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The Shutout

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Sometimes love is where you least expect it, and sometimes it's right where you left it in this slow burn to steamy friends to lovers tale. Widower, Max Hartwell, is barely keeping it together, being a single-dad, managing his law firm, and navigating life's chaos. Life after loss is too difficult for surprises, which is why Max would be lost without his reliable best frien Sometimes love is where you least expect it, and sometimes it's right where you left it in this slow burn to steamy friends to lovers tale. Widower, Max Hartwell, is barely keeping it together, being a single-dad, managing his law firm, and navigating life's chaos. Life after loss is too difficult for surprises, which is why Max would be lost without his reliable best friend and neighbor, Jack. Best pitcher in the MLB, Jack Spears, is at the top of his game. He has it all, except for the one thing he wants most, which happens to be the one thing he can't have if he doesn't want his private life to overshadow his career: love. When an emotional evening reveals his biggest secret, he's faced with losing everything that matters most to him. Can Max see him for the man he truly is, or will Jack forever be doomed to live in the shadow of the image he created as America's favorite pitcher? Heartfelt and human, The Shutout is a story of friendship, loss, love, and the rough road to new beginnings.


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Sometimes love is where you least expect it, and sometimes it's right where you left it in this slow burn to steamy friends to lovers tale. Widower, Max Hartwell, is barely keeping it together, being a single-dad, managing his law firm, and navigating life's chaos. Life after loss is too difficult for surprises, which is why Max would be lost without his reliable best frien Sometimes love is where you least expect it, and sometimes it's right where you left it in this slow burn to steamy friends to lovers tale. Widower, Max Hartwell, is barely keeping it together, being a single-dad, managing his law firm, and navigating life's chaos. Life after loss is too difficult for surprises, which is why Max would be lost without his reliable best friend and neighbor, Jack. Best pitcher in the MLB, Jack Spears, is at the top of his game. He has it all, except for the one thing he wants most, which happens to be the one thing he can't have if he doesn't want his private life to overshadow his career: love. When an emotional evening reveals his biggest secret, he's faced with losing everything that matters most to him. Can Max see him for the man he truly is, or will Jack forever be doomed to live in the shadow of the image he created as America's favorite pitcher? Heartfelt and human, The Shutout is a story of friendship, loss, love, and the rough road to new beginnings.

30 review for The Shutout

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT

    Audio - 5 Stars Story - 4.5 Stars New to me author. I'm impress. The grief and humor are very well done. It didn't get annoying. Jack had a tendency to get teary eyed a bit too often for my liking, but at least it wasn't sobbing. I seriously need to work on my understanding of sensitive people. The last chapter and epilogue were beautiful. I'm definitely looking forward to more by the author. Audio - 5 Stars Story - 4.5 Stars New to me author. I'm impress. The grief and humor are very well done. It didn't get annoying. Jack had a tendency to get teary eyed a bit too often for my liking, but at least it wasn't sobbing. I seriously need to work on my understanding of sensitive people. The last chapter and epilogue were beautiful. I'm definitely looking forward to more by the author.

  2. 5 out of 5

    cal

    *changed to four stars trigger warning for: homophobia; grief due to someones passing ❝ Smiling back at him, I knew then that sometimes choosing happiness wasn't enough. Sometimes to whom you gave your happiness was just as important. And when you couldn't believe in yourself, the least you could do was believe in the people who believed in you. ❞ my new goal in life is to be a fucking lettuce in this all-meat burger composed of max hartwell and jack spears. dianna roman's the shutout w *changed to four stars trigger warning for: homophobia; grief due to someones passing ❝ Smiling back at him, I knew then that sometimes choosing happiness wasn't enough. Sometimes to whom you gave your happiness was just as important. And when you couldn't believe in yourself, the least you could do was believe in the people who believed in you. ❞ my new goal in life is to be a fucking lettuce in this all-meat burger composed of max hartwell and jack spears. dianna roman's the shutout was legitimately good. i swear 2022 is the year where bestfriends/friends-to-lovers trope will get its reign once again. i swooned, i laughed, and shockingly some tears streamed down my face too. "I promise I'll make it up to you though some other time... just the two of us." His voice was soft and tender. No matter how hard I looked, I couldn't see any insincerity, and confusion. "So do you think you could give me a chance, or have I screwed everything up too bad?" this is a story about jack spears, a famous baseball pitcher, who did the unthinkable: kissed his straight best friend who was at the time a widower. oh my goodness the first half of this book was one big push-and-pull narrative. i was pulling my hairs out. i can't fully fault max for being weirded out after that kiss but all of his actions made my heart break for jack. i just wanna be this psycho who wants to dive in to their world and to say in their faces "you need to fall in love now or the world will end!". the other half of this story was gag-worthy. the way max decided to make it up for jack and to win him over? fucking delicious. giving this 5 stars because of these heavy dark bags under my eyes i'm sporting right now. this book is far from perfect bc i have certain criticisms against it but i was very much ready to throw these things out of the window. it was perfect for me. give me characters that i would want to root for then that's already winner.

