Red Velvet and Absinthe

I have mixed feelings about anthologies and short stories. On the one hand, short stories are handy, I can settle in and read one on the go or before bed without wondering what’s coming next. On the other hand, they are often an uneven mixed bag of writing that leaves me unfulfilled with both content and style. RED VELVET AND ABSINTHE edited by Mitzi Szereto is a combination of the two.

The collection is billed as paranormal erotic romance, and often the pairing of “paranormal” and “romance” can make me cringe. In the last few years the growth of this particular genre has exploded and most of it is less than stellar. So, I approached this anthology warily. I had no idea what was lurking in the pages. Would it be good? Bad? Horrifically awful?

I was pleasantly surprised. Most of Red Velvet and Absinthe was good, some of it was even very good. There were pieces that were a little choppy, and one or two that weren’t quite there for me. One thing about “erotic” writing that has long irked me—and it did here as well—is that sometimes what is considered “good” erotic writing is not very good writing overall. That is not the case in every entry, but some seem to get so carried away in descriptive words and language that the germ of the plot (I am sure there is one in there somewhere) is completely lost.

Don’t get me wrong, several of the stories are wonderful because of the language. They are beautifully written, poignant and touching. I particularly liked La Belle Mort, The Persistence of Memory and The Blood Moon Kiss. There are others that are good, but these three stand out, and almost make the entire book worthwhile.

Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance is rather like dark chocolate and fine wine. Some of it is very much to my taste, some not. All-in-all the book is enjoyable, and some pieces just shine. It’s definitely for the romantic part of your soul, so be prepared to let that part out, light a fire, some richly scented candles and indulge your senses in this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars | Publisher: Cleis Press | Pages: 256 | Source: Publisher | Buy on Amazon

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