Game, S*X, Match (Love Wins #4) ~ Ana Byrde; Narrated ~ John Solo
Game, S*x, Match is book 4 in the Love Wins series. This is Daniel and Tiger's story. Ana Byrde has once again crafted a tale packed with laughs and enough tender emotion to satisfy even the soppiest romantic (aka me).
Daniel (Cucumbers4Life) and Tiger (Bounce & Pounce) have featured in this series from the beginning. They first appeared in a chat group to help Evan with his sexual identity crisis. Daniel and Tiger have been online friends for years, but Tiger is unaware that Cuke, aka Daniel, is also the man he had an aborted relationship with in college. An almost relationship that neither of them has really moved past. By sheer chance, Daniel knows who Bounce really is, and despite desperately wanting answers, he doesn't want to risk his friendship with Tiger by telling him the truth. Let's just say it's complicated!
Secrets are the name of the game in this book, with Daniel's secret becoming even more complex when he and Tiger are matched for a reality program by Ben's eccentric but brilliantly funny and mischievous Aunt Rosy.
This book had all the elements I love in a good rom-com. There was miscommunication and one really big secret, but it was never intended to be malicious. Instead it was simply a case of trying to find the right time to fess up before it came out all on its own. I loved the reality show theme; it added so much humour! Aunt Rosy really is a wonder, walker and all! The show and the contests were so much fun and provided many opportunities for Tiger and Daniel to discover and show each other how much they truly cared.
I also loved the portrayal of Tiger’s ‘small’ problem. It’s something that so rarely occurs in romances, both MM or M/F, but I loved how this touch of real-life gave so many opportunities for personal growth for Tiger.
Once again, Ana's writing was superb. She has a knack for writing characters that you can't help but fall in love with and become wholly invested in. She has epic comedic timing and the ability to blend that humour with warm emotion that will have you laughing and sighing in the same paragraph. I'm not sure what it is precisely about her writing style, but it works for me. It's fluid and engaging. It's light, and even during angsty or more serious moments, it never feels heavy or depressing. Ana is an author I go to for a 'pick me up', and I haven't yet finished one of her books without a smile on my face.
Narration: As with the other titles in this series, John Solo narrates Game, S*x, Match. I'm a relatively new listener to John's work, and he does a very good job of portraying the exuberant and and somewhat aggressive Tiger and the quieter, but I would go so far as to say more dominant Daniel (Cuke). John shows his great comedic timing, and his growly voice adds another level of steam to those scenes. He did particularly well bringing out the emotions Daniel expresses the day after he first gets to see Tiger in all his glory (you'll recognise the scene when you get there). It was everything I could imagine in my head: possessive but sensitive, growly dominant but understanding, and above all full of kindness and the first hints of love. John is to be commended on bringing these boys, and the rest of madcap cast, to life.
Game, S*x, Match could be read as a standalone, but I wouldn't really recommend it. I'd suggest reading at least the third book in the series Straight as a Cucumber for maximum enjoyment.
When I read Game S*x Match, I had only read the third book. Straight as a Cucumber gave me enough information to ensure I knew 'who was who' and a bit of background on Daniel and Tiger, enough to understand most of the inside jokes and references. In the last few days, I've also read the first book Fake the Date; I now understand where Cuke and Bounce come from, which has given me further insight. Still, it's not essential reading to enjoy Game, S*x Match. However, the books are so much fun, I really recommend going back and reading them all!
I'd highly recommend Game, S*x, Match for anyone looking for an addictive rom-com with just enough drama to keep it interesting. Ana has done an excellent job with this book; I can't wait to read what she has in store next!