This is my favorite kind of book review to do for BadGroove. Why you ask? Because it’s the kind that I share because I stumbled upon something I absolutely loved. This review was NOT solicited (you always know when I am because I put my usual disclaimer at the bottom of the review)- instead I am reviewing it because I had to share it with you all because it’s THAT GOOD. It’s the kind of review where I am thankful I can make it work for this blog because I know that some of you will like it too.
I was introduced to the Driven Trilogy by a Facebook friend. We were chatting back and forth about reading and books and she asked if I had read anything by K Bromberg? I hadn’t and at the time I happened to be in a reading mood but nothing I had downloaded was holding my attention enough. So on her suggestion alone I downloaded the entire trilogy to my Kindle. I devoured the whole three book series in four and a half days and it left me wanting more. I think it will leave you wanting more too. Luckily for us we don’t have long to wait.
The Driven trilogy is a racy romance but it is also so much more. It centers around Rylee Thomas, a social worker working with abused children at a halfway house (called THE HOUSE) that is much more like a home than most of these boys have ever known. One night at a fundraiser for THE HOUSE Rylee literally falls into the arms of race car driver and renown player Colton Donovan.
The first book of the trilogy is Driven. The book opens with our main character, Rylee Thomas, putting on a fundraising soiree for her job. She volunteers to go backstage to fetch some supplies and just grab a minute to herself when she happens upon a couple who has escaped the party to the backstage area as well but for a completely reason- a romantic rendezvous. Rylee, not wanting to embarrass the backstage lovers, sneaks past them and into the supply closet to get the auction paddles she is looking for when the closet door suddenly closes and locks behind her accidentally. This triggers a claustrophobia-induced panic attack of epic proportions- drudging up memories of a past she spent a little little over two years burying deep within her in an effort to be able to function in her world. As she begins to succumb to the memories of the past as she leans against the door after a fit of beating it and screaming to be let out the door suddenly opens and she falls right into the arms of Colton Donovan. Their chemistry is instantaneous and Rylee finds herself confused because she not use to letting herself feel and here she is suddenly feeling something intense with a complete (yet very hot) stranger. Colton, on the other hand, is immediately smitten by this girl who fell out of the closet and into his arms. Rylee is not like any of the women in his past because while she may have fallen into his arms, she is the first girl to tell him no. And there is nothing Colton Donovan loves more than a challenge- after all isn’t that what most race car drivers seek- the challenge of the next race, the hunt for the next victory? Colton himself is dealing with a 737 full of baggage from his past and is use to using women as a way of distracting himself from his past.
“On the track, I can escape the paparazzi, the groupies, my demons. The only fear I have is that which I have created for myself, that I can control with the swerve of a wheel or a press of the pedal…not any inflicted on me by someone else.” Colton Donovan in Driven by K. Bromberg
Rylee finds herself confused and conflicted by her feelings for Colton almost as much as Colton is smitten yet confused about Rylee and the instant chemistry between them.
Warning: this book will end on the wrong side of a denouement that will leaving you immediately wanting to dive into the next book of the Trilogy- you may as well download all three at once. I promise you will thank me later because you won’t have to wait for it to download!
Fueled is the second book in the series and was even better than the first. This book opens with the resolution of sorts to the cliffhanger we were left with at the end of Driven. Rylee ends up getting a small peek into the demons that Colton is trying so hard to outrun, that Colton has spent his life trying to outrun. While the first book is written completely in Rylee’s perspective we get a little bits of Colton’s point of view in this book. I was surprised to find that the second book was more intense plot wise to the point of being frustrating (but in a good way) because us readers can see the good between Rylee and Colton way before they can. They continue to push and pull towards and away from each other as they fight to make sense of each other and how they each define what the want out of their “relationship”- if they can even have a relationship that is, not to mention learning to handle the baggage they each bring to the table.
“No, Colton. No.” I tell him, making sure his eyes are on mine. “You’re not broken, Colton. You’re just bent.” Rylee Thomas in Fueled by K. Bromberg
Rylee is more sure of her self in this book- some of the time. Colton is more trusting- some of the time. It’s a constant battle and struggle but towards the end they finally seem to be reaching somewhat of a happy place until…yep this one ends on the wrong side of a denouement as well.
