Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: All Wrapped Up Anthology

All Wrapped Up by Various Authors
Storm Moon Press
Novel: 168pgs
4 Pants Off (Overall)

Tentacles are a taboo subject for most, something most people look at from between their fingers as they hide. But for a growing number of people, it's a subject that is fascinating and sexy! Tentacle erotica has been around for ages, from The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife to Demon Beast Invasion—it's a genre that is here to stay. All Wrapped Up explores this genre through the lens of gay erotic romance, offering four science-fiction and fantasy stories featuring tentacled heroes in all their wiggly glory.

The men in Ground Mission are podmates, a matched set: Simon Pollux, the lethal scout, and Adrian Lovasz, his willing and even more lethal combat specialist. In the midst of exploring an alien world, Simon is infected with an alien virus; to what lengths will Adrian go to ensure Simon's comfort?

In the wood-locked town of Orm, ranger Koster meets the mysterious Irsing: the guardian of the forest. Is he the one letting the forest turn to wilds, or is the forest turning to wilds on its own? In Wildwood, Koster aims to do whatever it takes to set things right.

Eli exchanges his a life of poverty in Dark Covenant when tricked into signing a contract giving himself to the masters of the Academy. His body, his movement, his life is theirs to do with as they wish, until the enigmatic Eramus offers Eli his power—if Eli will join with him.

Sebastian Reed lives on the legal limits in Situation Normal, barely scraping by in his hunk of junk ship until a Peace Officer, Ten, commandeers his ship... and his body. Not that Sebastian minds, except for wondering exactly where it is that Ten means to take him.

It is always through Storm Moon Press that I discover my kinks; their anthologies are always made of awesome. I have yet to read one I did not love and lose my pants. They push boundaries without being crude, and manage to do it in such a way that will have you searching out tentacle loving in all forms. I am not gonna pretend, I am as kinky as they come and I don’t get surprised/shocked easily. Well, All Wrapped Up surprised me and had me gasping because it was so deliciously sexy, so deliciously dark and I want an All Wrapped Up take 2. Yes?

Ground Mission by Laylah Hunter
This story has fancy words like cryogenics, and genetically engineered men. Simon and Adrian are pod mates, partners, and lovers. They have been assigned to visit Old Earth and gather some information and then hit the road. It was supposed to be an in and out kind of a job, but the planet isn’t as barren as they thought, and they are greeted by some hostile locals.

I really enjoyed this story, loved the relationship between Adrian and Simon. In the beginning, it sounded very clinical their interactions and sometimes I wondered if their feelings were frozen along with their bodies. Through it all, I began to see a real connection and fell in love with them. The tentacles, good grief I never expected all that hot. I loved the turn the author took because I thought the hostile locals would have free reign on Simon and Adrian's ass, but I was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t happen. This story really made for some good pants losing.

Wildwood by Thea Hayworth
I found this story to be the most complex of the bunch, and by complex, I mean ‘My brain is slow and therefore I had to use it’. Peace is to be had by a relationship between human and Guardians. The Guardians protect the forest and the people by creating a balance and not letting things get out of hand. Because without them things can get ugly, and by ugly I mean shit will go crazy. Koster is ranger and he protects the people, he knows the destruction that can happen without a Guardian or a Guardian gone bad. He has seen it first hand. With his arrival, a change begins a change no one saw coming but hope with everything, it continues.

I liked this story, and it is the milder one of the bunch. I don’t mean there is no sexy; I just found it gentler somehow. It also provided quite a new twist on the tentacle aspect, so get out of the octopus mentality. What confused me the most was the changing POVs; sometimes I had no clue who was speaking but even in all that the focus still remained on Koster. It was a sweet story and I am quite satisfied with how it ends.

Dark Covenant by Gryvon
Eli is dirt poor and works in the mines. On his birthday, he encounters a stranger who informs him that he is special and there will come a time when he will need his aid, and only then should he call upon him. Eli ignores it, but then soon discovers he is special and everyone wants a piece of him. He gets sucked into pretty words, and being able to provide for his family and literally sells his soul but in this case his body.

I am both deeply in love with this story but I also kind of hate it a lot. I found Eli to exceptionally na├»ve and I wanted kick him. I got his hang-ups, but I doubted his devotion to his family because dude you were just a little too late in fighting to see them. The story is both sexy and scary, and should include my warning. There will be parts of it that might make you sick to your stomach and no the tentacles weren't involved (thank fuck). I am very intrigued by the world Gryvon created, and am on my hands and knees for a book or even a novella *don’t keep me waiting my knees might give out*. I kept thinking Dark Shadows while reading this (and no not the crazy love child of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton) I am talking the original with the shadows, dungeons, and the ongoing feeling of spook.

I liked this one a lot but it also frustrated me. I even had some personal feelings while reading because the MC shares the same name as my youngest, so I really had to disconnect from the story. It’s hard reading about the abuse of a young boy who shares the same name as one of your children.

Situation Normal by Morgan Harcourt
All I am gonna say is that I love the freaking hell out of this story. It’s snarky, funny, and too sexy for my pants. Interspecies sex is a kink of mine and nobody does it better like SMP. This is the story I want more of, and guess what “I ain’t too proud to beg” Morgan Harcourt for more.

With a name like His Most Just Tenacity who wouldn’t want a book? The name belongs in a museum. I also loved Sebastian, he’s a broken firecracker his sparks are haywire. I would love to read about him more in hopes that he does become more survival orientated and start liking himself a bit more. I want more of the situation.

So yes, I liked the hell out of this anthology and the stories are excellent. There is both the extreme and the mild and it created a perfect balance. I am never disappointed by an SMP anthology and they remain high on my list for the best. I also blame them for all my reading kinks. Blood fetish, tentacles, interspecies loving, brother loving *gosh*. They just might make my heart give out before the year ends.

4 Pants Off

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