Game, Set and Match by Ali Vali aka A. Valdivia

For some the World Cup (football / soccer) is the focus of attention right now, others might spend time watching the Wimbledon tennis tournament and some – like I – am waiting for the cyclist of The Tour de France to get on their bikes and pedal out of Rotterdam in The Netherlands on July 3rd.

If you get tired of watching the sports on TV, you might want to take a little time with a (fan) fic touching on a sport theme. So I invite you to pick your favourite game on the list below and to relax while you “watch” the ladies work out!

How about starting off with a game of field hockey ? If you like this game or if you are just curious as to what it’s all about, you might look up “The Player” and join Gil and Emma while they play the game and get to know each other – review.

Should field hockey not be to you liking, you could look in on “America’s Sweetheart” by Catherine Burke a sweet romance written on the backdrop of women’s soccer in the US (review).

If golf is your sport – you can stop by “The Deal” by M. Ryan (review) in this story you’ll be treated to an almost play by play run through of the game, while you follow Kaz’s in the world of News.

The road from Kilimanjaro” (review) might be somewhat off a strict sports theme, but if you are not too keen on chasing after a ball you might like to go hiking up the mountain slops of Mt. Kilimanjaro or journey along on a safari with KG MacGregor, while Mary Kate and Kristine get acquainted or perhaps you would rather join Ryan and Jamie on a bike ride in the “Beginning” of their rather long relationship in SX Meagher’s ”I Found My Heart in San Francisco” series – by the way – you’ll find plenty of sports played out in this series as Ryan is a real sports jock (review).

Blue Calm” by Larisa will give you a touch of the atmosphere on the beaches of Hawaii while Tucker learns to navigate the waves on a surfboard and Dunk takes her last win in the Pipe Master Competition (review).

Finally I’ll leave you on Centre Court with Parker King and her racket as she whacks the ball and let it fly past the player on the other side of the net to win the women’s singles final in Wimbledon. Parker is the “bad girl” of the tennis world – dating and discarding women as “just another notch in my lipstick case” (That’s a new one … I think?) and it’ll take a transatlantic flight and a disastrous – but funny – meeting with a blond pilot to changes Parkers lifestyle.

Emily – the blond pilot in question – on the other hand takes her love life serious. Returning from a three weeks stretch of transatlantic flights she meets Gail – her partner of three years – for a short vacation at a rented beach house to reconnect, but this is just another disaster waiting to happen as Gail’s long time habit of drinking becomes unbearable.

Luckily enough it turns out that Parker resides next door to the beach house that Emily rents and I guess that that is all the invitation needed to start Parker and Emily off on the road toward friendship and perhaps, who knows something more. Hey don’t get too excited – you’ll have to watch the ladies work through some misunderstandings before they can walk the path laid out, but that’s just the way it is in romantic fiction !

Ali Vali has penned a number of stories among these “A place to dance” which is the one I like best, but “Game, Set and Match” is a nice romance with a sprinkle of drama and a bit of funny dialogue that’ll keep you well entertained. Just bear in mind that Ali Vali has a tendency to be a little lax with the editing, which might be slightly confusing at times.

In case you are wondering – I do know that you can find a ton of (fan) fic’s on the theme of women’s basketball. I might get around to do a list of basketball fics later – perhaps when the indoor season knocks on the door again.

America’s Sweetheart by Catherine Burke

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue – no sorry we’re definitely not preparing for a marriage ceremony or the likes – not for the first couple of hundred pages anyway. But we are in for a story along one of the oldest – but I guess eternal – storylines, the one of love lost and found. Furthermore we do have a new setting for the story, as we are touching on a sports theme and ,for once, it’s not basketball or softball but women’s soccer and in the US of all places. If you want borrowed I guess you’ll have to look closely at the characters and see for yourself if they are original or not.

And as for blue, well I would say that Gwen is blue. The All American Sweetheart was left by her lover of 3 years – Keegan – just as they and the American women’s soccer team was to begin the Olympic Games – no explanation whatsoever. Five years later after the finish of her career in soccer and on her way to a new life in the sports commentating business, Gwen is still thinking of Keegan… and who wouldn’t be as she seems like the perfect girl – don’t they all?!

Still clueless about the reason why Keegan left her, Gwen has moved on with her life and then again, not really. She hasn’t found a satisfying relationship but hides in a semi-closet with her friend Bob – a star hockey player – as a cover. The two of them put on a good show of dating and being in love, but when Bob is traded to a club in Michigan, Gwen’s life is thrown up in the air.

In Michigan, Keegan lives alone and has just decided to get back intothe business of dating, which is just a little bit surprising as she is also 12 weeks pregnant, but I guess that a ready made full family packages could appeal to some. This is the situation when Gwen rides into town to do a publicity event and decides to get in touch with Keegan. From here you are on your own … keep your eyes on the ball and follow through.

I found “America’s Sweetheart” a good read, regardless of the fact that the author goes a bit overboard in describing the wickedness of Gwen’s mother. I know it’s fiction but sometimes a storyline is better of with a sort of understated drama and angst instead of the grand fireworks. The story of how Gwen connects with Keegan again is well crafted, and a nice gallery of family and friends supplies little twists and side stories that lend substance to the novel. So, all in all, a story worth your time.

I’ve followed up on the author to see if she posted another fic, and she did. Catherine Burke just recently finished posting “With All of My Heart” at The Athenaeum but, please, don’t waste your time on the new story until it’s been through a serious bunch of beta readers who can help smooth out the rough spots in the storyline and do a lot of much needed editing. In my opinion this story was just posted too soon, as I do believe that the author has the skills to turn out a good romance yet again.

Enjoy your story time!