  3. 4 out of 5

    🧔🏻‍♂️🏳️‍🌈Ayanna🏳️‍🌈🧔🏻‍♂️

    {🧔🏻‍♂️👔⚾️WARNING, THIS BOOK HAS: DEATH OF SIDE CHARACTER IN CAR CRASH, STRAIGHT TO BIAWAKENING, ON PAGE WASTE FROM A CHILD ON THE FLOOR, AND OTHER POSSIBLE TRIGGERS THAT I HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT SINCE I DNFED THIS! BE AWARE⚾️👔🧔🏻‍♂️!} The Shutout: Rating: 2.5 DNF @ 20% 🧔🏻‍♂️👔⚾️DNFing Reason⚾️👔🧔🏻‍♂️: 🧔🏻‍♂️👔⚾️Hello everyone! I hope all is well! As for me, sadly this ARC did not work out even early on. I just could not care for how this seemed: stereotypes on top of stereotypes, on top of more {🧔🏻‍♂️👔⚾️WARNING, THIS BOOK HAS: DEATH OF SIDE CHARACTER IN CAR CRASH, STRAIGHT TO BIAWAKENING, ON PAGE WASTE FROM A CHILD ON THE FLOOR, AND OTHER POSSIBLE TRIGGERS THAT I HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT SINCE I DNFED THIS! BE AWARE⚾️👔🧔🏻‍♂️!} The Shutout: Rating: 2.5 DNF @ 20% 🧔🏻‍♂️👔⚾️DNFing Reason⚾️👔🧔🏻‍♂️: 🧔🏻‍♂️👔⚾️Hello everyone! I hope all is well! As for me, sadly this ARC did not work out even early on. I just could not care for how this seemed: stereotypes on top of stereotypes, on top of more stereotypes. Such as gay men, manliness, and other themes that just did not sit well with me. I liked the MLB MC Jack, but could not care for Max who was the single, widowed, lawyer father. Then not to mention the trigger above about waste being on the floor? Do not care to read about scenarios as such. Then some of the humor was not funny but just rude. Jack was funny, but not Max or any of the other characters for that matter. So in short, this was a no and I am moving right along. If you liked this or plan on reading this, good for you & keep in mind what I said! As always, wishing you all the best & to stay safe💗💗💗💗💗!⚾️👔🧔🏻‍♂️

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rin Pet

    OH BOY. If you’re the author, I strongly encourage you to not read this. First of all, when I harp on about books that are problematic, this one is the PERFECT example. Books like this make me want to leave the MM community because so many authors use gay stereotypes and homophobia as a way to make profit and it’s just gross. So many are so disconnected from the gay community and write solely to appeal to straight women. I. Am. Over. It. First of all, the “bi awakening” guy, Max, is an absolute as OH BOY. If you’re the author, I strongly encourage you to not read this. First of all, when I harp on about books that are problematic, this one is the PERFECT example. Books like this make me want to leave the MM community because so many authors use gay stereotypes and homophobia as a way to make profit and it’s just gross. So many are so disconnected from the gay community and write solely to appeal to straight women. I. Am. Over. It. First of all, the “bi awakening” guy, Max, is an absolute asshole. I have no idea what Jack ever saw in him. He’s a shitty friend, a shitty husband, and a shitty father. His internalized homophobia and his very aggressive, both verbal and physical, EXTERNAL HOMOPHOBIA, gives ALL THE RED FLAGS. 🚩 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩 RUN AWAY JACK!! I call time of death here at 45% but between skimming the rest and reading other reviews, it’s clear this book doesn’t improve. As a queer person, it was physically painful to read this. If you are in the community, I strongly suggest you stay away. Regardless of being aware it’s coming, it’s written in such a way that it’s clear the author is either homophobic or has close ties with those who are. It’s one thing to write about for a plot, it’s another for it to be a part of who a character is. A character WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LIKE AND HAVE EMPATHY FOR. Tying the dead wife into sexual fantasies and having previous conversations when she was alive reinforcing the fact that Max is homophobic… I just…. Am I supposed to like Max?? All the 4 and 5 stars for this just show me what the target audience is for MM and it’s not for queer people. I am so so tired of reading problematic books. Author is shelved and this book is on my worst ever. 😒😒😒

