Thursday, June 13, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Paradise by Toni Morrison

5 Stars

While my first attempt at reviewing this title, a task I’m not sure anyone can do justice to, this is not my first reading of the novel. That was many moons ago back in graduate school. Fast forward two decades later and I’m now teaching it to my oldest. I’ve been looking forward to days like this—introducing a deeply layered, complex, literary juicy piece and letting those critical thinking, analytical wheels in the mind begin to turn. If you’ve also never read this, then hopefully I’ll inspire more than one.

In full honesty, I didn’t fall in love with it on my first read. I was sure then that Song of Solomon was my favorite by Morrison, and Paradise hadn’t replaced it. Now, I’m not so sure. It’s different from her previous novels, and doesn’t necessarily wow you at first glance. It takes some digging to dust off murky surface impressions before the luster emerges. So that said, I believe this is one of those books that you have to read more than once. Notice I didn’t say simply twice.

This might be one of those limitless reads because you’ll continue to pick up more pieces of the 10,000 count puzzle that Morrison sort of tosses out on the living room floor, some pieces turned upside down and maybe even an edge or two hiding under the couch, with each read. Given the way that math plays out in the storytelling, it’s likely that a few of the 10,000 pieces are missing and there’s only 9,999 or maybe there’s really 10,005. Regardless, this story is a challenge, one that even some literary scholars and book critics can’t fully put together. A few might even have jammed some wrong pieces. And who knows, possibly only Morrison has the box with the uncut, non disjointed image. But once you start getting enough connections to get some semblance of a picture, the jem that this is will begin to shine through even if like many truths it’s still enshrined in the earth.

If you haven’t guessed, there isn’t a neat little linear plot. It’s not meant to be skimmed. If you read this book in that manner, you surely won’t get it. Nor is it meant to be read simply for surface value or for the story (stories) alone.  You can try that and you might still enjoy it, but it’s a tale about what’s underneath the surface….what’s really going on with not just the five displaced women (Mavis, Gigi, Seneca, Pallas, and Connie) who don’t need men or God, who break the mold of acceptable society and decorum to find wholeness, but also the men and the community they offend. In fact, be prepared to get an eclectic, and at times disjointed, history of the town and its residents as it’s interwoven with the arrivals of the women at the Convent—a building that’s sorta a former house of worship, school, and playboy mansion. (Yep, you read that right.)

While the premise (depicted on Goodreads and on the book’s cover)—“Paradise opens with a horrifying scene of mass violence and chronicles its genesis in an all-black small town in rural Oklahoma. Founded by the descendants of freed slaves and survivors in exodus from a hostile world, the patriarchal community of Ruby is built on righteousness, rigidly enforced moral law, and fear. But seventeen miles away, another group of exiles has gathered in a promised land of their own. And it is upon these women in flight from death and despair that nine male citizens of Ruby will lay their pain, their terror, and their murderous rage —sets an accurate tone of the tale, imagine it playing out on screen as the lovechild of The Wild Bunch and Lost in an all black Peyton Place.  And then every now and again Morrison throws out some doozy of a moniker or backstory tidbit and it might even feel a little bit like Soap!

