Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Review - Dolce by Rachel Blaufeld

Title: Dolce
Series: Love at Center Court #2
Author: Rachel Blaufeld
Release Date: January 21, 2016

“Who just stole my thunder across the Hafton airwaves, you ask? Right now, right this very second, listeners, I have Hafton’s one-and-only, the main man with the ball in hand, Blane Steele in the studio. Mark my words—he’ll not only steal the ball, but your lady’s heart too. Watch out, gentlemen, the Stealer is in the house!” 
— Sonny Be Knocking Boots, Hafton Radio 96.9

Coed antics.
Angst-ridden twists in fate.

Caterina is an intern. Sonny is her shock-jock boss. And Blane is a good-hearted baller…except when he steps on the court. Between on-air dares, an evil feminist professor, a straight-shooter of a coach, and rumors from the league surrounding Steele, these three are destined to screw it all up.

Rather than a love triangle, this is a friends-to-lovers story where the disc jockey acts as the catalyst, and a basketball player finds his life transformed when center court intersects with love.

Have you ever read a book that you put off reading, not because you weren't loving it, but because you knew the heartache was coming…and you didn't know if you'd survive it? 

I have. I just finished it, actually. 

Dolce, the second Rachel Blaufeld book I've read and loved—the first being, Vérité, book one in the Love at Center Court series—was a little hard on my feels, if I'm honest. Oh, don't get me wrong. I ADORED this book, but…I didn't want to hurt. I didn't want Blane ‘The Stealer’ Steele to hurt. Hell, even though I struggled with her at times, I didn't want Caterina to hurt either. Sonny? Eh, I kind of wanted him to hurt—do you think that makes me a bad person?! *bites nails*

Dolce is something of a roller coaster ride. As I touched on above, I found myself frustrated with Cate on many occasions. (Don't even get me started on Sonny…) When I think about some of her choices…my stomach still drops, and I've finished the book. I know how it turns out. But I'm still affected by it in a physical way. Having said that, I sympathized with her also. She wasn't always treated fairly, and I loved that she wasn't a typical romance heroine—all smooth skin and perfect lines. I was proud of her for sticking by her choices but…ugh, I just hated to see the fallout. Mainly because Blane did what he does best. 

The Stealer stole my heart. 

This was no ordinary baller. He was deeper than I would have guessed, sweet as the title suggests, and just….right. IDK, he was this amazing blend of arrogant star and smitten man, and he proved, time and again, that he had a good heart and an open mind. I loved him so much, I couldn't stomach the thought of seeing him get hurt. 

To that end, I briefly wished for a little more in the way of explanation as Dolce headed into its conclusion. There was one point that I wished to see clarified—for Blane’s sake, and for Cate’s too—but, in the end, it didn't really matter. Because this book was fabulous. There's no denying that fact. Ms. Blaufeld has a way with words that just draws you in. So much so that, even when you're actively trying to ignore them to save your heart, you cannot stop thinking about those very words. 

It was worth each pang in my beleaguered heart to get the end of Dolce. Although I never seriously considered putting this book down for good, I'm glad that my compulsion to finish got me across the line sooner rather than later. I am glad I survived. 
~ Review by Beth

Rachel Blaufeld is a bestselling author of Coming of Age, Romantic Suspense, and Sports Romance fiction. She recently asked her readers to describe her, and the adjectives they came up with included: insightful, generous, articulate, and spunky. Originally a social worker, Rachel creates broken yet redeeming characters. She's been known to turn up the angst like cranking the heat up in the dead of winter.

Turning her focus on her sometimes wild-and-crazy creative side, it only took Rachel two decades to do exactly what she wanted to do--write a fiction novel. Now she spends way too many hours in local coffee shops, downing muffins and plotting her ideas. Her tales may all come with a side of angst and naughtiness, but end deliciously.

Blaufeld, also an entrepreneur/blogger, is fearless about sharing her opinion. Before turning her pen to fiction, she captured the ear of stay-at-home and working moms on her blog, BacknGrooveMom, chronicling her adventures in parenting tweens and inventing a product, often at the same time. She has also blogged for the Huffington Post and Modern Mom.

Most recently, she shares conversations from being "In Bed with a Romance Author" and reading recommendations over at "Happy Ever After" on USA TODAY.

Rachel lives around the corner from her childhood home in Pennsylvania with her family and two beagles. Her obsessions include running, coffee, basketball, icing-filled doughnuts, antiheroes, and mighty fine epilogues.

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