Special thanks to Little Stone Press for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
Goodreads: Tanked (Eastside Brewery #3)
Publisher: Little Stone Press
Publication Date: 26 April 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance
A fighter without a purpose. A crusader with nothing to lose. Can she trust him with her heart, or is he just another lost cause?
By day, I do all the grunt work at my family’s struggling L.A. brewery. By night, I blow off steam at an underground fight club. I never thought the pandemic would bring Deanna Delgado back into my life—the woman who ghosted me three years ago after one unforgettable night. But the brewery needs a miracle to survive. And that miracle could cost me the only person who’s ever had faith in me.
My family calls me an idealistic do-gooder, but I see a better, brighter future for my community. My biggest problem? I’ve just lost the job I love. To ease my pain, I’ve hooked up with Angel Rosas, the filthy-sweet one-night stand who’s somehow dropped back into my life. There’s so much more to Angel than he lets on. Is he the man I can trust with my body and my heart? Or is he just another lost cause?
GRAB A COPY:
TL;DR: I’ve been looking forward to reading Angels’ story so I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed it! I don’t read much age-gap romance but I loved Angel and Deanna together. Their chemistry was fire and their relationship was built on healthy communication and trust, and I loved how much positivity it brought to both their lives. The third and final book in the Eastside Brewery series does a great job of bringing the three brother’s stories full circle—from pursuing a dream to creating a new path for the Rosas family to elevating their successes and still maintaining great pride in their roots.
What made me happy:
- Angel. Sweet, SWEET filthy Angel! 😍 I loved him so, so much! I didn’t know what to expect of his character as we really don’t learn much in the previous books except for the fact that he was sent to live with his grandma and uncle, and he’s grown up away from his brothers. Reading about his upbringing made me incredibly sad and knowing how much he had to deal with from such a young age, without having the support of his brothers/father, made my heart hurt for him even more! He is such a soft, sweet and caring character and I really adored how much he thought of others around him.
- Deanna was also such a great heroine. She’s feisty and compassionate and I loved her dedication and passion as a social worker and for helping the formerly incarcerated reintegrate into society, as well as others who haven’t had the easiest life. I actually found myself relating a lot to her relationship with herself and also, to an extent, with her family.
- I don’t read a lot of age-gap romance where the man is younger (Angel’s 24 and Deanna’s 32) but I really enjoyed their dynamic and their chemistry was undeniable! ❤️🔥 I honestly forgot that Angel was younger because he’s quite mature but also, I found their relationship to be so positive! They actually spoke (like adults!) about everything and there was none of that secret-keeping thing to “protect the other person”. That openness in their relationship let them be vulnerable with each other but also created such a healthy and supportive environment for them to grow not only independently but together. Also, the way Angel cared for Deanna melted my heart every single time and it was so swoony… Their romance was very low-angst and I was 100% here for that!
- I really like how this series addresses topics that I don’t read about often in romance such as gentrification, rehabilitation of formerly incarcerated gangsters and intergenerational trauma. You can see that Hopkins has done her research and I think she handles these topics sensitively, plus the way she writes these aspects into the character’s arcs is really well done. I loved being able to see how passionate Angel and Deanna are about the community and their pride in supporting their culture and heritage and ensuring it continues in some way as the world changes around them.
Also, this is one of the first books I’ve read where the pandemic plays a part in the plot. Personally, I didn’t find it triggering and again, I thought Hopkins integrates it well, but just a warning for those who might not want to read a story that examines the socio-economic impact or talks about the personal impact of the pandemic!
What I was on the fence about:
- There were times the writing felt inconsistent. Some parts flowed really well and other times it felt kind of stilted and a bit awkward, especially the dialogue. It wasn’t overly bothersome but it did take me out of the story at times.
- I wish that the family relationship aspect had been stronger. There was more interaction between the brothers towards the end but I was hoping for more development throughout the story, especially since Angel has been apart from Eddie and Sal for so long. They all work together, see each other regularly and live in such close proximity to one another so I found it odd that they were actually so uninvolved in each others’ lives? It felt a bit like a missed opportunity since this is the last book in the series and it would’ve been nice to have a moment with just the three of them together again after all these years, talking about how far they’ve come. That said, this could also just be my personal preference seeing as I do love romances that have strong family connections.
Have you read any of the books in the Eastside Brewery series or are they on your TBR? Are you excited to read Tanked?