Editor: Alison Tyler Authors: Nikki Magennis, Shanna Germain, Sommer Marsden, Kristina Lloyd, Donna George Storey, N T Morley, Erica DeQuaya, Allison Wonderland, Portia DaCosta, Lana Fox, Benjamin Eliot, A D R Forte, Bryn Haniver, T C Calligari, Andrea Dale, Sophia Valenti, Bella Dean, Jacqueline Applebee, Saskia Walker, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Tsaurah Litzky, Janine Ashbless, Heidi Champa, Thomas S Roche, Georgia E Jones, Alison Tyler, Elspeth Potter
Released: July 1, 2010
ISBN # 978-0373605453
(review of eBook from NetGalley.com)
Take a bit of magic, a bit of folklore, a bit of darkness, a bit of humor, and quite a few bits of naughty and shake them all up. That’s what you get with Alison’s Wonderland. It caught my eye because I had just finished talking about how much I tend to like recreated fairy tales in the paranormal genre. This is my first “erotica” novel, but it’s not really a novel. It’s a collection of (very) short stories inspired by myths and fairy tales.
Now, I’ve read my fair share of romance novels (mostly paranormal, but not all) that include sex. Some authors, obviously, do it better than others. I discovered two things while reading this book. First, I’m much pickier about fairy tale retellings than I realized. I tended to like the stories that stayed closer to the original. Second, I need more time (generally speaking) with characters before I can really appreciate the sex scenes. Some just seemed too rushed and didn’t have nearly enough story to create a believable connection. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t like some of the more creative stories, or that I didn’t enjoy the hanky panky in some of the offerings. There are, of course, exceptions for just about everything.
Some of my favorites in the collection were:
- Fool’s Gold by Shanna Germain – A surprisingly intense story about desire and trust. Very well written.
- The Midas F*ck by Erica DeQuaya - I admit I almost wrote this one off at the title, but I would have missed out on a remarkably sweet story.
- An Uphill Battle by Benjamin Eliot – One of the funniest stories in the book, also one of the longest. I loved Zeke’s inner monologue during his many treks up flights of stairs. The ending was fairly predictable, but enjoyable, none-the-less.
- The Broken Fiddle by Andrea Dale – The Irish in me got all happy while Finn was playing his fiddle and spinning tales by the lake. I would really loved for this to be retold as a full length novel.
- Wolff’s Tavern by Bella Dean - This is the stuff that makes my paranormal romance heart go pitter patter.
- Rings On My Fingers by Alison Tyler – Another of the longer stories in the group. I’m not sure what fairy tale this represented, but the character and chemistry building was fantastic.
There were others I liked, but didn’t love, in the book. And quite a few I didn’t care for at all. Some that seemed to just toss characters together whether they were ready for it or not. Again, that could all be chalked up to my apparent preference for more build-up before characters get all frisky. I’d rather think that than the alternative. That some of the authors were more interested in the wham-bam-thank-ya-ma’am than what got the characters to that point.
I’ve decided that I will probably not read any other erotic anthologies like this in the future. Not because I dislike erotica (I plan on checking out a few of the authors’ other works), but because I just couldn’t sit and read one encounter after another without story in between. It seemed too forced and too shallow to me. It took me almost a week to read this book, and that’s very rare for me. Again, it’s (mostly) not the book’s fault. It’s not you, Alison’s Wonderland, it’s me. Really. Maybe.