Cover Image: Fire Season

Fire Season

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Member Reviews

Representation: Jewish bi MC with alcohol use disorder, bi MC with anxiety, hard of hearing and gay side character, sapphic side characters

Charlie Braxton is very successful in his career - a great curveball, a gorgeous wife, and all the money and attention that comes with a professional baseball contract. Sounds great, except he has intense social anxiety, a divorce is on the way, and he’s often seen as little more than an ATM. The new guy, Reid Giordano, is struggling a lot more though. He has to fight to keep sober and stay in his career. Most people have already written him off, relegated him to small-time, but not Braxton. Reid gets the benefit of doubt from him, and a place to stay for some time. As they spend more time together, they become friends, and that leads to deeper feelings. They have to figure out what they want as they get closer to the end of the season and potentially losing what they’ve discovered.

Rating: 4/5 I really enjoyed this somewhat slow burn romance. It felt very organic, and wasn’t some flash attraction. They were actually friends before anything deeper. Both of these men are bisexual, but they’re at different places in knowing that. Reid starts the book already clear on where he stands, but not necessarily a well-known fact. Charlie starts out thinking he’s straight, but slowly figures out that he has attraction beyond just women. I appreciated that, it’s not often you see that in stories with bi main characters. Reid is also Jewish, and there is some discussion of the nuances that can exist in people who are Jewish and their practices, how they observe it. Like I said earlier, both of them have their own struggles - Charlie with anxiety, and Reid with alcoholism. They both discover this about each other over time, but it never becomes a point of judging or putting down. It’s always very “this is who you are, I’m here for all of you.” Don’t get me wrong, this book does talk about baseball, but it’s not exactly the main story. It’s more of a background for the main story of Charlie and Reid. There were some parts where it felt it kind of jumped forward a bit or just left out things that assumed people would know, but they were fairly minor. I enjoyed this story!
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This was another grand slam by KD Casey. As someone with a deep abiding love of baseball and a complicated relationship with being Jewish, this series really touches my soul. Charlie and Reid are something special and I loved spending several hours with them! The handling of anxiety, alcoholism and being at unease with yourself were so well done and I related to both men and their battles with anxiety and wondering if they were enough. The lack of contrived drama, poor communication and stupid fights is something I really adore about this series. It's just two people finding their way in their own way. Charlie is pretty great with his sweet, sometimes naive and too good to actually be real self. Reid is complex and wonderful and I just wanted to hug him so much. Together they are sweet, sexy, and wonderfully supportive of one another. I also really adored Christine and I fact that she wasn't the stereotypical villain ex-wife. Avis was clearly the star of the show like all dogs should be! Gordon is a great captain and friend, I loved the glimpses of Zach knowing where his story goes and I really need McCormack to get a story now! Plus the ending of the epilogue is just 6-4-3 double play magic if you ask me! This book is another love letter to the game, to community, to finding yourself and it felt a little like winning a series at home.
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This didn't do if for me quite as much as Unwritten Rules, but I loved the premise (they were roommates!) and the two main characters. Charlie's ex-wife Christine was a wonderful side character and I loved seeing the evolution of their relationship. Sweet, surprising, and with a cute dog. What's not to love.
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KD Casey writes baseball stories that make me not care that they are about baseball. As always, their Jewish representation is a much needed voice in romance, and I appreciate the later-in-life sexuality discovery.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Carina Press, and K.D. Casey for this ARC. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I loved this book! Casey’s first book in this series, Unwritten Rules was my first sports romance I ever read and had me falling in love with the genre last year. When I saw there was a second book in the series I knew I had to read more!

Casey’s writing in this was no different and like the first felt truly human. I enjoy how raw Casey’s writing and characters are, who balance love with anxiety, addiction, divorce, and more. However, the writing is never dramatic, merely characters reacting in what feels authentic to them.

I strength of the writing in this book was the slow burn which allowed me to really get to know the characters and creates stakes for later in the book.

A small critique I have is the pacing picked up, but then felt like it dropped off in the last quarter dramatically. However, that could have been the focus on the end of the baseball season.

