by KD Casey
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Pub Date 11 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 11 May 2023
Carina Press & Carina Adores (Harlequin), Carina Press
"[A] home run of a romance." —New York Times Book Review
Teammates reunite to give love another shot in the third installment of KD Casey’s riveting Unwritten Rules series.
Jake Fischer has been here before: pitching for the Oakland Elephants, hiding his worries behind a smile, hoping to win it all. Ten years ago, it didn’t turn out the way he wanted. Nothing in his life did. But now he’s back—and so is the one teammate tied inexorably to his past.
It doesn’t matter how many times catcher Alex Angelides replays that moment during the Fall Classic over in his mind, the outcome never changes. He’s not sure what happened to make that pitch glance off his glove, or what happened with his relationship with Jake—and he’s not going to be the one to ask.
A whole lot may have changed in the last decade, but some things have stayed the same. Jake and Alex still can’t stay out of each other's faces on the field, or out of each other's beds off of it. They’ve got a second chance to win it all…but only if they realize what they lost.
Book 1: Unwritten Rules
Book 2: Fire Season
Book 3: Diamond Ring
A Note From the Publisher
DIAMOND RING depicts a main character’s anxiety/panic attacks, obsessive/compulsive behaviors, and side effects related to medication for these. The story also includes:
References to an offscreen death by suicide, and the death of a parent;
Discussions of foster care and adoption;
Themes of heteronormativity, references to/brief depictions of biphobia/homophobia, ableism, sexism, racism, classism, and antisemitism. These do not involve religiously based intolerance or use of slurs.
“KD Casey writes quiet, emotional, deeply romantic books that are impossible to put down. Diamond Ring might be the best sports romance I have ever read.” —Rachel Reid, USA Today bestselling author of Heated Rivalry and The Long Game
“Casey's writing is unparalleled: immersive and atmospheric, it immediately places the reader inside the characters' worlds with intimacy and skill, a pulsing presence that pulls you in and makes you feel safe. As with all their work, Diamond Ring paints a portrait of both baseball and queer love that is tender and complex, full of tension, thoughtful explorations of mental health and family, and sparking-from-the-first-chapter-chemistry that made me unable to put it down until I'd finished.” —Anita Kelly, author of Something Wild & Wonderful
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 79 members
This series is perfect. This book is perfect. It is everything I wanted, and everything I didn’t know to want. KD Casey writes with such joy and beauty and precision. This book, in a different but no less excellent way than their others, captures the joyful, exhausting, awe-inducing, fun, disappointing, and turbelent spirit of baseball and love. Every KD Casey book is a beauty to read, and this is no exception.
First and foremost I LOVED this book!!!! All the stars for so many reasons!
Second-chance romances are not my favorite trope, but KD Casey writes a book and I’ll read it!! I’m so glad I did!! Let me try to count the ways …
Both Alex and Jake felt like deeply realized, nuanced, three-dimensional characters in their own right, and their relationship then felt deeply realized, nuanced and three-dimensional
I loved following both of their journeys from young brash ball players to older, more mature but still flawed men and then finding each other within that journey
The emotional arc of their relationship was believable, painful and then SO SATISFYING.
The aspects of Jakes faith throughout was so important, wonderful and well done; as was the very real depictions of what anti depressants can mean to the person taking them.
Alex is just one of my favorite characters ever! I love him and his family and the way he was a solid player but not a star. It’s cool to read about the rest of the roster when so many MCs are the best and brightest
What I’m saying is run don’t walk to get this lastest! It might be my favorite from the series?! But who can tell they’re all great!
Diamond Ring is the third book in the Unwritten Rules series by KD Casey. It’s a MM romance set within the world of baseball, and a team called the Oakland Elephants. The previous two books whilst related can easily be read as standalones, as can Diamond Ring.
The book centres in Jake (a pitcher) and Alex (a catcher) who, now in their early 30s have forged very different paths to be where they are with the Elephants. Alex is the starting catcher, Jake a (very) late innings pitcher. Jake and Alex have a history, a thing that could have been but for many variables, not least of all a near career ending injury after their first season playing together. The injury and harsh words were left 10 years without reconciliation. Until now.
I profess to loving all the books in this series, but each time I say, this book is better. Again, most definitely true in this case. Both characters are complex - Jake with his injury history, and his anxious and obsessive tendencies. Alex with his family life story, his giving nature and motivation for playing, and his openness to understand Jake’s experience.
KD Casey writes with such depth, you do feel as the layers are peeled away from these characters, the further you read. The angst and emotion is there though from the early chapters, as Jake and Alex grappled initially meeting as younger men with their careers in front of them, to them reconnecting when they are more worldly and more jaded.
