When I reviewed Playing Games, I wrote, “[The heroine’s] brother turns out to be a jerk, trying to ruin her new relationship and her chance at winning. I hope he doesn’t show up in another book because I can’t even with him.”
Jessica Clare tweeted in response, “That was an awesome review! And uh, Brodie’s the hero of book #4! Don’t read it!! ;)”
So this is the book with Brodie the Jerk as the hero, and I read it even though I was told not to, because I love these books. I dared the author to make me like him. In the end, well, I still think he’s kind of shallow, but I believe in the romance, people.
House Guests is the reality show based upon Big Brother. Kandis needs to win the money to pay off her mother’s gambling debts and save her mother’s house. Her motive is pure, and she is willing to play dirty, lie, and/or flirt to win. Unfortunately, she gets teamed up with Brodie the Jerk in a supposedly haunted house.
The romantic couple from Playing Games, Katie and Liam, are also contestants on the show. In this universe, their show World Races has just aired, and everyone hates Brodie. So he’s cast in House Guests as a villain, along with his sister and her new boyfriend. It was cute to see them again, although they’re both introverts and they spend most of their time alone in their room (bam chicka bam, or however we spell sexy music!).
Kandis makes a quick, secret alliance with Jendan, a nice guy stuntman. And then she does her best to make friends, learn weaknesses, and manipulate votes. Brodie seems to be flirting his way through the house, too. Kandis eventually decides that having a partner with questionable morals isn’t a bad thing, since they can lie and manipulate people together. They are brutally honest with each other, too, knowing that they’d vote the other person off to save their own skin.
So let’s talk about Brodie. He tells Kandis that he’s a waiter, and he’s hoping to use his reality show experience to get a career in Hollywood. This is the same Brodie from before, and he seems so shallow, you know? Like he just wants to be famous for being famous. He doesn’t have a dream of acting or directing or anything, he just wants to be a celebrity. When Kandis reminds him that he was a jerk to his sister, his defense is basically that Katie is nice and she’ll forgive anything, plus she got a hot boyfriend out of the deal. From a playing-to-win perspective, Kandis understands this. She thinks,
It was hard not to like him. He went through life as though everyone loved him and would put up with any of his schemes. And because he acted like that… it was impossible not to like the guy. He was charismatic, fun, and always up for a conversation, flirting, or even just a round of cards or checkers to beat the boredom.
To me, he kind of sounds like a puppy, knowing that he can get away with mischief because he’s cute. Personally, I would not find him cute, but I can see how Kandis would like having a puppy. Now let’s jump far away from that puppy metaphor because I have to mention the sex. Wow. They are restricted by the cameras to certain hours and locations, which ramps up the tension, and Brodie talks a lot, saying sexy things… It was hot. The hottest since his sister and her rock star boyfriend got it on in a hotel room, and I only mention them because this paragraph needed to achieve the trifecta of awkwardness. Puppies, sisters, sex! Nailed it!
I really enjoyed how everything wrapped up. There was drama, and love, and suspense, and swooning. I knew that Kandis would be happy, and I had hope that Brodie would become more than a pretty face.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Jessica Clare
Release Date: November 4, 2013