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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Book Review: Going Hard by Kelsey Browning


Author: Kelsey Browning
Series: Steele Ridge #2
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Publisher: KickSass Creations
Release Date: October 11th 2016
My Rating: 4 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Slick sports agent Griffin Steele is living the highlife in Los Angeles, far from the shadow of the North Carolina mountains where he grew up. But when his hometown falls on hard times and needs his help, Grif reluctantly agrees to commute between coasts. He never expects the lush scenery, in the form of pretty tomboy Carlie Beth Parrish, to be such a temptation.

After an impetuous one-night stand with Grif Steele fifteen years ago, hardworking blacksmith Carlie Beth has tried to make a living and raise her daughter in the hometown she loves. Then, too-sexy-for-his-Rolex Grif blows back into town like the perfect storm, making Carlie feel less like a thirty-something mom and more like an infatuated teenager.

When a stalker targets Carlie Beth, Grif can’t help but step in to protect her. But once he discovers the fourteen-year-old secret she’s been keeping from him, will he embrace the truth or will he turn his back on Steele Ridge and Carlie Beth forever?
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and KickSass Creations in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

My first ARC August read and we're on a really good start. While the hidden baby trope is not one of my favorites in romance books, I have to say that Browning did a great job at writing it.

Now, while I don't think Carlie Beth made the right choice, I do understand where her nineteen-year-old-self was coming from. I don't agree, but I get it. All of that aside, I liked Carlie. She was funny, she was a good mother, and a good friend.

Grif was an interesting hero, full of contradictions. I'm curious to see if in the next books in the series this aspect about him is explored, but he seemed like a chameleon to me. When the book starts, we meet him talking on the phone with one of his clients, and by that small interaction, I was expecting a cold, stand-offish guy. Except the more time he spent with his family, back in his hometown, the more laid-back he turned out to be, so I'd love to see him in a big city environment, just to see if somehow he becomes a different person in any way.

Throughout the book there are such hilarious moments that I found it hard not to start laughing like a loon in the middle of the night, which I liked because it's been a while since my last laugh-out-loud read. The story is pretty fast paced, which is also a good thing, but I felt like the ending was a little bit abrupt. I would have wanted a "several weeks/months/whatever later" scene, but I guess that maybe we get that in the next books. I didn't expect the stalker to turn out to be who it turned out to be, which is a plus (I was completely pointing the finger at some innocent person).

I would have wanted to see more bonding moments between Aubrey and Grif, but all in all I enjoyed this book and I'll definitely read the rest of the books in the series, because I need more Reid in my life, Reid being one of Grif's brothers.


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