Holiday Games by Jaci Burton

December 2nd, 2013 Kimberly Review 67 Comments

2nd Dec
Holiday Games by Jaci Burton
Holiday Games
by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #6.5
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarHalf a Star

A Riley wedding is in the works, a Riley Christmas means a house full of family, and baby making is on Liz Riley's mind. Chasing Gavin around and meeting in dark closets can be fun, but Liz is more than a little determined. Even with family in every corner of the house, Gavin is more than ready to do whatever Liz wants—especially when sex is involved. It's a Riley family Christmas.

While looking for a holiday read, I stumbled upon this yummy cover for Holiday Games by Jaci Burton. Not realizing this was a novella for the Play by Play series and decided to read it. While the tale was sweet, hot and filled with holiday cheer, my enthusiasm for the err cover and lack of research may have hindered my enjoyment. These characters are clearly established in previous books, and we just jump into the tale. Mini-review: sexy, hot and sweet but I didn’t connect.

It’s Christmas at the Riley house, and Liz’s first time hosting. She and hubby Gavin are trying to make a baby and frustration is beginning to set in for Liz. She is a planner; an organizer and things are not going as scheduled. This creates some sexy escapades with Gavin. A wedding and a party to plan all add to the tale and bring other characters from previous books into the mix.

Being part of a series and a novella to boot, I felt like I walked into a movie midway. All of the characters are likable, and Chase is smexy, but I didn’t really get to know them or get attached. I do not believe this is the writer’s fault, but mine since clearly this is released after the sixth novel and meant to bring beloved characters together for the holiday.

Holiday Games takes us through December leading up to Christmas dinner at the Riley’s. We attend a bachelor and bachelorette party and a wedding. As the busy holiday season gets underway we share some sexy time with Gavin and Liz in some of the oddest places. Overall, this was a fun read but since I was unfamiliar with the characters, I never really slipped in and got swept up.

If you are a fan of the series, I recommend you peruse other reviews before making a decision. Holiday Games was sweet, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was following the series. As a standalone, it lacked depth, and I did not connect enough with the characters to make in memorable. Because I have read other novellas from new to me series that still had me connecting I couldn’t rate this any higher.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

67 Responses to “Holiday Games by Jaci Burton”

  1. Pamela D

    I almost requested this book, and I would have made the same mistake that you did. Novellas like this are great when you are familiar with the series, not so much otherwise. Oh well. 🙂

  2. fishgirl182

    Agree that this is best for those who are familiar with the series. I am so it was nice to get back and see what everyone has been up to. If I was new to the series though. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. You should totally read Liz & Gavin’s book though. It’s good and super smexy!

  3. Lindy

    Oh no! I have this book for review, and haven’t read the other books in the series either! I can’t get in to a book when I don’t connect to the characters. I think I’ll be putting this one off for a little bit.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I was disappointed, but maybe you will love it, it’s short and fast 🙂

  4. Trish

    Sounds like a fun plot so it’s a pity it fell flat. I do agree with you, even a companion novella should stand on it’s own.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      That was my thought, but those who read the series agree, it is for the fan base.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agreed, the entire series will cause drooling and memory loss!

  5. Sharon - Obsession with Books

    Jaci Burton has the most swoon-worthy covers! I have read and really enjoyed the first few books in this series; I tend to avoid novellas for some reason.

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t completely connect with the characters or story Kimba.

    A lovely review. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Good to know that you liked the books you read in this series, I am going to try book one.

  6. Christy

    Hubba hubba! I wouldn’t mind jingling his bells. 😉 Sounds like it could be a nice series, so I’ll make sure to start from the beginning if I read it.

  7. Candace

    That’s too bad you didn’t connect. I’m not really drawn to the sporty cover but I think I remember hearing about the series.

  8. sharonda

    I’ve heard good things about this series. It is hard when you can’t connect with the story or its characters. that cover is delicious too 🙂

  9. Dani

    I am so sorry this book wasn’t for you. It doesn’t sound like it would be something I would enjoy either. Thanks for the honest review!!

  10. Felicia The Geeky Blogger

    I read the first two in the series but stopped there. They were ok but not my cup of tea. That being said, I freaking think I own 3 and maybe 4 just for the covers (don’t judge–she hit the cover lottery) 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      those covers..oh my! Was there too much angst and drama Flea?

  11. Berls

    Well I can certainly understand why that cover pulled you in! Such a shame about the novella – I am always hesitant to read novellas when they are part of series I haven’t read, but I’m also pretty strict about reading things in order. I have to say, I’m intrigued about this series now though!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I am pretty anal about reading them in order, but usually Holiday reads work ..but look at the cover 🙂

  12. Andrea

    I wanted to review this, but for the same reason you didn’t connect, I didn’t. I’m sorry you didn’t connect with the characters or story. I’m hoping to start the Play by Play series from the beginning.
    Thanks for the review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      If I had paid attention to more than the cover I may have realized this wasn’t going to work..but look at him 🙂

  13. Heidi

    I can totally see why this wouldn’t appeal to you. I rarely enjoy novellas even when I am invested in the series and to pick one up in the middle would not work for me either. Hopefully, you are interested enough to try her series.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have been lucky lately with novellas, but have been seriously let down by series novellas. Thanks Heidi

  14. Kim ( Book Swoon )

    I have a hard time with novellas unless I’m really familiar with the authors. I can easily understand in this case how it was hard to connect enough with the characters. Thanks for sharing Kimba, the book sounds fun- just not as an intro to the series maybe. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah this is for the fans, usually holiday reads are safe, but to be honest..i never looked beyond the cover :snort:

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, do not make the same mistake as me..LOL this was for the fans, and cover lust did me in..LOL

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have heard good things about this author, and will perhaps give book one a go.

