Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Published on: 30 August 2021
Published by: Macie Rae Publishing
Type: HEA, standalone, series
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Tropes: Introvert, Mistaken identity, Love Triangle, Tragic Past, Sports Romance
Author: Terri Osburn
Read: 15 August 2021
Shelved: 16 August 2021
Rating: 4 / 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The universe is not playing fair.
First, my new boss says changes are coming to our library that threaten the programs I run. Then a letter arrives from my mother—whom I haven’t seen in more than twenty years—saying who knows what because I’m refusing to open it. Last but not least, the man who dumped me eight months ago is telling people that I’m trying to get him back.
Universe, I assure you I am not.
The one bright spot in all of this is the new guy in my life. He’s sweet, adorable, and seems totally interested. There’s just one problem. I might have bent the truth a little when we first met, and now I need to confess before he finds out from someone else. But when the truth finally does comes out, I’m not the only one with some explaining to do.
Maybe I can’t blame the universe for everything.
Not Playing Fair is about family, forgiveness, and the friends who stand by us through it all. Come along as librarian Megan Knox becomes the heroine of her own story, and finds love along the way.
Megan Knox loves her quiet librarian life, contented to stay within her small county’s library when she could move to a bigger and cosmopolitan city branch. When an unexpected consultant comes into town to audit the library she is working at, Megan’s peaceful life turns upside down and beyond her control.
This is what made my job so rewarding. Not only introducing children to stories and helping them fall in love with the written word, but teaching them to share that love with those around them.~ Not Playing Fair, Terri Osburn
Not Playing Fair is told from a first-person POV – Megan’s, which could be a plus. The author focuses readers into Megan’s head so as not to give too many “insider details” that would later significantly impact many revelations in the end. I love her character a lot – she’s spunky when the situation calls for it, mostly when she is “fighting for a cause.” But that’s the best part of character development – realizing that “bigger issues” affect more people than herself and that she is tired of being a pushover.
The saying “it always comes in 3’s” holds true. A barrage of things came tumbling unto Megan’s world, and I confess that even I was overwhelmed. Her personal, professional, and past collide! I was surprised that she was composed enough to eliminate one problem at a time. She was brave when needed, even if she was fearful on the inside.
Megan’s character is a rational (enough), thoughtful and intelligent woman. She is honest (most of the time) and has a solid support group of gal pals and family who made sure she is safe and cared for, given her dysfunctional background. I liked how she handled her professional problem(s) – covertly by exposing the culprit systematically and how she handled herself with her bosses when everything blew up.
Megan’s personal life is also calling her attention:- from family drama imploding to conflicts between two men vying for her attention! The former problem caused a lot of trauma throughout Megan’s life that I was mad with Megan’s mom’s decision more than a decade ago! All this still haunts her at thirty years old. Now, the family problem – man – too much angst initially, but I am so glad that Megan toughened herself in the end to handle everything. It was written perfectly in the end.
“With a sigh, I said, “Fletcher sent me a text message before practice yesterday asking if I wanted a ride.”~ Not Playing Fair, Terri Osburn
Lindsey loaded guacamole onto a corn chip.
“Please tell me that was a literal question and not a euphemism.”
“Just no?” Donna said. “Not h*ll no, you boil on the butt of humanity?”
The more interesting problem is between Megan, her ex Fletcher, and a potential suitor Ryan. Fletcher’s tactic of spreading misinformation about him and Megan did not help his image to everything. I am glad that not a lot of their friends took Fletcher’s words seriously. The problem was Ryan believed it, and when it came time for Megan and him to start anything, it was all on the wrong foot. Note that both Ryan and Megan have their share of faults and flaws in handling everything in this case. Both kept things from each other that would have avoided a “re-do” not once, twice, but three times! Misunderstandings and pride did not help. Ryan was indeed hurt, but he was not blameless, so I was mad (a bit) at him too. It’s good that Megan and Ryan’s family and friends somehow “pushed” them into getting things clear up the air once and for all. (FYI – they are really adorable together!)
I love the humor in the book. Many comedic moments made the book a fun and enjoyable read. The personality of Megan and her gal pals are infectious! Her friends make the book exciting and funny – everyone was ready to defend and protect her, even if she is very capable of doing it herself. I believe that the humor made the changes around Megan more bearable and the stressful parts lighter somehow.
In conclusion, Not Playing Fair is a charming and cute read. It may look simple at first glance, but layered with a lot of angst, drama, abandonment, loss, etc. It may surprise readers that the love story is only a tiny part of the book. Megan uncovers more suspense and uncertainty as the story progresses – sinister, surprising, and suspenseful. The ending is full of revelations, confessions, and forgiveness, which will surely make readers love all the characters.
“I know you’re strong, but lean on me if you need to.”~ Not Playing Fair, Terri Osburn
That was quite possibly the best thing a man had ever said to me.
“Where did you come from?”
I said, feeling as if I’d located the one living manicorn on the planet.”
“Akron?” he said.
“That must be a magical place.”
About the Author
Terri fell in love with reading at a young age, starting with condensed versions of classics such as The Wizard of Oz, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and Little Women. She fell into Romance novels around Junior High and never looked back. Authors such as Judith McNaught, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and LaVyrle Spencer kept her going through high school, then she bounded into the 90s with authors like Julie Garwood, Dorothy Garlock, Johanna Lindsey, and countless others.
Her bookshelves are lined with beloved keepers (many sporting Fabio covers), some tattered and torn but all filled with passion, love, lust, and above all, happy endings. From the Wild West to Romping Regency ballrooms to boardrooms and charming small towns, her library covers the spectrum.
Terri makes her home in middle Tennessee with college-student daughter, four frisky felines, and two high-maintenance terriers. In her nefarious past she worked in government contracting, fund-raising, catering, and was even a train conductor. (In the mall. Not as impressive as it sounds.) She was also a Country radio disc jockey for eight years, which makes her one of those rarest of author creatures – an extrovert.
Terri is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and a member of Novelists, Inc., Romance Writers of America®, and Music City Romance Writers. She’s a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist in the Contemporary Single Title category for unpublished manuscripts, while HIS FIRST AND LAST won the 2016 Book Buyers Best Award in the Contemporary Single Title category. As an international bestseller, she’s sold more than one million books worldwide.