Angel 6.0: Concubine, Travis Luedke

I follow Travis Luedke on Twitter, and I’ve been meaning to read something of his for a while. I chose this one because of the space cats, which I think ended up being my favorite part of this book.

Angel (short for Angelina, her genetic donor who was a famous actress in the 20th century) is a secret experiment. She’s exceptionally strong, a natural fighter, super smart, and heals minor wounds in hours. She also has a convenient trait in which pain triggers euphoria, so she doesn’t mind it a bit. She lives in a space lab, which is only supposed to be producing worker clones to supply the brutal, technologically advanced alien cats who would otherwise take over Earth. This is erotica, so of course Angel is pretty sexually uninhibited. Naturally, the cats accidentally see Angel, and they want her. And what the space cats want, they expect to get . . .

That’s the premise. It’s pretty simple, and the plot is about what you’d expect. The book is very much like the campy softcore porn that used to play on cable late at night. (Do they still do that? I haven’t had cable in years.) Not terrifically imaginative or groundbreaking, except for the cats. I’m a huge cat person, so I had to wonder why I never thought of putting sentient cats in my erotica. I’ll put it on my to-do list . . .

In any case, it’s entertaining and fun. Amazon calls it 96 pages, so it’s a good buy at $2.99.


Centaur’s Toy, Lia Avanna

The set-up for this story is that protagonist Karina is kidnapped (from a brothel? what?) by a group of centaurs. They drug her and, on orders of the boss centaur, do lots of sexy things with her. But we only get that from flashbacks from the day after, when she awakes in a clearing in a forest too dense to escape. It turns out that the centaurs are keeping her as a spoil of war (another what?).

I don’t usually read or write non-consensual sex, but this story walks the fine line between consent and non-consent. Karina, strangely, loves the rough treatment she gets from the centaurs. She wonders if the drug she was given somehow reprogrammed her to like fucking centaurs. But not for very long, because more centaurs.

The foreplay consists primarily of a marathon of blowjobs. This was a disappointment to me. I guess I’m not that into blowjobs. I could be, though, I’m not against them. One of the elements of monster erotica that I love is the potential to, shall we say, broaden the horizons of the reader. As a writer, I challenge myself to write erotica so compelling that it makes people hot for things they never would have thought to get hot for. But the key is the writing. If it’s written well, it works. If the writing is mediocre, I just might fall asleep repeatedly in the middle of the action (which I did—I had to finish reading the story the next day). So, this series of huge centaur cocks flooding Karina’s mouth with come just doesn’t do it for me. For someone who fantasizes about giving endless fellatio, it might well.

Eventually the boss centaur comes back to finish things up, and the action gets a little more interesting.

One thing that puzzled me was that the centaurs, all of them with cocks, are often referred to with a feminine pronoun. I’m guessing Avanna isn’t trying to make a statement about gender fluidity, so I have no idea why, for example, she says of the boss centaur, “She grinned wickedly, showing her straight white teeth, oddly dashing in her proud princely face.”

Conclusion, not my favorite monster erotica, but it has its moments. Definitely not the worst I’ve read.

Mounted By A Monster: Under Her Bed, Mina Shay

I like the premise of this story: that the monster that has lived under Janey’s bed since she was a little girl is actually real! And he has feelings, and becomes an essential friend and confidant to heroine Janey as she grows up, so much so that she is pleased when he follows her as she moves out of her parents’ house.

Rick (as Janey calls him) is still a monster, however, so he doesn’t manage his feelings well. He becomes very protective of Janey and tends to go into violent rages whenever anyone mistreats her. Over the years, Janey has learned to “soothe” him by, at first, stroking his arm; then eventually giving him hand jobs. (We can assume that she was of age before things got sexy.) What will they do next?

The premise is original (as far as I know), and the writing is pretty good, though it does fall into standard porn cliches at the moment of truth. I’m guessing Shay’s readers don’t mind that.

I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the theme of a woman preventing male violence by sexually servicing the male. While Janey is presented in this story as a willing participant, I think this is an idea that often underlies sexual violence and coercion in the “real world.” I wouldn’t want to dictate how a story should be told; but I do think it’s worth pointing out the implications of ideas when they lead in a different direction than the author probably intended.

There is another way to read this story, however. I can see Rick as an embodiment of the childlike id. He hides under the bed; he’s uncontrollable and powerful and therefore terrifying. Janey gains strength by befriending him, but struggles to control his rages, particularly when faced with male violence. If the monster represents a part of Janey, then it’s of particular interest that she manages his emotions through sex. I’m not sure where that leads us, though I imagine a psychologist or psychoanalyst would have lots to say about it.

But, I don’t suppose most readers of monster erotica care to examine such literature through a Freudian, or feminist, lens. To each her own. If you just like a story that turns a childhood fear into a fun monster romp, you won’t be disappointed.

Mina Shay’s Pinterest page.

