Cover Image: Team Player

Team Player

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The first book in the Charleston Thrashers, Team Player, is a promising start to this new series. I enjoyed the character interaction, the seamless flow of the story and the engaging plot. I will look to read more of this series
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Gwen Scott is in a rut. Her only remaining family member, her aunt, recently died and in a moment of grief and/or drunkenness, she applied to PR department of her aunt's favorite team, the Charleston Thrashers. As part of her position, she has to give PR notes to the coach of the Thrashers, a notably awful task. While giving the approved talking points, Gwen finds herself talking to the coach and her genuine knowledge of the game and PR gives her the ability to translate the points into something usable and honest. When the coach starts to use her talking points instead, Gwen gets thrown into the deep end in PR and in doing so, keeps running into Tyler Ashe, the hotshot shortstop of the Thrashers. 

Tyler is in the midst of a rut as well. His best friend, and only family, was recently sent to jail and Tyler isn't handling the loneliness that causes well. He's snappish and off his game. While having constant run ins with Gwen in her new position, Tyler finds someone to talk to and open up with. 

I love reading about competent women. Lately I have been on a clumsy awkward heroine binge and while that has its place, it is so refreshing to read a book about a woman, who while she is learning a new position, is still really good at what she is doing and is accomplishing her work. And part of her attractiveness to Tyler is the fact that she is genuinely good at her job. 

There are angsty twists and turns but they communicate with each other and help each other grow. It is an adult story about adults and I highly recommend it.
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Team Player is a fun contemporary romance that features a baseball player and a PR rep for his team. There's a secret romance, loads of drama, and lots of sexual chemistry!

I enjoyed this book. I like Julianna's writing and the story flowed really good.
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Other than the occasional soccer game that my husband talks me into watching with him on TV, I'm not much of a sports viewer; and definitely not what I'd consider a fan. So I was a bit leery of this story because so much of it seems centered on baseball. Which it is. But only in the fact that most of the action occurs in and around a ballfield with a team of baseball players. The real meat of the story, however, is all about the people and the relationships that they develop. 

Ty is pretty much your typical egocentric, playboy jerk. But (before the action of this story even begins) he experiences some personal losses that make he start to reevaluate his life and what he wants from it. 

Gwen, on the other hand, is a reclusive loner who never ventures out of her comfort zone. She weathers an even more devastating loss that basically leaves her floundering and unsure of what to do with her life. 

That they end up being perfect for one another is as much a surprise to them as it would be to anyone else (if anyone knew). The tale isn't just about how their romance grows though; it is also about the many other relationships that both of them develop, especially among their coworkers, many of whom end up becoming true friends. I appreciated the fact that everything didn't magically turn around both characters after they "found love." They both still had real struggles and difficulties. But, as in real life, at least it was easier to bare (mostly) when they had each other. 

There is quite a bit of baseball jargon and discussion, which gives a real feel for the game and this (fictional) team in particular. But it is never so much that it is excessively boring or overwhelming to the actual plot.

There are quite a few things about the politics of the team that, while I'm sure are more than accurate, really bothered me. One scene in particular at the near end was highly upsetting to me. And I did feel that the very end was a bit too little too late. But, in another way, it was also quite appropriate for this couple. I'll let you read it yourself to discover what I'm talking about.
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3.75 stars... a good sports themed romance with a forbidden element. My first read by this author and look forward to reading more from her.
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I’m not a sportsball fan in real life, but do enjoy reading them in my book life. I really enjoyed Ty and Gwen. They had to keep their romance on the down low since it’s a huge no-no. Since Gwen is in PR she was in charge of the tweets, the responses to them were really funny. Some were cracking me up. The writing and storytelling were really good and I didn’t get bored with all the ball talk. I will never understand why it takes 9 hours to play this sport. This didn’t have an epilogue, not a huge deal but I think it would’ve been neat to have one, but that’s just me. I was a huge fan of another player starting a book club to try and connect with his teenage daughter.
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Really enjoyed this one! It’s a sports romance set in the professional baseball world. It made me so ready for baseball season! Gwen is on the public relations team of the baseball team Tyler plays for. I thought both characters were great and super easy to like. They both were feeling lonely when they met each other. The story also spans a whole baseball season so no insta love here. 

This book does speak a lot about being a part of both a baseball team and as a couple being a team which I thought was wonderful. Gwen and Ty’s relationship was very grownup in my opinion. There was very little drama which is so refreshing and that you rarely see in romance books these days. The ending was absolutely perfect. 

My only issue with the book was that there was a whole lot of baseball talk. I do consider myself a fan of baseball and have a team I watch, but when reading I kind of prefer my books to be more romance with a side of sports and this was kind of the opposite, which I did struggle with. 

But, if you love baseball, I think you will really like this one! 

* ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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Today is Opening Day, and this ended up being the perfect read to get me in the mood for the new baseball season!

