Sunday, December 14, 2014

Review: Better Than Perfect (More Than A Game #1)

Better Than Perfect (More Than A Game #1) by Kristina Mathews

Publisher: Lyrical Press, 2014
222 pages, paperback
Source: Purchased through Amazon
Genre: Sports, Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Link: Goodreads

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
More Than A Game, #1 The woman he left behind and the son he never knew are tougher opponents than any he's met on the field.

Pitcher Johnny "The Monk" Scottsdale has won awards, been named an All-star and has a perfect game to his credit. Known for his legendary control both on and off the field, his pristine public image makes him the ideal person to work with youth players in a preseason minicamp. Except the camp is run by the one woman he can't forget...the woman who made him a "monk."

Alice Harrison's three strikes include an unexpected pregnancy, a marriage of convenience and young widowhood. She once traded her dreams so Johnny could have a chance at making it to the Majors. Johnny comes back into her life just as she's ready to resign as foundation director and pursue her own dreams of finally earning her teaching credential. Her plans may go on hold, though, depending on the reaction when she confesses she may have kept a major league secret from Johnny and her son.

With the minutes ticking by until Johnny will leave for spring training, they'll need to let go of the past and work together in order to win the game of love.

My Review:
I loved that Johnny was not portrayed as a stereotypical jock, in that he wasn't made to be a grade A jerk that broke Alice's heart and then went on to use his fame and riches to become an arrogant womanizing a** only to end up redeemed by his former flame. There was nothing about Johnny that wasn't swoon-worthy -- what woman wouldn't want to be loved the way he loved Alice??? Kristina Matthews did a great job of making the story about more than just a long lost love that magically becomes reunited. I liked that there was real depth to the characters, and that even though they both still loved one another after all this time the author didn't make the relationship easy or light and fluffy. I loved that they had to face their problems, their fears, the lies and shortcomings head on and deeply before they could have their happily ever after. The author did a great job of really letting the reader know the characters, their emotions, their inner thoughts, and so it was easy to feel so connected to them and not able to help rooting for them to work through their turmoil and come together.

I only wish it hadn't taken so long - as in her husband, and Johnny's ex-best friend, had been dead for 9 years - so 9 years of her raising her and Johnny's son alone that they could have spent together. 9 more years that Johnny could have had knowing his son as a little boy. I could understand her initial reasons for leaving and even marrying Mel, but I wish this story would have taken place not so long after Mel's death. That detail is what holds me back from giving it 5 stars - maybe it's because I'm a mother of two young kids and can't imagine missing a single day of their lives, or maybe it's because I lost my dad at a very young age and still feel that loss deeply almost 25 years later and every life milestone has a hint of sadness around it for him not being able to be there to share it with - but I just have trouble fulling loving a story about a woman who keeps a child from his dad regardless of her justifications, otherwise I probably would have given Better Than Perfect 5 stars. It was a great read, one I'll come back to on a rainy day when I'm looking for a good romance to curl up with.

My Review:

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