Review: The Red by Tiffany Reisz

Book Title: The Red
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Genres: Erotica | Dark Erotica | Fantasy | Romance

"In hell where the sins of lust were punished, they said the lascivious damned tore each other apart with their desires, and the rent and bleeding pieces still found ways to meet and mate with each other. How was that hell, she wondered?"

Mona Lisa St. James is in the red. She made a deathbed promise to her mother that she would do anything it took to keep her mother’s beloved art gallery, The Red, open. But as the debts begin to rise, Mona is struggling to keep her promise. Just as she makes the decision to close the doors for good, she meets a mysterious Englishman in her gallery after hours. She has no idea how he got there, but he makes her an offer she simply cannot refuse. She is his, to do with as he pleases, when he pleases, for a period of one year. In exchange, he will save The Red. With the help of this enigmatic degenerate, Malcolm, Mona might just be able to save her gallery. And she gets to have a fun ride doing so, too!

Now I know what some of you guys might be thinking: you've heard it all before. This is just another story of a beautiful submissive woman being used like a masturbatory aid by an alpha-male douchebag. Well, I'm here to correct you. Because I was the schmuck who thought that that might be the case, too. But then I remembered who the fuck I was reading. Tiffany Reisz, guys! I couldn't be more up her ass if I tried, but she does have an exquisite way with words, indeed, so I don't give a fuck.

This book was not what I expected at all. I am not an art lover in the slightest, but this story explores art, sex, eroticism and paranormal mysteries through beautiful, lyrical words that tie in nicely with the plot. The art IS the story. That is the true beauty of this masterpiece. You might not be into art, you might not even notice it or care for it. But Tiffany Reisz will change that for you, in the most scandalous way. 

This novel is, at it's base, an erotica novel, yet spiced here and there with elements of the paranormal, which are crucial to the entire plot. Upon reading a summary of the book, I didn't expect a paranormal element to come into the story, but it was a lovely surprise and took the story to the next level.

The main themes of this book, personally for me, are sexual freedom and deception. Things are not as they seem, and Reisz has a track record for creating sexually free, smart, savvy, self-aware and self-empowered leading ladies.

Writing Style
I enjoyed the style of writing. Written in third person, it was easy to delve deep into the story, and it wasn't hard to put myself in Mona's (lucky!) shoes. I read this fairly quickly, and then twice more for good measure because I enjoyed it so much.

Plot and Development
This was a fast-paced, easy to read plot and it took many different twists and turns that I could not predict. You will find a whole lotta mystery when you read this, and it won't begin to make sense until the very end. I admired that Reisz used art as a unique way to move the story forwards, because I haven't seen that done before. It also showed readers a darker, more sexual side to art. There were a lot of sex scenes. I LIVE for them, and sometimes they are overdone in your standard "stroke stories", but the sex, the freedom and the depravity were all crucial to the bigger picture, and I didn't find myself tiring of them at any point.

Characters and Development
Mona is up there with my other favourite female leads. She's strong, determined and she goes after what she wants. When you strip everything away, she is just a woman trying to keep a promise, which is an admirable trait. As the story progresses, we see her put faith and trust in Malcolm, and she becomes sexually free-spirited, and damn proud of it, too.
Malcolm... What can I say about him? He was brilliant, magical and creative, and he offered Mona help when she was in the throes of a crisis. He was the same sexy man from start to finish, so his character didn't develop much, as such, but I think he was able to find peace and happiness by the end of the story. He's also sexy as hell, and darkly twisted. A man out for passion and fun. The devil does not smile, but smirks instead.

1. Too short. Want more.
2. Late nights. WINKWINK
3. That's literally it.

Favourite Moments
I really loved The Slave Market chapter, and how Malcolm tricked Mona. Another one that comes to mind is the scene with the Minotaur, which was another outstanding act of deception.

I love the lyrical use of the language throughout the book, so I'll insert a few passages here:

"What magic was it, what sorcery that could turn an act of violence and pain into an act of adoration and affection? It was alchemy, the art of turning base things into gold."

"He'd cracked open something in her, some dormant, latent proclivity for pain and punishment and being treated like a possession. She could never go back to the way it was before."

