Obsessed Erotic Romance for Women - erotic book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Petite Valentine

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So oh, oh, oh, oh... not obsessed.

The topic of obsession is tailor made for erotica, but for a tome dedicated to all consuming desires, I don't find myself wanting to re-read much of it. I don't dislike the book, but I've read others, specifically from this editor, that I enjoyed more.
Published:
Pros:
+ Variety
+ Well written and edited
+ Nice packaging
Cons:
- The object of obsession in most of the stories don't do it for me
- Heterosexual pairings only
Rating by reviewer:
3
extremely useful review
In this collection, authors seek to illuminate that hidden aspect that speaks to the brain in a way where all else falls away and focus is narrowed to a single idea, object or person. Nineteen stories all about sexual fixation and the pleasure of letting it consume one's world.

In Ariel Graham's "Hooked" we're presented with a literal object of desire: a hook in the ceiling of a new bedroom and all the possibilities it presents to the lead female character, Ricki and her beau, Jody. In Rachel Kramer Bussel's "I Want to Hold Your Hand" the obsession is another person -- a husband who has turned his health around and become the obsession of a number of the women around him. In "Raven's Flight" it's a combination of the two: a Celtic tattoo and the muscular Irishman who sports it.

Obsessions come in all shapes and sizes and as the editor puts it, "it's about the way a lover can get under your skin." We have assistants driven to distraction by their bosses in Logan Belle's "Love & Demotion" and Kayla Perrin's "One Night in Paris." We have a woman consumed by her attraction to an acquaintance (and resulting in a ménage à trois) in Emerald's "Then," and in "Raindrops and Rooftops" by Elizabeth Coldwell, a fledgling travel writer is taken to new heights, literally, by an American hotelier.

Donna George Storey's contribution, "Silent Treatment" is of the sentimental variety, a woman unexpectedly coming face-to-face on a retreat with the-guy-who-never-called-back. It's short on dialogue but heavy on explicit sexual action. Charlotte Stein's "Loser" is a romantic tale where the main character's brain tells her to move on, but her heart leads her to discover a diamond in the rough. Again, dialogue is light, but the action is hot.

The pedigree of this collection is impressive: Kristina Wright, Justine Elyot, Bella Andre, Teresa Noelle Roberts, and Portia Da Costa are a few of the other authors that contribute stories, and there is an absolutely terrific foreword by Caridad Piñeiro.

Like other Cleiss Press titles, Obsessed is the size of your average trade paperback which makes it easy to port around. Its 224 pages are wrapped by a black & white photograph of a female wearing little more than lipstick, but the most scandalous body part featured is a bare shoulder. It's nothing that couldn't pass for a mundane novel even with the eye-catching red title. Classy and understated, it makes it pretty easy to flash in public without raising eyebrows.
Experience
PVC corset lust? ("Undercover Kink," Louise Hart) Pubic hair landscaping? ("Topiary," K.D. Grace) The desire to chuck wealth and security for destitution and unrest — and admittedly, a really hot guy — in a third world country? ("Spellbound," Garnell Wallace) None of this excites me. Penniless street musicians? ("Secret Places," Adele Haze) Nope, still cold. I hate to be so picky, but this is erotica. AROUSE ME!

"Silent Treatment" is a fantastic start to the collection, but far too many pages are between it and my next favorite, Jennifer Peters "It's Gotta Be Fate." In that tale, a humorous start segues nicely to a hot scene of female dominance (a part of me wonders if this might have been meant for Yes, Ma'am or Please, Ma'am). Bella Andre's "Aftershocks" is also a highlight: there is just something very engaging about a man who responds to the challenge when his wife says, "completely lose control and stop making love to me and just fuck me..." Also, thank you Andrea Dale for "Raven's Flight," because foreign accents are awesome, especially when it's an Irish brogue responding, "Oh, is that what'd you be wanting?" when a healthy female confesses her desire to explore his tattoo — with her tongue.

So a mix of highs and lows is what this collection is for me. There is definitely good reading between the covers, but too many of the stories leave me as confounded by their allure as I am by the legion of Justin Bieber fans in the world. When you share an obsession, getting into the character's mindset is like tugging on a beloved, well-worn t-shirt. But for those who don't share the obsession, it's like trying to wear something two sizes too large. You can put it on, but you don't really see what's so great about it. Obsessed is a well put together volume featuring a veritable who's who of erotica authors, but because of my indifference to much of the content it gets only three stars (I'd make it 3½ if EF would let me).
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    • Anyone
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This review was edited by
  • Shellz31 Shellz31
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Comments
  • Shellz31
    Fantastic work

    I go by your reviews to tell if I'll like certain books. I finally got a Tentacle - should arrive next week.
    I really like the + and - in the pro/con section. Pretty good idea.
  • sktb0007
    ty for the review
  • Ivy Wilde
    Thanks for the review. You do a great job of describing why you do and don't like the various stories. Do you find it harder to write reviews of books than of sex toys? For some reason writing a book review is a lot harder for me, even though I have been a major bibliophile all of my life and only just recently discovered sex toys.
  • Petite Valentine
    All my book reviews so far have been of short story collections, and I think that is why I also find them a little more difficult than toy reviews. Each of these books has about twenty stories or so, and each author has a unique style and voice, yet reviewers have to rate it as a single work. Easier said than done when opinions of the stories can be at opposite ends of the love/hate spectrum.
  • Antipova
    I definitely know what you mean---I try to hilight my favorites with descriptions or quotes, and spend just a sentence or two describing what I didn't like about the ones I disliked. Anthologies are tough to write without giving away too much info, too. You did a great job, PV!
  • Lindsey123
    thanks!
  • Lindsey123
    thanks!
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