Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.
Inez Kelley’s books are among some of the best books I have read this year. The first one I read was Sweet as Sin and finding that book was the reader’s equivalent of love at first sight. After that, I have read and enjoyed almost everything she has written so when I saw this book on NetGalley I was very happy; in fact, I was so excited that I bought the book about five minutes before NetGalley approved me because I couldn’t wait.
Turn It Up is a friends-to-lovers story. Bastian and Charlie have been best friends for years, they have been there for one another during good times and bad times and have the easy camaraderie and trust that only comes after years of being together. They also work together as cohost of a radio show about sex.
Bastian has loved Charlie for a long time and when he finally breaks and proposes to Charlie -who is afraid of commitment- she understandably freaks out. She tells him that she will have sex with him but won’t marry him, so during one of their shows he issues a challenge: she will marry him before he sleeps with him, if he caves she won’t have to marry him.
This book was lighter in tone than Sweet as Sin but it also deals with some serious issues like insecurity, unhappiness, betrayal, what happens when love is not enough, infertility and even addiction. The book is closer to a romantic comedy than a drama but there’s a great balance between lightness and seriousness to appeal to everybody. The book is also sexy as hell. It has a lot of banter between the leads and Inez did a fantastic job at portraying friendship and true love. You know the protagonist really love, respect and care for each other and it’s impossible not to root for them, specially Bastian who is the heart of the book.
Inez has given us a to-die-for hero, no questions about it. This guy is almost perfect on a sweet, honest and vulnerable kind of way. Here we have a guy who recovered from his wife leaving him because of his sterility, who recovered from the almost crippling discovery of not being able to be a father, who had to deal with his brother OD’ing almost immediately after losing his mother, and he just kept going with good heart and will to live with a positive outtake on life. He was the best friend you could ask for and the best lover you could get. He does some of the most romantic things for Charlie, and I don’t mean great dates or touching gestures (although there were plenty of those as well), I mean real selfless acts of love.
Charlie, on the other hand, was a bit annoying. She had so many issues and insecurities that half-way though the book I was exasperated and ready to get in there and slap her out of it. The only thing that kept her from being a complete pain in the ass was that it was so obvious that she loved Sebastian that her insecurities more than annoying were painful to watch. My problem was that she wasn’t really traumatized, I don’t think that it was truly justified why she felt so undeserving and scared, maybe her character needed more development or more background. On her good moments (when she wasn’t worrying or jumping to some stupid conclusions) she was a great female lead, because she was funny, caring and best of all, confident about her sexuality. You will need to be patient with her but in the end she does come to her senses and you will want her to get her HEA.
Bastian’s brother, Caz, is the secondary character that steals the show. I adored him, I don’t know how Inez managed to create two magnificent heroes, and I say he is a hero because he does have a bit of a love story going on that is heartbreaking. I liked him so much that after reading the free short story about him I was actually disappointed that we wouldn't get a whole book.
The sex part of the story was really fun to read. The banter, the sexual tips, the teasing, everything was a blast. This book was really sexy and I even took some notes. As I said this book has a little bit of everything, drama, comedy, hot sex, it will appeal to any romance fan and is a great contemporary novel. Kelley is a wonderful author and if you haven’t read her books before I think you are missing out big time.
Review by Brie