Overall, I’d recommend this author, text, and series for anyone looking for any of the buzzwords, sport romances, slow burn, mental health rep, and more!
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A phenomenally written and super sexy romp! I fell in love with both the main characters, and couldn't put this book down.
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Some years back I went through a whole season of baseball books: It’s one of those charmed topics where even the nonfiction has a tendency toward poetry. I’ve read a few baseball romances since, chasing that feeling — and finally found it in KD Casey’s work, especially the subtle and spectacular FIRE SEASON (Carina Press, ebook, $4.99).

Charlie Braxton is a stoic star pitcher on the verge of a not-yet-publicized divorce. On a lonely impulse he gets a roommate: an almost-washed-up relief pitcher, Reid Giordano, smart-mouthed and mercurial and still shaky in his newfound sobriety. Next thing they know, they’re in bed, and it’s great — but there’s every chance Reid will have to move on, as the trade deadline looms ever closer. Add in a rescue dog and a soon-to-be ex-wife who has to move in when wildfires threaten her home, and you’ve got a wonderfully complicated emotional landscape where even the smallest changes have significance — the way the shift of a few fingers makes the difference between a fastball and a curve.

There’s a loose, loping rhythm to Casey’s writing; every page serves up a stunner: “Because he wants — with the unending appetite of someone who plays a potentially infinite game — not just to continue their season but to stay here, in the radiance of Charlie’s affection.” Knockout after knockout, hit after hit. I was not at all shocked to learn Casey also writes for Baseball Prospectus: This is an expert’s loving view of the game and the men who play it.
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This is a hard book to review, because its strength is not the story itself, really. It's a simple story and most of it is about the day-to-day of two professional baseball players, Charlie the star pitcher, and Reid the down-to-his-luck relief pitcher that's just been traded. Both are dealing with their own stuff when the book starts: Charlie is recently divorced and Reid is a recovering alcoholic who's not sure about his future in the league. The main strengths of Fire Season, and what differentiates it from the other hundreds of sports romances, are the slow pace, the deep exploration of both characters and the evocative writing. Basically, what we could call the vibes.

The tone of Fire Season is unequivocally melancholic and reflective, without being melodramatic or (the worst crime of all), boring. Not much really happens: I wouldn't call it a slow-burn, but it does have the feel of what I've seen people call a "domestic slow-burn". There are a lot of small moments that made me swoon, and a lot of beautifully written passages that made me pause.

When the writing was focusing on romance and on small details, it was evocative and flowed well. On the other hand though, I found that the story suffered when it had to focus on bigger, concrete plot elements. I really felt like the author failed to convey the urgency of the forest fires, for example. Friends had to explain to me the danger associated with an evacuation order so I could really understand Christine's situation, because all of the characters were basically acting like she was refinishing her hardwood floors and needed to be out of the house for a few days or something. The scene when Charlie finds Christine packing up the house doesn't even explain why she's doing it at first!

“Are you, uh, selling the house?” Charlie asks.
“It’s your property, so that’d be difficult.” She shakes a long strand of hair where it’s fallen in her face. “You’re probably not up on all the evacuation notices. Things are worse this year.”
“If you need a place to stay, guest room’s yours,” he says.
Then the next thing Charlie says is Well, cool story, anyways, I was just here to pick up my dog! Bye! There are a lot of little moments like this one, or dialogue that jumps from one subject to another, that made me wonder: Wait, what just happened? Which dog did he end up adopting, the one he just spent 5 pages with, or this random one that was mentioned once in the chapter? What's wrong with margarine? Etc. Mostly things that should have been caught in editing and weren't, IMO.

I thought I didn't know much about baseball, but turns out I was able to keep up with most of the sport details pretty well. I still feel like context clues should do the trick for most readers, but YMMV. I haven't read the previous book and everything worked out fine. But I might check it out now!
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A grand slam by KD Casey. See what I did there? I can baseball. 

This book handles anxiety very well and I appreciate that. I also very much appreciate the lack of unnecessary drama and the fact that these characters actually speak to one another.
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I LOVED THIS BOOK! I characters stole my heart. KD Casey is one of my favorite sports romance authors and this book exceeded my hopes. I have not stopped recommending it since I read it.
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I liked this even more than book one.

Book one in this series, Unwritten Rules, was my first book by KD Casey and I enjoyed it a lot.  My only real complaint for that book was there was too much baseball jargon.  That is not the case in Fire Season.  You absolutely do not need to have read book one to enjoy Fire Season; it stands totally alone with no problem at all.

