Recommended Read, Review

Review: A Taste of Honey by Rose Lerner (2017)

Lively St. Lemeston, Book 4

Heat Factor: There are 9 chapters and they have sex 7 times

Character Chemistry: They are both making sacrifices for the other, “Gift of the Magi” style. 

Plot: Betsy decides to seduce her boss, because it’s time for something to happen. 

Overall: This was exactly the book I needed in the moment I read it. It’s short, sexy, fun, and thoughtful.

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Review: The Master by Kresley Cole (2015)

The Game Maker, Book #2

Review of The Game Maker, Book #1

Heat Factor: They have amazing kinky hate sex energy

Character Chemistry: The “I hate you but I really want to jump you” dynamic is EXCEPTIONAL

Plot: She needs money to stay on the run from her serial killer husband, so she steps in for her friend as a very expensive escort for a night. He is bowled over by her breath of fresh air in his luxurious but monotonous life, but he also thinks everything she says is a lie. So obviously they fall in love.

Overall: Combo of “What did I even just read?” and “That was amazing.”

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Professional by Kresley Cole (2014)

The Game Maker, Book #1

Heat Factor: These two are just so creative

Character Chemistry: It. Is. So. Angsty. 

Plot: Natalie is kidnapped from her bath by her heretofore unknown, sexy AF bodyguard and flown to meet her also heretofore unknown Billionaire Russian mobster father. And that’s just the first three chapters. 


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Review: Perfect Addition by KB Alan (2018)

Perfect Fit, #3

Heat Factor: Sex is frequent, varied, and inventive

Character Chemistry: High sexual chemistry, plus some cute moments

Plot: Stephanie joins established couple Jesse and Grant for a weekend of sexy rumpus – but do they want something more permanent?

Overall: *fans self*

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Smut Reporting

Let’s get something clear: erotic romance edition

Recently I found myself in a conversation in which we had been asked to rec an extremely high heat book, and Holly and I went straight to thinking about erotic romance we knew, but when polled, others came back with responses that surprised us because…we don’t think of them as particularly high heat at all (Please see: Lisa Kleypas). During the course of this conversation, someone asked what was the threshold between Romance and Erotica. And…while heat level might be somewhat subjective, Romance and Erotica do have pretty clear definitions. They are:


  1. Love story central to narrative
  2. Emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending (HEA or HFN required)


  1. Story is substantively sexual with arousing or erotic content
  2. Love story not required
  3. HEA or HFN not required

And where these two meet is at…

Erotic Romance (sometimes called Romantica):

  1. Love story central to narrative
  2. Love story is substantively sexual and includes arousing or erotic content
  3. Emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending (HEA or HFN required)

By definition, a story does not require sex at all, not to mention on-page sex, in order to qualify as romance. (I’ll probably rant about this another day.)

In a similar vein, a romantic narrative is in no way required for a story to qualify as erotica. 
But there are some stories in which the romantic journey is broadly aligned with the sexual journey of the protagonists, resulting in a HEA or HFN, and those stories inhabit the space that is erotic romance.

OH AND ALSO, while a lot of erotic romance also explores various kink, it is not required

To summarize: 

Erotic romance ≠ kink

Erotic romance ≠ BDSM

Erotic romance ≠ high heat or explicit descriptions

Erotic romance ≠ numerous sexytimes

Erotic romance = sex doing a lot of work to advance the romantic narrative or to reveal the emotions or emotional journey of the protagonists. The fact that it’s also usually marvelously explicit and extremely high heat is a feature, not the defining characteristic. 

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.