Cover Image: Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 4

Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 4

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Member Reviews

Will probably read all the stories at some point but at this time I have a lot of other romance material that I am more interested in reading at the moment. Never the less I am grateful that I was sent the advanced reader copy.
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I cant seem to get enough of Rachels collection of short exotic stories. Its just enough story to go with the steamy sex to give it a good balance and very satisfying.
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The best part about this collection is that there are so many varieties of stories. Not only does this introduce the reader to each author's work, but it's just enough to get your mouth watering for more. When I read anthologies like these, I love picking out new authors to follow. You can test the waters with each little story to see the true potential of each author to open up your bookshelf for a few more readers.
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Finally getting around to reading this because I have a lot of extra time during the pandemic. I shouldn't have waited so long! 

These short stories were hot and steamy! I hated for them to end. Great read!
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I enjoyed the variety. I enjoyed the scene setting. Some of them were hotter than others. But overall they were all pretty great.
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3.5  stars

A Few of these stories were good but every so often I get a bit jaded over erotica and then I didn't complete the book. I still have it on my to be read file so I shall probably return to it in the future. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Volume 4, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, is one of the best collections of erotica I’ve ever read. Bussel usually edits great collections, but this went above my expectations. Any anthology is going to have some stories that are better or worse than the rest, and some that are more to my taste than others. But in a volume as incredibly diverse in sexuality, gender, kink, body type, race/ ethnicity, religion, mental health, relationship dynamics, and age as the characters in these collected stories are, I found so much to enjoy, even in stories that weren’t to my specific taste. They were steamy and tender and filthy and insightful and so respectful of their characters and so appreciative of their diversity. The official theme is outsiders and risks: “At a time when outsiders of many kinds are being ostracized, discriminated against, and shunned, I wanted to explore what being an outsider feels like on a deeply personal level. I always want the authors I publish to turn readers on, but this time, I also want to make you think.” And they that’s exactly what these stories did for me.

It’s always difficult to review anthologies, so I’ve decided the best way to do them all justice is to include each story title and author with a brief summary, and sometimes with featured kinks and/or favorite quotations. This could entail *SPOILERS* and/or be more sexually explicit than you’re expecting (and also be incredibly long), so please proceed accordingly.


Take the Shot by Micah Kennedy: Plus size Black divorcee professor participates in erotic BDSM photo shoot and later has sex in a van with her hot younger Latinx former TA. sweet and sexy and sometimes humorous. feautures a “shaggin wagon.”

The Dressing Room by Alexandra Torre: Woman in a public dressing room masturbates to the sounds of another couple having sex in the neighboring dressing room, before rejoining her clueless husband. I didn’t particularly care for this story.

Mark by Rosie Beth Randall: An NYC widow who is also a trauma survivor is in a BDSM relationship with a wealthy high protocol Dom. Sex toys. Power exchange. Luxury living.

O Captain! My Captain! by Calliope Bloom: Life-long female best friends who unknowingly have the hots for each other crash a costume party on a yacht with the boyfriend with whom one of the women is in an open relationship They end up in a threesome with him that is interrupted by the ship captain, a Domme who beats them and has sex involving all three. Better than I expected it to be.

The Jump by Rebecca Chase: A recent divorcee falls in lust at first sight with the man she almost hit with her car, who turns out to be her skydiving instructor. There’s sex in the locker room after the jump. This is possibly a British setting, but not my favorite story.

On Display by Louise Lagrix: The second person present tense narration distracted me from an otherwise filthy dirty story of a kinky man and woman who found each other on Tinder and love trying new kinky things together. Involves public anal and oral sex at a BDSM club with a strap on and a stranger.
“They’re all beautiful in their own way, hairy backs and cellulite and bony knees; they’re irresistibly human, and, in the throes of their private desires, made incredibly real.”

The Pick-Me-Up by Suleikha Snyder: Single Latina in Queens has a drunken hookup with a blue collar Irish regular patron from her regular local corner bar. Surprisingly tender story.