Ruby is a second chance town—literally and figuratively, though it’s debatable if some people ever got a first. It was founded by nine families, only seven of which are represented in the children’s Nativity play that’s an amalgamation of town and biblical history after their first safe haven stopped prospering. On what seems to be a daily basis, the town’s elders wax nostalgic about, well, anything and everything that’s not happening in the present. That is except for everyone’s interest in the only spare Morgan heir, manwhore K.D. A marriage to Arnette Fleetwood, who K.D. got pregnant four years before, would appease his twin uncles who are ready for him to settle down; but he really wants Gigi who showed up in town looking for an obscene rock and has never left. Arnette’s best friend, Billie Delia, can’t stand K.D. but she is in love with two brothers, and despite the town’s certainly that she’s hot for a ménage, Billie Delia is purer than Arnette. Billie Delia’s mother is one of only two women in town who the handsome new minister might consider courting, but widow Pat Best is more interested in her town genealogy project filled with convoluted (and in some places incestuous) family trees alongside ‘quiet as its kept’ tidbits about the branches. What’s not quiet is the old reverend who can deliver a fire and brimstone sermon at a wedding sure to make any young couple want to elope, if the youngsters in town weren’t more concerned with hanging out at the Oven that’s only flaming a fire over its faded inscription rather than cooking any meals. Meanwhile, out at the Convent, Connie was blinded by the light, and annoyed with her roommates, has an awakening where art supplies and yoga poses make what has to be some interesting chalk outlines, foreshadowing the carnage that’s to come while at the same time freeing the girls from the pasts that haunts them.  When the town men let the seven deadly sins (or definitely five of them) get the best of them, they grab their guns, gum, and sunglasses and let their testosterone take over. It goes down as history usually does. Or does it?

Lost? You might be, but I don’t believe Morrison wrote any of it for shock value. There’s a message and plenty of social commentary littered throughout all that happens, at times almost poetic and lyrical, at times comical. There’s also enough misfortune, heartbreak, and injustice to make you cry from the tragedy of it all, flinch at the ignorance and baseness in people, and seethe when you consider or simply realize that while this story is fiction, it’s also the story of generations and generations of a not so pretty history of not just America but also mankind. There’s enough intrinsic commentary on religion, race, misogyny, gender relations, myth-making, memory, history, hypocrisy, and so much more to make the whole puzzle of it all worth it without hitting you over the head with the heavy themes. While some are blatant like the opening line, others are subtle, and if you fly through the pages too fast you might miss them.

It’s not a book to get hung up on spoilers. After all, Morrison starts the story with the climax. She tells you right off the bat, “They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they take their time.” Who is the white girl? ⚠Spoiler alert: You never know. And if another reader tries to tell you they are certain which one it is, they are as unreliable as the narrator of this story.
I’m guilty myself of trying to solve the opening line mystery as well as a few other intriguing ambiguities. Knowing there’s no definite answers maybe even makes me appreciate it all the more. I still look for clues like millions who flock to religion in search of answers even more unattainable. Ah, look what Morrison did there?

But mostly this is about the journey in the pages in between. While the novel starts with the men’s arrival at the convent for the last time and builds to the how and why their quest for purity and peace becomes tainted, bigoted, and bloodied, this is just as much, if not more, about how the women got where they are, were made  what they were, the obstacles that stood in their way, and the ties that bound and the shackles they broke.  Even when they are 17 miles from the town, separate from the community and “unequal” they are central to the world around them. And so perhaps it’s about how all women, marginalized and vilified, got where they are and still struggle to ascend in a world where witness testimony, histories, and religious scripture has been twisted to suit those in control much like the Ruby mens’ public proclamations for the slaughter are nothing but smoke screens, pathetic and thinly veiled excuses for the real selfish motivations that drive them to their patriarchal insanity.
“the women are not hiding. They are loose” (287).
For my romance reading friends if you’re looking for a break from that formulaic but smutastic genre, for something that delivers more substance, this is one to crack open and take a whirl at. 
Safety wise….
Well, it’s probably irrelevant because while the book is about love to the extreme, there’s no romance here. Nor is anything romanticized, which is really key. Arguably, there’s also no heroes or heroines. You could ponder through the entire book whether there is a protagonist. Or are there five of them? At least nine are antagonists. Are we getting into Morrison math again? It’s all as head-scratching as who the white girl is. I couldn’t even pass verdict on whether there’s an HEA. It’s like there isn’t…or is there?

There may be no right or wrong answers to the questions your mind will turn over when you start trying to connect the pieces of the intellectual puzzle that is this book.  Morrison herself said in an article back in 1998 that she’d rather have readers “grapple with her work than merely revere it.”   And in the vast sea of corruption that has plagued the contemporary romance world, that’s refreshing. It’s also a good reason to give the story a chance. Feel free to hit me up to chat if you do.


