Review: The Siren, Seven Day Loan & The Angel by Tiffany Reisz

Wednesday, August 15

Title: The Siren*
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Series:  The Original Sinners #1
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin/MIRA
Format: Print & E-book
Date/Year:  July 2012
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was purchased by the reviewer for her own reading enjoyment

Summary from the publisher:

Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she's sure it'll be her breakout book...if it ever sees the light of day.

Zachary Easton holds Nora's fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it's no deal.

Nora's grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining…and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him...or returning to his bed?

Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.


My Musings:
“This is not a romance novel...”  
This will not be an ordinary review. The Siren is not an ordinary book. It is a contradiction in its entirety, as are the characters within it. So it should not surprise you that first I will tell you why you must absolutely read this book immediately. Then I will tell you all the reasons why you may want to reconsider that decision.

Nora Sutherlin is, for lack of a less cliched phrase, a force of nature. She attracts all in her path, both male and female, and not always in a good way. She appears to have no shame, nothing within her that she doesn’t put on display for everyone, and yet her real private life is one that she keeps almost entirely secret. “Hide in plain sight” comes to mind when you see Nora out in public.

Nora has made her public fame and fortune on the strength of several infamous and best-selling erotic novels written over the past five years. Yet she wants to be taken seriously as a real writer, with a new story more personal than any she’s written before. She knows serious writers need serious editors, and that’s why she has come to Zach Easton’s publishing house in New York. She wants the best editor to help her new book transcend the novels he refers to so sarcastically as her “guttersnipe” work.

Zach Easton is the classic example of an Englishman in New York - they don’t call him the “London Fog” at work for nothing - but there’s more there than the typical Brit melancholy. Zach has left his wife, Grace, back in England...or did she leave him? He still loves her, but wonders if it’s really over. She hasn’t followed him to New York. Will she follow him to Los Angeles when he leaves in six weeks to run his publishing house’s office there? He wishes he knew. But in the meantime, Nora is here to challenge him and herself to rewrite her magnum opus into something they would both be proud to publish.

Wesley is Nora’s live-in intern/assistant/roommate, years younger than her and still a virgin. It’s clear they have a special relationship without sexual intimacy, but whether or not that will continue to be the case remains to be seen. We may not know what they are to each other, but then again, neither one of them seems to know that either.

And then there is Nora’s former lover. His relationship with Nora and with the world is the ultimate contradiction. But to say more would spoil a new reader’s experience, so I will leave him with this quote from the book:
“A smart horror writer will never put too much detail in about the monster. The readers’ imaginations can conjure their own demons.”
The Siren is for me, by far, the best book I have read this year. The characters are vividly drawn in a way that makes them real people that you could imagine stumbling onto in a bright crowded bookstore, a dimly lit smoky bar, or a dark alley behind that bar next to the garbage cans. There is passion, there is desire, there is even true love...but there is also violence and the breaking of many, many taboos. This book touched me in a way that I hadn’t experienced in years - not since I first read Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Chronicles over twenty years ago. When I first starting reading it, I wanted to be Nora. By the time I finished, I was glad I wasn’t.

This leads me into the seemingly contradictory part of this review, where I tell you why you should possibly reconsider reading what I have just told you is the best book of this year so far:  The Siren is not for everyone. It has dark erotic themes. Sexual and religious taboos are not only broken, they are shattered beyond repair. If you believe such things would scar you for life if you read them, even in such a tremendously well written novel as The Siren, then this book is not for you.  But if you are willing to go down the dark road of The Original Sinners, you will find a world and cast of characters that will make it worth your while.

At the most perfect moment in this book, we see a sign on a door with a quote from Alice in Wonderland: “We’re all mad here”. It seems the most apt phrase to describe what we have experienced up to that point, as well as what we still have yet to see.  The novella “Seven Day Loan” provides a glimpse into Nora’s life several years before the events of “The Siren” and is an excellent introduction to the world of The Original Sinners. That world continues in book 2, “The Angel”. Tiffany Reisz isn’t done with them or us just yet, not by a long shot.

