Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Kandi Steiner’s Blind Side is perfection. Truly. This tale exposes the difficulty with boundary-setting through the trope of a fake relationship. It interrogates the realities of loving someone with substance abuse issues and the interruption it places on the family members or friends of that person. It also beautifully underscores accepting yourself even if you march to the beat of your own drum because, in the end, someone will love the true you.
These messages are deftly disguised by Steiner’s impeccable storytelling, the pacing of her story, the development of her characters, and, quite frankly, the titillation of her book’s spice. She touts it as one of her steamiest. In bedroom scenes alone, Blind Side has a deep inventory. However, that is only the book’s facade, the thing that her usual readers will love because it has her signature all over the book’s romantic parts.
However, Blind Side is deeper than that. At its most elemental, her characters are likable. These two are not traditionally flawed: they are selfless, almost to a fault. You will absolutely root for Clay and Giana because they care about people and each other. As they haplessly fall for each other, you cheer until you realize that this occurs about 75% into Steiner’s story. And, if you’ve read anything by Steiner, you know that angst is a real component of her romances; it’s a trademark of her brand. She doesn’t disappoint in Blind Side, so prepare yourself with tissues. What I love about this book, though, is that her angst is appropriate, and her heroine, Giana, actually responds to Clay’s explanation of his choices, eventually, with an astute and empathic measure. These two capture your heart out of their sheer love and adoration for each other. They easily tie with Zeke and Riley for stealing hearts with their journey.
Add to all of this the realism of football and team dynamic in this story and Fair Catch. The ancillary stories being developed in Blind Side excite you as a reader because it promises more insight into the fictional world of Steiner’s NBU football. Steiner reminds us that she’s a football lover because she actually creates sports moments within her romance to legitimize herself as a sports romance writer. She doesn’t scrimp in her details, and it provides a foundation for her stories.
I dare you to read Blind Side and not fall deeply in love with Clay and Giana. You won’t be able to do it. Even more, you’ll end it pining for more stories in this world. And Steiner leaves us with a great teaser for the next NBU Rebel story, and this reader CAN NOT wait!
In love and romance,