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Learning from Isaac

(Tarnished Souls #1)

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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  468 ratings  ·  98 reviews
It’s hard to break out of a rut. For years, Nathan submerged himself into his job at St. Genevieve’s. He enjoys teaching, hates faculty meetings, loves his science and has committed himself to the cycle of college life. Along the way, he's become resigned to being a gay man in a straight culture, a Jew among Catholics, and single in a world of couples. Then the brilliant I ...more
ebook, 2nd, 117 pages
Published April 14th 2014 by Love is a Light (first published April 3rd 2012)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  468 ratings  ·  98 reviews


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Ele
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-for-free
**2.5 stars**

I can't quite explain why I didn't like this one. I liked some parts, but others didn't work at all.

Note that my knowledge of Jewish customs or aquatic/environmental studies is close to zero, but this had nothing to do with not liking the book.

The writing put me off at first. The first person POV was monotonous and the dialogue was almost non existent. It got better later, but I never managed to fully connect.

The story is told exclusively from Nathan's, the professor, POV. I really
...more
Ami
3.5 stars
Hmmm, technically, I can't find something wrong, however, emotionally, I'm not feeling the story as much.

I do appreciate the idea of having Isaac, the student, working as rent-boy. It gives the twist of the teacher/student trope. But, considering that this is a 1st person narration, everything I need to care about the story, including the relationship, depends on Nathan's voice ... and , I don't know ... I feel like Nathan is taking the fact of Isaac's profession, with such a stride, s
...more
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Jul 19, 2013 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Heather K (dentist in my spare time) by: Elizabetta
Kindle freebie 1/19/16
A.B. Gayle
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In this era of endless series and sequels, it's refreshing to find a whole swag of standalones.
It means the author has to come up with fresh characters, plot and setting each time. Not easy. But very rewarding when it is done well.
While on the surface this is a series because at least one of the heroes is Jewish and the observance of religion at some point touches on the story, the only other connecting link is that the world they live in is loosely interlinked. So if characters from other books
...more
Mandy*reads obsessively*
I'm a sucker for rent boy stories, what can I say? :)
This one is a bit different since Nate is Isaac's teacher at the University.
They find each other attractive but know that at least as long as they are student/teacher nothing can come of it.
Well.....they meet again at Isaac's place of work and Nathan's moral hesitation flies out the window.
The story was written well but I was missing something. I don't think I ever really cared about either of the two MC's very much and I really wanted too.
I d
...more
Denise H.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
***** This is a delight, gentle and heartwarming. ***** Two very different men, 42 yr. old Professor Nathan, and 25 yr. old student Isaac, both gay and Jewish, meet at school.

They are drawn to each other but Nathan won't breach the school rules and date a student. Isaac is working hard to graduate. This unlikely pair is so cute, sexy, and adorable, as the tension builds, and after graduation they act on their desires.
Each has had hardships, and through conversations they get to know each other
...more
Amy
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
Well that was a pleasant surprise! This book was not even on my radar until today. I needed a book with a scientist or inventor for BINGO and couldn't find anything that interested me. I ended up picking this one because it was the shortest one on the list that still met the 100 page min requirement. Funny thing is, I really liked the book! It was very well written and hit a lot of my hot buttons: teacher-student, age difference, rent boy. There was a bit of drama, but it was resolved quickly. O ...more
Simsala
Apr 03, 2012 rated it liked it
The umpteenth version of professor falls in love with his student.
This time with a rent boy twist but nothing new to really grab me...
Elizabetta
“The first rule of ecology is that small shifts beget big change. Everything is connected.” So teaches Nathan Kohn.

And so unfolds the story of a college teacher of aquatic/environmental studies and his student. What is special here is how the author weaves in Nathan’s work and his Jewish background giving his character depth and color. The fact that Isaac, his undergrad student, comes from the same background completes the strong thread that runs through this story. Also welcome is that these tw
...more
Jess Candela
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013, m-m
If I hadn't lived a student-professor-waiting-for-the-student-to-graduate situation, I probably would have enjoyed this book more. Or maybe not. There's so much that could have been done with that situation, showing the growing intellectual connection over months of office-hours discussions, leading to meandering conversations, developing friendship and emotional intimacy. Then the sexual tension waiting for graduation makes sense.

