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Connie has been married to Luke for a year and is madly in love with him and is enjoying being married. She works for a management consultancy firm and has to attend boring conferences. She is attending a conference in Blackpool when she meets John Harding, as soon as their eyes meet they start to flirt and spend most of the evening talking about sex. As soon as Connie realises she is becoming dangerously close to betraying her husband she goes back to her hotel room...... but that isn't the end of it. Playing away is the first of two books the second that follows on from this story is the young wives tales. I found the book to be intoxicating I couldn't put it down. Its packed full of humour and romance and you are constantly left on edge wondering exactly what will happen to Connie if Luke finds out? Adele Parks is a very talented writer and all of her novels have been excellent. Playing Away is a must read!
I love Adele Parks, and this book was no exception. Rarely do we hear about women and affairs without the author making a long list of excuses or portraying them as being easy, so it's refreshing to read a book that allows you to make your own decisions. First we are introduced to Connie and Luke, who are a happily married couple. Or so we think, until Connie goes on a business trip, and starts a passionate affair with the charming and cheeky John. While Connie deceives her lovely, but quite dull, husband, John takes her to grubby pubs far away and late night dirty phone calls after nights drinking. This was the most interesting part of the book, for me. Connie begins to question whether her affair is based on lust, or love. She starts to see parts of John she didn't notice before, and convinces herself that his late night calls are based on heartfelt feelings, rather then his libido... Adele lets us look at Connie, and although you might hate her for what she is doing, you seperate that from who she is. She is a likeable, confused character anyone could relate too, and the affair is so well written that you are allowed to make up your own mind. John is an amazing character, who will appeal to every woman in some way. He is the bad boy himself, a cheeky, flirty, confident and funny man who could seduce anyone. The scenes are well written, and I felt so sorry for Luke, who is a genuinely nice guy. I really didn't want him to get hurt! I'd recommend this to anyone, it's excellent, thought provoking chick lit.
This is so not my cup of tea but picked it up while at my daughters and after reading a few pages decided I would give it a go. The story is basicaly about a young woman Connie who has it all, a wonderful succsessful Husband Luke, a well paid job and a lovely house with a great assortment of friends. The problem is she really hates her job and feels that after a year of marraige something is missing from her life. Her friends are a strange bunch Lucy is the carear woman who cannot se the attraction of marraige and has had her fair share of other peoples husbands. Rose is married to Peter and they have twin boys. Daisy is Roses sister and just wants to fall in love and marry the perfect man. Sam is Connies work mate is also seeking love. When Connie and Sam attend a conference in Paris Connie gets more than she bargained for when she starts a flirtatious encounter with John Harding a total womaniser who is so attractive it is unbelievable. You will be taken on a roller coaster of a ride as Connie begins an affair that could cost her everything. Yes the book is slightly predictable but I must admit to quite enjoying it. True nobody gets their head ripped off or unexpectedly turns into a zombie, so I would not really recommend it to all you hardcore male horror readers but my thoughts are a change is a good as a rest. 265 pages of easy to read but fairly predicable content.
"I'm married," I said. "I'm a tart," John smiled Both the defence and the challenge. I. Simply. Can't. Resist Connie lives a happy and normal life - a 9-5 job, a group of brilliant friends, and a fantastic husband she's been happily married to for only a year. But then she meets John Harding, the sexiest and most outrageous man she's ever met. He is confident, funny, arrogant, rude, disrespectful and completely unscrupulous and Connie can't resist. After reading my first of Adele Park's books, Tell Me Something, which I absolutely loved, I was quite excited to get into my second of her novels with some high expectations. The book is written in the first person from the view point of the main character, Connie. She starts out as a normal girl who has a great life and is newly and happily married to her best friend, Luke. When she first meets John at a work conference, she simply flirts a little and leaves it at that knowing that she would never do anything to hurt her husband. But the next time she meets John all her previous thoughts are thrown out of the window and she begins having a passionate affair. I found her character to be a slightly strange one as, because she was having an affair when she was perfectly happy with her married life, this immediately made me take a disliking for her, yet the book is written in a way which still somehow makes you like her. Even though, throughout the book, Connie's friends continually tell Connie of how wonderful a husband she has and how great Luke is, we don't really see what his character is truly like as we don't see much of him in the book and he only really comes into it at the end. I think this was probably done intentionally so that so we couldn't really judge Connie for doing what she did and so that we still feel a liking for her character. I ended up having conflicting feelings for Connie. She didn't seem to feel any guilt or remorse whatsoever about what she had done and what she continued to do and this made me feel that she was a selfish and horrible person. Yet she still had a lot of love for Luke and she was genuinely a nice person so my feelings for her kept jumping from positive to negative. By the end of the book though I did find myself feeling for her and I wanted her to get everything she wanted from life, whether that was a lustful relationship with John or a loving relationship with Luke. Apart from the main storyline in the book which is Connie's affair, there are also other issues going on with Connie's friends. Daisy meets the love of her life, Rose and Peter are having a difficult time in their marriage coping with two new babies, Sam is constantly on the search for Mr Right and Lucy is just Lucy, jumping from one married man to the next with no strings attached. Adele Park writes the book in a brilliant way. She makes the affair passionate and exciting and she makes you able to imagine what having an affair would actually feel like. She describes it in a way that makes the reader feel as if they shouldn't be reading about the affair - the same way Connie should feel about actually having it. Her writing really is excellent and she kept me completely immersed in every single page of the book.
