Long time geek, fangirl, mother, and reader. I've got a lot to say, you might not like it all, but it will be honest and hopefully helpful.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A lighthearted re-imagining of Shakespeare’s characters in a modern day tale of rekindled love, and sexual exploration.
Beatriz is sex blogger who’s been stuck with trying to do a review of a sexual position manual at her sister’s wedding. Ben is the guy who got away and the best friend of her soon to be brother-in-law. So, of course, in classic Shakespearian situational comedy style, Ben ends up helping Bea out of (or rather into) a tight jam.
It’s been a while since I’ve laughed so hard while reading about sex, which is refreshing and sorely lacking in the erotica genre. Misbehaving captures the bawdy, bordering on ridiculous humor of Shakespeare, while updating and adding an emotional resonance that surprised me.
For the other Shakespeare nerds out there, please note that while this book is billed as a re-telling of Much Ado About Nothing, it is an condensed and edited re-telling. The story primarily focuses on the two primary couples Beatriz (Beatrice), Ben (Benedict), Claudia (Hero) and Henry (Claudio). None of the minor characters from the play were present (that I recognized), though the sassy bellboy, Keaton, felt like an homage to the many eccentric characters birthed from Shakespeare’s fertile imagination.
I think it’s also important to note that the sex in Misbehaving is unlike most you find in popular erotica. The most notable difference being that it’s some of the most sex positive sex I’ve ever seen written. What I mean by sex positive is that neither Bea and Ben felt guilty or shameful about the sex. It is safe and consensual. Both take joy in their own bodies, as well as their partner’s body, and best of all they talk during sex.
This might shatter a lot of people’s romantic fantasies about how sex works, but real people do this in real life, and it’s DAMN sexy. But I know that not everyone wants realism in their erotica, so if you’re one of them take note. I however, LOVE it.
A big part of what captivated me about this story, and characters was how comfortable they were with sex in general and each other. Ben even reveals a little something about himself that I have NEVER seen a male lead in a mainstream romance ever do. I was so stunned and turned on I had to step away from the book.
Let’s talk about the sex. It was fantastic. Some of the hottest sex scenes I’ve read in erotica. Like I said earlier a big part of that was the realism and emotional connection between the characters. As for the terminology used (because I know certain words can trip up some readers) the primary words used in sex scenes are penis, vagina, vulva and clit/clitoris. How they were used made sense, and the sex scenes were extremely hot for me. For the record, I personally have a hard time finding the word vagina sexy (I’m more of a vulva kind of girl), but Reisz has an ability to frame a sex scene where the word didn’t detract from sexiness at all.
Additional bonus to this all is the fact that Bea is a woman of color, and a naturalized US citizen, originally from El Salvador. She is a departure from the often offensive stereotypes of Latin women, and immigrants that we see in media. Bea is an intelligent, educated and empowered modern woman. While she’s happy to be an American citizen, she doesn’t forget where she came from. She also speaks in Spanish in parts of the story. Also something you rarely see, outside of a historical romance. Bea’s ethnicity isn’t a huge part of the story, but it does influence her character and it’s refreshing to see how a woman of color can be the lead in a story that isn’t an “issues” book. Also, there are no hints of fetishism about her skin tone or body, that is a common misstep in interracial romance novels.
In summary, Misbehaving is a funny and sexy read. Short, but full of steamy sex, hilarity and love. I highly recommend it.