A Jeri Review: The Sweet Spot (Homeruns #4) By Sloan Johnson

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

4 ½ Home runs!

The Sweet Spot coverI love baseball. Therefore I love books with baseball and baseball players. I really enjoyed the first three in this series, but I think this one might be my favorite. The previous books all revolved around MLB players at different places in their careers. In this installment, we get to see the side we don’t often see- a guy trying to make it up from the minors to the majors. Think Bull Durham. But gay. And without the cocky attitude of Nuke Laloosh.

Not only is Nick playing in the minors and fighting for a spot in the big show, he is also fighting to distance himself from his father- himself a former MLB player and current general manager for the team he plays in the minors for. He doesn’t want any preferential treatment. He is also harboring a secret- he doesn’t want anyone to know he is gay. Which is just so silly. Not only is his team very open and accepting of gay players- several have come before him and still play. But he doesn’t want that label. So while he is having a hot and heavy fling with Cody, he abruptly ends it to focus more on his career.

Fast forward a few years. Nick is still playing in the minors, but Cody is taken on as a social media intern. He doesn’t expect to run into Nick the first day, but he does.

What I loved about this book. Nick is in the proverbial closet, but he doesn’t end things with Cody because of that- even though that is what Cody thinks. He ends it because he doesn’t want distractions. He wants to make it to the majors.

Ms. Johnson also shines a light on what minor league players go through. It is hardly the glamorous life of a big leaguer. They have to play as a team while battling for the few MLB roster spots. They often travel by bus. They make very little money. They are constantly traded away and rarely get to be with their families. And the politics of baseball could almost put Washington to shame.

I also loved how Cody really came into his own. We met him in a previous book when a couple of players took him in. At the beginning of the book he was a high school senior struggling with life. When we meet him again he is finishing up college and has his eyes firmly on what he wants to do with his life. And although he still loves Nick, he does not immediately jump into his arms.

This book was a roller coaster ride. It was great storytelling from Nick’s point of view. I don’t want to spoil things in the book- because you really need to read it- but the range of highs and lows that he experiences rings so true. Through it all though is Cody.

We get some glimpses and scenes of players from past books, which I always love. You don’t have to read their books to know them in this book. But don’t miss those books, because they are really good.

Great book without the typical cliché angst, it was sweet and although there were struggles, the pay off is totally worth it.

Cover art is terrific, spot on with the sport.

Sales links:  AmazoniBooks | Nook | Kobo

Book details:

ebook
Published May 9th 2016
SeriesHomeruns #4

Homeruns Series:

A Jeri Review: Triple Play (Homeruns #3) by Sloan Johnson

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Triple PlayDrew Jackson seemed to have it all. He has a family who loves and supports him, a tight circle of friends, and is a rising star with the Milwaukee Mavericks. Then, it all begins to unravel. Cam, the only man he’s ever loved, falls head over heels for Drew’s teammate. He makes a critical mistake in the playoffs that he’s not sure he’ll be able to recover from. And then, his world really crashes around him…

Eric Sapp may no longer play for the Mavericks, but he’s still one of the guys. No one could have imagined how much his life would change when he agreed to help his former teammates mourn the end of their run for the pennant. After stopping a brutal attack, Eric is forced to face the feelings that’ve been growing for his roommate, Drew. That’d be much easier if Drew wasn’t hell-bent on pushing everyone away as he recovers.

Neither of them were counting on Bryce Shaw. He and Drew enjoyed the one night they spent together, but knew it was unlikely they’d be anything more since they lived in different parts of the country. After Bryce is relocated to help a failing LGBT homeless outreach, he wants to explore something more with the Mavericks’ short stop.

As much as Eric wishes he could be the one to help his friend, he knows Bryce holds the key to Drew’s recovery. Will pushing the two back together be the biggest mistake of his life or will they all learn there is strength in numbers?

Baseball players are right up there on my list of guys to read about. And Sloan Johnson knows how to write baseball players. She began with Wild Pitch, continued with Curveball and now the third in the series Triple Play.

The Maverick’s baseball season just ended and Drew is licking his wounds, convinced that he ruined their playoff chances. The guys convince him to go out for a beer anyway, but on his way to the bar he is the victim of a hate crime. He is rescued- barely in time- by a former team mate and sometimes roommate Eric. Keeping the attack on the down low and the fact that his attacker isn’t caught, turns Drew into a bit of a recluse.

Bryce is a friend of Drew’s team mate and a man he had barely gotten to know before he was attacked. Bryce wheedles his way into Drew’s life and Drew is caught with being attracted to both men, Eric and Bryce. Each are willing to walk away for the other, but that might not be necessary.

