by KD Casey
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Pub Date 19 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 18 Jan 2023
Carina Press & Carina Adores (Harlequin), Carina Press
"Subtle and spectacular...every page serves up a stunner." —The New York Times
“This book is EVERYTHING I want in a sports romance.” —Lyssa Kay Adams, author of The Bromance Book Club, on Unwritten Rules
Charlie Braxton has it all: a wicked curveball, a beautiful wife, and the kind of money and attention that's attached to a professional baseball contract. Except his famous curveball comes with intense social anxiety, his wife is actually his soon-to-be ex-wife, and the money… Well, suffice it to say, he knows what it’s like to be treated like an ATM. But at least he’s better off than the new guy.
Relief pitcher Reid Giordano is struggling to maintain his sobriety—and his roster spot. The press, along with a heck of a lot of his new Oakland teammates, seem to think his best baseball days are behind him. Only Charlie Braxton gives him the benefit of the doubt—and a place to stay when Reid finds himself short on cash…and friends.
When their growing friendship turns into an unexpected attraction, and that ignites a romance, both Charlie and Reid must grapple with what it means to be more than teammates. And as their season winds down, they’ll need to walk away…or go out there and give it everything they’ve got.
A Note From the Publisher
This is a story, in part, about a character who is in recovery from alcohol use disorder who remains sober throughout the book. The story also includes:
• Major characters with anxiety;
• Brief depictions of anxiety/panic attacks;
• References to drinking and drug use;
• Brief references to past sexual assault; and
• Themes of heteronormativity, references to/brief depictions of biphobia and homophobia, ableism, sexism, racism, classism, and antisemitism. These do not involve religiously based intolerance or use of slurs.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 92 members
I was really (truly) thrilled to get the email from NetGalley, letting me know I’d been approved to snag an ARC of KD Casey’s queer baseball romance, Fire Season. Well friends, I’m here feeling ALL kinds of feelings and ready to tell y’all the (mostly) spoiler free things.
As always, a huge thank you to NetGalley and Carina Press for this ARC. Thoughts below are my own.
Without a doubt Fire Season is a deeply, deeply wonderful romance full of longing, connection, joy and bravery.
It centres around Reid, a relief pitcher who is in recovery from alcoholism, being called up to the Oakland Elephants, and Charlie, a currently in progress divorcee, Cy Young award winner, anxiety experiencer, and general handsome giant of a man.
The MOMENT these two meet in the clubhouse on Reid’s first day I was SMITTEN. There is such an ease in which Reid and Charlie connect and experience each other. Yes, of course there is genuine attraction to each other, but at its core there is such deep and pure friendship. It’s so authentic, that some moments we get to experience as readers of Reid and Charlie, felt so personal and intimate.
Besides the high-pitched squealing sounds going off like a rocket in my heart, I LOVED that there was not just a centralized story of addiction and recovery, but of personal realizations, of acceptance and of growth. There are so many things I want to say about this book, and I fear that I don’t have enough words to do it all justice.
Avis will melt hearts. Slow dancing in hotel rooms will be set to a swoon factor of ten. Missing someone from the other side the bed? I mean, I am UNWELL. This book just drop-kicked my heart and refused to stop.
Casey does a brilliant job immersing her readers in the minds and hearts of her characters but also of the game of baseball. I was transported each time we found ourselves on the mound or in the clubhouse with Charlie and Reid. It made me love each moment I had with them AND dread coming to and end.
A truly heart first read, Fire Season is everything it sets out to be, and more. Grab your copy when it lands in store July 19th 2022, or anywhere you get your books.
Note: There are heavier themes that this deals with, and with any book, check the content warnings if anything might be a challenge for you to experience.
I really enjoyed Fire Season, although I knew I would, because I loved Unwritten Rules, the first book in the series, as well. This story with Charlie and Reid actually takes place before that one, which is a bit confusing. If I hadn't read that in the description, I maybe wouldn't have made the connection between the two stories beyond the fact that they are both MM sports romance. Charlie is so confident and comfortable in his own skin and Reid is still finding his footing after a spectacular public failure. It was nice to see the two of them learn to support each other. And, like the first book, the baseball is super-detailed in a way that really appealed to me. I would absolutely read more from this author.
This was everything I love about the sports romance genre.
Fire Season was a high tension slow burn between a non-typical set of characters. Both Charlie and Reid are somewhat recently divorced. Charlie is the quiet star pitcher on the team sitting comfortably with a large, long contract, whereas Reid is a recovering alcoholic with a bad reputation that has spent almost all of is career in the minors, fighting for a spot on the team he knows it's unlikely he will be able to keep. Warning: Reid's recovery does feature heavily in the story.
Going against the grain, the two main characters being semi famous people who were both previously married to women entering a relationship together and what that would mean for public perception was not a major topic of discussion, which was extremely refreshing for the genre.
I saw that author Rachel Reid as recommended the Unwritten Rules and that was enough for me pick up Fire Season without any further research. Her recommendation was perfect and this is the most obvious if you enjoyed her Game Changer series, you will undoubtably like this Unwritten Rules series and vis versa.
I adored this book so much. It's a lovely, mature, adult romance, between a star pitcher with anxiety issues going through a divorce (Charlie) and a relief pitcher who is trying to revitalize the career that got sidelined by alcoholism (Reid), who become roommates and fall in love.
I adored every moment of it. Both of them are lovely and genuine and fragile and infuriating and real. Their relationship is so natural and you completely understand why they are right for each other and root for them to make things permeant despite all the complexities in their world.
The mental illness/addiction rep is really thoughtfully done and the discussions of therapy are honest and well done but don't distract from the plot. The side characters and fabulous and the complex friendships between all of them (especially the parts involving Charlie's ex, Christine) add so much.
The baseball is always excellent and informative and I mean, exciting. This book got me to care about a trade deadline. Like I was actually holding my breath about something I definitely never thought about before, and the pay-off was so good.
I thought the ending was realistic and lovely and deserved. And, I know this review sounds like this book is very heavy, and yes it deals with some difficult topics but it's also sweet and sentimental and funny at times and DEFINITELY sexy. And just so well-written, and mature. I adore it so much and totally recommend.
Fire Season melds the best elements of sports romance with meaningful representation and discussions around anxiety, recovery, and discovering one’s self. Charlie and Reid were so great, and I loved them both. My favorite element about their relationship? They are careful with one another, and I so enjoyed reading their story and watching it develop. Christine and Charlie and Reid’s teammates added depth to the story. Overall, definitely recommend and will read more from this author!
What I love about Casey’s baseball romances are they ways in which she tackles addiction, disability, mental health, religion, masculinity, and queerness in a sports context, where this is little to no room for the conversation, and where the stakes for most players are so high given how short careers can be, they are afraid to show anything that could be perceived as weakness. I also love the way that she captures the slow pace of baseball in the way she writes, the way that you can feel the hours spent standing around in the heat. This book is a wonderful romance between two people who have found each other at a turning point in their lives. It’s got some spice, yes, but I’m staying with Casey’s books for the slow ache of it all, for the messy imperfect people who find love.
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