✍🏻 Professor Romance 4.5 ⭐️ Review: Kandi Steiner’s Fair Catch âœðŸ»

Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️

The true MVP of Kandi Steiner’s Fair Catch isn’t given to the hero or heroine. Instead, Gavin, the heroine’s brother, earns the title with all the tallied votes. Don’t get me wrong Zeke and Riley, the hero and heroine of this new romance, will steal your heart for a multitude of reasons, but it’s the wizened sage embodied in Gavin that challenges the characters to do better, to be better. Through his characterization, Zeke and Riley become their best selves, and it surprises you. 

There is so much to love about and be challenged by Fair Catch. For one, this story deals with the impact of trauma. There is a reason that Riley finds herself as a starting kicker on a D1 college football team. I’d love to say it is her love for the sport of football, but without the trauma of her past, she wouldn’t have found herself there. Even more, that trauma edges her actions and thinking for a large portion of the story. When she finally processes the emotions of that trauma, Steiner colors in Riley’s character beautifully, reminding her readers of the way that trauma forever changes us. This lesson moves the character of Riley away from an angry young woman, separating herself from the love of her life, to one self-possessed and more whole. 

Through the lens of Zeke’s character, Steiner challenges us with the impact of self-doubt and negative self-talk. Zeke embodies the romantic hero who, on the outside, seems controlled and self-assured, but, of the characters in this story, he is the one who struggles with his internal self-talk. He’s great at inspiring Riley, but his self-doubt about his own ability to learn undermines his success. He is clearly a flawed hero, and it breeds compassion in Steiner’s readers. Add to that his abiding love for Riley, his need to call her his, and he becomes the type of romantic hero that readers in Facebook fan groups fight to call a “book boyfriend.” I was ready for Zeke to be a “player,” to put Riley through her jealous paces, but that isn’t the type of hero Steiner gives us. Instead, he’s a romantic dream, and I dare you to avoid him stealing your heart. 

However, the true magic of this book is its focus on women in male-dominated sports. Honestly, it’s one of the best parts of the book as it shows the psychological and emotional impact of it. Steiner forces us to consider the consequences for the female sports hero as she must “prove” herself while always being a loss away from being disregarded. Riley’s struggles aren’t surprising, yet as you’re faced with them in the context of this story, you find your heart sinking and butterflies in your stomach every time she must perform for her team. I love this emotional draw in Fair Catch.  

And lastly, Kandi Steiner’s ability to weave stories gets me every single time. In this romance, the story’s pacing is perfect. Everything hits at the right time which connects the reader further into her story. Additionally, she is such a wordsmith, knitting the right combination of words together to create the biggest emotional punch. She’s so freaking quotable that you imagine book edit after book edit inspired by her words. 

There is the perfect combination in Fair Catch: a consistently deft writer + the sport of football + a hero’s and heroine’s characterization that feels fresh and exciting. All of these elements are the perfect team that leads to the win of this book. 

In love and romance,

Professor A

Author:

I teach students to write for college. I love to read writers who write romance. Why not review and promote the writing of people who love to write romance? Win-win for me

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