Self's Blossom Reviews:
"Self's Blossom, by David Russell, is one of those romantic, erotic tales of discovery that's filled with detailed imagery, well-defined characters, and scenes that are loaded with emotion. Selene is portrayed well as a vibrant main character, and I fell in love with her from the start. The organized mix of realism combined with escapism had me respecting her throughout the entire book, which is extremely important in any erotic romance. This is a very well-written book, with a distinct literary flair, where careful attention is paid to intelligent (and again, very well-written) dialogue that is constantly moving the story forward. The settings are described so well, in fact, I thought I was on holiday myself. The characters are crafted with such detail I felt as if I knew them. And when I was finished reading, I knew they would remain with me for a long time." (5 Stars) - Ryan Field
"This is the story of Selene and her quest to find inner truth. It is not your traditional romance story and Selene is not the type of heroine you normally think of when reading a romance novel. My first impression of her is that she is vane and totally self-absorbed. Not to mention conceited. She is beautiful and sexy and knows it. Yet despite all of this, I found I could relate to her and I found her story interesting. Her search to find herself is one that many women go through.
The story begins on a lush tropical beach in Central America. Selene, whose outlook is cynical, longs to escape her current life. She wants a reckless adventure; an affair filled with seduction and passion. Past relationships and experiences thus far have been disappointing and she has become quite jaded when it comes to love and romance.
She has planned this vacation with excruciating attention to the details; the location, a tropical paradise, is key for seduction. She also has the perfect man in mind and with cold calculation goes after him.
I liked the author’s use of Selene’s memories and her reflections of past events throughout the story to show me why she has evolved into the woman she is today and why she wants to break free of these shackles.
The story has strong characters that keep you engaged and David Russell has done a great job in capturing the feminine point of view. This may not be one for all readers but I found it compelling and interesting throughout." (4 Stars) - Anna James
"First off, I’d like to make it clear to readers that Selene, for me, didn’t come across as the usual romance heroine. If you expect to like her a lot, you may be disappointed. I, however, loved her because she isn’t your usual romance heroine. I saw her as conceited, vain, totally self-absorbed, and a pure delight for being this way.
She knows she looks good, knows her workouts have given her a body most women would envy, and the kind of woman she is was portrayed perfectly with this line: Selene had a far better body than the mousy little model in the photograph. While this isn’t something you might expect a romance heroine to think of herself, I loved it because she was made real by Mr Russell creating her this way. We have all thought things like this, perhaps not about our bodies, but about other things—I have a nicer hairstyle than her…I have a better car than her…I have prettier eyes than her—and Selene’s inner thoughts, of which there are many, gave me a glimpse into one of the realest women I’ve ever read. She was human, with, in my opinion, many flaws that might make her distasteful to some, but by God, she riveted me with her self-absorption and brutal honesty.
She goes on holiday alone, and I liked the way the book showed what was happening now but also took me into her mind, showing me memories and why she acted the way she did. I didn’t feel any sympathy for her at any time, just accepted she is like she is and let myself be sucked in by the way she thinks and acts. She’s a breath of fresh air, a person who has the courage to say what she thinks and damn the consequences, and also to think what she does with no remorse whatsoever.
The writing is very good, a touch of literary with an almost languid air to it that gives you the feeling it is slow-paced but it actually isn’t. I think it’s the dreamy state it gives you that creates that slow-moving feeling, and this is not a negative in any way. I loved the way it coasted along like that, where her thoughts and memories came into play and showed me Selene’s psyche. It’s a delve into the mind and life of a woman who knows what she wants and plots to get it. Although she plots, it never came across as malicious plotting. She went on holiday to meet someone, to ensnare them and have glorious sex with them—she makes that clear right from the start—and she is going to get it.
She has a sexual encounter on the beach with a young man—not in her plan at all because it didn’t play out quite as she envisaged—and she knew it was wrong. Not wrong that she had sex, but wrong for her, for her plan, and she walks away afterwards knowing the man is distraught she has gone but…oh, she’s so blasé in that she shrugs it off somewhat and continues on her original mission.
She meets Hudson, and here is where her plan comes fully into play. She is a manipulator, a master at it, in my opinion, and I adored watching her plan unfold, loved knowing what the next step would be and how she would make things go her way. Selene is, quite simply, not someone I would wish to know in real life, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her in fiction.
BEST BITS: …and make sure it’s your side of the slice that gets the butter.
Half asleep, she pondered on the aura she projected. She knew how good her body was, toned up by lots of squash and swimming at her health club.
It was essential for her to have some comparables, some implicit rivals around . . .
After it, before it, through it, and finally beyond it, she would be a glistening scale of the purest pigment of a butterfly’s wing, but in pure sensation, outshine all the finest plumage, so carefully, but so abundantly structured, proudly strutting.
Selene came to the conclusion that she read too much, thought too much, and lived too little.
VERDICT: Self’s Blossom is not all hearts and flowers. It’s a journey that amazed me with the portrayal of Selene being so herself and human, flaws right out there for all to see. The prose is also mesmerising. Maybe it won’t be so for you, maybe Selene will seem totally different to you, but I really did enjoy this book very much and am very glad to have been given the chance to read it." (5 Stars) - Miz Love
"My Thoughts: Self's Blossom is a story that should be in the Tate Gallery, were the Tate a gallery for literature as opposed to art.
