Mitzi Szereto, editor,
Red Velvet & Absinthe
(Cleis Press, 2011)

I love erotica and I love the paranormal. The blending of the two, when done right, is my version of heaven. Red Velvet & Absinthe was done right, and I was treated to two days of heavenly bliss!

The book, edited by genre powerhouse Mitzi Szereto, includes15 short stories averaging about 10 pages in length featuring paranormal veterans like vampires, werewolves and ghosts, as well as some out-of-the-norm characters like a woman in a painting that comes to life. The stories are short, but by no means are they lacking. Each story has its own voice, and they all manage to project vivid imagery and dark romantic sensuality exquisitely.

Anthologies are really hard for me to care for. Most anthologies contain a plethora of the mediocre, a couple completely terrible tales and then, if you're lucky, one or two stories that really grab you. I was completely and pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoyed each story here. There were only three stories I would rate as average, and I still feel they added a positive element to the book, I am still glad that I read them. The rest of the stories were absolutely excellent. I was really impressed by the different styles, the imaginative storytelling and the steamy sexual encounters.

A few of my favorite stories were "Snowlight, Moonlight" by Rose De Fer, "The Blood Moon Kiss" by Mitzi Szereto, "La Belle Mort" by Zander Vyne and "Tea for Two" by Claire Buckingham.

All of the stories managed to be highly sensual without skimping on the storyline, detail or substance. I read erotica mainly for the sexy scenes, but if the story isn't good, neither is the sex. The stories were superb and the sex sublime. This was an awesome collection of paranormal erotica, probably the best collection I have ever read.

book review by
Cherise Everhard

15 October 2011

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