Reviews, research. Research, reviews. My reading lately has been pretty much all for research and reviews. Well, mostly. Sometimes I get led astray.
For instance, I recently ventured into a series I’d previously shunned, Laurie R. King’s novels that imagine Sherlock Holmes, after he supposedly retired to raise honeybees in Somerset, marrying a much younger woman with talents nearly equal to his own. And, yes, together they fight crime. As a Holmes purist, I’d shunned the books even though I’d heard good things about them. But I’m doing research for a science fiction story set on Dartmoor in the nineteenth century (steampunk, not erotica,) so when I saw a recorded book version of King’s The Moor in the library, it seemed like a good source for some atmospheric background. Besides, I could listen to it while driving, and I loved The Hound of the Baskervilles. So now, of course, I’m hooked on the series and have read two more of the books with no valid excuse of research, when I really need to be studying Nicola Tesla and other early experimenters with electricity. (The anthology I’m aiming for is called Daughters of Frankenstein.)
My most recent book for review, assigned rather than chosen, was, indeed, erotica, for the review site Erotica Revealed (www.eroticarevealed.com.) This was an e-book anthology from the Harper Collins Mischief imprint, Do Not Disturb, quite a good selection of stories on the classic theme of hotel sex. I won’t go into detail--you can check the review if you find hotel sex irresistible--except to say that the pieces I enjoyed most were those about the people working at hotels, rather than those visiting them. I had hoped to be assigned a book that I’d already read recently, Alison Tyler’s Dark Secret Love, but I’m actually happier that Lisabet did that review because she did it much more justice than I could have. I’d already done a very brief review of it when I hosted Alison on my blog (http://sacchi-green.blogspot.com) as one stop on her blog tour. A truly remarkable work, semi-autobiographical, about submission and sex. Do check out Lisabet’s review on Erotica Revealed.
Possibly I can make a case for the book I’m currently reading to be classed as research. Or maybe not. It’s Giselle Renarde’s (yes, our Giselle) Adam and Sheree’s Family Vacation, published by eXcessica and banned by Amazon for involving incest. I could say that I’m researching what sort of thing Amazon bans, but it’s actually more a case of figuring out what people mean when they describe erotica or porn as “filthy” (in the best possible sense of the word, of course.) Giselle has described the book and its sequel that way, and I hear it from other terrific writers as well, but I’ve never been sure exactly what they meant. Incest, while ill-advised if procreation is involved, doesn’t seem to me to be inherently any dirtier than other couplings as long as its consensual. Anal sex certainly runs the risk of being unhygienic if precautions aren’t taken, but I’m pretty sure the term “filthy” applies to a broader range of activities. Maybe it’s just a way of saying extra-hot, which Giselle’s book certainly is, but more likely it refers to the heightened tension for the characters when societal taboos are being breached. Giselle’s sex scenes—well, pretty much all the scenes are sex scenes, and exceedingly well done ones—are bursting with tension, which, like friction, definitely produces vast amounts of heat Great stuff.
An irrelevant sidetrack: tonight on Facebook I saw one of those silly memes that ripple through the community from time to time. You’re supposed to take the title of the book you’re currently reading and add “with a chainsaw.” Hmm. Adam and Sheree’s Family Vacation with a Chainsaw. I haven’t quite finished the book, but there haven’t been any chainsaws yet. If any do appear, though, I have every confidence that Giselle manages to make them very hot, and definitely filthy.