*I own a paperback copy of this book.  All reviews written by Book-Bosomed Book Blog are honest opinions.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The NewlyFEDS by Logan Chance

4 Stars

FBI agent Addison Buckley wants to advance from her desk job and be a field agent, and now her chance rests in the success of her new case—going undercover in an affluent suburb posing as newlyweds with sexy and assured agent Vin Mills.

Except Addison doesn’t really like Vin, and Vin thinks Addison is a bit uptight, certainly not his type till she fakes a sexy phone sex voice and gets caught in her panties. Then the stakes begin to change as the more the two get to know each other, the more they progress from “enemies” to friends to lovers.
“No way am I having my fake marriage be actionless.”
Vinn was cute to read as he tried to balance his determination to catch the bad guys with letting his bachelorhood fall behind him as he found Addison and the idea of settling down more comforting.
 “My dick is more than adequate, just an fyi.”
Though he’d lived a no-commitment lifestyle, he seemed like a good guy at heart.
“Sometimes, the best ‘man’ for a job is a woman.”
Addison’s end of the story is more sentimental as she negotiates the balance between real relationships and fake. It adds a heartwarming touch to the story, though I do wish she’d have gotten a bad ass moment or two.

The romance is a bit slow burn. I wouldn’t have minded them turning up the heat. They make a nice couple, but I didn’t always feel their chemistry.

The mystery angle kept me engaged. If you enjoy a little who-done-it, this one will give you a chance to break out your deduction skills. I’ll admit, I didn’t correctly guess the culprits.  

You will have to suspend some disbelief though. Like over the lack of home security systems and alarms in this well-off community, why an agent would chance suspicion on himself by buying a high-tech lock at his suspect’s business rather than obtaining it through the bureau, and how little these folks seem to worry about their lawns for a suburban neighborhood.

It's probably more The Real Housewives than The ‘Burbs. And while the supporting female characters rock nosey, they and their counterparts aren’t nearly as neurotic as suburbia can get. Told via Vinn and Addison’s alternating first person POV, it’s a light and easy read, a safe, low angst book to enjoy for some stress relief at the end of the day or an afternoon on the beach this summer.

*Title purchased from Amazon in May 2019. All reviews written by Book-Bosomed Book Blog are honest opinions.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

RELEASE/REVIEW: Unattainable by Jamie Schlosser

Series: Night Time Television
Genre: Romantic Comedy


The last person I expected to see on this tropical island is my ex. Although, since I never actually broke up with her, isn’t she technically still my girlfriend?

Yeah, I’ve got some explaining to do. And groveling. Probably some begging, too. Good thing we’re stuck at this resort together for the next three weeks. 

Corrine Harper is the only girl I’ve ever wanted, and I won’t let her slip through my fingers again. They call me Aiden the unattainable. Consider me attained. 

~Book Review~
4.35 Stars

Aiden Legend’s, 21, happy life was turned upside-down when he lost his parents at eighteen. In the process of grieving, he also pushed away the girl he adored.
“‘The last time the world felt right was when I was with you.’”
But now that he’s got his life back on track and the girl he always wanted in his sights, he’s ready to make amends.
“‘I should know what you taste like. What turns you on. What you look like when you sleep. Where your most ticklish spot is, and how you like to be kissed. By now, I could’ve known your body better than I know my own.’”
Aiden’s a total sweetie and an all-round good guy. I flove that he didn’t whore around in the years he was grieving; he was just lonely and lost. And man does he always know how to say the right thing.
“‘I’d rather rack myself in the nuts than break her heart.’”
Corrie Harper, 21, has her quirks. Like I might have a phobia or two, but this girl made me feel totally normal. None the less, it lends the comedic elements to the tale.

