Wow. Excellent Sapphic Sports Romance

5 out of 5 stars

Recently I asked on BlueSky for any recommendations for a sports romance and this was recommended to me by Marie on there. I already had it in my library so I decided to give it a try. I went into it completely blind other than knowing it was going to be a sports romance. Seeing the cover I probably could have gleaned more but very quickly I realized it would be an MMA/UFC-themed book and I was all-in.

I’ve read a lot of sports romances and a lot of them seem to revolve around the sports you commonly think of, but being about MMA I knew that this was going to be different. Especially because the story revolves around an out fighter and a very much in-the-closet one. And compared to other sports – in MMA you are trying to hurt the other person and be the last one standing in the octagon. I was trying to figure out how Disney was going to make the chemistry between these two work… but let me tell you boy did she.

The Clinch was one of those books that within the first few pages I knew I was going to be hooked. Disney was able to write about the world of MMA in a way that was fun and enjoyable. And the heat that was between Eden and Brooklyn was palpable even before they realized the attraction was mutual. It just had that “oh they’re going to burn the world” chemistry and interactions.

Disney was able to write these women in such an interesting way that they each jumped off of the page in their own rights. Eden is a soft-spoken/quiet (but dangerous) sort of fighter. Whereas Brooklyn was all about power and brute force (even though she was a better jiujitsu fighter). These things bled into their interactions and personas until they were behind closed doors when we were introduced to a much more interesting and vulnerable side of both of them.

Eden’s story with or without Brooklyn was incredible – the backstory and the way that she was trying to do everything she could to help kids that were in situations like hers was honorable and made this book stand out even more to me.

Overall, combined with the great narration by Keria Grace, The Clinch is a sapphic sports romance I won’t soon forget.

If anyone has any other sapphic sports romance picks for me – PLEASE send them over to me. Leave a comment. Find me on socials. Anything – I LOVE stories like this.

Book Description:

Eden Bauer grew up in a rough part of New York with an unsafe home life and took refuge in the neighborhood Tae Kwon Do dojang. When the master of the dojang offered to train Eden as a live-in student, he started her on a journey that would eventually lead her to become the UFC featherweight champion of the world.

Eden loves competing and coaching the underprivileged kids of her community, but just as she’s getting comfortable with her champion title, a new martial artist from a legendary family comes roaring onto the scene with a dynasty on her shoulders. Brooklyn Shaw is a loud, cocky, aggressive Brazilian jiujitsu genius who’s also unfortunately pretty dreamy.

Brooklyn and Eden’s rivalry attracts worldwide attention, but as they spend time together, Eden sees past Brooklyn’s showmanship to who she really is. They ought to be perfect for one another, but can either really fall in love with the person standing in the way of her dreams?

The Clinch by Nicole Disney
Narrator: Keira Grace
Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
Published by Bold Strokes Books on July 5th 2022
Genres: Enemies to Lovers, Sports Romance, LesFic/Sapphic Fiction
Format: Audiobook
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