Friday, September 11, 2015

Review and Giveaway: The End Game by Kate McCarthy

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 stars
Date published: September 8th, 2015
Publisher: self published
Synopsis: “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.

*** 18+ recommended. Contains adult language and adult themes

What I Thought:

This book has been on my radar for a while. It had all the prerequisites necessary to catch my attention: a great blurb, two good looking people on the cover, and most important of all...athletes! Not just one, but two of them. That definitely wasn't usual and I had a feeling the book was going to special, but I knew the moment I read the prologue and was hooked and left with a lot of questions.

I loved how the book took me back to the first time Jordan stepped off the plane, both anxious and excited. I could almost feel it coming off her. I really liked Jordan. She was down to earth, dedicated to her game, and determined to become successful at her sport. She wasn't going to let anyone or anything stand in her way, not after the sacrifices she'd made and those that had been made for her. I loved how she was with Brody. She really truly loved him. She was compassionate and caring.  He was important to her and she showed it. Jordan was so resilient, taking control of things as they happened and standing strong through everything that came her way.

I adored Brody too. Brody might be the star of football team and have a bright future ahead of him, but he was as blindsided by his attraction to Jordan as she was to him. It didn't help that Jordan knew things about him he'd never let anyone know and that bothered him to the very core of his being. Brody wasn't used to being vulnerable. My heart went out to him when I realized how much pressure he was feeling and especially when he began to relieve that pressure in ways that were harmful to himself and those around him.

At the heart of this amazing story is an internal conflict of self value and worth. It's about overcoming the challenges and hurdles life throws at you while everyone around you watches in glee as you falter. There were times when I felt both Jordan and Brody's pain as if it was my own. I can't say I agreed with all of their choices and actions, but I will say I understood them. Not everyone can be strong all the time. The people we surround ourselves with help shore us up and keep up strong. Brody didn't always have the right people around him and he wasn't always willing to reach a hand out to those who were.

I've got to say I loved how the story captured my interest and kept it as it moved from the past to the present. Brody and Jordan underwent lots of upheavals and changes, but their commitment to each other never wavered. There were a few places where I felt emphasis wasn't given enough and others which I felt could've been handled differently. Overall though the book is fantastic and I devoured it in what seemed to be no time at all. I love how Kate McCarthy did her research and incorporated plenty of information about soccer and football. I loved how she made her characters feel real. In the end, my wait was worth it because I got an unforgettable story with depth and emotion.

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About the Author

Kate McCarthy is an Australian, living in the pretty sunshine state of Queensland with her two kids and two dogs, Rufus and Pete.

She loves to bake sweet stuff and eat it too. With an exciting degree in business, she works as an accountant by day, and an author by night. In between family life, she is most often found in bed reading, or at the beach, still reading.

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*Thank you to the publicist for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*

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