Reviewed by Marieke
TITLE: Reading the Signs
AUTHOR: Keira Andrews
PUBLISHER: KA Books
LENGTH: 266 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 22nd, 2016
Pitcher Nico Agresta is desperate to live up to his family’s baseball legacy. Since he was a teenager crushing on his big brother’s teammate, he’s known he can’t act on his desires. His father’s made it clear there should be no queers on the field, but if Nico can win Rookie of the Year like his dad and brother did, maybe he can prove he’s worthy after all.
At 34, veteran catcher Jake Fitzgerald just wants to finish out his contract and retire. His team doesn’t have a prayer of making the playoffs, but who needs the stress? Jake lost his passion for the game–and life–after driving away the man he loved, and he swore he’d never risk his heart again.
Then he’s traded to a team that wants a vet behind the plate to tame their new star pitcher. Jake is shocked to find the gangly kid he once knew has grown into a gorgeous young man. But tightly wound Nico’s having trouble controlling his temper in his quest for perfection, and Jake needs to teach him patience and restraint on the mound. When their push and pull explodes into the bedroom, Nico and Jake.
Will both learn how much they’ll risk for love.
REVIEW by Marieke
Jake ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald is tired of playing ball. He’s no longer motivated to play, to win or to live life to the fullest. He plays baseball because it’s his job and he plays other sorts of games with men he doesn’t love. He’s content, but not happy. A long time ago he messed up with his best friend, which has made him who he is now. But then his team trades him to Canada, to a new team that hasn’t really existed long enough to make it to the playoffs. Jake hates leaving his easy life, but can’t do anything about it. Then he hears he has to play with Nico Agresta, the younger brother of an ex-teammate. Back when Nico was still a kid, Jake used to practice with him and he’s curious about how Nico grew up.
Nico always had a secret crush on Jake, and having to play with him now could possible get very uncomfortable. But Jake has a very calming influence on Nico. Still, one day Jake can’t take it anymore and he drags Nico into the workout room. Sparks fly, and Nico finally admits he likes men. Jake doesn’t want to jeopardize their careers over an affair with a teammate though, but of course they can’t stay away from each other. Then Nico needs to deal with his family, which is getting harder and harder now that he’s finally come to terms with his sexuality.
In the beginning of the book I had trouble getting into the story. I don’t know if that was just me, or that it was the way the story was written. It felt more like the author was telling Jake’s lack interest in life than showing how he feels. But with Nico’s POV it gets a bit better. Too bad there’s more from Jake’s POV then Nico’s.
The story goes up and down, leading the MC’s through a pretty believable roller-coaster ride of coming to terms with sexuality, job issues, family issues, and jealousy. It is believable, but not always very engagingly written (at least not in my opinion.) There were parts that I wanted to skip, or where I lost interest a bit.
When the final climax came with the ‘biggest’ problem to solve, I was like, ‘Whoa, why would the author put something like this near the end of the book?’ There was way too little debt put into that problem and the way they ‘overcame’ it was even worse. Too rushed, to clichéd and predictable but without the actual emotional journey they should’ve made. I think the problem should’ve put in way sooner and worked out along with the other issues, or not at all.
Overall it was a nice read. I loved the baseball parts and the way Nico learns to live with his sexuality AND his kinks. But it wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. Jake is the one that has the most chapters in his POV, yet Nico feels more fleshed out and real. With Jake it’s more telling he feels shitty or emotional, than actually showing how he feels. The family part could’ve been better too, more emotional than just actions. I would have loved to read more about Jake’s mom or Nico’s brother and sister. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t great.
REVIEW by Danielle
I so enjoyed this story. I kind of picked it up by accident because I had the feels for a good sport story and boy did I get that!. Keira Andrews surprises with a flashy sports tale giving a thorough look into the lives of main characters Jake and Nico.
When the story starts you see things from Jake’s perspective, showing his lack of interest in the sport he has been playing for so many years professionally and he is only thinking of retiring early. Then he gets the news he will be traded back to where he is from in Canada. Feeling as if he has built his life in San Francisco over the few last years, hooking up with a friend to let go of his tension on occasion and to live out his contract, the trade comes out of the blue and has him on edge.
Arriving in Canada with his new team he is reunited with old friend Diego but also with the little brother of a former friend, Nico. From that point the author shows us fragments of the baseball of Jake’s worries of Nico’s hot-headed stubbornness and more.
Nico’s family plays a very prominent role in what drives him and I really enjoyed the way we get acquainted his sister Val, his brother Marco and especially his dad and Nonna.
The built up between Jake and Nico is slow and I have to say I liked that. They built trust and a friendship and share more and more until the point that finally there is no going back. *fireworks*
With that more issues occur and the story shows us how they both need to deal with being openly gay and with a light bdsm involvement. Nico’s struggle with jealousy and his homophobic father and grandmother but also Jake having to make ammends with how he treated his best friend and why. I really want to mention that because Jake’s confrontation and talk with former best friend Brandon was one of the many highlights in this book. The interaction between Nico and his family, the way his father tries very hard to change views and the way both guys were outed unexpectedly are just some things that are portrayed in a very real and enthralling way and together with a wonderful sweet and warm epilogue makes this for me a more than enjoyable and recommended read