Kick Off

The District Line, Book 1
Narrated by: Piers Ryman
Series: The District Line, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: Romance, LGBT
4.5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What happens when opposite sides of the track collide?

East Londoner Jay Ruttman has only ever wanted one thing: to be a professional footballer. But after a disastrous brawl on the pitch gets him released from his pro-academy, he has to follow plan B and enrolls as a university sports scholar. Head down, train hard, and get scouted is his motto...until he crashes into the man who might just shoot his dreams out of the park.

Kensington elite Sebastian (Seb) Saunders has only ever wanted one thing: to be a rock star. But his father has other plans for him, including taking the helm of his multimillion pound new business venture across the pond. Live it up, chase the dream, and rock out for as long as he can is his mantra...until he crashes into the man who might just rock his world off its scale.

Jay and Seb live at opposite ends of London’s District Line, separated by wealth, status, family traditions, and their own lifelong dreams. This startling and gritty contemporary romance story sees them both having to overcome barriers, face fears, and beat rejection to fight for the love they need to achieve it all.

©2018 C.F. White (P)2019 C.F. White

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

GREAT book but about threw my phone at the end...

Across the room after I got through gasping and picking my heart up off the floor at the ending I didn’t know was coming! I thought there was still time left cause I hadn’t looked at it in a while and I guess I thought it would end on a neat bow instead of a massive cliffie, lol. Guess the best books leave you on tenterhooks for the next one. Think I’ll have to read the second instead of wait for the audio, lol. Great narration by Piers, as always.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

bit open-ended for my likeing

Would I listen to it again: yes
Did the story keep me engaged: reasonably
Was I invested in the characters: yes
Was there anything that didn't work for me? not really a cliffhanger but it ended abruptly and (at 03/2020) book 2 isn't in audio yet! 😢
What did I like about the story? has a good pace, likeable characters (except for Seb's father) and an interesting story. Jay's journey is interesting and I enjoyed seeing him evolve.
I also enjoyed the contrasts in the characters and their backgrounds.
• Jay: working class, uni student and wanna-be football (soccer) star.
• Seb: rich boy under his fathers thumb, musician and wanna-be rock star.

I enjoy Piers Ryman as a narrator. I had no problem distinguishing characters, understanding accents or feeling the emotions of the story. He has a nice voice and believable inflections and bought the book to life. My only question would be if he really suits the characters, his voice comes across more mature than the age bracket I would have put Jay and Sebastian in and sometimes when he's not voicing a character the tone comes across like a newsreader without much inflection. Overall though, I enjoyed Kick Off and look forward to book 2.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hmmm....

This audiobook was a mixed bag for me, the narrator has a great voice and accent work, his characters are distinct and rich. But, he had a strange pacing when he was not reading dialogues/monologues and it was hard for me to get over. By the end of the book I was OK with it, but it was still strange at times.
I liked Jay and Mike, even though Mike was a bit annoying at times, his rich boy drama slightly too unreal for me.
I was also not aware the book would have an open ending, not cliffhanger really but close.
Despite my issues with the book I am still curious about what happens next, so for me it was an all together good read, if not the best.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Need Book 2 ASAP

Fair warning this book leaves you wanting more. Doesn’t end in a typical HEA, maybe it will in book 2 and 3? Love the characters and their chemistry. The narrator does an excellent job making voices be distinct for each character.

I was given this title in exchange for an honest review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Miserable Sod dad and Steve!!

Steven was a creepy pos, opportunistic, and a user!! I hate that Seb's dad (very loose definition)
turns a blind eye to anything that doesn't increase his net worth. He's as bad as Steve - or worse!! I'm gutted throughout this story, but the ending gave me the ugly cries-WHY!!?? This is intensely heartbreaking for these two young lovers, and I'm dying a little for each of them!
Gkad Jay finally made a bold move. I need audiobook 2 and 3 asap! The narrator was okay, but just read and had no emotions, imo. I voluntarily listened to a free copy of this story and am giving an honest review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

That ending though...

This book is on my Kindle TBR list and when I saw that it's out on audio, I went volunteered as a tribute. (Kidding! I volunteered to listen and review).

I had to try twice to listen. I was having problems with the narrator's voice to get into the story the first time. After the second try, I was able to adjust to his voice sounding a bit older when the MCs are a bit younger? Maybe that's just me.

I enjoyed listening to the story of a rockstar and an athlete falling in love. There's a bit of a dramatic flair, the angst, and some sexy times.

Now I'm off to read the next book because I need to know what happened next...

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Will true love prevail?

What a cliffhanger! This book definitely leaves you wanting to know if Seb and Jay will ever be able to get past their current life changes and have their families and professions accept their love. Can’t wait to read book 2!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Listen

I enjoyed this narrator and this story. Both together make one delicious audiobook. It will be put on my list for relisten.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

3.5 stars- Still torn over this one

I saw a few recommendations about this sports meets rock star romance recently, so I jumped on the opportunity to listen and review the title. Honestly, I don’t know that my enjoyment of a book every vacillated so much chapter to chapter. There were parts of Kick Off I really loved, then I’d hit a scene or chapter that had my enjoyment bottoming out, and a few chapters later there’d be another scene which left me absolutely impressed. I ended up being completely torn over this book, especially given the ending.

