Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Skin Game Advanced Book Review *Ava Gray*

This review of Skin Game will also be up at Romance Reviews Today in November...

Kyra Beckwith has screwed over a dangerous man and she did it on purpose as payback. The man in question is casino owner and small time mobster Gerard Serrano who had Kyra’s father killed. She made him fall in love with her. He even wrote her poetry and was going to ask her to marry him. But Kyra got the last laugh and was able to steal a good chunk of his money right under his nose. Now Serrano is out for her blood and hires Reyes, a hit man, to retrieve his money and get rid of Kyra permanently.

Reyes may kill men for a profit, but he’s not comfortable killing a woman like Kyra, especially when he sees her in action hustling a pool game. Kyra is a hustler, a con artist who travels from dinky town to dinky town in her Mercury Marquis looking for the next score. Krya lives for the action, much like her father did. But it got her father killed and Kyra is not sure how much longer she can stay in the game. When Reyes comes to her aid, she decides to take him along for the ride. She thinks they will have one hot night together in a squeaky motel room bed and that will be it. What she doesn’t know is that Reyes is a hard man to outwit and he won’t allow Kyra to skip out on him.

When Reyes tracks down Kyra again, she is wary but there is something about him that makes her want to keep him. Not only can she touch him without draining her energy because of a secret, special ability she has that helps her with her cons, but she feels safe around him. She decides to make him her partner until she has had enough of the game and wants to drive off into the sunset. As Reyes gets to know the enigma Kyra is, he wouldn’t mind going off in the sunset with her also. He just has to figure out a way to keep her alive as well as find a way to tell her he was hired to snuff her out.

Talk about a book where you can feel the heat coming off the pavement! Skin Game is a thrilling read with a touch of paranormal, suspense and a steamy romance that will have you panting. The chemistry between Reyes and Kyra is hotter than hot. I knew things were going to be oh so good the moment Kyra asks Reyes what he wants with her and he thinks how great it would be to have her up against a wall.
Because Ava Gray has such a talent writing great character interaction, Skin Game excels in so many ways. The majority of the time the reader is witness to Kyra and Reyes on the road driving, playing their cons or just eating. This may seem boring, but because Ava is able to expand on these actions, the reader can’t help but stay interested. She brings out such interesting quirks in regards to these two such as Kyra’s love of fast food and Reyes desire to protect Kyra and make sure she finds happiness in such simple things such as him making a homemade meal for her. There is nothing sexier than a man that can cook.
Even though Reyes and Kyra have made such an impression on me, there are other secondary characters to take note of. Serrano is a sad man so obsessed with power that it almost ruins him. He doesn’t realize that he is being played and played well by Addison Foster, the security chief for his casino. Foster is one of the biggest mysteries in Skin Game. He has deep rooted secrets and may or may not have an ability much like Kyra has. His ambiguity will have readers wondering what his reasons are for the things that he does. Foster’s story, Skin Tight will be out next summer, where he battles wits with Kyra’s dearest friend Mia Sauter, who is also introduced in Skin Game and has some interesting interactions with Foster.
**Ms. Gray has her work cut out with Foster, because he rubbed me the wrong way in Skin Game. He is so mysterious and sketchy that I can't wait for Ms. Gray to work her magic and make me jump on Team Foster**
For those who don’t know, Ava Gray is also known as Ann Aguirre who writes outstanding science fiction as well as urban fantasy books. Her skills at writing a taut masterful tale have become well known, and as Ava Gray she has definitely done that here with Skin Game. (Berkley Sensation, November)
Final Grade: A-
**Figuring out my top 10 for 2009 is going to be very, very hard because between Ann's Blue Diablo, Doubleblind and now Skin Game, all three deserve to be there.**



e_booklover said...

Great review :). I am looking forward to cozying up with my copy! Like you I have throughly enjoyed her other releases this year.

Mandi said...

You are so right - many times they are just driving or hanging out - and yet you are never bored. The two of them just have the best chemistry together!

I have to admit I was surprised Foster is getting his own book - I am so interested to see what Ava Gray does with him in Skin Tight.

Leontine said...

I second, third and fourth it...Reyes and Kyra are having great man/woman chemistry going on! I am progressing to reading Blue Diablo...

Smokinhotbooks said...

I think Ann Aguirre is truly a master with words and character development. I have yet to read Skin Game as I have to wait like the rest of the world next Tuesday *grimace* - but I can tell I'm just going to love it. Who is hotter March or Reyes?

orannia said...

Great review KB! Initially I was in the 'not sure' basket...but your review definitely has me intrigued in Skin Game. However, I made a promise to Amyless and azteclady to read Grimspace before the end of the year, so I'll be doing that before tackling Skin Game :)