Trigger Warning: The book reviewed in this post, 69 Shades of Nashville by Nicole Kelly, M.D., contains depictions of sex and sexual situations, including BDSM and rape. This book also discusses teen pregnancy, adultery, and murder. If you are triggered by such depictions or otherwise wish to avoid them, proceed with caution.
Happy Humpday! (Pun intended.) Today I want to bring you a book very reminiscent of the first small-print book I reviewed on here, Blackmail, yet also very different from it as well. The book at the heart of this review is 69 Shades of Nashville: Sociopathic Sex Southern Style by Nicole Kelly, M.D.
Nashville Kitty is a sociopath. This isn’t a judgment against the character—she truly is a self-proclaimed sociopath. She knows what she wants and won’t let neurotypical empathy or morals get in her way. And what does this sociopath wants? Sex, and tons of it! But she doesn’t want just some random hookups; she’s looking to build a metaphorical stable of experienced married adulterers to keep her needs satisfied. Then she finds the perfect place to start her collection: Aubrey Madeline, a site specifically for cheaters to meet other cheaters.
Can the cheating world handle a sociopath the likes of Nashville Kitty? Can even a world-class sociopathic liar be able to keep up the charade for long? And when Nashville Kitty gets mixed up with the wrong kinds of cheaters, will everyone survive?
Just like Blackmail, Kelly’s book is a guilty pleasure for me. This book is exciting and surprisingly well-written. While it is certainly an erotic novel, it is also much more than that; it’s psychological and emotional (despite the sociopathic narrator) with a splash of mystery and crime thriller thrown into the mix. Nashville Kitty is also intelligent and saphiosexual, or attracted to intelligence, which makes this book great for readers who want something smarter than just the typical mindless erotica.
Kelly remains faithful to the narrator’s voice throughout the entire work. More importantly, she makes the voice sound genuine and I could actually relate to Nashville Kitty in some ways. (Not the lack of empathy; I wish I cared less about other people’s feelings.) This is quite the feat, I must say. It’s not easy for neurotypicals—as Nashville Kitty calls people who aren’t sociopaths or psychopaths—to step into the mind of a sociopath, so to make someone like me relate to and feel for a character like Nashville Kitty indicates excellent writing.
Nashville Kitty’s hyper-focus on her sociopathy got a bit tedious after the first couple chapters. Of course, if she hadn’t been so focused on it and other aspects of herself, I wouldn’t have believed that she was as much of a sociopath as she claimed she was (I would’ve just thought she was a bitch). I guess, with that in mind, you have to take the bad with the good.
My favorite character is a tie between Nashville Kitty and ChainReaction. It’s hard to tell what the truth is for either of them, even when Nashville Kitty is transparent about her motives, and that kept my attention the entire narrative. I would add Hubby to make it a three-way tie but, honestly, he lost me when he became suddenly very religious. I don’t have anything against religion, but seeing his transformation through Nashville Kitty’s eyes made the whole thing seem cheesy.
As exciting and hilarious as the rest of the book is, I feel that the final chapter is a little lackluster. I can’t discuss it in too much detail due to spoilers, but the final chapter felt rushed. It reflects Nashville Kitty’s paranoia and fast-moving mind, but I felt that so much more could have been done with this chapter and that it could have easily been stretched into another chapter or two. The “twists” were predictable to me, but I can’t hold that against the book; I think they’re very amusing additions to the book and, in Kelly’s defense, I often spot these patterns much more easily than the average reader. If the last chapter had been a little longer, I think that the twists would have had a much more powerful impact.
Overall, I highly recommend 69 Shades of Nashville by Nicole Kelly, M.D., for readers who like humor and excitement and don’t mind raunchy scenes. The character personalities are varied and well-developed, and the plot is sophisticated, especially for an erotica novel. The pacing at the end of the novel could use some work, but the rest of the novel moves at an appropriate pace for the humor and the narrator’s characterization. At 404 pages, this book appears lengthy. Regardless, the pacing of the narration and the illustrations make it a much quicker read than the page count implies. The illustrations are beautiful and tasteful, always matching that part of the story even when it’s one of the “steamier” sections. Kelly has left the ending open for future books, but the conclusion still allows 69 Shades of Nashville to stand on its own.
If you don’t like sex in novels, this book is NOT for you. If you don’t mind such sections, I suggest you give Kelly’s work a try.
You can buy 69 Shades of Nashville as an eBook or in print on Amazon and for free on Audible. For a limited time only, you can also get the book for free on Kelly’s website. To learn more about the book and Kelly, you can check out Kelly’s Facebook page and the Goodreads page for 69 Shades of Nashville.