  5. 5 out of 5

    Renée

    I'm torn on this one. On the one hand, it went deeper than I thought. The angst and emotions were done well. On the other hand, I had some niggles. The firs 20% was solely inner monologue and telling instead of showing. And there was unnecessary melodrama that was truly immature at times. I'll land on 3 stars. I'm torn on this one. On the one hand, it went deeper than I thought. The angst and emotions were done well. On the other hand, I had some niggles. The firs 20% was solely inner monologue and telling instead of showing. And there was unnecessary melodrama that was truly immature at times. I'll land on 3 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    dnf @ 80% I just couldn't go on y'all This book is so problematic. An over abundance of homophobia, internalized homophobia, misogyny, low key biphobia, and shitty parents. The dialogue from the sex scenes was plagiarized from the cheesiest porno ever. Max is our "biawakening". Of course he never says he's bi (unless he does in the last 20% but I seriously doubt it). He was happily married to a woman, he was attracted to said woman. She died in a car accident. When he and Jack get together, he de dnf @ 80% I just couldn't go on y'all This book is so problematic. An over abundance of homophobia, internalized homophobia, misogyny, low key biphobia, and shitty parents. The dialogue from the sex scenes was plagiarized from the cheesiest porno ever. Max is our "biawakening". Of course he never says he's bi (unless he does in the last 20% but I seriously doubt it). He was happily married to a woman, he was attracted to said woman. She died in a car accident. When he and Jack get together, he decides to identify as gay. Which. I mean do you. But also. That kind of shits on the memory of the wife you claimed you loved so much and made you so happy. Jack is ignored by his shitty parents. Oh his mom isn't shitty really. She still talks to him. In hiding and through his sister so his dad doesn't find out. But she still loves him. 🙄 He's also a pitcher in the MLB. Usually I'm okay with storylines involving players in professional sports staying closeted. But Jack hated himself. He didn't want literally anyone knowing about him and Max. That's what bothered me. Stay in the closet if that's what is going to keep you safe. That's not how I read it though. It read like Jack hated himself and didn't want to be gay so he hid. Emma was cute. There were some cute parts of the story. But jfc pick a struggle for the MCs to go through. Not all of them.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Halter

    I went into the story thinking it was just going to be a lighthearted romance, but it turned out to be so much more. Max and Jack’s relationship was so beautifully written and I felt like the pacing was so well done in building tension between the two. The author also did a really good job showing Max and Jack helping each other through past traumas. This mlm second chance romance is so incredibly heartwarming with lots of steamy scenes sprinkled throughout. This is genuinely one of my favorite I went into the story thinking it was just going to be a lighthearted romance, but it turned out to be so much more. Max and Jack’s relationship was so beautifully written and I felt like the pacing was so well done in building tension between the two. The author also did a really good job showing Max and Jack helping each other through past traumas. This mlm second chance romance is so incredibly heartwarming with lots of steamy scenes sprinkled throughout. This is genuinely one of my favorite romances that I’ve read in a long time and I can’t recommend it enough! *I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  8. 4 out of 5

    oshiiy

    DNF @ 20% From what I read so far in the book, there is too much inner monologue which I can't deal with right now, and too tedious. Not to mention, the homophobia which is at the best of it here. DNF @ 20% From what I read so far in the book, there is too much inner monologue which I can't deal with right now, and too tedious. Not to mention, the homophobia which is at the best of it here.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    DNF @ 49% This was a suggestion for angst and emotion and I got neither. I really struggled and started considering ditching it at about 20% because I was bored. I felt no connection to the characters and the writing just wasn't working for me. Max was especially annoying (can he not say no to anyone but Jack?) and by his second homophobic freakout I was done. Jack doesn't deserve Max - he deserves somebody one thousand times better. DNF @ 49% This was a suggestion for angst and emotion and I got neither. I really struggled and started considering ditching it at about 20% because I was bored. I felt no connection to the characters and the writing just wasn't working for me. Max was especially annoying (can he not say no to anyone but Jack?) and by his second homophobic freakout I was done. Jack doesn't deserve Max - he deserves somebody one thousand times better.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rin

    Disclaimer : I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. I loved this book. I went into it with expectations after reading the summary and it totally delivered (it even went beyond). From the first lines I knew I would like it, the writing is fluid and the author focuses on the two main characters from the start, making sure we know enough about them separately and them as friends to care about them as more. Boy, the friendship between Max and Jack was so Disclaimer : I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. I loved this book. I went into it with expectations after reading the summary and it totally delivered (it even went beyond). From the first lines I knew I would like it, the writing is fluid and the author focuses on the two main characters from the start, making sure we know enough about them separately and them as friends to care about them as more. Boy, the friendship between Max and Jack was so beautiful. I wish we saw more of those in books. I also loved that Jack cried easily, even though he's this famous muscled baseball player and the ''sunshine'' character. I was so happy for him, he deserved so much. I liked how Max's grief and struggles weren't downplayed. The characters felt very real and not just copy and paste from other books, even if they fit into the grumpy/sunshine trope. I usually don't like the kids in books but I liked Emma in this one, she really brought something to the story and she wasn't too annoying. I loved how her shows how open minded kids can be. The first part of the book was my favorite as I like to make myself suffer by reading the most angsty things I can put my hands on. I loved the tension, I loved the struggles, I loved the pining. The second part of the book delivered as well. It was classic, if you read a lot of romance you know what will happen, but the writing was strong and the characters were very well developed. The communication between them was awesome and the spicy scenes were very good. Though it's a sport romance, we get the sport at the end really but I didn't mind. I loved the parts with the teammates, the support and friendship they show to each other. My only complaint would be how cheesy it became in the end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Miriam is currently slumping