Belonging by Tamsen Parker: A devout Catholic bisexual Filipina without much sexual experience attends a BDSM club for the first time and meets an African American domme she’s very attracted to. Involves a spanking session and is about finding one’s place and acceptance in it.
“You know everyone had a first time, right?”
“It’s blasphemous to say it’s almost a religious experience, but that’s as close as I can describe it. It’s different, but the intensity is the same. It makes the colors of her brighter, so distinct that looking at her almost hurts my eyes, and the rest of the room fades away.”
“You’re clearly not a tourist looking to point at the freaks”
“I came here tonight because I wanted…I wanted to try. To see for real. To see if…if I’m right. Or if this whole time I’ve been a stranger to my own body. If there’s a disconnect between fantasy and reality. If I’ve spent hours and hours agonizing over something that isn’t even real.”
“Like pieces I’ve been trying to fit together for my whole life have finally clicked into place.”

With Honors by Sofia Quintero: Latina returning college student/ single mom with the hots for her single dad professor gets a backseat quickie with him in a train station parking lot.

Breathe by Patricia Elzie: Bisexual Black domme meets red headed submissive for a first session…with tickling. Felt a little silly, and yet managed to be sweet and sexy.

Aftershock by Jo Henny Wolf: German woman searches for her Mexican boyfriend in the aftermath of an earthquake in Mexico that happened enroute to visit him. Features ‘glad we’re both alive’ sex, but I somehow felt a little uncomfortable with something about this story. Something about a white woman causing extra work during a crisis and centering her own needs while surrounded by city-wide death and loss and destruction on a massive scale. Just kinda gross.

Her Invisible Prison by Jocelyn Dex: An agoraphobic fifty-something woman’s birthday treat for stretching her limits outdoors is an in-person erotic encounter with the man who she has been talking to and flirting with online for months. Cupcakes are involved.

The Invitation by Regina Kammer: This is historical fiction with a wealthy British widow who lusts after a handsome younger artist. Not my favorite, and didn’t feel very believable. There’s also reference to decor with Persian rugs and opulent brocades and porcelain vase as “exotic”, which may have been period-appropriate, but seemed unnecessary.

Words with Benefits by Tamara Lush: Forgot to write down a summary, but this quotation I saved seems pretty evocative on its own.
“To any passerby, we looked like a refined older couple. Inside, I churned with giddy, burning anticipation of skin on skin raw f*cking.”

Essential Qualities by Alyssa Cole: This is a romance between a Black female inventor who is possibly on the spectrum and the gorgeous sentient AI/ robot she created. The story addresses societal prejudices against relationships between different groups–in this case, between human and AI, but it also seemed like a commentary on real-life hostility to miscegenation. The dynamics of creator and creation still kinda made this story off-putting for me.
“What does it mean to be both creator and lover?”
“Though I’d built him with my own two hands, he was his own person, learning and growing and evolving. Not a human–definitely not that. But a person.”

Eight Seconds by Madeline Moore: A female bull rider and a rodeo clown with previous history f*ck in a hospital after both are injured on the job. Ouch. Bonus points for a female bull rider, though, I guess?

Seven Sweets and Seven Sours by Megan Hart: Amish queer tragic erotic romance with a trans man who is about to leave the community and his married woman lover. This is firmly PA Dutch, not just Amish, and a really thought provoking Amish romance that felt more real and thought-provoking than most of the wholesome “bonnet rippers” I’ve tried to read in the past. (As an aside, it mentions that the stereotypical “seven sweets and seven sours” at PA Dutch meals was invented as a tourism element and has only since been incorporated by the Amish community. I grew up in a conservative PA Dutch community and had no idea about that.)
“My father scolds that I’m not womanly, and that’s the truth. I am not a woman, even if I wear the dress and grown my hair long and do the baking and washing, even if I have managed to learn, sometimes, to bow my head the way the woman should. I have never been a woman.”
“It was rumspringa then, our time to run “wild” and we’d been drinking from a bottle of cheap vodka someone else’s older brother had bought in town. We’d stumbled home to share her sagging bed in the smallest room, covering our giggles with our hands, imagining her parents would not hear us or know what we’d been doing. They’d turned a blind eye to the alcohol. They would not have done the same to what we’d done together in that bed.”
“My body wants to move and thrust in time with what I’m doing to her with my mouth and fingers. In my mind, with her, I am complete down there instead of feeling as though this emptiness inside me is echoed by my real and literal opening.”