  15. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I can see why you felt a bit lost with this one. I would probably have been lured in too, under the assumption that I’ll get a clear idea of what the series is like, but being thrown in the middle of things like that can be quite off-putting.
    Ah, well. I bet the series, in order, is still good.

  16. Lily B

    I wont learn heh, I ended up picking up a bunch of books not realizing they are in the mid of the series but I have done that before. I agree it will probably feel like walking into the middle of the movie. I am sorry this one did not click with you.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Hehehe, I usually check, but sometimes the cover just screams so loud all rational thought is lost.

  17. Braine Talk Supe

    Well that’s a let down. I hate it when they say it’s stand-alone but when you read it, you’re left scratching your head because you don’t know what’s going on. Like there’s an inside joke you’re not getting.

  18. aurian

    I am sorry you are disappointed in it. Perhaps if you ever read the rest of the series, you can re-read this one and enjoy it more if you know who everyone is.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I liked the author’s writing style, so I will snag book one and see how it goes 🙂

  19. Mishel

    I too tend to shy away from novellas unless I’m already invested in the series. I love how they can enhance the overall story arcs of all characters and add that little extra to hold a reader over. But as a new reader I won’t pick up a novella, even with a DE-licious cover, if I haven’t read the series or at least know a little something something about the world or its characters.

    With that said, I’m seeing sport reads EVERYwhere, I may have to bite the bullet and get my hands dirty 😉 Maybe I’ll start with this series and let you know how it goes. I’ve heard great things about Jaci Burton and I’m looking forward to giving her books a go.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I am told this series is wonderful and had the cover not made me cray-cray I might have researched and avoided this dilemma..LOL

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It did, and sometimes I wish netGalley and Edelweiss, stated what book in the series a book is..normally I look but did you see that cover and I am such a holiday romance junkie..LOL

  20. Debbie Haupt

    Sorry Kimba that you didn’t connect. I know that sometimes happens with no fault to anyone. But based on the cover, yeah I’d have picked it up too, very yummy 😉

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Apparently this cover makes a lot of peeps weak in knees..LOL

  21. Jenea

    It sounds like a lot took place for it being a novella. Sorry it was a great read for you.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It did, and I think had I known the characters it would have been different for me.

  22. Victoria (aka Zemfirka)

    Okay, I admit I saw this in my bloglovin’ feed an I had to click because of the cover and to add to that – I’m happy I have a Kindle when I’m in the mood to read smth with such a cover! 🙂

  23. Jenny

    I think this is definitely a novella you would have to read after reading Gavin and Liz’s story. I loved their book, it’s my favorite of the series so far, so this is a novella I can’t wait to get my hands on! Their story was a very sexy but very painful battle since Liz had been in love with Gavin for years and he had no idea, I hope maybe you’ll give them a try at some point Kim! And those covers…. *drools*

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I liked her writing style, so yes I would be willing to try book one of the series. I will anxious to see if this is a success for you, since you have read the series.

  24. anna

    Aw that’s a shame. Would definitely be hard coming in without reading the series it sounds like. It’s one of my faves so I’ve got this on my shopping list. Hopefully reading it with the series already will help. And gah what a cover!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo Anna if you have read the series I will be anxious to hear your thoughts on it. I really think this was for the fans. I need to research more but did you see that cover..lord have mercy..LOL

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It wasn’t bad Ali but I felt like an outsider. It is a quick easy read though. maybe you will adore it 🙂

  25. Mary

    Jaci Burton really does have the VERY best covers, doesn’t she? *fans self*

    Novellas can be really hit or miss, especially when they’re a part of a larger series. Too little time to get to know the characters!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      OMG right…so made me click this..yum! This is really for the fans and I am sure they will love it.

  26. Glass

    That is my issue with novellas – I just can’t connect with characters or the story. I enjoyed this series, but after a while It got really predictable.
    Great review.
    Glass @ Way Too Hot Books

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It isn’t always the case Glass, I have read some by new to me authors that had me buying the whole dang series…this was really a fan special, and I felt left out 🙁

  27. Jeann

    A shame you found it hard to connect with as a standalone novel, but yeah novellas are tough in such a short space. Some of them are aimed at reeling people into the series, and others are just targeted towards the series fans. Thanks for your honest review though!

  28. Lauren

    I hate when novellas aren’t a good intro to the series. This is why they only work about half of the time for me. I mean they can add to the overall story arc without alienating new readers as long as they’re a contained, well developed story. This sounds more like the fan service variety for people who just want to see their favorite characters meet up and banter for awhile. Bummed to hear this didn’t work for you, but maybe the series books will be better. Thanks for your honest review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I was bummed, are you are right in can be hit or miss but more often than not they work. The writing is good, and the sexy time had both heat and humor but like I said, it was like walking into a movie half-way through. 🙁