Tag «baseball»

Fresh Fridays: Challenge Accepted (Cleat Chasers #1) by Jacqueline Snowe

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Cleat Chasers Series

Other books planned to be in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Challenge Accepted (from Goodreads):

Most college girls ‘swipe right’ to meet the right guy—Callie meets All-Star pitcher Zade while he’s buying tampons. College is all about learning, right?

How often do you meet your dream guy buying tampons at Target? Never, right? For Callie, a baseball-loving, closet chef, hardworking college student, it happened just once. The magic was too real, too fast, and too much so, she left the store without exchanging names. Fate worked in wonderful ways, right?

Zade Willows, the All-Star pitcher rumored to be drafted his senior year, gets what he wants. He has a fan club named after him who follow his every move but when he meets Callie, the game changes. She knows all his plays and knows how the game always ends: in heartbreak. Zade doesn’t back down and is willing to try anything. He’ll eventually get the girl, right?

breakdown

Series: Cleat Chasers
Author: Jacqueline Snowe
# of Books: 1+ (Challenge Accepted, Book 2)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Book 2 to be published
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Baseball
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a sucker for a good sports romance and this one had me as soon as I read the synopsis! This one looked like it would have great banter between the leads with some potential for some solid character development.

What I Liked:

–Immediate Chemistry Between Leads–

The tension between these two is palpable the minute they meet. They are the perfect match for each other and it was fun watching them discover that the more they interacted. As a result, we get some great back and forth banter between them.

What was also a huge plus for me was that we weren’t getting pages and pages of sexy times either. There are maybe two described sex scenes in the entire novel so I liked that it focused more on the social side of the romance.

–They Challenge Each Other–

It probably goes without saying given the title of the novel, but I liked how these two made each other stronger characters. Zade is a sweetheart underneath his playboy persona and Callie brings that out in the best way. And it works the other way as well. Zade’s patience and willingness to be his best self allows Callie to move on from her painful romantic past and see that she can’t label all athletes the same way and that Zade is worth the risk.

What I Didn’t Like:

–We Spent a Little Too Long Playing Hard to Get–

I get the resistance for the romantic relationship between these two and as much as I loved the tension it brought, I found the first half of the novel felt repetitive as we watch these two go back and forth. I’m all for some good “will they or won’t they” action but I was ready for the next step earlier than it happened. I wanted to see the challenges their relationship would have unfold.

–The Random Subplots–

I really wanted a more solid plot here for this story. As I said above, I felt like so much of this book was spent watching these two fight the inevitable but once they gave in, you just get everyday life. Which is fine but not as entertaining as I wanted it to be. Zade gets an interesting twist near the end but I wish it was introduced earlier to utilize it a little more for his character development.

Add to that some random dramatic plots with some side characters and the plot seemed a little aimless at times. I’m all for little Easter eggs for what will happen next in the series by introducing you to the potential leads and their backstories but it just felt out of place to me.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I have some ideas of who future books might follow and I’m definitely curious to see what will happen next. This group of characters is a lot of fun and I definitely want to learn more about them.

My Rating: 3/5

Challenge Accepted 3/5 | Book 2 TBP

overall

A fun and flirty new adult romance read that focuses more on character interactions than sexy times.

Read if You Like: college sport athletes, banter between leads
Avoid if You: dislike new adult romance, want more sexy times

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Series Review: Balls in Play by Kate Stewart

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Balls in Play Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Anything but Minor (from Goodreads):
“She’s a nerd.”
“Heyyyy!”
“Okay, she’s a flight instructor.”
“Better.”
“He’s a ballplayer.”
“The best that ever was.”
“Technically, you aren’t according to MLB stats.”
“See? Total nerd. She also has no filter.”
“He’s no southern gentlemen.”
“I had one last season to prove my worth.”
“I’d never seen a game.”
“He told me he was a player.”
“She told me she was a lesbian.”
“But you fell in love with me anyway.”
“Yeah, baby, I totally did.”

breakdown

Series: Balls in Play
Author: Kate Stewart
# of Books: 2 (Anything but Minor, Major Love)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: July 2016 – November 2016
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw this when I was browsing Top Romance reads on Kindle Unlimited. I’ll admit, it was the cover that first drew me in but when I read the synopsis, I couldn’t wait to start this book! I added it at the last minute when I was finishing up my Kindle Unlimited Trial, throwing a wrench in my reading plans but nevertheless excited to read a funny contemporary romance.

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

I really liked the sense of community this book created. When you meet all these characters and see their network, it made me excited to see what would happen to this crew in later books.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Insta-Love–

I couldn’t even tell you what these two liked about each other besides physical attraction. The romance just happened way too fast for me.

