Blog Tour Review – Throw Like A Girl By Sarah Henning

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Hello Lovelies!!! Welcome to my Blog Tour Stop for Throw Like A Girl by Sarah Henning hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club. Today, I’ll be sharing my review and an excerpt from the book.

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Published: January 7, 2020

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre(s): Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance

Format: Hardcover 368 pages

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AMAZONBARNES & NOBLEBOOK DEPOSITORYITUNESKOBO

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Friday Night Lights meets Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything in this contemporary debut where swoonworthy romance meets underdog sports story.

When softball star Liv Rodinsky throws one ill-advised punch during the most important game of the year, she loses her scholarship to her fancy private school, her boyfriend, and her teammates all in one fell swoop. With no other options, Liv is forced to transfer to the nearest public school, Northland, where she’ll have to convince their coach she deserves a spot on the softball team, all while facing both her ex and the teammates of the girl she punched… Every. Single. Day.

Enter Grey, the injured star quarterback with amazing hair and a foolproof plan: if Liv joins the football team as his temporary replacement, he’ll make sure she gets a spot on the softball team in the Spring. But it will take more than the perfect spiral for Liv to find acceptance in Northland’s halls, and behind that charming smile, Grey may not be so perfect after all.

With well-drawn characters and a charming quarterback love interest who’s got brains as well as brawn, Throw Like a Girl will have readers swooning from the very first page.

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A Delightfully Sweet, Fun, and Adorable YA Sports Romance

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Throw Like A Girl by Sarah Henning is such a fun sports romance that absolutely melted me heart. It’s a sweet, funny, entertaining, and delightful story that kept me glued to the pages.

I didn’t always read sport romance books since I’m personally not that into sports. However, over the past few years, I’ve read so many amazing sport romance stories that I pretty much try to read them whenever I can. While not every single book wins my heart, this one most definitely did and I was hooked from the very beginning.  Even when I couldn’t really follow all the sports lingo, I still found myself interested and wonderfully engaged with the story and fell in love with the characters.

Right of the bat, I had a good feeling about this book and Sarah Henning definitely did not disappoint me. The plot, while not perfect, is fast-paced and exciting. I enjoyed every single moment that made me laugh, hold my breath, swoon, and smile. I also liked the drama, the family dynamics, the friendships and the diveristy in the book. I think the characters are absolutely charming, realistic and likeable. I adore Liv and love her determination and attitude. Grey is such a cutie and I love the chemisty he has with Liz. I totally rooted for them the entire time and swooned through all their heartwarming and adorable scenes. I honestly loved so much from this book and if you enjoy sports, love romance, and crave a little drama and a lot fun, then you definitely need to add this on your TBR.

Delightful, fun, and entertaining, Throw Like A Girl by Sarah Henning is a lovely YA sports romance story that not only made me swoon, but also touched my heart. The characters are interesting and relatable, the plot is engaging and entertaining, and the romance is cute and really sweet. While this isn’t a 5 hearts reads (so so close…), I still enjoyed how everything played out in this book and cannot wait to read whatever Henning writes next.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from the author and publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review and for participating in a Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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CHAPTER ONE

In every baseball movie ever, it’s the same.

Bottom of the ninth. Bases loaded. Two out.

The crowd breathless at the batter’s back. The players in the dugout on their feet. The opposing pitcher staring daggers from the mound with steam pouring from flared nostrils.

At the plate: the team’s star, bat pointed toward the wall, challenge clear.

In real life—in softball—it doesn’t exactly work out that way.

It’s close.

But not as if penned by a writer’s hand.

It’s the bottom of the seventh—there aren’t nine innings in high school softball. But the bases are loaded. And there are two out.

The crowd is breathless, the players in the dugout are on their feet, and the opposing pitcher has got the raging-bull thing going on from the mound.

But the team’s star isn’t at the plate.

She’s on it.

Wilted in the dirt after taking a seventy-mile-per-hour fastball to the back. Motionless. Eyes stunned open. All senses on pause, a rolling clap of pain drowning out everything else.