BabyDoll by Sienna Saint-Cyr: Involves tender but steamy BDSM daddy/ baby doll kink with an older male and a younger female that also serves as a coping mechanism for her PTSD, anxiety, depression, and OCD from previous trauma, including childhood religious trauma. Religious trauma isn’t something I often find addressed in books, much less romances. One of my favorite stories in the collection.
“Too many relationships had failed because she hadn’t communicated her mental state or her need to be cared for early enough on.”
“Negotiated what they wanted out of a Daddy/ Baby doll relationship, discussed her mental health and medications, explained their desires with kink, and set limits on what they’d take part in.”
“Daddies help their baby dolls grow and heal. Self harm is against my rules. I will punish you if I catch you doing this again. Do you understand?”
“This was exactly like the one she’d been forced to burn, the one she’d cried over–been called a demon child over.”
“Months of phone calls, therapy sessions, and getting to know each other had taken place.”
“The burn of Daddy’s slaps was washing away her guilt, self-loathing, and self-hatred. … tears rolled from her eyes like she’d never cried before, but these weren’t sad tears. They were joyful pleasurable tears. Tears of love and relief….filled her with all the goodness that came with being his baby doll, being submissive, being put in her place.”
“You are my baby doll. I will continue to take care of you.’ He squeezed her tighter. ‘But you will grow, heal, and be my good girl, won’t you?”

Beautiful Dirty Wonderful by R. M. Wood: Middle aged married woman gets the gang bang she always fantasized about, with the full support of her husband.
“in room three Danny is waiting with a group of guys preparing to fuck me.”
“He was used to this: me coming to him in the middle of the night with my anxiety-ridden questions.”

Overall these stories were often insightful and emotional, heartfelt and romantic, in ways I did not expect in a collection of erotica, even women’s erotica, and I absolutely appreciated them for that. Yes, the stories are smoking hot–but they are also often beautiful and touching and sweet among all that filthy dirty action. If you enjoy erotica, especially if you appreciate diversity and enjoy erotica featuring realistic characters with realistic lives and bodies and relationships and issues and struggles, I highly recommend this collection.

Thank you to #NetGalley and Cleis Press for allowing me to read this advanced readers edition of #BestWomensErotica for free. This is my honest opinion.
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Thank you so much for the opportunity to review this book and to be an early reader via NetGalley! However, I will not be writing a review for this title at this time, as my reading preferences have since changed somewhat. In the event that I decide to review the book in the future, I will make sure to purchase a copy for myself or borrow it from a library. Once again, thank you so much for providing me with early access to this title. I truly appreciate it. Please feel free to contact me with any follow-up questions or concerns.
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For the lovers of short stories, especially women's erotica, this is the anthology for you. This was a wonderful introduction to many new to me authors. Some of the stories gripped me emotionally, such as the middle-aged professor with her graduate student, the Roboticist with her perfect Android, the lonely woman at the bar with a stranger from the bar. Each story delivered on the theme of Outsiders who take risks. As someone who feels like an outsider, who is afraid to take risks, I appreciated the way each author steered their stories in a very positive and consent-filled narrative. There is a little bit of everything for the readers of Erotica. Discover new to you authors with this compendium. 