Told via their dual alternating first person POV, the pair doesn’t waste any time making up for lost time or rising the temperatures on a tropical island with their hot and dirty encounters.
“‘Call me old fashioned, but I thought you coming on my cock was a pretty good sign for the future.’”
All in all, a sweet, safe, low angst second chance romance with a super epilogue. Theo and Hadley from Untrainable make appearances with Theo proving what an awesome big brother he can be. Still the story can be read as a standalone, though the other two in this series really are must reads.

“Why are you so hellbent on denying that we kissed?” he interrupted heatedly, splashing water to the side.
Some of the droplets sprayed my neck and chin, and I let out a gasp of outrage.
“Because!” It was my turn to slap the water, making sure some of it hit Aiden’s chest.
“Because why?” He splashed me again. Definitely on purpose this time. “Our lips touched. That’s a real kiss.”
Shoving my hands forward with all the force I could muster, I caused a wave to arc straight to Aiden’s face. I had to bite the inside of my cheek to hold in my smile when he sputtered and scrubbed his eyes.
“It was my first kiss,” I said, once he could see me again.
“Mine, too.”
I wanted to scream that it was my only kiss, but that would’ve been giving him too much power. “It’s the one that’s supposed to be important and magical. The one that’s supposed to be longer than a millisecond. It’s not your fault that it didn’t last longer, but I feel cheated—”
Without warning, Aiden lunged forward. For a second, I thought he was starting the splash war again, but instead of water, I was assaulted by a slab of hard muscle.
Backing me against the wall, he smashed his lips to mine.
Surprised, I gasped as a lifetime of pent-up passion overflowed in the form of a hard press of his mouth.
Now this… this was a kiss.

~Also Available~

Jamie Schlosser grew up on a farm in Illinois surrounded by cornfields. Although she no longer lives in the country, her dream is to return to rural living someday. As a stay-at-home mom, she spends most of her days running back and forth between her two wonderful kids and her laptop. She loves her family, iced coffee, and happily-ever-afters.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Friends with Benefits by Hazel Kelly

4.5 Stars

Nina is a college freshman whose roommate is dating a fraternity brother of popular junior Carter Montgomery.  Via circumstance and proximity, they’re mostly just a little more than acquaintances, but not for Carter’s lack of trying.

I liked how Nina didn’t initially give in to Carter’s flirting and come-ons nor was she pining over him. The story avoided the clichéd virginal, sheltered, tongue-tied freshman characterization and instead presented a heroine who engaged in typical college activity, wasn’t looking to settle down at nineteen, and who could hold her own with an experienced frat boy. It led to a stronger female presentation, but also pages of banter where their chemistry brewed. And while it helped build the sexual tension between them, it also made Carter work for it and in the process have feelings for her beyond simply lust.

Now that’s romance!

And it paid off as once the duo ducked under the covers (or against the classroom wall), their encounters were hot and authentic.
“Honestly, I don’t think lightning could’ve struck my dick any harder, and no thunderstorm would’ve left it so drenched.”
I liked both Nina and Carter’s characters. While it would have been nice to see the hints of their family backgrounds fleshed out a little more, for the most part they were developed enough through the course of the story to form a clear picture their personalities.

Even though Carter was a former manwhore and there were the occasional references (nothing too skeevy though), it was a cute journey watching him squirm when Nina insisted on the no commitment arrangement.
“I was worried she’d meet someone else, worried she’d hear a story about me that would be one rumor too far, worried she’d get bored, worried I was giving too much of myself away to someone who thought I was capable of nothing more than a good time.”
Carter’s past aside, he really knew how to woo the girl once he was hooked on Nina. (Chapter 24 was my fav, but he could be my Valentine any time too.) And while I wanted to talk some sense into him right along with everyone else when he let his worries get the better of him, I also adored him a little more for caring about limiting Nina’s freedom so early in her college life.

Told via their dual alternating first person POV, this no-strings friends with benefits tale has a perfect balance of steam and swoon.
“Even the way he slipped inside me was slow and intense. As if he were deliberately waiting for our heartbeats to sync up before fucking me.”
If you enjoy relatively low angst, safe, sweet, and sexy college romance, you’ll want to grab a bag of M&M’s and settle in for this one!


