Monday, 25 April 2016

Kate McCarthy's "The End Game."
Amazon UK:


“Professional athletes are pillars of their respective communities. They are heroes in the eyes of boys and girls and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that positively represents their community.”

The public loves a good scandal. Seeing someone fall from the pinnacle of success makes a great headline. No one knows that better than I do. What started out as a promising career in college football, spiraled into scandal and shame. 

But being a hero is easier said then done. Especially when there are those who expected to see the great Brody Madden fail. I craved nothing except being the best—willing to do anything to prove them wrong. But I went too far, and I tried too hard, and it broke me.

“At the time of going to print, Jordan Elliott was unavailable for comment.” 

I met Brody Madden in my senior year of college. An Australian native on an international scholarship, I was the female soccer sensation with stars in her eyes and no room for a hotshot wide receiver with a chip on his shoulder.

But a heart bursting with ambition and a driving fire to succeed isn’t made of stone. I became his strength, his obsession, and the greatest love of his life. Only I wasn’t there when he needed me most.

This is a story about love and a game that takes everything. Where the path to glory is paved with sacrifice. Where pressure makes you, or breaks you, and triumph is born in the ashes of failure. Where two people’s end game will change everything.

Review: Surj 

You know that saying "Never judge a book by it's cover?" Well I did. Kate McCarthy's "The End Game" had been sat on my kindle for what seems like forever. I remember the buzz surrounding this book when it came out but for some reason, although I clicked, I never got around to reading it. So I finally had some free time and I thought, you know I could just read a cute college/ sports romance? After all, that's what the cover was screaming at me. Did I bother to read the synopsis? Of course not. I mean, who does that... right? Nope, I just got stuck right in. Well, let's just say, as my synapses fired up, I very quickly realised that this book wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be. I got it so wrong but equally, so very right. Yes Brody and Jordan's story was a sports romance and of course they were at college but what I read ran far deeper than those two very obvious facts. 

…that’s what happens when your need to be the best eclipses all else. 
Sacrifices are made, and those you love are always the first to suffer.

"The End Game" told the story of Brody and Jordan, two individuals who were trying desperately to navigate their way through college to ensure a successful sporting career at the end. What I wasn't prepared for was the battles they had to fight, the hurdles they encountered, the pain and suffering each of them endured as individuals and as a couple and of course the mounting pressure of trying to balance success in the classroom with success out on the field. The struggles Brody and Jordan experienced felt so real and honest and believable and I felt absolutely devastated for each of them. Here were two kids trying desperately to achieve their dreams but it just felt so damn hard. Each and every time I thought things were going in the right direction, something would happen to set them back. Their journey was so tragic and soul destroying and for the most part was read with a heavy heart. That said, there were still parts that were just beautiful. There were parts that were so cute and adorable and of course there were parts that made me giggle and laugh (this is college after all). Although these moments were fleeting, they often came at the perfect time, where I was desperate for a little light at the end of a very dark tunnel. 

“On the surface, we both appear the same. But we are not. We’re opposites, you and I. 
I’m weak. But you...” he shakes his head, “…your strength is like the sun, Jordan. 
It feeds me. And if you don’t let me go, I’ll just use it all up until you have nothing left.”

Brody's character was one I was desperate to wrap up in cotton wool. On the outside, he was the jock. The successful football player. The one all the guys wanted to be and of course, the one all the girls wanted by their side. But peel back the top layer just a fraction and what lay underneath was such a troubled, tormented man that I just wanted to shield and protect. Nothing was as it seemed for him but his biggest downfall was his determination to battle his demons single handedly and not accept help from those who offered it so willingly.

“Out there on the field, the game is everything. It builds you up, 
breaks you down, and it bleeds you dry. But I love it. It’s the only place I’m free.”

Thank god for Jordan. She was such an amazing leading lady in this book. Her strength and resilience coupled with her drive, determination and motivation truly was awe inspiring. This girl knew what she wanted and would move hell and high water to get it. 

Kate McCarthy's "The End Game" was so beautifully written. I could really feel the heart, soul and emotion radiating from each and every page. However, I will say, there were times (particularly at the start) where the story did drag a little and equally, there were moments where I felt I was given too much detail (e.g. sporting commentary and in-depth sporting knowledge). This did (in my opinion) make the story a little longer than it needed to be. That said, I still read the whole thing in a day which says a lot about the characters and the overall plot. I lie there quietly and close my eyes, and I think about 
how nice it would be some days to just not wake up at all.

All in all, a brilliant and very unexpected story (which is my fault for not reading the synopsis). I rated "The End Game" ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 

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