Ratings:

Overall: 5 (I’d give it a 10 if our ratings went that high)
Sensuality level: 5 (Ditto. This is not for the faint of heart. Heavy BDSM, religious and social taboos - you name it, it’s here.)

For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings at Seductive Musings, click here

Other Reviews:

Title: Seven Day Loan*
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Series: Original Sinners #0.5
Genre: erotic fiction
Publisher: Harlequin
Format: ebook
Date/Year: July 1, 2012
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was purchased by the reviewer for her own reading enjoyment

Note:  Even though this book was published quite a bit earlier, and chronologically is before The Siren the author recommends reading The Siren BEFORE reading Seven Day Loan which is why it is being placed after The Siren review.

Summary from the publisher:

A trained submissive, Eleanor will do whatever her master commands...even spend a week with a stranger. Daniel has been a recluse since his wife's death, and Eleanor's lover thinks spending time with her will be therapeutic--especially since Daniel is also a Dom.

Despite her defiant streak, Eleanor can't resist giving in to Daniel's erotic demands. But while she'll let him have her body, she's determined to keep a guard around her heart. Even if Daniel wants to make Eleanor his permanently....



My Musings:

Seven Day Loan is a surprisingly sweet story about Eleanor, the ultimate submissive, and how she changes the life of Daniel when left in his care for a week by her Master while he is away on a trip.  Although Eleanor would never hesitate to obey her Master’s commands, she’s not sure what to make of Daniel, and he has even less of an idea what to do about her, until her smart-ass nature manages to draw out his innate dominance...which may have been the plan of Eleanor’s Master all along. But what will happen when her Master returns to claim what is his?

Eleanor seems to be awfully bratty for someone who is a natural submissive, trained and owned by a great Master whose will cannot be questioned. Yet her insistence on making Daniel work for every submissive act is what he needs to pull out of the self-imposed funk in which he’s been wallowing since the death of his wife almost three years past.

Daniel seems to be overly Dominant for someone who is a librarian by trade. His home library has been his only consolation after losing his wife, but if he continues to bury himself there much longer, he may not ever be able to leave the house again. Eleanor is the first sign of life in that house and now that he’s got her there, will he ever be able to let her go?

This novella is a prequel to The Siren, although I didn’t realize it at the time I first read it. Although most of the story is Eleanor and Daniel, we do get a glimpse of Eleanor’s relationship with her Master at the start, and we see how she will do anything for him - including being “loaned” to another man - simply because he wants it. We see how Eleanor’s passionate embrace of life and of the D/s lifestyle works its magic on Daniel and we wonder who to root for when Eleanor’s Master returns at the end of the seven days. 

Seven Day Loan is a wonderfully sweet and touching story into the lives of two people who each provide what the other needs at just the right moment in time. And because it is Tiffany Reisz, it is also wonderfully kinky.   If you haven’t read The Siren, Seven Day Loan is a great introduction to the world of The Original Sinners. If you have, then you’ll enjoy seeing this moment in the lives of Eleanor and her Master.  And if you’d like to find out what happens next with Daniel, you can read Tiffany Reisz’s free follow-up novella, “Daniel Part 2” on her website.

Ratings:

Overall: 4
Sensuality level: 4.5
(BDSM, one scene of extreme anal play)

For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings at Seductive Musings, click here

Other Reviews:

Title: The Angel*
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Series: The Original Sinners #2
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Fiction
Publisher:  Harlequin MIRA
Format: Print & E-book
Date/Year:  September 25, 2012
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

No safe word can protect the heart 

Infamous erotica author and accomplished dominatrix Nora Sutherlin is doing something utterly out of character: hiding. While her longtime lover, Søren—whose fetishes, if exposed, would be his ruin—is under scrutiny pending a major promotion, Nora's lying low and away from temptation in the lap of luxury.

Her host, the wealthy and uninhibited Griffin Fiske, is thrilled to have Nora stay at his country estate, especially once he meets her traveling companion. Young, inexperienced and angelically beautiful, Michael has become Nora's protégé, and this summer with Griffin is going to be his training, where the hazing never ends.