Over the years, I've become quite a fan of the chick-lit and bloke-lit genres. It's one of those guilty pleasures, in which you know every time you pick the book up that you should be reading something with a bit more depth but you just don't quite have the will power to let go. Fortunately, I think I may just have found the book to cure my addiction to the genre. A couple of years ago, I was given a free book on the purchase of a travel guide. This book, Adele Parks' "Playing Away", sat unwanted and unloved upon my shelf until a friend who has similar reading tastes to me mentioned she was a big fan of the author. Given that our tastes coincide in so many ways, I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try. If only I had known then what I know now. Connie is married to Luke and has been for the last year, she believes happily. However, life is becoming stale so when she meets John Harding at a work conference, she struggles to resist. Then, when she meets him again at a similar event, she fails. For Connie, meeting John Harding is lust at first sight and although she is at first determined not to sleep with him, her resistance soon crumbles. She throws herself headlong into an affair with him, making sure her husband doesn't find out and even keeping the secret from some of her closest friends for fear they would neither understand nor approve. What follows is tedious in its predictability. Not just in Connie's life, but in what happens to her friends. The details may not be exactly how you may have imagined or expected them to be, but in general terms, everything you would expect to happen does happen. There are no surprises to be had here and there is nothing missing. From the brief plot synopsis I gave above, you could write a list of what you would expect to happen and you would find it on your way through "Playing Away". In addition to being predictable, it's all very vacuous. There's very little of substance here, with the whole book seeming to be a recounting of the situation as it unfolds and the conversations between friends, in both triumph and crisis for each of them. Whilst I realise I shouldn't expect too much from a chick-lit novel, this felt dumbed down even by the standards of most, so much so that I could almost feel myself losing IQ points as I read. The characters weren't particularly well drawn and it's quite tough to sympathise with any of them, even when they are struggling with aspects of their lives. None of them seem particularly likeable and even when there comes a time where you are perhaps encouraged to sympathise with one character, or take sides after disagreements between them; I simply found that I couldn't be bothered. By that point, I was just too bored with the whole thing. On the plus side, if you like this kind of thing, it's very simply done and it's going to be a relaxing read, in that there's not going to be much brain involvement. It's something to run your eyes over without having to put any effort into it. If you're into reading before you go to bed, this is about the perfect thing to be reading, as it's not going to leave you thinking about what you've read while you're trying to shut down and sleep and it's not as if you're going to miss out on much by being too tired to concentrate. I'd decided before I was more than two chapters in to "Playing Away" that I hated it. I'm not sure quite what prompted me to keep going. Probably one part stubbornness and one part blind optimism that it might improve. It didn't. Not having read any of Adele Parks' other novels, I'm not sure if this is just a really poor choice from her books or if this really is as good as she gets. Needless to say, she's not an author I shall be reading anything more of, as I'd much rather read something I'd enjoy. If you are a fan of Adele Parks already or a fan of chick-lit, or just of reading that doesn't involve and brain work, you might just enjoy this. But be warned, my copy came free and I felt it was still over priced. Copies have been seen from 1p at both eBay and the Amazon Marketplace, but anywhere else and you're going to be paying way in excess of what something like this is truly worth, with prices ranging from £3.75 at Green Metropolis up to a laughable £5.49 from play.com and £5.59 from Amazon. But if you value your brain in any way, please don't bother. You'll only hate yourself for it afterwards. It's bad enough to put me off reading chick-lit for good, as I can't bear the thought of stumbling across something like this again.
