Training Ground (Girls of Summer #1) by Kate Christie

Soccer is a passion of mine. I have played most of my life, starting when I was just in the 1st grade. Combine that love with a Kate Christie book. Okay yeah, you have me interested. Even if soccer isn’t your passion ,you should give this book a chance for one reason, the author.

Jamie Maxwell is a young high school aged soccer player. She has that single-minded focus of an elite athlete. Soccer, she lives for it, she will sacrifice everything else for the game. How many teenagers are that focused, not many? Combine that with a natural athletic prowess and you have that special combo that just might take you to the top of the game.

Emma Blakeley is exactly like Jamie in the sense that the game defines her. Emma is finishing up her senior year and has already committed to the storied women’s soccer program UNC. Emma sees a kinship in Jamie, where the sport they love supersedes everything else. What she also sees, when they randomly bump into each post-tournament is that Jamie radiates sadness. They bond almost instantly seeing a kinship of a fellow athlete but also drawing strength from one another. This instant connection will define the rest their year.

In the beginning, they are strictly friends, sharing their love of the beautiful game, waking up before the sun is up to catch a Premier League match, sharing stories of their day on the pitch. Soccer is the catalyst for more. They become to depend on each other. They become each other’s anchors as they deal with some pretty heavy stuff.

This story is jam-packed with drama. You have multiple life defining moments and the reactions and emotions of two young women. My heart ached for both Jamie and Emma, at times individually and simultaneously. To say these two are put through the gamut is an understatement. 2003-2004 will be a time that will forever define the course of these two lives.

Pretty heavy right! If this book was a stand alone, I would be wary to recommend this one. Not because of any flaw in the writing, because it is really good, but it also kind of hurts. While I read romance novels for so many reasons, let’s all face the cold hard truth, we want that happy ending. Good news is this is not a stand alone, but one of three books following the lives of soccer’s toughest duo. Training Ground is the backstory, vital to understanding how it all began. So you have to read it, and you’ll want to, but buy the second part with the first, and go right into it.

Soccer is a passion of mine. I have played most of my life, starting when I was just in the 1st grade. Combine that love with a Kate Christie book. Okay yeah, you have me interested. Even if soccer isn’t your passion ,you should give this book a chance for one reason, the author.

Jamie Maxwell is a young high school aged soccer player. She has that single-minded focus of an elite athlete. Soccer, she lives for it, she will sacrifice everything else for the game. How many teenagers are that focused, not many? Combine that with a natural athletic prowess and you have that special combo that just might take you to the top of the game.

Emma Blakeley is exactly like Jamie in the sense that the game defines her. Emma is finishing up her senior year and has already committed to the storied women’s soccer program UNC. Emma sees a kinship in Jamie, where the sport they love supersedes everything else. What she also sees, when they randomly bump into each post-tournament is that Jamie radiates sadness. They bond almost instantly seeing a kinship of a fellow athlete but also drawing strength from one another. This instant connection will define the rest their year.

In the beginning, they are strictly friends, sharing their love of the beautiful game, waking up before the sun is up to catch a Premier League match, sharing stories of their day on the pitch. Soccer is the catalyst for more. They become to depend on each other. They become each other’s anchors as they deal with some pretty heavy stuff.

This story is jam-packed with drama. You have multiple life defining moments and the reactions and emotions of two young women. My heart ached for both Jamie and Emma, at times individually and simultaneously. To say these two are put through the gamut is an understatement. 2003-2004 will be a time that will forever define the course of these two lives.

Pretty heavy right! If this book was a stand alone, I would be wary to recommend this one. Not because of any flaw in the writing, because it is really good, but it also kind of hurts. While I read romance novels for so many reasons, let’s all face the cold hard truth, we want that happy ending. Good news is this is not a stand alone, but one of three books following the lives of soccer’s toughest duo. Training Ground is the backstory, vital to understanding how it all began. So you have to read it, and you’ll want to, but buy the second part with the first, and go right into it.

