Yes, I know - I promised reviews - but haven't delivered yet. Well here is one :) I'm going to try to go in reading order :P So we'll start with Chasing Stanley by Deirde Martin.
Why did I pick up Chasing Stanley? Basically, because I wanted to read a sport romance :P I've seen Ms Martin's books on the shelves quite often, but haven't read any. See, the problems with sport romance is that plots are usually very similar to one another - playboy professionals have a problem, usually, injury and learn that there's life outside of his sport. However, I was craving for a sport romance - god knows why... and so I bought Ms Martin's newest release, Chasing Stanley.
Chasing Stanley by Deirdre Martin: 3.25/5
published by Berkley Sensation in January 2007
Jason Mitchell has just been acquired to play with his dream team, the New York Blades, and is thrilled. Determined to lead his team to the series and eventually win the Stanley Cup, Jason has moved to New York with his Newfoundland dog - Stanley. Many had advised Jason to leave Stanley behind, but Stanley is Jason's dog and his love for Stanley is beyond words. However, it was one thing for Stanley to roam free and undisciplined back at home, but now in New York... Luckily for Jason, the answer to his problem comes in a person - Delilah Gould - a dog trainer who comes to Jason's rescue during one of his walk with Stanley. Of course, Jason is attracted to Delilah, but she's a complex woman and actually prefers dogs to men... Will this hockeyman be able to win her heart?
Review: I have to say I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I liked how this book was different than other sport romance - as in, Jason is not your typical mature, playboy professional sportman. Also, it seems that the focus was more on Delilah's problems than Jason's. However, I have to say the romance was bleh and there was very little chemistry between Jason and Delilah... So even if the settings were refreshing, it couldn't save the book with the love story offered.
The Characters - Let's start with Jason. As I said, he's not the typical hockeyplayer you normally see in sport romance. Yes, he's good-looking and he's probably had his shares of women, but he is not portrayed as a playboy. He doesn't act as if all the women throw themselves at him and he knows it. Instead, he's pretty normal when it comes to women... So that was the refreshing part. Also, his love and devotion to Stanley was endearing... he's definitively not conceited and arrogant like many. I liked his relationship with his twin brother Eric, who is older by 3 minutes and has already won a Stanley Cup with his New Jersey team. You can see a definitive rivalry between the two brothers, which is understandable because not only they're twins, but they've gone into the same business. My problem with Jason was his lack of maturity. I guess he's still young and sometimes, it really shows... so much that I wouldn't consider him "manly" or "alpha." Actually, in some occasions, he reminds me of a boy... Also, he's too concern with what other thinks - and this had jeopardized his relationship with Delilah a couple of time. Lastly, he did a couple of things that were totally unacceptable...
What to say about Delilah... She's not a heroine many will bond with, in my opinion. She has her shares of problems, especially self-esteem, due to her parents always quarelling. During her childhood, she seeks refuge with her dogs, training them and had turned this into a business at which she's very successful. In addition to training dogs, she also boards them. She has a good sense of responsibilities; however, she's completely socially inept. The latter being a big problem when you go out with someone who's high profile. As a whole, she left me cold... I definitively didn't bond with her...
The biggest problem of this book was probably the fact that Jason and Delilah didn't have any chemistry between them. Yes, opposite attracts each other and of course, they have some sweet moments together, but it's not enough to build a lasting relationship. I mean, they both acknowledged the fact that they weren't good together, but when apart, they missed each other. In normal circumstances, i would be happy the main couple got back together... but I just can't imagine it working out...
Other characters includes Jason's brother, Eric, his teammates, Delilah's parents and some others... nobody was really important, save Eric. Eric is more the typical sport professional you read about in sport romance... My problem with him was that he went after Delilah's father's fiancé. Yeah, so Delilah's father and his fiancé weren't the perfect match and actually, shouldn't have ever hooked up... but it's not an excuse to develop a relationship with her... talk about an awkward situation for Delilah... Oh, of course, there was also Stanley :) Liked him :D
Story & Writing - The writing was all right... the problem was more with the story. This book was more about the characters than the story, which is okay if it's well-written... but in this case, it left a lot of blanks for the author to fill with subplot which weren't really relevant to the development of Jason and Delilah's relationship. Also, in the end, I couldn't see that much change in Delilah...
The Cover - it's a cute cover :D and it fits the book :D
Am I keeping this book? Not sure... probably because I keep almost everything. However, i'm pretty sure that in a couple of years, I'll be able to part with it to make place for new books.
Anything Else? Nope. I might give a chance to other of her books, probably when I'll have nothing to read.