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Driven by K. Bromberg

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.

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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.

On a sunny Sunday in late March I drove my beloved silver 2008 Chevrolet HHR LT to my local Chevy dealership and left a few hours later with a bright shiny champagne silver…Chevy Equinox. Those who follow this blog or even my online social media are probably surprised that I didn’t leave with a Chevy Camaro. I have loved the Camaro since they re-debuted it and I continue to.  It’s a gorgeous car especially in that hot bright yellow color that I love.

So how on earth did I come out with a small SUV then?  Did I get talked into it by the salesman? Was it a last minute, impulse buy? The answer to both of the latter questions there are a resounding no. I went to the dealership with the express purpose of test driving a specific Equinox that I had already been discussing back and forth with the dealer through email and to see what they would give me for my HHR. As a matter of fact we had already done most of the haggling about the Equinox over email, and I had already been approved for financing.  It was just a matter of details. I went in knowing full well what an HHR was worth thanks to KBB.com as a trade in (you can also see what you can expect to get for it if you sell it yourself- something I did NOT want to go through the hassle of trying to do).

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Winding Up For The Pitch

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, throws his hans device at Kevin Harvick (not pictured), driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, after an on-track incident  at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

I couldn’t resist the title. After the Denny/Harvick incident I actually tweeted that.  But I am getting ahead of myself. Bristol is one of my favorite tracks to watch on television; it and Martinsville. I guess I am a just a short track racing girl at heart.  Jeff Burton was again piloting the #14 Bass Pro Chevy for our driver Tony Stewart.  He qualified the #14 25 for the race- I wasn’t able to catch ANY of practice or qualifying so I couldn’t gauge how the car was running and had no idea what to expect from our team 14.

I was pleased to see that once the green flag flew Jeff Burton was able to move up through the field, slowly and steadily picking off positions one at a time fairly methodically and patiently- a feat that is not easy at a track that known to ignite the tempers of even the most mild mannered of drivers. Crew Chief Chad Johnston made an interesting call during a caution at lap 198 and that put the 14 car up in the top four of the race! That right there was a BEAUTIFUL thing to see. (more…)

I live on the Monterey Bay and last week was Car Week. Monterey Car week centers around the famed Concours d’ Elegance which if you are not familiar with Concours it is a very prestigious car show where cars are judged on a variety of merits including authenticity, function, history, and style. It’s a huge event and beautiful and amazing cars from around the country are entered. To go along with Concours there are tons of car-related events: car shows, motorsports club gatherings, tons of car auctions, car accessory and art shows, and the Rolex Motorsports Reunion. I have had a chance to wander around some of the car shows and auctions in recent years (i.e. the free ones) but I have never actually gone to the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Mazada Raceway (Laguna Seca to us life long locals) until this year that is. My dad got his hands on free tickets for Saturday and asked if I would go with him. My answer was HECK YEAH! I love cars, I love racing, and I didn’t have anything pressing to do on Saturday that couldn’t be put off until the afternoon- so going to the raceway for free? Sign me up!

We got to the raceway early on Saturday morning and it was foggy which is not uncommon for this area this time of year.  The fog burned off early and we had sun for most of the day.  We spent the first part of our day in the paddock enjoying all the cars on display and getting ready to race. And of course you know I took my camera with me because I love getting pictures in the paddock!

I might have drooled a little on this corvette in the paddock at the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on August 16th, 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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The 14 Crew tends to the Mobil 1 Chevy

The 14 Crew tends to the Mobil 1 Chevy piloted by Jeff Burton substituting for Tony Stewart (Photo Credit: Stewart-Haas Facebook Page)

Jeff Burton stepped in to substitute for Tony Stewart at this past weekend’s race The Pure Michigan 400.  He was starting to pull up through the field after qualifying the 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet 27th.  It was a brand spanking new car and unfortunately it seems that at some point during the beginning of the race the tailpipe had cracked and caught the heat shields of the car on fire.  Jeff Burton radioed in and stated that he smelled smoke in the cockpit- and it smelled electrical.  Around lap 75 or so he brought the car in for a regular pit stop and a quick look from the 14 pit crew.  While they smelled the odor they were unable to figure out what was causing it. Jeff Burton returned to the track only to be called back in a lap later.  After another look Chad Johnston decided to take the 14 back to the garage to fix it right.  The crew worked really hard to get the 14 car back out on the track- albeit 24 laps down.  I love that never quit spirit! Jeff Burton continued to pilot the car for the rest of the race and brought it home to a 37th place finish. The 14 car is now 23rd in owner points. (more…)

