Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Book Review: "The Change Up" by Elley Arden

The Change Up (Arlington Aces #1) Elley Arden
Published: May 16, 2016
ISBN: 9781440591518
Genre: Romance (Contemporary)
Source: Netgalley and Barclay Publicity

You might enjoy this book if you like: Books featuring baseball, second-chance love stories, strong female characters

Commercial real estate mogul Rachel Reed is the one person her father can depend on, so when he walks into her Philadelphia office two weeks shy of her fortieth birthday to drop a personal and professional bomb, she rises to the occasion. She will help get his independent professional baseball team up and running before the inaugural season, and then … she will sell the team to recoup his substantial investment. It’s a tall order, but Rachel knows one thing for sure: a sexy nuisance from her past and a few acres of trees won’t stand in her way.

Former minor-leaguer- turned-landscaper Sam Sutter is surprised to find his brother’s ex in the woods behind the house he bought when he cashed out his signing bonus and said so long to baseball. He’s even more surprised to learn “his” trees are on her chopping block.  There’s no way he’ll desecrate his nature-loving mother’s memory by letting that happen.  But butting heads with the beautiful business woman is a tricky task that leads Sam to accept a position as head groundskeeper at her father’s stadium. Working under Rachel’s watchful, smoldering eyes might be Sam’s undoing.

She doesn’t know a thing about baseball. He swore off the sport ten years ago. But strange things happen when field dust gets in your veins.

My Thoughts:
There were two things that drew me to this novel--the fact that it is a baseball romance and the fact that it is "sort of" a second-chance romance.  This is the perfect time of year to read a good baseball romance and, on that criterion alone, this one fit the bill.

I appreciated that this wasn't exactly a second-chance romance,  Sam and Rachel had never been romantically involved, although Rachel had dated his brother, Luke, in high school.  Using this set up, Arden hit just the right chord between these two characters.  There was already an existing connection, but not so much so that the reader is cheated out of the beginning of their relationship.

Rachel is a wonderful main character.  She's a very strong woman, but we learn that she is also vulnerable and that her success has come at a price.  As the novel progresses, we see Rachel grow and soften and even come into her own. Her relationship with Sam grows naturally and is wholly believable.

There were a few parts of this book that were disappointing to me.  I felt the depiction of Rachel's father's Alzheimer's was not realistic.  To be fair, I'm comparing that to other novels I've read with characters with Alzheimer's, but it just didn't ring as true here.  I also felt that at certain points, Arden slips into tropes to move the plot along.  I would have rather seen her come up some more original scenarios rather than rely on situations that show up in so many other novels.

All in all, this was a fun read and one that I would recommend to anyone looking for a "baseball" season read.  This is the first in a new series and I'm going to make a point to continue with it.

About the Author:
Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.

Elley has been reading romance novels since she was a sixteen-year- old babysitter, sneaking Judith McNaught and Danielle Steele novels off the bookshelves of the women who employed her. To say she’d been sheltered up to that point is an understatement. No one had ever told her women could live bold, love freely, and have sex lives that were exciting and fulfilling. (They don’t teach these things in Catholic school!) Now that she knows, she’s happy to spread the word. The women she writes about may be fictional, but the success, respect, and love they find on the page is a universal right for women everywhere.

Elley writes books with charming characters, emotional stories, and sexy romance.  Visit The Bookshelf for a detailed listing.

You can also visit her online at the following places:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

I received an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

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