Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Pitcher by William Hazelgrove (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with I Am A Reader, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Pitcher by author William Hazelgrove!

Book Review

The Pitcher by William Hazelgrove
Publisher: Koehler Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2013 (originally released July 1, 2013)
Format: Paperback - 252 pages / Kindle - 469 KB / Nook - 942 KB
ISBN: 1938467590
Genre: Young Adult / Baseball

BUY THE BOOK: The Pitcher

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by I Am A Reader. 

Book Description:

“I never knew I had an arm until this guy called out, “Hey you want to try and get a ball in the hole, sonny?” I was only nine, but mom said, “come on, let’s play.” This Carney guy with no teeth and a fuming cigarette hands me five blue rubber balls and says if I throw three in the hole we win a prize. He’s grinning, because he took mom’s five bucks and figures a sucker is born every minute. That really got me, because we didn’t have any money after Fernando took off, and he only comes back to beat up mom and steal our money. So I really wanted to get mom back something, you know, for her five bucks.”

A boy with a golden arm but no money for lessons. A mother who wants to give her son his dream before she dies. A broken down World Series pitcher who cannot go on after the death of his wife. These are the elements of The Pitcher. A story of a man at the end of his dream and a boy whose dream is to make his high school baseball team. In the tradition of The Natural and The Field of Dreams, this is a mythic story about how a man and a boy meet in the crossroads of their life and find a way to go on. You will laugh and you will cry as The Pitcher and Ricky prepare for the ultimate try out of life.

Book Excerpt:

I never knew I had an arm until this guy calls out, “Hey you want to try and get a ball in the hole, sonny?” 

I am only nine, but Mom says, “Come on, let’s play.” 

This carnival guy with no teeth and a fuming cigarette hands me five blue rubber balls and says if I throw three in the hole, we win a prize. He’s grinning, because he’s taken Mom’s five bucks and figures a sucker is born every minute. This really gets me, because we didn’t have any money after Fernando took off, and he only comes back to beat up Mom and steal our money. So I really want to get Mom back something, you know, for her five bucks. I take the first rubber ball and throw it over my head and wham! 

The carnival guy looks at me and laughs. “Whoa! A ringer. Let’s see you do it again, sonny.” 

It’s like something happens when I throw a ball. My arm windmills over the top then snaps down like a rubber band. It’s like I’m following my arm. So I throw the second ball and he mutters, “Alright, let’s see you get the next ball in.” 

I mean we’re Mexicans, and I think this guy figures he’ll put one over on us. I throw the next two balls and they go wild. I hit the top of the wood circle with one and the other one flies completely over the game. 

The carnival guy is grinning again because he knows I have only one more ball. I wind up like I had seen pitchers on television and wham, right in the hole again. He hands Mom a big white polar bear and takes the cigarette from his mouth. “That looked like a sixty-mile-an-hour pitch to me,” he says. 

“I don’t know,” I reply, shrugging. 

He nods and picks up the rubber balls. “You should pitch, buddy,” he says with one eye closed. “You have a hell of an arm.”

My Book Review:

The Pitcher is a heartwarming baseball novel about a young Mexican-American boy's dream of becoming a pitcher, a mother's unrelenting love and support, and a broken former major league pitcher who can't get past the death of his wife.

Author William Hazelgrove weaves a touching tale set in Jacksonville, Florida, and written in the first person narrative that follows the journey of fourteen year old Ricky Hernandez as he overcomes obstacles to chase his dream of becoming a pitcher on his high school baseball team. Ricky has a great arm but doesn't have focus or control over his pitches. Ricky's mother Maria is his biggest supporter and she wants him to achieve his dream, but she knows that he needs a pitching coach. Maria asks their reclusive neighbor, Jack Langford, a former MLB pitcher whose team won the 1978 World Series, to coach her son in preparation for the high school baseball team tryouts.

This is an emotional and inspirational story about growing up, chasing dreams, overcoming obstacles, letting go of the past, healing and moving forward in life. This captivating tale will tug at the heartstrings as the reader follows the intertwining story of a young boy who overcomes discrimination and lack of self-confidence to chase his dream; a single mother's love for her son and her unrelenting support to help him achieve his dream while battling health and financial issues; and a reclusive former major league pitcher who learns to let go of the past, regain some joy and move forward in his life by sharing the mutual love of baseball with the young boy and his mother.

Baseball fans of all ages will love reading The Pitcher. Author William Hazelgrove weaves an enjoyable story about following dreams that brings to mind the classic jingle ... "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet."


The Pitcher - Book Trailer

About The Author


William Hazelgrove is the best selling author of five novels, RipplesTobacco SticksMica HighwaysRocket Man and The Pitcher. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man released on May 1, 2013 was chosen Book of the Year by Books and He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic. A forthcoming novel, The Pitcher was released on Sept 1, 2013. He lives in Chicago.

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $25 Amazon GC or Paypal Cash

Blog Tour Giveaway: 

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash 

Ends 10/27/11 

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

The Pitcher by William Hazelgrove ~ Virtual Book Tour Page

Tour Schedule:

October 11th 
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer – Guest Post 
A Book Lover’s Retreat – Spotlight 
The Avid Reader – Review 
Mel’s Shelves – Review 
Ali’s Books – Spotlight 
readalot – Tens List 

October 14th 
Bound4Escape – Review 
Vonnie’s Reading Corner – Spotlight 
Spellbindings – Tens List 
Shelf Full of Books – Review 

October 15th 
Books and Needlepoint – Review 
Victoria Simcox’s Blog – Spotlight 
Lori’s Reading Corner - Guest Post

October 16th 
Cuzinlogic – Interview 

October 17th 
Dalene’s Book Review – Spotlight 
Reading in Twilight – Interview 
Refreshing Riki – Spotlight 
3 Partners in Shopping – Spotlight 

October 18th 
Sher A Hart: Written Art – Review 
Deal Sharing Aunt – Spotlight 
A Casual Reader’s Blog – Spotlight 

October 19th 
Reader Girls – Spotlight 
Reviews by Karen – Review 
Every Free Chance Book Reviews - Spotlight 

October 21st 
Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review 
Bookhounds YA – Interview 
A Blog Hop Place for Books – Spotlight 

October 22nd 
StoreyBook Reviews – Review 
“To See The World in a Grain of Sand” – Spotlight 
Whole Lotta Mama – Interview 

October 23rd 
Books, Books, The Magical Fruit – Review 
Sweeping Me – Spotlight 
Indie Author How-to – Spotlight 
FLY HIGH! - Guest Post

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