This sports romance started off so strong. First of all, it's clear it was written by a true baseball fan, which I *really* appreciated! There was actually quite a bit of baseball in the story, which I loved. My Minnesota Twins even made an appearance, playing against the fictional Charleston Thrashers team in the pivotal last series of the regular season. (#GoTwins!)

I loved the story's setup, and the chemistry between the MLB hero and team PR assistant heroine was fan-FREAKING-tastic! I felt myself grinning like an idiot through the whole first half of the story, loving the quirks and antics of the teammates, the obnoxiousness of the PR world, and the adorableness of the developing romance. 

I found the back half of the story not as strong or compelling, relying on more predictable plot devices. I also felt the resolution/ending was missing an emotional element that I'd expected (and wanted, badly!); however, at the same time, I appreciated that not everything worked out in an unrealistic, picture-perfect sort of way. (I know, what can I say? I'm difficult to please! 😊)

Overall, this was a really great start to a new series—I already cannot wait for the next book! I loved the humor, and the sweet, quiet moments were written *so* well. This was my first Julianna Keyes read, but it certainly won't be my last.

RATING: B+ (4½ stars)
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4.5 stars — Oh dudes, I’ve only read one other book (well novella) by this author, but reading this one, I remember how much I love her voice.  These characters were rich and deep and sassy and it was just a fun read, you know?  I will admit that I had a few problems with some actions/reactions, mainly from Ty, and that’s why I’ll be rounding down, but other than that I just super enjoyed this one.

Gwen and Ty were just…well, not without flaws, but eminently easy to connect with.  One of the weird things I loved most about Gwen was that, while she was somewhat shy/nervous/awkward, she was also very secure in her own worth as a woman, and confident and positive about sex.  I LOVE sex positive books, and Gwen was a great heroine representative IMO.  And even though she was at the tail end of her heavy grief period over Aunt Marge, I really felt for her, and how she’d isolated herself.  I loved seeing how she stepped up to the plate with her job, and excelled at it…it was an interesting element to the story, because it contrasted with how she’d put her job in jeopardy with her connection with Ty.

And Ty…well damn.  That boy made some of the STUPIDEST decisions, I swear…and sometimes I just wanted to smack him with the things he would say to Gwen.  He was a bit impetuous and even immature at times, but I guess I got where it came from in some ways.  Doesn’t mean I accepted it, but I got it.  He was so lost and confused without his best friend, struggling in a world that he isolated himself from as well.  I loved seeing him grow through the book and learn to trust and connect with his teammates.

And OMG, the two of them together were just adorable, and hot, and made me laugh, and I just LOVED what they brought out of each other.  Because it wasn’t just a strong physical connection, it was their friendship chemistry that truly sucked me in.  They helped each other heal and grow.  They weren’t always the best with one another, but in some ways I felt like that made them a bit more realistic…because sometimes we just don’t always bring the best out of each other, no matter how hard we try.

Now, I will admit, I’m not a baseball fan (though if I was I would be a Blue Jays fan all the way, represent).  But I find in sports romances, you don’t need to be versed in a sport to enjoy it.  And I thought Ms. Keyes actually did a great job of making me invested in the Thrashers team, and I couldn’t help googling RBI and ERA, and I’m still confused, but that’s stats for you.

And part of the reason I connected with the Thrashers team was because of all the well developed and hilarious characters on the team.  I love knowing this is a series and that we’ll get more stories for these guys, b/c they were all kind of larger than life, and I loved what they brought to the story.  And it wasn’t just the players, I loved Coach Stripley, and even Allison made an impression.

So yeah.  This story started off SOOOOO strong, and I connected with it super strongly.  I can’t wait to read more in this world…
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(Source: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Julianna Keyes.)

I loved this book. I do not know what is with Julianna Keyes and her sporty men, but hey, I love them. They are actually human beings, they do not have to be mean and rude to be cool and strong and sexy and wanted. Yes, some are arrogant, but never border the line wrong, and I love having main characters like this.

So the Team Player is about struggling baseball star Tyler Ashe, who is the star of Charleston Thrashers, who brings the Ashe to the Thrashers and it says in the book, and teams PR assistant Gwen Scott, who loves baseball, is good at her job, and wants to love her job, but is struggling with it. Both have seen losses, and that and the love for baseball brings them together, and that is when the fun part starts.

You know, I understood Tyler, the line that "His first and second loves are baseball", was said so many times, but I did not mind it. We want to see career driven women, but there is nothing wrong with career driven men. He loved his job, baseball, he enjoyed it. His life had a pivotal change, and he was struggling with it, but he was trying. It was funny that I got to the middle of the book and then I realised why the book was cold 'Team Player'. You see, Tyler was not really a team player before, he was a team with his best friend Connor, but after he lost Connor he distanced himself, and lost the sense of team, and it was the whole team not just him. So the book "Team Player" is about the journey of finding your way back to your team.

