You ever run into a book whose description scratches so many of your itches that you just can’t pass it by?
Perfect Chemistry by Jodi Redford had that. Workplace Romance? Check. Mutual Pining? Check. Hinted at Equal Triad? Check. Sex Pollen? Check. Sexy Scientists? Check.
I mean what’s not to love?
How about blander than Bella Swan heroines, women who only think about diets and dudes, transphobic commentary, Latino stereotypes, and homophobia from the two male leads.
Yeah… those are some big ass problems. Let’s break it down.
Sidney is one of those heroines who initially seems cool, but then you realize doesn’t have any depth. She’s like a cardboard cutout… only with less personality. Seriously her entire personality boils down to “I am so horny and I want to fuck my bosses but they’re so perfect so they’ll never be interested in me!!! *WAILS*” She’s like that through the whole book. As for what she looks like, I couldn’t tell you. All I know is she has big boobs, a landing strip on her mound, and large butt. Oh and she’s worried constantly about her weight… only ever eating salads and constantly complaining about that to her friends. Who all complain about the same thing and then lust on guys. Seriously… Bechdel Test and Pizza Night Test fail.
When one of the friends finds out that the guy she’s been lusting after is gay, all of the women immediately start dragging on him. But then they start calling him slurs and insulting men who like to wear skirts and dresses and makeup. Like Eddie Izzard and Billy Porter don’t exist and aren’t fucking awesome. The transphobia… especially coming out of the heroine’s mouth… had me put down the book and walk away for a while.
But I came back, mostly because I was at the 65% mark and I’m like how much worse can it get?
Right on the heels of the Transphobia, the author decided to double down with damaging Latino Stereotypes and homophobia. Because apparently Hispanic Machismo won’t let you be bisexual or gay. Even though up until this point it was very clear that both guys LIKED sharing women and had been doing so with an emotional bond since they were undergrads together. But oh no… the author needed to go out of her way to make it clear that despite putting their penises in their lover’s vagina at the same time they are not the least bit attracted to each other and have no interest in crossing swords.
I took another break. I was at like the 75% mark at that point.
So I came back. Again. Only to get into the obligatory problem that would be easily solved by just talking to each other. So at the 82% mark I walked away again because I have a low tolerance for that kind of thing.
After I had some chocolate and read a chapter of a cute Harry Potter Time Travel Fix-it Fic I was ready to conquer the rest of the book. By the 84% mark it was done. Which if you think is fast, you would be right. From there it was all back matter and excerpts of the author’s other stories.
Now if you’re up on the whole book stuffing debacle, you will know that books are only supposed to have up to 10% back matter. This book had 16%. But, since it wasn’t in Kindle Unlimited and the book was Free I decided that I didn’t care enough to report the book to Amazon.
So what saved this from being a One star?
1. The consent. Holy fuck was there consent all over the place. Consent to use the sex pollen. Consent to have sex even while under the effects of the sex pollen. Consent for the various sex acts. All sorts of lovely and sexy consent.
2. The way the Power differential was handled since the dudes were her bosses. Seriously, if you write a workplace romance where there is any sort of inequality make sure to address the power differential. The way it was done here – a contract which gave her a lot of control and guarantees and rights if it was broken – was well done.
3. The technical. The book was well edited in that respect. No distracting homophones or typos and even the commas were mostly spot on.
4. The sex, while not written extraordinarily, was still not horrible. I’m just picky. I mean if you want hot sex go read @caitlynlynch, Livvy Ward, Jean Wilde, Bertrice Small, or @joydemorra. Three of those authors listed write great polyamory. Trust me. Those authors are so much better. SO SO MUCH!
But this book had so many problems ultimately I can only give it. Three stars.
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