Monday, September 23, 2013

7 Heart Review: Tremble by Tobsha Learner and Giveaway!

Tremble: Erotic Tales of the Mystical and Sinister
Tobsha Learner

Page Count: 400

Release Date: 27 August 2013
Publisher: Plume (Penguin)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher, via tour publicist, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Penguin and TLC Book Tours!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

From Tobsha Learner, the boundary-pushing erotica author of the international bestseller Quiver, comes Tremble: Erotic Tales of the Mystical and Sinister.

In Learner’s steamy collection, she explores the full spectrum of sexuality peppered with elements of the supernatural. Tremble blurs the line between fantasy and reality, depicting the pleasures of new and rediscovered love, lust, and obsession in a world where passion and magic are interwoven—and where boundaries are pushed beyond expectation.

In a Welsh village, a young woman’s sensuality is awakened by an outrageous inheritance; a drought-stricken Oklahoma town is offered salvation by a travelling rainmaker; a Sydney record producer struggles to satisfy his wife and his mistress—until one of them takes matters into her own hands...

The short stories span the eras, from an eighteenth-century biographer who discovers a magic, erotic ritual to a Sydney record producer struggling to satisfy his wife and mistress. Intelligent and highly imaginative, Learner’s brand of erotica will appeal to both first-time and more seasoned readers of the genre.

In her second collection of short erotic pieces that span eras—each set in unique, vividly fashioned times and locations—Learner displays her powerful ability to spin stories with strange, somber twists and a highly erotic flair.

This brand of erotica has no boundaries; Learner writes about the bizarre, the taboo, and just the plain WEIRD. But I don't mean that in a bad way at all. Some of the super strange stories are actually quite amusing, and I just love how even though each one is only about 30-40 pages, there are actual plots in them. This typically isn't easy to do with the page limitation but Learner builds her worlds and characters expertly.

In terms of style, her grip of the pen is firm; the stories are well-seasoned and each one is so different from the other, that it doesn't at all feel like you're just reading the same account with different scenarios. Every story is individual in its own kind, so you get nine opportunities to delight in these disturbing but carnal stories. Although some of the stories are set in contemporary times, everything Learner writes reads like a folktale. The voice is rather distant, but that makes each tale more clandestine, more mysterious, and more oddly charming.

Tremble covers a vast range of scenarios, whether it be a supernatural object that disrupts the lives of an individual, or a hex that plagues an entire village. In particular, I loved The Root, a darkly comical tale about a root that comes to—ahem—life, and the implications of a cursed bloodline, as well as Virgin, a lust-ridden story about a nun gone bad, and her path to sexually charged redemption. There are allusions to previous stories in succeeding ones, which I loved; it connected the anthology beautifully and the recurring topics brought a smile to my face.

One thing I noticed is that most of the protagonists are middle-aged; no new adult nonsense here. Normally I'd find this strange because it's harder to get excited by the thought of quadragenarians engaging in lustful activity (honestly, that's a visual I don't need sometimes) but the stories overall feel old-fashioned, so I didn't have that much of a problem with it.

Pros


Folktake-like stories // Well-formed plots and characters, so each story is a different experience entirely // Entertaining voice // Gets heavy at times, but overall very readable // Very untraditional form of erotica; you will be squirming in arousal, but you'll feel weird about it because the stories are so bizarre!

Cons


A few duds I found neither erotic nor enjoyable (specifically The Snore and Hair Shirt) // Sometimes gets a bit weird... but I guess that's the magic of this collection

Verdict


Tremble is an eccentric anthology that bends the rules of erotic fiction; as familiar as I am with the genre, I can't say I've read anything like this before. Each story is colorful and elaborate, and overall the collection feels very traditional—very earthy with an outlandish but indulgent sexuality coursing through it. If you're up for a new experience with short erotica, definitely check this one out Americanflag

7 hearts: Not perfect, but overall enjoyable (x)

Giveaway!


One lucky reader will win a newly formatted finished copy of Quiver, Tobsha Learner's first erotic collection, as well as a print copy of Tremble. For anyone who's intrigued by this class of short erotic fiction! Leave a comment on my review for the chance to win. Be sure to leave your email address so I know who to contact when I choose a winner! Only meaningful comments will go into the drawing, which means irrelevant comments consisting of only "Thanks for the giveaway" will not count as an entry!!!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher and tour publicist—a huge thank you to Penguin and TLC Book Tours!
Giveaway ends October 7th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US/CAN readers only. Sorry, everyone else! Check out my sidebar where you'll find a list of giveaways that currently are running internationally—there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!