Monday, November 28, 2011

Please Welcome Misty Rayburn

The Decision to Review Erotica

I had the website set up and had just announced to the world on Facebook that I was going to do reviews.  A few moments later, I got back a question.  I was asked if I would review erotica.

This surprised me a bit because it wasn’t something I had thought about.  Erotica generally has a bad reputation and is considered to many to be exactly the same as porn.  At first my reaction was to say no but instead, I sat back and considered things.

I had to think to myself about what exactly it was that I wanted TTS to accomplish. 

In the end, I decided that in order to make The Top Shelf a well versed place on reading of all genres, I would have to say yes to this question.  For me, being well versed as a reader means stepping outside of your own personal comfort zones and in the end, making myself a better reviewer in the process.

So I said yes.

Now that I’ve actually read some erotica, I can say it really gets a bad rap.  Most of the time, it’s people jumping to conclusions that have never actually read one making all the fuss.  What I found is that by giving a work the title of erotic fiction, it gives the author a little more freedom to push the envelope.  There can be some BDSM, some more graphic sex scenes and freedom to play around with metallic underwear and nipple clamps. 

And let’s face it.  There are people out there that LIKE this stuff even though it may not be YOUR cup of tea.  So why wouldn’t characters be the same way?  If it was a thriller and some sadistic killer was into these things, people would generally have nothing to say but if it happens in an erotica and the characters actually enjoy certain things it’s bad? 

You can’t say erotica doesn’t have a story.  Not if it’s done right.  I’m sure there are a few garbled sex scenes strung together out there by someone who thinks they can write.  REAL EROTICA has PLOT!  The sexual instances all add to the story.  Take for example in Ashlynn Monroe’s Slave to His Desires.  The main character is forced to wear metal underwear and nipple clamps.  What do you think they’re gonna be nice to her?  She was bought as a sex slave!

I think it’s okay to also have that OMG they do THAT!? exclamation when dealing with erotica .  I think that’s part of the whole experience.  This is one end of the extreme, it’s meant to evoke that response.  It’s meant to have some shock value to it. 

Please let me also note that it’s totally okay to have whatever opinions you have on erotica.  I’m not trying to change minds here.  Just kinda laying out what I’ve learned from my own experience.  I had not read anything considered erotic fiction before this.  I think my mindset is the way it is because my parents didn’t really believe in censorship.  Do I believe that people should try reading different genres?  Of course I do!  We have to climb out of our boxes sometime! If you don’t like it, that’s completely fine.
Me?  I’m glad I took the chance.

For those interested, I’m giving away an erotic anthology called Indulgence Tales of the Cirque Romani.  I have just actually requested a review copy of this so I haven’t checked it out myself but it’s got a friend of mine in it.  You all would know her as the author of Expectations and What Money Can’t Buy.  Since Liz Borino is in it, I am very anxious to check it out. 

Synopsis: “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…” the Master of Ceremonies echoes every night. These are the words that launch a night full of entertainment, magic, seduction, debauchery and desire.
Cirque Romani was a troupe like no other, a carnival  full of true mysticism, power and dark seductive secrets. It travels from town to town, performing to an audience and consisting of a cast of creatures that folklore tales weave stories about.

Cirque Romani is a troupe full of magical, dark and fascinating people that choose to entrance others, rather than hide in the depths of the shadows.

We introduce to you...Indulgence: Tales of The Cirque Romani.

Let the show begin...

I’m giving away one e-book copy of this book.  Winners will be chosen by and the close for this contest is November 29th at 8pm eastern!  Good luck!  Once you read it, let me know what you thought! Be sure to come visit The Top Shelf at


Just Another Face said...

I loved the interview. I often thought that erotica was like porn and would be too hot to handle, but I've found it's not that way and I enjoy the paranormal erotica and other erotica genre! Thanks for the interview and giveaway! Good luck everyone!

Christina Irelan said...

Thanks for the awesome post! I felt the same way about Erotica until I was asked to review Fifty Shades of Grey. It was amazing! I have love every erotic fiction I have read since! I learned that you can't always believe what you hear. I am so glad I stepped into the Erotica box!! I would love to read Indulgence!

Tich said...

I loved what you had to say. I had never read any type of adult romance until last year. After reading Vampire Academy I decided to give Richelle Mead's Georgina Kincade series a go. LOVED IT! If it hadn't been for that one step I wouldn't have taken a chance on some of the fabulous authors I've recetly discovered (Gracen Miller)

dougdutcher said...

I'm in... Not the sort of thing I might normally read, but not something I'd turn my nose up at either...

Sebrina said...

I have to say that I actually love erotica. I have read quite a few, some were ok, some were fabulous. It's not for everyone, you're right, but if you have an open mind and try it, you might just find yourself liking it as much as I do. I'm always looking for a new author to read in this genre. I swear I live in books like a fish lives in water. Now, *off to read*
Thanks for the chance...

Chrisbails said...

I always love to try something new. I love to read and always looking for something new to check out. This is also a new author for me and would love to win and read this book. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

shadow_kohler said...

Great post! Thank you for sharing! I love erotica books. There so good and yummy! There definitely not porn. The first book i read, i fell head over heels in love. It opened a whole new world. (reading wise). Since then, ive read every erotic book i can get my hands on and now have an overflowing favorite author list! I love books! Each one is spicey, unique and so dang good! ;) Thank you!

Bakerette said...

I'd give it a shot! Thanks, Misty (& Gracen)!

Hazel said...

Terrific post! I love what you said. I was gently introduced to the Erotic genre a few years ago in lieu of a book titled Topping from Below by Laura Reese and I really enjoyed the plot twists and story line. Like you said, the genre really does get a bad rap. If done correctly, it can be just as entertaining as the greatest UF or Paranormal romance. Im totally for trying out new genres. If I dont like, so what.. at least I gave it a try. Thanks for posting this. I think its great!

Mindy fangedmom said...

I love how you were presented this question Misty and you had to reflect on it. So glad you decided to go for it.

When we started our "adult" book blog, we too decided that anything was allowed. I was more than willing to read the erotica *does not believe this name fits anymore. we need a new name GRACEN* As someone up above said, the paranormal mixed in makes it amazing! I don't think I would enjoy it nearly as much if it were just mere humans (no lie) but mix in demons, vampires, weres, witches, gypseys...anyone or anything paranormal and you have potential for a GREAT story *Road to Hell Series for REAL*

I would LOVE to win this ebook. It sounds like it would be a great read!

Thank you!

Pam Stack said...

Sounds interesting. Thanks for the blog today!

Misty said...

And we have a winner! Congrats to Chrisbails! I will be contacting you shortly on how to claim your prize!