D.G.’s Rating: 4 skulls = B+
Turn It Up by Inez Kelley is an amazing friends to lovers story, among the best I’ve read. The blurb and the cover make it look like a steamy story but it really isn’t. Why have I never heard about it before? If I hadn’t taken a chance when I saw it at my library, I would have missed a great read.
Bastian and Charlie have been best friends for 6 years. They spend most of their free time time together and even work together in a radio show where Charlie is the sex expert and Bastian (an ER doctor) gives the medical perspective. They have a lot of chemistry on air (tons of sexy banter), to the point that their listeners think they are in a relationship. When Bastian confesses his feelings, that throws Charlie for a loop. Bastian is the most important relationship in her life and she’s crushed to think he’s like all those other men she’s dated. Although Charlie comes up as confident and sexy, she has serious doubts about her self worth and doesn’t believe that marriages can last. She’s terrified of losing Bastian but she’s also terrified of taking their relationship to the next level.
Both Charlie and Bastian have had to deal with issues involving their sexuality. Bastian has somewhat succeeded in moving past those things but Charlie is still struggling with them. I was so saddened by Charlie’s belief that she was only “other woman” material and wasn’t fit to be a Doctor’s wife. I thought the dichotomy of liberated woman who still harbors a misplaced guilt for her open sexuality was very real. No matter what we tell ourselves, sometimes we cannot help but believe whatever image society has of us.
Bastian was a great, great hero. He was so steady, strong and sweet, openly acknowledging his feelings for Charlie. I loved how he defended her and how he wasn’t ashamed that everybody knew he was holding out for marriage (including his coworkers at the Hospital.) I also loved his relationship with his brother and how real it was. Not all sibling relationships are moonlight and roses and I was glad to see them fighting and helping each other out.
This book has some of the most frank and adult conversations about sex I’ve seen in romance. There were serious discussions about birth control pre-hookup, possible long term effects of the pill, what makes a man a man, and society’s attitude about women and sex. There were also tons of hilarious advice dished out to the show’s listeners. The business of the peaches was hilarious!
I’m not sure I liked how a particular issue was resolved (won’t say what because it’s a huge spoiler) but I understand why the author went there, given that it had the potential to completely wreck the relationship.
Overall, this is an amazing grown-up romance with real issues. A true Badass Hidden Gem!
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