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Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: The Siren (Original Sinners #1) by Tiffany Reisz


It's a man's world, but she's the one on top.

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 Review:

This is one of those books that is really hard to review not because you don’t love it, but because you don’t want to give anything away. 

Nora Sutherlin is a successful erotica writer that has been picked up by a reputable publishing house, Royal House Publishing for her next book.  The caveat:  hard-nosed editor, Zachary Easton comes with the deal.  She has six weeks to turn out the book and she has to do whatever he tells her to do in order to be published by his publishing house.  Zach is known as the London Fog around the office.  The juxtaposition of his very British personality with Nora’s very liberal American one is just plain wonderful to behold.  

Nora is bright, funny, and worldly, with a razor sharp wit.  When she goes head-to-head with Zachary, she doesn’t just do banal flirting.  No way!  She makes Zach squirm.  And squirm so good he does.  Zachary, who is currently estranged from his wife, feels a strong sexual attraction to Nora but refuses to consider acting on that attraction until the book is complete.  The sexual tension between the two is so strong that no matter how you feel about Nora and Zach independently, you root for them to get it on, just to cut the tension.

Just to make things a little more fun, enter the character of Wes:  19 years old, pre-med student, gorgeous, virgin and living with Nora.  Yet, they have no romantic relationship.  Again, I rooted for Wes and Nora to get it on.  I basically rooted for Nora to get it on with any hot guy in a 50 foot radius.

Last but not least we meet Nora’s former Dom, Søren, whom you might remember from Seven Day Loan, which was set about 8 years before The Siren.  He is THE Big, Scary Dom with secrets all his own.  He’s still in love with “Eleanor”, but she left him four years ago, even though it’s clear that they still love one another deeply.

One night, Nora takes Zach to the 8th Circle, a BDSM club and boy does he get an education!  There is a fluidity in the 8th circle as to who is Dominant and who is submissive that’s different than any other BDSM book I’ve read.

I loved this book!  It was absolutely amazing!  I truly believe this will, in time be considered a classic.  It is written so intelligently.  I read The Siren as a group read and some of us were arguing with the author about what certain plot points meant and she would argue back!  Which she didn’t have to do, since she wrote the book, but did anyway because she’s awesome!  Each reader had a different take on the characters and plot, but everyone was impassioned about it.  It evokes a lot of emotion.  It’s a critical thinking vortex.  Rarely does erotica make you think so much.  What shaped Nora? Why is Wes there?  What is Zach so afraid of?

There are lots of short stories attached to this Series, which include:  Seven Day Loan, Daniel Part Two, Nightswimming, the Ingénue and more.  For a more complete list and to talk to others about the series, go to Sinners and Sirens on Goodreads.  Tiffany Reisz stops by frequently!  Definite recommended read!

“Like it, Zach?”

Zach blinked at the interruption, lost as he was in Nora’s new words.

“It’s quite an improvement.”

“An improvement? Oh, I meant the cocoa.”

Zach sat in Nora’s bright kitchen, the winter sun turning everything white. Nora’s new draft of the first chapter sat in front of him and a cup of hot chocolate steamed at his elbow. He sipped the cocoa and felt like a lad again in his grandmother’s kitchen.

“Very good,” he said, inhaling the warm steam. “So is this.”

He tapped the pages in front of him. Nora had taken his advice and created a frame story for her book. It would be a letter her narrator, William, was writing to Caroline, the woman he loved and lost. It was working beautifully already—the book and the partnership with Nora. He’d rarely gone to his writers’ homes and certainly never sat with them at their kitchen table and drank cocoa. Nora was proving to be a different breed from any writer he’d ever before known. “‘This is not a romance novel…’” Zach read from her new first chapter. “Excellent line. Evocative and provocative. Ironic, as well.”

“Ironic?” Nora sipped at her own mug of hot cocoa. She sat across from him at the table and pulled one leg up to her chest. “It’s true. It isn’t a romance novel.”

“Not a traditional one, of course. Your protagonists don’t end up together, but it is a love story.”

“A love story is not the same as a romance novel. A romance novel is the story of two people falling in love against their will. This is a story of two people who leave each other against their will. It starts to end the minute they meet.”

“Why does it end? You seem like an optimist to me, but the end is heartrending. The last thing she wants to do is leave him, and yet in the end she goes.”

Nora left her chair and went to the kitchen cabinet by the refrigerator.

“I’m no optimist,” she said as she opened the cabinet door. “I’m just a realist who smiles too much. And the reason William and Caroline don’t stay together is that while he really is in the lifestyle, she’s not. She’s only in the relationship for him. It’s their sexuality that’s the problem, not the love. It’s like a gay man being married to a straight woman. No matter how much he loves her, it’s a sacrifice every moment they’re together. The sex is secondary to the sacrifice.”

“A very close second, I notice.”

Nora laughed. She closed the cabinet door and knelt on the floor. She opened the bottom door and gave a victorious laugh.

