Series: Ravenswood #1 & #1.5
Publisher : Nixon House
Genre : Adult | Romance
I’ve been meaning to read something by Talia Hibbert for MONTHS now so when I heard Damaged Goods has a half-moroccan MC and got the arc for it, I thought that was a sign from the heavens to finally stop procrastinating and get on this so I started with the first book in the series A Girl Like Her and it was SO SO good. It had me hooked and I couldn’t stop reading.
Everyone has secrets. He wants all of hers.
Meet the man next door…
After years of military service, Evan Miller wants a quiet life. The small town of Ravenswood seems perfect—until he stumbles upon a vicious web of lies with his new neighbour at its centre. Ruth Kabbah is rude, awkward, and, according to everyone in town, bad news. Thing is, no-one will tell Evan why. Does she perform ritual sacrifices? Howl at the moon? Pour the milk before the tea? He has no clue.
But he desperately wants to find out. Because Ruth doesn’t seem evil to him; she seems lonely. And funny, and clumsy, and secretly quite sweet, and really f*%king beautiful… The more Evan’s isolated, eccentric neighbour pushes him away, the more he wants her. Her—and all her secrets. Because there’s no way a girl like Ruth truly deserves the town’s scorn.
… Is there?
CW: Mentions of intimate Partner violence, harrassment, slutshaming.
Talia’s writing style? is? so? gorgeous? It is seriously some of the best romance book writing style I’ve EVER read. And I’ve read a lot. It’s the perfect mix of sexy and sweet and that honestly is the running theme for the whole book.
The story follow Ruth, an autistic fat black woman who rarely gets out of her house Because of the vendetta her whole town seems to have against her. She’s so strong headed, honest and often of the time awkward and borderline rude, which… considering her circumstances is understandable, it’s her only defense mechanism against all the bs that is thrown her way whenever she steps outside, but once you crack the surface, she’s sweet, passionate and incredibly funny. And the clumsiness, oh my God, I’ve never read about any one more clumsy than Ruth, she’s a walking talking accident waiting to happen.
Then we have Evan, one hunk of an ex military man who is incredibly caring and SHOWS IT BY COOKING, seriously, since the moment he moves next door to Ruth he starts feeding her and never stops. And men who cook…make me…weak. I’M SORRY I’M ONLY HUMAN. So I was fawning all over him while reading, not gonna lie. He’s also effortlessly charming and eventhough it doesn’t seem like it at first glance, he has some (non military related) past trauma of his own that’s always playing in his mind.
A Girl Like Her is so addicting, like I said before, I really could not put it down, especially once I got to the second half . The one issue I had with it is that it got repetitive at times, it was more of the same conflict and my impatient ass got frustrated at times haha. The romance is SO domestic, most of it happens either in her appartement or in his, which I adored because they got to know each other with no pressure in settings in which they are both comfortable. Also, Ruth rarely leaves her PJs and when she does it’s for leggings and comfy shirts. Their banter is adorable and at times absolutely hilarious. The smut doesn’t take over the book, in fact there are only a couple scenes, and only in the second half of the book and they’re so wonderfully done, making consent explicit and sexy.
One last thing I want to touch upon is Ruth’s relationship with her older sister Hannah. It’s complicated and there’s a lot of unsaid between them for most the story but what I really appreciated about it is that they love each other unconditionally. The second book in the series, Untouchable, is about her and I’m SO incredibly excited to dive into it.
They fell in love fifteen years ago and never quite fell out again…
Laura Burne arrives in Beesley-on-Sea searching for peace, happiness, and safety—not for the teenage sweetheart she left behind. And yet, one moonlit night on the beach, she finds him anyway.
Samir may be a man now, but he’s still sexy as sin, still sweet as pie, and still determined to take care of her. The problem is, while he’s remained the same, Laura’s life is forever changed—and not just by the unborn child she carries.
She’s on the run from her own personal monster. Her baby’s father. Her husband. There isn’t a man alive who’d take on those complications. So Laura has to remember that just because Samir protects her, and makes her smile, and watches her with something close to hunger in his eyes, it doesn’t mean he wants her…
Which is a shame. Because, against all reason and all goddamn common sense, Laura just might want him.
*I received an early copy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review*
CW: Descriptions of domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, and child abuse.
Now to the book that was the reason my Hibbert reading journey started. A ROMANCE WITH A HALF MOROCCAN HERO. Listen. Listen. Listen. I never ever see moroccans in books ever so can you blame me for jumping at this rare occasion? And it did not disappoint a single bit. I loved A Girl Like Her, but this sweet sweet novella literally melted my heart and healed my soul. Plus it’s a second chance romance, which is my second favourite trope ever so let’s just say that I was very well fed by this book.
Laura, the heroine, went to her beach house escaping an abusive relationship and looking for a calm environment to carry on her pregnancy. and let me tell you she’s one heck of a strong woman. Definitely flawed Because the insecurities from her toxic relationship made her an absolute bitch towards people (and especially Ruth) but we learn in this book that she’s redeemed herself and they’re now close friends and Ruth is basically her only stable emotional support system. Laura, as we see her in Damaged Goods, is nice and resilient, but still dealing with an incredible amount of trauma from the abuse she endured which -how I read it- she has PTSD from.
Then we have Samir, who’s Moroccan-italian and who, FYI, has ruined every Moroccan man is existence for me. He literally has no filters (in a good way), is incredibly sweet, soft and hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud more than once reading their interactions. The only thing he wants from Laura is a chance to be with her for real this time, because he realises that his love for her from when they were teenagers remains the same. He’s upfront and honest with her about it but never forces her to do anything or takes her rejecting him to heart, he knows she’s dealing with a lot of things without her having to tell him and he genuinely just wants to be there for her in any way she needed and SUPPORT her. His excitement about her baby just warmed my heart soooo much, HE EVEN BOUGHT AND READ BABY BOOKS, OKAY? Why are you doing this to me, Talia? W H Y?
Don’t even get me started on how hot this book is, it has me SWEATING (no shame, friends). As well as how incredibly soft. This is what I love most about Talia’s books. How she can give you a perfect balance of the two. Their conversations and interactions are so natural and effortless, it’s like they picked up from where they left things off as teenagers and that was so cute to read.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read any of these two books? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.