Berkley Trade (first published Jan 1st, 2012)
I normally don't read romance novels. Maybe I have read a couple romance novels (1-3) in the past year, including Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy, but that's about it. It's not that I don't like romance novels. It's just that I don't normally feel inclined to read them. With Sylvia Day's Bared to You, I had the opportunity to read a great piece of romance that I otherwise would not have read if it wasn't offered to me as a request for a review. I have to admit that I was much surprised by the caliber of this romance novel.
First of all, Bared to You is R-A-W. The f-words, f-bombs, and f-surprises are far from few. At the same time it's what MAKES this novel so fascinatingly funny AND exotic. I found myself several times reading certain passages in plain shock, then laughing loudly at the rawness of it all, and then just being fascinated by the acute crispness of the language used to describe some of the most incredibly 'plain' scenarios. Let me give you some examples (I'll give you some of the passages at the beginning of the book so as not to give away the plot.... just enough to make you curious to want to read it yourself.)
"I waited a beat for the man to move out of my way and when he didn't, I arched my neck back to allow my line of sight to rise. The custom three-piece suit hit more than a few of my hot buttons, but it was the tall, powerfully lean body inside it that made it sensational. Still, as impressive as all that magnificent maleness was, it wasn't until I reached the man's face that I went down for the count."
I was hooked after this. And then there came more and I, myself, was down for the count, as well.
"Blinking out of my semidaze, I released him. He wasn't just beautiful; he was ... enthralling. He was the kind of guy who made a woman want to rip his shirt open and watch the buttons scatter along with her inhibitions. I looked at him in his civilized, urbane, outrageously expensive suit and thought of raw, primal, sheet-clawing fucking."
Now, I'm telling you. After this, if you're a lover of romance novels you will not want to put this down. If you normally don't read romance, you'll want to see what happens next, badly.
Surprisingly, enough, this romance series has a special sophistication to it. It's not ruled fully by emotions, sensations, and superficiality. It touches on more sophisticated themes, like the subtleties of our attraction towards another person. The details of expression that leads us to be attracted to another person. The directness as well as the subtext of human attraction.
Additionally, I loved the writing of this book. There is pleasant simple crispness to it. You have beautiful painted images with very simple language, a language that is easily accessible from multiple senses - emotionally, sensually, and intellectually. Take for example these passages:
"The rest of the day passed in a blur. Mark touched bases with two clients and had a long meeting with the creative team working on concept ideas for a trade school. It was fascinating process seeing firsthand how the various departments picked up the baton from one another to carry a campaign from proposition to fruition."
"Awareness of him prickled across my skin. He was a potent force in such a small enclosure, radiating a palpable energy and sexual magnetism that had me shifting restlessly on my feet. My breathing became ragged as my heartbeat. I felt that inexplicable pull to him again, as if he exuded a silent demand that I was instinctively attuned to answering."
If there is a romance novel that should be read, it is this one. I am convinced. I am excited to see how the next on in the series turns out.