Self's Blossom rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: July 1, 2010
How are the sex scenes?
Russell describes Self's Blossom as "soft vanilla."
There are sex scenes, but they are not vulgar.
There's really only one story line and it follows the heroine Selene on her much anticipated vacation.
Would you read it again?
Selene is an educated, sexually repressed woman who travels to a remote vacation island with plans for an affair to discover her sensual nature.
Hudson is a sociologist at the island for research. He and Selene strike up a friendship and accompany each other throughout her travels until, finally, succumbing to their mutual attraction for one hot and satisfying night.
Self's Blossom by David Russell is a 189 page contemporary romance novel set in Central America.
The story is mostly told from Selene's point of view, and she has plenty of views to go around. So much so that the first 20 pages are almost entirely Selene's observations and thoughts. I did not go back and confirm, but I think there are only two dialogues prior to page 21.
Russell's writing is comparable to that of classic literature and poetry, with in depth description and a plethora of commas. Before purchasing Self's Blossom, read the sample. (This is a good idea for any novel.)
Sadly, I do not care for this story. The writing style is overly descriptive and there is too little dialogue. There seems to be no "story" to balance out Selene's odd musings. Example:
"As a student, the macho cliques who tried to dominate everything had nauseated Selene. Most games seemed to have some affiliation to that mentality which she so detested, and now Janice was going to be the flip side of that coin, backing up one of those heavies."
When reading a 33 word sentence it's hard not to get a little lost.
After page 20, and especially when Selene meets Hudson, the story and dialogue improve. Yet the improvement still leaves us reading an overly complicated version of a modern woman's journey to find sexual empowerment.
If a reader does enjoy this type of writing, however, they may appreciate Self's Blossom.
Here are a few parts that caught my interest:
"Selene remembered how exhausting it was trying to calm Janice down after her false alarms. The hours of suspense before the predictor kit gave her the negative results expected."Selene's First Sexual Encounter
"In the telescoped love of one nameless meeting in pure sensation they melted the earth, made new mountains and valleys, heated more, to make new planets and star systems. As they approached their real climax, they returned to narrow focus feeling..."
Such peculiar scenes.
I also enjoyed Russell's imagery, such as Selene taking her "proper wire cutters" to sever the "straggling strands" of "unrealizeable hopes."
Selene is not my favorite heroine, though that is not a requirement for me to enjoy a novel. She dislikes her best friend, Janice, because Janice is a hypocrite, yet Selene won't let the relationship die.
Selene also has the above-mentioned passionate encounter with a male who sobs afterwards when she leaves him. Sobs. How does Selene justify this? "...for the sake of his later life he had to be hurt a few times...to...develop his consideration for others." She doesn't have to marry him, but soothing his feelings won't ruin her vacation. Sheesh.
Overall, Self's Blossom is a difficult, slightly boring and hard-to-follow read.
It should be noted, however, that Mr. David Russel is the utmost gentleman. I contacted him prior to this review and he expressed his appreciation for my time and criticism. For those wondering, his emails are worded just like Self's Blossom's. Eloquently.
Obviously not every reviewer feels the same, and Mix Love and Crew Love Books gives Self's Blossom a 5 out of 5 star rating. Read it and decide for yourself.
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Learn more about David Russell on British Romance Fiction, a blog that reviews a majority of his work.
Published by eXtasy Books, Inc.
Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this review. eARC courtesy of David Russell.