But while her flesh is willing, Nora's mind is wandering. To thoughts of Søren, her master, under investigation by a journalist with an ax to grind. And to another man from Nora's past, whose hold on her is less bruising, but whose secrets are no less painful. It's a summer that will prove the old adage: love hurts.


My Musings:

Note: This review contains spoilers for The Siren. If you have not read The Siren, you may want to stop here.
“If it’s an abomination, it’s because you’re doing it wrong.”
If Seven Day Loan was sex plus love (romance), and The Siren was sex plus horror (erotica), then what we have here in The Angel is a full serving of both. The horror is self-evident as more details from both Nora’s and Søren’s lives are revealed, piece by excruciating piece. The romance blooms in its midst, slow and steady, and just as irresistible.

The Angel takes us even deeper into the world of The Original Sinners, deeper into the story of Nora, its queen and the sun around which all the others orbit. Each of the men fulfill a need in Nora that a single man could never provide: Griffin as her jaded fun time playmate, Michael as her sweet untainted pupil, and Søren as her ultimate Master to whom she can never say no. When the outsider Suzanne is pulled into Nora’s universe, digging for the dirt on Søren, the resulting events could change their world irrevocably.

Griffin Fiske, “New York’s biggest trust fund baby”, had a brief but memorable appearance in The Siren, making it clear to everyone just why he was “the reason gags were invented”. He’s nearly six years sober after doing his best to self-destruct with hard partying and heavy drug abuse, but still doesn’t seem to take anything else in life very seriously. He thought he was in love with Nora once, but was ultimately unable to do what it took to make her his. Now that Nora has been commanded by Søren to hide out with him for the summer, Griffin finally has his second chance to be worthy for the one person he realizes he needs to own completely.

Michael Dimir is the innocent damaged soul in The Siren offered up to Nora by Søren as both a gift and a test. “She’d enjoyed the gift. She’d failed the test.” Søren had saved Michael’s life. Now it was Nora’s task to train Michael as the submissive he wanted to be in order to save the rest of his life. What she ultimately discovers will provide an another opportunity to either pass the test she failed before or accept the gift she fears the most.

Suzanne is the reason why Nora and Michael have had to disappear for the summer. An anonymous tip has sent her in the direction of Søren, determined to prove whatever sins he might be hiding and convinced of his guilt from the start. But when she meets him in person, and as he appears to offer up his secrets to her, one by one, she realizes that her time in Afghanistan wasn’t half as terrifying as what she might ultimately uncover here in this quiet Connecticut parish.

If you’ve read my previous reviews for The Siren and Seven Day Loan, you already know how much I love The Original Sinners series. The Angel is no exception. It hides as much as it uncovers, and what it reveals about Nora and Søren only serves to whet my appetite for more. As with The Siren, if I told you any more than that, it would ruin the pleasure of discovering its terrible beauty for yourself.  And as with The Siren, I repeat my disclaimer that this book is not for everyone, though you should not need any warning if you are this far into the review. After all, those who haven’t read The Siren should have stopped at the top, and those who have should be able to handle anything The Angel would contain.

The Angel is a worthy successor to The Siren in all respects, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. (The Prince - November 2012)
“We value most what we must sacrifice to have.”

Ratings:

Overall: 5
Sensuality level: 5
(M/F/M, M/M, and heavy BDSM, including one scene of extreme blood play)

For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings at Seductive Musings, click here

Other Reviews:






*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

2 Comments:

Sophie Lopez,  September 27, 2012 at 12:23 AM  

OMG... I am reading The Siren and omg, its awesome.. great writing of tiffany reisz... by any chance do you have The Angel in pdf. Ive been trying to find it but I just cant... please

Booklover1335 September 27, 2012 at 7:35 AM  

Hi Sophie,

I'm glad you are enjoying The Siren! However, sharing (beyond lending) is a violation of copyright laws, so we can't help you out there. The good news is that The Angel went on sale this week so you should be able to find it at your favorite online book retailer! I hope you enjoy it just as much :)

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