“Found them.” She pulled out a bag of marshmallows. “I have to hide the sugar from Wes.”

“Has a sweet tooth, does he?”

“He has type 1 diabetes. And a sweet tooth. Bad combination. He’s usually really good about what he eats, but I catch him staring pretty longingly when I have cocoa and marshmallows.”

Zach wondered if it was actually the sugar Wesley had been staring at and not Nora. He couldn’t take his own eyes off this woman. She’d been captivating in her signature red Monday night. And now in casual clothes she looked casually stunning. He watched her as she rolled back onto her toes and rose straight up off the floor with the well-trained grace of a geisha. He marveled at her offhand display of almost balletic agility while she leaned over the table and dropped a handful of marshmallows into his cocoa and hers.

“Zach, don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re even more ridiculously handsome when you look happy,” she said, dropping back into her chair and popping a marshmallow into her mouth. “You aren’t, by any chance, enjoying working with me? The London Fog isn’t lifting, is it?”

Zach took a sip of his cocoa to cover his embarrassment. He was used to women hitting on him but never before had any woman been so shamelessly forward with him.

“As this is the first time we’ve actually sat down and worked on your book together,” Zach said and coughed uncomfortably, “I think a verdict on my meteorological conditions would be premature.”

“What’s the verdict on the book then?”

“The verdict is…you might actually pull this off. But not without some major revisions. Keep the letters at the beginning and end. But I want the body of the book in third, not first, person.”

Nora looked down at her notes. She picked up her pen and wrote something on a sheet of paper. She looked at it a moment before sliding it across the table.

The first time William saw Caroline was on Ash Wednesday. She still had the ashes on her forehead.

“Like that, Zach?”

Zach read and nodded his approval. “Perfect. That’s exactly what I want. Now rewrite the entire book like that.”

“Yes, sir,” she said and saluted. “What else? Since you’re being nice to me, I have the feeling you’re about to hit me with some more changes, yes?”

Zach grimaced, unnerved by how well this near stranger could read him.

“Just some minor ones—have you considered going a more mainstream route with your characters?”

“I like virgins, perverts and whores,” Nora said without apology. “I couldn’t care less about the people who just fuck for fun on weekends.”

“The sex shouldn’t be the story, Nora.”

“The sex isn’t the story, Zachary. The sacrifice is. Caroline is actually vanilla, not kink. So she sacrifices who she really is to be with the man she loves—she sacrifices the good for the better.”

“But they end it, yes?”

“That’s the point of the book—sacrifice can only get you so far. William and Caroline are just too different to make it work. And although two people can love each other deeply, sometimes love alone doesn’t cut it. We can only sacrifice so much of ourselves in a relationship before there’s nothing left to love or be loved.”

Zach’s stomach clenched. Even now he ached for Grace with an impotent fury. Zach could only raise his cup of cocoa.

“I’ll drink to that.”

He and Nora clinked their tea mugs together in a mock toast. Across the table their eyes met, and Zach could see the ghost of his pain reflected in hers.

Zach’s next question was cut off by Wesley’s sudden entrance in the kitchen.

“Hey, you,” Nora said to Wesley. “What’s up?”

“I’m not here,” Wesley said. “Keep working. I just need my coffee mug.” Wesley threw open the cabinets and took an aluminum travel mug from a shelf.

“Where are you going?” Nora asked.

“Study group at Josh’s. I’m helping him with calculus, and he’s giving me his history notes.”

“What are you majoring in, Wesley?” Zach asked politely, trying not to show how unnerving he found Nora’s relationship with her young intern—unnerving and familiar.

“Biochem. I’m premed.”

“That’s wonderful. Your parents must be very pleased.” Zach winced internally at how old he sounded.

“Not really.” Wesley shrugged. “My whole family has worked with horses for generations. They want me to come home and stay in the business. If I have to do medicine, at least it could be equine medicine.” He poured a mugful of coffee and screwed the lid on tightly. “I have this conversation with them every week.”

“I think he should just let me talk to them.” Nora batted her eyelashes at Wesley.

“You,” Wesley said, pointing his finger at her, “don’t exist. So don’t even think about it.”

Nora responded by wrinkling her nose at him in mock disgust.

“What?” Zach said. “Your parents don’t know you and Nora are living together?”

A faint blush suffused Wesley’s face. “There’s a lot they don’t know. They were going to pull me out of school and send me to the state school down there. It was money reasons, the usual, and Nora offered to let me live with her and work for my room and board. They just know I got a job to cover it and a place off-campus. They don’t know what I’m doing.”

“How did you two meet?”

“School,” Nora answered for Wesley. “His school was obviously a little desperate—they asked me to be their writer-in-residence that semester. Wes was in my class.”

“You were her student?” Zach asked, his hands going cold even as he said the words.







  1. It's a great book, KT. Only $1.99 right now. :). I can't wait for book 2!


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