Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Everyone wants the best for SCU student and tight end Raven Nez – and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem.
Raven’s gay and he really wants to work with gay kids. Plus he figures a gay Native tight end will get flattened in the NFL. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. But the filmmaker is Dennis Hascomb, a guy with so much to hide and a life so ugly it’s beyond Raven’s understanding. Still he’s drawn to Dennis’s pain and incredible ability to survive.
Captivated by Raven’s stories of the two-spirited and by the amazing joy of finally having a friend, Dennis knows he has to break free from everything he’s ever been taught was good – but that’s a struggle that could kill him and Raven too. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth”? A future for the serpent and the raven?
I wanted to read this because it is set in SoCal and one of the main characters is a sexy Native American (I mean, look at that cover! Gorgerous). I haven’t read the first two books in this series but had been told that since it involves a new couple, it could be read as a standalone. I am sure that is the case. However, in my particular case, if I had more background on the other main character, Dennis, from reading the other books, I probably would not have chosen to read this story. My dissatisfaction with this story revolves around him. See I have this thing (button? trigger?) about breech of trust and betrayal and cheating. And actually, anything that even comes close to these things can make it very hard for me to actually enjoy a book. Therefore, this book was extremely hard for me to read. To be honest, I wanted to DNF and would have if not listening for review. Therefore, I will say up front that this review is biased as I have to rate based on personal enjoyment, right? And this was just NOT the book for me.
On the positive side, I loved Raven’s character and all of the parts about the tribe, the two-sprits, the traditions and stories, the work he does with the kids, and so much more. Definitely swoon-worthy. I also enjoyed his friend Walter and his grandfather–they were great. Raven was such a well-drawn and all around lovely character. I wish he’d been paired with someone who didn’t push all my “off” buttons so that I could have fully enjoyed his story in the way I’d have liked to.
Unfortunately, the other main character, Dennis… well, it was very hard to connect and empathize with him and found myself wishing I could just skip over some of the parts concerning him. Many of the things he did left me cold. Granted he did what he did under coercion—his family was just despicable—and that he disliked doing it. Yet he did it for years. How many people’s lives did he hurt? I did not enjoying reading about that sort of playing of others in one of my main characters. Plus it wasn’t really clear to me for some time exactly how they were controlling him. So that side of the story, I just did not enjoy. It made me tense and unhappy and twitchy as I was listening, and I really just wanted to turn it off.
The story is well-written. Raven is hot and sexy and I loved him. There are some sweet and well done sexy bits, but it was impossible for me to overlook that during a big part of them Dennis was hiding such major stuff from Raven and lying so much—knowing that made it impossible for me to fully engage and enjoy the two as a couple.
The narrator was adequate, but not my favorite because in my opinion there wasn’t enough variation in the characters voices. Overall, my enjoyment stars break down something like this: 3 for narration, 5 for Raven’s story, 1 for Dennis’s story as it just totally put me off. So going in the middle for a 3.
The cover by Reese Dante is gorgeous… it’s what caught my eye and made me want to read this book.
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | iTunes | Amazon | Audible
Audible Audio, 9 pages, 9 hrs
Published April 12th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 15th 2016)
Original TitleTackling the Tight End
SeriesLong Pass Chronicles #3