Wednesday, April 9, 2014

[Double Review]: "Better Than Perfect"

Better Than Perfect by Kristina Mathews
Publisher: Lyrical Press (April 7, 2014) 
Series: More Than a Game, 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance

The woman he left behind and the son he never knew are tougher opponents than any he’s met on the field.

Pitcher Johnny “The Monk” Scottsdale has won awards, been named an All-star and has a perfect game to his credit. Known for his legendary control both on and off the field, his pristine public image makes him the ideal person to work with youth players in a preseason minicamp. Except the camp is run by the one woman he can’t forget…the woman who made him a “monk.”

Alice Harrison’s three strikes include an unexpected pregnancy, a marriage of convenience and young widowhood. She once traded her dreams so Johnny could have a chance at making it to the Majors. Johnny comes back into her life just as she’s ready to resign as foundation director and pursue her own dreams of finally earning her teaching credential. Her plans may go on hold, though, depending on the reaction when she confesses she may have kept a major league secret from Johnny and her son.

With the minutes ticking by until Johnny will leave for spring training, they’ll need to let go of the past and work together in order to win the game of love.

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Kame's Review:

Johnny Scottsdale is in the last years of his baseball career.  He has signed on with the San Francisco Goliaths in his quest for a World Series ring. It is a town with lots of memories. He went to college nearby and this is where he met the only woman he ever loved, Alice. Alice still lives in San Francisco and has followed Johnny’s entire career; she and her son.

Johnny has one of the roughest childhoods that I have read about in a book; but he doesn’t use it as an excuse to behave badly.  If anything he is a model for all his young fans.  His nickname is “Monk” because of how he handles himself on and off the field. As a mom to a sports loving child I would love to see a few real-life Johnnys. He is quiet and unsure, still bearing the hurt of the past. Alice is one who also bears the weight of her childhood. She is selfless to almost a fault, as she gives very little importance to her own feelings until pushed at the end of the book.  Johnny and Alice are wonderful. We get to know enough of their backstory to enjoy the current. One bright spot for me was the few POV scenes from Zach Alice's 13 year old son; and his thoughts of his mom dating a baseball player.

The plot has a short timeline that moves swiftly. I didn’t feel rushed. I enjoyed the baseball scenes and the views of San Francisco. There are few secondary characters of importance. Johnny’s teammate Bryce intrigues me and I wonder if a future book will be written for him. While this book has a popular plot theme it did not read as a redo for me, it has enough original elements that made it fresh and kept me interested. I hope this is the first in a series of books about this team and that we get future glimpses at Johnny and Alice.

A great baseball romance book - set during Spring Training.  If you don't know baseball it is okay, but for those of us who are fans it ups the pleasure! 

4 1/2 STARS! 

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Kame received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for her honest opinion.

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Pat's's Review:

This is a baseball story with a different twist. Instead of the typical bad boy player, carouser and drinker, this players nick name is "The Monk."  Of course there is a story behind this nickname which makes this novel a fun romantic read.

Johnny "The Monk" Scottsdale is heading back to San Francisco to join his new team the Goliaths. He's looking for a team where he can hopefully get a championship ring, and perhaps retire. He's had plenty of accolades, including pitching a perfect game, but he's starting to feel it's time to do something else, he's just not sure what.  The fact that the girl he loved more than anything is living in San Francisco may or may not have anything to do with his decision. Johnny has loved Alice since he met her in college. She meant everything to him, until without warning when he was drafted to the minor leagues, she suddenly broke up with him.  No other woman since has made him feel even close to his feelings for Alice. Thus his nickname.  If he just happens to run into Alice......

Alice loved Johnny with all her heart. Pushing him away is still the hardest thing she ever did. She felt she would hold him back from making his mark in baseball, but mostly her insecurities convinced her he couldn't be faithful with all the groupies and beautiful women falling at his feet.  So she moved on, and found comfort with their mutual best friend Mel. He had always been attracted to her, but kept in the background. They married, and that attraction slipped away.  Mel died in a car crash after they had been married for five years,  and she became very close to his parents as they helped each other to begin living again.
She also had a young son to consider, his name is Zack and he wants to play baseball and Johnny Scottsdale is his hero.

When Johnny runs into Alice and meets her son, it seems he has more questions than answers. They both agree Zack's well being should be their focus, which opens all new facts and decisions.

I enjoy reading baseball/romance novels, and this is a very entertaining one.


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Pat received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for her honest opinion.

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Thanks for the reviews, ladies! :) I'll have to put this one on my list, sounds great!

Do you have a favorite sports romance?


Until Next Time,


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Loupe Duffy said...

I love sports romances too, one of my favorites (old) is Chicago Stars by Elizabeth Phillips, that was a good introduction for me. I have to check this out.
Thank you guys!

The_Book_Queen said...

I know; I'm curious about this one, too!

The_Book_Queen said...

Oh, I've not read SEP's Chicago Stars series, but I've heard many, many positive things about them! :)

Loupe Duffy said...

Is outdated I imagine, I listened a long time ago, and the narrator was one of the best. I really enjoyed them.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup said...

OOo how I love sports romances! I hadn't seen this one but it sounds perfect for me! Thanks ladies!