I had intended to write another anticipated ARC review today, but Day Job has had me putting in a lot of extra hours this week, and I haven’t had time to finish a book since the weekend! 😦 Ah well, life happens that way sometimes. So I’m jumping back to a book I read while at a book festival several weeks ago – Stealing Home by Jennifer Seasons. Why did I choose this book? It’s pretty simple – BASEBALL. CATCHER. AS. LOVE. INTEREST. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve got a thing for baseball lovers/players/catchers. Basically, if you can talk baseball to me, I’m there. Which I found to be… part of why I didn’t love this book. But I’ll get into that.
So. Where even to begin on the plot of this book? Mark Cutter is the most infamous catcher in Major League Baseball – both on and off the field. And he owes his long and lucrative career to his good luck charm – a necklace given to him by his first love. What Mark also has is a vindictive ex-wife who thinks she’s entitled to more of that baseball money – so she tells Lorelei Littleton that she’ll pay her big money to seduce Mark, get into his house, and steal the necklace. And Lorelei says yes, because she needs the money – her niece, the only daughter of her widower brother, has a heart condition that can only be corrected by expensive surgery that they can’t afford. So Lorelei seduces Mark, steals the necklace… and then Mark finds her and comes after her, effectively kidnapping her and holding her captive in his house until she returns the necklace. And then they… fall in love.
Do you see why I maybe didn’t love this book? But I’ll get into that.
3 Things I Loved*
*Note: For the first time in a long time, I had trouble coming up with three things that I loved! Yikes…
- Mark. You’ll notice a theme here. Despite the fact that he kidnaps Lorelei and holds her hostage in his home, I actually really liked Mark. And I found that plot point slightly forgivable, since Lorelei had already been invited to his home, where she DRUGGED HIM AND STOLE FROM HIM. Yes, you read that correctly. Anyway, Mark was a big softy, and I love catchers, and I found it easy to side with him throughout the whole book. He was a good character. Why he fell for Lorelei doesn’t make any sense to me.
- Mark’s teammates. True baseball bros. I’m tempted to read the rest of the series just because it centers on some of his teammates.
- Mark’s sister. She was a gem. And she’s in a later book! Okay, I’m probably going to read the rest of the series, even though I really didn’t like this one. THIS IS THE SAME WAY THE BACHELOR GETS ME TO KEEP WATCHING TOO.
WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN? Better do a bulleted list. (WARNING: There may be spoilers in this list, but there were so many problems that I just don’t care. Sorry, y’all.)
- In the first scene of the book, Lorelei gives Mark a fake name and gets him to take her home (that part is fine), where she proceeds to drug him and steal from him on the orders of his ex-wife. For money. NO.
- Then Mark finds Lorelei at the hotel she’s staying at and kidnaps her, holding her hostage in his home until she returns what she stole. Which she can’t, because the front desk at said hotel is holding it for her. WHAT.
- Side note – do people actually have houses where there is only a lock on the outside so people on the inside can’t get out? Isn’t that a serial killer only thing? Like? What is this house Mark lives in???
- The dialogue was super fake-sounding. This is a dislike rather than problematic content, but it was so bad that I was taken out of the story at times. And this wasn’t even the sexy-time dialogue! This was just the average, everyday talking. So distracting!
- The baseball didn’t seem real. Granted, this is coming from someone who has followed baseball her entire life, who played softball for a dozen years, and whose father was a college baseball catcher, but still… it didn’t seem authentic. And when that one guy slid head first into first base? Who does that? It’s slower to slide than to run through the base, which is acceptable only at first base! But, like I said… I’m not a casual watcher of baseball, so I might be nitpicking on this one.
- My final dislike that borders on problematic – the obsessive gendering of EVERYTHING. I mean. Sure, Mark is masculine, Lorelei is feminine. But. Does everything they do have to be labeled that way? I think it stood out to me in particular because I’ve read Sarah J. Maas’ books and she genders the crap out of everything, especially when it comes to masculine fae males. And I can’t stand it! I know for a fact that I, as a female, don’t only do feminine things, and frankly, a lot of what I do couldn’t ever be described as feminine. So like. It makes me think that, in life, not everything a hero would do would need to be described as masculine, and vice versa. Plus! Gender isn’t binary! So it bugs me because of that too.
Is that enough things? Yeesh.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
Here’s the thing: I read this book super fast and didn’t really notice I wasn’t enjoying it until I was done and was like “what did I just read?!” So I can’t say that I hated it. But there were definitely things I didn’t like, and problems throughout. With all of that being said, I’m going to give Stealing Home a YELLOW rating. It wasn’t bad, per se, but there were problems.
What I really learned from reading this book? I need to read more sports romances. Hot damn, athletes are where it’s at. ❤