*ARC received from the author. All reviews written by Book-Bosomed Book Blog are honest opinions. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Reid by Melanie Moreland

4 Stars

Reid Matthews (wish is would have given his age) is a former hacker convicted for his crimes, now reformed and working as head of IT for a Toronto company where he’s been given a second chance. But he wants a first chance at love with his co-worker and crush Becca Holden, 25.

Virgin heroes are a bit like unicorns so I’ll admit that premise intrigued me enough to check out this tale. Reid is a real sweetie. He’s totally all in for Becca; he just needs to let his past go.

Becca is very grounded, understanding, and sensible. She was just what Reid needed.
Despite Reid’s virginal status (or perhaps in lieu of it—he does have a lot of time to make up for) there’s no shortage of sexy times.
“I felt her everywhere as my orgasm built like wildfire in my veins, burning and twisting so hot I was certain all that would remain was ash when I climaxed.”
Told via their dual alternating first person POVs, I think the biggest appeal to me was seeing someone who had such a rough start in life get the happiness and stability they deserved. I read this at a time where my own life is going through some upheavals so it was enjoyable to have a positive story of triumph.

My only minor complaint was the narrative inserts of italic flashbacks. It sometimes threw off the flow. The storytelling was relevant and necessary; I just felt it could have been presented smoother.

This is a safe, relatively low-angst romance with a character backstory that tugs on the heartstrings. I haven’t read the previous books in the Vested Interest series, but I didn’t have any problems following along so it can operate as a standalone as well. That said, I might have to check out the other books as I liked those guys as side characters here.

*Title purchased from Amazon in April 2019. All reviews written by Book-Bosomed Book Blog are honest opinions.

Friday, April 19, 2019

COVER REVEAL: Unattainable by Jamie Schlosser

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: May 9, 2019


The last person I expected to see on this tropical island is my ex. Although, since I never actually broke up with her, isn’t she technically still my girlfriend?

Yeah, I’ve got some explaining to do. And groveling. Probably some begging, too. Good thing we’re stuck at this resort together for the next three weeks. 

Corrine Harper is the only girl I’ve ever wanted, and I won’t let her slip through my fingers again. They call me Aiden the unattainable. Consider me attained. 

Cover Design: Tanya Baikie @ More Than Words Graphic Design

Jamie Schlosser grew up on a farm in Illinois surrounded by cornfields. Although she no longer lives in the country, her dream is to return to rural living someday. As a stay-at-home mom, she spends most of her days running back and forth between her two wonderful kids and her laptop. She loves her family, iced coffee, and happily-ever-afters.


Monday, April 15, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Confessed by Nicola Rendell

4.35 Stars

Fleeing the scandal of tainted meat from her family’s empire, Lucy Burchett, 23 (or 22, both ages are given), hits the road and literally another vehicle in her rush to leave her old life behind. Vince Russo, 34, is running too.  A former convict with a Russian mobster on his tail, he wants to start over as well. What ensues is a road trip of adventure, hot sex, finding love, and new identities.
“The Beemer is custom—maple burl wood, full-grain leather—but I don’t know what the fuck is happening with all these pills. It’s like an ecstasy factory. I pick one up and put it on my tongue. Peppermint.”
The early humor in this pulled me in, the descriptions colorful and witty. Told via their dual alternating first person POV, the narration is entertaining and the plot engaging.
“The bar is called the Last Resort. It looks like a shack outside and smells like Pine Sol inside. It’s surprisingly crowded for a place in the middle of nowhere. I’m almost sure there’s a table of Hells Angels to my right as I walk in. Or ZZ Top impersonators with borderline personality disorders. One of them is carving a pentagram into the table with a knife while the rest of them sit watching and grooming their chest-length beards.”
The aforementioned bathroom-wrecking sex in the blurb…sexy and hilarious!  
“The automated hair dryer comes on, blowing on my balls. I’m not gonna lie. It feels fantastic.”
Like I might have read the line to my hubs and couldn’t get it out because I was snorting with laughter. I probably won’t look at automated bathroom features the same way again.

