Making the hook-up - erotic book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Airen Wolf

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Soul Food

This is a beautiful soulful look at love, sex and life from an African American point of view that never the less speaks to any and all people. It is lush, lyrical, humorous, and sad all in one anthology and the writers are superb storytellers that wind you into the story before gently disengaging leaving you feeling full and satisfied.
Sensual writing, hot subject matter, well written lush stories
More; I was left wanting so much more!
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review

About author

Cole Riley put together an amazing anthology of stories all with the theme of beautiful black men and women being beautiful sexual creatures, at least this was his intention and this reviewer feels he not only hit his mark but knocked it out of the ballpark!

"Making the Hookup; Edgy Sex With Soul" is a collection of 18 stories by various writers and represents a thoughtful, gentle and very passionate look into the soul of sex.

Cole Riley faced the stereotypes of what being black and sexual meant and showed his readers that if you throw away the stereotypes you arrive at something that is hot, sexy and sublime. Indeed the synopsis at the back of the book sums it up beautifully: "Cole Riley holds no bounds in this book of bold, black erotica, with stories as creative as the soulful simmer of Nina Simone, as urgent as the barely concealed bite of John Lee Hooker, and as innovative as the muted moans of Miles Davis." I couldn't agree more!
    • Engaging
    • Multiple contributoring authors
    • Very personal approach

Content / Style / Audience

The stories in this book aren't short they range from 11 to 20 pages in length but they sweep you away into a lush landscape that leaves you breathless. From the gritty language in the first story, "Three Kisses" by Preston Allen, to the lyrical and otherworldly language of the story, "Lights On A Cave Wall" by Zaji the reader is caught up and left feeling satisfied, not to mention aroused!

There are stories here about inevitable voyeurism and that place where everyone confronts their own prejudices, "Keeping Up With The Joneses" by Reginald Harris. In this story a married man confronts his feelings on having gay neighbors, and the fact that he and his wife can hear them having sex!

There are also stories about confronting fears and losing sexual hangups such as "Lonnie's Licks" by Tenille Brown and the gentle story "Rain" by Kweli Walker to the powerful story "Sex and Chocolate" by Garnell Wallace. The first leads you on a playful romp into psychology, the second a brave new way of facing the fear of thunderstorms but the last story I mentioned is a beautiful odyssey through self hatred to loving acceptance of ones self, and it left this reader feeling especially grateful.

The only story I had problems with was "Velvet" By Fiona Zedde which is about a young college girl who has her first sexual experience and is left feeling crushed and almost raped. It hurt to read since I've heard similar stories in real life, I ended up just wanting to validate and hug the main character!

I admit to thinking that there was nothing here for me in this anthology and I am happy to say that I was soundly spanked for my narrow-mindedness and my eyes were opened. This is a book that should appeal to a very wide audience and it is simply stunning. The writing is lush, intense and some of the stories have a whimsical twist to them that is like eating a rich piece of chocolate, rich and intense.
    • Erotica
    • Good mix of styles and content
    • Humorous


The book's cover is the beautiful ruddy-brown of sensual milk chocolate, very high quality milk chocolate! The title of the book is eye catching and done in red, yellow and orange. There is a picture of a beautiful couple cuddling on the cover possibly during the act or just after. The editor's name is prominent in the bottom right corner.

This isn't a book that people won't comment on since it is rather a blatant cover but it is very beautiful as well, as many people noted while I was reading it.

Cleis Press makes high quality paperback books and this is no exception! From the cover to the addition of a small paragraph introducing each author and then the editor, this book strives for excellence.
    • Soft cover
    • Well made


I was so prepared to not like this book having been disappointed by other books touting their "soulful" contents. They always came across as fake and insincere or way over the top. These stories touched something inside me with their simplicity and as odd as it seems, ordinariness! The stories were sexy and seemed to flow from one to the other without any jarring or interruption. They guys were happy to hear passages from the stories and Sigel has plans to read the book when I get back home. High praise indeed!
Follow-up commentary
This book is more often than not to be found off my bookcase than on it! Every person who reads it talks about how very powerful the stories are, so erotic and so poignant. It's getting quite dog-eared and I might have to buy another copy...
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  • gone77
    Absolutely excellent review, Airen! You've got me wanting to read this.

    Well done you.
  • Airen Wolf
    I do hope that you's a fabulous, rich exciting book!
  • Sammi
    Great review!
  • ace.eric.pollen
    nice review !
  • Missmarc
    Great review, thank you!
  • Mistress Dragon
    I will have to read this one, from what you have here it is a great book and a must read. Thank you for sharing with us.
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