1. Black Velvet
I simultaneously really liked and really did not like this story. On one hand, the erotic scenes were pretty good, and I will never fault a book for that. On the other, the structure of the story was unorthodox and threw me off of my stride as a reader. For instance, a large part of it includes an “IM conversation” between the two leads. I did not even feel erotically voyeuristic to be reading it, only as if I was somehow reading some conversations between a woman and a man who was trying to be sexy, but only came off creepy — I guess that part just did not float my boat. I also did not feel like the ending was particularly satisfying; I felt like, even for an erotic short, it needed some kind of resolution that it seemed to lack.
2. Wicked Lovely
Written partially in a nearly stream-of-consciousness voice, Wicked Lovely focused on the incestuous romance between a brother and sister and how as they mentally mature, they come to terms with their physical attraction to one another. While the story handled complicated subject matter that may make some readers feel uncomfortable, it was also handled tastefully, and I think the author succeeded in making her story more than just a tale of forbidden love in its most taboo form. The stream-of-consciousness voice, on the other hand, felt kind of sloppy; instead of getting me into the character’s head, I just felt like I was not reading something that was as polished as it could have been.
3. The Devilin Fey
I really enjoyed this story of an incubus and the woman he transforms from a slighted journalist into a creature that is ready to take her place among the sexually-powerful succubi. I thought it could have been a little bit more heated in some parts, but overall this was a good read — I think the author really hits her stride in paranormal stories. Like the first story, it felt like it could have used more resolution, but this should be taken as a compliment — I would like to read more about the characters.
This story of a bisexual woman’s sexual awakening and subsequent involvement with a succubus is a cerebral piece. I liked the idea of having a character who was finding herself as much as the audience was coming to know her, and the succubi and incubi in this collection are fascinating.
5. New Order
A quickie read of a Japanese band’s new fan and his fascination with their pianist, New Order is short enough that it is not really satisfying. Still, I liked it — it has the right feel for a story of an unexpected, hot encounter.
6. Status: Married
Another quickie, Status: Married is another contemporary-feeling piece that matches two old school-friends reliving a childhood romance for a night. Very short, it suffers from the lack of resolution that several stories in this collection do, and this one is short enough that it feels undeveloped as a result.
7. Oral Fixation
The shortest story so far in the anthology, Oral Fixation continues the themes of sexual experimentation and exploration. In that it succeeds, but the short vignettes do not really do much to satisfy the reader; just as soon as they start, they are gone, and as a reviewer, I find it difficult to really evaluate a story that is just a few pages long.
8. The Gift
This was a great story full of little bits of any woman’s celebrity fantasies — it worked really well and I liked the characters even though it was an extremely short novella. Fun story I will come back to read again!
Appetizers, a collection of poetry that really fits the “cocktail” theme of the anthology, is a nice interlude that runs the gamut from the really modern to more traditional forms of poetry. A few of these poems are really treasures, and are going to stick with me.
Two pairs of friends help each other learn their true sexual natures, with extreme results. This felt like a good ending to the book; it matches a lot of the “contemporary” themes of the other novellas and wraps it all together into a longer story.
All in all, this was an avant-garde collection that covered a broad range of topics relating to romance and sex. I felt like there was a fairly big range in the quality of the literature presented; some pieces felt a lot more finished than others. All in all, I think this is a diverse and interesting assemblage of erotica that comes out of an author who is able to dabble in a lot of different literary media. How well they fit together may be up to an individual reader, but each story on its own is an interesting take on the complex world that is modern erotica.
- Paperback: 266 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace (August 5, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1448647665
- ISBN-13: 978-1448647668
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