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The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance by Sonia Florens (Editor) © 2011 Running Press
ISBN: 978-0- 7624-4266-9
544 Pages
$13.95 (U.S.)
$16.50 (Canada)
Kindle Edition $7.99 (U.S.)

Okay guys, you may want to turn away from the screen at this time. This is intended for the fans of the “bodice ripper” genre of writing. Statistically, I am sure, that will include more members of the fairer sex than the more macho members of the community. Please note, however, that I am aware that love of romance stories is not restricted by gender, it's just really hard to avoid thinking in stereotypes when dealing with this topic.

The day (or night) of the discretely drawn curtain, or the closed door just before the “Happily Ever After” is gone. We have become, for better or worse, a more permissive, sensual society and no longer shy away from the realities of the bedroom (or kitchen, or forest, or the backseat of the car – you get the drift here). This is a collection of twenty five short stories, which means twenty five forays into the minds of authors. It also means multiple ways of seeing the “boy meets/meats girl” scenario.

I got this book because one of my favorite authors (Adrienne Brennan) has story in it, and I wanted to review it. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for. Adrienne writes supernatural erotica, and I expected hers to be one of the few supernatural-themed stories in the book. In fact, there were lots of stories with a supernatural slant. This is most definitely an “R” (or even “X”) rated book and is inappropriate for those who are not yet members of the adult generation.

The stories with a supernatural slant range from the demonic to vampires; from were-wolves to angels. Some of them seem almost plausible while others strain the credulity of the average reader. No matter where on the spectrum the story fell, however, they all delivered on their promise of hot romance.

Although there were a variety of writing styles the emphasis is consistently on the “hot” aspect of romance (or at least physical lovemaking). There is no real effort for subtlety in these stories, and if you are simply interested in well-written erotica, this is one of a series of books published by this company which can fulfill your desire. If, on the other hand, you find erotica offensive – why are you even reading this review?

Suffice it to say that this is a book to be savored. Take your time and enjoy each of the stories. Don't rush through them. Each story is a delight to read. The occasional editing glitch didn't even slow me down (and normally that throws me off my pace), nor will you most likely even notice them.

Adrienne's contribution (Love Under Will) was up to her usual high standards, and posed some interesting philosophical questions. Do The Powers That Be have an enforcement division? How do you deal with rebellious angels? How can an angel rebel? - they don't have free will.

The remaining authors have opened my eyes to a bunch of writers I will be looking for periodically. To be honest, erotica is fun, but it isn't what I usually find crossing my desk, so I don't expect to reviewing too many books in this category – although there are a couple of others (The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance and The Mammoth Book of Erotica) may at least show up for personal reading.

-Mike Gleason

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