Gwen was the key player. She might have not loved her job, but she was good at it, the best, and it showed, the love for baseball showed it. Thanks to her Tyler found his way back to the team, the whole team again started to see themselves as more than players but a unit, but whose team she would be in...?

LOVED this book, was an easy, drama-free, romantic, touching story. Read it, I highly recommend it and see who will help Gwen to find her team.
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As a fan of Julianna Keyes' Burnham College series, I'm not quite sure how to rate her new romance set in the world of major league baseball. Loved the beginning, loved the baseball, liked Gwen - Julbut by the end, I was disappointed by Ty, confused by Connor, and outright bummed by the abrupt ending.

One of the reasons I'm a fan is because Julianna Keyes usually creates totally flawed but super relatable characters, like the Burnham College gang. I was really cheering for Gwen in the beginning - loved her sporty geek outs - and the Thrashers players cracked me up (Just sayin', I'd totally join Reed's Readers if Alison led the club). But mopey, whiny Ty really got on my nerves. A lot of it was simply because he was missing his incarcerated friend Connor but most of it was in exposition but frankly, most of it was because Ty really loved feeling sorry for his sad, multimillionaire professional athlete self. 

One of my favorite moments was when Gwen called Ty out on his attitude after the team lost a critical game. I loved feisty Gwen. Unfortunately, feisty Gwen soon turned into way too understanding and forgiving Gwen. I won't give away anything but this: Ty owes Gwen one hell of a giant grovel. After what he did, I expected the mother of all Grand Gestures but nope. That was very disappointing. 

If you like baseball romances, this was really well done - many scenes reminded me of the charming parts of Bull Durham when the players bonded and everyone caught Thrashers fever. I just didn't catch Ty and Gwen together fever. Nevertheless, I have faith in Julianna Keyes' world- and character-building skills and look forward to more Thrashers fun. Maybe a book for Alison? She was a hoot.
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I thoroughly enjoyed EVERY minute of this book. It's been awhile since I read a sports romance, and this reminded me of why they are so much fun. The clubhouse atmosphere, the irascible coach, the high stakes of dating in the spotlight (or trying to avoid it)... it was all done to perfection. 

Tyler Ashe, an all-star short stop on the Charleston Thrashers, who's wondering if his star is fading, is a genuinely good guy, which is nice to see in a sports romance. He's described as cocky, but I really didn't see it too much. Maybe it's because his game has been struggling, but he just seems like someone who loves playing baseball and wants to do his best for his team. 

Then there's Gwen, who has thrown herself into her job on the PR team as kind of a tribute to her recently passed superfan aunt. Her incredible knowledge of the team's stats and history raises her profile in the clubhouse, which is how Ty & Gwen come to meet. I do wish the author played up the fact that Gwen had posters of Ty in her old bedroom, it would've been hilarious to see him realize just how much of a fan she was. Regardless, they had great chemistry. They fought their attraction a bit at the beginning, due to human resources policy, but ultimately gave in, of course. We really get to see their relationship develop over several months, which I appreciated. We're able to see them overcome not just some big misunderstanding, but lots of little struggles. They actually communicated -- imagine! And the sex scenes are very well done. There aren't too many, but they're perfectly hot. 

The author gives a good amount of attention to the baseball season, and the game action is well written and compelling. I myself am a fan, but could see non-fans enjoying it as well. She doesn't get bogged down in the details and definitely captures the excitement.

There is a nice plot twist in this that I honestly didn't see coming. Usually you can at least guess at these types of things, but I was really in the dark [sorry if this is cryptic].

This was an enjoyable, well paced romance that was fun from start to finish. I'd love to read more about Connor!
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3.5 stars

Team Player is a feel good read. It's a sexy secret workplace romance and sports romance package deal. With a bond formed between player and a PR assistant, their relationship takes off while the team is tanking.

I had fun reading this. Team Player has some very entertaining characters and I look forward to hopefully more of them. Between the socks, the cologne, and the book club, I'm ready for more shenanigans. Plus I'm jealous about the book club!
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This is one of those mixed feelings books for me.  The writing was good IMO, but I was not a huge fan of where the plot line went.  Gwen was OK, even showed some moments of sass, but it wasn't very consistent.  Ty was actually kind of gross.  Nobody thought anything of having him followed for his escapades and getting NDA's after the dirty deeds??  EWWW  I also had an issue with WHY this was necessary.  If this particular event had happened to a female, I bet the outcome would have been different.
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Even though Gwen has been a Trasher-supporter from the moment her parents dumped her on her baseball-loving aunt's doorstep, her new job at the Trasher's PR-department turns out not all it was cracked up to be. Still grieving over the death of the aunt who raised her, Gwen feels lost in life.
Ty's team has been on a losing streak ever since his team mate and best friend got sentenced to jail and he has no idea how to handle any of it. Their paths cross, two lonely souls recognize each other and sparks fly amidst arcade games and home runs in a strict non-fraternization environment.