"Life and death weren't as absolute as they seemed."

Five stars! I don't know what else there is to say except that time and again, this author has brought me out of my own head to different, more interesting, places. I highly recommend that my readers pick up this book, if you're into sex and all things bump in the night! Special thanks to Tiffany and Andrew for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved it.

Love, Samantha 


Book Links: Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAThe Book Depository

Links: GoodreadsInstagramTwitterFacebook – Wordpress

Literary Friction #1: 5 Dark-Reads To Add to Your TBR Right Now!

Happy Hump-Day, birdies!

Now that summer is fast approaching us, I'm channeling my inner Glenn Frey to tell you that...the heat is on! And I'm also really bad at jokes ;)

I would like to formally welcome you all to the Literary Friction Series! In this series I will be bringing you my most loved erotic novels, in many ways/shapes/forms, reviewed and recommended by yours truly. Some of the novels in this series aren't always going to be "stroke stories" but instead explore the deeper meaning of erotica.

Bottoms up (literally) for a hot summer!

1. Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas

Okay, so we're getting into it here perhaps a little too dark for this early in the morning, as this read is definitely not for the feint of heart! It will take your mind into uncomfortable depths, and will manipulate you in unthinkable ways. Personally, I went into the book completely blindsided, thinking it was a romance, because I'm a little sucker for a die-hard love affair. But alas, a romance, it is not. Logically, the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist will make your brain ache and think no, no, no, no, NO! However much like the main character, we are the helpless protagonist, reading page after page, and the author being the antagonist (of sorts), has pulled us into a trap, and we simultaneously love and hate it. Any book that can manipulate my emotions and blow my mind is a thumbs up from me, but I can appreciate the fact that this book might not sit well with many people, especially if they have suffered abuse throughout their lives. I would recommend researching before reading this.

My rating: 4 stars!
Buy the book: Amazon UK - Amazon US - Amazon CA - The Book Depository

2. Paper Princess by Erin Watt (The Royals Series)

I highly recommend this series, and whilst it isn't solely focused on erotica, and isn't the dirtiest read of my life, it's extremely addictive. Think Cruel Intentions for teens. The book focuses on Ella Harper, a 17 year old with a tough life, and an even tougher attitude. She is snatched from poverty by an extremely wealthy man with five sons, who turns out to be her guardian, as her biological father is dead. From underage stripping, to silk sheets and filthy riches, we get to see how Ella handles her new life, and her tormenting housemates. This is a fun read, though not quite as dark as the other's mentioned.

My rating: 4 stars!
Buy the book: Amazon UK - Amazon US - Amazon CA - The Book Depository

3. The Siren by Tiffany Reisz (The Original Sinners Series)

Now I rant and rave about this series at nearly every opportunity I am given, and y'all are probably sick of hearing about it, but I don't care. I have so many words! I need help! This deserves to be read! By far the darkest and most original piece of erotica I have read in my whole entire life. I lived and breathed and devoured this series, and with each book, it gets better and better. It's full of scandal, darkness, romance, love, emotion, and yet the author delivers this in a stunningly light-hearted way. It's filthy and completely mind-fucking, and if you take my recommendation, and buy the book, I can guarantee you a few sleepless nights (in the good way). It doesn't matter what reviews you read, because nearly every one is drastically different from the last. If you wanna give this series a chance, you're just gonna have to pick it up and read it, and make your own mind up about it. It's extremely enthralling.

My rating: 5 stars! (but only because that's the limit)
Buy the book: Amazon UK - Amazon US - Amazon CA - The Book Depository

4. Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

A misunderstood tale of vengeance and attraction. Erika moves away from her ex and her family who are expecting the two marry and start a suburban-esque life together. She moves cities to start college, and she bumps into none other than the mysterious and enigmatic basketball star, Michael (who also happens to be her ex's brother). Plot twist: they live in the same building. He thinks she wronged him. She thinks he's an ass. It's a match made in heaven! Very dark and twisted. Happy reading!