With this story, you are getting a highly unusual and in-depth style of writing that you don't usually find in the erotica genre. Some people may regard it as abstract, although in truth it is actually very detailed. (Just like many of the paintings in the Tate -- you see where I'm going with this?)
It took me a while to get into this story, and I think it's because when reading erotica, I've become accustomed to an "easy" read -- a book that you can open and, wham-bam, there you are in the story. While some readers may have that experience with this, I can't say that I did at first, and I suspect that most will not. There is an array of back story and character development from page one, and I'm glad I found the patience to stick with it, because I enjoyed the read.
It's the story of Selene. She's an intellectual. She's independent. She's seeking freedom because she's an adventurer at heart. Or at least, that was my interpretation: for me, this was a story about the search for freedom, through sexuality, sensuality and emotions of the heart.
I dare say that not everyone will take to Selene, but she's very real. She's a restless soul, and she is not the "flouncy" kind of heroine you usually get in erotica novels, but can be quite blunt and analytical in her thinking. Yes, it's unusual, but when I got into the story and her character, I found it refreshingly so.
The male lead is likeable and patient, giving her the space she needs to learn and grow throughout the story, but there is a two-way exchange here, and he learns from Selene as well.
This book is prose at its best. The language used is eloquent and intelligent. You won't find crude words or phrases here, but a rhetoric that is closer to that of Charlotte Bronte (yes, I did say Charlotte Bronte -- well, if she wrote erotica that is....) The narrative is highly descriptive and even a little "gothic" in some places. Here's a brief example:
"Each, to the other, became universe god and goddess. After so many times in their pasts when the brakes had been applied, when both had been frozen by reticence, or had their yearnings derided -- the universe's currents now galvanized their bodies. Now words could be uttered in acceptance of total immersion. With their slow speed, they generated maelstroms. Their every part revealed with deep exuberance, two bodies showing themselves as two complete presences."
Maybe it could even be considered poetry.
If you want an easy read that gets to the point, hard-hitting, direct language and a lot of instant action, this book is not for you. If you want a different, eloquent and intelligent erotic story, that indulges in every emotion and thought from the characters, that works towards a specific goal of self discovery, this is the book for you. I urge you to read the sample chapters from eBook retailers. If you can accept that it's a different style of erotica, you will not be disappointed with it." (4 Stars) - Dianna Hardy
Desperate to come to grips with her own sexual needs, Selene has shameless affairs with men whom she would never have considered before. Selene discovers herself through these experiences and discovers more than she was up for...a self-awakening which blossoms within.
The author, paints very vivid images of the settings that surrounds the story and the characters just as an artist would paint on his canvas. He challenges the readers with his word choices, adding great detail which makes for a more challenging and complicated than usual story to follow.
The story line was intelligent and well written. If you are looking for a story that will deeply challenge your mind, then this perhaps could be the book for you." (4 Stars) - Natasha Brooks (BareBack Magazine)
"Selena is a journalist, very much in need of some personal time. Her vacation will reveal secrets of herself and the discovery of life.
Hudson is also taking a vacation, part work and part pleasure. He has never had anyone who understands him the way that Selena does. During their time together, Hudson decides to share some thing with her.
When Selena first gets to Greece, she is amazed about how old world it is. Selena in search of finding the sexual side to herself has one encounter, leaving her as the teacher. When she does meet Hudson, she never realized how much they have in common. Hudson showed her a world she has never seen and the more they were together, the more Selena started to open up. But when Selena leaves Hudson will she have fully bloomed?
This is the tale of one woman in search of her sexual side and the truth of life. Steady paced, this tale showed Selena is ready for some sort of encounter to help her become the full sexual being she is. Told in first person, there is philosophical depth where Selena analyses everything in her search. Sensual sex scenes tie this story up neatly for a deeply intellectual good read." (3 Stars) - Wateena (Coffee time Romance)
"Self’s Blossom is literary erotica. That is the only way I can catagorize it. It is literary, lyrical, and poetic. The main character, Selene is on a journey of sexual self-discovery. Mr. Russell’s descriptions of exotic places, pristine beaches, and deep blue seas are hypnotic. You are drawn into the story with descriptive passages and deep characterization.
We are allowed to be Selene’s eyes and senses as she discovers herself through encounters with a young man and an older gentleman. I found myself rooting with Selene to throw off her conservative shackles and embrace the new her she would become." (4 Stars) - Jill James
"Selene’s life has been structured, even at work she confirms to the norms of what is expected of her and endures her friend Janice who is too quick to point out Selene’s flaws and misgivings. Selene has taken matters into her own hands. She has scrimped and saved every extra penny she has and planned a trip to an exotic location in South America. Here Selene plans on enjoying the freedom of giving into her needs, desires and wants. Along the way, she meets Hudson. Hudson does not only tempt Selene physically but challenges her mind. He also encourages her to take on a dangerous expedition which gives Selene the opportunity to reflect deeply on who she is and her life.
This novel is definitely not the regular romance novel I was expecting. The author writes in the narrative form and there is very little dialogue between the characters. The author has an exceptional command of the English language and writes quite eloquently." (2 Stars) - Heather (Rom Fan Reviews)