normal family life, the funny, and usually decent guy. So refusing to fess up to what is troubling him so deeply is temporarily understandable but not to the extent it went on.

I was left with the feeling that because he had had such a happy life, he had fewer resources to handle adversity when it really comes into his life.

And Anne has been a little mother since she was a child. She is a naturally nurturing individual who has finally come to the end of the shitty things she can bear, but she has almost forced herself to get herself to that point.

The story paints an interesting picture of completely untypical characters who are a mix of immature, manic behavior and startling compassion. I find myself thinking I would have preferred it as a read, versus audio, book due to the portrayal of Mal as Kooky and wacky. The most beautiful man would not be attractive at the degree of crazy with which he was voiced.

A great part of the series, although I admit I preferred LICK to PLAY. While the drummer in a rock band may occasionally be overlooked the beat is what defines rock and roll.  It is also the most primordial of sounds: from the sea, to the womb, to the heart monitor. The beat goes on.    


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