First things first, it’s worth noting that Kick Off ends as a cliffhanger. The first part of the story wraps to give a logical close, but there is absolutely no resolution for the couple- not necessarily a bad thing but something I feel readers/listeners should know going in. Secondly, I was a little surprised by the narrator. This is my first experience with him and while his talent is undeniable and I enjoyed the tone and rhythm of his voice, his maturity came across straight away and it felt like an odd choice for a book about immature, new adult characters. As such, the voices never matched to what the characters were doing and saying. That said, he did an excellent job switching up between the various accents and dialects referenced in Kick Off.

As far as the story went, I really liked the concept of Kick Off- a closeted football player (soccer for US readers) paired with a rock musician who’s stuck under his wealthy father’s thumb. I liked that both were fighting for notoriety because it gave them an immediate connection and understanding about what they’d willingly sacrifice to achieve their dreams. For the most part, I enjoyed the progression of the story. I simply felt the drama and characterization of many of the secondary characters (antagonists, female admirers, etc.) were overblown. Similarly, some of the back and forth the characters go through felt like it was done solely to create angst and conflict. I have a thing about books feeling like soap operas and I think that was the major thing that turned me off Kick Off. It boasted good characters, a great plot, and room for enough natural conflict that it didn’t need the excess. Will I continue, I’m certainly tempted, but at the moment I’m uncertain.


*Received ACX promo code via LesCourt Author Services. The PA and author had no influence over this review*

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    4 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

I'm left little hearbroken but most of my very favorites leave me feeling this way and I look foward to the rest off their story. Ryman narrates this beautifully and really makes the story that much better.

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  • Marc | Rainbow Gold Reviews
  • 03-12-20

A great audiobook w/ likable main characters

I enjoy a good sports romance, especially incl. soccer. And I like romances with a rockstar. Here we get both in a way, but it goes much deeper than that and is not a typical sports or rock star romance. Which, even though I love them is not a bad thing. The characters are more than what they like to do, even though it is one part of them. I also really enjoyed their relationships with friends and family. It should be noted, though, that the audiobook ends with an awesome moment, but also on a big cliffhanger
The next audiobook comes out very soon and the cliffhanger is exciting for me, but I know not everyone likes those. It was a great great 'read' with a nice narration :)

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  • Drew
  • 03-06-20

Part one will get you hooked

I found this book from the “Based on your Amazon and Kindle book purchases” and after reading the synopsis I knew I would have to give it a go, despite never hearing of the author and narrator before.

I am so glad that I did. This book was engaging from kick off till the final whistle. Or from the intro to the end of the final verse.

The District line, for those unaware of London’s underground, is a great metaphor for the two main characters. It runs from Essex to the East End, where some of London's poorest bourghs are, and heading west past some of London's landmarks it travels through some of the most affluent areas with some of the highest house prices in the world.

Jay from the East London council estates built for the dockers and factory works of yesterday. He’s a typical salt of the earth, diamond geezer, trying to make the best of his skills despite his earlier setbacks. Seb, from West London and a world apart from Jay. At first meeting him, it’s hard to see beyond his outward shell, of born with a silver spoon in his mouth, rebelling against his upper middle class wealthy upbringing.

But there is more to both them than their background and both have built up walls around themselves for their own survival in their world that may not accept them for who and what they are.

When Jay bumps into Seb, their worlds collide and the ensuing tale kept me gripped all the way through.

Piers Ryman narrates this story really well. I enjoyed the rhythm and tone of his voice as the story unfolded and his character voices were great. Although that said, his voice for Seb really grated on me for a large part of the book, he used a very nasally, snidey tone that made me not like or care about the character at first. I wonder if this was intentional though?

Whereas the voice he used for Jay was spot on.

I grew up not far from where Jay came from and know the area well, having worked in East Ham for many years. I moved to the other side of the country a few years ago and Piers’ cockney accent for Jay had me feeling homesick. It was that good.

Overall, book one was a great start to the District Line series and will make you want the next two. As they weren’t out on audio, I bought them for my kindle and have been on a District line roller coaster for the past week or so. I’ve heard that the books will be out on audio soon and I will happily listen to them as this is a story that deserves to be enjoyed more than once.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Claudia CG Lezár
  • 03-06-20

as good as the ebook

The story is always full stars, because if I wouldn't like the story as ebook, I wouldn't listen to the audiobook. I can't listen to an audiobook without knowing the book, that's not possible for me.

The performance from the narrator is also very important for me. I can't listen to a lot, because my English as a non-native-speaker isn't so perfect to follow a whole story over hours, when the narrator speaks too fast or too sloppy. Normally I have to SEE the person, who is talking to me in English. It took me a little bit, to come into the narrator, but at the end, it worked. I only have to take a few breaks between. I'm just not yet finish with the book, but I listen enough to give a review.

