Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Quick Looks at New Books

By Kate Angell
Contemporary Romance

The Premise: The Richmond Rogues, baseball's sexiest major league team, are favorites for the World Series right up until their pre-season Media Day, when the three top power hitters get involved in a brawl so damaging to the team’s image and roster that the owner benches them for the first thirteen games. Collectively known as “The Bat Pack,” Cody “Psycho” McMillan, Jesse “Romeo” Bellisaro, and Chase “Chaser” Tallon find themselves with time on their hands and a lot of angry attitude to work off. Nothing like a lengthy suspension to throw your personal life into focus. Psycho has a gutted landmark Colonial, two badly behaved Newfoundland puppies, and the obsessive Daughters of Richmond historic preservation committee to deal with when Keely Douglas shows up at his door. She is trying to bluff her way into a renovation job; Psycho can smell a con but once Keely sweet talks her way past the Daughters, he hires her, and gets a whole lot more than he bargained for. Romeo, so nicknamed because of his way with the ladies and his title of “Sexiest Man in Baseball,” is trying to make amends to Emerson Kent, the reporter he knocked over during the Media Day brawl, and comes up against one woman who remains unmoved by his legendary charm. Meanwhile, Chaser accidently locks lips with childhood friend Jen Reid, and realizes the girl next door may mean more to him than he had guessed.

What I liked: I enjoyed the whole Richmond Rogues scenario in Strike Zone, and I like it just as much here. The team is full of quirky characters, and the professional sports background is fun. The stories unfold over the length of a baseball season, so the pace is good and the development of the relationships doesn’t seem rushed. The heroines are all different types in terms of looks, background, and attitude, but all likeable and believable.

What I didn’t like: The Chaser/Jen storyline was not as developed as the other two, and just didn’t hold my interest to the same degree. Having the three stories in one volume also means you don’t get quite as much detail on the characters background.

Overall: I think Curveball, along with Strike Zone and Squeeze Play, are well executed and enjoyable romances, perfect for the season and a lot of fun whether or not you are a baseball fan.

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