Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Playing Fast by Melanie Scott


When baseball bad-boy Finn Castro raises one eyebrow too many, the Saints send him down to the minors. He’ll have to earn back his major-league dreams with the Sarasota Springs Preachers. Finn’s certainly never claimed to be a man of the cloth, and cleaning up his act isn’t going to be easy with stunning Eva Harlowe at the heart of the team’s administration…


Eva knows having a crush on Finn Castro is about as sensible as wishing for an eighth day of the week, but seeing the gorgeously muscled player in person melts her resolve. If she’s planning to leave baseball at the end of the season, a hot fling could be a fantasy home run. But when no-strings sex begins to feel like a perfect partnership, will Finn and Eva choose the love of the game or real life together?

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Book 5
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

It took me some time to get into this book but I thoroughly enjoyed it by the end. Buttoned up, uber responsible Eva isn’t an immediately appealing female lead, but I enjoyed her more as her character developed. Reformed bad boy Finn is a brilliant character and I found myself increasingly annoyed with Eva’s ambivalence towards him. But I like a romance where the leading man has to work hard and Finn certainly doesn’t have an easy job catching Eva’s attention.

Finn is developed beautifully across this story. He is a beautiful, talented player who has been sent down to the minor league after some very poor behaviour. He is repentant and determined – I absolutely loved him. I even loved his bewildered response to Eva and her slightly irrational hot and cold behaviour towards him.

I was initially put off by Eva’s fangirl obsession with Finn before she even met him. Her need to Google hot guys to crush on felt very, very young and really didn’t match the serious, responsible professional woman we see in the rest of the story. I found the continuity issues with Eva’s character distracting, and her insecurity and reluctance to date was annoying after a while.

I absolutely loved the lack of predictability in this book. By the ¾ mark, I still wasn’t sure how the story was going to resolve. The author kept adding convincing new problems for Eva and Finn and I really couldn’t figure out the ending – something rare in a romance.

I haven’t read any of the other books in this series and while past characters are introduced, this worked well as a standalone. This is a fun, sweet read with a little bit of steam.

Definitely an entertaining read, I really enjoyed it!

Eva Harlowe has spent the years since her parents’ death raising her 3 teenage sisters. Now that they’re all out of the nest, it’s time to focus on herself. She’s the current go-to girl for the Saratoga Preachers, but she’s also been accepted into an elite photography school of her dreams. It’s a no brainer that she go to this school…until her longtime crush, Finn Castro, shows up to play for the Saratoga Preachers and throws a wrench into her plans. Finn let the fame of being a big-leaguer go to his head and wound up being sent back to the minors. Now, his main goal in life is to get back into the majors – he’s just got to keep his head down and play some amazing baseball. But as soon as he lays eyes on the intriguing Eva Harlowe, his focus shifts and he can’t help the need to be with her.

This is a fast-paced, well written novel that will leave you wanting more. I’m giving 4 stars instead of 5 because Eva is such a level-headed strong lead at the beginning of this book and she really becomes complacent at the end and I think it took away from the story. All in all a good book though and the author writes about some of the other (single) players and I do hope that we’re going to get a few of their stories.

This is the fifth book in the series, and the first that I have read – but I intend to add the rest to my reading list! I can say that it read as a complete story, and whilst I may have missed some nuance, it didn't detract from the story for me.

I'm a big sports romance fan, and the bad boy working hard for redemption is always a good start. Add in Eva, the heart of the minor team, and they were meant to be. I enjoyed her family issues, and the interventions that made everything work out okay. I also enjoyed Finn having a friend to confide in, so that we get his public and private face and can see better where he is at. Connor was a good foil.

An easy, enjoyable read, with some good chemistry – I 'm looking forward to catching up on the series and seeing where it goes next.

MELANIE SCOTT, who also writes as M.J. Scott, grew up in a family of avid readers who fostered her love of words. A long time reader of fantasy and romance, it was inevitable that her own stories combine the two genres. Her unpublished novels have won a number of awards including the Romance Writers of Australia's Emerald Award and Valerie Parv Award and the Romance Writers of New Zealand's Clendon Award. She is a two-time finalist in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award. Shadow Kin, her debut novel, won praise from three New York Times bestselling authors. All three books in her Half-Light City series have been finalists in the Australian Romance Readers Association Awards. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she distracts herself with books, cats, and yarn when she's not writing.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Playing Fast (New York Saints #5) by Melanie Scott to read and review.

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