Note: This ARC was provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was different.
Uma commanded, and Ivan complied. He could overpower her at any moment but chose not to. She was drunk off his acquiescence.
I admit it. It was the cover that caught my eye, which is what I think book covers are supposed to do. And then I read the synopsis, and my attention held. Now, I’ve not only finished reading a really well-written book with healthy amounts of quirky sweetness, snarky back-and-forths, and fan-yourself-because-it’s-so-hot sex plus a dose of suspense, but I’ve added a new name to my roster of must-watch authors in Adriana Anders. Under Her Skin is the first in her debut series, Blank Canvas, and while it does keep its focus on the main couple the story is about, there are also a couple of supporting characters that were scene-stealers who brought much-appreciated lightness to the story as a whole. This book has set the bar high for the two other books to follow.
A promise made on the radio by a doctor has led Uma Crane to Blackwood, Virginia, and a brutally honest ad in the newspaper has brought her to the doorstep of one Ms. Lloyd. However, it isn’t her would-be employer that she meets first—it’s the neighbor, Ivan Shifflett, and his precocious bundle of fur, Squeak. At first sight, Ivan is physically intimidating and should have spooked a victim of abuse like Uma, but there’s a shyness to the gentle giant, and he soon becomes a source of support and levity for her. There’s also an underlying current of attraction between them, something that grows far stronger than either one of them could have predicted. But Uma’s past refuses to set her totally free, and the inked reminders on her skin will never allow her to forget.
Under Her Skin was a surprisingly enchanting read, and when I say “enchanting”, I don’t mean your typical fairy tale. There was something about it that made it so damn different from anything that I had read before it this week. Adriana Anders’s writing more than tickled my fancy, giving me things I wasn’t expecting but wholly welcomed. If you had asked me prior to reading this book what my ideal book boyfriend was like, there was no way I would have described someone like Ivan Shifflett. But by the end of it all, the man won me over tenfold, and Squeak—a dog with a history after my own heart—was the perfect companion for him, setting up an irresistible package that made me realize awesome things can be hidden beneath the most unexpected of wrappings.
Uma Crane has become one of my all-time favorite heroines, courtesy of the evolution she goes through here. She endured abuse at the hands of a man she was in love with and while she has her struggles and setbacks, you see her desperation and desire to truly push through them all and not just survive but truly thrive. She’s found the ideal man in Ivan—an actual partner and someone who’s secure in his masculinity, never hesitating to hand over the reins to Uma whenever she wants or needs. Saying how much I loved these two together doesn’t seem to be enough to explain how inspiring they were to read about, never rushing and taking their time to find their own footing in the world. Under Her Skin is my favorite debut so far in 2017 and it gets five-plus stars. ♥
Release Date: 07 February 2017
Date Read: 04 February 2017
Date Read: 04 February 2017
Learn more about Adriana Anders.