Ensnare: The Librarian’s Lover, by Mac Flynn

A tentacle story that takes place in a library . . . well, that’s unusual. (If you don’t want unusual, you probably ought to skip the monster erotica genre.) Leslie is a mousy student working in the college library. I found it refreshing that the heroine is a regular girl with some self-esteem issues, unlike the porn trope of every female character being young, hot, and athletic, with perfect breasts. For those who want the hot girl, Flynn gives you one in the beginning, when Leslie watches the hot boy she has a crush on making out in the library with his girl du jour.

But more interesting things are in store for Leslie. There are predatory bullies to contend with, an annoying co-worker, and a stern but kind boss. All Leslie wants to do is look at that strange book that mysteriously appeared in the book return. And she’s not really a risk-taker, but that book might inspire some changes in her, as well as some help for the self-esteem.

Possibly a bit long on set-up, and I didn’t really get why the back of the library seems as big as the stacks, and is laid out like a labyrinth, but neither of those was a big deal.

It’s a really sweet story, with a feel-good ending, and delicious erotica along the way.

In the Arms of the Dark Elf, Willow Nonea Rae

A couple elements kind of piqued my interest. Marla is studying herbology, and she’s a vegetarian. Unfortunately she is apparently not very smart, because she doesn’t seem to be learning the subject, nor does she seem to care about it. I kind of like the way she gets rescued when she’s mysteriously separated from the class and gets pricked by a poisonous thorn.

The romance element of the story, however, falls very much into the conventions of romance/porn. The writer makes a point of telling us how hot Marla is, even as the story is told from her point of view. She knows the hot guy nursing her back to health is an elf, but we don’t know why. All we know is how muscular and hot he is. And yet, the descriptions aren’t vivid enough to make me care about the characters. There’s a lack of imagination in the writing.

For all that, I was surprised how long it took to get to the sex scene, and how uninspiring it was when it took place.

There’s a nice plot twist, when a seemingly unimportant character is revealed to be the villain, but he’s unconvincingly evil, and cartoonishly flat.

I didn’t hate the book, but I wouldn’t read more from this author.

Monster Skin, Melancton Hawks

Before I knew monster erotica was a thing, I read Monster Skin. I met the author on Goodreads, when we were both looking for reviews for our novels. (He never responded to my invitations to read and review my novel, for what it’s worth. I owe him nothing.) I had never read anything like this book, and now that monster erotica is a genre in its own right, it occurs to me that Monster Skin fits right in. But yet, even though I am a monster erotica writer myself now, I still haven’t read anything else like it. From me, that’s always a compliment.

Hawks goes out of his way to break all kinds of taboos. Protagonist Spooky Bonsai is a vivacious, fashion-obsessed teen who prowls New York City mostly unsupervised by her nasty stepfather. She spends much of the first third of the book engaged in such a variety of sex acts that—though I hate to admit it— I’d never thought of many of them. I’d have to say I found the clinical description of Spooky’s encounters with a rich, hot nympho hermaphrodite more amusing than a turn-on.

But the story moves fast, and keeps one-upping itself. The monster in question is a cthulhu, which has the mysterious power of transferring sexual energy to/from whomever touches its skin, whether attached, or ripped off and made into an incredibly cool leather jacket.

The plot is clever and keeps the reader wondering: who is the villain? Will the monster’s power be used ultimately for good or evil? Where on earth will a virgin be found to sacrifice to the monster? (Virgin sacrifice meaning, in this case, the sacrifice of someone’s virginity.)

Hilarious, colorful, and fast-paced, Monster Skin stands out as one of my favorite books of the last few years. Highly recommended for adventurous readers with a sense of humor.

She Craves the Satyr: Villa, Celia Dunroy

I’d read Celia Dunroy’s blog and thought I’d like her stories, so I asked her if I could review one. She sent me this new piece about an encounter with a satyr, and I loved it.

Heroine Lady Aislinn is a noble lady of a more feudal era who lives in her father’s household, as she is as yet unmarried. She secretly entertains a satyr in her room, where she avoids civilized society by feigning migraines. Her essential conflict squeezes Lady Aislinn between fulfilling her role as a proper lady, and throwing off the strictures of society to run wild in the magical forest with her half-feral lover.

Dunroy does a marvelous job of illustrating this conflict with one deliciously erotic scene. Who says literary fiction can’t be graphically sexy? This might be the first erotic story I’ve ever re-read just to enjoy the well-crafted writing. I hope she releases it soon, because the world needs more of this quality of monster erotica.

Mounted By the Minotaur, Persephone Parsons

Mounted By the Minotaur is a fun short story. Callie is a strong female heroine, who is comfortable in her body. The premise is that New York’s Central Park has been transformed into a Garden of Unearthly Delights, which is allegedly safe to tour during the day, but terrifying dangers await anyone who finds herself there in the night. This premise works well as the basis of a series, from a practical perspective; while at the same time it is a powerful literary device to transform space which is, at one level or another, familiar to the reader into a place where one’s deepest fears and urges are manifested into reality.

The story has some fearful moments, but the sex is consensual, and let’s just say that the minotaur is sensitive to the needs of a lady.

It’s hard to end an erotic story. Where do you go after the (literary as well as physical) climax? Does a reader really care at that point? This one had an end I found intriguing, if not entirely convincing. But, it’s monster erotica, you want believability?

I give Mounted four stars out of five.