As the crowd holds its collective breath, I search for mine. My lungs don’t seem to be working, and the catcher and umpire both loom over me, outlines blurry with the same fuzzy energy as a 3-D movie left to the naked eye.

I blink a few times. First at the lights. Then at the catcher and ump. And, finally, at the upside-down eagles name scrawled across my chest, willing my rib cage to nudge my lungs into action.

Up. Down. Up. Down. In. Out. In. Out.

The sound comes flooding in as my chest finally rises. The shouts of my teammates, the sweet girls of Windsor Prep, will me up. My coach’s voice—my sister’s voice—above them all.

“Stand, Liv! Stand!”

I make it to my feet, back hot and lungs still warming up.

Brows pulled together, I shoot my game-day glare at the mound. Kelly Cleary’s red hair clashes horribly with her stupid orange-and-white uniform; her cat-eye liquid liner is so thick it hides the fact that she has actual eyes. And they must not be able to see worth crap, because she just hit a batter with the bases loaded and one down.

Which means that if I can walk over to first base, everyone advances and we score a run to tie it. Not exactly the walk-off grand slam of my dreams, but it’s one way to move out of this round and into the Kansas state championship game.

Or at least get one run from doing that.

Again, another true-life technicality.

Both sides of the crowd are clapping, because that’s just what you do when someone gets hit by a pitch. My parents, brother, and Heather are on their feet. My teammates are a rowdy block of purple, crowding the dugout rail, ribbons and ponytails kissing their cheeks in the breeze, clapping me to first.

“Nice job, O-Rod!” There’s my best friend, Addie, cheering even though she’s about to bat.

My sister, Danielle, has her arms crossed over the eagles scrawled on her chest, the wedding ring Heather gave her two years ago glinting in the stadium lights. She does her stern-coach nod. It’s a look I first saw at age three, when she was twelve and egging me on as I threw her the ball for the millionth time. She was a hell of a player, but she’s always—always—been a coach.

On the other end of the stadium, I spy my boyfriend, Jake. Dreads to his shoulders, he’s dressed out in his orange football jersey, number thirty-two, clapping along with a few teammates in Northland’s section of the crowd. Wearing their jerseys out of season to big games is a tradition, or so he says. But while he looks the part of a good, supportive student athlete from the rival school, I know that even though we’ve only been dating since the Spring Prep Preview photo shoot at the Kansas City Star in February, he’s totally here for me.

Below the Northland section is its dugout where the Tigers’ veteran coach, Trudi Kitterage, observes from the steps. Coach Kitt looks like the burnt-bacon version of a head cheerleader—all hard curves and tan lines. But her talent is real. And her team is good. Too good for Kelly’s mistake. Meaning, if I sawed Kelly in half with my own glare, Coach Kitt’s stare is roasting the pieces of her in a bonfire of why-the-hell-did-you-do-that.

Because in ten of my shuffling steps, we’ll be tied.

Eight more steps. Six. Four. Two.

And then I’m on the bag at first, squeezing in next to Stacey Sanderson. Who, up until a minute ago, was my least favorite player on the Northland team.

She can hit. She can run. And she’s Jake’s gorgeous ex-girlfriend.

From, like, two years ago. Or something. Whatever. I’m not sure—but there’s a history there. And she’s been reminding me of it the whole game. Giving me side-mouthed sass every time I’ve gotten on base. Which, let’s be honest, has been a lot.

This time, I strike first. Shaking my head as I clap home our third-base runner, Rosemary, for the tying score. “One away, Sanderson. All because your girl Cleary can’t hit the broad side of a barn.”

The corners of Stacey’s mouth quirk up but her eyes stay at home, where Addie is settling into her mega-erect stance. The girl can dunk and hit the three, but she’s a praying mantis in cleats. “I’d say she hit the broad side of something, all right.”

I snort and roll my eyes. “Jake loves my curves.”

“Jake also runs headfirst into a pack of bodies for three months a year. Brain cells aren’t his forte, Rodinsky.”

