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REVIEW: Knowing the Score by Kat Latham

Rugby player Spencer Bailey is determined to win a spot on England’s World Cup team. But with a month break before the selectors start watching him, he’s eager to have fun with a woman who knows the score: the relationship will end when rugby season begins. The lovely American Caitlyn Sweeney seems perfect for the role of temporary lover, since her visa will run out soon anyway.

Caitlyn works for an international disaster relief organization and can handle the world’s worst crises, but she flinches from her own. Her past has left her with a fear of intimacy so deep that she has trouble getting close to anyone—until she meets sexy Spencer. His hot body and easygoing nature are too much for even her to resist.

Neither Caitlyn nor Spencer expects to fall hard for each other. But with their relationship deadline approaching, the old rules of the game seem less important than before…until past secrets surface, challenging everything they thought they knew about each other.

Dear Ms. Latham,

These were some of the thoughts I had while enjoying “Knowing the Score.” “I’m floating through reading this. It’s awesome when I connect with characters and a plot. The book is almost reading itself.” Needless to say when I finished it, I knew it would be one of my recs for this month.

Knowing the Score by Kat Latham, recommended by Jayne

Knowing the Score by Kat Latham, recommended by Jayne

Why did I check this book out? The hero is a rugby player and I wanted to know more about the sport. Being an American basketball fan, all I knew of rugby was 1 – the New Zealand All Blacks, 2 – the 1995 Rugby World Cup game won by South Africa (I saw a great documentary on that game) and 3 – rugby players look hot. Now I know all kinds of stuff about player positions – ahem, naughty songs – also ahem, that the ball must be thrown backwards to be moved forwards and the players don’t wear athletic cups. Yikes. See? I’m learning.

But wait! There’s more. The book is funny and real and the dialogue is fantastic. I love the relationship between Spencer and his granddad. The laddish kidding sounds like what I’ve heard in British shows I’ve seen. Spencer’s grandmum also sounds like a woman I’d have loved to sit and talk with. And Caitlyn has an amazing job that actually helps do good in the world. I’m with Spencer in being in awe of her.

Caitlyn’s virginity situation may sound a bit extreme but when viewed in terms of confidence and self image, it seems believable. Her background hasn’t exactly built up her self esteem to begin with and as she says, as time goes on, her worry over it has just grown. The plotus coitus interruptus that occurs before Spencer and Caitlyn finally deal with that pesky condition of hers might have annoyed me in lesser authorial hands but here the lead up foreplay is hot enough that I didn’t mind as much. Certainly not as much as poor Spencer’s blue balls.

I want Spencer. I want to marry this man. We’ve had some reviews recently that mentioned heroes winning their heroines by treating them nicely and that fits here in spades. Not only is he patient and a sweetie, he’s sexy as hell. Spencer should be cloned and mass produced for export. Britain would have a trade surplus that would be the envy of the world. I mean really, a man who will carefully look after his sick-as-a-dog heroine, sees to her sexual needs before his own as well as mentally devising ways to pulverize the twat who hurt her in the past (not that he’s going to go out and waste time on the bastard but he does imagine how much the wanker deserves it) and who gives up what he gives up to be there for the birth of his child? Me wants.

When Caitlyn’s bemused question of Spencer – “do you come with subtitles?” appeared, I laughed out loud. The difference between US/UK English slang is hilarious. Note to self – never use the term “fanny” in England. Spencer’s whispered statement to Lily “That’s your mummy, but she’ll probably ask you to call her Mommy. You’ll notice she talks funny, but we love her anyway.” cracked me up too. But how did they work out the visa issue?, I still want to know.

It’s too bad that all the lovingly developed horrible issues that Caitlyn has are seemingly healed in an instant. It’s a lovely conceit that Spencer’s heartfelt assurances of Caitlyn’s “beauty in his eyes” and that he’ll never physically hurt her will be all that she needs for the mental scars of a lifetime to be wiped clean and banished from her mind but I’m afraid it takes a bit more than that regardless of Caitlyn’s nicely delineated inner strength.

