Playing With Fire: Taboo Erotica Paperback – Apr 7 2009
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Nicky Magennis' humbling and beautifully poetic flash opening leads into 'Fire Woman' by Sommer Marsden, a story that is sublime in its energy, power and gorgeous dirtiness. It leaves you panting, scorched. To be honest, you could buy the book for these two stories alone. I was wowed before I'd hardly started.
I won't pretend all the stories are to my taste. Some are darker, like 'One Hot Slut' by NT Morley, or 'Burned' by Michael Hemmingson. But that means there is something for everyone, and the premise of the collection is an edgy one.
'Scorched' by Janine Ashbless balances on that edge perfectly, dealing with adultery, threesomes, jealousy. Shanna Germaine's 'White Heat White Light' is another poetic, raw piece, honest and emotional as it is erotic.
These pieces are, in the main, serious fiction. Ones to go back to.
I first saw this cover three-odd years ago, and it struck a chord. A hot chick with a black point d'esprit veil; that's all it took. The hot makeup and the smoke were secondary. And the title promised me it was going to be a bit more far afield than the traditional adult erotic fiction. The cover sub-title--not an actual, official sub-title of the book, mind you--promised taboo subjects. Yes, I checked, thinking maybe "Taboo Erotica" was some sort of specialty imprint of Cleis Press. Nope. It's just promotional copy, something the boys downstairs came up with to catch your eye and move the product, something to get you to past contemplation to buy.
And I bought. It took me a few years to work my way to it, but I bought.
And sadly, there is nothing even close to taboo in this book. The "fire" is metaphorical, playing with danger, playing with loss, playing with fidelity, risk of exposure, embarrassment, etc. I get that, and more or less expected it. There is even some true fire here--no branding or burning, nothing like that--but none of the adventurous and truly bold content I imagined when I saw that cover, title and sub-title.
So, what do you get? Including Alison Tyler's introduction, you get 22 stories in 162 pages. That's less than nine pages per story, so things get up and move out quickly, and resolve themselves just as quickly. Some stories are real shorties (the opener and "Texas Hot" at one page), while a couple of them do go on a bit.
There's a bit of bondage and power-transfer, some gay/lesbian, and spanking, of course. Lots of extramarital action, but then again, this is more or less the theme.
"Burned" is a story within a novel about writing a novel, about characters and characters' characters, uh, I think, and that's about when I gave up and moved on to the next one.
"The Salsa Bar" is an inane, rambling thing about a night out in Nice, France. First the beach is rocky, and a few paragraphs later it's sandy. I've been there, and it's a pretty tall order to conceive of a threesome happening right there on the beach, given the beach's proximity to the boulevard, sidewalk and the buildings, not to mention all those private beach areas. Sounds sexy, but it's not very credible. "Fanning the Flames" is similarly disappointing, a trite setup with weak and predictable characters and settings leading to the painfully obvious finish.
"Out of the Frying Pan" is a good one, in that you're really not too sure of what is going on with these two couples. Interesting and randy things have happened and are happening, and its five pages are just the beginning of this very intriguing tale. This one had me thinking well after it ended, well past the boinky-boinky to what exactly is going on between these two couples and the four individuals. Good story.
"One Hot Slut" is a gem. Wonderful narration from a wife preparing herself thoroughly for the attention and service she decides her man deserves. It builds and twists very nicely, and the end is another twist. Great story.
In "Trial By Fire," she says she wants to "look like art..." Simple and very good stuff, quite lovely.
"Where There's Smoke" is another good one about a relationship and some extras, with a nice twist at the end.
The closer is "Just Add Water" where a woman revels in her "darkest desires" by putting in a see-through shower curtain so she can watch her guy. This is a dark desire? This is playing with fire? Never mind the physical problem of condensation on either glass or plastic, this simple voyeur tale was about as far as you could get from playing with fire. It's not a bad story, but is completely out of place in this collection.
Bottom line: Don't be taken in by the packaging and titling. There is nothing that scorching here, and there most assuredly is nothing taboo. It's another collection of mostly well-written erotica, that's all.
Some of my favorites include, but are certainly not limited too: Sommer Marsden's Fire Woman the story of a distracted firefighter who has a hot piece of tail with a revealing, sexy writing fetish. Shanna Germain's White Heat, White Light for it's thought provoking, poetic lines of a intense, emotional scene that will keep me reading it again and again. P.S. Haven's Out of The Frying Pan with a riveting story that kept me in it's clutches until the bitter end when my turned-on melancholy made me lust while exploring my emotions. Micheal Hemmingson's Burned whose post modern twist on being a writer made me laugh and gasp at the same time.
