Joint Review: Fourth and Goal by Jami Davenport

Publisher: Loose ID
Where did you get the book: e-ARC from author
Release date: Out now

In a game played on and off the field, only one of them will emerge the winner.

Armed with an uncanny ability for evaluating football talent, a dogged determination to succeed in a man’s world, and an empty bank account, Rachel McCormick agrees to help struggling wide receiver Derek Ramsey get his game back. Rachel believes Derek, her former best friend and lover, knows the truth behind the points-shaving scandal which ruined her father. She vows to expose the secret even if it destroys Derek in the process.

When Derek’s coach suggests sex as an excellent tension reliever the night before a game, Rachel takes one for the team. The next day, Derek has the best performance of his not-so illustrious pro football career. As Derek and Rachel rack up nights in bed and other places, the team racks up wins on the field. Rachel is torn between her loyalty to her father and her growing affection for Derek.

Now it’s fourth and goal, one second left on the clock. Their hearts are on the line. Do they trust each other enough to go for the long bomb or do they get dropped for a loss?

*blurb taken from GoodReads*

Lou: MinnChica and myself are big fans of sport romance books, and when we had the change to review Fourth and Goal, we said yes. Being from the UK, I know zilch about American Football but no matter the sport I really enjoy these themes in romances. Fourth and Goal, I thought, centered a lot on the aspect of football — as in all the surrounding plots were based upon it. But what fell flat for me was the romance and how it all played out, and I have mixed feelings about this book. I thought it started off strong with the heroine and hero being ex-lovers and best friends, and they were both strong characters. But the heroine soon got on my nerves, and I had a hard time understanding her motives and behaviours towards the hero. I also thought some of her actions really conflicted with what she wanted most out of life, and that was to be a scout.

MinnChica: I have to say, when I got the request for this book I was intrigued. Davenport presented the book as being something that the female football fans could all enjoy, and while there were parts of it I really did like, most of the book fell somewhat flat for me. Like Lou, I though it started with good potential, but after only a chapter or so things started going south for me. It wasn’t until the last few chapters that things started picking up and getting better for me. I’ll admit that the biggest thing that turned me off from this story was the NEVER ENDING football metaphors and innuendos. Every time they referred to their private bits as a “goalpost” or “end zone” I could feel my eyes rolling and my patience wearing thin. It got to the point where I almost gave up and stopped reading.

Lou: I did wonder what you thought of the metaphors *G*, and I do agree that it was a tad overdone to the point where it really really affected the pace and style of the story. What I didn’t understand about Rachel was her actions. She thought that Derek cheated her Father by shaving points, and because of that he lost his job and livelihood. Now if I thought somebody did that to my Father, NO WAY would I contemplate having a relationship with the person in question. She seemed to forget about the alleged betrayal. And I also thought if she wanted to be taken seriously by wanting to become a scout in football, sleeping with Derek — who was also paying her to do a job — wasn’t ethical. And then getting drunk and wearing a short dress where all the footie players were ogling her, again I had a HUH moment.

MinnChica: How about the fact that although she was trying to ruin Derek, she was also so willing to jump into having UNPROTECTED SEX with the guy?! O_O That baffled me. For me, the only thing that made this book worthwhile was the relationship between Derek and Tyler and Ryan, the kid they formed a friendship with that had cancer. I thought that the moments with Derek and Ryan, Tyler and Ryan and the football team with Ryan were beautifully done. It was wonderful to watch them open up their hearts and really go above and beyond for this kid. The scenes were heartbreaking and had me crying at the end. I think I could have honestly done without a lot of the other scenes, and enjoyed more with just boys.

Lou: I’ll be honest, the sex scenes I didn’t pay that much attention to because I thought that they were almost clinical, and when Rachel calls Derek ‘Buster’ in the smexy times, it totally ruined the effect for me. And omg, Ryan. Those scenes had me sobbing like a baby. Throughout the entire novel, this is what had the deepest emotional development and I also believe that if you took out the alleged betrayal and wanting Derek to pay, I would have enjoyed the book a lot more. I was put off by how sex centric it was to the point where everybody was thinking that everybody else needed to get laid. It was such mash-up of different plots that I do believe it really got lost from the beginning to middle. Tyler and Cass’ relationship was like that of immature teens, and I’m glad that she’s not his heroine.

MinnChica: Oh my favorite of the sexy scenes was when Rachel told Derek he was “in the red zone and it was time to score.” I love football, more than most, but I can’t imagine ANYONE using football references to having sex with someone they supposedly care about. it just seemed so tacky. I agree that Tyler and Cass seemed like a couple of teenagers, and the dysfunctional relationship between the two of them didn’t really add anything to the story for me. I do think that Davenport has the capacity to write an incredible series, but unless the football puns get toned down, and the emotional relationship between the hero and heroine change, I don’t know that I would enjoy reading more of her books.

Lou: I agree that Cass and Tyler’s relationship didn’t add anything to the story, though I do wonder if it was meant to show how unhappy he was in life. But I agree with you also that if Tyler’s book also features the same silly puns, I don’t think I would read it also because in this book it really did affect the pace for me. All in all, I think Davenport had a great premise in Fourth and Goal, but unfortunately it was miss and hit for me. I really liked Derek as he seemed really sweet, but Rachel’s behaviour really bothered me. I give Fourth and Goal a C-, though I was verging on a D+ but the ending really brought the grade up for me.

MinnChica: All in all I think this book had great possibilities, but really fell short for me. The puns got annoying and tacky, the romance felt forced and unreal, and while the emotional relationship between the players and Ryan really saved this for me, the book didn’t live up to the high expectation I had going in. I would be willing to give this series another go, as long as someone reassures me the football puns are fewer and far between. I give Fourth and Goal a D+

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