I posted this on my Facebook yesterday…but realized this morning while I was driving to work that I probably should have posted it here too:

I haven’t said much about the incident at Canandaigua because I can’t. I can only envisage the heartbreak the Ward family feels. I am also crushed for Tony. I know in my heart that, despite some claims, it was not intentional. I can only imagine how this weighs on him.

What I can say is that the nearly instantaneous vilification of Stewart last night and today has disheartened me more than I can express and has made me seriously wonder about the nature of humanity.

I meant that- and as you probably noticed Misty was the one who wrote her opinion about the accident because I just didn’t have the heart to post anything.  Between social media trolls unleashing personal attacks on fans who were trying to make sense of a tragedy in their own internet spaces and the sensationalistic and downright misinformed mainstream “media” I am still reeling and severely disappointed in what I saw of human nature. Sure maybe I look at the world through rosy colored glasses but I like that color because it makes the world I live in liveable.

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This week’s TQMS is about your passion- it’s exactly what I needed to read this week:

Tony in Texas 2012

Tony at Texas MotorSpeedway, 2012. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

“It doesn’t matter what I’m doing or what you’re doing or what they’re doing, there is something that we all enjoy doing, and I don’t care what you’re responsible for, what your job title is,” Stewart continued. “If you are not doing in your life what you love to do and what you’re passionate about doing, why are we here? What is the point of living our life if we aren’t going to find things we love and enjoy and are able to do it?” — Tony Stewart in One Year Later: Smoke Talks Sprint Car Return by Mike Kerchner

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous editions of the TQMS posts.

#KeepDiggingTony #StandWithSmoke

This evening after I got home from what could only be described as a busy day topped with a little bit of crazy making sauce, I finally settled into my “me time” of which part of this evening was to peruse the internet and catch up on most of the days goings on because did I mention the busy with the crazy making sauce on top? That included finally reading a couple articles about Tony Stewart while I was working that I earmarked as things to read when I had time to enjoy them.  The two articles I earmarked today (Tuesday) were Tony Stewart interview pieces that were bound to come up since Monday was the anniversary of his sprint car accident that broke his leg.  These caused me to go back into my blog archives and pull up the first post I wrote after the accident- in which coincidentally I quoted the same author who’s newest book I just posted a review about this morning because while a it’s from her first book and a complete work of fiction this quote immediate makes me think of Tony today as much as it did a year ago so I will quote it again:

Plenty of us were race car drivers. But a racer was something else, someone who loved driving and competing above all else and who’d drive anything anywhere anytime, just to be strapped into a five-point harness.Dead Man’s Switch by Tammy Kaehler (page 116).

I mentioned something offhandedly on someone’s Facebook post the other day that one of the reasons I am a fan of Tony’s is because of his passion for racing in whatever form that might be. I don’t see what the big deal is about what he’s racing. Or even really the whole one form of racing being SUPERIOR to another deal. I mean it’s all racing right- so it all have some common ground- just because YOU like one specific form of racing doesn’t mean there is something wrong with other forms. Racing is racing is racing. I don’t care if it’s open wheel, stock car, two wheel, four wheel,  on dirt, on pavement, on oval, on a road course or on a quarter mile. Racing is racing is racing people. And the people who do it with passion, with fervor are racers. Maybe I am just weird because I started off as a NASCAR fan, transitioned over to open wheel fan and even went through a period where I loved NHRA.  Yes I post mainly about NASCAR but that is only because I am one person with a career beyond this blog, and a life.  If I were to write about every form of racing, or even every form of racing Tony Stewart did- I would never sleep. And I kind of like to sleep at least 6 hours a night.

The whole racer vs race car driver is a subtle thing but I think that most people will agree that Tony is a racer- and nothing about that has changed over the last year.

Tony at Martinsville in 2012

Tony at Martinsville in 2012 (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia on October 26, 2012. Andrew Coppley/CIA Photo)

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#StandWithSmoke