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on June 27, 2007
Sylvia Day just keeps getting better and better. From the first page of "Passion For The Game" to the last I was enthralled and read it in nearly one sitting. The love between Maria and Christopher was convincing and their chemistry was scorching.

Yes, this is an erotic romance, however, not along the clinical lines. The love scenes were highly sensuous and graphic but beautifully written, not at all gratuitous, imho. I have read my fair share of erotica and have found very few authors that can combine hot sex with an emotional romance. Sylvia Day is one of the few.

There was plenty of sexual tension, angst, hero-jealousy, and a really well drawn cast of characters that have stuck with me long after I closed the last page.

I cannot wait for Colin and Amelia's book.
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The Lady Winter, rumored to be a Black Widow with two husbands already dead early in their marriages. Treated as a pawn by men who would use her, she has learned to exert her control and independence subtly, through seduction and subterfuge. Manipulated by her ruthless stepfather, she will do anything to rescue her young sister from her own fate. Now both her stepfather and an agent of the Crown have set her against the notorious Christopher St. John, and Maria's very life depends on her ability to ferret proof of the handsome rogue's misdeeds.

But another agent of the Crown has blackmailed St. John into investigating the mysterious and beautiful Lady Maria Winter and the deaths of her two husbands - both of whom happened to be agents of the Crown themselves. If he can prove her guilt, he saves his own neck from the gallows. But all bets are off when he finally meets the dark beauty, and he finds her more dangerous than he ever anticipated - to his heart.

From the moment I read my first Sylvia Day story in the anthology Alluring Tales--Awaken the Fantasy (Avon Red), I was a fan. Since then, I've read many of this author's books and purchased still more that I'm itching to find time to read. It is a wonderful moment for me when I receive one of her books for review, because not only do I know her books always earn a positive review, which is easier to write, but that means I get to prioritize her book in my reading pile!

Passion For the Game quickly earned its place as my favorite Sylvia Day title to date. While I have loved all of her books, something about this one just completely did it for me. The plot, the characters, all of it served to hook me from the beginning and refused to let me go until the end. Nay, I can't even say it has released me now, since I can't stop thinking about the sequels to this marvelous book I know are coming!

Both St. John and Lady Winter are people who find themselves the victim of their circumstances, but neither are the type to allow themselves to be cast as victims, and they each soon take control of the situation, butting heads in the most delightfully sexy ways. Watching these two strong-willed personalities `duke it out' both in and out of the bedroom makes for a gripping story you won't be able to put down until the end!

I have to tell you, however, that I was quite upset at the end of Chapter Four. It was my own fault, really, though. You see, I like to read during my lunch hour. I had the great misfortune to reach the end of Chapter Four as my lunch ended one day, and there I was, stuck at work for another five hours with the heroine standing near-naked in the hallway with the hero completely naked in his doorway. I seriously considered whether or not I could go home for the rest of the day so I could read the rest of the book - and I don't ever play hooky! Alas, I stuck out the rest of the day, although my mind kept wandering back to Passion for the Game and the heat that I could feel spilling from those pages when I left our intrepid couple. I headed straight home from work that evening, and immediately devoured the rest of the book. I even forgot to eat dinner that night, I was so consumed with this story.

I don't care if you love historicals or not, this is a fantastic story that is a must-read for Romance lovers. While set in historical time, the period is not the focus of the piece, and it is easy to imagine this pair of lovers in any era, fighting the same sexy battle. Do yourself a huge favor and run right out to get your copy of Passion for the Game. You will not be disappointed!

Series Order:
Ask For It
Passion for the Game
A Passion for Him
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on June 6, 2007
From the back cover:

Christopher St.John and Maria, Lady Winter, are infamous in Society for their misdeeds and their charming allures. Wherever they go, scandalized whispers and covetous glances follow. A ruthless pirate and a widow whose two husbands have met untimely deaths, the wickedly renowned figures are even more intriguing to the authorities. Now they've been set on the most provocative of tasks -St.John is released fro prison to learn the "Wintry Widow's" intimate secrets, while Lady Winter is charged with performing a similar deception in reverse. One will succeed. One will hang.

