Sports Sunday: Audio Review for Tackling the Tight End by Tara Lain

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Tackling the Tight End, by Tara Lain
Series: Long Pass Chronicles, #3
Narrated by: John-Paul Barrel
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 12, 2016

Book Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Audio Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


lain-tackling-the-tight-endEveryone 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?


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Interracial Couple
Native American Culture

Additional Warnings:
There is explicit abuse in this book that is not tagged.


Audio review:

This was a weird review to write because I think the narrator did a great job, but I hated the book itself. Each character had their own distinct voice and it made it easy to keep track of everyone. Where they lost me a bit was that the Native American voices sounded weird. It was a bit stereotypical, and I can’t tell why he did them with a bit of an awkward monotone.

I hated the book so much, but his narration made it easier for me to listen to the whole thing even when I really did not want to.

Listen to a clip here:


Book Review

Before I get into the review I need to clarify that when I write Native American to discuss Raven and his tribe, it is because the book isn’t clear about what tribe he belongs to. In no way, shape, or form do I lump all Native Americans together, in the same way I don’t think Africa is a country.

Also please let me know if the term Native American isn’t the correct term to use. I am a historian, so I am used to using the term Amerindian when discussing native groups in South and North America, but it is an academic term that applies to pre-European native people, not modern tribes.

I hated this book so much you don’t even know.

So this was disappointing almost immediately because the title and the summary makes it seem that Raven’s football playing would be a central part of the story. It is not, and I feel like I got sports-baited even though there was some football in it. Please stop doing this to me, romance writers. Either commit to it and do your research, or have the character do something else. It is very frustrating going into a sports-themed book that has no sports.

As a white woman with no tribal connections, I can’t comment on how realistic the portrayal of Raven’s tribe or their customs are. Even if I was, there are a large number of tribes in California (where the book is set) so it would be impossible to guess which one is Raven’s. All I can say is that I thought it was strange that they mostly talked about his tribe in relation to the casino they owned.

This book talks a lot about someone who is homosexual being “Two spirited.” I can’t really comment on the validity of the term in relation to the context of the book, because I have not encountered this before. Well, I encountered the term “berdache” but that is an outdated term that was used by Frenchmen to describe Amerindians in the Mississippi River Valley in the 17th and 18th centuries. You’re welcome for that tidbit because I am sure you’ll use it a lot in your everyday life. The whole two spirited thing seemed like a way to do the whole suddenly gay/gay for you trope, but with mysticism tied in.

In one of the earlier books in the series, Dennis was the villain who outed someone against their will. In this book Lain tries to redeem him by showing that it is his parents who are forcing him. Half of me wants to applaud the author for trying to write his character in such a way to give a valid reason why he’s doing this, and half of me is just appalled. I can see where a lot of people would be traumatized to listen to/read a book where there was gay baiting for the purpose of outing someone.

Her reasoning was also problematic because no one tagged the domestic abuse that was going on in the book. Why oh why do people not tag for big triggers? Is it because they think it is a spoiler, or do they seriously think that someone who suffered from abuse wouldn’t get triggered listening to someone else going through that? It got pretty bad at some points, and it really sucked to have to listen to someone else getting abused in order to add drama to a story. I don’t want to get into it, but abuse is a trigger for me when it is explicit, and if I would have known it was a part of this book I would not have signed up to review it.

Dennis also seems to fetishizes Raven based on his Native American heritage. I don’t know if this was done on purpose, or if it was just because Raven is a pretty two-dimensional character. I don’t want to say an author is racist or is culturally insensitive just because they did some sloppy writing, but oh boy was this really awkward to read.  Most of the book is Dennis-centric, but the author should have done more character development on Raven instead of having him as this way for Dennis to figure out his sexuality.

The main reason why I didn’t really like this book (outside of my aversion to abuse triggers) was because it was just super boring to listen to. For some reason it just did nothing for me. I was like ok these boring characters are getting together and also here is some terrible abuse thrown in just for extra torture. Honestly it made me want to track down some podcasts about cultural shifts in Amerindian/Native American tribes instead of listening to six hours of this book.


Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Erotic Romance, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

Find her online at

You can purchase Tackling the Tight End from:
Google Play
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

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I received a copy of this audio book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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