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REVIEW:  Perfect Pitch by Mindy Klasky

REVIEW: Perfect Pitch by Mindy Klasky

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Reigning beauty queen Samantha Winger is launching her pet project, a music program for kids. All she has to do is follow the pageant’s rules—no smoking, drinking, or “cavorting” in public.

That’s fine, until D.J. Thomas—God’s gift to baseball—throws her a wild pitch. He slams her in an interview, and the video goes viral. Sam’s no shrinking violet. She parlays D.J.’s apology into a national T.V. appearance—and a very unexpected, very public kiss.

Soon, paparazzi catch the couple in a steamy make-out session, and Sam’s music program is on the block. The blazing hot relationship is threatened even more when D.J.’s son begs to trade in Little League for music class.

Can Sam and D.J. sizzle past the sour notes and find their perfect pitch?

Dear Ms. Klasky,

After enjoying what is actually the second book in this series, “Catching Hell,” I knew I wanted to go back and start from the beginning. While there are some things I liked about “Perfect Pitch,” it wouldn’t have got me caught on these books had I read it first.

The relationship between DJ and Sam starts innocently enough with DJ making a thoughtless comment about the Summer Queen. What or who is the Summer Queen? A made up beauty contest set in North Carolina with Samantha Winger as the current title holder. Sam has dealt with ten months worth of the “morality” clauses expected of the reigning Queen – no public drinking, carousing, hooting or hollering. She manages to turn DJ’s public apology into an opportunity to publicize her passion which is helping re-establish music in NC’s public school system.

Sparks fly between DJ and Sam but after a steamy kiss photo taken by a local paparazzi hits the papers, Sam is on probation as far as pageant officials are concerned. She can deal with that now that a local businessman has offered to help get her Musicall program off the ground, though. It just so happens that the school chosen for the pilot is attended by DJ’s son Daniel and it’s then that Sam discovers the boy’s love of music and dislike of the life his father has planned for him – to follow in his footsteps as a major league pitcher just as DJ did with his father, Hall of Famer Dan Thomas.

While DJ is amazing at reading and understanding Sam’s interest in him, he’s incredibly obtuse about his son. And while Sam is determined to see students get the chance to learn to love music, she’s seemingly blind to how sneaking around with DJ could end up sinking Musicall almost before it even starts.

To be honest, this one is not as good as second novel. The shorter length worked there because focus is entirely on the two main characters while here there are distractions to the relationship between DJ and Sam. Yes, Daniel, DJ’s son, is a point of contention between Sam and DJ in terms of his future as either a ball player or a musician but time has to be spent with him and explaining him instead of spending it on Sam and DJ together. As well, Sam’s issues with the Summer Queen rules serve to take time away from the couple together.

There is also less baseball in this book. A little time is spent on the fabulousness of DJ’s no hitter game and the dreary reality of a long series of games on the road as well as how careful DJ must be with his pitching arm but it’s more background white noise instead of front and center to the book.

When the conflict over Daniel’s music v sports flares up, the already short term flash sexy relationship between Sam and DJ crumbles in a heartbeat only to be just as quickly resurrected with a simple “I’m sorry” and seemingly all is forgiven to be followed by more behavior that any romance reader can tell will lead to disaster.

When the Big Breakup occurs late in the story, Sam and DJ do finally yell their concerns and problems at each other. However, when the public reunion takes place – and yeah, I’ll give DJ props for making sure that Sam gets a public apology and proposal after the public way their relationship torpedoed her career – I’m blinking at how easy it all goes. Over a longer period of time, with more discussion I could believe this but as truncated as the action becomes, it was too much too soon along with too little baseball. C

~Jayne

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REVIEW:  The Bad Boy of Bluebonnet by Jessica Clare

REVIEW: The Bad Boy of Bluebonnet by Jessica Clare

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Dear Ms. Clare,

I bought this self-published novella for 99c. It’s book 4.5 in the Bluebonnet series but can be easily read as a stand-alone.

Emily Allard-Smith runs The Peppermint House, the only bed and breakfast in Bluebonnet. It doesn’t get many patrons but fortunately, she has enough money that it’s not a big deal for her. She loves to bake and generously shares her cakes, muffins and biscuits cookies with the local police and pretty much anyone else who wants them. She dreams of opening a bakery. I reckon she should. There aren’t enough bakeries in the world. This is my firm belief.

Her ex-husband Braden and she bought the old Victorian house as a fixer-upper when they were still married. But shortly after they moved in, Braden was offered his own reality tv show, ghost-hunting around the country. He took off and they divorced. She got the house in the settlement. Braden was always into ghosts and one of the things he always told Emily was that the house was haunted. She is lonely and this is only magnified when there are no guests staying at The Peppermint House. She regularly hears thumps and scrapes coming from the attic in the middle of the night and her lights flicker. She’s terrified Braden was right and there are actually ghosts. She’s worn out her welcome with the local police who generously attended her house a few times in the middle of the night to check (although, I must say they did a pretty ordinary job of it) and Braden is too far away and wouldn’t come anyway. In the middle of the night when she feels she can’t call on anyone for help, her loneliness is the worst.

Jericho Lozada has recently come to town and is staying with friends while he works out if there is enough business in Bluebonnet to sustain a handyman/plumber and while he decides if he likes it enough to stay. He looks like a bad boy – with tattoos and piercings, a mohawk and a Harley. Emily, on the surface at least, looks like his exact opposite. She’s buttoned up in old fashioned cardigans. Nevertheless, an attraction sparks when Jericho does some handiwork of the carpentry variety at The Peppermint House and she bakes him cookies. When she calls him in the middle of the night to check the attic he comes right on over and… let’s just say he solves a number of her problems. Ahem.

It’s sexy and fun and cute and a pleasant evening’s entertaining read without being anything particularly earth-shattering. It delivered exactly what it promised and that’s nothing to complain about.

The sex is pretty hot and enthusiastic which is always fun to read.  Yay for enthusiastic sex.

The copy is mostly clean but there was a continuity error in that when Jericho comes over in the middle of the night he’s still wearing his Scooby-Doo sleep pants (adorbs!) but in the morning they’ve suddenly turned into jeans.

There is little conflict between Emily and Jericho once they start talking to one another and it works as a novella quite well. Braden is no serious threat to their happiness and that situation resolves quickly. I liked it and it’s certainly worth the 99c pricetag.  I give The Bad Boy of Bluebonnet a B.

regards,
Kaetrin

 

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