Review: Reindeer Games by Jessica Clare

reindeer gamesReviewed by Janell

This is a novella that was previously published in a holiday anthology. Usually I stay away from novellas, but since I am now a Jessica Clare acolyte and a Games series completist, I had no choice. Luckily, it was a fun story!

Luna is a contestant on Endurance Island: Alaska. Yes, the reality show decided to take away the bikinis and add suffering by filming in Alaska in December. The logistics of the reality shows in these books always requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. I’m just going to guess that this fake show never returns to a cold climate.

Anyway, Luna is from Boston, and she’s very competitive. Her first suggestion to the team is met with suspicion and mockery because, 1) she has a strong Boston accent that’s eminently mockable, and, 2) the ultra-competitive guy on her team has a different idea so he needs to sway public opinion against her. After her team loses the first competition, Luna gets booted off.

After a few days alone at Loser Lodge, Luna is ready to chat with the next bootee. To her shock, it’s Owen, the competitive guy responsible for getting her voted off. Yay, he’s a big loser, too! But boo, now she’s trapped with him for two weeks.

Luna’s strategy of avoiding Owen leads to resentment, because she feels trapped in her room. How can she work on her horror movie scripts if she can’t sit on a couch and stare out the window? Then, when the crew sets up a buffet for network bigwigs, Luna and Owen give in to their animosity and have an epic food fight.

I know. A food fight. What are they, ten? These two are really competitive, though, and they get caught up in out-doing each other. Owen also happens to be a pastry chef (bam, I love him just like that), and he at least criticizes the desserts before throwing them. This leads to Owen and Luna having a baking competition, which is a good way to occupy their time because the producers are so mad at them about the food fight that they’re banned from further show participation and not allowed to interact with any other losers.

Since they’re isolated, Luna and Owen declare a truce. Then they keep competing against each other — who can find the biggest Christmas tree, who can make the best decorations. Eventually, yes, they gaze into each other’s eyes and sexytimes take place.

If I knew either of these characters in real life, I would have to step away from them so fast. I do not get that competitive nature, and their personalities would overpower everything. But in book form? I had fun with them. The holiday setting would be great to read during the actual holidays, but I enjoyed it even in March. Once again I believed that the characters fell for each other, and I believed in their cute, funny, assisted-by-Luna’s-mom HFN ending.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Reindeer Games
by Jessica Clare
Release Date: August 26, 2014

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