Red Velvet and Absinthe - erotic fiction by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Alan & Michele

Erotica for the Paranormal Lovers

This book goes beyond the average vampire and werewolf erotica to include provocative encounters with an assortment of supernatural beings in original scenarios. The stories are interesting enough that we wanted to keep reading just to find out what happened next, even in the ones that weren't a turn-on.
15 stories to choose from. Well written in Gothic literature style.
Sexual content may not be graphic enough for some. Some stories are more chilling than erotic.
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
In Red Velvet & Absinthe, editor Mitzi Szereto has put together a unique collection of 15 short stories to appeal to readers who like their erotica with a paranormal twist. There's everything from sex with a vampire on a TV series set to mutual masturbation with a ghost, erotic angelic interactions, and a lusty seductress in a haunted painting, just to name a few. Each tale is written by a different author and are geared almost entirely toward the heterosexual audience, although there are a couple that have girl/girl interaction in them.

Although the stories are short, the writing styles are more refined with intriguing plots and some depth to the characters, so even though we didn't think they were all erotic there wasn't a single one that we quit reading before the end. The sexual acts vary and, for the most part, are pretty tame. Not that there isn't anything hot between these pages, but this is the kind of book where the erotic parts drive the plots forward and add to them, yet aren't really lengthy or graphic enough for readers who want to masturbate while they read.

True to form for Gothic writing, not all of these stories end in happily-ever-after or they only end happily from a certain perspective. A few were just downright spooky from any perspective. One good example would be A Rose in the Willow Garden, by Elizabeth Daniels. Her story was definitely erotic, but when we figured out exactly what the guy was and what his lover was, it became chilling. And the ending was only happy if you could tap into the madness of this guy's train of thought.

One of the ones we both really liked (which ended in kinkily ever after) was the first story; Snowlight, Moonlight, by Rose de Fer. Set in a bygone era, it's about a young woman who is learning to deal with her new werewolf status, aided by the kindly country doctor who also seeks to study her and 'train' her. Obviously this calls for bondage, and a solid Dom/sub relationship, which the author delivers with a definite flair.

Though neither of us could agree on what the male character really was, another tale that stands out for us is Cover Him in Darkness by Janine Ashbless. In it, a young girl takes pity on the immortal man her family has kept bound in a cave under a remote church for generations. As she grows older her pity takes on a lustful angle, and it's only a matter of time until she gets what she wants from him.

Overall it's a good book, suitable for anyone who enjoys a mix of sex, horror, and the supernatural. With very few exceptions, the stories were all fast-paced with tight plots, making this book a real page-turner.
Alan says:
I can't say that many of these tales were blatantly boner-inspiring, but don't mind me; I never was one who got excited over the whole paranormal sex fad. Not even the scene in Ghostbusters with the fellatio-giving specter inspired me (was funny though!). What I liked about the book was the overall tone of the writings, and how each one was interesting enough to make me want to keep reading. 'Chele and I cuddled up in bed and read the whole book in two evenings, and I wouldn't complain if they came out with another volume like this one.

Michele says:
I'm a sucker for paranormal romance and erotica, but this book was better than I expected because of the lack of clich├ęs. No werewolves who have to find someone to mate with for whatever reason, or ditzy girls saying "OMG my new boyfriend is a vampire!" The vampire and werewolf stories that were included were pretty creative, and no two were alike. More than half of the book featured other kinds of supernatural beings though, and I liked the variety.
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Do you like this review?
  • Ryuson
    Thanks for the review! I still haven't finished this one but I love picking it up every couple of days to read a tidbit!
  • Cherry21
    great review!!
  • Tagmstr
    Great review, thanks!
  • eeep
    I love paranormal stories and have been looking forward to reading this one. Your description of the book gave me a better idea of what to expect in it, thanks.
  • mpfm
    Thanks for the review. Paranormal stories...what's not to love?
  • leatherlover
    Thanks for the great review. This sounds interesting.
  • Mitzi Szereto II
    So pleased that you enjoyed my anthology! I worked very hard to make it a quality book and I'm happy that my contributors shared the same philosophy as myself when writing a story! Thanks for the stellar review!
  • Alan & Michele
    @Mitzi Szereto II--- Well you did an outstanding job, and we're looking forward to reading your future works
  • wrmbreze
    I haven't finished this book yet, but your review shows me that I do need to finish it. I have liked everything I have read so far so it won't be a hardship to finish. I am definitely looking forward to finishing this one.Thanks so much for the great review!
  • Ivy Wilde
    Thanks for the review. I also really enjoyed this book.
  • MamaDivine
    Interesting! Thank you for the review
  • Jenny Smith
    thanks for the info
  • limitless
    Thanks for the great review!
  • Blooddragon
    Thnak you!
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