Best Women’s Erotica 2013 by Violet Blue
Pleasure Panel book review by Danae
Best Women’s Erotica 2013 by Violet Blue is a compilation of 18 erotic short stories from as many different authors, edited by Violet Blue. What all the stories have in common is that they feature a female protagonist. All of them are also pretty vanilla, although many contain BDSM / kink elements. These elements might pique the interest of readers who are new to that kind of stuff, but would most likely still feel pretty vanilla for those who are already into the lifestyle.
The book opens on Salamander by Eliani Torres, with the following paragraph, which instantly caught my attention by how beautifully written it is:
“She had hoped the sex would be bad. It would serve her right. The blond man Amanda brought home from the park shrugged when she told him she was horny, nothing more – a kind of forgiveness. His name was Sal, like her first high school boyfriend, Salvador Acosta, a church kid who was fearless and raunchy but brushed his teeth before and after oral sex, and made her do the same. Hearing the name again reminded Amanda of standing naked with the skinny boy in front of his parents’ twin sinks, squeezing toothpaste, gargling cinnamon mouthwash. A marble Saint Theresa had stood on the counter, all patience every time she watched them spitting pink foam into the swirling waters to either side of her.”
Salamander is the shortest story of the collection, and my favourite. Torres has a lovely writing style, and the sex scenes really draw you in.
I was hoping that this was just the beginning of many such poignant erotic stories, but unfortunately my expectations were only partially met. Throughout the book, I found a number of stories that I really loved, yet others left me indifferent at best.
Another favourite of mine is Normal by Charlotte Stein. It reads as a confession from a wife, who has gotten into the habit of sexually dominating her husband, as she is discovering how dominant she can be and how submissive her husband can be to her. She is still in the process of coming to terms with that side of herself and of their relationship, and in this regard her thoughts are both interesting and downright hot. Her inner discourse plays an almost informative role in the workings of dom/sub relationships, without ever feeling like an educative guide. Stein’s writing talent is obvious, and this piece turned me on from beginning to end.
I also greatly enjoyed Highly inspired by Alyssa Turner. In this story, a business woman gets on a plane, where she is seated next to a young man whose job is to make sexy phone calls. They end up fooling around under a blanket for the entire flight, before putting their jobs on hold to spend some alone time at the airport hotel. This story combines many erotic elements – one-time sex with a stranger, sex in public (especially on plane), ditching one’s responsibilities to live something exhilarating – which makes it an all-round thrilling read.
My other favourites include The spanking salon by Elizabeth Coldwell, On the verge by Rosalia Zizzo, Meet me at the Spanish steps by Lucy Felthouse, Air conditioning. Color TV. Live mermaids. by Anna Meadows, and Night School by Valerie Alexander.
Other stories, although well-written, simply didn’t strike my fancy. Being his bitch by Janine Ashbless falls into that category, with hot descriptions of sex in a swinger’s club, at a party that is quite literally animal-themed.
Some came close to being great, but had some flaws I couldn’t overlook. For example, Exposing Calvin by Rachel Kramer Bussel (about a woman who decides to bring her husband to a strip club) would have been perfect, if it hadn’t been for a couple of inconsistencies that really distracted me. Call me anal if you will, but when I’m reading erotica, I don’t want to flip back pages to check if the protagonist did indeed change in physiology since the beginning of the story.
Stop N’ Buy by Mimi Kessel and Director lady by Anika Ray are also not bad, but contain scenes involving the use of things that really shouldn’t be put near or into genitals, which is a big pet peeve of mine.
Blush by Mary Borsellino actually came close to being one of my favourites, with a brilliant tirade about flavoured safe-sex barriers, and hot sex between the cisgendered woman protagonist and her transgendered rocker girl lover – but ended up being a little too real, almost clinical at times.
Overall, I would say that Best Women’s Erotica 2013 is a pretty well-balanced collection of short stories for those who are interested in female-centric erotica. It does not limit itself to purely vanilla stuff, and its tasteful explorations of BDSM might make some readers interested in knowing more about the lifestyle.
However, I feel like this collection is lacking in sexual diversity. Only one character in the entire book is (explicitly) not cisgendered, and only one background act is homosexual (of the male-male variety). I would have liked to see more bisexuality/homosexuality, especially concerning the protagonists.
– Cara Sutra