Particularly sensitive is Casey’s depiction of Jake’s mental health - the reader is a bystander to his thought processes and internal monologue, how potentially debilitating these can be, and Jake’s insights and how he has learned to manage and make sense of his own experience. It becomes apparent to Alex as well, and the point at which he understood Jake’s situation better was so poignant - ‘something that hadn’t occurred to Alex: how long each day Jake spent on this stuff, like inescapable chores’.
There is the usual baseball discussion as the reader tracks the team’s performance across the season, and Jake and Alex’s role within it. There are some cameos from our characters in books one and two.
This book has LGBTQIA+ representation, parental loss and grief, adoption, mental health, and religious representation. Thanks to Carina Press and Netgalley for the digital copy.
It gets all the stars from me!
In Diamond Ring KD Casey delivers a beautiful, poignant second-chance romance with heart, family, and delicious angsty lost-love feels. Jake and Alex are both compelling, sweet characters you’ll root for from start to finish. Don’t sleep on this series.
KD absolutely nailed it with this one. Or, since it's a baseball book, knocked it out of the park? Whichever metaphor you choose this book was amazing, perfect, 10 out of 10, no notes. Like, how dare this book.
It's amazing to see an already great writer improve upon their craft. All the things that bugged me from the first two books in this series were fixed and all the things I loved were still there. The writing struck the perfect balance of melancholy, baseball, romance, and character development which the dense and poetic writing style complements well.
The other things I loved about the book: the two main characters, Jake and Alex; the baseball; the mental health rep; the linear storytelling; the more conclusive ending; less of the book dedicated to the first chance romance; the build up of the second chance romance; the baseball as a rebellion rep; the proper name pronunciation rep; the epistolary interlude; the whole thing, really.
In conclusion, the best KD Casey baseball book yet.
Diamond Ring might actually be perfect. Jake and Alex’s love story is hard-fought. In athletics, people often say you have to grind out wins or grind out losing streaks when things don’t go your way. Alex and Jake had the same experience to be together. Told over 10 years, this story explores the pressure of competitive athletics, the wear and tear athletes face both physically and mentally, and includes a glorious redemption arc. I loved it.
KD Casey is one of my favorite authors and writers, and asking me to pick a favorite in the Unwritten Rules series is like asking me to pick my favorite Seager brother. But as much as I love all of my baseball-playing North Carolinian infielders, Diamond Ring is my favorite Seager brother (it's Kyle.) (No book in the series is Justin, no shade to Justin, you're the Cooper Manning of the Seager family and that's OK!)
Each one of KD Casey's books shows an incredibly deft handling of both romantic tropes and in-depth depiction of baseball experiences, tropes, if you will. Diamond Ring has an exquisite trajectory of enemies-to-friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-friends-to-lovers that I could not get enough of. Love, between teammates, of the game, for oneself, in its many forms, is rendered in truly spectacular fashion! In fact, the process of writing this review makes me want to reread the book to properly savor all the moments in Jake and Alex's years of knowing each other, whether they wanted to or not (and Casey's excellent command [and control] of their timeline).
A massive thank you to NetGalley and Carina Press for an ARC in exchange for this absolutely honest review!!!!
This. Was. So. Good.
Honestly loved everything about it. Swooney moments? Check! Pining & angst? Check! Steam? Check! Heartbreaking moments that made me cry? Check!
KD Casey just really can write a love story that make you cry with joy as much as heartbreak (there were moments where I honestly felt my heart drop and I had to take a moment to catch my breath). I fell in love with both Jake and Alex. They are both so relatable and so real. Especially Jake's struggles with mental health. I just wanted to hug them both. I especially loved how the story is told with a 10 year time jump where you can see the stark difference from Jake & Alex when they first met to when they come back together. This might be one of the best second chance romances I've ever read, it just worked for me.
This entire series is amazing, but I think this is the best of the bunch and that is saying something because I absolutely LOVED the first two. I will buy anything KD Casey puts out because they have proven they will write characters and a story that I will devour and love every minute.
This is now my favorite KD Casey book! In this third installment of the Unwritten Rules universe, KD takes us on an emotional romance following Jake Fischer, a pitcher, and Alex Angelides, a catcher. They reunite ten years after a failed attempt to win it all in with the Oakland Elephants, and they've grown a lot since their last meeting.
Diamond Ring has a lot of emotional depth and exploration compared to a lot of sports romances that I've previously read. Jake and Alex are both fleshed out as individuals, making their growth feel real and deserved. As someone who knows very little about baseball, KD makes the sports scenes very accessible and it's easy to imagine the game playing out during the chapters
This is the perfect second-chance sports romance if you're looking for pining, angst, and a gratifying pay-off. Diamond Ring can be read as a stand-alone, but it's great to recognize the cameos from other characters in the series.
Thank you to Carina Press and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.