REVIEW: Boys of Summer by Julie Leto, Kimberly Raye & Leslie Kelly
This whole “acknowledging your illness as the first step to recovery” is not working for me. I have already said that I don’t like anthologies but I keep buying them. I blame this mistake on the fact that I love sports and who can resist the ass on that guy? Boys of Summer is a compilation of three short stories featuring heroes who are employed by the Louisville Slammers, a major league baseball team. The sex scenes are quite explicit in this story, as explicit as the ones sold at Ellora’s Cave. Do Elizabeth Bevarly or Jill Barnett or Jan Butler know about this? Because these stories and the authors who wrote them are every bit as pornographic as those accursed epublished books.
These stories all suffer from the same problems
1) lack of showing
2) minimal dialogue
3) attempt to fit an entire romance into a compressed space
4) a blushing herione
Dear Ms. Leto:
Your story set the stage for the entire collection and involved baseball errors so large that I could not get past it to enjoy the story. I kept saying “this would never happen” and thus was unable to become immersed in the characters. Donovan Ross is the owner of the Louisville Sluggers. A secret deal has recently come to light that the team will be sold to a Las Vegas money man. Do you see the problem here? A) there can be no secret deal because all team sales must be approved by 3/4 of the owners and MLB and B) you aren’t moving a team to Las Vegas. There are no professional sports teams in LV because of the legalized gambling. The entire set up of the story is predicated on a false construct. This is fine if you are writing fantasy but you aren’t writing fantasy. You set your story in the contemporary world and used MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL as your forum.
What is possibly worse than the false premise of your story is the characterizations. The heroine, Callie Andrews, is a restaunteur whose business arose from money she got through her divorce 6 years earlier from Donovan. Callie blames Donovan for the potential loss of her business given that it is based around the Louisville Sluggers. If her restaurant is any good, she should be able to rename it and keep going but instead she would rather harp on Donovan for intentionally trying to ruin her and the entire city of Louisville. Worse yet, Callie takes no responsiblity for the divorce at all. It is all Donovan’s fault for traveling and not being supportive of her desire to make a living on her own. Not that she ever talked about that with him. She just assumed. The false plot and the bad characters lead me to give a C- for Fever Pitch.
Dear Ms. Raye:
I haven’t ever read you before. Your story featured the childhood friendship of Brody Jessup, Slugger pitching coach, and Babe Bannister that grows into an adult love. Babe is convinced she wants to seduce Cody Cameron, the Sluggers shortstop, before the Sluggers leave Louisville. (what’s with the cutesy names?) Babe owns The Sweet Spot, a ice cream parlor featuring baseball themed desserts. Brodie knows that Cody is a player and wouldn’t want Babe to get hurt. Brodie offers to teach Babe a few things about Cody hoping to turn her away from seducing him and Babe accepts believing that Brodie’s inside information will be invaluable.
This story is probably the best of the bunch but features a blushing Babe who has had a run of boring boyfriends. Backstory is given on Brodie about his poor childhood that seems to have no relevance to the relationship conflict between he and Babe. Maybe it is because of this that the conflict which keeps Brodie and Babe apart toward the end seems manufactured. There was no real information given as to why both individuals believed that their night together was meant to happen only once, but they are set in their ways and allow a Big Mis (albeit abbreviated given the constraints of an anthology), to separate them. C+
Dear Ms. Kelly:
Your story pairs the owner of the Slugger souviner shop, Janie Nolan, and the star pitcher, Riley Kelleher. Janie lacks any self esteem and can’t believe that Riley would be interested even though he makes a pretty serious pass at her.
No. The nonglamorous Janies of the world only met horny college students who’d be loyal to even plain girls if they sucked them off on occasion. Or beefy jocks who didn’t notice them. Or nice teachers. Or store clerks whose clothes never fit right because they waited to purchase them at the deepest discountÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‚ ¦like one man she’d dated. Guys who had never once been overpowered by uncontrollable lust, and certainly not by anything resembling love. Not where Janie was concerned.
She simply wasn’t capable of inspiring that kind of emotion in a man. She doubted she ever would be.
The sexual quips that the two exchange seem odd in juxtaposition with the constant blushing of Janie and the portrayal of her as a nice young innocent. Yet for all her supposed innocence, she gives a blow job better than any high priced escort. There is rarely any motif that I dislike more than the virgin whore complex which seems to be the fulfillment of a male fantasy rather than a female one. What I want to know is where are all the women who blush these days because I haven’t seen a blushing innocent in years. C