Reading Source: NetGalley ARC
Series: The Playbook
Book #: 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Expected Date of Publication: May 15, 2018
So this is my first book by Kara Sheridan, and from a search of the web, it may be the first book she is publishing. I don’t have any way to confirm this yet, but that is what the evidence points to.
The version of Ball Buster I read is an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) provided by NetGalley, so I imagine the when it is finally published, there will be some revisions made (more than likely minor). Since this is an ARC, I won’t be providing any spoilers – not that I do that very often… but I will give you my overall thoughts on the book.
Sadie and Carson were high school sweethearts. Needless to say they broke up. However, being from a small town, and basically being the King and Queen of Football, the town didn’t like Sadie after the break up since she’s the one who left. They snubbed her, and she had some residual issues that she carried into adulthood (in other words she became a Ball Buster). Being assigned to do the PR for the NFL team Carson plays for brought a lot of those issues to the forefront.
This is a second chance romance, and focuses on the rekindling of the emotional and sexual relationship between Carson Savage and Sadie Reynolds.
What I liked about Ball Buster:
- The Hero, Carson Savage: He is pretty consistent throughout the book. He’s testosteroney (yeah that’s not a real word… deal with it) which isn’t a surprise since he’s an NFL Football player.
- The premise: While the idea of “cleaning up the image” of a pro athlete isn’t new, and it usually involves social media and a few compromising pictures. It’s a realistic way that the author can show case the positive, swoony, characteristics of the Hero.
- The friends: Supporting characters are important to me – and I liked that Sadie and Carson had a strong network of friends around them. I would have included family, but there is very little interaction with family, despite the inklings that Carson has a very strong relationship with his mother and sisters. Sadie’s parents are a blip in the text, and understandably so.
What I think can be improved:
- The “bad guy” element: This isn’t going to make a lot of sense without a little bit of info, but like I said, no spoilers… Back when they first broke up, Sadie was harassed by the townsfolk. Now that she is back in Carson’s life, someone is harassing her again. I’m not sure if this was supposed to add suspense, but there were a few characters that I felt weren’t developed enough to actually be predatory, despite the allusions made in the points of view of the characters.
- The heroine, Sadie Reynolds: I get that she has some trust and control issues, but they almost feel forced. I think I would have liked Sadie more if she were a little more comfortable in her own skin from the very beginning. OR if her issues were a little more developed.
- The emotion: I just wasn’t feeling the love. There was a spark that was missing. I needed something early on to make me want these two to get back together, and it just wasn’t there.
- The addition of a Prologue: Here is where I think it could all be pulled together, and it may help me like Sadie and feel the love a little more. It may even add to my ability to believe in a “bad guy” harassing Sadie. Since there is a history between the characters, I think we need to see some of that. We get glimpses through their dialogue, but a full scene or two would do it. If I were adding it, I would put two scenes in – the first meet – and the break-up aftermath from both POVs.
My Final Thoughts on Ball Buster:
Overall, I liked the story. It’s well written – little to no grammatical errors (none that stuck out, so probably none at all). The characters are consistent and stick to their personality types. I think with a few small adjustments, that this could be a fantastic book. Since it is the first in a series, and from whom I believe is a newly published author, I will be looking forward to seeing more and watching Kara Sheridan grow into her writing style. There is a very solid foundation in Ball Buster for the rest of the series to build on, and I expect to see good things soon.
I would very much like to see the final version of this book, and plan to read the rest of the series.