BarbsBooks

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Make a Play: "No Losers in the Game of Love"

Make a Play: "No Losers in the Game of Love" - Dawn Kimberly Johnson, Kyle Adams, J.P. Barnaby, Catt Ford, Anna Butler, Sabine Cross, Mary Calmes, Kay Ellis, Bru Baker, Laylah Hunter, Maja Rose, Elinor Gray, Ashavan Doyon, Stella K. Jefferson, Ari McKay, Pinkie Ray Parker, Teegan Loy, Lee Comyn, Nora Roth, Raine Norman,

4 Stars
A "Live Your Life, Buy The Book" Review

“Bane of Boston” by J.P.Barnaby - This was a wonderful little read! I love sports stories – even about sports I don’t fully understand. Like baseball. I had to phone a friend regarding the “foul catch rule” and I still think it is bizarre. Simply not cricket, what?

The story is about Jack Young who did know baseball through and through and yet he still instinctively caught that damn ball and his life was changed forever. His 5 year relationship went down the pan, reporters pestered him, regular punters hounded him – even his own brother virtually disowned him. So he moves to Chicago, changes his name and starts afresh. Of course baseball will always be in his blood , and watching a match down the pub one night he meets Ryan. Lust at first sight!!

There is a big reveal that really had me *gasp!* and dammit there is not a lot more I can say without spoiling stuff. I liked the fact that both protags felt the need to be honest, pretty much from the get go… Well ok… They got going first, if you know what I mean. But they talked when they ate, straight after.

I liked it a lot, a perfectly paced little read, with the right amount of drama+angst=HEA. Go. Buy the Book.

“Heart of the Race” by Mary Calmes - I grew up riding motorcycles and hanging out in a motorcycle shop. Mary Calmes’ “Heart of the Race” was very much akin to a big bowl of comfort food for me. Brian Christie grew up watching his foster brother, Varro Dacien, perform all manner of feats of derring-do. Eventually Brian realized he didn’t just love Varro as a brother. To not complicate his family life, Brianpulled away from Varro. After an accident while motorcycle racing, their mother guilts Brian into going on the racing circuit with Varro to keep him safe and happy. After seeing Varro after he had yet again had sex with a woman at a club, Brian realizes it’s time to put down the torch he’s been carrying and move on with his life. He decides to settle down in Long Beach and start a charity to help foster children. After a year Brian has to deal with an enraged Varro who will do anything to get Brian back in his life now that he realizes what he was missing.

Racing is dangerous. Racers will get hurt. It’s only a question of when. That Brian didn’t want to watch Varro race not only because of his love for him but because it was scary to watch was a very realistic aspect of what it’s like to be the family member of a racer. Another really good touch in this story was Brian’s feeling that he wasn’t actually a member of the Dacien family. He desperately wanted his foster parents to be his real parents but didn’t feel he could call them Mom and Dad until they were his in-laws. That he felt he was told to give up his dreams for the “real” child by Mrs. Dacien compounded this belief. I felt this was a positive departure from the perfect Mother character willing to lay down her life for her babies I’ve frequently found in Calmes’ stories. Surprisingly, what left me with a smile at the end of the book was Brian coming home to Varro who was listening to Nick Drake. I like when characters listen to the same music I listen to. Yes, it’s completely trivial, but it was the gravy on my big bowl of comfort food.

“Pouring a Brick” by Tray Ellis - The idea of combining a romance with martial arts had me intrigued. Will is easy going and enjoys the sport. Will meets Spence, a new student in the class and helps him with some of the techniques. Where Will is calm and relaxed, Spence is focused and intense. While practicing one day, Spence is having a hard time with a certain move. Bennie, their instructor tells Spence about a saying they have, “You can’t pour a brick”; explaining that “Sometimes you need to be the brick. You want to flow. Apply strength when you need it, not all the time”. This analogy is central to the tone of the story and defines the personalities of both men.

I really enjoyed the way the author takes us through the mechanics of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu while allowing us to get to knowSpence and Will. There is depth to their characters and the friendship builds nicely before moving into a relationship. I loved the way the author really brought the personality of her characters into focus when she was presenting a scene from their individual perspectives. You could feel the energy or calm depending on who it was. The sex is subtle, mostly off page and a natural progression to the storyline. Even if you are not a fan of martial arts this is a great story. I definitely recommend it!