And finally there is the last book of the trilogy Crashed. It’s here that I am going to admit something to you- as much as I was driven (ha ha pun totally intended) to read this one right after the last one mostly to to find out what happened on the other side of the deliciously climatic ending to Fueled, I was also sad because I knew that this incredible journey I had been taking was ending all too soon. This book starts where the last book ended exactly. Thank goodness for that!
“Racing’s about eighty percent mental and twenty percent skill Rylee. We’ve got to get his head back in the game, thinking he’s ready, then he’ll be ready.” Beckett, Crashed by K. Bromberg
The characters are what drew me into the series. They are so realistic and well-rounded, withwarts and all- no one is too perfect. Both Rylee and Colton have their faults, their issues, their ugly. It’s their fight to tame their personal demons individually so that they can find a life together takes readers through the paces. There is racing (hence why I feel I can include it on my reading list- since I don’t just do NASCAR books) and there are SEXy cars (That is NOT a typo if you have read the books you will get it. If not- read the dang books already!) I have to say that I feel I am NOT giving the trilogy justice AT ALL. Much like Pringles I promise you that you will likely not be able to read just one of them.
I was so sad when the trilogy ended that I started back at the first book and reread the whole trilogy again immediately (also because I knew I was going to want to review it and wanted to tag few possible quotes for the post). I am so happy that on September 15th a companion novella to to the trilogy called Raced will be coming out. It’s a collection of short stories all from Colton’s point of view. We got a pretty good taste of Colton’s POV in Crashed but I am SO looking forward to this collection. I have already pre-ordered it. I can NOT WAIT for it to land. And while there is a huge long teaser passage from it that I could share with you- I am only going to share just a little tiny piece of that teaser:
“Let’s see if I can make her like me again. Give me another chance. Bingo. Truth shall set me free. There’s the answer. I just want another chance when I’ve never wanted one before. And therein lies the second question, another chance at what though?” Colton Donovan in Raced by K. Bromberg.
Don’t be too sad – it won’t end with RACED (thank goodness for that). A second novella exploring a specific, significant part of the 10 year gap that happens from the end of Crashed to it’s epilogue will be coming out as well (sometime in December or January).
AND even better? Rylee’s best friend Haddie is getting her own book! I didn’t mention Haddie above- but she is Rylee’s roommate and best friend. Her story will be called Slow Burn. Also currently available for pre-order and yes I have already pre-ordered that as well.
A bit of a warning: these books are very racy (ha- another pun totally intended) and in some of the stuff I have seen online they have been compared to 50 Shades Of Gray. If that is not your type of book then these might not be for you. Because of the 50 Shades comparisons I kept seeing, I recently reread 50 Shades (the whole trilogy). There are a few similarities but I am going to be completely and totally blunt- I prefer the Driven trilogy. I think it is very well written- all the characters are well rounded, the story lines move well and transition easily from book to book and from storyline to story line. When I read 50 Shades the first time time? I nearly stopped after the first book because I thought that the book was not very well written at all! There was a lot of hoopla surrounding the books at the time so I did carry on with 50 Shades and the second and third books got better but in my opinion Driven was good at the drop of the green flag (someone stop me with these I am not usually this punny). Fueled and Crashed got better and more intense. It was a ride-along (last one I promise) I wanted to continue on and can’t wait for the green-white-checker (apparently not) of Raced to come out.
Author K Bromberg is a wife, mom, child rustler, toy picker-upper, chauffer, resident web-slinger, LaLaloopsy watching, American Girl doll dressing multi-tasker of all things domestic and otherwise. She likes her diet cokes with rum, her music loud, and her pantry stocked with a cache of chocolate. You can find out more about her and her books on her website.
For “Full Disclosure” I bought this trilogy at the urging of a friend and enjoyed it so thoroughly I decided I would share my thoughts on it with my readers. I was not asked to review it by anyone.