“Hey,” he says, “we used to be pretty good at this.”
Alex smiles, more with his eyes than with his mouth. “Yeah.”
“Maybe we could be again.”
Another smile, a shift, a rub of Alex’s thumb across his knuckles. “Yeah, I’m thinking we really could.”
I’ve been reading so many hockey romances lately, I thought I’d switch it up and try out a baseball one. There seems to be a plethora of M/M hockey romances, and I’ve absolutely loved the ones I’ve read so far, but baseball is my favorite sport. It just seems harder to find M/M romances featuring the sport. I saw this one was recently released and it was getting good reviews so I went ahead and one-clicked. Overall, I enjoyed the story even if some parts didn’t totally work for me. I’ve seen some comments that the baseball details were a bit much but I actually enjoyed that aspect. It’s clear the author knows her stuff where the sport is concerned! I think my biggest issue was with the massive time jump, more on that later, and trying to understand the intense animosity between these characters when we pick back up after the 10-year time jump. Once we got past that, the second half of the book worked much better for me and I thought it turned out to be a sweet story in the end.
To summarize what the story’s all about, 10 years ago pitcher Jake Fischer and catcher Alex Angelides were called up to the majors on the same day. The hype surrounding Jake, with expectations of him being the next big thing, overshadowed Alex’s arrival but the two ended up forming a good partnership on the field and a tight friendship off the field. But then one moment at the end of their first season breaks whatever they had between them. Now, 10 years later and they both end up back on the same team, the team where it all started for them. Except, a lot can change in 10 years and neither one of them are the same men they were the last time they spoke. One thing that may not have changed, however, is how they always seem to end up in each other’s orbit. Will they be able to take advantage of their second chance both on and off the field?
*** This next part isn’t exactly spoilery but I do express my feelings toward certain aspects of the story that may give some stuff away, so if you’re looking to go in blind, proceed with caution for the rest of the review ***
Ok, so the first 30% of this book takes place in the past. I liked it. I liked seeing how Jake and Alex meet and seeing their friendship build. We know that Alex has a crush on Jake but for much of that part, it’s not clear how Jake feels about Alex. Things are going fine, though, until that fateful moment in the Fall Classic which puts a wedge between them. The wedge only intensifies in the aftermath of that moment. The question of how Jake feels is answered but it doesn’t matter much because things don’t end well for them all those years ago. Then, suddenly, the story jumps 10 years into the future and we are met with a Jake who is VERY different than the Jake we left behind. Jake had a tough time during those 10 years and is also dealing with a lot of mental health issues. I actually liked how that aspect was handled, however, I wish we had been able to see more of how it all came about. Because, and maybe I just missed it, but I didn’t see any of that in the Jake we knew in the first part. It was a little hard to reconcile the two versions of Jake without really having any of the in-between moments. Another thing I struggled with was the animosity between the two men. They were so openly hostile right off the bat and so antagonistic toward one another. I know things didn’t end well between them all those years ago but it just seemed extreme and I found it frustrating. Again, maybe I would have felt differently with more context from those missing years. I don’t mind angst, as long as it makes sense and there is just something missing for me.
The tide begins to change about halfway and as I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed the second half of the book a lot more. Once they got over whatever had broken between them, it was nice seeing them return to that friendship they had before. And then finally giving in to the mutual attraction again. When they were working as a team, both on and off the field, they were really sweet. I liked how Alex always looked out for Jake and the way he accepted and helped him with his mental health issues was really great. Once they were together, I thought they communicated fairly well, and I appreciated that too. Then, of course, I enjoyed watching them work toward redemption from their first failed appearance in the Fall Classic.
This review may not sound like it, but there was more I liked about this book than not and clearly a lot of people are loving this book, so definitely give it a shot if you like second-chance stories and/or are looking for a M/M baseball romance.