on November 27, 2002
I love Linda Howard's books but i was not thrilled with this one. I thought the ending wasn't emotional enough, none of it was emotional enough and Sunny let Chance off way to easily.
He risked her life and used her even after he knew she was innocent and it didn't even seem to faze him at all. I really didn't like the character "Chance" i thought he was kind of a coldhearted jerk and if a man ever used me that way i would never have married him so easily...Definitly not one of her better books!!
on August 27, 2002
I liked the Mackenzie series. I looked forward to this book. I loved the heroine, Sunny. Unfortunately, I pretty much hated Chance.
Chance starts off as a competent alpha male who knows what he's doing and since reaching adulthood, gets along well with family, kids, and colleagues. Sunny has a past that's made her a survivalist in the extreme. So far so good.
But Chance doesn't allow himself to admit making a mistake in the face of contrary evidence, to admit anger toward himself without lashing out, or enough time to put on condoms despite the fact that he's got a sufficient supply. The sex almost always occurred during a fit of anger on his part which he directed at her because...I don't know why... she didn't do anything wrong. She scared him because she was very committed to survival and he got mad at her then they had sex. It felt like most of the sex scenes were rapes. I read this book twice to see if I would react the same way and it seemed even worse during the repetition. He was a decent guy *except around the woman he supposedly loved* when he became an abusive rapist.
I found that I couldn't get around this hatefulness that Chance displayed to Sunny. This is extremely unfortunate because Sunny is one of the coolest romance heroines out there which is the only thing saving this review from having only 1 star. The Boy Scouts could use a new motto, "Be prepared, or be with Sunny." She's a dream heroine except that I found the virginity thing was tedious and unnecessary, despite virgin heroines being a Mackenzie novel "theme" of sorts. Even had she made him grovel, he would have had to show evidence of being capable of of behaving decently, if not rationally, toward her for me to be able to stomach this as "romance."
Take a chance on the other novels. Read the first 3-4 chapters of this one for the initial character development and family tie ins, then throw it in the fire if you want something to keep you warm. I'm sorry, but sex as punishment leaves me cold.
on October 21, 2003
I started reading Howard's books because I loved the hero in "Now You See Her". Unfortunately, all (most?!!) of her heros don't hold up quality-wise, and this Chance is one of the worst. He *uses* Sunny as bait, without her knowledge or consent, sets her up for attack. Unfortunately, I have come to realize that this is a formula Howard often employees. (See also Dream Man and others.) Not only is this NOT the embodiment of everywoman's dream, I don't think (HOPE it ISN'T) legal, even in the world of espionage and terrorism. After you read a few of Howard's books, you come to realize how the formula works: If the HEROINE is under suspicion (Loving Evangeline, Game of Chance, etc.), the hero tricks her, investigates her, then uses her/ sets her up as BAIT. If the HERO is under suspicion (Mackenzie's Mountain, Shades of Twilight), the heroine believes in him and stands by him against all odds. YUCK!!! If this is someone's sad idea of what "real men" are like, I don't want 'em!
on October 6, 2002
Look, I love Sunny, such a sweet woman. I woulda loved Chance if not for the rotten ending. I expected more drama. Hey, this is a romance novel afterall, so why the rush? I expected Chance to produce a more thorough & heartfelt explanation to Sunny on why he used her, & what went on in his heart & mind while he was at it. I expected some tears shed, some intimate moments, MORE heartwrenching words SAID. A man who uses a kindhearted woman for his job, robs her of her virginity, makes love to her 5 times a night w/ the intention to dump her afterwards is one hulluva cold-blooded jerk. And he was making full use of woman's weakness at that, God knows that most women don't treat sex as just sex. The scene of Chance & Sunny at the hospital after her operation also lacked emotion, especially on Chance's side. Extremely disappointing. If this happened in real life, I wouldn't be surprised if the lady dumps the man & raises her child on her own. If it were me, I woulda done just that. Then again, things could be different if the ending was more poignant & lengthy. If only... what a wet blanket.
on February 16, 2004
For those of you who aren't familiar witn Linda Howard, know that A Game of Chance is part of a series. I was unaware of this when I purchased the book, and was having a hard time keeping up with everything because I hadn't known that there were books before this, and I hadn't known any of the characters.
Aside from that, A Game of Chance was a great book. I assume it would have been a lot better had I read the books following up to this, but nonetheless a great read.
In my honest opinion, I think that the book ended too quick. I think LH spent so much time with the rest of the story and then hurried to finish it up. Maybe it's because there's going to be a book following it, maybe not - either way, I wasn't ready for it to end. I felt like I needed more explanation from both Chance and Sunny.
Despite everything else, I really enjoyed this novel. Linda Howard is quickly becoming my favorite author, and I think it's safe to assume that she can't write a bad book. It always works out to her advantage in the end.
on September 22, 2003
Hey! you know that Chance scouted out the location of the canyon when he was haveing her plane connections delayed and rerouted.