This story didn't seem to me to show why Isaac and Nathan were so
...more
Lelyana
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I feel a bit ambivalent about this story. While I like Isaac, and 'seeing' him as a strong person, and young. I didn't feel connection with Nathan. Me and Nathan has no chemistry :)
For a man his age (42), he acted like a teenager. Doubted everything about Isaac.
Well okay, Isaac's 'profession' aside from being a student annoyed him, but not as much. Then why it's bothering him so much after they're in a relationship?
I didn't understand him. He's like two different people.
Isaac is more mature th
...more
Anke
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
4.5*. *sigh* I just finished reading and have to say, what a wonderful book! I liked Nathan and Isaac with all their insecurities. I especially liked the insta-atttraction and then the careful building of the relationship. The writing was wonderful and I'm glad that I have already bought the other book by this author:) I hope, she is busy writing more!
Natalie
Beautifully written, with a rich cast of supporting characters. The first-person narrative works really well here, and Nate's "voice" is so appealing. I saw very clearly why he fell in love with Isaac. Bonus points for sex scenes that are genuinely sensual, full of wonder and discovery. I'm a sucker for age-difference stories, and this is a great one.
Mirjam



Nathan Kohn, 42, a gay Jewish environmental sciences professor at a small Catholic college in Chicago. While Nathan enjoys being a professor his personal life is a dull routine and lonely one. This all changes when his new student walks into his class.

Isaac Wolf, 25, is a bright student who is paying his way through college. After being disowned by his parents when he came out, he is left with massive student loans. Not wanting to start his adult life with a huge debt, he is force to dance in a
...more
Kim
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this author’s work and have read many of her books. This is a mm contemporary story set in the USA. Age gap and sex worker. Loved it and wish it was longer. Nathan and Isaac are amazing together.
Bitchie
Ordinarily, I love student/professor stories, add in that the student is a hooker, and this should be golden! Unfortunately, I was kind of bored through a lot of this, and just when I was really getting into it, Nathan did something that pissed me off. I also don't get rimming but not blowing without a condom.

Also, third book this week I've read with a character named Nathan or some variation of it. New trend in book names?
5amWriterMan
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful May-December love story between a college professor and his former student. A perfect story for anyone who enjoys more romance than sex in an MM story.
Nicole
Apr 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: review, read-in-2012, m-m
Joint review with Lou originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/05/02/...

Lou: MinnChica and I didn’t have enough good things to say about Moving in Rhythm. So it’s with sadness that I’m writing this negative review about Learning from Isaac. I first want to say that this author is a very talented writer and has a great author voice, but the plot of Isaac and the character, Nathan, left me with a distasteful feeling which I’ll get to later on in the review. Firstly, there is not much
...more
Bárbara
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
To be honest, it was pretty meh. The conflict was too low (and given the circumstances, there was room for a nice little drama) and misplaced, and it got solved far too quickly.

The relationship was not very believable- not to say the characters were incompatible: what with the way Nathan acted immature and Isaac appeared way older than he was, I think they met halfway alright. But still, it was quite weakly presented for me to take it serious.

It could have been a great story, it just... wasn't
...more
Kaetrin
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, contemporary, queer
Nathan Kohn is a college professor. Isaac Wolf is one of his students and 17 years his junior. It is of course, forbidden for Nathan to have a relationship with a student but it is clear that there is mutual interest and attraction. Isaac is due to graduate in a few months so they plan to wait to do anything about it. After Isaac came out to his family, he was disowned and he is now weighed down by student loans and tuition fees. In order to try to get out from under this mountain of debt, he wo ...more
Christy
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, m-m, on-my-kindle
How is it possible that I've missed reading this author? Ah well, I'm reading her now and enjoying the writing style very much. In fact, it reminds me of a dear friend and author, who also writes wonderfully, about really nice guys. To be honest, I was also intrigued by the fact that this series, 'Tarnished Souls', revolves around the Jewish holy days. My mother converted to Judaism at the age of seventy-two, so I adore connecting with her in another way.

