Saturday, July 20, 2013

Booknote: Best Erotic Romance 2013

Kristina Wright, ed., Best Erotic Romance 2013. Berkeley (CA): Cleis Press, 2012. ISBN: 9781573449038.

Genre: Fiction
Subgenre: erotic romance, short fiction

Editor Kristina Wright brings together a group of excellent writers to provide stories exploring the connection between love and sex. What happens when physical expression and pleasure come along with romantic love? We have 17 stories that seek to answer that question, exploring a variety of situations from singles to married couples, even at least one divorcing couple perhaps seeking one last hurrah before it ends.

Allow me to highlight some of the stories I enjoyed:

  •  "Waiting for Ilya" by Teresa Noelle Roberts. This is a tale of a "pregnant" couple pondering their future sex life in light of the new arrival. Actually, they are not literally pregnant; they are adopting a child, but the issues are close to the same. It was a tender and heartwarming story with some sensuality. The story shows what can be done in a good romance for a married couple. 
  • "Teach Me" by Jeanette Grey. In this story, a new couple comes together through yoga lessons. At first, Lissa reaches out to help out Kevin, who is a yoga beginner. The story takes off from there as they end up teaching each other various things. As a good romance story should, it has a nice satisfying ending. If you practice yoga, you will appreciate how Grey blends yoga imagery and movement with sensuality. 
  • "Chocolate Cake and You" by Victoria Blisse. This story will have you craving a thoughtful, affectionate lover and some chocolate cake. What I loved about this story, besides the sensual food imagery and the fact that it is a very steamy story, is how Ryan, the baker, sees his woman as perfect. He tells her, "whatever possessed you to diet anyway? You're perfect as you are" (110). Then he proceeds to appreciate and shower her with hot loving and affection. In true love there is acceptance, no need to change for the sake of the beloved. 
  • "Adagio" by Torrance Sené. I don't think I will look at classical music and violin players in quite the same way, and I do mean that in a positive way. Then again, the connection between classical music and sensuality has always been there. Let's just say Ben knows just when and how to bring out the harmonious notes out of his lover. Their lovemaking is truly a musical masterpiece.

In addition to the 17 stories, this anthology features a foreword by Saskia Walker that provides a nice opening and describes the genre of erotic romance. She describes her reading experience in romance, where for the most part the bedroom door was closed in the romance tales. Lucky for her and for readers today that door "has not only been left wide open, it has frequently been rattled off its hinges by the passionate intensity on the pages" (viii). The subgenre of erotic romance has evolved to bring stories that are both romantic and erotically steamy. This anthology is an excellent example of that. The strength of a short story anthology such as this one is that it allows you to taste and sample different expressions of romantic erotica. This is the anthology you want to go along with a nice, hot steamy bubble bath.

In compliance with FTC rules, also known as keeping The Man happy, I disclose this book was provided to me by the publisher for review purposes.

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