Friday, January 22, 2016

The Baller By: Vi Keeland

I just want to start off by saying a huge thank you to Vi Keeland and the lovely ladies over at TRSOR Promotions for sending the ARC of this beauty out.
Ya'll work so hard to make things easy for us bloggers to do our thing and I cant think you enough :D

The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room.
It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster.
The famed quarterback decided to bare all.
And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets.
No.  The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel, just as I asked the first question.  On camera.
The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby—screwing with me.
When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me, to wanting to screw me.
But I don’t date players.
And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football.
I’d date an athlete.
It’s the other kind of player I don’t date.
You know the type.  Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.

Brody Easton was the ultimate player.
Every woman wanted to be the one to change him.
But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for.
Turned out, I was that girl.
Simple right?
Let’s face it.  It never is.
There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…

And this one is ours.

Ok so I have been in Sports Romance heaven this past week. The Baller, Pucked Over by Helena Hunting, and Jock Blocked by Jen Frederick all popped upon my kindle days apart and I have literally just jumped from one to the next... And let me tell you now that I am off the Football/Hockey high I'm not sure I will be able to pick up another book for a little bit.That is until I get myself into He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker. Which I should actually be starting today so... HA!!! No book hangover for this blogger anytime soon hehe

So let me tell you. I started this book Saturday night after I had finished Jock Blocked earlier in the day and then over the next day and a half when I wasn't attempting to kill myself running. (Oh lord that was seriously miserable. I will definitely stick to Zumba and my regular cardio sculpt workout from now on haha) Which meant that by 10 or so last night I was a good way through the book, just to where all the drama starts and the next thing I know it's 4 AM and I have a finished book on my hands. Apparently in that time my nice and nephew who I had been watching movies with had gone through not only Pitch Perfect but the new Cinderella too. And me? I was so wrapped up in the book I barely realized there was a world outside of my foot away Kindle.

So if any of that doesn't hint to how much I enjoyed this book, let me tell you. I freaking loved it. Vi wrote this one so perfectly and even better she gave me two characters I could really fall for (Minus a third more annoying one that I could have lived without... But I'll get to that in a bit)

So let's get this started...

I'll jump right in to what pulled me to this one. We all know a hot, shirtless, heavily muscled dude in football pants always does things to draw us in... and a catchy blurb helps things too. But something that really made me want to read this one was the little teasers Vi would post, and then once I actually got the book in my hands I was caught from page one. I can be a picky as heck reader (honestly a real problem most of the time) and if you can't draw me in from the first few pages or chapter even I will say to heck with it and it gets added to the dreaded DNF pile. But, because Vi is amazing she pulled me right in from page one and I was sold on this fairly funny and sarcastic character. But not only that. Vi puts so much humor in this book just with her character names and little added tid bits that you not only laugh from dialog but also just from context as well.

I also really enjoyed getting most of the story from Delilah's POV with Brody's thrown in there almost like a little treat. It allowed for us to get to see what he was doing off the field and away from Delilah but also getting to just enjoy Delilah herself .
You may not know it, but when split POV started really getting popular these past few years I wasn't exactly fond of it. I felt it took away from getting to know a character because you would just get to get a feel for them and SWITCH the other character would throw it all around and add their versions of things. But as I read more and more of books that did that with their characters the more I began to appreciate it and see what it could add to a book. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the simplicity of a one sided POV still... So when I get this sort of best of both worlds scenario it makes me happy. And that is sort of what Vi did with this one. We get to see his thoughts and feelings, but this is mostly about Delilah and what she's going through.

Something I will say I didn't particularly like though was the additional POV of another character later in the book. It wasn't that I didn't like this particular character (even though I didn't like them... But that is beside the point) but because it messed up my flow of reading the book. To me the addition of this characters voice showed a little of Brody and Delilah's situation but not enough to more just be a sort of annoying addition. I could have lived without their couple chapters and still understood what was going on well enough.Most of the content in their chapters didn't do much for the main story line, and I found myself really just skimming through those chapters as fast as I could.

Please don't let this discourage you though.This book even with my dumb complaints was so so good. And brought the hot steamy romance along with an enjoyable spots hero and sassy heroin. I feel like Vi seriously did her research on this one, and nothing about her characters occupations or the way they did things seemed overly fantastical. Plus when you can bring as many tiny sarcastic jabs and innuendos into a story I'm sold. I found myself laughing a good portion of the book and ready to high five some fictional characters haha

Guess I should get to talking about the actual characters themselves now huh?

I'll go ahead and start with Delilah. And before you even ask... Yes I liked her. No I won't go all ranty about female characters. And yes I can admit that my mind may be changing on how I see me some females in the books I've read lately.
I really try not to hate them, it's just a majority of these characters tend to piss me off and so I don't enjoy their POV's and such.
But Delilah happily was not one of those. Her character was so sarcastically funny and sharp. I seriously envy her knowledge of football (Those stats would make the queen of Sunday night football games at my house) and loved seeing her in action at her job.
While she does experience some moments of grief and self doubt, the majority of the book Delilah is strong and driven to make a name for herself. Not just getting by because her dad was a pro football player or because she can pull the poor female card. She works hard at her job and knowing her facts and even when Brody tries to play dirty and purposely throw her off she keeps it together and doesn't let it scare her away. That or an incredibly misogynistic boss who really needs a good hit to his nether regions (Can use that phrase when talking about a man? Or is that only used when talking about a females... err... parts??)

