Review: Striker by Michelle Betham

Wednesday, 12 August 2015
Title: Striker
Author: Michelle Betham
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Publication Date: 5th June 2014
Pages: 639
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Amber Sullivan is an ambitious, beautiful and feisty Sports reporter for a local TV news programme. With an ex-professional soccer player for a father, she’s grown up in and around the world of premiership football, and boy does she know better than to get mixed up with the men who play the game. As rich and charming as they are, Amber has a strict no player rule.

One of the biggest names in football, Ryan Fisher is young, hot, and talented. He has it all – looks, fame, money; not to mention women falling at his over-insured feet and a lifestyle he’s in no hurry to give up.

At the centre of a multi-million-pound transfer deal back to his home club, Ryan’s a big scoop for a local sports journalist and Amber can’t afford to miss this career-making opportunity – even if that means having to interview the cocky sports star.

But once the tape starts rolling it’s clear Ryan’s got more than just an exclusive on his mind… and he’s used to getting exactly what he wants.

One of my favourite programmes when I was younger was Footballers' Wives, despite the fact that I was only twelve when it first aired, I was hooked on it. I think that was the programme that kick started my love for all things glamour and celebrities. I have always been more concerned with what's happening off the pitch than on it, and could probably name more WAGs than footballers. I was incredibly excited to start Michelle Betham's Striker trilogy because it sounded like a similar sort of story, and it was. And I loved it.

Ryan Fisher is the footballer of the moment, and he is returning home to the North East in a multi-million-pound transfer deal that will see him playing for his home club: Newcastle Red Star. Ryan Fisher is young, hot and extremely talented (and not just with a football). Amber Sullivan is an ambitious journalist (but not so ambitious that she would ever leave Newcastle) and she is sent to interview the cocky and confident footballer to find out more about his big return. I swear my Kindle heated up the minute these two characters met, the connection between them was both palpable and electric.

Ryan Fisher is a character most readers are going to fall in love with. Yes, he's bad, but then aren't they always the best characters to read about? Plus, there's actually quite a bit of a depth to his character and as the book progresses we really see the kind of effect living the lifestyle he does can have on such a young person. Ryan became famous at a very young age, and lacked the guidance and teaching to help him understand just how to cope with it all. In the beginning there's some mystery surrounding just why he has returned home, and this is explored as the book progresses and makes for some quite dramatic developments.

Amber Sullivan is a character I changed my mind about numerous times but on the whole she was likeable. If I had to measure how many times I changed my mind about her I'd compare it with the amount of times she has sex throughout the novel, or the amount of times she changes her mind about who she wants to be with. The connection between her and Ryan is undeniable, and in the beginning both of them just want a bit of fun, pushing the other away as they start to get serious. Because we as the reader follow the both of them, we are often privy to feelings that the other doesn't know about, so it was a tad frustrating when both characters acted out, and thought things about the other that weren't true. This makes for a frustrating (in a good way) read because you never know just what's coming.

As a HarperImpulse book you obviously want it to be hot, and descriptions of contraception can often hamper that, so Michelle Betham completely does away with all mention of contraception (or even making her characters have a quick wash after sex) which did make the characters come across as a little dirty, and left me hoping that they have regular check-ups! Then again remember 50 Shades with its mention of a 'foil packet' on every. single. page. Anyway, also returning to Newcastle is an old legend turned manager Jim, who just so happens to be the man who seduced Amber when she was still a teenager, and who still harbours strong feelings for her. And if that wasn't enough man for one woman she also has best friend Ronnie who was probably one of my favourite males in Striker.

I absolutely loved the scenes throughout Striker. Michelle has clearly done her research and this allows for a realistic portrayal of the world of football, with much of the action we witness occurring off the pitch, which is always more exciting and drama-filled. Being the first in a trilogy the ending obviously wasn't going to bring any resolution and it actually ended in a way I didn't see coming. I actually wanted to scream at Amber a couple of times and I hope that as the series progresses she starts to come to her senses! But in terms of leaving a reader wanting more, Michelle Betham has definitely achieved that. If you are after a hot, addictive and very sexy read this summer then I highly recommend picking up Striker.

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