Dr. Nathan Kohn has been a teacher at a s
...more
Sadonna
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm, pdf
This is the second book I've read by this author and once again, I really enjoyed the journey. In this story we have a professor and a student, but their relationship does not follow any sort of traditional route. Nathan has a wonderful mother, a good job at the college and a non-existent love life. Then Isaac Wolf walks into his classroom. I felt for Isaac trying to make his way in the world after being disowned by his parents when he comes out. While his choices wouldn't have been everyone's, ...more
JustJen "Miss Conduct"
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, mm
3.5 stars for me on this one. It was well written and very sweet. I am also a sucker for rent boys which was what drew me in to this story in the first place. There is a big age gap between the characters, but that didn't bother me much. There were a few things that didn't quite jive along the way or seemed really unrealistic, but, overall, this was a nice, enjoyable read for me.
Chris
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, done, gay, romance, ebook
3.5 stars. Good m/m romance about a college professor who's mutually attracted to one of his students (a senior), but they agree not to act on that attraction until after graduation. And then the professor runs into the student in a most unexpected place...
DarienMoya
3.75

Nathan is a professor of aquatic science, he’s Jewish and gay and so single. Not exactly, the life he wanted but it’s the life he has. The only thing that makes his day a little brighter is one of his students, Isaac. Nathan knows there is no getting dirty with the students but there is no law against looking, and fantasizing. When a class project has him spending some alone time with Isaac on a boat he finds out his attraction isn’t one sided but he’s gotta obey the rules. No loving with h
...more
Alina
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Well it seems that once again I'm not on the same wavelength, as most of the readers )))

I for one, loved Nathan a great deal. I loved his part self-ironical and part self-deprecating POV, I loved his attitude about his profession and his relationships with the students. He's definitely a good guy in my books, but he has flaws, he's not perfect, obviously, but that makes him interesting as a character.

I didn't blame him for his first 'encounter' with Isaac in the club. He was drunk and lonely, he
...more
Cindi
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, m-m, 2012
I really like books that have a major age difference (as long as both characters are legal) and I'm big on the professor/student angle so I knew when I saw the description that this was my type of book. I also like the fact that Isaac was a prostitute working to pay his way through college. All of that was good and it was a very good story.

But......

What I did not like about the book is Nathan. He is a college professor who doesn't exactly teach something that I personally would call overly excit
...more
Meep
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Never really engaged me and was unimpressed with the main character.

Teacher/Student romance makes me wary so would need to be sold as more than a kink, and here I never got what attracted them, there was no conversation it all, it seemed to spark from appearance. Nothing to show why it developed into anything, or to suggest there'd be anything worth waiting for. By the time the wait was over the chemistry if it was there had sizzled out, the opportunity to show them getting to know each other an
...more
Macky
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I can't say that the story was just OK but at the same time I can't say I loved it. The problem for me was that it was all a bit too ' nice ' and tasteful, even the sex scenes, although they are sensual. Everything about it was right but at the same time it seems to lack a little something, possibly a bit more passion ( not particularly in relation to the love scenes ) and the gritty feel that usually goes alongside the male prostitute angle. It's all a bit ' safe '.

However, it was written well
...more
Becky Condit
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
LEARNING FROM ISAAC is a character-driven novel. I very much enjoyed the snippets of Jewish holidays and customs that are embedded throughout the book without going so far as to be preachy. Nathan and Isaac are not wholesome good men who simply make mistakes. They are imperfect and behave in ways that cause harm to themselves and others, but they learn from their lapses in judgment and slowly grow into the men they want to be for themselves and those they love.
The HEA at the end is well earned.
...more
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Dev Bentham believes in the transformative power of true love. She’s the author of many gay romances, including Moving in Rhythm, August Ice and the Tarnished Souls Jewish Holiday series.

Over the years, she’s lived in way too many places and had far too many jobs, but she’s finally settled in frozen northern Wisconsin where she draws on her former lives to write enduring love stories in which wond
...more

Other books in the series

Tarnished Souls (4 books)
  • Fields of Gold (Tarnished Souls, #2)
  • Sacred Hearts (Tarnished Souls, #3)
  • Bread, Salt & Wine (Tarnished Souls, #4)

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“I grimaced. “I’ve never done that before.”

He smiled. “They all say that. But if it’s true, we’re even. I’ve never kissed a trick.”

I rested my arms on the rickety table between us. He looked pale, and there were dark circles under his eyes. “I want to know why. You’re brilliant, one of the best students I’ve ever had. Why are you…?”

“Sucking dick for dollars?” His mouth twisted into a cynical smile.

I sat back, aware that I didn’t like the image of his mouth on other men. “Right.”
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