Book Review- Playing for Love by Jeevani Charika

What do you get if you combine a less futuristic version of Ready Player One with a romantic comedy? Well, the answer is you get something similar to Playing for Love by Jeevani Charika.

As some of you may know by the now, as well as being a complete book worm I am also a big gamer. So when I saw this book on Netgalley I had to give it a read. Thanks to Netgalley and Hq Digital for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Without further ado let’s get on with this….

Playing for Love is about 30 something Sam, who after being made redundant from her last job decided to use the money to start her own business, creating inserts for handbags to make changing over handbags easy. But she isn’t alone, business owner, Luke comes along to help her out with the technical and marketing side of the business.

But she has a secret, in her spare time she loves watching infamous gamer, Blaze play video games on his online channel. After entering a competition to play the latest rpg with some pro gamers including Blaze  she has doubts as the person she speaks to doesn’t end up to be the same person she watches each week. You know what they say you shouldn’t meet your heroes. If only she knew who Blaze really is, maybe things would be different?

The book has a reasonably slow start as we meet Sam and the scene is set. We get to know her as a hardworking, ambitious woman who is scared of her parents finding out the truth about what she is doing.

As the story progresses we meet Luke, a cute, quiet guy who works in the same office block and likes to help new businesses out. However, he has troubles of his own, in his spare time he is the infamous, Blaze and he needs to win this competition for his company. But being paired up with a relative newbie to gaming, he becomes frustrated and a different side to him comes out online.

This is your typical will they won’t they scenario, as the two characters don’t meet as gamers until near the end. Even then they are both dressed as their alter egos, Blaze and Bravura and with contact lenses, wigs and body paint they become entirely different people to their day to day personas.

It was fun, it was emotional and it was full of so much gamer geekery (yep I just created that word) that any gamer will relate. From almost dying against your first creature to solving puzzles against the clock, the competition isn’t easy and tested the two characters to their limits.

I also enjoyed the fact that several issues with the gaming community were highlighted in this book including how tough women often have it on online games. It’s sad but true that women still get hassled on online games in 2022, and i can’t tell you the amount of messages I often get from boys.

I really liked the fact we had a woman pro gamer in the book to raise awareness that women are breaking through in this industry but are still experiencing inequality. Whilst the other gamers are being interviewed about their strategy or technique, she is being asked about her dating or relationship or her costume, showing the complete disrespect for the female gaming community.

Playing for Love is a book which although at first glance is your typical rom com, also breaks the boundaries with female gamers and various issues discussed from family beliefs to sexism. I loved every minute of this and also made me want to game straight away, haha.

Overall this was a fun, geeky, gamer read which I really enjoyed!! If you are a gamer and love your rom coms I highly recommend it!!

⭐⭐⭐⭐ – gaming, love, adventure and tension…this book has it all and more!

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