Saturday, December 28, 2013

Digital Review: Ripped
Yes, I'm well aware that this is probably the 324th review of Ripped by Sarah Morgan that you've seen plastered all over the Internet.  It's been a venerable squee-fest pretty much across the board.  My review isn't going to sway too far afield from the accolades, but let's just say my reaction is more reserved (maybe it's the librarian thing?).   Oh don't mistake me, it's good.  But there are caveats - because, you know, this is me.  It's all about going into it knowing exactly what it is. 


It's "fun" erotic romance. 

The kind of erotic romance you need every now and then to pick yourself up because real life keeps smacking you upside the head.  Will it change your life?  Doubtful.  For those of you who work in public service, think of it like a nice glass of wine and a hot bubble bath after a long day/week/month/eternity of dealing with jackasses.

That's this novella.  It's a glass of wine and a bubble bath.

Sarah Morgan has written scads of books for Harlequin Presents, and it's a foundation that serves her well here.  Not only with the short novella word count, but also with the hero, Nico Rossi.

Nico Rossi wasn't a good boy.  He was a bad boy dressed in a good suit.

He's everything good about a well done Presents hero.  He's smoking hot, drives a fast car, wears great clothes, carries a serious torch for the heroine and is Italian.  That's pretty much all you need to know about him, and pretty much all you learn.  This story is told in first person (which I love!) from the heroine's point of view.  It's Hayley Miller's show, which is fine because not only is she smart and sexy, but she's funny as hell.

The story opens with Hayley at her ex-boyfriend's wedding.  He's marrying one of her former friends.  Hayley is more upset that she wasted ten months of her life on Charlie than she is that he's getting married - still it took some serious balls for the happy couple to ask her to be a bridesmaid.  She only agrees to save face.  I mean, she can't have everyone thinking she's home crying her eyes out and gorging herself on ice cream.  So she crams herself into a hideous dress that doesn't fit and almost dies of boredom while the ceremony drones on.  In fact it drones on so long that when she finally is able to breathe a sigh of relief?  Yeah, her dress splits open.  As in major wardrobe malfunction.

Riding to the rescue is Nico, who is playing the part of best man.  Hayley is mortified, what with her breasts on display for the entire congregation.  However she's also mortified that her humiliation happens in front of Nico.  Not only is the guy smoking hot, but he also faintly disapproves of her.  I mean, he doesn't seem to like her very much.  Turns out Hayley has never been more wrong in her life.

That's basically it.  Think of it as Harlequin Presents Meets Chick Lit.  Hayley is funny and smart, but is naturally a magnet for disaster.  Nico is every woman's dream wrapped up in a Tom Ford suit.  The sparks immediately fly and there's enough chemistry flying around to generate power for a small English village.  Hayley's sister, Rosie, pulls a few strings, and voila!  Hayley is forgetting all about her silly New Year's resolution to stay far away from relationships and falling head over heels.

What saves this from being just another hot-sex-book is the message behind it.  It's one I think almost every woman will be able to relate to - which is to say that relationships aren't about conforming into who the other person wants you to be.  It's about finding that person who loves you for who you already are. 

So hot sex, nice message, and a smoking hot hero that I really wanted a lot more of.  I know it's a novella, but damn I wanted to crawl around in Nico's head a bit more (and inside his Tom Ford suit - uh, while he's wearing it.  Too much you think?).  It's sexy fun and while it didn't change my life?  It's just the sort of story I want to read this time of year.  It's a Calgon-take-me-away sort of book.  It's a I'm-feeling-mopey-and-want-to-stab-someone book.  Read it when you're in a bad mood, because certainly it will immediately cure whatever is ailing you.

Final Grade = B+


azteclady said...

"I wanted to crawl around in Nico's head a bit more"

This is my main problem with first person--I don't get nearly as much of the other character's thought processes.

Wendy said...

AL: I think it is possible to get "enough" of the other characters even with first person narration - it just didn't happen with this story. There's not a lot of depth to Nico. He's hot, sexy, Italian, and rich. That's pretty But to be fair - I'm not sure if that's a criticism of the first person, the novella length or.....both.

Probably both.

Still, it's a fun read. And if you're looking for a fun pick-me-up? This is a great story to give it to you.