The League series by Declan Rhodes

Complete Game (The League #1)

AUTHOR’S BLURB: Twenty-five-year-old Blake Powell’s world is baseball. His life goal is a major league contract and he is laser focused on honing his game and his body as close to perfection as he can get. Then a moment of distraction, a wrong step, and a bone-shattering injury put an early end to his baseball career.

Ian Chapman is happy with his life. He has his own house, a decent job, good friends, and he’s the de facto manager of a team in the city’s gay softball league. Unfortunately, he’s missing a key player to help his team rise from the basement and the man at his side to make his personal game complete.

When Blake moves in next door, Ian sees in him a solution to the team’s woes, and soon it becomes obvious something more personal might grow, too. Then Blake’s first love, the game of baseball, comes calling again, and he is compelled to answer.

Complete Game is a 55,000 word first time gay romance with no cliffhangers and a happily ever after ending.

MY REVIEW: Fun, fresh, entertaining and interesting. A little heat and a little sweet. I like that it dared focus on *gasp* softball, instead of the seemingly required baseball. It gave a good comparison. But my personal opinion is that it’s a bit more odd than quirky to put up photos of people you don’t know. Overall, good job.

Second glance (the league)-DR

A Second Glance (The League #2)

AUTHOR’S BLURB: As he stood on third base, leaning toward home, ready to score, Reggie Wolf couldn’t believe what he heard from the third baseman. “After the game…you and me alone…drinks.” Reggie wasn’t a stranger to first dates. He had a long dating history from humorous to nearly catastrophic. But none were ever as ruggedly handsome as Connor.

For Connor Ryan, it was all about Reggie’s face. He got lost in it every time their eyes met. Reggie wasn’t traditionally handsome, but his gaze drew Connor like a moth to a flame. He had to find out more.

After a fiery round of dating, the relationship crumbled when Connor’s fist met someone’s jaw at the Toolbox Bar. Both believed that was the end, until they crossed paths again on the softball field two years later. Neither was sure if a second glance could really lead to a second chance…but they knew that they had to give it a try.

MY REVIEW: Plenty of chemistry, no relationship. These two guys are attracted to one another, sure, and they both like softball. Other than that, they don’t seem to exchange anything other than the most basic of information to decide that one’s a vicious brutal beast and then eventually they want to be together forever. Something more than one funny story to get thru dinner has to be said. And the delay in either of them thinking in their own perspectives about the violence til most of the way through the book?
If there’s more in the series, I will happily try again, because this author usually does this writing thing so well. But perfection cannot be expected all the time. So we adoring public will wait.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance copy of this book.

Alwys waiting (the league)-DR

Always Waiting (The League #3)

AUTHOR’S BLURB: “You know, I waited for you.”

Lowell Baker is convinced that life is random at best, and good things rarely triumph in the end, but that doesn’t mean that life excludes exhilarating moments, like the one when Sven literally knocked him off his feet and landed sprawled across his body face-to-face and almost mouth-to-mouth. Those moments just required taking a few extra risks to bring them about.

“I waited for you, too.”

For Sven Paulsen, there is safety in the predictable and expected. He’s the handsome, strong, sturdy guy on everybody’s side. He has endured a string of bad luck, but he’s certain that sticking close to well-worn paths will right the ship and send him sailing off toward a comfortable horizon.

In fact, that was the plan until Sven literally collided with Lowell at second base on the softball field. Face-to-face once more, their shared history is recalled, but it leaves the path forward uncertain. Sven is comfortable as friends, but Lowell wants a little more…even if it ultimately requires convincing Sven to take a leap from more than 10,000 feet off the ground.

MY REVIEW: I like how Sven’s house becomes a character in the story. It did seem a little mishmash of the author to write that the MCs had one date and then they’d waited for each other, with no further explanation. And Sven’s reaction to the accusations against Lowell was a bit dramatic and turncoat-ish. Otherwise, the story was good. Overall, it was written well.

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