But having said that, Spencer and Caitlyn do finally talk and get everything out in the open. All those nasty little secrets that we the readers knew all along would come out at the worst time do just that and the fall out is crushing but I do get the feeling that Caitlyn has finally opened herself totally to love and will trust Spencer forever. Do girls play rugby because I get the feeling that Lily is going to learn how to spin the egg at a very young age. B+



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Kat emailed us and asked if we would be interested in tacking on a giveaway to our review. Why not, right?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. cleo
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 09:07:17

    Great review. FWIW, I briefly dated a woman who played rugby in college, so yes, girls do play. (I also dated a guy who played rugby in college – and I still don’t know anything about the rugby, except that rugby players are hot).

  2. Jen
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 09:32:24

    Just wanted to say that was a great review. Thanks! :)

  3. Lynne Connolly
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 09:41:17

    yes, women play rugby.
    Here’s another result for you – Australia 17, England 20 – I cried.
    The All Blacks do a war-dance before every match. No cheerleaders in rugby union!
    And can it be that you’ve never heard of the Dieux du Stade calendar? The one that started the craze for nude calendars? (but being French, they do it with style!)
    Tip of the day – google for Dieux du Stade. You won’t be sorry!

  4. Review and giveaway at Dear Author — Kat Latham
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 10:39:01

    […] Today I got a B+ review from Dear Author and I’m CHUFFED TO BITS! (That’s a good thing.) Dear Author is a much harder grader than Mr. Hinrichs was. […]

  5. Faye
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 11:16:34

    I was a female rugby player! It’s the best of all sports, and I’m so excited to check this out. Just one small niggle on the cover- those look awfully flimsy for rugby shorts.

  6. LeeF
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 12:28:16

    And it is $1.99 on amazon

  7. miki
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 12:40:09

    Great review… if i had any doubt about wanted to read this before i don’t have any now!
    thank you also for the giveaway!

  8. Li
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 12:55:53

    I caved and bought! I was eyeing this after the DA Recommends post, but decided to hold off until the review…

    £0.99 @ Amazon UK FYI.

  9. Kate K.F.
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 13:51:31

    I lived in New Zealand for three years and fell in love with rugby, this sounds like a great read.

  10. Kim
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 14:32:59

    Nice review. I visited the author’s site before she was published. It’s nice to see her book getting good reviews.

  11. Trixee
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 16:23:09

    Yes, the New Zealand team is the All Blacks (not the Blacks) and the dance they perform is a Maori dance called the Haka (DEFINITELY check out the various youtube clips!). Many of the teams from the Pacific Rim have their own dances that they do as well – teams from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, etc.

    I started following Rugby about two years ago – especially the Rugby Sevens series which is much faster than 15’s. Plus, both of my nephews play rugby and I love watching their games as well. But I’m an All Blacks fan all the way! Can’t wait for Rugby’s return to the Olympics in 2016. Maybe the US can pull together a team that can win a medal :~)

    I think I have to read this book!

  12. Jo
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 17:24:27

    I really enjoyed this book. I’m from Australia and I am a rugby league fan but union is kinda similar to league so I wasn’t as lost as I tend to get with baseball or American football :) I was a little put off by the whole shuddering while hearing the Aussie accent but I think that’s because I just read Down London Road where Bradens ex is an Aussie and apparently horrible so I started to get a complex :) I did enjoy the lost in translation scenes and I would recommend not using the term “fanny” in Australia either :)

  13. Jayne
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 18:09:16

    @cleo: @Lynne Connolly: @Faye: Women play too! Awesome. I will have to find some games to watch.

  14. Jayne
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 18:12:49

    @Trixee: Sorry and my apologies to the New Zealand team and their fans. I’ve corrected the review. Someone (I think CD) mentioned the Haka ages ago on another of my reviews (of a footie book) and I checked it out then. ::fans self::

  15. Jayne
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 18:16:05

    @Lynne Connolly: Just checked out Dieux du Stade. Hot and Damn.

  16. Jayne
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 18:18:13

    @Kim: I’m excited that she’s got another book in the series due out early next year about one of Spencer’s team mates.

  17. Sunita
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 19:29:58

    I eyed this book on Netgalley but forced myself to pass on it because I knew I wouldn’t get it reviewed in a timely fashion. But I really hoped it was good, so I’m so happy to see your review! It sounds like it’s everything I hoped it would be.

