Saturday, August 13, 2016

REVIEW: Professed by Nicola Rendell

Shel: Dude. Where do I even start? I guess I should start with apologies. First, Court, I'm sorry for being so over the top nutso for this book because I know it's obnoxious. Second, Nicola Rendell, I'm also sorry for being such a fangirl for Professed and while I'm here I'm gonna go ahead and apologize for how ridiculous I'm going to be about Confessed too because I can already tell you that I'm going to lose my shit over it. And to any of you readers who happen to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (and if you aren't why aren't you?!), I know you've seen many mentions of this book but damnit, it's good and I think you should read it so I'm NOT SORRY for putting it out there, but I am sorry if the way I went about it was annoying? Court: Don't be sorry, girl, I love it. This book was a great debut from a new author we are excited about and I love it! We exist for this very reason, when a person makes a beautiful work of art and we want to share it with all of those who come across our page. 

Shel: Now that that's out of the way... I FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK.  Read below for my 'in the moment' notes I made on my phone as I was reading ..good luck trying to follow it? (Feel free to skip the italics if you're not interested in my randomness) 

First thought: this is interesting. 
Next: holy shit! these two are hot (also--who is in this secret society and now I want to have a secret society)--(at the 9% mark)

Next--I really like Naomi. I really like Ben--but I'm not much of a nihilist and I'm curious about why he is. Also, I love how Naomi took control of her life. It appears that these two have opposing philosophies. It also appears that they are unable to resist each other despite that fuck Osgood and I like that they can't resist the pull of their attraction. I guess I'm a bad girl that way.

Next-Isaac. :/ can he be trusted, yo?
Next--I love Lucy and I want more on this society Lucy--spill it.

Osgood. You fucker.Fuck you.

Random: I like the way Rendell addresses time. In this novel it works--it moves you along and yet doesn't feel like you're missing vital info. 

Next: Naomi's mysticism paper. Wow. And Ben's reaction to her is swoony and lol-worthy all at the same time.

Their love notes. The way they study their handwriting --it's just so freaking romantic. YOU'RE KILLING ME WITH THE ROMANCE RENDELL AND I'M LOVING EVERY SECOND OF IT.

Fast forward through some romantic bits and a spat that couldn't end better and I'm swooning           a-fucking-gain and so worried about them getting caught. Ughhh. And yet I love all of their cloak and dagger stuff. 

74% and my heart is pounding for a few reasons. (Also Ben's complete lack of preparation for winter and winter tasks cracks me up).

FF to 82% and I know the shit is going down I just don't know how yet and I'm so freaking nervous. These two are so good together --I swear with any other writer, in any other book, I don't think I'd like them as much but in the hands of NR, I freaking love them.

FF to the end and I almost lost it there for a second but thankfully I made it out alive. I enjoyed this novel so much that I actually slowed down just so I could make it last longer--it was that good!

Court: I love these thoughts. Especially about that mysticism paper. I swooned, but most of all...I loved how beautiful that story was, and I love stories within stories and that paper was absolutely beautiful and really brought the point of their classes and thoughts to life. Ben frustrated me to no end for a long, long time but I feel like the novel came full circle in my head and really was a joy. Naomi is much older than her years, and I liked that she was fiercely independent while being loyal...even for her father, whom she didn't always understand. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and it was made even more enjoyable by Shel recommending it to me so highly. Picturing them planting letters, and him falling in the snow and being dressed completely inappropriately for the East Coast Winter when he's a SoCal boy...I laughed. and I was glad for these light hearted moments to soothe us for the harder times that were stressful! 

Shel: Upon reflection, days later, I'm still loving Professed. There are so many things about these characters that I find fascinating. Naomi is such a strong character and she seems so confident in many ways and I really like that Ben is equally strong--that there isn't necessarily a broken or weak character in some effort to balance each other out. Sure, they both have flaws and things to work on, but they aren't trying to 'fix' each other. They're really quite content in letting the other person be who they are, and enjoying them as they are. I also really love the academic setting and the constant undercurrent of it--that college feel of hustling to get the work done, the bookish references, the dorm and cafeteria scenes--that whole vibe just has me buzzed and reliving my college years. Can I also mention their first scene in the hotel, that secret society (my mind is working overtime), the scene in the guest room, the scene somewhere else that"s super romantic (sorry for the vaguery but I don't want to give it alll away), how thirsty they are for each other, and the final scene of the novel..can I mention all of those and how romantic and hot and fun (and funny) they were and just say that those are just the tip of the iceberg?!  Also? Sharpies will never be the same for me. Ever.

Court: YES! For someone who didn't have a traditional college experience at all, I am drawn to college age or our new adult stories for this reason. Does it change things a bit with their age difference and standing at the univerity? Oh, yes. I kind of love Shel's squirming with the teacher/student aspect of things, as always. Naomi and Lucy moments were my utmost favorite, and I wish there was more of certain things, and a teeny bit less of others. There was so many times that I was stressed out, and palpitating a bit wondering how/if/when/were they going to be found out? How would it turn out? Will they get in trouble? So many rules at a uni such as this, and it was fast paced and intense and did I say stressful? Yep. Lol! 

