Audio Review: Well Played by Jen DeLuca

Posted January 23, 2023 by Lillian in Reviews / 2 Comments

Audio Review: Well Played by Jen DeLucaWell Played by Jen DeLuca
Narrator: Brittany Pressley
Series: Well Met #2
Published by Penguin Audio on 2020-09-22
Length: 9 hours and 59 minutes
Reviewing Audiobook from TN R.E.A.D.S.
Reading Challenges: 2023 Audiobook Challenge, 2023 Backlist Reader Challenge, COYER 2023

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it's been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she'll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined "The One", it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band, The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she's not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she's exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey's shock, it isn't Dex - she's been falling in love with a man she barely knows.

Just as fun as the first! Well Played by Jen DeLuca is the second book in her standalone romantic comedy series Well Met which follows Stacey after she learns her friends are engaged. With elements of You’ve Got Mail crossed with the medieval themed Renaissance Faire, this story will appeal to romance fans of all ages.

We first met Stacey as Emily’s fellow tavern wench, a bit ditsy, scatterbrained and 100% lovable. That is just what we see on the outside. Told entirely from her perspective, we get a new look at Stacey. She is not as ditsy as everyone believes she is. She’s desperately lonely and a bit lost. Stacey never planned to be a receptionist at a dental office, she never planned to be living in a glorified room above her parents’ garage, she never planned to stay. When her mom was sick and nearly died, Stacey moved home to help her dad take care of her, but she never left. Her dream job was gone, and her life was put on pause. Now, she’s got to find the play button again which drunken Stacey accomplishes with a message to her summer hookup, Dex MacLean.

One message turns into nightly text conversations over the course of a year as Stacey and who she believes to be Dex take their one night stand and turn it into a friendship. Everything is going great, Stacey is excited to see Dex when he returns for the Ren Faire in a few weeks when she discovers Dex is actually Daniel, the Dueling Kilts manager and Dex’s cousin. Unsure what to make of it, but knowing there is a connection between them, Stacey is willing to hear him out and the story really begins.

For the most part, this story was spot on perfect for me. I love this trope, but I didn’t enjoy how it played out. Stacey can be vain and too attached to her phone and social media. Those likes and follows matter to her, but also leave her sad and lonely. Her reaching out to Dex in the first place was a moment of weakness and not one she thought much about. Daniel is absolutely lovely. He’s a bit backward and insecure, which, much like Stacey, I found endearing. However, he wouldn’t fight for her at all. When she confronts him about the emails and texts, he just gives up. And the ending, it was good, but not satisfying for me. It felt shallow for Stacey.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, the narration especially. Brittany Pressley never ceases to entertain to me. Well Played suffered from second-book syndrome for me. The characters were wonderful, but not much growth or depth. The insecurities that were present at the beginning are still there in the end instead of seeing them recognized and resolved. Despite all of the negative, I do still recommend it. It was a fun read with quite a few swoon-worthy moments as Daniel is quite the writer ๐Ÿ˜‰

* I buddy read this book with Lenore @ย Celebrity Readers,ย who rated this one 3 stars, and Brandee @ย (un)Conventional Bookworms and Berls @ Because Reading who rated it 4 stars.

About Jen DeLuca

Author Jen DeLuca

Jen DeLuca was born and raised near Richmond, Virginia, but now lives in Arizona with her husband and a houseful of rescue pets. She loves latte-flavored lattes, Hokies football, and the Oxford comma. Well Met was her first novel, inspired by her time volunteering as a pub wench with her local Renaissance Faire.

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