My rating: 4.5 stars. I love the drama. Note to self: read again soon.
Buy the book: Amazon UK - Amazon US - Amazon CA - The Book Depository

5. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

This is both a brilliant and yet utterly disturbing novel. The author's portrayal of the deranged and perverted Humbert is so twisted and very real, that it's extremely easy to be immediately addicted to this book. The depravity, the wrongness, the pathetically disgusting nature of Humbert Humbert is captured beautifully. In my youth, I romanticized Humbert, and now as a fully functioning adult with a lot more morals (but many more loose screws!), I, in no way feel any sympathy or compassion towards the narrator. But this is a stunningly real read.

My rating: 4 stars!
Buy the book: Amazon UK - Amazon US - Amazon CA - The Book Depository

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of Literary Friction, my babies!

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The Zodiac Editions: Harry Potter

Hello Owls!

I've been busy this afternoon studying the traits of the signs to best match them up to your favourite Harry Potter characters! Scroll below to find out what yours is!

Aries, You Got...

The Weasley Twins!
Much like the Weasley Twins, you are spontaneous, daring, energetic and brave! Truly living up to the Gryffindor name.

Taurus, You Got...

Ronald Weasley!
Known for lending a helping hand, Taureans can always be depended on. They are also practical, ambitious and patient!

Gemini, You Got...

Draco Malfoy!
A lot like Draco, you tend to go from 0-100 reeeaaal quick. Geminis are expressive and quick-witted and are always up for an adventure and a good laugh! But like the dark side of Gemini, you can get serious, thoughtful and restless in a matter of minutes.

Cancer, You Got...

Nymphadora Tonks!
Cancer's care very deeply about the people they hold dear. They are extremely loyal, very sympathetic, and extremely imaginative.

Leo, You Got...

Harry Potter!
Leo's have a strong desire to love and be loved in return, much like Harry. They often carry an air of importance and royalty with them.

Virgo, You Got...

Hermione Granger!
The perfectionist of the group, Virgo's worst fear is becoming a failure. They are loyal, analytical, yet shy and self-critical. Virgo's are very smart and can always be depended on to lend a helping hand.

Libra, You Got...

Albus Dumbledore!
A lot like Albus, Libra's are gentle and loving, and enjoy harmony and peace. They are also flirtatious and fashionable, and fair minded.

Scorpio, You Got...

Bellatrix Lestrange!
You can be fierce, cunning and intense. However, Scorpions are also loving, ambitious and passionate.

Sagittarius, You Got...

You are an adventurer, living up your Sag roots. You're not at all tactful, but you are a free spirited being, and people love you for it.

Capricorn, You Got...

Severus Snape!
You are very serious and self-disciplined, and often people get the wrong idea about you. At the end of the day, you've always been a loyal friend.

Aquarius, You Got...

Sirius Black!
Strong, truthful and imaginative, Aquarius' love to fight for their right. They can be energetic and eccentric souls.

Pisces, You Got...

Luna Lovegood!
The daydreamer, ethereal beauty and intuitive spirit. They are extremely artsy, and are very generous and compassionate.

Review: Releasing the Demons by L.D. Rose

Book Title: Releasing the Demons
Author: L.D. Rose
The Order of the Senary #1
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Review: Five blazing-hot stars!

“They could very well die tonight, as they could die any night, but somehow this was different. Somehow he was more afraid, not at the thought of death, but at the thought of losing her – at the thought of never seeing her again.” 

Good Afternoon, owls! Today I have been stuck at my boring corporate job. But the day is over, I am in my jammies with tons of books and food, and I’m ready to go!

So, I want to talk about this book I’ve just finished, called Releasing the Demons by L.D. Rose. I would like to first thank the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a review.

A little bit about the book first: It is focused on Blaze Knight, our hero of the story. Big, brawny and downright HOT (quite literally), Blaze is a half-human, half-vampire hybrid, genetically engineered with the ability to control fire. In all his sexy glory, he comes with a troubled past. Kidnapped and tortured by vampire Cyrus Chimola many years ago, Blaze is rescued by his clan of brothers, and now his mission is to do well in the world, and keep humankind safe. That is, until a gruesome murder takes place and we see Cyrus’ return. Now he is out for Blaze’s blood, forcing Blaze to start dealing with his demons. Cue Detective Valerie Medeiros, who plans on helping Blaze (and plans to steal his heart too). However, Valerie comes with her own troubled past. Together, can they solve the murder, defeat Cyrus and finally get over their troubled past? And maybe have some crazy, hot, vampire sex too? Let’s find out!

