Reviewed by Susan
TITLE: Stripped Bare
AUTHOR: Susan MacNicol
PUBLISHER: Buroughs Publishing Group
LENGTH: 290 pages
BLURB: After two years, Matthew Langer is still getting over the death of a loved one. He’s steered clear of serious relationships, but when he meets the irascible, dirty mouthed and tempestuous Shane Templar that decision has never been harder. Shane is sexy, warm and funny, and Matthew finds himself trying like hell not to care about him. Especially when Shane, with his quick wit and hacking skills, is quick to stand up for justice and avenge wrongs. Then Shane strikes at the wrong target, and Matthew realises just how far gone he already is. At the threat of losing for good yet another man who’s broken through his armour, Matthew finds his heart stripped bare. He must face the demons of his soul or a future without love.
Stripped Bare is another one of those stories (I feel like 1 in 5 of every M/M book out there is this story) about a man (Matthew) who lost his partner and struggles to give himself to new love. He meets the gorgeous escort/computer hacker Shane via some odd circumstances with a mutual friend and it’s instant attraction. Matt has a hard time letting go of the past but can’t help his growing affections towards Shane. There is flirtation, a physical relationship, and then an emotional commitment…all peppered in with other random story bits.
Stripped Bare, if it were indeed stripped bare would actually be an interesting book. The whole computer hacker angle had potential. There were a couple great “villians”, some zany sidekicks, a friends-to-lovers storyline, and 2 hot MC’s. The problem with the book, however, was that none of this actually comes together. It’s a bunch of parts that from far away might seem like a whole, but up close, you can see all the spaces between them. And though I kept trying to stay engaged in the story in hopes that something great would come out of this potential, I more-often-than-not felt annoyed and irritated.
My greatest frustrations really came with the dialogue between the 2 MC’s. What I think was supposed to be banter and flirtation, actually read as cheesy, overly done, clichés. The 2 men fought like emotional old women, constantly judging each other and nagging each other and lecturing each other. I felt like the author wanted there to be some angst and tension, but other than the fact that the 2 of them had sex ALL THE TIME, when they weren’t pawing each other (and I’m curious how many times the term “cock twitch” was used in this book…it felt like every page), they were arguing with each other. I had to ask myself, “Do these 2 even LIKE each other?” What’s to make me buy into their relationship?
The entire middle of the book was slow and nothing actually happens. The story turned to focus on the relationship, which I would normally love. But, because I didn’t even like the MC’s and didn’t feel their chemistry, it felt as though I would never get to the end. Thankfully, it picks up and some curveballs are thrown into the loop. But I think I was already too far “over it” to be that interested. Everything ties up in a pretty bow in the end.
One additional minor annoyance: the chapter titles. Really? It’s like broadcasting exactly what’s going to happen in that chapter. Borderline spoiler’ish. I really didn’t get those.
I do think that there is an audience out there for this book. I actually would have thought I was a part of that audience…it’s right up my alley as the type of story I typically enjoy. But, maybe I’m too jaded to take to the cheesiness. Who knows? If you like the stories where they have pet names and call each other “oh lover” all the time (in normal conversation), this one could work for you.
I think it was fine. I liked it ok. I did skim maybe 1/3 of it. But, there’s potential there.
Susan is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
To read all her reviews, click the link: Susan’s Reviews
Check out all our recommended books in Sid Love’s eBook Store:
(Support this site and buy the books from my A-store)