Fire Season is a sweet, slow-burn romance between two men who are both struggling.  Charlie is struggling to comes to terms with his divorce becoming final.  Reid is trying to make a come back after blowing up his life and career a couple of years ago.  He had to take a year off to heal from a serious injury.

I loved the slow build of Reid and Charlie’s relationship and the sweet dog that was an integral part of the story.  I think the author did a good job of showing Reid’s daily struggle with his alcoholism.  I didn’t think it was over-dramatized or over-simplified.

I was a little worried whether or not I was going to like how the story ended but I was also pleased that it wasn’t just a cookie-cutter, boom, everything’s fine either.  The epilogue was nice but I wouldn’t have minded it being a little longer, or a little farther into the future for Charlie and Reid.

I’d be happy to read more books from this author.

A review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley but this did not influence my opinion or rating of the book.
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A sweet and spicy, slow burn, friends to lovers m/m baseball romance book with Jewish representation.

This story has a lot of depth and included anxiety, substance abuse, divorce and coming out. I wish there was more of an opening up with their teammates and honestly I was really confused at the end of who Reid signed with the way it was written. I also think the anxiety rep needed to be more hashed out and expanded on to the same depth as the substance abuse was. 

Overall, this was a cute friends to lovers story that involved a cute dog, open communication and sweet romantic feelings. 

3.5 stars


Thank You to NetGalley and Carina press for the E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved this book! Reid and Charlie were both great and multilayered MCs, both perfectly imperfect and seemed truly human.  Their chemistry was amazing and I really appreciated how naturally their relationship developed. It felt like the story also had just the right amount of baseball, if that makes sense? Like, the scenes on vs off the field were balanced enough to make the story progress.  I also really appreciated that they adopted a shelter dog- so cute! 
All in all this book handled some tough and sensitive subjects really well. It didn't make light of them but they also didn't overwhelm the whole story. The romance was beautiful, and I was really rooting for Reid and Charlie's  HEA. I didn't know this was part of a series but I definitely plan to go back and read book 1 soon!
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I think this might be my favorite of the 3 so far! i fell in love with these characters and could not put this down. These books are a little slower to start but this one drew me in quick. I loved the healing between both characters and felt so nervous around the trade deadline!! The dog adoption was incredible as well. Such a sweet addition. Fans of the first two will definitely enjoy this one!
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I love, love, love sports romance. I've tried hockey and fell hard for it. I even went for football and that was awesome, too! This time we're in baseball and honestly? I didn't know what any of it meant but that did not stop me from enjoying the heck out of this book. Charlie, first of all, if you're available any Friday this year, I'd like to meet up and hang out. You're welcome to bring your adorable dog. And of course, bring Reid too!

I adored this book. It's got everything I love about sports romance: intense sports scenes that are intertwined with the dynamic between the lovers at the heart of the book, forced proximity, and banter. So much fun banter between everybody and I'm so happy I got to experience some of it. Safe to say I'm getting Unwritten Rules!
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THIS WAS AMAZING! I didn't really expect to enjoy this a lot, but joke's on me because I really did! I've been reading a lot of adult romance (especially queer ones) this year, and this book automatically made it to one of my favorites this year. Please give this book a chance and get a copy when you can!
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Ruthie – ☆☆☆☆
This is the second book in the series but can be read as a standalone. You could definitely go back and enjoy the first regardless.

I loved how this book played out. Two men at opposite ends of their success in baseball but drawn together thanks to the kindness (and loneliness) of Charlie. He recognises in Reid a man who could do with a helping hand and who would fill the huge gap in his life, now he’s separated from his wife.

Amusingly, none of the other players suspect that the guys are in fact falling for each other, but there is certainly a bit of jealousy brewing due to the friendship.

Also brewing are fires near Charlie’s old home, and he helps out his ex, and makes another surprising discovery. I had guessed a while back, but it’s fun watching it all play out.

This is a really good sports romance, with plenty of off and on the field content… and the added joy of a rescue pup! Enjoy.
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Lovely story of two people who find each other as they’re going through some cr@p.