First Impressions~
From the moment I sat down to read this, I was immediately hooked into this awesome universe that L.D. Rose has created. It has everything I could ever want: badass original vampires, action-packed plot, romance and of course, steaming hot sex! So let's get down to the nitty-gritty...

The genre is fantasy/paranormal romance. In this day and age, it is incredibly difficult for any writer to concoct an original paranormal romance. This series reminds me strongly of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, or the Lords of the Underworld series (both amazing series!). However, L.D. Rose has overcome this and has created this world in such a unique way, that it’s hard not to love.

No doubt about it, the central theme of this book is love. Learning to love another person, learning to love yourself and deal with your personal issues. There is a lot of love in this book, and it’s clearly shown in how tightly-knit the clan of brothers are. They all care about each other very deeply, and time and again, save each other’s asses.

Writing Style~
I like to get stuck into my reading, but there is always a little fine toothed comb reading along with me. I couldn’t find any problems with the writing, and the style of writing suited me perfectly. It read at a reasonably quick pace, and I couldn’t put it down from start to finish.

Plot Development~
At times the plot was easy to predict, which I love anyway, but there were times when a major cliff-hanger would leave me speechless. I loved the action-packed, fast-paced plot, because it kept me on my toes, and more importantly, kept me reading.

Character Development~
In this story we see both Blaze and Valerie deal with their past demons, and in turn this brings them closer together. Blaze finally learns to open up to someone, and Valerie learns that leeches aren’t always evil. There is still good in the world. I felt extremely connected to each of the characters, and I have a bit of a soft spot for Rome. Dude sounds crazy hot.

There were only a few minor things that I wasn’t all too cool with. Valerie warmed to Blaze a bit too quickly for my liking, especially taking into consideration the fact that she had a very traumatic childhood experience with vampires. Blaze bit her, without her knowing while she was otherwise distracted. When she found out, she was angry, like any other normal woman with a brain. But she seemed to forgive him within a matter of minutes, even rushing to make him feel better about the situation, which didn’t sit right with me. But he apologises, and keeps his promise that it won’t happen again without her specific permission, so I can forgive that. Good boy.

Another problem I had was that Blaze was a renowned ladies man, bed-hopping and skipping out on women, yet he seemingly falls in love with Valerie instantly. He goes from sneaking out of sleeping women’s apartments, to spending a whole day with Valerie and taking her to meet his entire family after only one sexual encounter. Take this quote, for example: “He’d never imagined he could find someone who would fill the holes in his soul, or at least attempt to. And here she was, doing just that, without even realizing it.” This, for me, Mrs. Brutal Realist over here, is too much hope and too much faith in something that had barely just begun. But I still wouldn’t change this, because it all came together quite nicely.

Favourite Moments~
My favourite moments were basically all of the sex scenes, and the fight scenes, if I’m honest. Actually, it was all good for me. Blaze is definitely book-boyfriend material, let me tell you. The sexy scenes were – excuse the pun – blazing hot! Very well written, too, and not overly smutty.

Five stars, OBVIOUSLY! It was crazy good, and I’m recommending it to anyone who is a lover of the paranormal and romance genre! Get buying folks, you can find the links below.



Book Links: Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CA

Links: GoodreadsInstagramTwitterFacebook  Wordpress 

My Favourite Poets

Hello, owls! Please accept my apologies for being MIA for a couple of months, (you will see why at the bottom of this post!). In honour of National Poetry month which has recently ended, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to talk about... You got it - POETRY! 

More recently, poetry has been making a huge comeback in the literary world. Here, I want to talk about my favourite poets, and I will share my favourite poems by each one! 

1. Sylvia Plath 

Sylvia Plath is an amazing poet, as well as a short story writer and a novelist. You might recall or have heard of “The Bell Jar” which was written by this amazing woman. Born in America, she is one of the most inspiring writers I have ever had the pleasure to read. She is known for progressing the genre of “confessional poetry”, which was a taboo thing in the olden days (circa 1950), due to it’s nature. This type of poetry focuses on real life experience with issues such as mental illness and sexuality. It doesn’t sound very taboo now, and is quickly becoming the norm in this day and age, but way back when, things such as mental illness and sexuality were seldom spoken of. 

