Review: The Play of His Life by Amy Aislin

Former best friends turned lovers Christian and Riley haven't seen or spoken to each other in six there a better time than the holiday season to reconnect with your favorite person? 

The last person Christian wants to run into on a visit home to spend time with his mom over the holidays is his former best friend-turned-lover-turned-ex. But there Riley is, in all his tall, chiseled, blondness. The same guy who walked out on him six years ago, breaking his heart in the process. Who knew he's still in love with the jerk? (Oh yeah, he did. What? Who says denial isn't healthy?) 

Two years ago, Riley was injured out of the NHL, but he's got his own bakery now and a quiet life selling quiches and cupcakes to his customers. Then Christian unexpectedly walks back into his life, forcing Riley to question his choices. Especially that one choice he made six years ago that walked him out of Christian's life. Now if only he had the courage to tell a boy how he really feels about him...

I really loved the idea of this story. Reunited lovers and second chances can be the best of bittersweet tales. People make decisions when they are young that are sometimes so different than the ones they make once they get some time and experience behind them. And it makes sense, we’re different people as we age and all the experiences to that point make up who we become. It’s what we do with those experiences that make the difference. So, I’m generally pretty forgiving to the youthful version of the MC’s in second chance romances. And while both guys in The Play of his Life did something to end their young relationship and yes, Riley’s was worse because, young and dumb, but there was nothing insurmountable to these two getting back together.

Yes, I loved the idea of this story. The execution really didn’t work for me though. There was some inconsistency with the continuity, unnecessary breakdowns in communication, a few hockey things that didn’t work and the absolute most frustrating; the completely unresolved plot point, repeatedly. 

When Christian walked into the bakery he was shocked Riley was there, yet later on when Riley is looking at the scrapbook Christian made there was an article in there about the bakery opening. That was the whole opening to the book, the first sighting that led to the reunion and it wasn’t at all what was presented in the beginning.

The two of them start talking, walls start coming down and they agree to start seeing each other again. That is really the big hurdle, they admitted to still having feelings, to wanting more, but then as Christian’s time home is coming to an end, they get all flummoxed again. It felt so manufactured. They already did a pretty big talk, just keep talking a smidge more, just a smidge and they’d be good. They each did some seriously romantic OTT gestures while they were apart, there was no question of the love they still felt for one another, the drama at the end about Christian leaving was unnecessary.

There were two unresolved points that drove me nutters by distraction and killed the good points for me. Riley has a nickname for Christian, he calls him ‘T’. He’s called him that since they were kids, he had a custom necklace made for Christian with the letter ‘T’, but he’d never tell Christian the significance, which means I didn’t know either. It was obviously pretty important but then completely negated by having no meaning. There was also a lot of reference to ‘Shimmer’, some label-less, mysterious alcoholic beverage that is served at the bakery. It changes flavors and smells depending on what it’s served with. It apparently has different effects on the drinker depending on how it’s served as well. For a bit I thought I stepped into a paranormal story but then you know what happened? Nothing. Shimmer was referred to throughout the story, but it added no value, just distraction. This novella was way too short to have two big THINGS just hanging out there with no resolution.

Riley and Christian got there HEA and I believed it for them. As I said before, there was no doubt about the love the two had for one another, I just really wish there had been some reining in of the random diversions that took away from an otherwise potentially good story.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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