THIS SERIES!!! It’s no secret that Zoey Castile is the romance pen name for Zoraida Córdova, and I could FEEL Córdova’s writing in this book. I love it. I loved every second I spent reading it. I’m very excited to talk about it!
In Stripped, Robyn Flores is an exhausted teacher who seems to have lost control of her life. She can’t sleep, so her work and friendships are starting to fall apart, and she has no idea how to stop the unraveling. She even picked up the wrong bag of laundry one morning and found a sequin thong in it. Ugh. She uses the other person’s laundry to clean up some spilled coffee and then… that person comes to the door to exchange bags. And that person is… hot. And hitting on her. But she feels like she can’t start seeing someone who is so clearly out of her league after she just stole his laundry. By accident, but still! But she keeps running into this guy in her building, and the spark is difficult to deny. Even after she finds out what she does for a living. But then again, she does something respectable for a living and is clearly unhappy, so who is she to judge anyone else, you know?
Zac Fallon is a stripper, and he’s damn good at his job. His touring show has a several-month gig in New York City, and he got a puppy to try to make the place feel a little more like home. But what he wasn’t expecting was meeting a beautiful woman, a woman who happens to live one floor above him, and to fall trulymadlydeeply for her. That’s when he starts to realize that maybe he’d like a respectable career after all. And he’ll do all he can to encourage Robyn to follow her dreams, so shouldn’t he listen to his own advice? It’s time for him to retire, maybe. Or something. He doesn’t know! But what he knows is that he wants to be with Robyn for as long as she’ll have him.
Can they overcome their differences and make it work? ❤
3 Things I Loved
- Robyn. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more SEEN than when I was reading Robyn’s point of view. I had my life pretty together when I was in my twenties. I got married at 26, was working very successfully from home (before it was mandatory) and took a job at a really prestigious company at 29 that was a huge step up for me. And then… things fell apart. My job is still great, but I’m now divorced and my apartment is always a mess and mornings are my nemesis now. So reading Robyn’s POV, I really felt like Castile understood me. I’m not sure I’ve really ever felt that before in a book. Ever.
- Fallon. Okay, so Fallon is just a sweetheart. He’s super built and hot and sexy but also has this heart of gold and wants to do the right thing and wants to be good enough to deserve Robyn. In my opinion, as soon as a person wants to be better for another person, they automatically deserve them. And that’s what I took from this book too.
- Fallon’s found family. The other guys in Mayhem City are so great. You can tell that they all love each other and look out for each other, and I love reading that. I’m excited to talk about the other two books in the series, also about Mayhem City members. Ow OW.
I think my only real dislike in this book was also the only trigger I can come up with for this book – Robyn’s boss, the young principal of her school who is clearly a predator. Slight spoiler, I guess, but you learn that pretty early on. The dude just PREYS on Robyn, and Fallon can see it too, and it’s just. UGH. It’s very in line with #MeToo and all of that stuff going on, because Robyn can take care of herself but she’s worried about her job, which she NEEDS to survive. It’s such a mess, and it was messy to read, and I really hated it. A lot.
So, if that type of predatory behavior could be triggering to you, please take care of yourself.
Aside from that, there were some Bridesmaids vibes that I didn’t love – Robyn is her best friend’s maid of honor and gets replaced not long before the wedding by someone who is more put together. I didn’t love reading that either, but the friendship was in a better place at the end of the book, when Robyn chases after what she actually wants. So I like to think they were able to repair things properly.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
This was light and fun and the chemistry was electric. Highly recommend. I’m giving Stripped a BLUE rating. I’ve literally been a fan of every single Córdova book I’ve ever read, and guess what! There are more reviews of hers coming down the pipe too, yay!