Monday, January 25, 2016

Review: Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Published: August 25, 2015
Source: Purchased e-book
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. [goodreads]

I've decided I am a hit or miss with this author.  I read her debut, On the Island, a few years ago and was really swept away by it.  But since then, I haven't been as wow'ed by her stories.  This one though, definitely held my interest, but I wouldn't claim it as a favorite.  There were equal part enjoyable moments, as well as other times that didn't quite sit well with me.  So I'm sort of on the fence as to how I'd rate this novel -- maybe somewhere in the middle?

The story begins with Kate working in her food shelter, where she receives an anonymous donation that basically pulls her non-profit business out of the almost going under zone.  She is gracious for the donation, but also skeptical and wants to discover who this mysterious giver may be.  I had hoped that the mystery played out a bit longer.  I felt that by Ian revealing himself right away, sort of sucked the romance out of the story.  Perhaps they could have met, but he could have revealed his identity as the donor later on?  Anyway... as she gets to know Ian, she also realizes that his personal identity is quite the mystery.  His professional life as a computer hacker soon surfaces, but still possesses its own mysteries as to who Ian truly is.

The tone of the novel felt quirky and humorous in just the right moments, which I think deflected what could have been some seriously awkward moments.  Especially when Ian hacks into Kate's computer, looking at her credit card activity to reveal where she is.  To be honest, that screams CREEP FACTOR to me.  Yet, Kate's personality, even though she was skeptical at first, went with the flow.  I'm not sure how realistic that would be, because let's be real -- if a guy you barely knew owned up to looking at your credit card activity, wouldn't that freak you out just a bit?  But alas, the joy of fiction.. I knew not to take it too seriously.  And as Kate did, I went with the flow and kept an open mind.

As the story progresses, so does their relationship.  Their feelings deepen, but so does Kate's questions about Ian's true identity.  What started out as fun and games, is now taking on a more serious tone.  As the story reaches its climax, I found myself swept away again as Tracey Garvis-Graves has that effect on me.  In these moments is when I remembered what I enjoyed about her writing -- the balance of humor and emotion which causes me to keep reading, cresting til the very end.  Though the novel possessed some questionable plot lines, and had me second-guessing the character's intentions, it definitely held my interest.  I'm definitely sticking around for what's to come from this author.


  1. This definitely sounds like an interesting read. I can agree that I would rather it played out a little more before Ian was revealed. Curious as to where this all goes. Sorry you didn't enjoy it to much but thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm actually just torn on what I think about Heart-Shaped Hack after reading the review! It sounds pretty unique, in terms of story, but it also sounds slightly... off. I don't think I've ever read any book by her, but if I do, I'll probably read On the Island since you loved that one so much! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, G :)


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