“Whatever, Skeletor.”

Addie dusts Kelly’s curveball, but it falls straight into the catcher’s mitt. Strike one.

Come on, McAndry. Just a base hit. No extra innings. Just a straight seven-inning pass to the championship.

Stacey sniffs. “I have a lot of admirers of my ass, thankyouverymuch.”

I don’t even miss a beat. “They’re just trying to figure out how you sit comfortably on something so flat.”

Addie squares her shoulders and waits for another pitch, looking very bad ass. Kelly is taking forfreakingever, so I start to inch off base and away from Stacey’s fish lips. But then Cleary actually does something right and whips the ball to first. I hit the dirt just in time, fingertips grazing the base before Stacey gets the tag.

Called safe, I stand, not bothering to wipe off the dust streaking across my chest and the Eagles logo.

“Nice skunk streaks, Rodinsky.”

Whatever. I keep watching Addie, willing her to mow down whatever-the-hell pitch Cleary finally comes out with.

“I think they highlight my assets much better than my uniform on its own,” I shoot back.

“I’m not so sure about that”—here comes the pitch, fast and straight, and square in the batter’s box—“better ask your sister.”

Addie’s bat rockets forward and connects, sending the ball straight into the gap between second and third, dropping short of the outfielder at left.

My body knows it’s supposed to run—it’s been trained to run at the crack of the bat for the past thirteen years—but my mind is reeling. Did she just imply what I think she implied?

Stunned, I stutter-step, weighed down by her voice in my ears. Somehow, I move forward enough to make it to second, giving Addie room at first so Christy can score the walk-off run. But my brain is back at first. Where Stacey is standing, punching her free hand into her glove, pissed that Northland’s state run is now officially over. She’s a senior, so it’s really the end of her road. We’ve won and she’s ended her high school career with a loss.

I should smile. Collapse in relief. Cheer about going to the championship game. But I can’t—not until I respond. I have to say something. I can’t just let her say something like that and then go home like it didn’t happen.

Sanderson is moping at first, so I jog back down the first-to-second line. My teammates are all celebrating at home base with Christy, but there’s no way I can go straight there. I drop in next to Stacey, now walking in the direction of her dugout.

“What did you say?” My voice is clipped.

She doesn’t even look in my direction. “Nothing.”

“No, I think you did. And I think you meant something very specific.”

Stacey’s eyes roll my way. They’re a muddy shade of brown, made worse by the fact that her eyebrows are on the endangered species list. “Doesn’t it bother you? Your sister being paid to check out your teammates?”

“Excuse me?”

She purses her lips and says, slowly, “You heard me. Your sister. Is paid. To check out. Your teammates.”

The knuckles of my right hand smack her straight across the ski jump of her obnoxiously pert nose, and we tumble to the infield dirt. I have her pinned, my butt across her kidneys, knees on either side of her squirming stomach.

“Don’t talk about my sister like that!”

At the taste of infield, she bucks wildly and we both land on our sides. She scrambles on top of me but I get her hard across the nose again. She yelps, blood leaking onto her lips.

“You owe me a new nose!”

Her right hand goes back, fingers pulled into a fist. I see a heavy caking of dirt across her knuckles before she misses my nose and lands a blow square to my right eye.

Tears immediately begin to pool at my lash line. We’re upended again, and I’m on top of her long enough to score one more open palm to her cheekbone before I’m finally yanked away by at least two teammates. Maybe three or four.

I vaguely hear Addie’s voice. “Be cool, O-Rod! Cool! Liv. OLIVE.”

It seems to come almost from the inside of my head rather than outside, where the crowd has gone for a collective gasp.

Her words and hands carry me—I’m tall, but Addie’s taller and stronger, using all her leverage to pull me away. More hands come. More voices, too. Above the din, I hear Danielle, her coach voice turned up to eleven. “Hey, hey, hey! Stop! Stop!”

Three of Stacey’s teammates have a hold on her—two at her shoulders, Kelly Cleary at her waist. The girl’s still swinging, though, blood dripping down her chin and onto the stylized Tigers logo scrawled across her boobs.

