Book Review: Best Women’s Erotica 2015


I’m having trouble writing this review of Best Women’s Erotica 2015 because I just want to say, “I masturbated a lot to this book.”

As someone who lives and breathes erotica, I rarely find it sexually arousing to the point of needing to release tension. The more erotica you read, the less novelty there is until it rarely fazes you. This isn’t a bad thing—I love reading erotica on the train and appreciating it as literature rather than as wank material. I’ve made it clear on this blog that I prefer my erotica cerebral and challenging—sexy with a side of psychoanalysis or social commentary. It takes something brilliantly written or inventive to actually get me going.

So… this anthology earned its title. Big thumbs up from this girl. Once again, Violet Blue has curated the strongest stories in the genre for a collection that is smart, varied, and steamy as fuck. I’ll comment on my favorites to give you a taste, but at the end of the day you need to just trust my multiple orgasms and buy the book.

Valerie Alexander opens the collection with “The Ghostwriter,” a rough and unhesitating BDSM story that knocked me out cold. It hits all the buttons that Fifty Shades aimed for and missed—the leading man (and CEO) is brutal, powerful, and equally matched by his would-be sub and ghostwriter. “The Ghostwriter” isn’t afraid to get real when it comes to degradation, humiliation, and head games—subjects which are triggering for me when done wrong but so, so deliciously hot when an author gets it right. This story made me uncomfortable in the best way.

“Star Fucker” by Malin James offers an unexpected dose of sweetness for a story about two strangers having sex in an elevator. It’s stylistically beautiful and interesting, written in first person address to lend a wonderful level of intimacy and care to a story that might seem tired otherwise. I wrote in the margins I LOVED THIS STORY, which wasn’t exactly a surprise since I have a massive writer crush on Malin herself. How can I not when she writes like this: “We still haven’t kissed, but we’re going to. That much is pretty clear.”

Newbie author Rachel Woe managed to write about topics that usually freak me out in erotica (student/teacher attraction, virginity, nonconsensual voyeurism) and create a powder keg of a story in “The Art Teacher.” No spoilers, but the final beat of this story contains so much character growth and general ballsiness from a younger female character that I let out a “damn, girl,” as I read it during my lunch break at McDonalds. Really looking forward to seeing more of Woe’s work.

Finally, some quick hits: Lana Fox’s “Groped” explored the danger of acting on a fantasy in the real world. Sue Lenèe Cix’s “Magic Tricks” finally offered me the romantic, hetero pegging story I’ve been desperate for (there NEEDS to be more pegging fiction, people, please). “Tryst of Fate” by Lydia Hill is the perfect example of a story absolutely made by a compelling, well-written setting. Its humidity, violence and desperation lodged itself in my brain for weeks afterward. And finally, Evey Brett’s “The Dancer” and Laila Blake’s “More Light” featured different (female) body types that violate the ideal, slender, able-bodied norm.

All in all, this anthology is killer. Read it, and be sure to savor it. This is a book that will leave you gasping.

Best Women’s Erotica 2015 is available for purchase here.

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Ella Dawson is a sex and culture critic and a digital strategist. She drinks too much Diet Coke.

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