Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Erotic romance that isn't

I got TIE ME UP, TIE ME DOWN (Sherrilyn Kenyon, Melanie George, and Jaid Black) the other day, mostly because Jaid Black's name caught my eye. The cover describes the anthology as "three tales of erotic romance," and it appears to be the third entry in Pocket's effort to compete with Kensington's Brava imprint.

I've read the first two stories, and they're not bad. But they're not erotic romance, either. Granted that erotic romance is in the eye of the beholder, but I can't imagine either of these two stories being labeled "erotic romance" by anyone who's ever read a true erotic romance. They're no steamier than the average romance. Of course, not all Bravas can be described as "erotic romance" now (Lucy Monroe's THE REAL DEAL isn't particularly hot), but Brava muddied the waters by removing the "erotic romance" label a while ago, so there's no reason to expect all their books to be that hot.

If you label a book "erotic romance," though, it needs to be genuinely erotic, or the reader feels cheated. The first two stories in this anthology are nowhere near the spiciness of, say, the Brava novels written by Shannon McKenna or Alison Kent. Maybe the Jaid Black novella will be hot enough to make up for the other two...

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