Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Release Day Review ~ Fast Balls by Tara Lain

Title: FAST Balls
Series: Balls to the Wall: Book Four; Sequel to Fire Balls
Author: Tara Lain
Release Date: July 12, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: TBD (Novella)

Can two men with skewed self-images see their true reflections in each other’s eyes?
Jerry Wallender—firefighter, surfer, and occasional nude model—knows he’s no rocket scientist. So why does he keep choosing intellectual guys who make him feel dumber? He worked his buns off to overcome his reading disability and pass the firefighter’s test, and he loves everything about the job. Well, except for Mick Cassidy, the big, blond, hunky homophobe who harasses Jerry for being gay. But Jerry is smart enough to realize it’s not hate driving Mick, but the pain of a very unhappy upbringing.
Mick Cassidy, Firefighter Assist and Search Team, fights fires, but he can’t fight his attraction to the kindest, most generous—and sexiest—guy he’s ever met. Does that make him gay? If it does, he just might get himself killed by his gay-hating preacher father—and take Jerry down with him.
First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2013.

3.5 Stars!

This time Jerry gets his Happily Ever After but it comes from the one person you'd never expect.

“He’s really smart. Like a genius, but he’s kind of a little kid. He’s a hero. Everybody saw that. But I feel like I can take care of him too.” He took a deep breath. “I finally feel like there’s someone who needs me as much as I need him.” - Jerry

I loved happy, big-hearted and self-deprecating Jerry throughout this series and while it seemed he had found his HEA with Bill previously, it turned out that the whole thing was more of a stepping stone for Jerry. Now he's got the career he wanted as a firefighter, the best surfing waves to ride and a wonderful group of friends but he's feeling as if he may never find someone who will truly love him.

We first saw Mick, resident homophobe in book 1. He was constantly spewing his hate and ugliness at Hunter until Rodney kicked his homophobic butt. Now he works with Jerry and while he still seems to love giving Jerry a hard time for being gay, he's not the same violent jerk. Mick actually shows he might not be pure evil, and Jerry starts questioning if there might be more to the man. Jerry and Mick start to form an odd tentative friendship as Mick discovers the truth about himself.

This was an entertaining read and I love Tara Lain. However, I will say it's not my favorite in the series. I really love Jerry, he's like a big teddy bear and I liked Mick. But it was hard to completely connect with his character because there were times where he was almost like a teenager or at the most early twenty-something. He was kind of awkward at times and while sometimes that was endearing I also found it a bit disconcerting.

I think I would have been happier had we seen Mick's evolution in thinking. Maybe seeing more of the way he was raised, how the hate his father preached indoctrinated him over his life, would've made his character more realistic. His change from drunk homophobic bully to sweet, quiet, naive and uninformed was not completely believable to me.

As far as chemistry was concerned I wasn't sure I felt it between them. I definitely believed it when it came to Mick's feelings for Jerry. It was pretty obvious this guy couldn't get enough of him. But I almost felt as if Jerry was just kind of teaching Mick and he wasn't truly invested in a relationship with Mick as much as he wanted a relationship period and it felt good to help Mick.

Overall, I found Fast Balls entertaining but it's definitely not my favorite. I think this might be a book that would benefit from being longer. If you're a fan of the series you'll probably enjoy Jerry and Mick's story. 

*** Copy provided by Dreamspinner Press to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

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