–It Just Bored Me–

Never have I contemplated DNFing a book more at the 50% mark than I have with this one. It’s a shame because this started so strong. I was chuckling along for the first 25% or so, getting used to the town and characters and then I just didn’t care anymore. Part of it was the insta-romance–I just wasn’t feeling these two together–but the other factor was the characters themselves.

Alice is quirky and I enjoyed that about her at the start. But then some of her traits just irked me. Like her inability to hold her bladder at certain times. Now, I’m not judging anyone who has bladder incontinence, but it was a little much for this story. And the humour started to die for me after that.

This story isn’t anything I haven’t read before and that just made it a little dull…

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Despite the fact that I really liked the people I met in this story, I just don’t really care to read what happens next. And I feel like things were semi-wrapped up in Anything but Minor so I’m OK with how things end.

My Rating: 2/5

Anything but Minor 2/5 | Major Love N/A

overall

This started strong but quickly bored me. If you haven’t read a lot of sports romances (or you really love them) this might be worth a read. Otherwise, if you don’t like quirky heroines, stay far away.

Read if You Like: quirky heroines, light romance, sports
Avoid if You: dislike sports
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Single Sundays: Game On by Katie McCoy

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Game On (from Goodreads):
Rule of reporting 101– don’t bang your subject.

Sophie Hall has just gotten the opportunity of a lifetime–to profile Nathan Ryder, the hottest baseball player since A-Rod, for her first solo assignment as a reporter. Rumor has it Nathan is going to be drafted to the Major league, and yet he still fits an intense training regime around volunteering at a animal shelter. He’s a prodigy with a heart of gold, as American as apple pie and has an ass that deserves a trophy all its own. He may be the country’s heartthrob, but Sophie isn’t going to fall for that. She just has to remain objective and cover the story.

But she didn’t bet on Nathan’s gorgeous green eyes or the way his arms flex with muscle when he’s holding a bat. And she certainly didn’t think he’d be witty and smart and caring. Nathan is completely untouchable, but she can’t help it if those lingering gazes turn into something more. How could she not fall at the thought of the hottest guy she’s ever met devoting his limited free time to saving puppies?

When Sophie’s scoop turns into Nathan’s scandal, Nathan needs her more than ever. With both of their careers on the line will they strike out – or hit a home run?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Author to Watch
Author: Katie McCoy
Genre: New Adult, Sports, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: October 21, 2015
Source & Format: Provided by Author–eBook  Thank you Katie McCoy!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was contacted by Katie McCoy to read a copy of her debut novel and when I read the synopsis, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. As you may or may not know, Canada has Blue Jay fever right now thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays making the playoffs in baseball for the first time in over 20 years. It’s a really exciting time for us, especially those who live in Toronto like I do.

Anyways, reading about a swoon worthy pitcher when I am already developing crushes on certain players (I’m looking at you Pillar and Tulowitzki) seemed like a great idea; especially when I needed to escape from my midterms.

The Plot:

I really appreciated that this book wasn’t overly complicated when it came to the plot. It’s simple but effective. Everything builds at a great pace despite the shorter time-frame of the story (ie things happen in a matter of days). You have a bit of everything that makes a story enjoyable to read: the drama, the romance, and the character development. It’s all there in a great balance I think.

Plus, this book is just a lot of fun! It isn’t a dark, tragedy filled book; rather the characters light-hearted and are highly entertaining. There’s plenty of sexual tension and some great character growth so it makes reading this book very enjoyable.

The Characters:

I will admit I was really worried that I wasn’t going to like Sophie. I didn’t want her to be some airhead or even worse, a lust-crazy girl who can’t act normally because some attractive male is in her proximity–but that was NEVER the case! Sophie was actually very entertaining. Her heart is always in the right place but I love that she doesn’t let people walk all over her–that she strives to independent and prove to others that she is more than her outward appearance.  But at the same time, she isn’t egotistical about it or standoffish–I feel like she is very approachable and I’m sure most girls reading this can relate to her in some way. I found her to be rational and funny (whether intentional or not) and I really liked her development as the story progressed.

I really, really liked Nathan. I will admit I have a bit of a crush on him. He is completely swoon-worthy and a genuinely nice guy. He isn’t some girl-playing jackass that thinks he is the best thing to happen to professional sports in years and I found that very refreshing. Liking him (and Sophie) made it super easy to read this.

As for the rest of the cast, I thought they all did their jobs perfectly. They added to the story but didn’t take away from it and I really liked that.

The Romance:

When you like the two leads, it’s easy to root for them to be together. I thought I would struggle with the quickness of the romance as it happens in a matter of days but I found that wasn’t the case. Sure, it wasn’t ideal but I really could see how these two would work in the long term–which made it easy for me to support the romance.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you want a break from the darker New Adult reads out there, this is the perfect read for you! It was fun and sweet and totally swoon-worthy! Compared to other baseball NA reads I’ve read, this one is probably my favourite. Overall, a solid debut!