    5 ++++++++++ glowing stars audio and story!!! One of the best bi-awakenings ever. Loved loved loved this book!! Can't wait to read more books by this author!!!!! 5 ++++++++++ glowing stars audio and story!!! One of the best bi-awakenings ever. Loved loved loved this book!! Can't wait to read more books by this author!!!!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shellfish

    The shutout by Dianna Roman is a fantastic book in my opinion. Wholly cow I was blown away! It was such a roller coaster of emotions. I laughed so hard, cried so many times( happy and sad ), was on the edge of my seat in anticipation , and angry for jack and max so many times. Jack was max and Lainey’s next door neighbor and best friend. Then Lainey dies and for 3 years jack has supported max and his daughter Emma while secretly in love with max. When it comes to light that jack is gay and is ex The shutout by Dianna Roman is a fantastic book in my opinion. Wholly cow I was blown away! It was such a roller coaster of emotions. I laughed so hard, cried so many times( happy and sad ), was on the edge of my seat in anticipation , and angry for jack and max so many times. Jack was max and Lainey’s next door neighbor and best friend. Then Lainey dies and for 3 years jack has supported max and his daughter Emma while secretly in love with max. When it comes to light that jack is gay and is extremely attracted to max. Max has to come to terms with so many things really,His grief over his wife, his sexuality, jacks sexuality, and the secret that was kept from him. I loved that we were able to be in max’s head while he sorted everything out the best that he could. I felt like I was with these two characters the whole time every step of their journey. I just want to pay a little homage to Morgan, max’s sister, one of the best side characters ever. Also the title of the book is so perfect for this story. The only thing I would critique would be and maybe I just missed it but I never found out what happened with laney’s parents. In the epilogue everything was tied up neat in a great package but for Lainey,s parents. I could have just missed it. Not a big deal anyway it doesn’t take away from how incredible this book is. I absolutely loved it. Thank you Dianna Roman. I received an advance copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Sheets

    Page-turner! This satisfying, piercing, funny, comical, romantic, and touching story had me hooked from the moment I started. This story is brilliant, it tugs on your emotions while giving you enough comedic relief to really root Jack and Max on in their journey of self-acceptance and love. This scintillating story shows that love has no boundaries and you can find love where you least expect it, and sometimes it is right in front of you without even knowing it. I give this book a 5-star rating, Page-turner! This satisfying, piercing, funny, comical, romantic, and touching story had me hooked from the moment I started. This story is brilliant, it tugs on your emotions while giving you enough comedic relief to really root Jack and Max on in their journey of self-acceptance and love. This scintillating story shows that love has no boundaries and you can find love where you least expect it, and sometimes it is right in front of you without even knowing it. I give this book a 5-star rating, it is a must read and each chapter will have you wanting more and more that you just can’t put it down. The characters in this book were all very well developed. I feel that Dianna Roman brought these individuals to life with their personal backstories as well as the shared backstories of when Lainey was alive. The witty banter between all of the characters, especially Max and Jack was superbly written, it had me laughing throughout. The tender and steamy moments between Max and Jack were also spot on as they were splendidly portrayed. This is a book that I will be able to pick up and read over and over! I received an advanced review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bob Jackson

    This is one of those books where you want to sit in an overstuffed chair with your bunny slippers in front of the fireplace drinking hot chocolate. The protagonists, Jack and Max, are wickedly snarky which makes the story even better. The author, Dianna Roman, did a wonderful job of pacing the storyline and allowing the friendship between Jack and Max evolve in a plausible manner. The story is heartrending but also full of joy. It is a story of family and unconditional love. I love when I find a This is one of those books where you want to sit in an overstuffed chair with your bunny slippers in front of the fireplace drinking hot chocolate. The protagonists, Jack and Max, are wickedly snarky which makes the story even better. The author, Dianna Roman, did a wonderful job of pacing the storyline and allowing the friendship between Jack and Max evolve in a plausible manner. The story is heartrending but also full of joy. It is a story of family and unconditional love. I love when I find a book that is so good I have to read it from cover to cover without putting it down. There are so many things that stand out in this book but I think the foundation of the book is that it is so very real. You feel a connection with the characters. You see how their perception of things change over time. Jack and Max and most of the secondary characters are full of snark. Some of the scenes are so hilarious that I could not stop laughing. My poor dog became so annoyed with me after my laughter woke her up that she actually got up and left the room. I can not wait to read more of this author's work. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    DNF I really wanted to like this. The writing and characterisation is excellent but it's got ableist ("cr*ppled"), racist ("g*psies") and sexist ("wh*re") language and MC2 treats MC1 horribly for 40% of the book, when MC1 is sweet, patient and unconditionally loving. There was so much potential in this, even an excellent moment where MC2 realises his own internalised misogyny, and it just all goes unrealised. DNF I really wanted to like this. The writing and characterisation is excellent but it's got ableist ("cr*ppled"), racist ("g*psies") and sexist ("wh*re") language and MC2 treats MC1 horribly for 40% of the book, when MC1 is sweet, patient and unconditionally loving. There was so much potential in this, even an excellent moment where MC2 realises his own internalised misogyny, and it just all goes unrealised.