I loved the way L. Howard kept the character of Chance true to form from one story to the next.
Also if John is old enough to have a girlfriend he is old enough to get caught up in some machinations that needs Zane and Chance to rescue him and set him on the path of his two uncles'- besides Zane needs to produce another daughter and Chance one to put them into a hilarious competition [aided and abetted by their wives]
there are still enough up close stories to be told with Mary and Wolf still in the background -- and lets go back in time to Michael's and Josh's stories.
I, along with so many others, agree that this has been the best family series ever written - with all of the ladies well matched with the Mackenzie men - this is a family that can't stand still - these are classics -
With Sunny willing to put her life on the line for Chance, she does a great job of breaking down his reserve and teaching him to love. Love only comes from giving.
I do love a woman who is willing to take care of her own self-preservation [grin] and dragging a man into realizing her worth.
L. Howard has spoiled us with her Mackenzie Men -- Don't stop now!
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -- DEFINITELY A KEEPER FOR ANY LIBRARY!
on March 4, 2003
I found this book to be very entering and keeping with the rest of the series (though i did find Maris's story a bit disappointing and a little abrupt). This may be because before reading it I read one of these reviews that claimed sunny's sister was trying to kill Wolf and Mary and kept waiting for that to appear. I thought it was a very good book and that the story was well written. I do not recall any of the rape seens that others refer to, rough does not equal force and sunny never once asked him to stop. She forgave him easily at the end because she wasn't not mad at him for "using her" but for lying to her. She felt she didn't really know the real him and that her feelings were therefore false. she fully understood that he used her as bait for the good of his country-because it was his job (this is a sentiment expressed in most of the mackenzie books). I'm sorry but i would rather someone lie to me to save the lives of thousands of people from a mad man than to say "i love you so i will give up my job and to hell with all the other people in the world". I found that these were the parts that made the book good. the characters are not perfect and never claim to be, they have a higher regard for life and the world beyond their own needs. chance doesn't want to hurt sunny but he doesn't have the choice there are things more important than his own desires. lastly in the letter to the readers at the beginning of the book Howard never said she felt forced to write the book by her fans and hadn't really wanted to if that were true there would be books for all the children. she was not giving into nagging at all. plus if you paid attention to the previous books Wolf was about 20 when Joe was born and he was 21 when zane was born. so if zane is 33 in this book thats 20+21+33=74 and Nick is 3. even if she gets married in her earliy twenties (which is doubtful given that the rest averaged at about 30) wolf would be 94 and mary 87. that is pretty old even in the futuristic setting the book would take place in. To conclude this is a very entertaining story and a good conclusion to the series and maybe some people should not take a author's attachment to her characters as a personal insult.
on June 28, 2003
A Game of Chance is one of my favorite Howard books and is the last in her MacKenzie series. I have read them all and they are all great fun and all of the heroes are irresistible alpha males. They all tend to some orneriness and certainly believe the notion that love is not around the corner. Some of the MacKenzie men are bigger stinkers than others. I think we have the biggest stinker of them all with Chance MacKenzie from A Game of Chance.
Chance MacKenzie is some sort of super government agent, highly trained for underground missions. He relishes his job and prefers to act alone despite the level of danger. He is a typical Linda Howard hero - dominant big-time, handsome, smart, and has a big problem hidden from everyone. This shameful problem is key to his lack of desire for a committed love relationship. He doesn't seem to hold women in very high regard and has a ruthless personality. Basically, he doesn't treat women very well and laughs at the thought of being close to one.
Sunny Miller is the daughter of a terrorist Chance is working hard to bring down. He decides to use Sunny to bring her father out of hiding. He suspects that Sunny is working for her father and that causes him to see her in even a more negative light than most women. He manipulates Sunny's situation until she is in need of a private plane to reach her destination in time and Chance steps in to provide her with the plane and him, as the pilot.
Sunny is a kind, beautiful, and gracious heroine. She has a job as a delivery agent, flying all over the United States and the world delivering highly sensitive material. Sunny doesn't live anywhere really because she is always attempting to hide her whereabouts from her father. She greatly fears her father and has been hiding from him for years by constantly working her delivery service. She is never in one place for very long.
When transporting Sunny to her next location, Chance deliberately crashes their plane on a remote island and they must wait for someone to discover their crash site since all forms of communication were destroyed in the crash. Chance plans on getting to know Sunny very well during their wait and find out her father's location. He really pours on the charm and romances Sunny. He wants to make her love him, trust him and share her secrets with him. Now understand, Chance does all of this with no intentions whatsoever to love her in return or even see her beyond their island experience. He is so heartless in his further manipulation of Sunny. Never mind that she is almost mortally wounded in the plane crash. Disregard the fear and worry that encompassed her as she wondered if they would be rescued. Leave it to Chance that he would never disclose to her that he actually had a communication device and was constantly in touch with his contact on this operative. Chance even controlled their rescue. Once he had the information that he needed from Sunny, he would order their rescue.
