I don't even really know where to start with this review. I have absolutely loved everything I have read from Lauren Rowe, The Club series is one of my favorite series ever! That being said, I have very mixed feelings about Ball Peen Hammer. While this book can be read as a standalone story, I wouldn't recommend it. For those that haven't read The Club series, there are so many familiar faces, names and storylines referenced here that it might be hard at times to keep track of everything. This story is about different characters though they are interconnected.
All Maddy Milliken wanted was a parking spot for the coming year so that she could work as well as attend school now that she got into UCLA. When her sister Hannah lines up a parking spot, all she has to do is give Keane Morgan a ride to LA to meet up with his brother, and his brother will give her the parking spot. Maddy and Keane get off on the wrong foot, but soon they are talking and getting to know one another while driving. Both Maddy and Keane start to like one another, though they know that hooking up is the last thing they should do. Keane is a stripper knows as "Ball Peen Hammer" and he doesn't do relationships at all, and Maddy is one woman that Keane can't risk making angry. But can they possibly make something work between them though there are many reasons why a relationship between them shouldn't happen?
I will admit that a lot of my issues here center around Keane. I really struggled to like him for a lot of this book. He came off as cocky, completely aloof and often times selfish. I just had a hard time really caring for his character and I felt like he was just a hero that I wasn't going to fall for. But I did start to like him despite all the issues I had, and then he ended up ruining things for me all over again. While I did think that he and Maddy had chemistry and were forming a connection, I just wasn't able to feel fully invested in their relationship because of Keane. Maddy was a character that was easier for me to like, and I thought that she was great. Unfortunately she wasn't enough to fully win me over here.
My other big issue here was that while there has been humor in Lauren's previous books, it was too over the top for me here in Ball Peen Hammer. Lauren Rowe has a great sense of humor that really comes across in her writing, and I love the witty banter that is always present in her stories. But while I usually find that funny and well balanced, there were times here that it was just too much. I really struggled to stick with this story, and it wasn't until well after half of this book was through that I felt like I actually wanted to read the entire book. I have never felt like that before with one of Lauren's books, but there was just something about this one that wasn't working for me and that made it hard for me to personally get into. Things felt a bit slow and as though not much was going on, and there were just too many over the top conversations and interactions going on up until that point for me to love this one like I wanted to. I think that a lot of readers will really enjoy this one, and fans of The Club series will definitely want to give this one a shot. But this one didn't have the same effortless feel to me that Lauren's books usually have, and I felt like this one came off as forced and trying a bit too hard when it came to the humor.
**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**