  16. 5 out of 5

    💥Nicole 💥

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First time author for me and what a surprise. Honestly,I couldn’t put it down. It’s a long book , it covers a number of months of the story and it’s pace it’s not always balanced but the story just sucks you in and you hold on for the ride. So , we have Max and Jack. Max is a widower and he has a 9 years old girl. He lives next door to Jack who is a baseball player and in the closet . Now, Jack has been in love with Max for a number of years apart from being his best friend, even though, before First time author for me and what a surprise. Honestly,I couldn’t put it down. It’s a long book , it covers a number of months of the story and it’s pace it’s not always balanced but the story just sucks you in and you hold on for the ride. So , we have Max and Jack. Max is a widower and he has a 9 years old girl. He lives next door to Jack who is a baseball player and in the closet . Now, Jack has been in love with Max for a number of years apart from being his best friend, even though, before Max’s wife died she was his best friend too. Two years after her death and Jack can’t hide the attraction anymore and in the heat of a moment he kisses Max. Well, let’s say Max is a bit of a homophobe (not in an obvious way and not intentionally -he just didn’t know any better). So, the kiss unleashes a series of anxiety attacks and a battle inside Max’s head. The first part of the book is the slowest because we are in Jack’s and Max’s head a lot and oh boy, being in Max’s head is not a walk in the park, I tell ya..But we get to see him taken apart and put back together and it’s kind of painful to see. I didn’t like him or go easy on him because he treated Jack incredibly shitty (I would have smacked him) but objectively I can understand his turmoil. It wasn’t only “But I’m not gay” issue for him. It was his guilt about moving on from his dead wife, it’s the uncertainty of the “right” period to mourn your partner, the consequences of a gay relationship in his daughter’s life etc. But he comes to a conclusion and from that point on Max became my favorite of the two. I don’t know what to say about Jack.. He was sweet and kind of innocent, which is pretty unbelievable for a baseball star . He kind let Max walk all over him but they’re so good when they come together I let it go.. What I didn’t like about their story and their dynamics is that Max was completely and utterly useless at keeping a house, cooking and taking care of a child. He loved his daughter a lot but I kind of hate men that rely on the woman/partner for the domestic part. But Jack liked it and who am I to judge his happiness. But I didn’t like it. Anyway I loved the book, I loved the characters and Max had an amazing growth and transformation. He became the rock Jack leaned on when shit hit the fan in his baseball world. Very good book, don’t let it’s length scare you. The book has its flaws and some clichés but it’s well written and the story makes up for them. * I received an ARC and this is my honest opinion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    C. Soto

    OMG! This was so amazing. I love Max and Jack's story. How once Jack moved in, he became immediate friends with Max and his late wife. He found a family with them. Someone he could be himself and people that appreciated him just for himself and not his celebrity status or money. I loved how Jack was there for Max when his wife passed. How also Jack was impacted as he lost his best friend that day. He helped with picking up the slack when he was home in the off season and helped take care of Emma. OMG! This was so amazing. I love Max and Jack's story. How once Jack moved in, he became immediate friends with Max and his late wife. He found a family with them. Someone he could be himself and people that appreciated him just for himself and not his celebrity status or money. I loved how Jack was there for Max when his wife passed. How also Jack was impacted as he lost his best friend that day. He helped with picking up the slack when he was home in the off season and helped take care of Emma. They formed a deeper bond in their friendship, a solid foundation to build their relationship on. However, that first kiss. Almost cracked the foundation wide open. Max had to soul dive into what he really felt and what that would mean for him and his life to acknowledge what he felt. Their relationship was epic. I just loved them! The way they worked. They supported one another. They building of their romance and taking it slow and learning from each other. I can't get enough of them and I want more and hoping another story comes in the future. This is my first book by Diana, and I will be reading now whatever she puts out. as this writing was amazing!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Captivating Wow. Just WOW. What a great book. I’m filled with lots of emotions. I’m happy and sad. I laughed, cried, got angry, became anxious, swooned, cried some more. It’s a book you don’t just read, you experience. Before I describe the story, let me say I double and triple checked the release date of this book. A central theme is homosexual bigotry and hatred and if these are triggers for you, this book isn’t for you. I kept looking back at the date because I found those behaviors and attitu Captivating Wow. Just WOW. What a great book. I’m filled with lots of emotions. I’m happy and sad. I laughed, cried, got angry, became anxious, swooned, cried some more. It’s a book you don’t just read, you experience. Before I describe the story, let me say I double and triple checked the release date of this book. A central theme is homosexual bigotry and hatred and if these are triggers for you, this book isn’t for you. I kept looking back at the date because I found those behaviors and attitudes appalling in this day and age. This is a beautiful book about a same sex couple. Max is a widowed, single father of a nine year old daughter. Three years since his wife, Lainey’s, death he is drowning in grief and the overwhelming responsibilities of being a single parent. He would give up entirely if not for his best friend, Jack. Jack is a professional baseball pitcher. Six years ago when he moved next door he befriended Max and his family. Equally as close to Max’s wife as he still is to Max, he too was devastated by her loss but he determined to take care of Max and Emma as best he could not only to honor the deceased Lainey but to keep himself close to the little girl he loved and her father who he secretly desired. During the off season, Jack helps Max with daughter Emma, cooks for the hopeless in the kitchen, Max, and tries to be the lightness to Max’s darker soul. Jack has protected his sexual orientation from all but a very few people. Having already been disowned by his father, he knows his baseball career would be over if he ever came out. Besides, the man of his dreams is his best friend and straight. Although Lainey knew, they had kept it secret from Max. A series of calamities finally brings Max to a breaking point and in a genuine but unexpected moment of desperately wanting to comfort the broken, sobbing, Max, Jack turns a comforting embrace into the kiss he has dreamt about. To say Max doesn’t handle the turn of events well is an understatement. What follows is an awakening for Max, a new awareness for Jack, and just as the two men have navigated their way to happiness, devastating exposure to a very harsh world. Can the family they’ve formed survive? I loved every minute of this book. I celebrated the victories, mourned the losses, laughed out loud at the wit and humor and will remember Max and Jack for a very long time.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Corinne

