My initial disclaimer here is I was given this book by the author, Mindy Klasky, as a “thank you” for helping out with something else and she asked if I were to review it, to give it an honest review. That’s fair. Although my personal thoughts, generally, are that if I have nothing good to say, why say anything at all. My secondary disclaimer is that I’ve never read a romance before and baseball is not one of my favorite sports. And yet, here I am, writing a review about a baseball themed romance novel to which I gave 4 stars.
The reason is simple: I enjoyed it.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to rush out and buy every book in Ms. Klasky’s 9 book Diamond Brides series (one book for every player on the team) but this first pitch was a short, fun read.
The plot is fairly easy. Up and coming pro ball pitcher makes a verbal gaff which nets him, by way of apology, an introduction to a beauty queen. Of course, at this initial meeting, sparks fly and the rest of the book isn’t a “will they or won’t they” scenario but a “how are they going to pull it off this time” adventure. Now, never having read this style of romance (or any style of romance, really, but this style in particular reminds me of the short Harlequin-type I remember from my days as a waldenbooks bookseller) I made some general assumptions about the format and formula. I figured there was going to be sex (there was, and, quite frankly, a little harder – pun definitely intended – than I was expecting), there was going to be bumps along the way, and we were going to end up in happily ever after position. I don’t think I’m giving too much away to say that yes, these tropes were all fulfilled.
What I also wasn’t expecting were well-rounded characters, some well researched information on baseball and music theory and a finale which sent onion chopping ninjas into my house. Sam Winger, the beauty queen in question, is more than just an attractive foil for DJ Thomas, the aforementioned pitcher. She’s smart, driven, has a university degree and just enough flaws to make her seem real but not too many as if to show Klasky is trying too hard. DJ, on the other hand, is a bit of a stereotype, not really coming into his own until the end of the book. That could also be intentional, though, as the character doesn’t really see himself as anything other than a stereotype, incapable of change, until he is forced to reconcile his own emotions.
The end resolution does come a little quickly for my tastes, and wraps everything up in a nice neat bow, but again, I blame the tropes of the genre more than the writing and story development.
So, I was asked to give an honest review. Here it is. If you’re expecting baseball along the lines of W.P. Kinsella or Bernard Malamud, you’re not going to get it. But if you want a nice afternoon’s reading, with a bit of spice and a happy ending, then Ms. Klasky has hit at least a stand-up double.