Saturday, February 15, 2014

8 Heart Review and Giveaway: xoxo: Sweet and Sexy Romance edited by Kristina Wright

xoxo: Sweet and Sexy Romance
edited by Kristina Wright
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Page Count: 213

Release Date: December 17, 2013
Publisher: Cleis Press
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Cleis!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

The Ultimate Romance Reader 

Sensual, sweet and a little bit spicy, this collection of amorous stories is a romance treasure, filled with fun surprises and unusual twists. Award-winning editor Kristina Wright explains, “I love a good love story, especially when it’s one wrapped up in a sexy red bow. Erotic love, the kind that makes your heart beat faster and does exciting things a bit farther south, is what xoxo is all about.”

With over thirty top erotic romance writers, including Sommer Marsden, Kathleen Tudor, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Elizabeth Coldwell, Saskia Walker and Cheyenne Blue, these lustfully literary short stories are meant to tease you and please you. xoxo is a veritable candy sampler of delectable delights and inspired ideas to share at home with your sweetie.
I personally appreciated how short the stories in this anthology are. Sometimes, you don't have time to read a long, drawn-out "short story" when that story is actually 20 pages long. With xoxo, it's possible to read any of the stories in one sitting; it only took me about an hour to get through half the book! Concision makes a story all the sexier; the subpar stories don't seem to drag on, while the magnificent ones leave a quick, cutting mark.

Below, I've spotlighted four exceptional stories that stood out to me. It was hard picking just a few to feature, but I hope they give you a sense of what this anthology is like!

"Anniversary Wrappings" by Kathleen Tudor
A couple's one-year anniversary starts out with a sweet gift that ends in kinky pleasure. The simplicity of this story really made me connect with each of the characters, and the writing is fluid, readable. The scenario isn't outlandish and ridiculous like a porn plot (which isn't uncommon in erotic anthologies), and is a situation you could totally find yourself in in everyday life.

"Dirty Laundry" by Martha Davis
This one is on the more extreme end because of how aggressive the sex is, but it's SUPER hot. It features ultimate alpha male Josh Moran, whom, even when domesticated, has the ability to start a five-alarm fire. Comforting story not only about spontaneous sex, but also about cohabitation, about making even daily household chores like laundry mind-blowing, as long it's with the one you love.

"Night Moves" by Christine d'Abo
When plagued by incomprehensible night terrors, the protagonist turns to the solace of her husband's arms. In this dark, lingering hour of frenzy, fright, and complete need, the two find each other with familiarity and ease, with practiced hands and experienced hearts. I loved the middle-of-the-night sex scene, but it's the beauty of how well a married couple can know and understand each other d'Abo portrays, that really blew me away.

"Wild Naked Bandits Flee the Square Conspiracy" by Nikki Magennis
  1. A mediocre costume party—how the night starts off
  2. A wild, skintight leggings-clad bandit—how the night becomes interesting
  3. And a thrilling escapade—how our night ends
Narrated in a wry, engaging voice that I immediately liked, this story is hardly a romance—it's spur-of-the-moment, fantastical, and even a little eccentric, but oddly enough, that's what makes it so sweepingly romantic. You would not expect an erotic story about a hookup at a party to be so vivid, so entertaining, but Nikki Magennis's characters exude sex, subtlety, and charm that culminate in a very whimsical roleplay. By far my favorite story in the anthology; five stars for being all of smart, playful, and incredibly comical—in the bests of ways—while still provocative.

Pros


High-quality writing // Each story is only 4-6 pages on average, so very easy to get through them // Lots of variety // Perfect blend of sweet and sensual stories with hot and heavy stories // Each story has something incredibly romantic about it; this isn't just about sex // Read "Wild Naked Bandits Flee the Square Conspiracy" if nothing else!

Cons


A few stories that I didn't like that much

Verdict


This collection of 38 short and sweet stories will both light your heart up and light it on fire. Like a Valentine's Day candy sampler, each is delectable and unique; put together, xoxo: Sweet and Sexy Romance makes for a passionate, completely satisfying treat. The range of subjects and storylines is vast, featuring the kinky and vanilla, the sensual and scorching, the routine and spontaneous, the heterosexual and lesbian... so much variety! You definitely won't grow bored with Kristina Wright's latest anthology because there are so many different types of story to keep you entertained, each with special romantic flair that will make you melt Americanflag

8 hearts: An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended (x)

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of xoxo so you get the chance to read this fabulous anthology yourself—yay!! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What did you do for Valentine's Day? If you didn't do anything special this year, what's the best Valentine's Day you've ever had?

Don't forget to include your email address in your comment so I know who to contact when I randomly select winner. Don't make me track you down!!!!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Kristina and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to Cleis Press!
Giveaway ends March 1st at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only. Sorry, international readers! Please be sure to check my sidebar where all my currently-running giveaways are listed; there are plenty you can enter.
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!