Book: Better Than Perfect
Series: More Than A Game #1
Author: Kristina Mathews
Page Count: 224
Published: Lyrical Press, April 7, 2014
The woman he left behind and the son he never knew are tougher opponents than any he’s met on the field…
Pitcher Johnny “The Monk” Scottsdale has won awards, been named an All-star and has a perfect game to his credit. Known for his legendary control both on and off the field, his pristine public image makes him the ideal person to work with youth players in a preseason minicamp. Except the camp is run by the one woman he can’t forget…the woman who made him a “monk.”
Alice Harrison’s three strikes include an unexpected pregnancy, a marriage of convenience and young widowhood. She once traded her dreams so Johnny could have a chance at making it to the Majors. Johnny comes back into her life just as she’s ready to resign as foundation director and pursue her own dreams of finally earning her teaching credential. Her plans may go on hold, though, depending on the reaction when she confesses she may have kept a major league secret from Johnny and her son.
With the minutes ticking by until Johnny will leave for spring training, they’ll need to let go of the past and work together in order to win the game of love…
I was really torn up about how to rate this book. One of the main reasons why I picked it up is because it’s about sports. With the many sports oriented contemporary romances I’ve read recently, I realized just how much I enjoy this sub genre, so naturally I want to rate every single book with a high score but if I have to be honest with myself, this book, as interesting and emotional as it was plotwise, lacked a few things in general.
Apart from being a sports romance, the idea of two people who were college sweethearts coming together after fourteen years was intriguing. Usually in such romances the couple meets, falls in love, gets over some obstacles, be it circumstances or people, and then finally get together and have their happy ending. But in this book, the couple starts off as one time lovers, and then they have to get over the fact that they might have a child, tackle the dead ex husband who happened to be their friend, and carefully avoid the maze of a thirteen year old boy’s psyche. In that regard, I love stories that involve children, if I haven’t already said so. They’re usually younger but to see a boy of thirteen who’s starting to shape his own personality was a nice change. And we read his point of view also, which was refreshing. I thought I might’ve been a bit annoyed with his way of thinking, though I admit I’m not familiar of the psyche of a thirteen year old boy, but it turned out I was wrong. Although they weren’t the parts of the book that I looked forward to, I think the author managed him quite well. Kids his age can be difficult after all.
Johnny and Alice were a bit hard to relate to if I have to be completely honest. I liked the idea of their romance, the background story, but here comes the lacking I was talking about. The deceased ex husband of Alice for example. He was their best friend at one time, this we get through their points of view, and he was the rich friend as opposed to both Johnny and Alice’s poor families. But he’s portrayed as the kind of guy who is ashamed by his own wealth just as much as Johnny and Alice-or more like Johnny because if I remember it correctly he was the one who was thinking this- were of their own poverty. And yet as the story goes on this man suddenly becomes the bad guy, the one that is crazy jealous of his two best friends, the one that steals the girl and treats her as his trophy wife. I couldn’t buy into that story. It felt to me like the author wanted to clear the whole way for the couple to be together, so the ex best friend was sacrificed. If you ask me, he didn’t have to become such a bad guy in order for Johnny and Alice to rekindle their romance and end up together, in fact, I would’ve liked a bit of a challenge in the way of their dead best friend being there with Alice when they were both missing Johnny. Now that would’ve been a much more interesting plot. More emotional too. Something for the hero and the heroine to tackle, so in the end when they finally got together I could breathe a sigh of relief and say, ‘well, they’ve come a long way for this and they deserved it.’
In books with this much emotional baggage, what can I say, I do expect more attachment, both between me and the characters, and between the characters themselves. I thought this was another aspect the book was lacking in a bit. Though I did like the characters and enjoyed their story, and am curious for the next one, there wasn’t enough emotional in the characters’ head for me to relate to them as much as I wanted to. Sure, their story had so much going on, but I felt like they didn’t live through them enough.
I try not to judge a whole series based on the first book. It’s the introduction to its world, and the next ones usually offer more and better. I hope this will be the case for this series. I liked Johnny and Alice’s story, but I’m thinking the womanizer teammate of Johnny’s and a certain reporter can bring much more spice and be even more emotional in their own story.
I’m adding two spoonfuls of this story into my hodgepodge.