Read if You Like: books about athletes, New Adult romances
Avoid if You: want darker drama

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Single Sundays: Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Whatever Life Throws at You (from Goodreads):

Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas’s life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she’s living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals’ super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

breakdown

Author: Julie Cross
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Contemporary, Sports, Romance
Heat Rating: warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: October 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

I was actually drawn to the cover of this book before I realized it was written by Julie Cross. Cross’ Third Degree was a novel that actually surprised me in how much I liked it and I’ve heard really awesome things about her Tempest Series (but I haven’t gotten around to reading it). So when I read the synopsis for this one, I immediately put it on hold at the library.

It took me a while to get into this book because the romance is slow to come to fruition. Of course there is some sexual tension before the “big moment” but it was more downplayed than it would be in a New Adult novel (where it would be there from the get-go). In the end I appreciated this because it was nice to get some good character development but at the same time I was slightly disappointed.

Another reason it took me a while to get into the book was Annie.

It was weird because I liked Annie enough as the narrator but some of the things she would post on Facebook (most chapters start with a status update from some of the characters) seemed rude to me and that really threw me off. I suppose it’s just for the fact that we probably wouldn’t be friends in real life so I just didn’t connect with her all that well. She’s a jaded character and I understand why, so that wasn’t really the issue (I didn’t mind the angst), I think it’s just more of a personal thing with her and me not having meshing personalities.

I did warm up to her though as the story progressed and her character developed. Despite the book being focused on the NBL, I found a lot of the story lines and situations to be realistic–it wasn’t over the top drama like some New Adult novels would have.

Is it YA or NA?

While this book straddles the line between New Adult and Young Adult, I would say it leans more towards the Young Adult. There are a few sexual situations that are more descriptive than your typical Young Adult novel but for the most part it’s a pretty clean YA read. It actually reminded me a lot of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oak Series in how it is delivered. If you wanted something with more drama and heat, I would suggest The Perfect Game by J. Sterling instead.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

It took a while to get to the good stuff (ie the romance) but it was a cute story and I liked watching everything unfold as we approached that stage. Another great standalone by Julie Cross!

Read if You Like: sports romances, slow burn romance, more character focused
Avoid if You: want a true New Adult romance, want more steam
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Series Review: The Perfect Game by J. Sterling

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Series: The Perfect Game
Author: J. Sterling
# of Books: 4 (The Perfect Game, The Game Changer, The Sweetest Game, The Other Game)
Book Order: Chronological; Connected (The Other Game)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Sports, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2012 – October 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I never picked up Book 2, The Game Changer. Find out why below…

I was excited to read this book when I bought it. I had just discovered the New Adult genre (thanks to Crash by Nicole Williams) and was greedy to get my hands on this one. But when I went to read it (months later I might add), it took be awhile to get into.

I think the main reason was that I didn’t particularly care for Cassie. She irked me to no ends actually. Compared to other “heroines” of new adult reads, she has nothing on them. Most have a tragic past that really grips you and explains why they have trust issues. But Cassie’s problem? Her dad failed to get a concert for a high school dance and she was embarrassed–um, what?! After reading such heavy stories prior to this (I had just read Wait for You by J. Lynn), I felt this book was very juvenile in it’s approach to Cassie’s “damaged, mistrust” issues.

Jack’s reasons were totally acceptable in my opinion so I didn’t mind him so much but Cassie really needed to get over her “daddy issues”.

As I said before, it took me a bit to get into but I eventually got there. It wasn’t until halfway through the book that a plot twist grabbed my attention. After that happened, I started to enjoy the book more but I wasn’t overly impressed with it.

Series Rating: DNF

The Perfect Game 3.5/5 | The Game Changer N/A | The Sweetest Game N/A | The Other Game N/A

overall

I’m not sure why there is a sequel. I would have been more than happy to have the series end as it did and have another set of characters in the next one. I will probably read it for curiosity’s sake but this wouldn’t be my first pick for a New Adult Series to read. But if you enjoy an athlete falling in love, then you might enjoy this one!

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Perfect Game (from Goodreads):
He’s a game she never intended to play.
And she’s the game changer he never knew he needed.

The Perfect Game tells the story of college juniors, Cassie Andrews & Jack Carter. When Cassie meets rising baseball hopeful Jack, she is determined to steer clear of him and his typical cocky attitude. But Jack has other things on his mind… like getting Cassie to give him the time of day.

They’re both damaged, filled with mistrust and guarded before they find one another (and themselves) in this emotional journey about love and forgiveness. Strap yourselves for a ride that will not only break your heart, but put it back together.

Sometimes life gets ugly before it gets beautiful…

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