Shel: Professed-it's nihilism and love and philosophy and lust and erotic and sex and desire and need and stolen glances and chemistry. It was interesting and well written and well developed. I'm very excited to read the next book in this series...which just so happens to be coming out sooner than later. We'll have more details soon and look for an interview with Nicola Rendell we'll be sharing here in the coming weeks. Court: I honestly had no idea about nihilism, and I applaud Nicola for leading me to learning something new. It is an idea of philosophy that I'm not on board with, but I love learning how people think through fiction. I am excited for the next installment, and just wish that we could tell you MORE without being super spoilery! 

Professed was a stand out read for me and will definitely be in my 2016 must reads list. I think it'll be on many of yours too.


At a secret masked ball at Yale, Naomi Costa is literally swept off her stiletto-blistered feet by a man with a killer jawline, a perfect body, and an even-better kiss. They bust out of an emergency exit and have axis-shaking sex. He pours whiskey in her belly button and after they run out of condoms, they have to get creative. That kind of sex.                                                                                                                                                                     The next day, she learns that he is none other than Dr. Benjamin Beck, a brand new member of the Yale faculty and the hottest thing to happen to academia since… well, ever. She has to take his damned junior seminar to graduate, but it gets worse. He’s also her College Master: her boss, her advisor, her everything. And he’s just moved in, right downstairs.                                                                                                                                                 They can’t stay away from each other. They're either fusion or fission or both. They’re making out in libraries, hiding notes between stones, and sneaking off to nautically themed AirBnbs. Hear that sound? It’s the academic code of ethics going up in flames.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
   If they're found out, he’ll lose his job and his reputation. She'll lose her scholarship and be forced to return to the life of lobster fishing that she thought she’d escaped.

And they will be found out, yes they will.

So what the hell are they going to do? 


To the reader: Things get damned dirty in this book. The characters curse, the sex gets explicit. It’s an erotic love story with fury. Be advised.

Other tasters’ notes: HEA. Sweet. Funny. Dirty. Muddy. Wet. Inspired by a real professor.

I need to drink whiskey from that belly button. Screw every other idea I've ever had. Jack Daniels. Belly button. Naomi. That’s the only fucking philosophical logic I will ever need.
She’s still on the heels of her orgasm, and I want to leave her there just like she is, but I have to take her with me. I have to keep her close. I hook my head under her bound wrists and take her off the bed to bring her with me as we kiss—because I cannot stop kissing her, will not stop kissing her. With my hand behind me, I fling open the minibar and fumble around blind. Chips, nuts, pretzels, what is that, a roll of Mentos?
Jack Daniels, where the hell are you?
Grabbing what feels like the right little bottle, I turn to look down. Gin. I toss it towards the desk. Second try, and bingo. I've got it.
But I’m going to have to let go of her to open this damned bottle. Proof that the world is an unfair and unkind place. It’ll have to be done. I let go of her face, and it makes her moan, but she doesn’t pull away. Instead, she grips onto the back of my neck with my tie and hangs on even tighter through the kiss.
As I crack the lid, her eyes widen, inches from mine. I feel her cheeks rise as she smiles. With one last dip into her mouth, I force myself to break the kiss, ducking down to get my head out from under her bound arms.
We stand there staring at one another for an instant. Her pupils dilate, and that’s when I press her to the bed. “Hope you’re not ticklish.”
Even as she lands with a cushy thunk on the mattress, she’s giving me that all-trouble smile. She scoots back towards the pillows, her long black hair a gorgeous tangle behind her, the same color as my tie. There’s a tan line at her stomach, and it’s killing me.
“So ticklish. But I can take it.”
        I lie down at a right angle to her body, with my cheek to her stomach. I can smell her wetness in the air and on my fingers.
        “Ready?” I ask. I sink my cheek deeper into her skin. God, this skin. God damn, this superfine skin. I tip the bottle towards her stomach.
“Ready,” she says. I feel her whole body quiver. The ticklish before the tickle is the agony of agonies.
When the whiskey hits her, she grips my hair tight. For one second, I resist all temptation: I watch it all unfold. The whiskey shivers, her body shivers, and then the shivers come out as a jagged gasp.
I lick it off, and she squirms and sucks air through her teeth. I suck it from her and growl into her body. Her feet hook around my calves. I move to her nipples, dribble on a few drops and smear them around with my tongue. I move to that perfect little depression at the base of her neck. Straight-up Naomi. Fucking heaven. Her skin, that hair, her sounds, the way her body moves under my mouth? Lemonade, when it’s too hot for anything else? I can still feel my first orgasm deep in my cock, but I’m hard again. She’s not only wrecked all my philosophies. She’s turned me into a goddamned teenager.
        I grab a condom, from my wallet this time, and tear it open. “We’re going to need more of these.”
        But she shakes her head into the pillows. She holds my stare as she slides her hands all over her body, red polish on porcelain. “Put it here. Put it everywhere.”
Christ. It’s official. I've been pussywhipped in record time.
And I don’t even know her last name.

Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.

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