Coach Kitt strolls over and calmly fills Sanderson’s line of sight just as I’m wrenched in the opposite direction of Stacey and right into the arms of Danielle, who can’t quit it with the “Hey, stop!”

She hooks one of her arms around my shoulders and hauls me toward the dugout. The move effectively turns both our backs on the celebration happening at home plate, delayed initially when everyone stopped to watch us fight. On Danielle’s word, the assistant coaches run out to get our team set to shake hands with Northland. My good eye tries to look up at her, but all I see is her lips quiver.

When she speaks, it’s at a disappointed whisper—one I hear over the crowd, over my teammates hesitantly going back to celebrating our state championship berth, over the pounding of my heart that’s doing a drum solo for my ears.

“Olive Rodinsky, how could you.”

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tourschedule2

January 7th

January 8th

L.M. Durand – Guest Post
What She Will Read – Review

January 9th

Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Shelf-Rated – Review + Favourite Quotes
A Bookish Escape – Review
Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post

January 10th

Portrait of a Book – Review + Favourite Quotes
Evelynreads – Review

January 11th

The Lovely Books – Review
Nomadic Worlds – Review

January 12th

Kait Plus Books – Guest Post
Book Bite Reviews – Review
Frayed Books – Review
Sincerely Karen Jo – Review

January 13th

The Reading Life – Review
Between the Pages – Review
Playita Reads – Review
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abouttheauthor

S.Henning.jpgSarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.

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STARTS: 7th January 2020                       ENDS: 21st January 2020

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Thanks for stopping by sweeties! Hope you enjoyed this post and don’t forget to add this book on your TBR and follow the rest of the tour.

Have a wonderful Sunday loves!!!!

sincerelykjologo

Blog Tour Excerpt -The Love Playbook by SUZE WINEGARDNER

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Hello loves and Welcome to My Blog Tour Stop for The Love Playbook by Suze Winegardner hosted by Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours. I’ll be sharing a fun excerpt so scroll down to check it out now!

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Published: November 4, 2019

Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush

Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance

Format: Ebook 200 pages

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When Avery Stone learns her dad will be fired if his high school team doesn’t make the playoffs, she has to get her head out of her day planner and do something—anything—to help him win. Even if it means secretly coaching the team’s newest player, who seems to have more game than skill.

Lucas Black just transferred to Hillside with a fake name and a big secret. The MVP of every team he’d played on since he was seven—not to mention the MVP of every post-game party—he can’t understand why since arriving at Hillside, he’s been unable to catch a single. Freaking. Ball.

Until…Avery. Amazing, kind, generous, and crazy-freaking-hot Avery.

As Lucas goes from zero back to hero and Avery struggles with just what Lucas means to her, she inadvertently sets them on a collision course with Lucas’s secret…a secret that could take down not only Lucas but her father too.

DISCLAIMER: This Entangled Teen Crush contains a football player hotter than the Texas sun, hotel cuddles, and a steamy makeout session in the rain.

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She’d forgotten how much she liked this. Puffs of warm air seeping out of their helmets in the damp, chilly evening, the yellow tinge to the air from the floodlights, the tense atmosphere in the stands… It was almost other-worldly.

The whistle blew and Colin and the other team’s QB did the coin toss. The Hammers won, and elected to start.

“I can’t bear it,” Lexi squeaked.

Colin took the ball and ran to the left, dodging the linebacker, planted his feet and pulled his arm back, and threw. It was a Lincoln five play. And Lucas was right there where he was supposed to be. The ball spun, suspended in the air, as Lucas ran with his back to the ball. 

“Oh my God,” Avery whispered.

Lucas stopped and looked over his shoulder, plucking the ball out of the air like it was just hovering there waiting for him to take it. 

Avery saw him check the defense, and run toward the touchline. He made about twenty yards before a safety touched his shin and sent him rolling to the ground. It was a great start.

Lucas jumped up effortlessly and left the ball on the grass.

