Title: Game. Set. Match.
Author: Jennifer Iacopelli
May Contain Spoilers
Wow! Coliloquy does it again! Here’s another book with lots of angst, set amid the ultra competitive world of tennis. Here’s a secret; I can’t stand tennis, and yet I couldn’t put this book down! The interpersonal relationships had me hooked. Would Penny get over her fling with tennis bad boy Alex? Would Jasmine live up to her parents’ legacy? Would Indy ever fit in at OBX and make her dreams of being a top tennis player come true? Will I get over the cruelty of those painful little words – THE END??
While I don’t enjoy tennis, I was drawn to this book because I love sports stories. It doesn’t matter what the sport is, either. As long as the protagonists are committed to training hard and being the best they can be, I’m onboard. There is just something about a competitor refusing to be second best that keeps me engaged in their struggles. I want to see them persevere, to overcome all obstacles in their path, and become the best they can be. Throw in rivals, disinterested parents, interfering parents – in short, any emotionally distracting relationship, and I am that much more invested in the story.
Game. Set. Match. has three central characters, and the book is told in alternating POVs. Penny has just won her first major tournament, defeating the world’s number one player. She’s determined to win the French Open next, but she’s still having flashbacks to a disastrous competition where Alex Russell messed with her mind, her heart, and destroyed her game. To her utter dismay, her coach has brought Alex to OBX to help her train. Can she keep herself together and ignore the attraction raging between them? Can she ever trust him again? I loved this story line, because Alex is such a player, yet he’s ready to make a commitment to Penny, if only she’ll give him the time of day. There was a lot of great tension between Alex and Penny, as they both strove to train for their matches at the French Open. Penny has so many pressures now that she’s finding success, from potential sponsors to rivals waiting in the wings to take her down a notch. Great stuff here!
Jasmine is probably my least favorite character, because she came across as a spoiled princess. Her parents were both tennis superstars, and since she was seven, all she’s wanted was to follow in their footsteps. When Indy shows up at OBX and promptly derails her dreams and hopes for the future, she lashes out at her new tennis opponent. Jasmine lost the mental game long before she even stepped out on the court. She expected that success would just fall into her lap, without her truly working for it. While I did like her better by the end of the book, it took a lot for her to win me over.
Indy gave up on tennis after her mother’s death. After Penny wins the Madrid Open, her fire to play tennis is re-ignited. She is surprised that her offer to attend OBX is still open, and jumps at the chance to train at the best tennis academy in the country. I really liked Indy and found her story arc highly engrossing. Still reeling from her mother’s death, she and her father have a distant relationship at best. She’s never been as interesting to him as his work, and Indy has resented his indifference for years. Now she’s facing the toughest competition of her life, and she’s learning the hard way that tennis is more about the mental game than she realized. Her early success at OBX hasn’t earned her any friends among her classmates. She’s surprised to discover how down to earth Penny is, and the two girls soon become close, which leads to more rivalries with the other girls at the academy. Indy’s story was my favorite, and I thought that her romantic pursuit of Jack, Penny’s older brother, was very sweet.
Game. Set. Match is a great read with lots of emotion. Even if you don’t usually enjoy sports stories, give this a try. It’s more about relationships and chasing your dreams than tennis.
Grade: B / B+
Review copy provided by publisher
Today I’m geeked to be a part of the cover reveal and giveaway for Georgetown Academy Book 4! This series is like melodramatic crack. Here’s the cover:
What do you think??
Here’s more info about the book:
Georgetown Academy, Book Four
Sounds great, huh? I’m looking forward to catching up with the GA gang! Check out the website for more information about the Georgetown Academy series.
Ready for your chance to win a (1) $50 Amazon gift card, (2) $25 Amazon gift cards and (4) bundle sets (GTA ebooks 1, 2, 3 & 4)? The winners will be selected on June 15th (which is the official release day!!).
Title: The Last Gladiatrix
Author: Eva Scott
May Contain Spoilers
I enjoyed this novella a lot! I love stories set in Ancient Rome, and when I saw The Last Gladiatrix had gladiators, I was all about reading this book! Gladiators are even better than ninjas and pirates. They are better than ninjas and pirates put together! There’s something about that desperate struggle for survival and freedom that makes them so compelling. Knowing that a bad day in the Coliseum will more than likely equate to a violent and premature death makes reading them suspenseful and exciting. I’m always worried that the protagonist is going to die or be severely injured. It can be so stressful!
Xanthe is Sarmatian, and her people lived on the steppes with their horses, fiercely protecting their herds. After Xanthe is captured by Huns and given as tribute to a Roman general, her prospects for a long, happy life seem dim. When it’s decided that she’s earn the general a ton of money fighting in the games, her fate is sealed. The general doesn’t expect her to survive her first fight, and worse, he doesn’t care. Xanthe is nothing to him, worth even less than a his sandals. When Centurion Titus Valens convinces the general that she’ll bring him more coin if she survives to fight again, Titus is put in charge of her training. Xanthe and Titus soon find themselves surrendering to an attraction they can’t deny.
The only part of the story that didn’t really work for me was the instant, simmering lust that brewed between Xanthe and Titus. I didn’t care how handsome he was, she had just been taken prisoner, the Huns and the Romans treated her like a dog, and I expected her to be fierce and more independent that she was. After all of the intense training on the long, long march to Rome, I would have bought into raging attraction, but for it to happen so quickly after being captured, it felt like too much, too soon.
Despite that one quibble, I thought this was a great read. The pacing never lagers, the fighting is ferocious and intense, and both Titus and Xanthe are sympathetic characters. They have both been dealt the worst hand possible, yet they refuse to fold and give up. I kept wondering how they were going to survive and get their HEA. I liked them so much that I’d love to see what adventures they face next.
Review copy provided by publisher