Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Review: Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 5 Anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Title: Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 5
Editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Pub. Date: December 10th 2019
Source: Rachel Kramer Bussel

Book Description:

In Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5, award-winning editor Rachel Kramer Bussel takes readers on an outrageous journey into the world of female fantasy and desire. These sexy stories offer up wild, hot, and steamy tales from today’s top authors. You’ll be swept away by the sexiest business deal ever, break the rules in a future world where skin-on-skin contact is forbidden, and discover the art of getting off by phone sex.

From threesomes to mermaid sex, fetishes, sex parties, and much more, these authors steam up the pages with tales of trysts, love, and lust where nothing is held back. If you’re looking to escape from the everyday and discover what happens when women are ready to get totally outrageous, this book is for you.

With new stories by beloved authors including Joanna Angel, Balli Kaur Jaswal, CD Reiss, Sierra Simone, and Sabrina Sol, along with newcomers to the genre, you’ll savor every sizzling page.



The theme of this erotica anthology is "outrageous", and on this word alone, I'd say this collection delivers. There are 21 short stories in here, each of them drastically different but all linked by that one word. Each story is short enough to read in a quickie, but long enough that it satisfies. Because each story is unrelated to the others in the book, this is a good book to read in bursts. One story here, two stories there.

This collection does a really good job with inclusivity and diversity. There are people of color represented here, as well as people with disabilities, of a number of body types, and of multiple age groups. There's also LGBT and gender inclusivity here, including non-binary characters. Not only people, but kinks as well. There's all sorts of eroticism featured here, from hardcore BDSM to bondage to age play, to voyeurism, and a whole bunch in between.

Because there's such a wide variety of stories and authors here, if I were reviewing each story individually, the ratings would be everything from a 1/5 to a 5/5. I'm not partial to stories written in first person. Some were too rushed. Some didn't sell me on being sexy and came off forced. Some had kinks that I just don't want any part in, and some had vibes that I thought seemed creepy or coercive. On the other side of the same coin, some of the stories are beautifully weaved with sexy language. They have kinks that are right up my alley with words that I love and scenes that I'd love to be a part of. They have unique concepts and take their few pages of space in this book and create something fantastic.

My point mainly being, that there'll certainly be something in here for you, even if you don't enjoy each and every story. For me, the good outweighed the not so good, and just because I didn't like it, doesn't mean it won't be the thing that drives you crazy.

I won't be reviewing all 21 stories, nor will I be harping on which ones I didn't like. Instead, I'm going to touch on the three stories that I liked best. These are in no particular order.

The first story I feel is worth highlighting is "The Summer of 1669" by Jayne Renault. If the title wasn't a dead giveaway, it's a historic erotica. In a pleasant surprise to me, the couple featured in this story is two women. It largely takes place in a memory, of a time spent on a ship on its way over from Europe to the New Colonies of America. It's a bit taboo, a lot erotic, and being LGBT myself, the fact that it's F/F was lovely. It's sensually written in a romanticized way, while still being plenty dirty.

The next story that I liked is called "If the Ocean" by Loretta Black. It too features a couple that is two females. It also has historic imagery (I guess I'm pretty predictable, eh?). The story occurs when a woman happens across a mermaid. Yes, a mermaid. The book promises outrageousness, does it not? Loretta Black does a really good job here of balancing the sexy elements with pretty imagery and vocabulary that make it seem like it should be part of a larger work (which I'd read tf out of, if you're reading this!).

The last one, and possibly my favorite one, is the last story of the book, called "Spin" by Lauren Emily. It's an exception to my "I don't like the first person narrative" rule. It's also, I just now realize, yet another F/F erotica. This is surprising to me since I also like men, but, here we are. I'd like to just say that there are plenty of men in this book, despite my top picks! I digress. "Spin" involves a public spectacle of eroticism set while doing an aerialist routine. I have an affinity for all things that are carnival and circus, so this was a perfect way to end this collection of stories.

Over all, there's a lot of authors here with a lot of stories to tell. They each do so differently, and it goes to show how so many different people can take one theme and run wild with it in all different directions. There's a lot of different fantasies and kinks here, so there's sure to be something for everybody. If you've enjoyed any of the other volumes from this anthology line, it will find a nice place on your shelf among the others.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!


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