    I don't always rate a book that I DNF but my concerns with this book were not going to change with more reading and there needs to be some balance in the overall rating. By 5% into this book I already found it heavy with exposition - so much telling, very little showing - but also with increasingly offensive/insensitive words peppered in. I kept reading and found the main characters (who I assume were at least in their early thirties?) exceedingly juvenile, somewhat misogynistic and sex negative I don't always rate a book that I DNF but my concerns with this book were not going to change with more reading and there needs to be some balance in the overall rating. By 5% into this book I already found it heavy with exposition - so much telling, very little showing - but also with increasingly offensive/insensitive words peppered in. I kept reading and found the main characters (who I assume were at least in their early thirties?) exceedingly juvenile, somewhat misogynistic and sex negative in general plus there is a good dose of (internalized) homophobia. I ended up skimming until about halfway through and I just kept finding more examples of immaturity and repetition that I had to stop reading. I received a digital Advanced Review Copy of this book from BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kaity B

    4 stars Jack you sweet innocent human! I want to hug you! Haha and Max.. so glad you got your head out of your ass even if it took way longer than I would have liked! Haha And the narration was great! Iggy Toma and Alexander Cendese are a power dual narration that just work!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jadyen (jayjaysbooknook)

    I found the book to be overly long and that it dragged in places. That being said I loved the characters and storyline. It was a really cute read, just wished it was a bit shorter.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rannveig

    I started reading this book thinking it was another book with a closeted athlete and bi- awakening. It was not, it's so much more. This book has so many layers, it will make you cry, laugh, rage and swoon. The book is on the longer side, but every page is necessary from the first to the last. Cutting it would have messed up the story. I give it 4.5 stars and round up to 5. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. I started reading this book thinking it was another book with a closeted athlete and bi- awakening. It was not, it's so much more. This book has so many layers, it will make you cry, laugh, rage and swoon. The book is on the longer side, but every page is necessary from the first to the last. Cutting it would have messed up the story. I give it 4.5 stars and round up to 5. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julie Underhill

    Wow! I wasn’t expecting to like this book so much, as Dianna Roman is a new author to me, but it blew me away. There was so much angst, snarky talk, and downright hilarious situations, where I was laughing so hard I was crying, that The Shutout has become one of my new favorites. It is the story of Jack, a gay, closeted MLB player who is at the top of his game and lives next door to Max, his wife, and his little girl, Emma, and they all become best friends. 3 years into knowing each other Max’s Wow! I wasn’t expecting to like this book so much, as Dianna Roman is a new author to me, but it blew me away. There was so much angst, snarky talk, and downright hilarious situations, where I was laughing so hard I was crying, that The Shutout has become one of my new favorites. It is the story of Jack, a gay, closeted MLB player who is at the top of his game and lives next door to Max, his wife, and his little girl, Emma, and they all become best friends. 3 years into knowing each other Max’s wife dies in an accident and he is totally lost. Jack steps in to help and in the process falls in love with him while Max doesn’t even know he’s gay. After one particularly hard day, 3 years later, Jack kisses him while trying to comfort him which starts a whole slew of events with Max pushing him away and Jack is worried the one friendship that counts to him is over. They both have many things to think about, including Max realizing that he is very attracted to Jack, before they work out what they are going to do. He goes from being totally straight to being gay only for Jack and their relationship and love develops from there. There are many complications including telling Max’s family and Emma, what is happening with Jack’s team and friends, and the added distraction of a homophobic coworker of Max’s. They also have to keep their relationship a secret because of the ramifications of what would happen to Jack’s career if it ever got out. When the worst that can happen happens, they have to deal with the fallout in a climax that affects everyone. I also really liked that there was an epilogue that takes place 16 years later so you can find out what has happened in their family and that they are still madly in love. This is a very long book but worth taking the time to read it. The characters and situations are realistic as is how they deal with the problems in their lives. There are so many feelings and I love how snarky they are to each other and the comebacks they have when they are talking. The combination of angst and humor offset each other and make you want to keep reading to find out what will happen next. This story will stay with me for a long time and I know it will be one that I will reread. I highly recommend this book and would give it more than 5 stars if I could. I am looking forward to reading more books from Ms. Roman, especially if they are as good as this one is.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather MMRomanceReviewed

