Today’s post has two reviews in one, because Damaged Goods is the novella that comes between A Girl Like Her (review here) and Untouchable!
TITLE: Damaged Goods (Ravenswood, #1.5)
AUTHOR: Talia Hibbert
AGE RANGE: Adult
Laura Burne‘s husband is a monster, her diamond ring is a trap, and her pregnancy is the push she needs to finally escape. She runs away seeking safety… and finds Samir Bianchi, her long-lost teenage sweetheart. With his kind eyes and dirty smile, Samir’s still hot as hell—and he still treats Laura like a goddess, baby bump and all.
She was different now. She was a little bit ruined. She was damaged.
When we first met Laura in A Girl Like Her, it was hard for me to know what to make of her. The fact that she was married to Daniel — Ruth’s abusive ex, if you don’t recall — and pregnant with his child was enough to make one wary of her, but knowing Talia Hibbert’s writing as I did, I knew to expect better from her than the vilification of an abuse victim, so I went into Damaged Goods feeling optimistic and hopeful.
“It’s rather simple. You met her. You fell in love with her. You never saw her again. You never fell out of love.
Right from the start, it’s clear that Laura is nothing like Daniel, and no longer wants anything to do with him — and I loved her. She’s a powerhouse, and she deserves only the best in life, which luckily for Samir, happens to include the total teddy bear of a former flame she finds in her old beach town. Samir Bianchi is one of the most lovable, incredible romance heroes I’ve ever met, and I will forever sing his praises. (He’s also half-Moroccan, if you’re curious about the rep in this book!)
Really, half-nakedness was highly irresponsible, coming from a man who looked like that.
I also have to say that, despite the fact that there is some triggering content in the base plot (after all, Laura is an abuse survivor), Damaged Goods is overall one of the cutest, happiest, funniest, and most tender romances I’ve ever read. I laughed out loud at so many quotes (my endless favorite being: “Permission to beat the shit out of your husband?”), and I just honestly look back on this entire story and these characters with so much fondness, it’s sickening. ♥
TITLE: Untouchable (Ravenswood, #2)
AUTHOR: Talia Hibbert
AGE RANGE: Adult
Prim and proper Hannah Kabbah is supposed to make Nate’s life easier, but the more time he spends around his live-in nanny, the more she makes things… hard. He can’t take advantage of her vulnerable position, but he can’t deny the truth, either: with every look, every smile, every midnight meeting, Nate’s untouchable employee is stealing his heart. The trouble is, she doesn’t want to keep it.
Hannah’s emotions, she had come to accept, were often inappropriate.
In book 1 of the Ravenswood series, we focused on the younger Kabbah sister, Ruth, but we also got the chance to meet her fiercely protective, nursery-teacher-extraordinaire-with-a-criminal-record older sister, Hannah. I enjoyed Hannah Kabbah enough in A Girl Like Her,but I can’t say I got the chance to become terribly attached to her, so I was interested to see what it would be like to spend an entire novel focusing on her (plus, I was a little apprehensive about leaving my sweet babies Ruth and Evan).
She seemed almost alien in her perfection, removed from his reality, as bright and untouchable as a star in the sky. And lonely, too. He didn’t mind the perfection, but he didn’t like that loneliness. He’d been lonely before.
Luckily, there was nothing to fear; while Ruth is still the Superior Kabbah Sister™ for me, Hannah is practically just as brilliant, and perhaps even more relatable. I gotta tell you guys, the mental health representation in Untouchable is absolutely brilliant. We see depression, anxiety, anger issues, and more — and it’s all crafted with so much love, care, and genuineness that it’s no question Talia Hibbert wanted to give us the best rep possible (as always — did I mention that our heroine is also black, bi, and plus-size? MY QUEEN).
“You’re a galaxy, and I am constantly in awe of you.”
On top of how much I adored Hannah, I can’t possibly nottalk about how incredible Nate is. He’s such a teddy bear, he’s obsessed with consent and the concerns of power imbalances with his being Hannah’s boss, and he’s a wonderful father to his children. Plus, he’s a big, scary yet attractive, grumpy-looking hottie covered in tattoos. Need I say more?
The final thing I want to mention is that, if you were wondering, yes, we do get to spend a bit more time with Ruth and Evan in this installment, and yes, they are just as precious as you’d expect them to be. We also get to learn a little bit more about Zach (who you might also remember as Evan’s coworker from AGLH!) and their mother, and we get to meet a very special new lady in town, Rae, and her awesome, massive puppy sidekick — who you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for in the series finale, That Kind of Guy!
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