Book Review: Jaci Burton’s Straddling the Line

Posted December 2, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jaci Burton’s Straddling the Line

Straddling the Line


Jaci Burton

that was published by Berkley on July 1, 2014 and has 310 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
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Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Mountain Moonlight, Unlaced, Riding on Instinct, The Perfect Play, Riding the Night, Fall Fury, Changing the Game, Heart of a Killer, Forbidden Fantasies, Taking a Shot, Playing to Win, Nautier and Wilder, Wild, Wicked, & Wanton, Thrown by a Curve, One Sweet Ride, Melting the Ice, All Wound Up, "Hot Holiday Nights", Unexpected Rush

Eighth in the Play-by-Play romantic sports series and revolving around friends and family in the sports field. The couple focus is on Haven Briscoe and Trevor Shay.

My Take

The way Straddling the Line started off…I dunno. I liked that Trevor was involved enough to want to help Ginger, but Haven irritated the hell out of me. She’s had her “dream job” for…oooh…six whole weeks! And she’s whining on and on about it. Admittedly she is whining on about how much she misses the dad who has been dead for less than a year. This tells me he’s been dead a lot longer than six weeks. It may not be a whole 52 weeks yet, but, ahem. Didn’t she miss her dad before she took this job? Supposedly she’s a smart woman, so why doesn’t she act it? Why isn’t she thinking this through? Getting some help instead of whimpering about fleeing home?

The way it sounded at the start with Ginger’s worries, Haven’s been on the job for months. Maybe even several years, so when I learn it’s been less than six weeks…WTF? I’m sorry but this simply isn’t plausible. Nor does Trevor’s house/neighborhood sound plausible. Oh, yeah, I can see his having a mansion with four acres, but not that it’s one of six houses (just as big) on his side of the street. How long is this block, anyway?

She goes on about how this isn’t the right career for her, but gives some lame reasons most of it being that she misses daddy. Who, of course, loved sports and taught Haven to love sports as well. Well, yes indeedy, I can see why sports journalism just isn’t for her. *Nnnngh, must pull tongue out of cheek…nnnnnggggghhhh*

Burton did a nice job of stretching the suspense, starting with very, very, very low-key mentions of Trevor’s disliking academics but needing to keep that scholarship.

I do like this one…

“Think of it as honoring your dad whenever you cry for him.”

What I do like about the entire series is the insight into sports from behind-the-scenes. I do like those peeks at the inside! Liz is a crack-up with her real approach to having her baby daughter. She adores her, but is totally upfront about the negatives of babies. LOL, this group of ladies is going to be very good for Haven.

Trevor points out that she never has to let go of her memories of her dad, she just has “to let go of the pain”.

The sex scenes are fine. I enjoyed the scavenger hunt. The interactions between Trevor and his friends are great, very heartwarming. And Trevor is such a sweet guy helping people out, taking care of them. I also like the ideas Haven comes up with for more interviews. Interesting point about zoos.

It’s an okay story. Sweet, but so obvious with minor change-ups in the basic storyline. Some of those change-ups are good, but I think Burton is starting to lose steam. Trevor’s pushing Haven away is klutzy, and his reactions to some of Haven’s questions are too abrupt. They seem out of character for the guy. Then there are the usual doubts about if the other party is attracted to them, which have a rote feel to them. They feel plopped in. Although I did enjoy Haven’s suggestion at the restaurant. Definitely not your usual feminine reaction, lol.

The Story

Haven has a dream job working as a sports journalist in New York City, but her grief over her dad’s death has left her anchorless. It was Ginger who inspired Trevor to help her out. An interview the networks have been wanting for years. And he only wants Haven to interview him.

It’s an encounter that brings back memories with a new perspective for Trevor — Haven’s always wanted Trevor…

The Characters

Haven Briscoe is the daughter of Bill Briscoe with a dual degree in journalism and special education who used to tutor jocks who needed the help. Yep, Trevor was one of ’em. The recently deceased Bill who “had been more than just a dorm parent” for too many of the boys who went through the University of Texas. Ginger Briscoe is the widow and Haven’s worried mother who’s gone back to school herself.

Trevor Shay is a nice guy, extremely arrogant, but in a nice way, a man who knows what he wants. He plays for the St. Louis Rivers baseball team during their season and is a tight end for the Tampa Hawks during their season. Zane Mellon is pre-med and his younger brother, okay, half-brother, of whom Trevor is incredibly proud. Seems Zane adores him right back. Their mother is a hairstylist. His father…well, he doesn’t talk about him.

Hammond is Trevor’s chef. He’s married to Lyla, and they’re taking care of two of their grandkids. Jasmine is their troubled daughter. Bradley Rayburn is his lawyer, in on his secret.

The Rivers baseball team in St. Louis
Tennessee “Ten-Spot” is a teammate, friend, and the birthday boy. Gavin Riley (Changing the Game, 2; he and his sports agent wife, Liz, have a little girl, Genevieve) still plays first base; Dedrick Coleman is on third; Chase Henderson is the new hotshot shortstop; Garrett Scott (Thrown by a Curve, 5; Alicia Riley is the fiancée he’s marrying at the end of the season and the team physical therapist) is pitching; Manny Magee is the grouchy coach; and, Sanchez.

The Hawks football team in Tampa
Barrett Cassidy is the safety (his brother Grant plays quarterback for St. Louis and his brother Tucker plays basketball); JW Zeman is their quarterback; Brady McCall is the wide receiver; George is the coach who warns him of Warrell Timmons, a hotshot rookie tight end who also works as a receiver; George is the offensive coach married to Amanda; Elvin Detteridge is the wide receiver, and Allison is his girlfriend; Mowery and his very-pregnant wife, Luisa Wilson; Brady McCall and Felicia; Rodney is one of the offensive lineman, and his wife is Tania Ford; Larry is the receivers coach and Sally is his wife; and, Louis Trammell with his wife, Vivian.

Quarterback Mick Riley shows up with Tara (Perfect Play, 1) who mentions Nathan, her college-age son along with her toddler, Sam. Jenna sings and has a musicians’ club while Tyler plays hockey (Taking a Shot, 3). Football-playing Cole Riley is here with his PR managing wife, Savannah, (Playing to Win, 4).

Audrey and Petra are a couple of pickups. Jerome Kayman was a high school rival set up by the scheming Heather Whitfield. Chad and Lauren work at one of Trevor’s favorite restaurants. Wanda Dixon and Cathlyn Simms are a couple of Ginger’s friends. Ralph owned the luncheonette where Trevor used to eat a lot with his friends and teammates in college — Garrett, Gray Preston (One Sweet Ride, 6, shows up with his wife, Evelyn; they have a baby boy, Lucas), and Drew Hogan (Melting the Ice, 7; he makes an appearance with his fiancée, Carolina). Denise Lancaster works with dyslexic students.

Chandler Adams is Haven’s boss at the network. Andy is the head cameraman.

The Cover and Title

The cover is of a glistening and bare-chested Trevor in jeans, hauling his equipment and standing against a rough concrete background.

The title is true enough, for Trevor is Straddling the Line between baseball and football.