Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Lucky Charm by Beth Bolden

Title:  The Lucky Charm (Portland Series #1)
Author:  Beth Bolden
Genre:  Romantic Comedy
Publication Date: April 30, 2014


Izzy Dalton’s about to strike out. Her new job as the sideline reporter for the Portland Pioneers major league baseball team is problematic on several
1.Baseball is her least-favorite sport. Falling behind golf, tennis, and maybe even curling.
2.What Izzy knows about baseball could fill about three minutes of airtime.
3.Her last experience in front of a camera was in college. Six years ago.
4.The Pioneers’ second baseman has a wicked sense of humor and even wickeder blue eyes.

Jack Bennett couldn’t be more uninterested in a little sideline action. He just wants to show up at the park and win baseball games. Izzy is the one woman he should steer clear of, but she’s also the key to his success–and
his heart, too.

All Izzy has to do is convince her misogynistic boss she’s competent, learn what the heck an RBI is, and stay away from Jack Bennett. Izzy tells herself it’ll be a snap, but 162 games is longer than she ever imagined and Jack
more irresistible than she counted on.

“Izzy Dalton reporting from Sarasota Florida, at the Portland Pioneers Spring Training facility. I’m here with Noah Fox, starting center fielder for the Pioneers, and Jack Bennett, starting second baseman. Thanks for joining me today.”

Jack had to give Izzy credit for how bravely she faced the camera, especially since he’d discovered she’d never done much on-camera work. The first hundred or so times that he’d come face-to-face with a camera, he’d froze, which pretty much explained all those inane interviews that he’d given. When you had no idea what to say, sometimes the worst possible bullshit came out of your mouth.

“Welcome to the Pioneers, Izzy.” Noah smiled, ladling the charm on thick, and Jack resisted the urge to elbow him hard in the ribs.

Her first few questions were all to Noah—about his College World Series title, how he felt about the upcoming season. Izzy was pretty stiff, but Foxy seemed to settle her down after a few minutes.

He’d expected her to take her time with Noah. After all, he was a great interview; he acted like he actually wanted to be here. It wasn’t any big surprise that Toby would pick Foxy for Izzy to break her teeth on. Instead, she switched her attention to him after only three questions, her focus narrowing in on him until he felt like the entire world was going to see him perspiring—every glorious bead of sweat in high definition.

“Jack,” she said coolly, though by this point he’d figured the wintry act was all a big lie. She wasn’t cold; inside, she was a volcano, and because he was inevitably
masochistic, he wanted all that icy self possession to melt away. “What’s your goal for this team?”

“Hell, we’d love to have made the playoffs last year, me more than anyone,” he admitted, and for the first time, he could think about the collapse last year without his vision going all red and blurry with rage, “but good things are worth the wait. This year, we’re not only going to make the playoffs, we’re going to the World Series.” He paused, and was so strangely, innately comfortable, he couldn’t help poking a bit of fun at her.

It wasn’t mean, he told himself, just…playful. Never mind that he wanted to play with her. The intelligence and spirit in her eyes challenged and intrigued him so much that he couldn’t seem to help himself. “You know,” he said conspiratorially, “that’s the Super Bowl of baseball.”

She froze in place, her expression nearly panicked, and then he watched as she forced herself to relax, molecule by molecule. He wanted to make her melt, and
unearth the woman beneath the stiff facade until he discovered her real smile. “And how important is making your World Series debut with the Pioneers? Wouldn’t it be easier, don’t you think, to play for a team that’s been there before?”

“The Pioneers were my first-choice team and it was a great day when they picked me in the draft. Going with this team to the World Series is the only thing I think about,” he said, as if he could feel any differently. “A World Series is a World Series, but the Pioneers are near and dear to my heart.”

Her expression was a mask. “Have you heard the rumors about Ismael Butler moving the team to Las Vegas?”

Jack could feel everything inside of him still and then speed up rapidly, his heart beating so fast he was sure she could see it through his thin T-shirt. This was why he
hated interviews; there was always a question that managed to work him up. This time she’d unearthed the one question that not only made him see red, but freaked him the fuck out.

“That’s crap,” he managed to croak out. “The team isn’t going anywhere.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” she said and he wanted to hate that she was the lightest, most relaxed at the moment she’d made him the most uncomfortable. “But Mr. Butler was in Vegas last week.”

But even though he’d just met her, hate wasn’t anywhere in the equation.

“Mr. Butler has a lot of business in Vegas,” Jack shot back.

“I’m sure that’s true,” Noah added with a hopeful voice and Jack wanted to smack him for not sounding more confident, but he supposed the damage was already done.

Deep down, Jack suspected that point of no return had already come and gone long ago, maybe even the moment he’d opened the door to the media trailer to find Toby, and had discovered Izzy instead.

The Lucky Charm was quite the charm! I am a huge baseball fan (Go Rangers!) so when the opportunity came up to review this book I took. I love sports romances and The Lucky Charm was a good one. 

