“Red Velvet and Absinthe” Erotic Book Review

Red Velvet and Absinthe

As the title may not make it obvious, the tagline of this book is “Paranormal Erotic Romance”. All of stories in this book are themed around the idea of paranormal stories – things that you might find on the Science Fiction channel. This includes things like werewolves, unbelievable body changes, or vampires. Werewolves and vampires seemed to be the favorite choices from the contributing authors, and they showed up in multiple places in the book.

I love the fact that this book isn’t just sex stories. With a lot of erotic story anthology books, you get a large amount of well-written sex stories.Sometimes, that’s exactly all you need. Sometimes, that’s really all you want too! However, I love the fact that this anthology includes more. Not only do you get sex stories, but not all of the stories have the happy-endings nor just focus on the sex. In fact, I’d say that all of these stories are literary pieces of art first and sex stories second.

For those that like that type of book, this book is going to be amazing for you. Not only do you get stories that have sex in them, but they are well-written and can arouse as well. If you like to get involved in your erotica and wonder what will happen next (as well as get attached to the characters), this type of book is for you. However, if you prefer your sex stories to be fun-loving and for the sole purpose of getting off, this book may be a bit too deep for you. In fact, one of the things that stands out to me most is the fact that very few of the stories end on a “happy” note. Most of them leave the ending open-ended or end on a sad note. Again, if this would effect your ability to enjoy it, you may not like this book, but if you don’t think you would mind the serious-note of the stories, this book is really well-written.

I think having literary pieces of art and being focused on more than just the sex is one of Mitzi Szereto’s styles. With Alison Tyler or Rachel Kramer Bussel, you get a lot of good, hot sex stories. With Violet Blue, it’s a mixture between plot and sex. With Mitzi, the focus really does seem to be on the plot, but including the sex has to be a part of the plot itself. It’s amazing how different editors from the exact same company can be and how different their anthologies can turn out. Depending on what you want out of your erotica, each different story may be your forte.

With the Red Velvet and Absinthe sex story anthology, though, you’ll find that the sex does take a backseat to the plot. I don’t mind this as adding in the sex tends to function as an interesting way for the characters to interact once I’ve gotten attached to them. I do have to say that the book was not arousing for me though. Instead, it was more like reading a regular collection of stories where the authors were not afraid to “go inside the bedroom” to see how the characters interacted sexually. Some of my favorite stories were:

“The Queen” by Tahira Iqbal: In it, the main character, a young vampiric woman, comes home to find that her entire world has been turned upside down. Escaping with the only person left, she finds herself on the run from the enemy with her bodyguard. In the end, though, the bodyguard swears he can only protect her if he’s at his best…

“La Belle Mort” – Zander Vyne: When a housemaid is sentenced to death for a crime she didn’t commit, she has a hard time coming to terms with her impending trial. When a mysterious man starts to visit her to help her cope with her impending death in a new way, she finds herself starting to accept what’s happening. This is a very sad story, but it’s very well-written.

“The Blood Moon Kiss” by Mitzi Szereto: When a young actress finds herself auditioning for the latest and greatest vampire television series, she finds that the main character, as hot and attractive as he is, is not exactly what she expected. This, of course, leads to an on-screen fling with some surprise twists.

That’s not to say that some of the stories weren’t my favorites though. There were a couple stories that I really didn’t enjoy. I’m not going to go fetch their names, but I will say that it was because of too much flowery language and too much description. I’ve never been too fond of having too much time devoted to the sensations and locations around the characters, and in this book, there were a couple stories that did that. Those were stories I did not enjoy reading as much.

Overall, I certainly like the “Red Velvet and Absinthe” erotic anthology edited by Mitzi Szereto, but its strength is in the plot and stories in the book – not in the ability to arouse. If you love reading great stories that happen to have sex in them, this book could certainly please. If you are looking to masturbate to the selections, this book is probably not the best selection for you. I did love “Red Velvet and Absinthe” though, and while it wasn’t what I was expecting, it certainly shined in its own way and was a very enjoyable read. Thanks to Cleis Press for sending me Red Velvet and Absinthe.

The Erotic Reading Review is a regular column written by Kayla. This column brings you reviews over erotica, instructional, and other types of sex-related books.

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2 Responses

  1. Tahira Iqbal says:

    I’m so delighted that you liked the anthology, and especially my story amongst others. It’s a great book (yes, of course, I’m a little bit biased!) I always like to reach out and connect with people who show the project much love and kudos to the editor who really put together something special. Tahira xx

  2. sam says:

    solid review. will check out the book. big fan of erotic writing

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