But anyways, Delilah was a fun character to get to know. As I said before, she is super sarcastic and made reading pretty enjoyable and fun. Her quick quips to Brody had me trying my hardest to not laugh out loud and cause weird looks from my family because of it. (I failed several times hehe)
Also I loved her interactions with her best friend Indi (Who I loved too, I'm holding out for another book about her, even though Vi says this is a standalone) Both women cracked me up, and I feel that with Indi's help Delilah was able to really see things with Brody for what they were and sort through it all until she knew what she wanted. Plus it made for great scenes in the office when Delilah would be worried about something or too deeply buried in her work. Indi would just come in and lighten the mood Delilah had going 

I also want to touch on the fact that Delilah had so hang ups too. I think it's always good to show a character have some vulnerable moments,while not crossing the line of being too whiny or annoying. (Actually that tends to be why I hate female leads so much.) It's hard not to cross that line sometimes, but I loved the way vi was able to make her have her worries and fears and still keeping her strong and sticking to her original make up. That's another thing I liked. No matter what happened or what feelings Delilah was showing, she never wavered from her true self. It's actually probably the reason there is any conflict in the book in general, because she does stick to that. But I really enjoyed watching her evolve with her feelings, and learn about loving, letting go, moving on, and always remembering the past.Even if it means leaving it behind. She learns that's what makes us who we are, and I really love that about the book and Delilah's character.

And now it's time to come to my favorite part of the review.... Drum roll please...

Let me just tell you. I really really really liked this guy.
Without giving too much away, when we meet him he is one seriously hot cocky football player. I mean like all your thinking is oh this boy is trouble. He knows how good he is and oh boy woman don't even stand a chance against him.

But then you sort of get to meet the real Brody and all that hot arrogant athlete is replaced with hot, caring, sweet, athlete.

Brody is one of those characters you just immediately love. He's funny, and smirk worthy, but also adorable and kind. When you get a rel look into his life you see that the man cares about the people in it, and works hard to take care of them. 

Like Delilah he has a trying past of sorts and we see him struggle some to separate himself from that and his future. No matter how quickly it comes back to try and be a part of his present.
And ok I know I'm going to get weird looks here (Yes I know I say I don't dig emotions..Ok ok I lie about that sometimes. But ONLY with fictional men. I don't deal with it nearly as well on real men. I'm shallow, and I'm ok with it) but Brody has to go through some incredibly emotional things in this book and I like how Vi was able to portray his struggles. We know he's hurting and maybe a tad confused, but we never see him break or even give up once. And I loved that. I like when a male character can have a soft gooey side while still maintaining the hard fierce one they start with.

Something else I really liked about Brody was his loyalty. To his team, to his sort of suto family, and to Delilah even. It didn't matter what the person had done to him, or how much he liked or hated what they had done. He stuck with everyone and found the right place for them in his life and heart.
Surprisingly he was the most level headed one out of all the characters in this book when it came to not letting his emotions dictate his decisions (Well except for maybe once, but you will see that for yourself when you read the book)

Someone else I really enjoyed in this book was Grouper. He was just one of those supporting characters that makes you smile and shake your head a little. But the tiny scenes we get of him give us so much more into Brody's personality, and the old man seriously was one of the most sarcastic and hilarious people.
I love that Vi was able to give us someone like him, that had seen the world in a way, and was able to offer Brody a new point of view on things sometimes, keeping him grounded almost.

Also can we just take a second to really appreciate the wonders that are the fictional male athlete???
I mean I don't know about ya'll but there is something great on it's own about just getting to read a book that involves a super cut, extremely hot, well defined male. I mean seriously *swoonage alert!*

So before I wrap up with Brody I do want to mention that men. Even fictional ones can be dumb as a box of soap at times too. I mean Brody really has to decided if he wants to hold on to his ties to his past or see a future with Delilah, and oh man, there was once or twice in his big soul searching moments where I was just like UUUGGGG get it together man. I mean seriously... There is a thing as male blinders. They see nothing of the bigger picture or how their actions are affecting others. And while Brody had a fairly good grasp on it all, I just wanted to reach into the book once or twice and shake him until he got it all together haha.

Also something I want to add to this review, and I've touched on it several times now. Is the way that Vi has her characters deal with their pasts and presents colliding. We all have things in our past that have shaped who we are now... Things we are proud of, and others we just want to bury deep and never look back at. And while both characters have different things happen in theirs, both have to deal with them now. And decided if they will let their pasts hold them back from the things they want now.
I think this is a great thing to put into a book because it is such a real situation. Something that all of us go through at one point or another. And ya'll know me. I love my relatable real life situations hehe

So am I in love with The Baller??? Obviously YES!!!!

It was such a good book, and totally helped feed my sports romance binge/addiction.
And while we didn't have much football itself in this book, just having a fun athlete to read about is always worth it haha

I give THE BALLER: *****5 Stars*****

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