Friday, February 14, 2014

Shredded by Tracy Wolff

The Basics:
Shredded by Tracy Wolff
Flirt (Random House)
Book One in the Extreme Risk series
Romance, New Adult
Published on Feb 4, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I loved the tattoos on the cover, and the idea of a love story with a snowboarder at the heart.


In this intense and exhilarating New Adult series debut, a hotshot snowboarder and a rebel with a cause try to let go of the past—and find a future with each other.

Twenty-one-year-old professional snowboarder Z Michaels is the bad boy of Park City, Utah. He’s always had his pick of any girl in town—and on the competition circuit. But underneath his cool exterior is a young man in turmoil, trying to take the edge off tragedy by overindulging in sex and shredding the slopes. In fact, Z’s rash behavior is a thinly veiled attempt to blunt his emotional suffering with physical pain.

Ophelia Richardson isn’t like any girl Z has ever met. Though she’s from New Orleans, she’s no Southern belle—and she’s not shy about being miserable in frozen, godforsaken Park City. But after nearly dying in the same drag-racing accident that killed her boyfriend, she needs a place to heal, both physically and emotionally. The last thing Ophelia wants right now is a boyfriend—especially one as rich and reckless as Z. But Ophelia soon discovers that he isn’t what he seems. If anything, Z may be even more damaged than she is.

Feeling alone in the world, Z and Ophelia find a connection unlike any they’ve ever known. But their tormented pasts pull them in every direction, forcing their relationship into a downhill slide before it even begins—unless they can find the strength in each other to trust, grow, and love again.

My thoughts:

This story about a tortured pro snowboarder who's coping with some pretty significant emotional baggage and the New Orleans girl struggling to redefine her life after losing her first love in a horrifying drag-racing accident was about as heartwrenching and sexy as you'd expect.

Shredded fell in line with what I've come to expect from good New Adult books - we get the hero and heroine's perspectives back and forth by chapter. This gives us important insight into Z's trauma as well as Ophelia's - key for identifying with them both even when they're acting like jerks.

Z is everything we want in a love interest - he's sexy, protective, caring, vulnerable, full of swagger. He's also completely imperfect, which made him far more believable than if he'd been less of a manwhore, an asshole, etc.. Ophelia's got a lot going for her too - sassy, impressed by Z but not willing to give up any ground at all, she's brave when she needs to be, she's smart enough to try to protect herself when she thinks she needs to.

I thought the two were a great match! There's some really good back and forth between the two and I liked how they pick up on what's going on underneath the surface. The way they take care of each other without words, especially early in the book, is probably one of the sweetest things about Shredded, and certainly won me over.

I liked the snowboarding details - it was fantastic to read sections where Z actually participates in his sport rather than simply being assigned a sexy sport that stays in the background. If anything, this amped up Z's appeal, and gave credit to some of the swagger he had, which otherwise might have read a little false or overblown.

Z's friends - Ash, Luc and Cam - are, I assume, going to be the focus of additional books in the series. I had feared as I hit about three quarters of the way through that I might be reading the first in a trilogy about Z and Ophelia - it's certainly a popular format! Thank goodness that there's some closure for them, with things opened up for the next story in the series to focus on his friends.

Bottom line:

I enjoyed Shredded. It delivered everything I really wanted, though it didn't throw out any big surprises.
I'll certainly be on board for the rest of the series.

Bonus, with the Olympics in progress, this tale about a snowboarder revving up for the trials is timely!

4 stars
For fans of romance, new adult, snowboarding, extreme sports, angst

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