Another hot romance from Day. Be warned the sex/love scenes are very graphic. I thought the story was very unique and well written. St. John's only chance at freedom is to get evidence confirming Lady Winter's guilt in her husbands deaths. Lady Winter, on the other hand, is being blackmailed by an evil relative, who wants to know information about St.John. And there is also another person who wants the Lady to get evidence against St.John. So a game of deception begins. Both the H/H start an affair in hopes of getting information out of one another, but it doesn't exactly go that way. A tangled web of deception and love is woven. This was the most interesting part of the book. I had no idea where the book was going half the time and that made for some great reading. At some points I honestly thought that the hero or heroine would sell the other out for their own gain (well if death is really another choice), but DUH! it's a romance so of course its a happy ending but the road there has some pretty interesting twists and turns.

Plenty of excellent secondary characters who could easily (and hopefully) have their own books. And a cute secondary 'teen' romance that will be explored in a sequel.

Not as emotional as Day's previous two historicals (Ask For It and The Stranger I Married) but definitely as good. So if you liked those, you'll enjoy this one. A hunky hero and a gorgeous heroine with an intriguing storyline and some smokin' love scenes- seriously HOT!

one little annoying thing -the hero is blonde so what's with the male cover model with black hair?
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VINE VOICEon July 20, 2007
Sylvia Day can be a hit or miss author, in which sometimes she relies too heavily on sex to get her story across With her latest, she has hit her stride and to date I believe this is her best novel written.

This story has everything a romance enthusiast would want. Of course there are Day's trademark sex scenes but what the hero and heroine have is something more intense and passionate, more than I have seen in a long time from other authors who try and don't succeed. Here, Day does and I applaud her.

Maria is twice married and her stepfather who is a cruel and heartless man holds something over her head and simply blackmails her into his way of thinking. He basically killed her mother when she was younger and now he hides her younger sister away from Maria to get what he wants. Maria comes across as a cold shell of a woman because of him.

Christopher's life is a little bit more convoluted then hers. She catches his eye and he is now on the hunt to have her in his bed. Plus he is also being blackmailed and she is his victim.

When these two comes together in the sheets- watch out! Even with major trust issues between them, these two just want to be loved.

There is also a secondary story with Amelia, Maria's sixteen year old sister and her undying love for Colin a gypsy boy who works for her father. Their story is so sweet yet powerful in it's telling that I was finding myself reading way too fast to get to theirs more so than Maria's and Christopher's.

Overall and excellent feat of storytelling and the sequel about Amelia and Christopher will soon arrive.(Called- A Passion For Him)

Again, Bravo!

Katiebabs

A Passion for Him
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VINE VOICEon June 23, 2008
The concept of Maria and Christopher acting as spies on each other sounds intriguing and could be good, but in this case I didn't like it. They were supposed to be uncovering each others' secrets, but for most of the book when they were together they just had passionate and fighting sex, but never asked any questions. The only actions they took were to place spies in each others' homes as domestic help. A few times, one would learn something from a domestic spy and then make incorrect assumptions about the other. Then they would get together, have sex and not say anything about it. Some of this reminded me of my pet peeve of conflict based on incorrect assumptions rather than excitement and intrigue from spying on each other. I'm having trouble explaining it, but somehow it didn't work for me.

The reasons behind their spying were the following.

Christopher did smuggling and pirate activities. Sedgewick was a government agent who wanted a promotion. He found a witness against Christopher and demanded the witness's cooperation as ransom for the safety of his family. He told Christopher to get evidence against Maria to keep the witness quiet. Maria had been married to two government agents who were killed by poison. Sedgewick believed convicting her of the crime would further his career.

Maria's stepfather Welton, kept Maria's half sister Amelia away from Maria for many years. He threatened to sell her into slavery if Maria wouldn't do what Welton asked. Welton told Maria she must spy on Christopher to get information that Welton could use to blackmail Christopher. Welton needed money and saw Christopher as a blackmail source.

A subplot involved Maria trying to find her sister Amelia to get her away from Welton. Welton had used this threat over the years to force Maria to do a number of things including marrying her two former husbands.

I did like a couple of parts. I liked Christopher's intense lust for Maria. I also liked the story about Colin who was a gypsy stable boy. He and Amelia loved each other, but he knew they could never be together because he was a servant while she was titled. Simon, Maria's closest friend, makes an interesting offer to Colin at the end. Colin's story is told in the sequel "A Passion For Him." Simon's story is told in the sequel "Don't Tempt Me."

Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: six lengthy scenes. Setting: 1700s or 1800s England. Copyright: 2007. Genre: historical romance.

For a listing of my reviews of other Sylvia Day books, see my 5 star review of "The Stranger I Married" posted on 1/19/07.
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on January 8, 2013
Am I missing something here - why has everyone rated this book so highly? I read this author's previous works 'Bared to You' and 'Reflected in You', and enjoyed them, even though they were a blatant 50 Shades rip off. This one, however, was horrible. I can't believe the same author wrote both books.

