There are ten short stories in this book, averaging twenty five pages each. While the storylines are wildly different, the tone throughout is similar, as is the language used. In other words, you can hear the author's voice in each of the stories even though the topics and characters are so different. This is definitely cliterature aimed at women, so while there also stories told from a man's perspective, or written in the third person, most of the stories are told first person from a woman's point of view. Who is that woman? Well I suppose it could be you. Or me. Or, slightly more worryingly, your daughter. Or the nice policewoman who helped the old lady next door who was burgled. Maybe it's that old lady too.
So how rude is this book? It's erotica so you have to expect it to be at least a little risqué. If you object to his-and-hers c words, then you won't like any of these stories as these terms crop up in every one of the tales. It's not as crude as in some books though, and if anything I think it's more off putting when these words appear unexpectedly in regular chick lit than in a book like this where it's to be expected.
How do you rate a book like this? Is it supposed to be a sliding scale from mildly moist to utterly sodden with reference to the state of your knickers after a few pages? Does the author need a suitably titillating porn-star-esque name? Do you give additional stars for books that look more innocuous when reading on public transport? (The press copy I have is just fine, nice and plain...but the release version on Amazon includes what looks like an oddly misplaced boob). Do making you laugh and making you come rate equally in level of importance? I thought the book was interesting (in a kooky, kinky kinda way) but I've not read enough work of this genre to know whether it's better or worse than the average. I did not think it was too rude or crude, and perhaps disappointingly I didn't find it even mildly offensive, but if you are curious about these things and want to dip a toe into the porn pool, this would be a good place to start. Don't be mislead by the subtitle of Extreme erotic fantasies, or the back cover blurb of breaks every taboo - yes, you definitely know what you're reading as you flick through, but it's not as bad as I was picturing.
I suppose part of the thing about fantasises is that they are highly personal, and while one person might get off on the idea of extra-terrestrial sex slaves, or futuristic, intuitive sex aids, another might read those stories and laugh. A lot. Take the first story for example: the last good girl in school's mission to lose her status as such is accelerated when an evil vampire creature comes to town and needs her as a virgin sacrifice. Her solution? To get some pronto, before the evil one can strike. To me, that's quite funny in a bad horror movie sort of way - Buffy the Vampire Layer, anyone? The fact that the girls are underage students at a Catholic school was not something I dwelled over particularly, but I can imagine that other people might have relished this fact.
The book was a real mixed bag when it came to ideas and themes too. While some of the stories left a little to be desired, or pandered to the usual clichés (lesbians, a little light bondage, the aforementioned school girls) there were some really unusual ideas thrown about too, and the story of what could happen to the children of the future based on the recreational Viagra taking of their parents today, was interesting and thought-provoking, rampant sex scenes aside.
I liked the book without thinking it was the most well written piece of fiction in the world, though it certainly wasn't bad. I do feel you can tell the author also cowrites (with her husband!) an erotic soap opera as it all has that sort of feel to it. I think the short story concept worked well, though that and the topics meant it took me longer to plough through as I found it a bedtime reading treat rather than middle of the day reading material. And finally, my days of describing my underwear at random are long gone, but it's safe to say you can assume that this book achieves what it sets out to.
This review originally appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk under my name. The author liked it so much she wrote about it on her website http://pollyfrost.com/ ....definitely the first and probably the last time my name will ever appear on that kind of site.