Joint Review – Straddling the Line (Play by Play #8) by Jaci Burton

Straddling the Line cover image

Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: 1 Jul
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Trevor Shay has it all–a successful football and baseball career, and any woman he wants. But when he finds out his college mentor’s daughter is in trouble, he drops everything to come to her aid.

Haven Briscoe has finally landed a dream job as a sportscaster for a major network. But she hasn’t been able to move past the recent death of her beloved father, and it’s affecting her career. A plum assignment following the daily life of sports superstar Trevor Shay might be just the inspiration she needs…

Trevor will do anything to spark life back into Haven, including letting her into every aspect of his world. The chemistry between them flames higher than one of Trevor’s home runs and faster than his dashes to the end zone. But as they grow closer, Haven stumbles onto Trevor’s closely guarded secret, one he’s hidden his entire life. And despite his protests, now it’s Haven’s turn to put everything on hold to help Trevor. Will he let her in and trust her with a secret that could blow his professional and personal world apart?
This blurb came from the author’s website.

E: I have been a huge fan of Burton’s Play by Play series since it first started with The Perfect Play. I love how she is able to expand to new characters, different sports or sports connections, and still keep the perspective and twists fresh. When I read the initial part of the book the Trevor’s set-up I will admit I was slightly worried I had predicted a bit misunderstanding. Thankfully Burton demonstrated once again why I love this series by avoiding the easy relationship conflict and delivering something with much greater impact.

MinnChica: This series is probably my favorite sports romance series. I love the way Burton is able to create a wonderful romance, that is both sexy and sweet, all while having a very interesting sports aspect as well. I really enjoy knowing I’m going to get a somewhat realistic look into the life of sports stars. While the first few books are still my favorite of this series, I liked the aspect of Trevor playing two sports, and how that factored into his overall career choices and attitude.

E: I had so much fun watching Trevor and Haven interact together. While they had a brief history it was all superficial. Haven never acted on her crush while trying to tutor Trevor in college and Trevor refused to view Haven that was because of her father. Years later, Trevor was a pro football and baseball star who still cared deeply for his college mentor’s family and Haven was on the brink of ending her dream job because she was mourning her father. Their forced close proximity allowed their earlier physical attraction to rekindle as they learned who each other really were. The sparks between them were intense and like always Burton delivered on their promise. It was also interesting to watch Trevor push Haven to regain her passion and aggression for life and her job yet try to bound or limit where she could direct that enthusiasm. On the other hand, Haven seemed almost careful not to directly push but she was rather persistent when she encountered Trevor’s blocks or diversions.

MinnChica: I really liked the romance between Trevor and Haven. They both were careful to push each other just enough to realize how and where they needed to grow and change. I liked that the way Trevor tried so hard to help Haven get over the death of her father and find passion in life again, wherever that may be. I also liked the way that Haven was able to read Trevor enough to know when to back off, and when to push. Their conflict was so well done, because it kinda came out of left-field and was something I wasn’t expecting to see. However, it worked so well within the story, and I loved the way it played out for them both.

E: It was great seeing familiar faces from earlier in the series and watching their group expand to include Haven. The overall interaction between the supporting characters really brought home the since of family, friendly competition, and the need to have a strong personality to survive in those gatherings. It was also really refreshing to see the interaction on Trevor’s teams between the coach/players and between the wives/girlfriends. The support network and friendship displayed made the book seem intimate even with some of the action taking place in very large public places.

MinnChica: This past set of books didn’t have as strong family ties as the first few books, so I wished we could have seen a bit more of the relationship between Trevor and his college friends. However, the few glimpses we did get to see of their friendship were so great, and I loved reading about that. I’m super excited that the next set of books are again going to be about a sports heavy family, brothers that are all competitive and playing with and against each other on a regular basis. But like E said, seeing the relationship with Trevor’s teammates was a nice bonus.

E: As I said in the beginning, I was very glad to see Burton didn’t take what I thought was obvious potential point of conflict and instead chose a much more challenging one. When it was revealed I saw how she had places little clues throughout the story and also understood why it was a conflict. I loved the strength it took for Trevor and Haven to resolve their issue and make up for harsh words. It showed me some of what Haven got from her parents and how Trevor became a sports athlete to be reckoned with. It also gave me hope that they would continue to weather life’s challenges as they arose. It will be good to catch glimpses of them in future books as the growing group of friends and family gather. I am looking forward to seeing what Burton has for the next installment because I enjoy her sports romances.

I give Straddling the Line a B+

MinnChica: All in all, I liked this book. I thought the romance between Trevor and Haven was really well done, especially when it came to their big conflict at the end. I liked the way they worked through it, despite the heartbreak. I’m super excited to see how the next set of books are going to play out, because I’m anxious to see Burton go back to the stronger family dynamics.
I give Straddling the Line a B

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