Title: Shifting Gears
Author: Audra North
My Rating: B+
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Main Characters: Annabelle and Grady
Release Date: December 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Links to Purchase:
Grady Hart is the black sheep of his family. For years he's managed the Hart Racing team, but while racing is in his blood, his real passion lies under the hood. Ready to start out on his own, all he needs to do is find a replacement for his old job. However, the best candidate for crew chief isn't someone he would have expected: sweet, proper Annabelle Murrary, the literal Girl Next Door who's definitely grown up since high school.
All her life Annabelle has tried to fit into the role of perfect daughter-and failed. Divorced, broke and living back home with her mother, she's tired of trying to live up to her parents' impossible standards. Taking on the position as crew chief for a successful racing team-and getting her hands dirty-is just what she's looking for...but first she has to get past her old crush on her new boss. After all, it's never smart to mix business with pleasure, or is it?
This is a series that I've really enjoyed so I was excited to see another book out in it. This book is about two people who see themselves as screw-ups.
Annabelle just escaped out of an abusive marriage where her husband belittled and took advantage of her. But the good news of that is because he couldn't do it, she managed to become a top-notch mechanic in his garage and discovered just how much she loved the job.
Grady has been trying to keep his family's race team afloat, but that's not where his passion lies and that's shown through with his ability to do the job. You can't manufacture talent and passion, no matter how hard Grady has tried. He's finally handing over all the reins to more capable hands. It's just a coincidence that some of those hands belong to Annabelle, the shy girl he had a crush on in high school. She never knew that, so he never knew his feelings were reciprocated.
I liked this love story. The situation means that these two should NOT get involved. Their work lives are really intertwined and a relationship could really complicate things...but there's chemistry and that's hard to ignore.
There were some great aspects to this story:
*I love that Annabelle is a naturally talented mechanic and how much she loves that job. I think it's super-sexy when a female does a man's job and does it better than most men. I also really loved the female team of Annabelle as crew chief with Kerri as the driver. Double female power in a seriously male dominated world.
*I loved how Annabelle and Grady thought they were being all sly, but they aren't fooling anyone.
*Grady's mom is just the best character who sees all these "children" so much better than they see themselves and pushes them toward where they need to go.
*The race world is awesome in these books. I loved it every time the drivers would start the chatter on the radio during the races.
*Annabelle has a great character arc and the reader gets to see her become stronger and more confident in her abilities as the book progresses.
It was just a fun, entertaining read. I recommend this one and the entire series, although don't worry....if you don't want to read them all. They all work perfectly well as stand-alone reading, too.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.