Review: Thrones of Desire by Mitzi Szereto

thrones of desireReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Get ready for fourteen stories of erotic fantasy romance. There’s a queen from a far off lands, the usual array of dragons, unusual kingdoms, sacrifices, saints and heroes. This anthology seems to have been labelled as Game of Thrones style literature, but taken to a sensual extreme, yet these stories by Eric Del Carlo, Nyla Nox, Ashley Lister and Jo Wu are more than just that kind of fantasy, as they have put their own original style and characters into each one.

Characters: Meet Caffax the dragon master who has been kept out of battle for an…indiscretion with a raunchy supply clerk, Gareth who is a knight with a difference, Miar an apprentice and a virgin kept for a master who thinks Miar’s virginity would be his prize, and Caspian who has a wolf’s strength, so much so, something has to be done about him.

Review: One of the things I was most amazed and at the same time impressed at was the Foreward by Piers Anthony, I grew up reading his fiction, so it was a thrilling thing for me to find this as soon as I sat at the computer ready to read this. As he rightly points out, when men write erotic fantasy, it’s about men wanting to bed everything that moves then move onto the next woman, but women write erotic fantasy in a different way; they take their time establishing the characters, and wait a while before pushing the male and female characters in an embrace they hope will last the test of time. It doesn’t always, but that’s half the fun of reading it.

Summary: If you like J RR Tolkien’s work, and also the work of George RR Martin with a lot of eroticism thrown in for good measure, you’ll enjoy this to bits.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire

Review: Red Velvet and Absinthe by Mitzi Szereto

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

There is nothing like 15 stories of paranormal erotic romance to thrill a reader into each of them, all are different, yet all will leave them with the distinct taste of absinthe on the tongue from the sheer pleasure they bring.

A Foreword and Introduction create enough of a background to the Gothic horror story to set the scene for the stories that the reader will immerse themselves in. Kelley Armstrong goes into all the elements that make up the Gothic story, the darkness, the innocent woman, mysterious man who is interested in her, and the haunting madness that is so often the bread and butter of this genre. They don’t always work out that way, though, there are the stories that bend the rules a little, some are different in they use gay or lesbian characters instead of the usual ones everyone knows about.

Well, everyone doesn’t know about these stories – they vary from each one, and all have the distinct elements of the Gothic horror within them. They can surprise, shock, and amaze-all with the intensity of the Gothic drama and feel of the age. These stories bring out an atmosphere of intrigue, full of dark and twisted emotions we can all feel in the right light…in this case it is candle light that will inspire us.

Here are a few of the stories available and my reviews of them:

Snowlight, Moonlight by Rose De Fer

A woman on a journey is attacked and left for dead on a snowy path. The coachman did not survive and the coach itself would not be useable again. Lucky for her she has someone who can help her, a man who encounters her body one night and takes her all the way back to his mansion house. There she wakes up and wonders where she is. The kind gentleman tells her where he found her, yet she has no memory of it. Everything is a blur to her mind until he mentions one thing, the things that attacked her days ago. That is what startles her.

Of particular interest to the reader will be what the man has been studying for a while, and what she really is after the accident. It interested me when a perfect gentleman could be so out of character to tie the lady to his bed – but then again, the reader will find out why. I enjoyed the atmosphere this story conjured for me, and I found it the sort of story that I could read again and again.

Cover Him with Darkness by Janine Ashbless

A young girl remembers seeing a young man tied to a slab of limestone. She sees how handsome he is, and how strong he looks, yet also how vulnerable and unhappy he is too. As she is so young, she doesn’t know what the man has done to make her father have him bound so cruelly, but he doesn’t tell her anything – just decides to keep her in the dark as far as explanations go. She is persistent though, and soon she will discover who and what he is. When she is older, her father’s dying words are that someone has to watch over the man as he had many years ago, and it sounds like she will have to do her duty to the family.

Strangely enough, the reader might not ever find out what he is, they will have to make their own mind up as to whether he is a titan or some kind of Prometheus as Janine makes him out to be. All the reader will know is that he is a muscular and handsome man who has been imprisoned for what seems like generations.

A Rose in the Willow Garden by Elizabeth Daniels

Bierce is wandering around for that special person, but he hasn’t found her yet, and being a hunter of a man he does keep on trying until he gets to her, but it isn’t easy when he is trawling the bars and inns along the town in search of her. He always finds loose women there who want him as he is a seductive devil, but one eludes him, and whoever she is he can’t get her out of his mind.