    I don’t follow rugby that closely, but when I’m in countries where it’s shown on TV and there’s a Cup going on, I usually watch, so I’ve pretty much got the hang of the basics. I knew someone from NZ years ago who explained the team’s importance to me and turned me into a fan.

  18. library addict
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 19:33:20

    I really enjoyed this book, too. I thought it had a good balance between the humor and angst. There was a bit of melodrama with some of the characters’ pasts (particularly the heroine) but the author zigged when I thought she would zag often enough that it didn’t bother me. I liked that the h/h talked to each other and owned up to their behavior like adults.

    Having lived in England, I so appreciated that the American and British characters each used their own slang. (It’s a pet peeve of mine when contemporary stories are set in foreign countries and all the characters talk like they’re from the US because the publisher thinks American readers are too dense or lazy to understand and Americanize everything.)

  19. Connie
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 20:16:47

    Great review. I also like to point out that this is Kat Latham’s debut novel!

  20. hapax
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 21:56:22

    Aw. I’m not much of one for sports romances, but this looks like great fun.

  21. frye boots
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 02:39:10

    I started to get a complex :) I did enjoy the lost in translation scenes and I would recommend not using the term “fanny” in Australia either :)

  22. Connie
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 05:41:09

    @library addict: The author is from California and she met her British husband while she was living in the UK. Maybe this explains why her British and American characters can use their own slang.

  23. Ellie
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 05:59:49

    Shuddering at the accent? I always thought Aussie accents were the hottest, maybe competing with Irish. Sure you can’t understand them, but who cares?

    Bought this. Looks great.

  24. Jayne
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 07:41:33

    @Ellie: There’s a reason – which you will quickly discover – for why Spencer shudders at a woman with an Aussie accent (which I just love to listen to).

  25. Jayne
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 07:44:51

    @library addict: I LOVE to learn new terms and slang so I definitely want authors to retain their own voice/word choices for books not set in the US/featuring non-US characters. That’s half the fun of it.

  26. Jayne
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 07:55:18

    @Sunita: I’ve been trying to do better in making sure I don’t overload my reading plate so I can manage to get books read before or during their release month. I don’t always manage it but I’m trying.

  27. Karen
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 09:48:27

    This was such a good book! I’m glad I read the review, otherwise I would have missed this author.

    My son’s girlfriend, all 5’6″ and 120ish pounds of her, plays club rugby at the university.

  28. Statch
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 13:55:10

    I bought this because the review said the hero was nice, and I loved it. The humor was great — really funny dialog — and the characters really came off the page for me. I’m disappointed it’s her only book! Hope she writes fast…

  29. Winners of the Dear Author giveaway — Kat Latham
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 18:37:50

    […] all! Thanks again to Jayne at Dear Author for the awesome review. I floated on air all weekend. (Actually, I spent most of the weekend editing the second book in […]

  30. j3nny
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 02:40:49

    I’m glad I saw this review because I gave this book a try and loved it. Can’t wait to see what the author has coming up next. After I finished it, I went on to google more rubgy romance books but was surprised to find very little results. I saw a recommendation for Rosalind James (which looked interesting) but would anyone have any other recommendations?

  31. Lynne Connolly
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 08:35:17

    Harlequin put out a series of books in conjunction with the English Rugby Union, but I can’t really recommend them. In most of them rugby was very much in the background, and only one that I can remember got the details right.
    One book had a designer of rugby jerseys (yeah, right!) who provided the team with one each, no spares! For those of you who have watched a game, can you imagine? There have to be at least four per player, or they wouldn’t have allowed it – one for the first half, one for the second, a third in case they got torn or damaged (dangerous in a physical game like this one) and a fourth for posing with the cup afterwards and meeting the sponsors.
    Mind you, as you can see in the Dieux du Stade calendars, rugby players look better naked!
    The football season has just started over here. We have some great looking players in that, too, but my editors don’t know if a football series would be popular. What do you think?
    Check out Mario Balotelli, completely insane, but completely gorgeous! And the Italian football team do the photo shoots for Armani underwear.

  32. REVIEW: Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 11:02:07

    […] drumming my fingers as I (impatiently) wait for the follow-up to “Knowing the Score” (hint, hint), I decided to see if you had any other offerings at Carina. Yay, you did and I caught […]

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