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and each author for contributing to this Anthology. I look forward to reading many of your works from here on out.
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This volume fell flat for me.  Only a handful of the stories were well-written and developed and the rest of them were not interesting.  I wanted to like this anthology, but it's not my favorite in the series.
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As a fan of erotica, this novel ticked all the boxes for me. I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable to read. It is true to form in terms of its genre and is fulfilling in terms of reading material. Certainly can get lost in its pages as its intriguing and interesting. It exceeds  its expectations. A definite must read by all means.
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This was a very quick and nice read. A lot of stories were there for pure entertainment but some were very well-written. Must read if you have got some time on your hands and want to explore erotica as a genre.
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This is a great collection of stories. Each story is sexy and erotic.  The authors kept the readers interest .  There is something for everyone.
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Great taster of several new to me authors of erotic stories.  Like a short bedtime stories anthology.  Thank you for the Net Galley review issue!
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This was an incredibly sensual erotic anthology that entices with it's various sizzling stories within its pages. Can't wait to read the other volumes.
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Always nice to find some new authors. I only wish some of the stories were a little longer... but I guess that's the whole point.
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I could not finish this. There was no spark in most if the stories. Though the build up to some stores was exciting , it did not work as erotica. Writing was almost rushed at some places
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Well written stories that are sexy and thought provoking. Real life characters enjoying their sexuality. Well worth the time.
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Great read. Couldn’t put this book down. There were many stories from authors I have not read. I highly recommend this read
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I don’t know about the rest of you, but last fall I was having a hard time concentrating enough to sit down and read. Even during the Holiday season, I just didn’t feel like it. So, when I saw this book on NetGalley, I immediately requested it for the basic format alone – lots of short stories by some authors I love and others that would be new to me. I was thrilled to receive an ARC in exchange for an honest review. And, honestly, I loved it.

As I said, the main appeal was the short story format. I could easily read one or two stories at night before bed or while sitting in the carpool line. They’re the perfect length to hold your attention, but not worry about where you left off if you can only read for a few minutes at a time. A few of the authors (Suleikha Snyder, Alyssa Cole, ) were once I’ve read before, while others (Jo Henny Wolf, Jocelyn Dex, Megan Hart) had been on my radar of authors I wanted to read. So, YAY!

The theme for this book is “outsiders” and that totally fits. Be sure to read the introduction at the beginning of the book so you really get a deeper connection to each of the stories. I also adored that the characters are incredibly inclusive of skin color, body time, sexual orientation, body type, age, and even humanity. There is a wide range of kink level, as well as a glimpse into lifestyles that I for one hadn’t previously read. In general, I think every reader will find something that really speaks to them and suits their fancy.

And, while I enjoyed the entire book, I would like to give special shout outs to a few of my favorite stories and why:
The Dressing Room by Alessandra Torre – I think this is one of those stories that will linger because we’ve all been in a similar situation of overhearing private conversations in a dressing room. This one answers the question of “What if” you were overhearing a illicit liaison in a dressing room. And I know I will certainly be thinking about this story and on the lookout the next time I go to try on clothes.

On Display by Louise Lagris – I liked this one for two reason, most of all that it uses pegging and that it talks about givers, takers, and switches. Thank you for calling a spade a spade and giving good examples of couples in (reasonably) healthy relationships exploring kink together.

The Pick-me-up by Suleikha Snyder – Thank you for depicting a one-night-stand without shame or regret. Sometimes, it’s just about two people not being alone in this world, even if it’s for a sort time, and that’s ok, too.

Aftershock by Jo Henny Wolf – I had friends living in Mexico City during the 2017 Earthquake, so I appreciated the contrasts this story provided: A foreigner in a strange land who doesn’t speak the language, finding peace among chaos, and taking the aftermath of an horrific tragedy and building something beautiful.

The Invitation by Regina Kammer – Hooray for Historical Erotica! Just on the general principle, I loved this story. The world needs a good reminder that our generations haven’t discovered anything new about sex that didn’t already exist in another time and place.

Seven Sweets and Seven Sours by Megan Hart – This is another story that gets a HOORAY just on principle. The world NEEDS more Amish Erotica.
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