Surrender the Past
Sometimes the theme of a book is difficult to parse; not so with this installment of the extended Scientific Method Universe collection of stories. After meeting him as a bit character in the main series, I was excited to get to know Nick better in his own romance. Because it takes place earlier in the main series, some of the tension was lost because I knew he and Bernie would end up happily ever after. But that’s not a spoiler, because this is a romance novel.
That romance story can its own long road, though, and Nick and Bernie have been on theirs for almost a decade. Even as they push the concept of self-acceptance on Eddie and Leo, the secondary non-traditional romance of this tale, it’s evident that our heroes have a bit of that to learn themselves.
This book also touches on some interesting themes of the role of race in power dynamics. I would have loved to see the characters develop and explore that further, but I do understand that Ripper may have shied away from that discussion because ze is not a Black man.
Hopefully, I’ll get to see further progression of Eddie and Leo’s romance in additional books in this series. If you loved the Scientific Method books, this is an excellent start to the continuation. Hugh and Truman make plenty of appearances, and viewing Hugh from an external perspective outside his relationships is worth the price of admission alone.
The New Born Year
Things always look different from the outside; a new perspective can put an exciting twist on familiar characters. This time, we see the established “families” of the Scientific Method universe via Truman’s younger sister. I’ve enjoyed her as a character from the first meeting, especially in comparison to the rest of their family, so it was not a hardship to experience the first holiday beach house outing through her eyes.
This book is best read after the full Scientific Method series, including Surrender the Past, for the full effect. Some secrets were never meant to be kept from true family, so I’m glad that Will’s place in Hugh and Truman’s relationship is outed relatively quickly and that Alison rolls with it. Its clear that she has no experience with BDSM, so certain aspects of the rest of what’s going on in the house around her are kept more on the down-low. However, Alison also accepts what she does find out about with grace, by establishing that love and respect are involved, and then not letting it significantly diminish or alter how she feels about other characters.
In short, it was lovely to meet her. I can’t wait to read her happily ever next up in this engrossing series.
Practice Makes Perfect
I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet romance set in the Scientific Method universe, featuring Truman’s younger sister getting her own happily ever after. Alison is the only other tolerable member of the Jennings family, so I’m glad she could escape to California and become part of her brother’s larger found family.
Breaking the rules by falling in love at a BDSM and Dating workshop was not how I expected her “meet cute” to go, but it was definitely in form for the rest of this series. Alison and Paul made an adorable couple, and I appreciated that Ripper included occasional missteps regarding Paul’s use of a wheelchair. It made the story realistic without verging on preachiness. All experiences are different, but Ripper seems to have done their research in portraying Paul.
This installment is probably the lightest on the BDSM content by far, but it’s appropriate considering the experience level and relationship status of the pairing. That doesn’t stop Alison and Paul’s sexual encounters from being any less hot, while still retaining Alison’s sense of innate sweetness that I love from her.
I’m glad I’ll get to see glimpses of their continuing relationship throughout this series.
Threshold of the Year
Another New Year’s vacation at the beach house, this time featuring Truman’s best friend, Jase. This series of annual holiday stories featuring points of view other than the three primary characters of the Scientific Method series is a fascinating perspective into both that trio and the other relationships of their extended family-of-choice.
Back home in Boston, there’s probably no way that Jase would get involved in the Nick and Bernie dynamic, but vacation can seem like another world outside of time.
This sexy novella might not have much in significant plot or character development for this series, but I adore these characters. Luckily, so does Jase, and a good time is had by all.
Ring in the True
The point-of-view character for this year’s adventure at the beach house features someone mentioned in Surrender the Past. It sounds like he’s doing rather well for himself since then, and has been renovating the beach house despite his home base being back in Boston.
The usual sexual shenanigans ensue, but the best part of this story is Hugh’s holiday spirit, reuniting Evan with his girlfriend for a few days.
Usually, I write something about wanting to see these characters again in the future, but it sounds like Evan’s life is pretty sorted, and I’m happy to let him go on his merry way. He was an interesting POV choice for this book, but I appreciate the sense of closer Ripper brings to a character only briefly mentioned, while also making him a fully-fledged person I enjoy.
Let Every New Year Find You
Davey was not my favorite character in this series the first time we met them, and I wasn’t thrilled to invite them back into my favorite found-family now. Honestly, if it weren’t for the kitten sub-plot, this novella would have been even more of a drag.
On the plus side, the burgeoning friendship between Davey and Eddie is something that both characters need. The relationship that blooms between them is incredibly sweet, and I hope for both of their sakes that it’s not a one-off developed in the island of “vacation time” at the beach house.
Overall, this novella is not a bad addition to the larger Scientific Method universe. I was genuinely surprised to see the return of this particular character, and I hope Ripper has a happy ending in mind for them to live up to the rest of this series.
What does a fun, sexy series need to be thrown right in the middle of it? A painful, heart-wrenching story of loss. Adam and Rebecca didn’t deserve this experience, and part of me wishes this hadn’t been the plot Ripper chose to focus on them for. On the other hand, Ripper develops a fantastic, profound tale of pain and recovery. Yes, I cried through most of it.
Pregnancy loss affects every person and couple differently, and as someone who is childfree, I’ve never been even close to the position Ads and Beccs find themselves in. However, I could still empathize with their pain and their journeys through it.
This book is not necessary to read in the greater scope of the Scientific Method universe, so those who might be negatively affected by the content can easily skip this one. However, if the theme of pregnancy loss is not a trigger for you, I encourage all fans of this series to read this book despite how different it is from the rest of the series. Ripper more than proves their ability to write moving storylines that have nothing to do with romance and sex.
Every New Beginning
This New Year’s at the beach house novella is simultaneously an ending and a new beginning, as it says on the tin. At this point, all the relationships in the extended found-family of the Scientific Method Universe are in a solid place (though far from stagnant). However, Molly is in a different place and ready to embark on a new adventure in her life.
It was lovely to revisit one of my favorite characters in this series, and I’m pleased that Ripper takes the time to remind us that she’s a three-dimensional character rather than Will’s former girlfriend. I honestly could have done without the sexy bits in this book. That particular pairing has always seemed contrived to me, though perhaps Ripper is setting up a significant change in Lucy’s life for a future story here as well.
Kris Ripper is an author added to my insta-buy list for any future installments to this universe. The story as it stands is relatively complete as of this novella, but I’d be thrilled to revisit almost all these characters in the future.