3.75 stars out of 5

  • Publisher: Second Growth Books

Training Ground: Book One of Girls of Summer
by Kate Christie
Link: http://a.co/31dHycU

Training Ground by Kate Christie

 

Colorblind by Siera Maley

Adorable is easily one of the many adjectives that you can use to describe Colorblind by Siera Maley. This book is at times distressing all the while being heartwarming as well. I know, what a conundrum, but a glorious one at that. This book is a balancing act of sad and happy, no worries, though. You want to read this one. For any sadness that seeps out, there is a magnificent ray of sunshine that will definitely make you smile.

Harper is cynical, jaded, broody with a perpetual dark cloud over her head. Give her a chance, though, Harper isn’t just any teenager. This seventeen-year-old has a special gift, that can only be seen as really a curse. She sees the age of death written on the forehead of each person she meets. In the way that you and I see the date of expiration on a gallon of milk, Harper sees these hundreds of times a day on people. Can you imagine how awful this would be, seeing a toddling two-year-old and seeing the number 4, or a young mother and seeing a 37? Heartwrenching! Harper knows that no one would understand, and basically think that see had seriously lost her marbles if she told anyone.

Chloe Stephens is in one word, magnetic. This character is one of those people that, you know the type that everyone is naturally drawn to. They exude fun and kindness and you cannot help but love’em. She has the wisdom of ninety-year-old, with the adventurous spirit that only teenagers have and exuding positivity all along the way.
These two meet by chance, Chloe just moving into Harper’s San Francisco neighborhood, and become fast friends. Harper is super reluctant to allow Chloe into her life, but the charming spirit of Chloe is just too much to ignore. Chloe doesn’t beat around the bush either. She lets Harper know in no uncertain terms that she is interested in a relationship because she’s cute and interesting. This was so refreshing. No long pining away, Chloe knows how to communicate!

The book is with Chloe and Harper carving out their friendship and then their romance. It’s cute and fun, Chloe makes Harper see the fun side of life and let go of her constant doom and gloom broodiness. If you haven’t read this book, you might be wondering, Can Harper see Chloe’s number? The answer is yes, she totally can, and that my friend adds to the angst of the story.

Overall, this book is fantastic. I have enjoyed each of Siera Maley’s books, but Colorblind is easily the best of her work. The book has just enough tension to keep you on edge, and when it’s finally time for the conclusion, Maley does a masterful job of finishing this delightful book. Highly recommend!

5 out of 5 stars

Colorblind
by Siera Maley
Link: https://amzn.com/B01CGR9AKU

Colorblind by [Maley, Siera]

Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton

This book is a true gem. For the very first pages you are taken by the beauty of the Welsh village as much as the main character Poppy. You become invested in the characters, rooting for their triumphs, and sharing their sadness. Poppy Jenkins is not the book to pass on. This one will steal your heart. Good luck on getting that back!

Poppy Jenkins is one of those rare people that are almost too good to be true. This beautiful woman has a heart of gold, always seeing for the best in everyone and finding treasures among the mundane. Poppy has settled into her life into her birthplace, a small Welsh village, working in the small café above her mother’s store, walking her young sister to school most days, spending time with her cantankerous grandmother, she finds joy in doing the things most 30 year old’s would shun. You feel Poppy’s delight page after page, but also the undercurrent of sadness as she knows this is most likely the pinnacle of her life. While it’s a fantastic life, Poppy feels as though she will never find her one true love, she knows everyone in her village, and let’s face it, those resources a null and void.

Rosalyn Thorn has come back to village of Wells to care for her ailing father, riding in on her black sports car, looking too good for words. Rosalyn, Poppy childhood best friend left her in the dust never looking back. She was like a ghost tormenting Poppy’s memories. There is so much happiness and fused with sadness and despair hovering over the past between the two former friends. When Rosalyn comes back she stirs up Poppy’s emotions, her longing desire for true love and a heartache that has lasted nearly a decade.

This is a classic tale of opposites attract, and Clare Ashton does it with heart wrenching emotion that will quickly turn into a smile. Rosalyn and Poppy were made for each other and their journey through hell and high water to get back to each other is quite well done. This book is fantastic and you will not be disappointed.

5 out of 5 stars

I was given this novel by the author, Clare Ashton, in return for an honest review.

  • Publisher: Breezy Tree Press

Poppy Jenkins
by Clare Ashton
Link: https://amzn.com/B01HC65VIK