    Review will be posted on my blog www.mmromancereviewed.com on March 22nd when the book releases Review will be posted on my blog www.mmromancereviewed.com on March 22nd when the book releases

  25. 5 out of 5

    Deonne Lyness

    Wow! This book is absolutely amazing. I don’t know if I will be able to write a review that will give justice to this book as it is that outstanding. I’ve definitely started 2022 on a reading high note! I must admit that when I originally read the blurb for this book that I thought it was going to be a Rom-Com. It isn’t. It is so much more. I am a huge fan of M/M romance and I am going to give this book some very high praise. I am putting this story on a level with HIM by Sarina Bowen and Elle Ke Wow! This book is absolutely amazing. I don’t know if I will be able to write a review that will give justice to this book as it is that outstanding. I’ve definitely started 2022 on a reading high note! I must admit that when I originally read the blurb for this book that I thought it was going to be a Rom-Com. It isn’t. It is so much more. I am a huge fan of M/M romance and I am going to give this book some very high praise. I am putting this story on a level with HIM by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. Yes, it is that good. The characters are so realistic and believable. The storyline is intriguing and brilliantly paced. It was written so beautifully I could visualise it as the most wonderful movie that put my heart through the wringer and made me feel so many varying emotions. Humour, romance, heat, tension, pining; this book has it all. The author managed to encompass all of the thoughts and feelings that the characters would have been feeling and experiencing which was incredible, particularly given some of the tough topics tackled during the story. Often when reading I think that the author missed an opportunity to give an insight into the characters thought processes or emotions or to explain their actions better. I didn’t do that once reading this book. The author captured everything perfectly. I laughed, cried, ranted, and swooned. All signs of an amazing book. One of my other gripes is a short HEA, especially after lots of angst. I need more of the good stuff! The HEA in this story is comprehensive and heart tingling – happy tears and a sigh. Perfection! This is one of the best books that I have read in a while, especially from a new-to-me author, and I know I will be reading it again. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shelia

    So many emotions! Let me start by saying, do NOT be scared of the length of this book. I enjoy shorter books of 250 pages or less. However, this book is worth every word. This is the first time I have read anything by Dianna Roman and if she keeps writing books like this I will keep reading! This book had humor, love, second chance love, finding oneself, finding a true family, reconnecting with family, gosh I could keep going. The emotional rollercoaster of each character is full of self doubt, l So many emotions! Let me start by saying, do NOT be scared of the length of this book. I enjoy shorter books of 250 pages or less. However, this book is worth every word. This is the first time I have read anything by Dianna Roman and if she keeps writing books like this I will keep reading! This book had humor, love, second chance love, finding oneself, finding a true family, reconnecting with family, gosh I could keep going. The emotional rollercoaster of each character is full of self doubt, loads of humor and thoughts I believe all of us have when beginning a relationship no matter who your person is. I do not believe the impact of this book would come through if it had not been for the inner-dialouge of the characters. It shows you what they are struggling with and why they think "they" will never work. Now that is not to say I didn't want to scream at them to just finish a sentence or not to walk away LOL but that is just how life is. I love each MC as they each had a very unique personality. Playful MLB pitcher and super serious Lawyer/single dad. Let us not forget a very knowledgeable and sassy nine year old little girl who seems to get relationships better than the grown ups. There are multiple mentions of Harry Potter, you will love the reference to Voldermort if you read or watched HP, and also many mentions of a fantastic group, Fleetwood Mac! What more could you want from a book?! Give this book a try and if you open yourself up and maybe put yourself into either of their positions I believe you will enjoy this one. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl_cajun

