Forbidden Fruit: Stories of Unwise Lesbian Desire, edited by Cheyenne Blue

forbiddenfruit

[Am I the only one seeing Regina Mills (from Once Upon a Time) on that cover? It’s so fitting and lovely. I love it. Kudos to Caroline Manchoulas who designed it.]

My reading habits lean toward the anthology this year and I’m not sorry at all. I’ve already read so many great short stories this year, and I hope for many more.

Before I say anything about the other stories, I wanna write that the first one, Our Woman, is probably the best short story I’ve ever read. It’s been a while since I read it but it really moved me at the time. It is one of those stories where you sit wide-eyed, smiling and with the feeling that literature is just everything. This story was an experience, thank you.

But this is only one great story in a bunch, 17 to be exact. If I’d known before that the format of the short stories produces so many awesome stories, I would have turned to it sooner.

Forbidden fruit is the theme and here we have stories that deal with just that, the forbidden somebody who you shouldn’t be with. Be it the family slave, your ex-lover’s mother, or even the horse thief you’re supposd to catch. Women desire women they shouldn’t have, or want. But these things are never black or white, they’re fifty shades of gray (no referential pun toward bad literature intended).

My favorite, as said, is Our Woman by Rebecca Lynne Fullan. If you made me chose a second and third, I would say Ungodly Ours by Allison Wonderland and Out for the Cunt by Cheyenne Blue, who edited a great anthology.

If you like well-told, well-written stories which are thoughtful and erotic and fun – this is the anthology for you. Now, go read.

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All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica and Romance edited by Andi Marquette & R.G. Emanuelle

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In some ways, I was brought up rather conservatively and must confess that I’m sometimes sticking to self-imposed traditions tightly. One of those is that I rarely strike out to explore all the excellent, talented writers of the genres I prefer. While I pushed myself to not limit myself when it comes to genre, I usually stick with the writers I know.

I’ve been reading lesbian romance for… let’s see, about 15 years now and this is probably the first time I’m going on a wide search for new writers to read. I was most literarily stuck (not that I regret reading those I’ve read or the many times I’ve read my favorites; I just feel I could have been more adventurous). The reason is simple: I’m afraid to be disappointed. If I know that one writer and they write the way I like it, why would I pick up a book by a writer I don’t know who might not write the way I like? It may sound silly with all the amazing talent out there, but as I said – I’m a little conservative at heart, even though I would probably claim the exact opposite in a lively discussion held late at night among friends.

Anthologies are a great way to discover new authors, new stories, new themes, even. And this anthology proved to be a well of all the above and I’m really glad I unstuck myself to read about love and food and the sensuous adventures that begin if truly amazing talents mix both.

All You Can Eat is a pleasure. It combines the sensuous with the unexpected, the intimate with the breathtakingly erotic, and then there’s food and love and it’s sticky and messy and delightfully diverse. Marquette and Emanuelle present a feast of capable authors’ culinary fantasies that will satiate even the most ravenous reader.

It’s difficult to pick favorites from among these luscious stories. While they all include food and eating, they’re still very different, unique. And, as far as I’m concerned, there’s not a literary offering within these pages that disappoints. Still, not all flavors are for every reader and if I had to pick one among each dish I would recommend these: Rebekah Weatherspoon – Burn, Andi Marquette – Sugar and ‘Shine (with a very close second Cheyenne Blue – Tomato Lady), and for dessert Yvonne Heidt – Turn the Tables. But believe you me when I say, all stories are worth a read, all writers are worth checking out… you can never discover too many good, new writers (and I have already lined up the next anthology to find even more).