I adored how Reid and Charlie got together, with long looks, and charlie’s angst-free bi awakening. The way he *looks* at Reid….I love it.

Lots of career angst in this, as Reid is stressing about being cut from the team over and over. Whew it must be hard to be a ballplayer!! This is most of the conflict: he’s afraid to really fall for Charlie since he’s afraid he’ll be gone soon.

There are some really nice turns of phrase, especially descriptions of a summer evening etc.

This was good enough to read again!

Thanks to #Netgalley for the ARC. This is an honest review. #FireSeason
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Ever since I read Unwritten Rules I've been wanting more of KD Casey's baseball romance books. Her writing is captivating, and at times, reminds me a bit of Casey McQuiston - the humor, the snarky comments, the writing style. It's a style that suits me, one I really connect with. 

This story takes place in the same world as Unwritten rules, though it is set before Zach's and Eugenio's story, which confused me at first. Both books can be read as a stand alone, but if you enjoy reading about baseball and love a sweet, mature MM romance, you will love reading both books. 

In this story we get to know Reid Giordano, a relief pitcher, who's been struggling for the last few years. To maintain his spot on the team (any team) and to remain sober. His career isn't what it was anymore, ruined by his own alcohol addiction and by the Youtube video that keeps coming up. 
When the Oakland Elephants are willing to take a chance with him, he meets Charlie Braxton, their best player. The one whose face sells the merchandise, the most successful and rich player they have. Charlie is quietly going through a divorce, his ex wife still living in their old home, while he has moved out into an empty apartment. Charlie's a pitcher too, and when Reid is added to the team, they find common ground to develop a friendship. 
Reid is always laid back, the funny guy, the one to crack a joke when the silence takes up too much space, while on the inside he's struggling with his self-worth, with staying sober. His Jewish upbringing provides a lifeline he's learned to hold on to because of his grand mother, the one he turned to when life was a little too hard on him. 
Charlie is the more serious, introverted guy. He struggles with his failed marriage, and he struggles with the feelings that come to the surface once he gets to know Reid better. 
Once he has asked him to become his roommate, their relationship grows and it also grows into new, unknown territory. There's pining, questioning and self discovery before they finally give into the mutual attraction. When that happens, they get really hot together! 
Their relationship feels very mature, very organic. They talk about their struggles, there are no stupid or unnecessary misunderstandings and I loved that about them. The uncertainty about Reid's contract, about the possibility of a future together, was done really well, and I loved how supportive Charlie's (ex)wife was about them. She had something to tell herself as well! 

There is, however, a lot of baseball in this book too. It didn't bother me, but I can imagine for some people it might be too much. For me, it was part of my enjoyment, even though I don't watch baseball and don't understand a lot of it. This book (as well as Unwritten rules) taught me more about the sport and I really loved that. 

I would have loved to see a little more about Charlie and Reid in their future, but their hea was well deserved. All in all, a great, well written and enjoyable book, one I would truly recommend!
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This baseball romance is second book in the Unwritten Rules series. It tells the story of Charlie and Reid who become teammates and roommates. Both are dealing with their baggage. For Charlie that is a pending divorce and social anxiety. For Reid its addiction (off page, but referenced frequently) and the challenge of maintaining sobriety. The pair become friends before exploring a physical relationship.

I really appreciated that this was a book that dealt with difficult subjects in a nuanced way. I really liked the approach that was taken for writing about Reid’s relationship with Judaism. I liked that there was both anxiety and addiction representation, however I was a bit concerned by the fact that no one was concerned about Reid entering a new relationship while struggling to maintain sobriety. I’m surprised that this was never addressed, especially where Reid was actively seeing a therapist. I was also extremely confused by Charlie offering Reid prescription pain killers and prescription anxiety medicine. Of all the people in the book, Charlie knew about Reid’s addiction, I don’t get why he would be that big of a moron to offer Reid addictive substances. On the subject of Charlie, while is anxiety was referenced, it was never really on the page, which felt like a missed opportunity. Sure, maybe that was just the author’s quiet way or writing about it, but where it was one of his defining characteristics that made it into the blurb, it should have been more present. Overall this book was enjoyable, but it just missed the mark for me in a few aspects.

Thank you to NetGalley, Carina Press, and Harlequin for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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