Well this review has been in the works for a while… Cleis Press publishes several annual anthologies and I’ve yet to review one of those from last year: Best Women’s Erotica 2014. It is edited by Violet Blue, who I am already familiar with and adore. I was excited to read this book because of my fondness for Blue and Cleis Press, and it also got +2 points for having a cat on the cover. Browsing through the table of contents I noticed there are some well-known authors whose names I wasn’t surprised to see (and almost expected, actually), like Alison Tyler and Sommer Marsden. There are also several authors that were new to me and I was excited to see what their stories were like.
The first story is interesting but there’s something that annoys me about the narrator. The second story’s ending kind of ruins the rest of it for me. The third story is about a girl with a big box of sex toys – hey, something I can relate to! – and I enjoyed it until she mentions a “jelly” toy and then the rest of the story I was like, oh no, why doesn’t this girl have only body-safe toys? Is that box full of stinky, melted jelly toys? Based on those first few stories, I had mixed feelings about the book. But then I got to the fourth story and was in sexy nerd heaven. It’s about LARPers and the main girl in the story is an elf (I have a thing for elves..). This story, “Her Forest, Her Rules” by Laila Blake, is definitely one of my favorites. I also loved “Monsoon Season” by Valerie Alexander, “Reality TV” by Alyssa Turner, and “Revealing” by Ruby Ryder.
Even though there are a few stories I didn’t really care for, they all are unique and well written — certainly deserving of their inclusion in an anthology of the year’s best erotica. They are stories that will be on your mind for days and will make you want to reread them again and again. From Cleis I have come to expect excellent representation of diverse people and interests and this is one of the many reasons why I love them. Queer and trans people are present in Best Women’s Erotica 2014, although the majority of stories involve different-gender partners. Some of the stories are more on the vanilla side, but it also features plenty of kink, femme dominance and submission, pegging, threesomes, naked sushi, sexy gladiators, and more.
This is last year’s Best Women’s Erotica, and Best Women’s Erotica 2015 is now available, but erotica has no expiration date so I definitely still recommend checking it out!
THANK YOU Cleis Press for sending me this book in exchange for my honest review!