5 break neck Stars
Some characters walk into our lives, whether it by books or movies or some other method, and crawl into our hearts. They touch something profound in us in the telling of their stories; provide a mirror for us to see our own lives through a different perspective. We get attached to them as we walk their journey with them, cheering for them, crying for them, screaming at them. They become part of our own story, to an extent, and that is one of the greatest gifts we can ever hope to gain – company, along for the ride.
Taylor Holden and Shyla Ball are exactly those kind of characters. When the Strapped series started, we met a completely cold, closed off, disengaged Taylor completely in control of his life and those around him. Scarred and broken from his past. Shyla was shy and content to stay that way. She was quiet and disengaged in her own way, fully content to ride the flow of her life as it unfolded before her. One spilled cup of coffee later and they found their lives jack-knifed into each other in the craziest of ways and their story is one that will stay with me forever.
This series has so many threads moving through it, I couldn’t quite begin to wrap my head around how Nina G. Jones was going to wrap them all up in three little books. There was no way she would be able to successfully tie everything together in a way that made sense, gave Taylor and Shy the happy ending they so completely deserved and dealt out the justice those around them also deserved. Not only did she prove me utterly wrong, she nailed it so completely that I had to read this last book twice.
UnStrapped not only delivers everything a fan of this series could ever hope for story wise, but it also cracks these characters open so wide that we get to see them fully bloom into their complete and amazing selves, individually and together. Taylor and Shyla step into their own skins in such a gorgeous way throughout this story, meeting each other where they are and bringing out the very best in each other. There are moments of exquisite tenderness, heartbreak, humor and intelligence. And the sex. Jaysus, the sex scenes. Jones has completely outdone herself with the heat factor in this book.
I fell in love with these characters immediately. And I fell in love with Jones’ writing immediately. She is able to ensnare every single sense and light them on fire with even the simplest of scenes and that ability combined with the incredible depth built into these characters and their story makes for a series that stands alone amongst its contemporaries.
Jones has crafted a final book in this series that starts at a break neck speed and never once lets up. She is ruthless in her pressure upon these characters and the incredible obstacles she places before them. But such are Taylor and Shy that they leap each one with grace and dignity and as a reader, you just stand back, mouth agape, wondering how the hell they just pulled that off. And then a smile pulls your mouth wide as you realize you don’t care, you’re just stoked you got to watch it happen.
The Strapped series will be with me forever. As sad as I am to see it end, I’m just thrilled that I got to go along for the ride. To have these characters with me, their wickedness and wit, their insanity and singular way of looking at the world, their risk taking and courage, is a gift I’ll take out and admire for a long time to come.