Release Date: December 3, 2013
Series: Gaming the System #1
Review Source: eARC from author
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Achievement Unlocked: Geek Virgin
When Mia Strong, proud geek-girl and popular gaming blogger, auctions off her virginity online, she knows she'll make waves. But what she will not be making is a love connection. Her rules are set in stone: One night. No further contact.
It's a desperate step, but it's the only way she can go to medical school and pay her mother's mounting hospital bills.
Difficulty Level: Millionaire CEO
Adam Drake, the enigmatic auction winner, is a software prodigy who made his first million at seventeen. Now, in his mid-twenties, he's sexy, driven and--as CEO of his own gaming company--he's used to making the rules. Before Mia knows what's happening, he's found the loophole in the rules of her auction. Every stipulation she's made to protect her heart gets tossed by the wayside.
She can't tell if he's playing her...or if he's playing for keeps.
I really am in awe of this book, mostly because I was super hesitant to read it because of the subject matter. I read a book about a girl auctioning off her virginity before and I seriously disliked it. The topic itself makes me skeptical and, having read that other book, I wasn’t really looking to read about it again. However something about this book and the way it was presented hinted at a deeper story, so I gave it a chance. I am so, so glad I did, because At Any Price ended up being one of the best New Adult books I’ve read in a long time.
This book presents nuanced characters who feel real. They have some major flaws, but they're lovely as well. You kind of have to take it on faith that Adam isn't just some skeeve who actually wants to buy Mia's virginity, otherwise I think the book would lose its charm. It becomes fairly obvious to the reader early on what kind of connection Adam has to Mia, but I liked that, because falling for a hero who would actually want to bid in an auction like that? So not my thing. So while you can take it on faith that Adam is a good guy, it’s never obvious the full reasons behind his plan, and you have to keep reading while you try and guess the whole story. Beyond the romantic lead, Brenna Aubrey also deserves praise for her portrayal of Heath, Mia’s best friend. It was a refreshing change to have Heath be his own complete person and not fit into the gay BFF caricature that so many fictional gay males are portrayed as.
At Any Price offers such a full and rich narrative. Brenna Aubrey has managed to bring all aspects of Mia's life into this book and make it feel effortless. There's the rich romance which slowly develops from a bud of attraction into a full bouquet of real feelings. There's also Mia's career goals and her overwhelming fear of failure. She’s so scared that her future won't live up to her own goals and expectations, and speaking as someone who has felt this, the author presents it perfectly. There's also the aspect of Mia’s hobby as a gamer and a game reviewer. I thought this was beautifully integrated as something that was important to Mia and that took up her time without having it bog down the text.
At Any Price surprised me in all the best ways. This book takes a taboo subject and presents it with an intelligent twist. You can tell that Brenna Aubrey is aware of feminist issues, of things that girl gamers face, of fandom and blogging. All of these things are depicted perfectly in a book that also manages to portray a swoony but realistic romance. Adam and Mia are a couple who share an attraction and common interests, but they also have barriers that need to be overcome as they work toward building a mutual respect. This book features a good ending that readers will be satisfied with, however I’m also pleased that this series will continue to focus on Adam and Mia, rather than moving on to another couple, the way most romance series do.
A very typical NA cover, but I like it a lot!
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