I always find anthologies pretty hard to rate, and this one is no exception. I did enjoy most of the stories, although some much more than the others.
A Hallowed Tale was a fun spin-off from the classic "A Christmas Carol" and I really loved how sweet it was. The sex actually almost felt like it was tacked on and it didn't seem like it made quite that much sense in the context, but it wasn't grating. I would have liked the romantic relationship to have been developed just a bit more with more of Roberta's thoughts and mindset coming through.
An eye for an eye was frankly, just strange, although really in keeping with the Halloween theme. My complaint is mostly that it seemed like the entire story was created around the concept of being creepy and so it seemed a bit lop-sided, especially with the ending. I thought that the story could have stopped right before the ending and then it would have made a lot more sense although one could argue for the value of coming full-circle. With the ending, however, it made me wonder just what exactly was going on and what the point of Diane and Steve's actions were.
Love in the library was sweetly done, with just a lovely bit of the whole sexy library fetish. Even though the plot itself wasn't particularly inventive, Snyder's smooth prose and careful rendering of their blossoming relationship really brought the story to life.
Harvest moon was poetically rendered, but I thought that the story itself was a bit thin for the length. Amicus has a clear and enjoyable voice, but I thought that the story itself could have been fleshed out more, especially since the ending just sort of turns around and everything's all right again.
Awake was another hot offering by Varian Krylov, although at this point I would love to see something perhaps more romantically inclined from what is clearly a talented author. My personal predilections aside, this was steamy and kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next.
I have to admit, I didn't enjoy Nuit Blanche. The relationship didn't ring true, the plot was strange, and I didn't like the characters. When you're flipping through the book wondering why the characters are with each other and just wishing they'd give up and do something else already -- not a good sign. I mean, if you're going to do adultery, at least have the characters be if not charismatic, then attractive, even if just physically. Shingles? Really>
Samhain -- again, just strange. Endless gratuitous, non-plot-driven sex, if you're into that sort of thing.
If "Nuit Blanche" was adultery done wrong, then A Married Man was adultery that at least made sense if not had you cheering the characters on. Fowke handled the subject well, if not justifying the act then at least making the characters seem personable and their actions not just random lust speaking.
Purple Hearts was well done, if seemingly slightly out of place in an erotica anthology. At first, although drawn into the pathos of the characters and their world, it was really strange to go from that straight to sex. However, the authors handle the concepts of war, surviving, and grief well and the sex aside, it would have been a solid story by itself. Just perhaps a little more transition...
The red velvet suite -- not sure where the plot was going, not sure what was going on, not sure if I liked any of the characters -- pretty sure I didn't much like the story.;
The autumn weather might be cooling things off, but you won’t need that sweater – we promise our erotica will warm you up! This time of year involves metamorphosis, from the changing of the fall colors to the places between, where the world wears thin and the strange and unusual happens. Join your favorite eXcessica authors in this sexy, sometimes spooky, seasonal anthology, bringing you the best of all things autumn! (Includes stories by Marshall Ian Key, Vivian Vincent, J.M. Snyder, Amicus, Varian Krylov, Giselle Renarde, Kenn Dahll, Sandra Fowke, Molly Wens, and Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine.)