Favourite piece: 

“If the moon smiled, 
she would resemble you. 
You leave the same impression 
Of something beautiful, 
But annihilating.” 

2. Rupi Kaur 
A fairly new, up-and-coming poet, Kaur’s Milk and Honey has sold over a million copies worldwide. She is unique in that she illustrates her poems herself with relevant content, and her poetry is very simplistic and intricately beautiful. Her writing focuses on themes such as love, loss, abuse, sex and empowerment. A lot of reviewers have criticised her writing due to the fact that she does not capitalise or use any punctuation apart from the period. However, this is done intentionally, as in Gurmukhi writing, they only use one case (lower) and only use the period in their punctuation. She follows this within her writing as a way to credit her culture. 

Favourite piece: 

“the next time you 
have your coffee black 
you’ll taste the bitter 
state he left you in 
it will make you weep 
but you’ll never 
stop drinking 
you’d rather have 
the darkest parts of him 
than have nothing” 

3. Lang Leav 
Much like Rupi Kaur, Lang Leav is an up-and-coming poet, from Sydney. Fairly new to the literary world, I first heard of her poetry some years ago on the popular blogging platform, Tumblr. As with Kaur and Plath, her poetry is confessional based and she draws on real life experiences within her writing. She is known for her sorrowful and quirky writing, often erotic at times and very easily read. 

Favourite piece: 

“I don’t want you to love me because I’m good for you, because I say and do all the right things. Because I am everything you have been looking for. 

I want to be the one that you didn’t see coming. The one who gets under your skin. Who makes you unsteady. Who makes you unsteady. Who makes you question everything you have ever believed about love. Who makes you feel reckless and out of control. The one you are infuriatingly and inexplicably drawn to. 

I don’t want to be the one who tucks you into bed – I want to be the reason why you can’t sleep at night.” 

This piece is called “The One”. 

4. Mirtha Michelle Castro Mármol 
Mirtha is an actress and poet originally from Dominican, and was raised in Florida. She started writing poetry from the young age of six, and quickly fell in love with the arts. Her writing expresses initial feelings of love, and her dealings with loss in an emotionally raw way, which is why she is so beloved by many readers in the world of poetry. Her most popular poetry book to date, Letters, To The Men I Have Loved has taken her straight to the bestseller’s list, and if you pick up the book to read it, you will understand why. 

Favourite piece (from Letters, To The Men I Have Loved): 

“She chased the type of love 
that was like a summer wind. 
It made her feel alive 
in the midst of heat, 
as if it was necessary for her to live. 
Sadly, no one told her 
it was impossible to catch and keep, 
things that are volatile, 
like a fleeting wind.” 

This piece is called “I Was She, Before Becoming Me”. 

5. Don Paterson 
Don Paterson is a poet, critic and editor from Scotland. He is also a creative writing teacher at the University of St Andrews, and was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. It's easy to see why as his poetry is complex, thoughtful and beautifully written. 

Favourite piece: 

"So is this magic place to die with us? 
I mean that world where memory still holds 
the breath of your early life: 
the white shadow of first love, 
that voice that rose and fell 
with your own heat, the hand 
you’d dream of closing in your own… 
all those beloved burning things 
that dawned on us, 
lit up the inner sky? 
Is this whole world to vanish when we die, 
this life that we made new in our own fashion? 
Have the crucibles and anvils of the soul 
Been working for the dust and for the wind?" 

This piece is called "Nothing". 


And now, owls... one final thing I would like to bring up. MY PUBLISHED BOOK! 

Here is the cover: 

The Fate of Lovers is now live and published on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback format. Click here to view the book on Amazon. It is written with my official pen-name, S.J. Darlington.

A little bit about the book: It is my collection of poetry, exploring the issues in life, love, sex and abuse. If anyone would like a free copy in exchange for a review, let me know, and contact me at my email address or by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.


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