Jennifer Bernard, the USA Today bestselling author of the Bachelor Firemen series, scores another homerun with a brand-new series about sexy, single baseball players.
Playing for the Kilby Catfish is hotshot pitcher Caleb Hart's last chance to salvage his career after a major league meltdown. But the day of his opener with the minor league team, Caleb strikes out with the gorgeous woman who is delivering a petition to run the unruly Catfish out of town. Now, to stay in the lineup, Caleb will need to score big with the feisty brunette he can't keep out of his thoughts.
After the nasty lies Sadie Merritt's rich ex-boyfriend spread about her all over town, she's lucky to have a job at all. She can't afford to screw it up by falling for the player who is supposed to be helping her change the image of the fun-loving Catfish. But that's easier said than done when Caleb's voice alone is enough to make her pulse race. And when he surprises her with a mind-blowing kiss, she knows there's no turning back.
The first Love Between the Bases novel is a sporty romance that never scores. Sadie Merritt , a single girl in a small town, is struggling to get by. After breaking up with her ex, she became the object of a social media smear campaign that cost her her job and much of her hope for a happy life. She finds refuge working in the mayor's office. Baseball player Caleb Hart has been sent down from the majors to regain his confidence with a minor-league team, the Catfish. Bernard piles on the kooky elements of minor-league baseball to go with bush-league drama around a central couple that lacks energy and interest. While the prose is fine, absurd situations, meaningless interpersonal uproar, and dull characters all lead to an uninspired resolution.
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All of Me
All of Me, by Jennifer Bernard, is the first in her new Love Between the Bases series. The hero is Caleb Hart a pitcher for the Kilby Catfish, a triple A baseball team where he is hoping to regain a spot on a major league team. He is dealing with a lot of stress between sharing guardianship for his younger twin brothers with his college age sister and letting his on parole father live with him. The heroine is Sadie Merritt a down on her luck assistant to the mayor of Kilby, Texas. She had the guts to break up with her ex-boyfriend who was a member of a rich family who ruled the town. Sadie’s ex-boyfriend was not happy about being dumped so he spread nasty lies about her all over town and Sadie swears off men.
Sadie and Caleb work together to get more of the town to support the baseball team. Through this time spent together they discover how much they share as well as how much they enjoy being together. Their chemistry is amazing and hard to ignore.
I loved the way Bernard showed the growth of the relationship between these two characters as well as how they learn to trust each other. I also appreciated Sadie’s attempt to help Caleb out of a difficult situation, meeting her ex in order to do this. I highly recommend this book to all readers and I cannot wait for the next story in this series.
I received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review
Quick, fun read
I was interested in reading All of Me because I love baseball - America's pasttime. This story brings in an interesting twist to a romantic happily-ever-after because Sadie is recovering from a scandal out of her control, and Caleb is hiding from a scandal, lurking in the shadows. I really enjoyed reading the baseball aspects of the story. The tussles that the team can't seem to help but get involved with brought a comedic facet to the story. The author also creates a group of characters that you hate - that you love to hate - the Wades. The Wades believe they "own" the town yet their own hubris becomes their downfall as Sadie, and the Mayor, and the Kilby Catfish together are able to bring them down, much to my delight. The characters were generally likable and the foundation has been laid for future books highlighting other residents of Kilby, TX.
I struggled with the writing style. The author enhances the primary aspects of her sentences by sprinkling in numerous superlatives, metaphors, and similes to provide emphasis to certain points. Those writing techniques can be effective when used strategically and judiciously, but for this author, it seems to be a "go to" writing style and it became quickly overused. Some examples of this style include, "I could touch you until the end of time", "Because I want it more than life itself...", "chasing every thought to kingdom come", "had just screwed their brains out", "blown off the top of his head", "like the most beautiful flower in the world," "it could have been a house landing on him," and "like two survivors of a natural disaster". Those cliches, similes, metaphors, and superlatives are all contained within about a 10 page span in the book, which in my definition qualifies as overused. There are long stretches of the book that flow well with a good balance of dialog, prose, and appropriate writing enhancements, but other parts which felt bursting with these cliches, it made it difficult to focus on the story.
All of Me is a sweet love story where, in typical fashion, the hero needs to be smacked upside the head to realize what he's got, or lost. I cheered for Sadie as she took back her strength and power, and know there are good stories lurking in the future for the supporting cast of characters from Kilby. A light, enjoyable read.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I never completely felt the connection between Caleb and Sadie
Caleb is facing a low point in his career, putting too much pressure on himself to take care of his family. His past is something he’d love to leave in the past, but it keeps showing up again in the form of his ex-con father. Sadie’s just trying to fly under the radar and salvage what she can of her reputation. They’re not all that impressed with each other when they first meet, but a tentative friendship is born, and before either of them see it coming, their feelings cross into something more serious.
Sadie’s situation is sad and unfortunately not all that uncommon. Her ex-boyfriend, mad at her for having broken up with him, took to slut-shaming her by posting intimate pictures of her online and emailing around an embarrassing video. Whether she’s done anything wrong or not (in this case not) it seems that everyone has turned against her. Even finding a job was next to impossible until the mayor hired her as a favor to Sadie’s mother. The local minor league baseball team on which Caleb plays has a past and reputation of their own, and Sadie is tasked with helping them clean up their image — but Caleb’s simply too hard to resist of course.
While their friendship made sense to me as it grew, I never completely felt the connection between Caleb and Sadie. Fortunately, their individual stories were so interesting that I couldn’t help but keep reading. I was most impressed by the fact that Sadie, while still labeled and shamed by the locals, has enough confidence and self-worth to stand up and eventually go after what she truly wants with Caleb. There was lots of not-so-platonic banter early in their friendship, and it carried over into their more serious relationship as it grew. The fact that while they both initially resisted, they soon gave in and didn’t care what the town thought, just made them both that much more likable in my eyes.
All of Me is a bit different than your standard romance novel, though it follows the same general formula. What makes it stand out are the characters themselves, each dealing with very realistic and believable problems, even as their relationship together grows. Sadie’s a bit of a spitfire, and Caleb is incredibly generous in the way he puts his family first. If you love a good love story and really appreciate characters who don’t fall for every contrived bit of drama thrown their way, this one is definitely the book for you.
***FicCentral received this book from Harper Collins (via Edelweiss) for free in exchange for an honest review.