    Thank you for the ARC read, I voluntarily give this book an honest review. So happy to read this by a new to me author, as it was so this book is one for the records as the impact of loss isn't just felt by one person but many and the lives that have to keep on living afterwards. There is so much heartache and pain while reading Max and Jack's story. An awaking of feelings is put to the test but are either men really ready for the reality of those feelings, and giving Jack *murder-eyes* every ch Thank you for the ARC read, I voluntarily give this book an honest review. So happy to read this by a new to me author, as it was so this book is one for the records as the impact of loss isn't just felt by one person but many and the lives that have to keep on living afterwards. There is so much heartache and pain while reading Max and Jack's story. An awaking of feelings is put to the test but are either men really ready for the reality of those feelings, and giving Jack *murder-eyes* every chance he gets. Okay is shameful to laugh at Max in his dilemma of awkward discovery, and Jack's with his spiral, because man this books a packs punch of hilariously funny while making the reader reel in on these characters. Two crazy sisters, and throw in the forced outing. Losing Lainey had emotional and physical broke Max, having his best friend be there for Emma and him had been a blessing. Never realizing that Jack was keeping a secret close to his chest. Over six years of friendship was about to be put to a test that Max wasn't sure he was strong enough to handle. With one kiss Jack is about to out himself but what more is will it cost him his friendship in the proceedings? Jack was running and the only person he had left was Carrie, can he sister talk him down from the downward spiraling ledge he sets on. (which I just loved that little recluse!) Or Morgan coming onto Jack every chance she gets.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kassie

    Phew! What a book! Humor, romance, love, family, HOTNESS. It has it all. I absolutely loved Jack’s character from the very beginning. The author wrote his struggles and insecurities into the book in a very believable way, and I really appreciated that. His loyalty and love for Max and Emma is given so freely. Max was moody and confused, but then he gave the world a middle finger and acted on his feelings. Reading inner dialogue from both Jack and Max was definitely a plus. I’m glad Max acknowledge Phew! What a book! Humor, romance, love, family, HOTNESS. It has it all. I absolutely loved Jack’s character from the very beginning. The author wrote his struggles and insecurities into the book in a very believable way, and I really appreciated that. His loyalty and love for Max and Emma is given so freely. Max was moody and confused, but then he gave the world a middle finger and acted on his feelings. Reading inner dialogue from both Jack and Max was definitely a plus. I’m glad Max acknowledged to himself he was being an ass while he figured out how he felt about the kiss. And I loved reading about the more vulnerable side to Jack, even though he’s this tall, muscular baseball star. Their relationship was so natural and sweet. The author drew out (hello anticipation!) some of the sexier scenes, but then went in guns blazing. She was very detailed and painted a very clear picture with actions, thoughts and sounds. I. Am. Not. Complaining. There is some big drama and without giving any spoilers, I loved how Max handled it. The whole outcome was a big relief after all the tension and conflict. And thank goodness for the epilogue! I loved reading more of their story. Hands down, if you like a good MM romance, then read this book. A growly lawyer and teddy bear baseball star? It was perfection. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erika Bradley

    I didn't know book hangover was really a thing until I read this book. It's the kind of story that makes you keep scrolling when you get to the end, hoping there's more. You know a story is good when you stand in one spot reading an entire chapter, or when you almost burn dinner because your nose is so deep into the book. The story in a nutshell is about how Jack Spears, MLB superstar has secret feelings for his best friend Max, who has no clue he's gay. In fact, only his family knows. But he lo I didn't know book hangover was really a thing until I read this book. It's the kind of story that makes you keep scrolling when you get to the end, hoping there's more. You know a story is good when you stand in one spot reading an entire chapter, or when you almost burn dinner because your nose is so deep into the book. The story in a nutshell is about how Jack Spears, MLB superstar has secret feelings for his best friend Max, who has no clue he's gay. In fact, only his family knows. But he loved Max for so long, he couldn't help himself one night when Max had a meltdown and needed comfort. Max's response to his coming out, and the events that follow after is what makes the Shutout such a beautiful masterpiece. I loved how emotional Jack was. A man after my own heart. I lost count of the many times I got emotional for him, too. I adore Max, too. He has a heck of a temper but has such a good heart. But I'm team Jack all the way. This story is definitely a re-read for me. Once won't do. Highly recommended! #tearjerking #humorous #steamy I received an ARC of this story and I am leaving my honest and voluntary review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Turner

    Jack and Max have been friends for 6 years. Ever since he moved next door to him and his wife’s house. But three years ago a tragic accident took his wife and Jack helped him pick the pieces up. When Jack is home from for the off season he does all he can for Max. But one kiss changes it all. Max doesn’t know what to think about his best friend anymore. And confusion makes him do things he never would before. But when he finally lets go and embraces Jack and this new reality their in no turning Jack and Max have been friends for 6 years. Ever since he moved next door to him and his wife’s house. But three years ago a tragic accident took his wife and Jack helped him pick the pieces up. When Jack is home from for the off season he does all he can for Max. But one kiss changes it all. Max doesn’t know what to think about his best friend anymore. And confusion makes him do things he never would before. But when he finally lets go and embraces Jack and this new reality their in no turning back for either man. But Jack being out and being a professional baseball player isn’t an option. So their relationship has to be kept a secret till it’s not. Then they must figure out how to live their lives out in the open. This book was an incredible read. At times I found myself not liking Max, he hurts Jack too much but good thing Jack is probably the sweetest man alive. I loved that they had a couple epilogues at the end of this book! We get to see way in the future and I always love a book that gives us a glimpse into their future. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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