I have read quite a few MMM stories, and while most of them were pretty good, this one was REALLY good. Usually it is the man that can’t decide between his two lovers that introduces the idea, but this time it is one of the lovers who introduces it. And while all three seem a little surprised by the suggestion, all are willing to give it a try.

I felt like the author really treated not only the 3-way relationship with respect and love, but also the three men individually with respect and love. Of course there are some misunderstandings along the way, but because they all went into it with their eyes open and communication as key, it really blossoms into something beautiful.

All three men are equals in the relationship, but Bryce really comes out as the alpha. And a hot alpha he is! Drew and Eric, while not “alpha” are certainly not quiet and submissive in the relationship. Which just makes it all the more sizzling.

I’ve heard that there will be a fourth in this series and I really hope so. Not only because I enjoyed the first book and then this one (I somehow missed the second in the series), but also because I would like to see these three navigate through spring training.
I liked the cover art and it would have drawn me in to at least read the blurb because of the baseball on the front (did I mention I love baseball?), but it would have been nice to see the other two men represented as well.

Sales LinksAmazon • Nook • Kobo • iBooks

Book Details:

eBook, 222 pages
Published October 13th 2015

Love Gets A Homerun with Wild Pitch by Sloan Johnson (tour, excerpt and giveaway)

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WildPitch

Title: Wild Pitch (Homeruns #1)
Author: Sloan Johnson
Release Date: June 18, 2015
Goodreads

STRW Author BookSynopsis

There’s never been any question in Sean Tucker’s mind that he’d do whatever it took to make it to the major leagues and be one of the best pitchers of his time. The day he acknowledged to himself that he was gay was also the day he vowed to stay in the closet in order to chase his dreams. The problem is, he never counted on Mason Atley.

Sean showed rookie short stop Mason Atley the ropes, both on the field and off. The two forged a friendship which continued as both of them moved through the ranks of the farm system and into the majors. Unfortunately, there’s always been one secret Mason never felt he could share with Sean. Until now.

For seven years, Sean lived with the fact that he loved a man who would never reciprocate. When Mason admits that he’s always known he’s bisexual but has never allowed himself to pursue a relationship with a man, will Sean be able to put aside his reservations about starting a relationship with the friend he’d always assumed was straight? And more importantly, will they be able to find a way to stay together when their careers keep them apart more than they can be together?

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STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

“Are you saying what I think you are?” I asked, my mind still holding me back from pushing him back on the couch to give him what he seemed to be begging for. My fingers tangled through his hair, holding him so his face was barely an inch away from mine. I feared that, if I let go, the trance would be broken and I’d never know what it felt to press my body against his.

“Yeah, I think I am.” Throwing caution to the wind, I placed my hands on his shoulders and shoved him back. His wavy hair felt like silk under my fingers as I plundered his mouth with a crushing kiss. He moaned as his hips bucked against mine, just as desperate for release as I felt. A surge of connection jolted through my body, from my mouth all the way down to my cock, urging me to claim him. There’d be time for regrets later, but if this was what Mason wanted, I would be the one to give it to him.
My cock begged to be freed from the confines of my jeans, pleaded with my hands to reach between our bodies and pull his sweats over his hips, but I couldn’t. Just like my performance earlier in the day, I allowed someone else to weasel his way into my mind and I choked.

“Mace, we can’t do this,” I said with more than a trace of resignation behind the words. “I don’t want you doing something with me because you think it’ll take my mind off what happened earlier. You deserve better than that. If you’re really interested in guys, that’s awesome, but I can’t be your guinea pig. You mean too much to me for me to lose you when you decide you want to go back to women. I wouldn’t be able to stand being pushed aside because your tastes change.”
Mason’s face contorted as if he’d eaten something sour. “Dude, you make it sound like it’s a banquet dinner and I’m going to decide I picked the wrong entrée! Why can’t life be a buffet? If I’m in the mood for a steak, I’ll have the steak. If I want the salmon, I’ll grab a piece of that. Life’s short, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to get to St. Peter and regret never trying steak. Unfortunately for me, the only cut I’m interested in is you.”

“See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about,” I countered. “Let’s keep going with your ridiculous analogy, because you seem to focus better when we’re talking about food… what happens when you try the steak, only to decide that you can’t stand it? What if you realize that what you thought was steak was closer to a nasty fast-food burger? I don’t want to take that chance.”

Playlist for Wild Pitch can be found here!

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Enter to win a eBook of Wild Pitch. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author.

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STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.

When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.

Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?

Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.

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