This is my first time reading anything written or compiled by Rachel Kramer Bussel, so I wasn't sure what to expect – I only knew that there is a lot of mediocre erotica out there. I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of short-short stories. Definitely better than just mediocre.
For the most part, the stories are very well-written. There were a handful that simply didn't do it for me in terms of the author's writing style, but the positives far outweighed the negatives. One of the best things about this collection is that all 69 stories are under 1200 words, so it's easy to pick up and put down when you can't make the time commitment for longer chapters. Not to mention the fact that the heat level rises quickly and gets to the point without any contrived set-up. That's not to say there's no plot or story arc, because there is – another aspect that sets these stories a notch above the rest. I was surprised by the emotional depth encapsulated in so few words in many of the stories.
Regarding the erotic content, there's something for everyone in this collection: light bondage and BDSM play, stranger sex, public sex, the deep bond of long-term partners, and much, much more. Bussel has done an excellent job of structuring the anthology as well. The first story, Seven-Letter Word by Heather Lin, is fun and sexy, and it sets the tone so that you won't want to put the book down after just one story. The last story, Robert Peregrine's Vacation Pictures, has a unique voice that combines the erotic with a touch of humor and leaves you with the desire to flip back through the book the way you'd look back at snapshots from your own favorite vacation to relive all the best parts. The first and last stories are among my favorites, and here are a few others:
Too Wondrous To Measure, by Salome Wild – fun, humorous, and inventive. You'd never expect Godzilla to show up in an erotica anthology, and yet this was one of my favorites by far.
Eat Me, by Marina Saint – It doesn't mean what you think it means. This is for anyone who's ever craved a burger with the same carnal urge as you'd crave your lover's body.
Downpour, by Elle – A sweet story that shows we only get more beautiful, confident, and sexy with age.
Intercept, by Burton Lawrence – Space sex! Need I say more?
Last-Time Lesbian, by Geneva King – This one will make you think, and not just about the sex. It addresses the difficult emotional dynamics in a transgender relationship.
Going Bald, by Craig J. Sorenson – Women can be their own toughest critics when it comes to their bodies, so I loved this story giving a male perspective on the beauty of the female form.
I liked this book so much, I will definitely be checking out other titles from Rachel Kramer Bussel. Highly recommended
(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the editor in exchange for a review on Amazon. But I assure you that didn’t affect my review in any way.)