Reviewed by Tori
”I like pizza”
“If you didn’t, I don’t think we could be friends.”
Die-hard baseball fan Alice Darling loves being a minor league umpire but being a woman means any and all baseball players are off limits; a lesson she learned the hard way nine years ago. With a daughter and brother to care for, she can’t afford a single mistake. But when the sexy catcher for the San Francisco Felons arrives in Florida for spring training, Alice finds herself rethinking the no dating rule.
San Francisco Felons catcher Alex Ross plays hard, on and off the field, but one look at Alice has him suddenly turning his A game to other pursuits-mainly her. When Alex’s concentration and batting goes south, he finds himself booted back to the minors to get his act together and things between him and Alice began heat up. When an innocent kiss suddenly throws their relationship into the limelight, Alice finds herself having to decide what’s more important to her…her job or her heart.
Perfect Catch is the second in Sierra Dean’s Boys Of Summer series. A sport dominated romance contemporary that balances the ins and outs of baseball with a humorous light hearted romance. Steady pacing with a personable cast of characters, witty dialogue, and multiple points of view on baseball from top of the mound to behind the plate keeps readers entertained up to a certain point.
Alice Darling is an interesting protagonist. She’s a single mom who struggles with raising a child, supporting a mentally ill brother, and working in a male dominated field. Dean shows us that discrimination is alive and well in baseball. A bit of a spaz, Alice’s reluctance to involve herself in a relationship with Alex is understandable. She has already been burned by a major league baseball player which resulted in the birth of her daughter. A daughter he refuses to acknowledge publicly. Intelligent and funny, her fears are real, especially when they prove to be true.
Alex Ross is a good old boy who just wants to play baseball. Not your typical ego inflated sports star, Alex is the perfect antidote for any romance reader who needs a break from domineering alphas. Cute and funny, his warmth shines through the story and I enjoyed getting to know him. Having played the field for awhile, he sees Alice and knows they have a chance for something more than just a few hot steamy nights spent beneath the sheets. You instantly know that Alex will do anything for Alice and that goes a long way in making me fall for him myself.
The romance is slow to start even though the physical aspects are explored right off the bat. Car sex + nosy cops = lots of laughs. Alex and Alice have wonderful chemistry. Dean takes it beyond simple attraction; letting them build a tentative friendship through texts and phone calls. A majority of their time in the book is spent apart when spring training ends and Alex heads out with the Felons. This both helps and hinders the storyline. Through the separation, Alice and Alex attempt to deal with issues affecting them individually. It also leads to misunderstandings and assumptions between them that makes the reader question the connection between them. There is a lack of trust that isn’t so much resolved as it’s passed over. Alice wants reassurances that Alex is there for the long haul but realistically this isn’t possible as they just started seeing each other. Alex doesn’t really understand how deep Alice’s mistrust goes. One highlight in all this is that at least Alice realizes how crazy she is acts at times.
While I enjoyed the story overall, it’s really cute, I felt that the multiple plotlines weren’t resolved beyond a cursory glance. More answers were needed. I had expected Alice’s job as an umpire to have a larger hold on the story. I was surprised after her job is threatened, she just accepts and walks away. As this was a major obstacle in her refusal to date Alex, it was dropped rather quickly. Alice’s child’s father was merely a plot device used to explain Alice’s reasons behind some of her actions as was the person behind the release of a damning picture. We know what they did but Alice never confronts them to find out why they did it.
The ending is predictable as the main conflict wraps up in a nice neat fashion with some mild external help that once again doesn’t reveal beyond the surface. It felt rushed and unfinished. We leave off with an epilogue that tries to assure us Alex and Alice are on their way to happiness though again, we don’t see the steps leading us to that conclusion. I do hope that Dean addresses some of these issues in future installments as I would like to see more Alex and Alice.
Though I had issues, I found Alex and Alice to be delightfully down to earth and I enjoyed the humor that infects the storyline. Fans of humorous lightweight romance sports contemporaries should find this a welcome addition to their library.
Overall Rating: C+
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