There’s no shortage of sexy times in this story. And while there is a point where a few sex scenes began to feel out of character, as if every edgy romance kink was thrown together, there were enough other things going for this couple to overlook a few scenes that might have been better left on the editing floor.

Overall, I liked both Lucy and Vince. While Lucy didn’t always behave the most cautiously, she certainly wasn’t weak. Hallelujah for a non-virginal, independent, daring heroine. In fact, at some points, she’s pretty bad ass.   
“Barreling down the highway towards Atlanta, exhausted, thirsty and dirty, with my head in my heart and my heart between my legs…”
Vince—I definitely picked up on the shady, criminal vibes at the start. I was wearier of him than Lucy. But he has heart, and when he beats up a misogynist, racist redneck… be still my heart.
“‘Learn some respect for women, you motherfucker!’”
Watching him fall for her and fall apart over her was beautiful. I was rooting for these two to get their HEA for miles. If you enjoy road trip adventures pleasingly void of OW/OM drama, this is one to take for a spin.

*Title purchased from Amazon in April 2019. All reviews written by Book-Bosomed Book Blog are honest opinions. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

RE-READ REVIEW: This Love by Nazarea Andrews

Original Read Date: 2013
Re-Read: March 2019

~Updated Book Review~
4.75/5 Stars

Atticus Grimes, 28, is a tatted bad boy history professor in need of a research assistant for his book on pirates.

Where were those professors when I was an undergrad?

Avery Emili, 21, is college student in need of some cash to attend her sister’s Jamaican wedding.

So how did the story hold up years later on a re-read?
I was easily reminded how I liked both of their characters. This is really critical to me for giving 5 stars so I can still see why I rated it that way. Atticus is a little surly and he gives mixed signals at first, but I was sympathetic to the fact that he was still trying to put his life back together. And he was hot in a take-what-he wants, conventions-be-damned kind of way. And yet I wouldn't call him reckless. 

I seriously enjoyed how Avery had a backbone and a brain.
“‘Time to put on your big girl panties and face the music. Hanging on a guy who so obviously doesn’t want you?’ I shake my head. ‘Have a little dignity.’”
We’re missing more girls like her in the romance market today. While I was rooting for her to just love this sexy man who was all in for her, at the same time I appreciated her concern for their academic careers/professions.

While I usually don’t care for the amount of OW/OM drama that crops up, I have to say that it worked here. The key components being that:
1). Avery and Atticus share a common ground having both been hurt and betrayed by people they loved and trusted. Their experiences weren’t unbalanced. 
2.)  Neither want their exes back…and they have no problem putting the other’s OM/OW in their place.
“‘Lose her number. Bother her again, and I swear to god I will drive to Virginia for no other reason but to kick your motherfucking ass. Are we very clear?’”
Atticus has just enough alpha in him without it ever going overboard.
I felt their sexual tension and chemistry from the start, and there’s a good blend of story and steamy times.
“‘Two months and I can still taste you—I still know exactly what you sound like when I slide my dick into you. I know what you look like when you come for me.’”
Told via their alternating dual first person POV, it incorporates the taboo student-teacher romance theme. The second book, Beautiful Broken, features Atticus’s  sister, Scout, and his buddy, Dane.

*Title purchased from Amazon. All reviews written by Book-Bosomed Book Blog are honest opinions. 


~Interview with Nazarea Andrews~

Original Interview Date: August 2014

5 Questions with Author Nazarea Andrews

Q1. What was your inspiration for creating the University of Branton and setting a series around it?

A. My hometown, which was very small and plays more heavily on the setting of book two, Beautiful Broken, and my college. Which was small and beautiful and where I fell in love with my husband.
College and a small town influenced me and made me the person I am. Both are hugely important to me and have a special place in my heart, even now that I live in a big city and I'm years past college. Branton allowed me to go back to that, briefly. 

