Review: Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

Changing the Game (Play by Play, #2)Changing The Game (Play by Play #2) by Jaci Burton
Romance Contemporary
August 2, 2011
Berkley Heat

Reviewed by Tori

Favorite Quote: “I hardly qualify as every man’s dream Gavin. You said it yourself. I’m a pain in the ass.”

First off, let me say that Ms. Burton has some of the most delicious and lickable covers I have EVER seen. Changing The Game is the second book in Jaci Burton’s very hot and very sexy Play by Play series. Gavin Riley knows Elizabeth Darnell is a hard arse agent who went above and beyond her normal duties when she tried to interfere with his brother Mick’s relationship with his now wife and step son (The Perfect Play). Elizabeth paid the price for that one though. Mick fired her and she has lost other clients due to her unethical antics. Gavin knows she has been avoiding him because she is afraid he is going to fire her too. But Gavin has no urge to fire her. Gavin wants a more hands on relationship with his agent and he’s wondering just how far she will go to keep him as her client.

Elizabeth (Liz) has beat herself up over and over for the stupid stunt she pulled with one of her best clients, Mick Riley. She has apologized profusely and accepts the fact she lost him and some of his friends as her clients. When Gavin tells her they need to talk, she expects him to fire her to. Gavin has other plans though and encourages Liz into accepting a sexual relationship with him.

I admit I read this without reading The Perfect Play first and I’m glad I did. I didn’t have the preconceived ideas concerning Liz that a lot of other readers have and it allowed me to see them all with fresh eyes. I really enjoyed the way this story reveals itself to you. It starts out hot and heavy as Gavin and Liz begin their admittedly sexual relationship-each of them experiencing much more then they intended. Then slowly morphs into something deeper as Liz and Gavin connect on many different levels. The sexual heat and playfulness in this book is well worth the read Ms. Burton has a way of writing intense scenes that are both sensual and raw.

Meeting Gavin’s family and friends is a treat. I love how they all offer advice, encouragement, and the proverbial slap up side the head when needed. Gavin and Mick maybe stars on the field but they are just Gavin and Mick to family and friends. Watching Mick attack Liz repeatedly is sad and you can only watch as she once again apologizes and begs forgiveness. You really want to smack him hard. Repeatedly and violently. I like that Tara and Nathan are able to forgive and be happy for Gavin and Liz.

As the story progresses we really get to know Liz and her background reveals a lot about her attitude and actions. She didn’t have it easy growing up and it has made an indelible mark on her. Her and Gavin’s relationship has it’s ups and downs and delicious tension heats up as the story’s main conflict comes into play. With any relationship, we all have the ability to hurt the ones we love the most and Ms. Burton doesn’t sugar coast or pull any punches in here. As we head towards the end, we wait on pins and needles with the rest of the Riley’s to see if the home team will win or lose this most important game. One particular scene had me in tears as someone talks out of turn and says the worst thing they can to someone they love. Yet sometimes you have to lose it all in order to see what you really want out of life.

All in all a fantastic story with plenty of romance, sexy men, hot steamy loving, and humor to keep you glued till the last page. I look forward to the third in the series, Taking A Shot, which revolves around Jenna Riley and very HAWT pro hockey player Ty Anderson. Taking A Shot is set to release in 2012.

Overall Rating: B+

Recent Reviews:
Love to Read for Fun – A+
Book Lovers Inc – 5/5
Dear Author – C-
The Book Pushers – B+
Katidom – B+

Author’s Website l Series Listing

Amazon l Kindle l Nook l Sony


  1. Mandi says

    I thought book one was just okay – but I’ve heard great things about this one. I wasn’t too sure about the heroine, so I bet it did help going into this one without preconceived notions.

    • Tori says

      I think it did help me by not reading first one first. I could see things from Liz’s eyes a lot easier and why she did what she did.

  2. says

    I enjoyed Perfect Play but also had a few issues with it. The ending though ensured that Liz was one who intrigued me. Not in a negative way but more like; What’s your story? So it’s good to hear this story delivers :D

  3. says

    Great review Tori! I was with you, Mandi, in that the first one didn’t live up to my expectations. But I liked this one a lot better. You definitely start to really feel for Liz from page one. I liked that she was able to redeem herself.

    • Tori says

      I like that we get to know Liz better and I liked that Gavin & Mick weren’t written with rose colored glasses.

  4. Viki S. says

    I haven’t read these yet but have read many reviews. They sound so good but I’m really looking forward to Taking A Shot. It sounds wonderful to me.

  5. helyce says

    Nice review Tori! I agree that these covers are super hot-but I’ve been able to control myself and not purchase them based on just that. This one sounds good though! I’ve read her Wild Riders series, but the last one was a bit disappointing.

  6. says

    I just got done reading this book, and the previous, this weekend. I have to say I loved Liz far more than Tara. Liz very real and connectable. And I felt like the plot and movements were mapped out much better. I felt like the book so much developed and the relationship so much realer, especially Liz’s reactions. She’s a better Jerry Maguire, honestly. Something about her makes you wanna cheer her on. There’s something vulnerable, especially around Mick, that makes your heart just ache for her. From the get-go, when you have that scene at the end of The Perfect Play, you see just how blindsided life makes her. It’s human and something most people do.

    I really, really liked this book compared to the the first. Tara I hated, and still hate. I didn’t get her a single minute, and the romantic connection felt flat. I think Liz and Gavin were opposite, entirely.

    Also, sonofawitch! I didn’t realize I would have to wait until 2012 to read Jenna’s story.

    • says

      I own verbs and words but apparently don’t know how to use them. Oops. Sorry.

      “Liz is very real and connectable.”

      “I felt like the book was so much more developed and the relationship so much realer, especially Liz’s reactions.”

  7. says

    I loved this book a LOT. Out of all the books in the series, this one has the strongest hold on me. When you read the Perfect Play, Liz and Gavin were two different people back then. Gavin, admittedly, was having girls here and there and Liz would make you think she’s just a cold hearted b*tch but during that last scene in Perfect Play, you’d realize that they both have that certain kind of connection, a flame that they’ve both kept to themselves. Then when you read Changing the Game you’ll see the development of the characters, of how they began to change together without them knowin it at first. If you’d also read The Holiday Games, book 6.5 [a play by play novella for Liz and Gavin] you’ll realize how much love can truly alter a person.

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