Red Velvet and Absinthe - erotic fiction by Cleis Press Inc. - review by zeebot

Lots of Straight Vampires

"Paranormal Erotic Romance" apparently translates into a lot of sexy vampire stories told in floridly romantic language that just sets my teeth on edge. There are some more original stories as well, but there aren't enough to justify buying the book. If you really like vampires, this would be a great book to get, but if not there may not be enough here to entertain you. Also, all but one of the stories were based around straight couples (and the lesbian one wasn't even that good).
some creative and unexpected stories, some good writing, some appealing sex
90% hetero, overly romantic language, hard to take seriously, too many vampires, sex scenes short
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
Red Velvet and Absinthe describes itself as paranormal romance. Well, ok. I'm not entirely sure that's the most accurate word for the stories in this collection, but it's probably close enough. This is a book with a few interesting, well crafted stories, stuck between a bunch of hyper romanticized vampire seductions.

I got this book because I like erotica, and I like a lot of genre fiction. I am not really into vampires or werewolves though - not against them exactly, they just don't particularly appeal to this wasn't really the best choice. If you are into vampires or werewolves, you will probably really enjoy this collection. If not, there are still some good stories in here, but I don't think they're worth buying the entire book for.

I had trouble taking a lot of these stories seriously. But, if you can get over how silly most of these are (or if you like silly erotica, or if you really like vampires (or werewolves) and won't notice the silliness) this book should appeal to you. Most of the sex scenes are not very explicit or lengthy, so if that's what you read erotica for, you might want to give this one a miss. There is some pseudo-bondage and domination, but it is extremely mild. Also, all but one of the stories feature straight sex, which I found frustrating. I'm not against straight sex, but I prefer a little variety.

Warning! Spoilers follow. I won't ruin everything, but the stories are so short that I have to give something away to give you an idea of what they're about. Many of these have twists at the end - I won't give those away.

Snowlight, Moonlight - Rose de Fer
A fairly standardly visceral omg-lady-turns-into-a-werewolf story. This one will appeal if you like being dominated.

Cover Him With Darkness - Janine Ashbless
This one is more original - a mysterious supernatural man is kept prisoner in a cave. A woman has to take over his guardianship once her father dies.

A Rose in the Willow Garden - Elizabeth Daniels
A vampire seduces a woman, but he's a vampire so you think it's going to end badly, BUT THEN he falls in love with her. This is a SUPER romanticized "seducing till death" story - personally, I didn't have the patience for it, but if you like your seductions overdone and full of things like "Leaning into the scarf's snug coils, he primed himself..." then it might appeal. (The sex is not very explicit.)

The Blood Moon Kiss - Mitzi Szerto
This one takes place on the set of a True-Blood-like show, except the leading vampire actor is (spoiler!) actually a vampire. This one gets points for having an oral sex scene with no penis in it.

Painted - Anna Meadows
I really liked this one! It's vaguely pre-Victorian story about a painting featuring a beautiful woman, which has an interesting effect on anyone who sees it - particularly the groundskeeper. The story is actually original and interesting, and the writing isn't particularly overwrought. The sex is not particularly long or explicit, but that's true of pretty much this entire book.

Dolly - Charlotte Stein
A woman makes a man-doll and, as expected, has sex with him. This story has a longer (and more visceral) sex scene. The writing is almost diary-like, which really strengthens the connection with the main character. I liked this one too!

La Belle Mort - Zander Vyne
A woman is condemned to death (unjustly, as is made clear) and waiting her sentence. Meanwhile, a man she initially believes is a cleric visits her. The writing is, again, a bit too much (it rambles and is unclear), and the sex scenes are extremely brief. You might like this one if you enjoy thinking about the threat of death, I guess? Not for me.

The Persistance of Memory - Evan Mora
A vampire saves a woman from attackers then seduces her. (Because clearly after you've just been attacked, you want to sleep with someone, right? Arg.) This one has some weird language: "I telegraphed my intentions..." and "I felt the twin tails of bloodlust and orgasm lash together..." Again, overwrought writing and vampires! Too much of the same thing.

Scratched - Ashley Lister
A girl persues her werewolf boyfriend to his hiding place. This one has a slightly rougher sex scene, and the author doesn't take herself too seriously - I mostly enjoyed this one, but it does have a bit of (non-sexual) animal violence. But what else can you except with werewolf stories? (Side note: I really must mention this song: )

Bitter and Intoxicating - Sharon Bidwell
An artist finds inspiration with a mysterious woman. This one gets points for including pegging.


Tea for Two - Claire Buckingham
A man lives in his house with the ghost of his wife. I found this one more depressing than erotic, personally - they are both quite upset that she's dead.

Milady's Bath - Giselle Renarde
A lady's maid waits at home for her to come home from violent sexual escapades, whereupon she bathes her. This story is the only non-heterosexual story in the collection, but it's not particularly satisfying.

The Way Home - Carrie Williams
A woman travelling to nowhere in particular ends up staying with a man who owns a bar, who isn't as normal as he seems.

The Queen - Tahira Iqbal
A courtesan to the king of the vampires has to take over as Queen after he dies. More vampires.

Benediction - Bonnie Dee
A man (or man-like-person) imprisoned in Hell gets a new cellmate - sort of. She is a sexy angel who has come to save him! This is not as cheesy as it sounds, though the man is extremely guilty about being in Hell, which was kind of annoying.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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My Red Velvet and Absinthe tags
  • Who / How / What
    [ ? ]
    Who might this product be best for? How is it best used? What are the best circumstances or situations for using this product?
    • Masturbation
  • Where
    [ ? ]
    Where / what types of places can this product be used?
    • Anywhere
  • MrWishyWashy
    Thanks for sharing!
  • Kitt Katt
    Nice descriptive review!
  • dv8
    What inspired the title?
  • zeebot
    @dv8: I'm reeally bad at picking titles! And there were too many vampires and all the stories were about straight people. Thaaat's about it.
  • fredacarl
    Thanks for the review
  • Kynky Kytty
    I completely agree that there were too many vampire stories. I had read that book after reading Girls Who Bite, and I was getting fed up by the end of this book.
  • Jenny Smith
    thanks for the info
  • Hallmar82
    Thanks for the rundown
  • Blooddragon
    Thank you!
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