Blog Tour: Playing Pretend by Juliana Haygert, Review + Teaser & Giveaway!

Released On: March 3, 2014
Playing Pretend
Playing Pretend
by Juliana Haygert

3.5~4 stars

I am wavering between 3.5 to 4 stars with PLAYING PRETEND because (1) I truly loved the story, (2) I loved the main characters, Charlotte and Mason, (3) it whetted my appetite and my expectations grew steadily as I read the story, but then (4) it ended much too soon for my taste. I'll try to explain all these further.

On (1). This may not have the most unique premise, but Julian Haygert wrote it in such a way that it still felt different. Charlotte's mother is a state governor and both her parents come from money. For years she has lived a life heavily controlled by her mother. Everything she did was calculated to uphold a certain image for the public, for her mother's benefit.
I... looked at myself in the mirror again. However, it didn't see me. It saw Peyton McClain's daughter, someone I barely knew, someone I barely liked.
Until recently... I had been okay with all of this... Now, it didn't seem enough. I wanted more. I wanted to be free. I wanted to live my life, to make my own choices...

Mason is from an ordinary family in California. He's not wealthy, and he has to work to pay through his way to college--and that's already with a scholarship for his masters in Engineering.

The two met when Charlotte did her very first act of rebellion against her mom. She lied to go on spring break with her best girlfriends. Mason worked as a bartender. From the first night they met, they were strongly attracted to each other and they both just clicked. For the rest of the week, they they spent most hours of the day and night together. Both were aware though that theirs was only a temporary fling. That they may never see each other again once Charlotte left for home.

Fate has a hand in their lives though, and it's like the universe doesn't want them to be separated at all. :)

This is a light read, but it nevertheless has a serious tone. Charlotte doesn't try to be cute, neither does Mason. There's no fuss, no silliness from these two. It was really more about their struggle in keeping their relationship secret and trying to act as if nothing different is going on. At first it was just Charlotte, but soon enough, Mason joined her in playing pretend.

Not that I approve of secret relationships, but here I was really impressed that Mason was willing to pretend if it's the only way he could be with Charlotte. That the words "for now" was strongly implied was something I liked too.

On (2). Now about the characters. Charlotte is very likable when she's being herself, but when she's with her mom, she just shrivels up and lets the woman control every aspect of her life. It's annoying, but I do get her. I can just imagine the pressure of being a politician's child. It's not just about yourself, or even your parent. It's about the people whom the parent politician is serving. It's never mentioned in the story, but what if her mom is excellent as governor? Her leadership is necessary for the welfare of the entire state. Add to that her dad's frequent reminder of obeying her mother, it's no wonder that Charlotte is the way she is: the perfect politician's daughter, always obeying her mother.

Mason, oh Mason! I love him. I love that he has alpha qualities, but Juliana didn't make him a manwhore. See, it's possible! =D The hero doesn't have to be one in order to come across the reader as sexy It may not seem like it because he did send a week in bed with a virtual stranger, but that was actually the first time he let loose. And he was only able to do so because it was Charlotte.
I wanted to go through with my plan, to become the next womanizer in town, not get attached to anyone, but apparently, I was already attached to Charlotte.

Mason has a good head on his shoulders. He didn't do the "running from his feelings" thing, nor did he make stupid decisions that hurt Charlotte. I love that he pursued her but wasn't creepy about it. I love that he's honest about his feelings and wants from the very beginning, and I love that he is the type of guy who can be in long relationships. He has ambition and he works hard to achieve his dreams.

On (3). Juliana Haygert wrote so well that I was immediately sucked into the story. I also cared a lot about the characters. When things are going perfectly, I'm the one who gets scared waiting for the other shoe to drop. When they grew frustrated with other characters, I became frustrated and annoyed as well.

From the first page to the 3/4 into the story, everything was so well written, the pace was just right, the flow was perfect, but like I said I found myself on guard for the trouble that's bound to happen soon! Naturally, I expected for the climax to be phenomenal!

On (4). The last 1/4 of the book had the makings of that climax that I was gearing up for! The story was there, the conflict was there. It just felt a little rushed. In truth I just wanted her mother to have to grovel hard. What she made her daughter endure for how many years wasn't a small thing. I wanted her to feel pain! hahaha, bitter much! But really, I thought she had it too easy. Not that I wanted her political career ruined, but I had hoped that she'd had to work harder to earn back Charlotte's trust and affection.

Oh, and I also hoped for an epilogue! Guess I just really liked this story and the characters that I didn't it to end yet. I really, really, really hoped for an epilogue... but oh well.

So there you are, the reasons why I can't really decide on my rating. I love the story, but I'm looking for more. One more chapter!!!! LOL, because really, I wasn't ready for it to end yet when it did. I recommend PLAYING PRETEND if you're looking for a really good short, romantic and sexy read!
"This isn't going to be easy."
"No, it won't, but we can make it."


As the Governor’s daughter, Charlotte McClain is an expert in playing pretend. High society, the men her mother shoves in her direction and a Pre-Law major are all a part of her perfect pretense. But when she pretends to be a nobody during Spring Break, she meets someone who rocks her world.

Mason Rowell knows heartbreak and Spring Break don’t mesh well, so he allows the mysterious Charlotte to seduce him. What should have been a fling, results in something deeper. After Spring Break has long since passed, he moves to Washington to pursue his graduate degree, but what he never expected to find living among the rich and pompous, was the girl who gave him the strength to change and the desire to start anew.

When the guy Charlotte can’t forget goes from a sensual memory to temptation in the flesh, her facade is put to the test. If she surrenders to his charms, she risks ruining her mother’s perfect career and master plan. Playing pretend is what Charlotte does best, but how long can she pretend she doesn't love the man who made her proud of her true self?

**A light, sexy NA Contemporary Romance**


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About the Author:

 New Adult author and contributor at NA Alley blog.

While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.

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