Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Ball Peen Hammer by Lauren Rowe
[Paperback WON at Shameless Book Con!]
Keane Morgan wouldn’t return any of my calls or texts, and I was pissed as hell about it. I didn’t want to drive from Seattle to L.A. with the guy any more than he wanted to drive with me, but I had no frickin’ choice in the matter–at least, not if I wanted to use his brother Dax’s coveted parking spot at UCLA.
Okay, so it turned out Keane was objectively gorgeous, and, fine, pretty funny, too. But did he have to be so damned in love with himself? I mean, jeez, the cocky way he flashed those dimples was just so orchestrated. And, honestly, what kind of guy uses the phrase “baby doll” with a straight face? Oh, that’s right: the kind of guy who’s a male stripper.
Yup, the cocky jerk turned out to be Seattle’s answer to Magic Mike, a stripper known as “Ball Peen Hammer”–which meant Keane Morgan was emphatically not the kind of guy I’d ever fall for.
Not. At. All.
No freakin’ way.
Well, until Keane convinced me to fall for him, that is.
Which I did.
This book both lived up to the hype and the awesome cover in pretty much every way.
I’d like to preface this review with my review for Captain since it goes into further detail about how I won this book and my mega-sadness that I didn’t read The Club series before diving into these books about the Morgan brothers.
When I was reading this book (sick with the flu and powering through books like crazy as I recovered) my 5-year-old daughter asked me what the book was about. As I sat there, glancing from the cover of the book in my hands to her innocent green eyes, I ran the synopsis through my head, immediately dismissed it, and said, “it’s about two people who go on a road trip and fall in love.”
Boom. Nailed it, bruh. (As Keane would say.)
Because, honestly, that really is what happens. And, amazingly enough, that brief G-rated description is somehow accurate ( and appealing and boring) at the same time. The story itself, though definitely appealing, was not the least bit boring despite the fact that the majority of it takes place in a car.
Just like in Captain, Lauren Rowe manages to make an insta-love romance seem a heck of a lot like a slow burn. The relationship between Maddy and Keane feels so realistic and believable, yet it blooms in just a handful of days through chemistry and conversation.
I think one of the most impressive things about this book is how well developed Keane’s character is despite his somewhat flighty personality. I believe Maddy calls him, “Daffy Duck trapped inside Prince Charming’s body,” yet he is so much more than that.
I think Keane’s character could easily have been completely shallow given he’s both ridiculously goofy and good-looking, but instead of leaving his character at that, LR throws in a bit of unexpected depth.
I’ve known several people like Keane who are what I like to call extroverted introverts — those who can be extremely captivating and outgoing and social, yet need a lot of time to recuperate and recharge after social interactions. And often times those people end up dropping off the face of the earth for a little while before resurfacing again, just like Keane does. I love how that all ties into the initial miscommunication between Keane and Maddy – his tendency to ignore his phone because that’s his way of tapping out and recharging.
I also appreciated that the obliviousness for both Keane and Maddy when it came to their own attraction to one another was completely understandable. I found that I couldn’t wait for it to finally “click” for them!
And I absolutely cannot wait to devour The Club series!
Audiobook Performance: 5 Stars
Just like Captain, I ended up downloading the audiobook for this one as well as reading the paperback. (Yay for Audible Romance Package books!) And, again, LR narrates her own books spectacularly and in combination with John Lane, this was definitely a 5 star performance.
Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars
I’m going to be honest, most of these stars were determined by one particular scene in which Keane performs for Maddy for the first time. I nearly died from the butterflies.
Re-read Worthiness: Yes
Totally already re-read it and will likely do so again.
Bookshelf Placement: Yes
It’s signed and already there in a very sacred spot.
Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars
While Keane is absolutely not my type at all, I still completely adored him.
”Free” Reading Availability