Let me start off this review by saying I know bugger all about baseball. I know about homeruns and that there's bats included of the non-Batman variety but that's about it. Some of the gameplay descriptions went completely over my head (I think describing a sports match is pretty darn hard), but I appreciated the setting nonetheless. Julianna Keyes clearly knows and loves baseball and it makes the setting of the book feel authentic and realistic.

Though Ty hasn't been able to snatch away Crosbie's (from Undecided) top spot as my favorite Keyes'hero (#crosbabe4eva), he's a good second. He's vulnerable and attentive, even though he occasionally puts his foot into it and has made some questionable decisions in his past. And let's face it, who hasn't? But when you're a million-dollar sports star, stupid decisions are laid out for everyone to see and come back to haunt you when you least expect it. As his team begins to rebuild itself, Ty starts to find out who he is now his best friend got send to jail and, more importantly, what he wants out of life besides baseball. And since this is a romance, it won't be a surprise, that that something turns out to be a relationship with Gwen, who carries around a fair share of luggage herself.

If I had to give one point of criticism is that the issue of Gwen and her parents isn't really resolved. It's there, and it sort of resurfaces in the Intense Black Moment, but then it fizzles out again and isn't addressed again. For a kid to be dumped by her parents at her aunt's doorstep must have had a whopping impact, but it isn't really there unless it suits the moment.

But it's a minor blip in a great story. I loved, loved, loved the cast of secondary stories and really hope Keyes will continue to write more Trasher stories. Reed, Ibanez, Alison, Connor, Keelie... they all seem like great characters deserving of their own story and a hard-earned HEA. So here's to hoping a sequel will follow soon!

ARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own.
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First off I would like to thank the Lord that this is book one of a new series. This book was exceptional. Not only was it a great romantic story, but the attention to detail to the on field action was nothing short of superb.
Sports romance novels are my favourite genre. Yes I like them for the romance side, but I equally enjoy them for highlighting the sport one of the characters plays for their career.
Tyler and Gwens book I just cannot rave about it enough. The way they connected to each other. The way they overcame so many obstacles time and again. And also the minor characters that added so much to not only the story, but the start of a series.
I don't know or care who the next book will be about. I just know I don't want to wait too long until I can get my hands on it.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers copy of this book.
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This book is a stellar example of what sport romance should be. It is steeped in the sport, with a hero and heroine who are both relatable and grounded characters. 

Ty is a star baseball player having a difficult time. His best friend and teammate is in jail. He is lonely and his game is in a slump. 

Gwen is also lonely after the death of the aunt who raised her and shared her passion for baseball. She is works for the team and is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to baseball, baseball history and stats. 

I appreciated the fact that the book is about the sports. Ty was more than a pile of gorgeous muscle; we got to see his everyday life and the interaction with his teammates. Gwen is of course a big fan, but we get a sense that she admires him as a baseball player, not because he is famous and rich. And their relationship developed slowly and sweetly. They get to know each other over arcade games and baking shows (which incidentally got me interested in the Greatest British Baking Show).

Despite a slight lag in the story in the second half, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wished more sport romance would be like this one.
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I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. This book has everything you could want in a good sports romance - a totally swoon-worthy hero, a strong heroine, a fully fleshed out relationship between two characters the reader desperately wants to see end up together, a cast of intriguing supporting characters, some drama but low angst, and descriptions of baseball so realistic they make the reader feel like they’re right in the middle of the action. I’ve never read a book by Julianna Keyes before, but I have to thank NetGalley for offering me an ARC in exchange for an honest review, because I loved this book and sincerely hope there are more books in this series to come.
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This story was ok.... while I liked how detailed Julianna was with baseball. Ifelt there was a lot of wait for the story to really engage and draw me in. There was an easy flow once the heart of the story began between ty and Gwen.  Overall not a bad read
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I voluntarily received a copy of this book for an honest review! 

Baseball... I love baseball, everything about it is amazing! And this book just reconnects that love for me! Seriously can’t wait for Spring Training.

Who knew we’d be dealing with breaking the law and sabotage. I also don’t think I actually knew how aphard it must be for PR teams to deal with celebrities. 

This book deals with loss of friendships, sportmenship, work issues and romance. Some relationships are instant and other require work a lot or a little and this little romance shows you all the ways to go about finessing those things. I could almost hear the main character fan girdling every time she arrived at work, even when she wanted to quit. I really love the way they found the mole! It was awesome, shows you not everyone who come from the life should be given it! 

This is the first thing I have read by this author and it wasn’t a disappointment. I plan to find others to read! Entertaining as heck!
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