Author: Reece Pine
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
With a shot at happiness in sight, it’s no time to drop the ball.
A back condition ruined Ray’s basketball ambitions, but he wants one last opportunity to play before hanging up his sneakers. While volunteering as a coach at a special needs school in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, he meets Singaporean Xin, who works matching wealthy corporations with compatible charities. Xin helps the American navigate the local customs in order to see the smile Xin fell for at first sight, but Ray makes sure no one sees how hard it is for him to keep upright, let alone keep enjoying Vietnam and playing the sport he loves.
When Ray’s back pain becomes too great to hide, Xin accommodates him in Ho Chi Minh and in Singapore—and in bed. Ray wants to imagine a future for them but fears he’s damaged goods, and Xin’s obligations in Asia aren’t easily forgotten. Ray won’t be another charity of Xin’s, especially when Xin also needs someone by his side. Their romance will be cut as short as Ray’s basketball dreams unless he can close the Pacific-sized distance between them
Not only did I really have to push myself to finish this book, but I couldn’t for the life of me really describe what I read to anyone else. Confusing – that’s what this was. There were two salvageable takeaways for me:
• I could totally understand the frustration and pain that Ray felt after suffering from an injury that triggered all of his current back problems. It prevented him from doing the one activity he loved the most – playing basketball, and it caused nearly crippling and constant pain.
• Ray fell in love with his surroundings in Vietnam. Everything was new and exciting in terms of the sights and experiences on his mini getaway in a completely foreign land.
I was initially intrigued enough to try this book based on the angle of reading about someone who suffers chronic back pain. While mine isn’t nearly as bad as Ray’s was described, it’s still a real thing so I felt a bit of kinship. The appeal, however, faded quickly as I simply got lost in the words – way too many of them to be honest that made descriptions of everything overly complex. If the blurb of the book hadn’t revealed the nature of Xin’s job, I would have never figured it out in the context of the story. And the ending? That was a just a little too much too soon. I was barely feeling the connection between Ray and Xin.
Unfortunately, this one just didn’t really work well for me.