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Posted October 29, 2013
Drunk and without hope, newly turned twenty-one year old Rena Novo has
decided she's had enough and is about to step in front of a speeding eighteen
wheeler. Saved from her folly, Rena is brought into the society of Everlife. A new
concept in interactive gaming, where employees live, work and are totally
immersed in the Everlife philosophy. Assigned to gaming lounges, "Lifers" move
up the status ladder by a point system. They live on site, they eat and play on
site, and they choose who they earn sex points with on site. Rena is a shining
star in Everlife and is a fervent believer in their philosophy. She will do whatever
it takes to protect her new family.
Gage Stone is an investigative reporter looking for his missing younger sister.
She is his only family and he fears she has been sucked in by Everlife's
questionable organization. Determined to find her, he goes undercover as an
Everlife new recruit. His assigned mentor, Rena could be an invaluable resource
but she has not only drank the Kool-Aid, she showers in it every morning.
Let me just say that I don't know what I expected from this book, but it wasn't
what I got . When I first met Rena, my first reaction was "Oh no, another fidiot
heroine". As I read on, I discovered some sterling characteristics though. On the
surface, she is fearless, strong, smart and a leader. On the downside, she also
seemed to easily swallow whatever tripe her Everlife gurus threw at her. It was
no less than mindless worship. I understand she felt that she had found the
home, purpose, and family she so desperately needed, however it was very
difficult not to wish she had indeed stepped in front of the semi. She ignores her
inner voice that says "Hey, get a clue!" But wait, don't runaway yet, it gets
Enter my boy, Gage. Yaaaay, a person with working brain cells!! (Spoiler hint)
That statement has MAJOR implications. Instantly attracted to Rena, he is
frustrated by her refusal to see the cancer in the upper echelons of Everlife. He
perseveres however because he is just that awesome. I loved Gage.
Now I know you must be thinking, "Wow, she does not like this book.". Au contraire,
mon ami. I was enthralled by this book, and let me tell you it absolutely shocked
me to my toes. It is an enormous testament to Dawn Atkins' talent as a writer.
She not only answered every qualm and question that I had, but she did it in
such a compelling way that I had finished the book and become an avid fan
before I realized it. I was obsessed with finding out how Rena could prove my
initial impression as dead wrong. The story was a wonderful thriller with twist,
turns, surprises, heartbreak, and redemption. There is a thread of romance, but
the actual story is the thing. The evolution of Rena and Gage as a couple and as
individuals turned out to be a wonderful reading experience. Just goes to show
that first impressions can be seriously flawed and for that I thank you Ms. Atkins,
for the life lesson and the absolutely enjoyable read.
Posted October 28, 2013
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Two Can Play, for one thing how can you mix romance and a cult? I will say I was pleasantly surprised. Dawn Atkins has created a very interesting world that I could easily see in a Sci-Fi book. I would love to read some more books by this author because I do feel this was very well written, but in the end though I feel this was aimed for a younger crowd despite some of the more intimate scenes.
I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.