“Holy hell. I’m not sure we’ve ever started a game so well,” Lexi said. “Did you see that throw?”

“Uh-huh. Did you see that catch?” Avery said. Why was her voice so breathless?

Lexi and Avery looked at each other and almost-but-not-quite squealed. 

She looked down at the sideline to watch her father. His clipboard was tucked under his arm as he calmly watched the players. He looked confident. 

The whole team looked confident.

This was going to be a celebratory night, she could feel it. No one was out of place; it was like a magnet was keeping everyone exactly where they were supposed to be. Colin and Lucas ruled the offensive plays. Lucas didn’t drop a ball. And Colin couldn’t seem to miss. No one came close to sacking him. It was like they’d been playing together for years instead of weeks.

The score wasn’t even close. And by the time the final whistle blew, Avery almost felt bad for the home team.

Almost.

They waited in their seats for most everyone to leave before getting up. It usually took a good hour for the team to get out of their gear and have everything accounted for and packed away. It was ten by the time everything was in order.

As they boarded the bus to take them to the hotel, Avery’s dad shook every player’s hand, and gave them a few words about their performance. Except Colin. Colin he pulled in for a hug.

The team was raucous. LeVonn leaned over the front seat and high fived everyone as they walked on. Lexi and Avery were the last.

The bus pulled out and Avery’s dad stood up. The laughing and shouting continued.

“Shut up!” her dad yelled over the noise. 

Immediately silence descended on the bus.

“You did good guys. We live to fight another day! What are we going to do?”

“Keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting!” the players chanted.

The guys all cheered.

“But let’s get real. You’re excited and happy—rightly so—but we are unloading here at a hotel. There are guests here who need a good night’s sleep. I know you’re going to want to celebrate, but after eleven you do it silently. No alcohol. I’ll be checking rooms.” He gave a meaningful look around the bus, catching everyone’s eyes. 

“Did you bring your swimsuit?” Lexi asked.

“Of course. But I’m not sure I’m going to put it on.” She was having second and third thoughts about wearing a swimsuit in front of Lucas. She wasn’t sure why.

“I get you. But it’ll kinda seem stranger if we’re fully clothed hanging around the pool. I mean, when have we ever done that?” Lexi asked.

She had a point, but they’d all just been friends before. She’d never looked at any of the guys on the team as boyfriend material. Ever. 

Her dad doled out the keys. Most guys were sharing two or three to a room. Lexi and Avery had their own twin room next to her father’s.

They went up to their room and changed into their swimsuits, but put on shorts and tees as a cover up. They raided the bathroom for towels and headed down to the pool, where they could already hear the guys celebrating. She wondered how she’d get the chance to speak to Lucas with everyone around.

Excitement built in her, and she couldn’t tamp it down. She felt like she was teetering on an edge. On one side was her father keeping his job, and Lucas being the miracle they’d needed, and the other side was Lucas. Lucas kissing her like he had in the storm. Had he forgotten? Hadn’t he felt how much she wanted him to kiss her more? It was the beautiful agony of not knowing. The possibility that she’d get to kiss him again that night, and the possibility that she wouldn’t.

They were barely noticed when they arrived. Everyone was laughing and dragging beers out of the cooler that Digger had hidden in a big gear bag. Pizza boxes were already stacked on various tables by the sun loungers. A lot had already been torn into.

When she caught Lucas’s gaze, he tipped his head to one side and subtly raised his beer bottle to her. She grinned, and doffed an imaginary hat to him. He laughed silently, throwing his head back for a second. 

Excitement built in her stomach. 

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abouttheauthor

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Suze Winegardner is a British YA writer, currently living overseas with her military husband, and lovely Lab. She loves Buffy, Fray Bentos pies, Archer, cheese, and the serial comma. Wait – Cadbury Flakes too. And naps. Wait, what was the question? Anyway, she thinks her life is chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny…and if you get that reference, she already considers you kin.

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Thanks for stopping by sweeties. Happy reading and have a fantastic day!

sincerelykjologo