Genres: Contemporary Women, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, Suspense
When Kate Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis, she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian —a charismatic hacker with a Robin Hood complex—in the act.
Ian intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds herself falling for the mysterious hacker.
But Ian has enemies and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart.
It’s probably not a secret that I’m a huge Tracey Garvis-Graves fan … I’ve really loved everything she’s written so far… she creates unique stories filled with amazing characters who will dig their way into your heart and make a home!
Heart-Shaped Hack is no different! I love the premise of this story! Kate Watts left her law career behind her to pursue her dream of opening a food pantry and helping those less fortunate than her, only she never thought it would be so hard to keep food on the shelves and donations coming in. A chance appearance on a local news show has a mysterious stranger dropping off bags of cash to help her out.
Determined to find out who this donor is she catches him in the act and finds the charismatic Ian behind the donations. Ian is the definition of intriguing and mysterious and despite not knowing much about him, the connection between them is electric.
I love good banter. Let me just say that right up front, and Tracey does an amazing job of creating that fun, witty, back and forth between these two. From the very first time they meet, and throughout the story the connection between these two is sexy and fun.
Let’s talk about characters! I loved Kate! She is smart and sexy and determined to make the food pantry successful… even if that means wearing a short skirt on TV to ask for donations. I think the best thing about her is that when you get to know her, you can recognize parts of yourself in her and that makes her relatable and interesting. Plus, she doesn’t let Ian get away with anything!
“It sounds do distasteful when you say it like that. I prefer master appropriator of Ill-gotten funds. You can call me master for short.”
“I have lots of things I’d like to call you. Master is not one of them.”
Ian is witty and charismatic and sexy and such an interesting guy, but he doesn’t have what one would consider a typical job… he’s a hacker and it’s part of the reason he’s so secretive about his life. I have to say that this added a really different layer to the story for me and I loved it!
“If you’re not a cyberthief, then what are you?”
“I’m a hacker.”
“Is there a difference?”
As Ian and Kate get closer, more of Ian’s work and history are revealed and exactly what he does as a hacker become clearer, but there are consequences to his work… people want him gone and so he has to be careful about who knows his real identity and where he is.
Despite all the secrecy Ian and Kate together are absolute perfection! I loved getting to see their relationship evolve and despite his inability to share everything with her Kate learns to put her trust in Ian and they take those tentative steps forward to pursue a relationship together. Okay… I have to say this because I know some of you will probably question Kate’s sanity. I mean, Ian doesn’t tell her his last name, he basically stalks her but he does it in a way that’s charming and comes across as harmless and yes… even a bit fun and sweet. Please note, I do not condone stalking or hacking in real-life relationships, but this just completely worked for me here and I’m attributing that to Tracey and the way she has created these characters. And I have to say that I absolutely loved Ian’s persistence!
“Why would I go out with you? You engage in frequent illegal activity, and you have horrific boundary issues.”
“Because I promise you that spending time with me will never be boring. And isn’t that what you’re really after? Someone who can inject a little adventure into your life?”
Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing for these two. Eventually something happens that just about broke my heart. But that’s all I’m going to say about that.
I will say that I had an inkling about the twist in this, but even that didn’t take away from the amazing story that Tracey Garvis-Graves has crafted here. From the memorable characters, to the beautiful writing, to the unique plot, I was hooked and devoured this in a single day. This story has something for everyone, some steamy romance, some funny lighthearted banter, and even some heart-breaking sadness… but through it all, Graves tells a wonderful story of falling in love that will have you so invested you’ll be begging for more as you turn the last page.
Thank you to the author for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.
I absolutely loved this story and everyone should read it!
I have been waiting to get my hands on Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis-Graves since the second I read the blurb. If you follow the blog at all, you know how much we love Tracey’s books and I have to say, this book did not disappoint at all. It has a wonderful balance of well-built characters, great banter, swoony parts, and a bit of danger. As always, I will try to keep this review spoiler free!
Kate left her job as a lawyer to open up a food pantry but she had no idea it would be so difficult to keep her shelves stocked for those who really needed help. When she goes on a local news show to ask people to consider donating, she draws the attention of a mystery donor and it becomes her mission to find out who this mystery guy is who continues to give her pantry so much.
First, Kate was a wonderful character. She clearly wants to do something good for those who are less fortunate and she cares…a lot. She also isn’t afraid to take a risk and that is what I loved about her. She quit a job that had a lot of security (and by doing so, also created a bump in her relationship with her father) and her relationship with Ian was itself, a huge risk for her. I also loved getting glimpses of her with her family and seeing how rooted she was with them. The fact that she could rely on them for anything, especially when she needed them, was great.
Ian…I admit it – I love him. He is cocky and smart and there is definitely a balance between making those characteristics annoying or making it absolutely wonderful. If it isn’t clear, Tracey Garvis-Graves does this in a way that made me want to find my very own Ian. He is a mystery and while not completely forthcoming, he is still able to wiggle his way into Kate’s life and wins her over. Ian is definitely keeping secrets from Kate and lives a life she has no familiarity with. I can’t blame him for his secrets – as he explains, he does it more for her protection than anything else but even with that being the case, she definitely had to trust him and take his word for a lot.
Let me take a moment here to say, I loved that this story had me smiling from the moment Ian and Kate met. The banter between these two was fantastic and one of my favorite parts of the entire book. In addition to that, the story felt real. While I have no idea what the life of a hacker is, Garvis-Graves does a wonderful job of conveying the rush Ian would get when he was working on something as well as the pressure of the work. I would imagine the secrecy and way he lived would be a necessity and it honestly made me think about all the things someone can find out about someone online.
As Kate and Ian’s relationship progresses, they are thrown into a situation neither of them were prepared for…well, in a way. Ian was prepared to an extent but here is where I get super vague. Something happens that knocks Kate off of her feet and she has to figure out what she will do. As she comes to terms with everything, she also has to figure out what is important to her and how she will move forward. While the twist was something I figured out, I didn’t really care. The aftereffects were the things I wanted to dig into and I loved how it was handled.
I will leave you with that…don’t hate me for the vagueness – really you will thank me later on. If you are looking for a story that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until you turn the last page, you will want to read this book as soon as you possibly can. This book has wonderful, real characters, a page-turning story, and finally, a relationship that will have you experiencing the highs and lows right alongside the characters. I couldn’t put this book down and I can’t wait to add the hardcopy to my shelves alongside some of my other favorite books.
Thank you to the author for a copy in exchange for an honest review.