The plot: this author seemed to throw in random storylines and pretend that they were totally logical. Let's make the hero a pirate, even though he never ventured on the sea and spent all his time smuggling on land. Let's throw in 'The Agency', which seemed to be some ye olde English CIA full of incompetant and brainless nobles, without ever really explaining who they are and what they do. And I'm not even going to start on the heroine's sister, who is supposedly a captive but can toddle off and have picnics with random Earls unexplainedly having picnics by themselves in the middle of nowhere.

The sex scenes: there were a LOT of these, which would be fine if this was labelled an erotic novel instead of trying to claim it's a romance. And to add insult to injury they were bad. I don't know about the rest of you, but lines like "his heavy balls slapping erotically against her bottom" really doesn't do it for me. And the amount of times her lady parts (romantically referred to as her c***) were described as "rippling" and "sucking" his appendage in was crazy. By the end of the book I was starting to wonder if she had a vacuum cleaner down there.

The character development: well, there was none. To use a tired phrase, the characters were one dimensional and unlikable. Both gave up prior ambitions the minute they had sex. But really, what lady would put her sister first when she had the delights of heavy balls slapping her bottom?
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on January 6, 2013
I find reading Sylvia Day's books to be both exciting and disappointing making them expensive because of the hit-and- miss quality of the writing. I thoroughly enjoyed "The Stranger I Married" but am left wondering if "Passion for the Game" was even written by the same person. It was trite, amateurish, and very badly written! There was no connection between the main characters that sparked any interest, the plot was crap, and the sex scenes were laughable. I seriously think that there is more than one person writing under the name of Sylvia Day. Are we being ripped off?
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on August 23, 2012
Curiosity compelled me to pick up this book - - because after reading my very first S. Day novel (Bared to you) which was nothing more than a condensed, plagarized copy of "Fifty Shades of Gray", I vowed never to read another Sylvia Day novel again. Well, so much for "vows" to selective reading material. Needing something desperately to read, I gave Ms. Day another chance...and....WOW! I wish I read this book first. I wish I never picked up "Bared to You" first, because reading that book kept me from indulging in Ms. Day's other, better and incredible romantic fiction.

This plot is so original and jump starts with a bang! Well, at least it did for me - - pulled me in, captivated and held me prisoner until the finale. Character descriptions are strong and pronounced with perfect connection. I ended up feeling like I knew these characters (Maria/Christopher), almost on a personal level. I absolutely loved these two incredibly strong, well defined characters...as well as Simon too! Whudda great supporting character Simon is.

For all Christopher St. John's strength, power and control, I loved how a wisp of a woman in the form of Lady Maria Winter, completely took Christopher by force, confusing and totally setting him off his "game".. Her mere presence arrests and freezes him time and time again - - which in turn confuses him all the more! He unravels around her....and Maria reacts the same way to Christopher no matter how hard she tries to circumvent such reactions. They are equals never before found. Gawd, whudda story...whudda ending..(fanning m'self!)

Mahvelous intrigue, blackmail, spies and kidnapping. Mahvelous interludes and delicious capitulation. This whole story was frikkin' deliciously MAHvelous.
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on March 24, 2013
Listening to the twist and turns of their love affair made me wish that the book was longer ... Just so you enjoy the two of their banter and intense love. Christopher had truly met his match in Maria. I love how powerful and confident Maria is. She is such a likable character you really want her to gain control of her life. She is fearless and willing to do whatever it takes to free her sister. From the last book (Ask For It), you know that Christopher is a fierce pirate who has nothing to loose, since his brother was killed. He however takes care of his people building great loyalty. The two provide such intensity, I am amazed that the pages do not catch on fire. I also enjoyed the innocent love story of Colin and Amelia, which contrast and accents Maria and Christopher's relationship. But Simon Quinn has to be one of my favorite characters. Nothing can hold that Irishman down. I look forward to the next book in the series.
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on July 16, 2016
I love all books by Sylvia Day. I also love books with characters in past centuries. Her characters are always so well written and have such personalities. The research she must do to make things true to the era of time in this book! She describes the clothes, the parties, the mode of transportation so well that I easily get so many pictures in my mind of how different things were during that time in history. The interactions between Christopher and Maria were so developed that you could feel all the excitement or heartbreak between them. One of many couples that Sylvia Day develops so well. I loved it and recommend it for other readers!
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