As Chance uses Sunny as bait for her father he risks her life yet again. He quickly pushes a physical relationship between them and he takes her again and again. Of course, Sunny believes that this physical relationship with Chance is more than just physical. She is strongly drawn to him and, after all, he has told her that he loved her. All the while, we as readers know that Chance is only using her and we can't believe what a low life jerk he is. A lot of the pleasure in this books comes from the anticipation of Chance receiving his comeuppance. You can't wait for Sunny to strike back and give Chance some of his own medicine. Chance truly seems a cold-blooded male and does not stoop to being kind to Sunny. His mission is always utmost in his mind even when he begins to suspect that Sunny is not guilty of complicity with her father and discovers that she is running from him as well.
So - if I am so aggravated with Chance - why a five star rating? It is because of Sunny. She interacts so well with Chance and we discover that she is no weak character. The dialogue between the leads is great and had me laughing many times. Sunny showed up Chance in more ways than one. She is a survivalist and Chance finds himself impressed with these skills. After all, she has a lot of experience with living on the run. But somehow, Chance's heartlessness, accompanied with Sunny's great heart, made this book a very good and engrossing read. Once again, we are so eager to see Chance brought down.
The sensual scenes are frequent and rate a 4.0 out of 5.0 (see More About Me for rating guidelines). This is one of Howard's best writing of such scenes. I don't relish sensual scenes in which there is no commitment but these were much different. Sunny is committed to Chance and she believes he loves her. And although Chance knows he is just pretending to love Sunny, we as the readers see him gradually, little by little, falling for her (hee! hee!) and know he will not be able to resist her in the end.
The order of the MacKenzie series is as follows: MacKenzie's Mountain, MacKenzie's Mission, MacKenzie's Pleasure, MacKenzie's Magic, and A Game of Chance. I did not read these in series order and still enjoyed them immensely. It would benefit you to know some of the characters in other books as you read each one, but it is not necessary. These stories are scrumptious - no matter what.
I highly recommend A Game of Chance. I really loved this book. It is just down right fun!
on June 24, 2003
I have to say that this book was simply great- it's the reason I read romance with action & adventure in them. It moved non-stop from beginning to end & had a great romance also! Although Chance & Sunny did fall in love a little fast, LH did give them both personalities that deserved it..... I had no problem understanding why they would fall in love with each other. Sunny was very spirited, brave & determined - she also showed intelligence (not the nitwit characteristics that too many authors use for lead female characters).... & she was great fun (which was amazing due to the life she had led). Chance was definitely your hardcore type hero, but also sexy as they come & had a great sense of humor (which is not common enough in lead male characters). Now personally, I wouldn't have minded Sunny making him sweat a little more after she found out his secret.... but, oh well, he's worth it! lol The witty dialogue & the teasing by both Sunny & Chance kept me totally amused & the sexual tension was intense without taking up too much of the story. There was a lot more to the story than just that.
I think that maybe the ending was just a tad rushed, but not enough to ruin the book for me. I can't believe that there's a whole series of McKenzie books that I've been missing! Now I can't wait to get to the book store!
on March 8, 2004
Linda Howard is one of my favorite authors. I will pretty much read anything with her name on it. Still, you have to like her style of writing. The story lines tend to change, but the basic premise is always there. Heroine meets man, he usually has a few issues, and they must learn to love and trust each other with whatever plot Ms. Howard has thrown in. I personally like the way she maneuvers these types of novels.
I think Game of Chance is an especially good Linda Howard story. Meet Sunny Miller. She has had a very tough life. She is living on her own with no relatives or even friends. Her mother is dead, and she has only one person in her life that she contacts by cell phone for a couple of minutes a week. She has never had the luxury of settling down or trusting anyone. She can't afford trust, her father is a world renown terrorist and looking for her. To keep from staying in one location, Sunny has a job as a courier, delivering packages (for very important clients) from one location to another. During one of Sunny's deliveries, she is robbed. Due to the nature of the job, Sunny is investigated and comes to the attention of CIA agent Chance MacKenzie. Chance is a top agent in his field and thinks Sunny is working with her father. The plan is to meet her and to either have her learn to trust him enough to divulge her secrets or spend enough time with her that she will make a mistake so the CIA can catch both her and her father.
Take one very wounded heroine afraid to trust, throw in a CIA agent who has his own set of trust issues (even though he is attracted to Sunny), and you have the basic plot of this book. It's simple, it's straight forward, it works. You have an empathy for the character of Sunny and all that she goes through. Quick read; good story; I would recommend.