Fire Season (ARC Review)

Book Title: Fire Season
Author: K.D. Casey
Release Date: July 19th, 2022
Genres: Adult, Romance, Sports, LGTBQ+
My rating: 4/5 Stars

Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

One of my more recent bookish obsessions has been sports romances, so when I saw Fire Season was available to request on NetGalley, I immediately hit that button. I may not actually like baseball all that much in real life, but I certainly don’t mind reading about it, at least not in this context!

Fire Season was such a great addition to the sports romance genre. There were a lot of light-hearted and fun moments interspersed throughout, but it also covered some heavier and more serious topics. I think the book did a great job of balancing the two—never keeping it too light when there were some significant issues happening, but never staying down and dark the entire time.

The two main characters, Reid and Charlie were an interesting contrast to each other. Charlie was a hot-shot pitcher, but outwardly was shy, awkward, and incredibly anxious. Reid on the other hand, was considered a has-been pitcher struggling to keep his place in baseball, while still portraying confidence and enthusiasm for himself, despite his many doubts and insecurities surrounding his career and personal life.

Charlie and Reid complimented each other so well. Even though Charlie had a hard time opening himself up to others, Reid helped him feel more comfortable by taking control of the conversation and continuing to pursue a friendship with Charlie despite his anxiety. Charlie also kept Reid centered, and even though no one person could help with his recovery from alcoholism, the stability of being in such a comfortable and honest relationship certainly helped Reid.

These two were so endearing together! Their chemistry was apparent from the very first moment they met, and it only built on itself as they got to know each other better. I just loved how they accepted each other and their flaws so unconditionally. And I can’t mention enough how much I adored the dynamic between the two of them, Avis (I won’t say who Avis is cause spoilers!), and Charlie’s neighbors. It was so sweet and domestic. I loved it!

Even though Fire Season is definitely a romance, it’s also a book about healing and learning to accept yourself, scars and all. At the start of the book, Reid is struggling with his journey of recovery from alcoholism. It’s not a smooth ride, and there are definitely setbacks, but I loved how messy and raw it was. The discussion of mental health in sports is so important and one not talked about nearly enough. Reading about Reid’s struggle with it was so nice to see. The book didn’t shy away from the rougher parts of his addiction, but it also normalized having a therapist and learning to heal and move on from past mistakes, which is also just as vital!

Additionally, Charlie struggled with severe anxiety. This wasn’t as large a part of the plot as Reid’s addiction was, but I love that it was included at all. I wish it had been discussed a little more towards the end of the book, as it was in the beginning, but even so, I’m so glad we got to read about anxiety representation in sports, too.

If I had to be nitpicky, I’d say the book dragged a little towards the end, when I feel it could’ve been wrapped up a bit quicker, but I wasn’t too bothered by it, especially because I enjoyed the rest of it so much. And I really did love Reid and Charlie’s relationship! It was developed so authentically, and even through the more difficult parts of their relationship, they always supported each other.

Fire Season was such a great story, and I’m so glad I was able to read it! I wasn’t aware that this was a second book in a series, though, so I’ll definitely go back and read Glasser’s story! For those of you wondering, this one does stand alone super well. I didn’t even realize it was a sequel until I read the acknowledgments!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading sports romances as much as I do, but also want something a little heavier than your average light romance.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

Preorder it at: Amazon

Check out my last blog post: The Dating Disaster (Cover Reveal & Giveaway)

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