Reaching First is the third novel in the Diamond Brides series by Mindy Klasky. [I won this book in a Librarything Early Reviewer giveaway.]
On the surface, Tyler Brock has pretty much everything: a successful career as a baseball player, money, good looks. But he is hiding something from the world: the fact that he can’t read. But since he knows his surroundings, that is not that much of an issue. But then he gets transferred to a new team in Raleigh. And just before he leaves, he gets into a bar fight and now has to serve a hundred hours community service. Which he is supposed to fulfill at Emily Holt’s project of building a support center for veterans and their families. Tyler and Emily are immediately drawn to each other. But when Emily starts asking Tyler for work that requires him to read, they start clashing. And things aren’t made easier by the fact that Emily isn’t entirely upfront about everything, either.
Reaching First was a quick, entertaining read that is pretty much a standard romance. Nothing much will surprise you, but it mostly achieves what it sets out to do. The ending is a little quick and a little too sweet, but other than that it was enjoyable, if not very memorable.
I usually hate starting to read a series somewhere in the middle and not with the first book, but in this case I just wanted something light and quick and I didn’t think that the series was so interconnected that I wouldn’t really understand what was going on. And while there are allusions to previous books (or at least one previous book), it is certainly true that it was no problem to read Reaching First, well, first.
But I also don’t think I’ll be picking up the rest of the series. I might have, if I had any sort of relationship to Baseball and always dreamed of becoming the wife of a player, but I guess I’m a little too European (and sports-uninterested) for that.
That being said, I did enjoy Reaching First for the most part. I shouldn’t think too hard about how Emily’s virginity is such a huge thing for Tyler – in that he is upset when he finds out that she didn’t tell him she was a virgin – because that might sour the whole thing, but okay. This is not a book made for thinking about it anyway. Which also goes for the entire set-up of the will and why Emily has this pressure to finish her project.
And I did feel like the ending came a little too quickly. I thought there was another chapter (which turned out to be a sample chapter of the next novel in the series) and honestly, the book would have needed it, instead of rushing into a proposal and ending right after the acceptance.
I keep writing about the book’s weaknesses, but honestly, it had its strengths and it was enjoyable: Mindy Klasky is a competent writer whose prose didn’t blow me away but didn’t make me cringe either. Apart from the ending, the book is well-paced. Tyler and Emily were nice characters (even though I would have liked it if Tyler had explicitly latin@ roots instead of hinting at it). Veterans, PTSD and analphabetism were raised and it never hurts when a book raises social issues (and isn’t completely off). Plus, it was just nice to read.
Summarizing: If you’re in the mood for fluff, you could do way worse.