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Monday, June 18, 2012

The World is a Stage by Tamara Morgan

The World is a Stage by Tamara Morgan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (274 pages)
Heat Level Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Iris

Danger comes packaged in bulging muscles…and a codpiece.

Games of Love, Book 2

Highland Games athlete Michael O’Leary is famous for his ability to charm a woman right out of her pants. Maybe a little too famous. When he’s sidelined with a knee injury, his wingman pounces on the chance to take full advantage of Michael’s idle time.

Trying out for the local adult-themed Shakespearean production seems simple, but there’s a catch. Michael must woo the notoriously demanding lead actress, Rachel Hewitt, thereby freeing his friend to pursue a courtship of Rachel’s sister.

Rachel hates the thought of handing over the lead role in her admittedly scandalous troupe to someone so wholly uneducated in the ways of the Great Bard. But she’s in a bind, and the only one who can step up is a man who looks way too good in a codpiece—and knows it.

To add insult to injury, he refuses to take the role until she agrees to take his place in some barbaric warrior race. She’ll do it, but not with a smile. Unfortunately, the hardest part isn’t antagonizing her Scottish foes. It’s resisting the one man who seems determined to line and cue her heart—forever.

What could be better than a hero in a codpiece?

My first observation is that I was disappointed that this was not the naughty, saucy Shakespearean romp the back of the book promised me. My second is this story is so much more.

Ms. Morgan did not write careful, thoughtful characters. These folks are crude, loving, angry, talented, caring, vulgar . . . I could go on, but you get my point. Because these characters tend to read as “real”, this story can be difficult to read at times. When Rachel, our heroine, does something stupid, one just wants to yell at her. (I might recommend reading this away from other people if you tend to talk to your books while reading them!) The flip side includes crying, longing, and cheering for and with her.

Speaking of characters, our hero, Michael is definitely one who grabbed my attention. Hard headed, deeply loyal, with an amusing propensity for limericks, he tends to be on the vulgar side at times. Those who can be easily offended should beware. However, despite his vocabulary, and his occasional stubborn hard-headedness, he's a wonderful hero in so many different ways.

The secondary characters are no less well-crafted. From Rachel’s sister Molly, to Michael’s best friend Eric, to the girls’ mother and Michael’s uncle, they all leave a piece of themselves with you.

The addition of the Highland Games is a unique touch, and allows for some lovely descriptions of eye candy (as well as their hard work). It also gives Michael the opportunity to wear a kilt (and who amongst us doesn’t love a man in a kilt?!)

Yes, there is more than one happily ever after, but the way they get there is definitely a roller coaster ride. If this roller coaster is one you want to hop on, you may want to purchase this book rather than borrow it – I think you’ll want to visit these folks again!