Readers will soon find out that he is not the sort of man she should mess with even if she does think she loves him. She does have a boyfriend already which annoys him a great deal, but he understands that she will have lovers being a handsome woman. There are things she needs to know about his past and what he has done with other women before she takes the plunge and gets with him, but it’s up to her. This is an unusual story with a nice ending.

The Blood Moon Kiss by Mitzi Szereto

The Blood Moon Kiss is a vampire soap opera directed by Mark Gaitzburger and the heroine is the beautiful Christine, while the anti hero is Talen played by Kyle. He is a method actor and everyone knows how good he is at playing his part to the fullest. Christine thinks there is something wrong with him, something the other actors have missed, but she also finds him intriguing to her in a way no other man would, and that, for her…could be dangerous.

Kyle’s accent could give him away as she notices it is slightly European, and has a certain twang about it. He does get ill occasionally and tends to shut himself away from the sight of others, and it bothers her that he does this. The Blood Moon Kiss reminded me of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, a man who finds the love of his life in the future and can’t be without her. This is the perfect Gothic romance story set in the present day in this volume.

Painted by Anna Meadows

You would never think a painting could cause jealousy, but in one woman’s wife, it does. She hates the very sight of it, but the husband likes it a great deal, and after winning it in a bet, he finds her dislike of the woman annoying for him. She mentions that the woman looks like a tart, hoping he will remove it some day. The woman in the painting has a certain something that Benjamin likes, and it entices him to keep looking at it even though it sends goose bumps on his skin.

Benjamin feels as though no one is taking his feelings into account about the painting, as he sees the woman in it as almost alive. He is the only one who has a connection with her, and one night when he is alone, he notices that the woman is gone. The rest of his family think Ben should get married, but he isn’t interested in anyone other than the woman in the painting and he wonders who she really is. I enjoyed the setting of this story, and the presence it evoked for me.

La Belle Mort by Zander Vyne

Elizabeth Morton is due to be executed, and she is with child too. She has been tried for a crime she did not commit, she did not steal a diamond necklace from the estate where she lived, and worked but she knows who has. This is a journey back in time again to when a woman could be tricked into anything, and the gentleman would get away with it. Taken to prison before this can happen, she is made open to a life of nothingness, and doesn’t expect the sorrow and pain life in jail can cause. She does have a visitor though, and he could be the answer to her dreams. When another man arrives she listens to what he has to say, mentioning that if she tells them where she has hid the necklace, they will pardon her. Unfortunately, she hasn’t stolen it, and doesn’t know where it is.

Elizabeth is the sort of woman from period dramas who was used in those days by rich lords who had affairs with nursemaids and servants when the wife was otherwise indisposed. Tales are numerous about what happens when these women are pregnant and can only do one thing – leave where they are or risk being kicked out anyway. In those days, servants were used and cast out, and this story tells the reality of what happened.

These are only a few of the stories in this book, and I picked my favourites out, but there will be the readers own favourites too and not all of the characters are so obviously monsters either – this is much more than a compilation of the unusual and the monstrous…it is deliciously Gothic.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance

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Review: Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

Just as when Jane Austen had written this novel over a hundred years ago, Mrs. Bennet finds out that Netherfield Park is to be let to a gentleman of means and position in society, and, she finds out, he is also a very handsome man indeed. It isn’t long before everyone hears about him all over the place and he becomes the talk of the town. Of course everyone knows the tale of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth, the two most unlikely people in Regency England to ever get together, but this is a different story altogether told of the broader aspects of sex and sexuality.

The Mr. Bennet from the original story is now a randy older man who is trying to rekindle his youth, drawing pictures of naughty women in various states of undress to turn him on. Both he and Mrs. Bennet need someone to marry their daughters, and the eligible and handsome Mr. Darcy proves to be a perfect match, only he has little love for those around him, especially the country folk, and a biting wit and sarcasm that lands him in trouble with Elizabeth, who he earlier rejects as a potential wife.

At a gathering of the Bennet daughters and eligible men, Lydia, one of the Bennet daughters wasn’t typical of women in that period, not when she is meeting up with soldiers, and letting them take advantage of her young body with such easy pleasure. While others enjoy watching this spectacle at the gathering, Mr. Darcy is in regret at seeing Elizabeth again and thinking of her in a different way. This alone stirs his heart and his loins, (yes a lot of crotch activity goes on in this short novel.)

Mitzi has decided to write a more intense and sensual piece which never originally contained sex of any kind, as a brief affair in that day would have surely meant trouble for the woman in question. Despite the sexy times, Mitzi has kept the story faithful to how Austen would have written it, so the style of it is perfect, and flows well.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts

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