A while ago, whilst looking on amazon.co.uk, I came across a special offer for 3 books (Larger Than Life, Game Over and Playing Away) by northern author Adele Parks. The first one I read, is this one, 'Playing Away'. The book promised to be a close up look at having an affair, but the design of the book did not make me think that it would be a serious look into the pros and cons of affair. I had an image of a Bridget Jones style character as the lead, only this time she is married. The main character is a management consultant called Connie Green. Connie seems to have it all, a gorgeous loving husband, Luke, a good job (even though she hates it), and a wide supportive network of friends, who we are introduced to almost immediately. First, there is Sam, Connie's work colleague, an incurable romantic desperate to find Mr Right. In my mind she is like Val from ITV's Fat Friends. Then there is Daisy, seems a bit of a wet blanket at first, loves to hear stories of how Luke proposed to Connie. In my mind she is like Emily from Emmerdale, and then there is her sister Rose, who makes me think she is like Mandy Jordache from Brookside, Rose is mum to energetic twin boys, and married to City trader Peter. Rose is the mother of the group, but not someone that any of them feel they can confide in. Finally, the vamp of the group is Lucy. She works in the City and likes to play men at their own game, and enjoys casual flings without the commitment. Again, in my mind she is like Mia from Cutting It (was that what it was called). Everything is Connie's world seems peachy....... Then Connie meets John Harding, a gorgeous, sexy, dangerous chancer. At a work conference, even though Connie is warned about his exploits, she feels drawn to him and starts to wonder if the man she married is really THE ONE! They only talk, which turns into flirting (which is apparently ok as you are not being unfaithful), which turns into a full blown affair, although truthfully it is never anything meaningful, it is purely about sex. Connie loves the way he calls her Greenie, and how he tells her he wants her, but she fails to realise that he only wants her when there is nothing else on offer. John becomes Connie's obsession, and the book takes us through the various stages of the affair in what is pretty graphic langauage at times. Even I was taken aback once or twice with the use of the 'C' word, which I always think is totally uncalled for. It does not add to the mood, and whilst I am far from prudish, the first time I came across it, I actually put the book down and could not decide whether or not I wanted to read anymore because I was worried that it was a sign of things to come. The book does not just centre on Connie, but also on her friends, who all experience life changing events, whilst Connie is too wrapped up in herself to realise. One by one, the friends find out about the affair, and the consequences that follow, especially when she is found out by her husband in a way that made me cringe for her, and this was when I really started to feel for her character, as previously she had been so inconsiderate and selfish, when she thinks that nobody else can understand the feelings she is experiencing. At times I would have slapped Connie had she been my friend, as even someone overcome with lust cannot be as stupid as she is. I can understand how someone can take over nearly every waking thought, but the story glosses over how she manages to still carry on the role of wife and lover with her husband, when she is being a complete trollop with John. At times, she seems to be 2 completely different people who bear no relation to each other, and whilst I agree you can change, I doubt it is to this extent. I like Adele Parks writing style. She is a young attractive woman writing for young women, and she is in touch with the language and actions of todays 20-30 somethings. Whilst I enjoyed the book, and have now lent it to my mum, and I dying to hear if she makes any reference to the language, I just never fully understood why Connie felt the need to risk everything for this man who promised nothing, and this is an area which I think could have been explored more, as I do not think citing boredom is enough of a reason. If want a book which is entertaining, not too taxing and has generous helpings of sex then this is for you. It is fun, and does make you wonder at times...what if?? I have given away basic plot details, but there are many events which will shock and surprise you, and the ending will come even though you think that things have gone too far. It does make you think though....CAN LIFE BE TOO GOOD?
I had been told by two friends that this was the best book they had ever read, so I was excited to see this in the library and borrow it. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to the hype. The cover boasts that reading the book will be the closest you will get to having an affair, without actually having one. I don't think so. The plot is about a successful woman called Connie, who has a good career, lives a very nice life and is recently married to Luke. We see her life, her job, her friends and everything seems rosy. Then she goes away to a conference with her work and sees a man from her firm, who is called John and is drop dead gorgeous. They talk, flirt and an affair begins. The majority of the book deals with their affair, her friends' reactions as she tells them and, inevitably, what happens to her marriage. I found Connie irritating after a while and it all became rather tedious. However, Adele Parks' writing style is okay, she could well write excellent novels in the future, but this is not one. She writes the other characters really well, so that Connie and Luke's friends come across as real and interesting. Often much more so than Connie. A pleasant enough novel, ideal for a lazy weekend away somewhere. But no great classic, sorry.
One of the worst books that I have ever read! The story tells of how Connie has been married to Luke for a year and is now finding it hard to stay faithful. She meets John at a conference and just can’t keep her hands off him. Although she manages to use warped logic to explain why what she is doing is ok (she didn’t sleep with him the first night so it’s not unfaithful!). John messes her around but she still gives up her world for him. Eventually Luke finds out about the affair, and leaves her (well you can’t blame him really!). Naturally, the book then goes into a completely stereotypical ending. Connie realises the error of her ways and wants Luke back, he refuses until a friends wedding when he realises that he can forgive her and they live happily ever after blah blah blah. Badly written it is painful from beginning to end…keep well away!
A friend at work lent me Playing Away by Adele Parks to take on holiday with me. She had thoroughly enjoyed it and suggested I would too. The book is about a group of 30 somethings and the fun, problems and everyday occurences they have during their highly entertaining lives. I think the book was very well written and true to life, you really felt you could relate to the characters. I don't think Adele Parks has written any other books, yet, but if she does I will certainly be buying them. This is a book that will appeal to a wide range of ages, although those with very high morals may be slightly miffed! A fantastic holiday read that you couldn't wait to get back to (corny but true!)
Connie tries to escape marital stagnation with an affair, but is her lover Mr Right?