Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Review: Chasing Stanley by Deirdre Martin

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.


  1. I normally love sports books - specially hockey - but Martin leaves me rather meh. I think the "mistake" she made in her first book coloured me on all of them - like she just didn't get the sport really. While normally a hockey book would have me haunting the shelves, I'm still on the fence about this one. Now if you want to read a REALLY GOOD sports romance about hockey then See Jane Score is the book to read.

    And as for her mistake in the first one? There in no way - no way! a retired player would coach a major league sports team the very next year. NOT A CHANCE. Not even Wayne Gretzky did it!

  2. Hey Kristie :)

    Yeah, i agree with you... her books, this one and the one I flipped through all seemed a bit meh. ah well, my consolation is that I didn't buy too many of her books ^^; And it is true that no retired player would coach right the next year... that's just weird.

    I've already read See Jane Score, but thanks for the recommendation :P

  3. That's too bad you didn't really enjoy this book. I love novels that have to do with dogs. LOL (Of course I do!)

    But Carly Phillips' "Hot" series are sports oriented as well.

  4. What did you think of See Jane Score? I have that book in my tbr pile.

  5. This was the first Martin book I read too and I agree with pretty much all you say--especially about the relationship being problematic and the hero being too immature. But I did relate to the heroine a little--NOT that I am socially dysfunctional, but I am shy, and you hardly ever see that in romance novels.

  6. Oh Ames - you have to read SJS. Let me just say - horseshoe tattoo *g*. And if you like dog books have you read Take a Chance on Me by Susan Donovan? There is this dog in that book that is just to die for *grin*.

  7. Ames - I actually like all the parts with Stanley, the Newfoundland dog :) but the romance really fell flat...

    I also have the "Hot" series, which I think is better :D As for "See Jane Scores," I thought it was all right, as in pretty good :P

    Jennie - Hello! I just don't see how they are going to stay together... and the reason why Jason asked Eric to pose as Delilah's bf instead of him... OMG, I would never want to see him again after that! talk about degrading. I actually don't think that Delilah was "shy," but more socially dysfunctional. She just gave up and convinced herself she couldn't socialize with others... I mean, she didn't do that badly.

    Kristie - I think, if my memory is correct, that Ames has already read Take A chance on Me, cos she was the one who recommend this book to me :P

  8. Hey! Just me stopping by to tell you I have received your emails, but I am a bit behind on the whole replying aspect... I just wanted to let you know I am alive, and I will get in touch with you hopefully by the end of the weekend. As to the book you asked about, that depends on the computer at my disposal. My computer will read PDF files, but none of the others that I use will. So, I will say by early next week unless something comes up!

    We also need to have a brain storming discussion. Do you have msn? (you can reply on my blog to this or through email in case I forget to come back for a reply! Stressful last couple weeks.)

  9. I think that i have read this one a while ago, but it is not sticking out, so either i have not read it or I thought it was just okay.

  10. Kris - this book just came out in January :D So I think you haven't read it... but then, I'd say, don't bother :D So many better books to read :D

  11. hmmm I'm glad I read this before I invested in her books. It stinks that the romance was not more of the story. I certainly do like books with a sports theme as well as a romance. Maybe I'll borrow one of her books form the library, but with so many other books to read I may end up skipping her books all together.

    I loved See Jane Score. Did you all read the Trouble with Valentine's Day by Rachel Gibson. The main character in that book is a former team mate of Luc from See Jane Score. While it was not as much on the sports side it was neat to check in with one of his teammates.

  12. Oh man, Jenn! You really have to get to your TBR pile - I just read your post at your blog :P As for Deirdre Martin's books, if you can get them at the library, it's worth a try. As for Trouble with Valentine's Day by Rachel Gibson, I haven't read it yet... but I'll try to get it somehow... :P