Izabel Dalton is a workaholic who hasn't been on a date in eight months. She devotes all of her time to her job. Then Izzy finally accept a date, if you could call it that. It was BAD. Things start to go downhill from here. To make matters worse her boss, who is like a second father to her has a heart attack, then she is transferred to Portland to be the new sideline reporter for the Portland Pioneers.

Izzy hasn't had the best life, she lost both her parents tragically. That is why she works so hard. She wants to prove that she can do something with herself and hope that they would have been proud. I loved Izzy, she was sweet, charming, and she a hard worker. Izzy is devastated to be moved to Portland. She doesn't know the first thing about baseball and she never wanted to be in front of the camera. She wanted to be behind it. 

Enter Jack Bennett. He is the starting second baseman and doesn't do interviews. He is the one player everyone is trying to crack so they can find out more about him. 

"Jack was just the right balance of cocky and crazy, sweet and sarcastic." 

I loved Jack from the get go. He loved baseball and played because of his love for the game. He didn't care about the money, he cared about the game. He studied it, trained hard, and played because he loved it. If you are looking for a strong alpha-male you won't find it in Jake. He is down to earth and sweet. I love that about him. As the book went on he got sweeter sweeter. Jack doesn't believe in superstitions but he does believe in luck. Luck plays a big part in this book and I enjoyed seeing the up's and down's of the luck.

I loved the chemistry between Izzy and Jack. It took a LONG time for anything to happen but you just knew it was coming. I understand why the build up needed to be there but some of the stuff became very repetitious and it made this book drag out. 

We can't forget about Noah "Foxy" Fox. He is Jack's best friend and I loved him. He was the perfect best friend. Foxy was sweet, and funny, super funny. I hope we get to see more of him.

Toby is another major player in this book. He is Izzy's new boss. I HATED him, loathed him, despised him. He was a cruel man with an ego he shouldn't have because he is not that good. 

One of my favorite parts about this book was the fact that Beth used real baseball players in the book. She mentioned Josh Hamilton and his issues and they weren't in a good way and I loved it (Rangers fan remember?).  This is a really long book, over four hundred pages. I liked the build up in it and getting to see where they story would go but I think there were some stuff that could have been cut out and this story would have been just as great. Many things were repeated over and over and it became tedious. I will say I am very frustrated with the ending. There was so much build up to get to where they were going and then one final sentence and it was over. I clicked on my kindle at least five times saying "Why aren't you changing pages?! This can't be over yet!". It ends. Just ends! We get resolution to one thing but there are many unanswered questions; what happened to Toby after the incident with Izzy? What about Foxy? Is Charlie doing okay? I see on Goodreads that is #1 in the series but the second book isn't listed so I don't know if it will be a continuation of Izzy and Jack's story or if it will be another character in the book's story, hopefully Noah's. I need closure!!  

This was my first book by Beth Bolden but it won't be my list.

The Lucky Charm was definitely a little charmer of a book. It’s a very sweet story between Izzy Dalton and Jack Bennett. 

Izzy hasn’t had the best life. After losing both of her parents she does what she thinks would make them proud; even if it may not be exactly what she wants in life. She is basically forced to take a position as a side line reporter for the Portland Pioneers. There is one major problem….she doesn’t like baseball and doesn’t know the first thing about it. 

Enter Jack Bennett. He is the starting 2nd baseman for the Pioneers. He plays for the love of the game, not for the money or the fame. When Izzy first steps in as the reporter he is drawn to her. He inserts himself into her first interview with his friend Noah “Foxy” Fox. After that interview he finds that he can’t stay away from her. Their relationship has a nice, slow build. They take their time getting to know one another, even though Izzy is doing everything she can to push him away for fear of losing her job. 

I loved Jack from the beginning. He is very sweet and very down to earth. I enjoyed seeing his interaction with the secondary characters (Foxy and the team’s manager). I was very frustrated with Izzy at times. She kept running from things and had a hard times standing up for what she wanted. I was happy to see that she didn’t finish the book that way. 

This was a quite a long book, a lot of stuff kept being repeated that in my opinion didn’t need to be. But I absolutely loved that Beth knew the sport of baseball. I could feel her love of the sport when she described any of the baseball scenes. Being a sports lover myself I appreciated that in this story. 

But that ending…really?! I liked the ending and there was some closure, but there was so much more that we needed to know. Hopefully those things will be answered in Noah’s story.

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Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with one cat and one fiance. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox
play baseball. If only the Portland Pioneers weren’t only figments of her imagination.

After graduating from university with a degree in English, Beth unsurprisingly had no idea what to do with her life, and spent the next few years working for a medical equipment supplier, a technology company,
and an accounting firm. Now Beth runs her own business as a Girl Friday for small business owners, assisting them with administration, bookkeeping and their general sanity.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. Her first novel, The Lucky Charm, will be available in the beginning of 2014.

In her nonexistent spare time, she enjoys preparing overambitious recipes, baking yummy treats, cuddling with the aforementioned cat and fiance, and of course, writing. She’s currently at work on the The Lucky Charm‘s sequel, featuring Noah Fox. She hopes he’s a lot easier to wrangle than Jack Bennett was.

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