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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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Wednesday News: Börsenverein v. Amazon, the future of digital lending, YouTube’s subscription service, and polling readers for a book title

Wednesday News: Börsenverein v. Amazon, the future of digital lending, YouTube’s...

Note: We’ve had some caching issues where the front page (the one with the slider) failed to update the content. The http://dearauthor.com/blog page was fine. I think we’ve fixed it but if you visit DA and there’s not updated content, let us know by emailing [email protected] with the issue (and a screencap if possible) so we can forward that to our developer.

German trade body files Amazon complaint – Börsenverein, a German trade association, has filed a claim with German competition authorities, alleging that Amazon has been trying to negotiate an increase in ebook percentages from 30% to 40-50% with Bonnier, and thus “abusing its market power.” Reports claim that Amazon is, in both the US and the German markets, removing pre-order buttons and delaying shipping of certain books.

In the UK, publishers have told The Bookseller that they too are facing tough negotiations with the giant retailer, with Amazon seeking parity on trade terms for e-books and p-books, and the ability to POD title where a publisher has run out of stock, or is having delivery issues. The Bookseller also noted that the European Union’s Directorate General for Competition is understood to have approached major UK publishers over an investigation into Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clauses. –The Bookseller

What’s Next for E-books in Libraries? – Random House recently hosted a Publishers Weekly executive breakfast, which included a discussion among librarians and publishers, among others, regarding the future of digital books and libraries. This discussion reflects a shift in the overall conversation about libraries and digital books, which had previously been focused on getting as many publisher as possible to agree to have their books digitally available in public libraries. Now, though, there is apparently more attention being paid to optimizing consumer satisfaction and innovating strategies to keep digital lending not just viable but future-oriented.

In one of the more provocative proposals, Mitchell Davis, founder and chief business officer of BiblioBoard, a digital platform provider, told the audience that libraries should consider moving away from their focus on e-book bestsellers. Instead of spending money on a limited number of frontlist e-book titles, generating long waits in hold queues and patron dissatisfaction, why not concentrate limited resources on building a better user experience, based on the library’s “long tail” collections? –Publishers Weekly

YouTube, Record Labels And The Retailer Hegemony – As YouTube prepares to launch a subscription service, music labels are considering the value that the video service brings to their business. Some independent labels have refused Google’s terms, and now there’s a question of how much power YouTube really has, and the extent to which music labels are beholden to the service: “YouTube has become phenomenally powerful but delivers comparatively little back in terms of direct revenue and is now happy to flex its muscle to find out who is really boss.” The relationship seems a bit analogous to that between publishers and Amazon, and considering the hard lessons the music industry has learned vis a vis content delivery, perhaps it’s again time to pay attention to what’s happening there (p.s. I’m not sure about the reference to Brazilians below, because this blog appears to be UK-based and not Brazil-based).

Labels are beholden to YouTube as a promotional channel.  They have turned a blind eye to whether its ‘unique’ licensing status might be stealing the oxygen out of the streaming market for all those services which have to pay far more for their licenses.  The underlying question the labels must ask themselves is whether YouTube’s inarguably valuable promotional value outweighs the value it simultaneously extracts from music sales revenue.  Indeed 25% of consumers state that they have no need to pay for a music subscription service because they get all the music they need for free from YouTube (see figure).  This rises to 33% among 18 to 24 year olds and to 34% among all Brazilians. –Music Industry Blog

HOW I USED FACEBOOK TO PICK MY NEXT BOOK TITLE – An interesting post from Maya Rodale about how she used Facebook polls to forge an appropriate title for her upcoming book. One of the most interesting things about this post for me is the insular context in which titles are chosen (something I knew, but it’s interesting to see it spelled out here so clearly). Of course, since book ideas aren’t really tested out with readers, why would titles be, right?!

Next I learned that data isn’t everything in publishing

I emailed my agent and editor with the exciting news that I had a kick ass title backed up by data. I was then informed I could not use that title precisely because it was so similar to The Flame and The Flower, which they had also published.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a title changed—my first book was supposed to be called The Pleasure Revolution but a buyer at one of the major accounts said they would not stock the book with that title because they didn’t feel readers would like it. We went with a different title rather than lose some major print distribution. It never occurred to anyone—my co-author, our editor, our publisher, the buyer—to test the title with readers. –Maya Rodale