The good thing about this book is you, as a reader, can do no wrong. Every story in this book is beauty, even if it's not your particular flavor of kink. The writing is exceptional. It's all sexy, scintillating, stimulating. Words burning on the page that will be seared into your retinas even when you put the book down. A few days later you'll find yourself picking it up again to re-read, re-ponder, and re-enjoy it's little gems of emotional wisdom. This smut is smoking!
Release Date: April 7th, 2009
Page Count: 162
Source: Naked Reader Book Club, via EdenFantasys, for review
Some Like It Hot
Bestselling erotica editor Alison Tyler pushes the limits of sex, lust, and the imagination to new heights in Playing With Fire, her incendiary new collection of erotic stories. In "Scorched", Janine Ashbless shares a three-way with two hot men and one lucky woman, while Thomas S. Roche's rollicking "Hot off the Press" revels in sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. In Tyler's own words, "Be it a flick of a BiC or the glowing embers of a bonfire, these stories will stoke anyone's fire."
What Stephanie Thinks: Is it just me, or is it burning in this room? I may be perverse, and I may be rotten, because taboo erotica certainly ignites my fire. You're probably wondering what exactly "taboo" is. It has nothing to do with fire, although the blurb may suggest it to be so. Rather, it's the fantasies we all have, just don't have the balls to admit: adultery, ménage, sex with a stranger, you name it.
I'm assuredly not saying adultery and having sex with a stranger is okay (I'm indifferent to ménage; never tried it, never plan to), but I've got to admit there's a bit of a thrill out of reading about those topics. It's so forbidden, so titillating, so risqué.
When it comes down to erotica involving cheating on a partner, the last thing you'd expect is for it to be arousing. But each and every one of us has had their extramarital fancies. Whether it be having an affair, or hooking up with someone that isn't your other, there's something so sexy about engaging in something so off limits, something so taboo. The majority of the stories in Playing With Fire involve having an affair behind a partner's back, or even more unconventionally, having an affair with the partner involved. This is where the threesomes and ménage come in. The excitement of having an affair isn't about loving someone you're not supposed to; the excitement comes out of knowing you can love someone else without getting caught -- or in the case of some of the stories, getting caught and dealing with the repercussions to follow.
If you are so high in morality, you hate flawed story lines with cheating spouses and naughty ingenues, this book may not be right for you. I'm not saying there's something wrong with you, since everyone is entitled to their own values, but this book isn't just erotica; it's taboo erotica. The stories are edgy and raw, crude without leaving out any of the nit & grit. I was surprised there isn't any harsh BDSM in this anthology, because that's what I thought it would consist of, at first. I'm fine with that though, because I don't enjoy much of the whipping and beating anyway.
Bottom line, I think this is my favorite erotica anthology so far. The stories contain more than just sex. All of the authors capably incorporate romance, intense emotion, and satisfying twists to their plots to ensure each story to be a lip-biting, teeth-clenching romp of a good read. Devour Playing With Fire in the bedroom with a lover for an unexpectedly sensational tingle, or read it alone when you've got the entire night to please yourself. Either way, beware: you just might burst into flames.
Stephanie Loves: "He notices. We've noticed each other all day, with the kind of noticing that happens in the eyes and the mouth and the body. The kind off noticing that is only noticed by the people doing it. Or so we'd like to believe. Now, we drift toward each other around the bonfire, pretending this is not a predestined course. Pretending this orbit does not end in collision." -- from Shanna Germain's "White Heat, White Light". Hot hot hot! All the stories have smoke curling from the pages like that!
Radical Rating: 10 hearts- Extraordinarily amazingly wonderfully fantastically marvelous.
First up, there's "Fire Woman", which plays on the fireman kink as well as a new twist on dirty talk. I like the use of invisible words to give sexual orders. In "Carrying A Torch" I was pleased to see the use of female sexual power leaving her lover in the dark. She's using him as a connection to someone she can't have and he doesn't have a clue. "One Hundred Degrees in the Shade" makes you feel the uninhibited nature of the two lovers' sexual act, their release mirroring the release of the thunderstorm all around them. And the last story, "Just Add Water", showed that voyeurism and see-through shower curtains can equal hot sex.
If you're looking for a dip into the taboo, this is a great collection. Just make sure not to get too burned.