Warning: This is the hottest book you will read this year.
Seriously. I am still in shock.
A colourful blend of the worlds of fantasy, myth, folklore and a dash of reality, Janine Ashbless uses all the powers of her astonishing imagination to bring you the most debauched tale of sorcery and depravity you're ever likely to read.
I really didn't have any clue what I was in for when the lovely people at Sweetmeats Press sent me Named and Shamed to read and review. Yes ok, the cover states Warning! Exxxplicit Content - with the triple X of 'twoo porn'. Yada yada. Doesn't normally mean that much, does it.
Especially when below a tag line describing the work as 'A dark and dirty illustrated erotic fairy tale.'
Fairy tale? Just how rampant could it get? I know I'm not the only one imagining Tinkerbell with her knickers round her knees.
I should have had some clue from the first book I reviewed for Sweetmeats Press, back in January - Immoral Views, an anthology compiled by Kojo Black.
Sweetmeats Press offer an additional extra with their books too, they're illustrated. I don't require this personally and I do feel that it somewhat detracts from the story in usual cases, however in this book at times it was useful to see just exactly which position the author was referring to.. or in fact, what the specified creature looked like...
The story starts fairly innocently, sweeping us into the world of our gorgeous red headed protagonist, living in the modern day world which just happens to be filled with creatures previously only found in myth and legend. Trolls, hobs and the 'fair folk'... however as is often the case with nature and earth-loving, pagan style creatues and characters, there is a strong sexual overtone and their need for sating is apparent from the outset.
There is an almost sinister air where humans are the toys, a fresh feel to erotica and something not unwelcome.
Using the starting point of a real person, with real relationships and friends, the author seems to tangibly relish shocking the reader while still holding true to a main storyline and strong plot.
There are nods to traditional fairy tales throughout, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Trolls who live under bridges... but you've never seen those innocent tales in quite this light before.
The book is absolutely ram packed with every single sexual deviance and liaison you'd care to imagine. I even had to make a list after finishing the book of the ones I remember. Please excuse the list style but you simply wouldn't believe me otherwise.
Almost bestiality (not quite but oh, so close!)
Giant penis fetish
Domestic servitude/maid service
Mind altering substances
Incest (well ok, cousin)
These are just the facets I remember. Doesn't look like the book can fit them all in, does it!
I really don't want to go too much into the plot of the book as it is a gorgeous surprise upon reading, but suffice to say, it's a book you really do not want to miss out on.
Named & Shamed takes other erotic literature and beats its backside black and blue with bramble branches.
On the publishing side, there were a few errors in the book, a couple of typos and sadly a misquote from Shakespeare (the 'sound and fury' speech is delivered in Macbeth, not Hamlet!) - but this does not detract from the book or the amazing quality of the prose within Named & Shamed.
If you like your erotica packaged with deviance, BDSM, fetishes and more kink than you can handle, Named & Shamed is the book for you. I'm sure I was blushing all the way through reading it.