PLEASE READ MY RATING SYSTEM!!!

To my ratings:

5* - very very good
it's like an A+

4* - very good and will be often re-listening
it's like an A

3* - it's more then a one-time-listening.
it's like a B

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 02-26-20

Working-class footballer and wealthy guitarist

The tag line for this book is what happens when opposite sides of the track collide? It’s perfect because of course there’s the literal collision and then all the mini collisions afterward. Talk about two men who should be together, but are facing a million obstacles.

Jay Ruttman is a footballer. It’s all he’s ever wanted and mostly what he’s good at. He’s in uni studying psychology, but his heart is in the game. He almost made it to the pros but got sidetracked. Now he’s waiting for a scout from a pro team to come and see him play. See how good he is. Pluck him from obscurity and take him to the big leagues. Pull him out of his working-class life into something amazing.

Seb Saunders is rich. Well, his dad’s rich, and Seb has no problems taking daddy’s money. He’s in uni because that’s the way to keep the taps flowing with cash. He’s got a ‘job’ helping out with his dad’s company and he only half pays attention. The truth is that he wants to be a guitarist. It’s all he’s ever wanted. He belongs to a band with two other guys and they haven’t made it big yet, but they do have potential.

So when Jay and Seb collide on the campus at uni, they truly are coming from different worlds. Rich versus poor. A sloppy student versus one who takes his studies seriously. Guitarist versus footballer. There is also the little matter of their sexuality. Neither man is truly ‘out’ and both knowing coming out will spell disaster. For Seb it’s all about daddy’s approval, and for Jay it’s the little matter that there are no professional out footballers. Plenty of gay ones, undoubtedly, but none who’ve been brave enough to show the world who they truly are.

Where does that leave the men? In a push and pull. There’s attraction, to be sure, but Jay is completely inexperience and Seb isn’t much further along. They are new to true intimacy – physical and emotional. They are new to a same-sex relationship. I felt my heart break as I saw all the obstacles piled up before them, keeping them from being their authentic selves.

Then Seb’s father steps in and it looks like there’s no hope for the men.

I won’t spoil the ending, but there is an HFN and more books to come. I can’t wait to see how the men overcome all their problems because, of course, I want them to have their happy ending.

Piers Ryman is a new-to-me narrator and I thought he did a great job. I don’t know from English accents, but he certainly put in a strong performance and I’ll definitely listen to more of his work. So, sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mandy ryder
  • 02-11-20

Very British, most excellent

This is my first listen from C F White. Loved everything about this book apart from it ending. Lovely story and very believable. Very British humour and narration, which I loved. Can’t wait for the next instalment.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • HelenMK69
  • 02-07-20

Tears, laughter and more.

This is the first book of C. F. White that I have read /listened to and I loved it.
Great characters, sad stories all with a wonderful English background.
The two main characters are so different it shouldn't work but it does.
Looking forward to reading more books by this author.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Emma Burbidge
  • 01-17-20

The musician and the footballer

CF White is a relatively new-to-me author as I only encountered her last year at ShiMMer UK in Birmingham, but I have heard at least a couple of audiobooks narrated by Piers Ryman and he seems to do a good job with bringing these guys to life and giving them each their individual voices. I live in London so I'm familiar with the District Line (it's the green one on the tube map!) and have seen some of the locations used in the book. I enjoyed this tale as the two guys start to find their way together, especially as Jay is still mostly closeted with his chosen profession. I want to know where the guys go next as Seb is leaving the country at the end of the book. I look forward to starting the next in the series as there's still 2 more books to come in this trilogy. Good HFN, but wanting them to get to HEA.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Allison's Book Corner
  • 12-30-19

Awesome

I really enjoyed this audiobook.
It was a great start to a new series.
I can’t wait to listen to more.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dee Slate
  • 12-27-19

Awesome narration!

This is a really good, if angsty story. Two people from opposite sides of a social stratum very well illustrated by each man living at opposite ends of the District line. Seb and Jay's story is sad, sweet and has it's heated moments. Definitely a good story, completed in book 2.
Piers Ryman is the perfect voice for this! He is the reason I even listened to it :) Piers Ryman has a great range of character voices - from Jay's working class family (mum, dad) to Seb's posher tones . I was totally immersed in the story. I really hope he gets to perform the second part of Jay and Seb's story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebekah
  • 12-26-19

Enjoy

I did enjoy the different struggles that they both went through before they came out the other side.

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  • Alan
  • 02-13-20

Kicks and scores!

Jay is an English football (soccer) player at university. He comes from a happy working class home. Seb is a musician, often playing at the university. He comes from an unhappy wealthy home. While Seb is out and proud, Jay is still working out his sexuality. I loved this, there were some nice contrasts in character and background and Jay’s journey was interesting and relatable. It did end abruptly, but that left me dying to read the next book. It was fantastic to hear a British narrator who spoke both Cockney and posh accents convincingly.