Q2. Did you ever have a teacher/professor like Atticus?  How did your own university experience compared to Avery’s at UB?

A. Ha!!! No. Atticus, amazing as he is, was very much my imagination. Avery had a very normal college experience, until Atticus threw her for a loop. I didn't. I left school early, worked several jobs between classes and never partied. But I loved my college experience.

Q3. Atticus and Dane are best friends but they have rather different personalities? If you were in a character in one of your books, which one would you be more attracted to/who is more your type and why?

A. Dane.  In a book, anyway. Dane is rough and rude and oh my god, I love him. He's also broken and furious and hurting. He's a MESS.
Atticus? Atti is the boy that Dane was, after he's sorted himself out. He still has his sharp edges and mess moments. But he's got his shit together for the most part. And in real life, who wouldn't want to be with that?

Q4. Avery is a great female character—she’s smart, organized, and determined. Can you give us any more background about how you created her character?  What are your favorite qualities about her?

A. Her determination. I love love how she's so intent on what she wants. I'm that way. The problem is that sometimes we're so focused on that we miss what's right in front of us. Avery needs to learn that. 

Q5. Will we ever get another book with Atticus and Avery as the main characters? I know they make appearances in later books, but any plans for them to have a second story? A second pirate book that Atticus writes and they research together? A wedding? Kids? 

A. Haha, well. Maybe. If you read Sweet Ruin and Fractured Perfection (Oct 2015) you definitely get their next chapters. We might see novellas in the future. Maybe. :)

Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog. Connect with her via her websiteblogTwitter, or Facebook

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Professed by Nicola Rendell

4 Stars

On the heels of an unexpected boost in his career, Professor Benjamin Beck, 38, moves east for a new teaching position.  At a mysterious party, he meets Naomi Costa, 20, (her stated age, although background stories add up to 22/23) and the two indulge in a sultry hook-up.

The opening scene with this anonymous masked rave party pulled me in. Though it later seemed like a bit of a dropped plot point, it set an intriguing mood and initiated the chemistry between the two. I also liked that it established the heroine as a typical college student with a normal sexual history—in other words no sheltered virgins here.     
“Screw the world that sees only whores and virgins, bad girls and good.”
As a student-teacher romance, I was pleased that it avoided some of the unromantic themes that often beset these kinds of stories.  Specifically, while their illicit encounters are obviously forbidden, and they do wrestle with that, Ben doesn’t turn to other women his age or even think about it. There’s some push-pull, but their feelings are always all in. The two indulge in plenty of clandestine moments, carrying out their forbidden romance.
“‘You look at me just like that in class,’ I tell her.
‘This is what I’m thinking about in class.’
She cups my balls in her hands, just sliding one finger along my perineum.”
I typically side-eye a mature, educated professor willing to risk throwing away his career, but it worked here with Ben’s characterization drawn around his field of study, specifically his interest in nihilism.

Though the tone with the taboo romance felt angsty, the threat of being caught high, the actual plot avoided angst fairly well.

Dean Osgood. Oh I wasn’t always sure how he was meant to be taken for a large part of the book.  He’s a goofy little man, erratic maybe, but I got a kick out of him. I don’t know if the humor was intended, but I found some.

That’s not to say there weren’t some issues that did distract. There’s a few continuity errors, like her dress is off and then still on. And I was never entirely clear on Ben’s position as Master of College (or Master in College.) I’ve never heard of the position, but I also didn’t attend an Ivy League school. It really felt more like they were at a small private college. Either way, I felt like his title was simply to play on the Master moniker.

And then there’s the wanting a baby in the throws of passion moment that I could always do without. I just don’t find a serious decision like that something to be utilized as a way to bind people with bigger issues.  And while they both think about, I still didn’t find it romantic. Thankfully it never materialized.

Told via Ben and Naomi’s alternating first person POV, if you are looking for a safe student-teacher read, this would be one to check out.


*Title purchased from Amazon in February 2019. All reviews written by Book-Bosomed Book Blog are honest opinions.