BOOK REVIEW: The Angel by Tiffany Reisz

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.

review

Finger-licking-had-to-put-my-head-in-the-freezer-afterwards sequel to The Siren.

It is so rare these days to find a book that not only entertains you and keeps you glued to the pages until the wee hours of the morning, but also makes you re-juggle every single preconception you might have about certain topics and opens your mind just a tiny bit more.  I felt like a child in a candy store while reading this book. OK, maybe a naughty 30-something-year-old child… and it wasn’t exactly a ‘candy’ store…  but ay caramba, was I blown away!

I really liked The Siren, it was like nothing I had ever read before – and admittedly I do read some ‘out-there’ stuff – but the sequel left it in the dust. It was even more confronting, spine-tingling, toe-curling and better written than the first book. There were scenes that literally made me purr.

Nora is by far the most exciting female character that I have come across. Nothing about her makes her the traditional kind of heroine. I am not sure whether I really understood her in the first book, some of her actions were a bit random and hard to justify, but this book filled all those gaps for me and it made me see Nora for who she really is – a strong, independent, loving, determined, quirky-to-the-nth-degree woman who says what she means and does what she wants. I am building an altar to her as we speak. I did not understand her compulsion towards Søren at all in the first book – he might have been the love of her life and the only man who truly understood her needs while she was becoming a woman, but I can’t help but feeling, or rather hoping, that he might have been the right man for her for a while and that the new independent Nora now needs something more, something Søren could never give her. I felt that her story with Wesley was unfinished with not necessarily the best outcome for Nora and I was so happy to see that I was not wrong. This book made me reconsider my bias towards Søren, it answered so many of my questions about this complicated and damaged man, but it added a whole lot more to the pile.

The gaps in the storyline that the first book never filled were fully explained in the second book, through either cleverly placed flashbacks or dialogues between characters.  We learn so much more about Nora and how she met Søren, but we also learn a great deal about who Søren is and why Nora loves him so unconditionally. I struggled to reconcile Nora’s frequent praise of him – “Søren’s the best man on the face of the earth… He’s the best man I’ve ever known.” – with what we were shown of him previously, but I finally understood why she thought so highly of him and why she loved him so much. Apart from the ‘negligible’ little detail of Søren being a true sadist and the complication of his life calling, he might be perfect in every other way. His altruism and kindness towards those in need is astounding, he is not only wise, perceptive, self-sacrificing and smart, he truly loves Nora with all his being and would do anything to make her happy and safe. Even at the price of his own happiness. No matter how much he wants to own Nora forever, he never clips her wings. He cherishes her independence, her free spirit and her overwhelming joie de vivre. I think those are the things that he loves the most in her. He is her Master and he makes her submit to him body and soul, but he never crushes her spirit or make her anything less than the one-woman-hurricane that Nora really is. Everything Søren does when it comes to Nora screams of the good-old ‘If you love someone, set them free’. And he does.

Wesley Wesley Wesley…

“Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it.”

I have such a soft spot for that gorgeous boy. He is Søren’s antithesis in so many ways. They both love Nora but I think they know two very different versions of Nora. Søren awakens the vixen in her, she is attracted to him in a very primal way, but I wonder whether she would have ended up becoming who she is now had she not met someone with such particular tastes like Søren in the first place. Her undeniable pull towards someone like Wesley made me question that. I was so happy to see that Nora’s love for Wesley could not be extinguished by time or distance and it made me hopeful that they might still have a chance. While Wesley is ‘vanilla’ and Nora has indulged in every other flavour but vanilla in her life, I am not so sure that she is destined to avoid vanilla forever. Maybe with a sprinkle of pepper on top.

What I also love about these books are the secondary characters and how well-developed (excuse the pun!) they are. To me this was Michael and Griffin’s book. Every scene they were in made me want to lick the screen of my Kindle. I saw that their attraction was there from the beginning but I never expected their story to become so pivotal in the book. The drama that is Nora’s love life almost took a back seat to their scrumptious story. I love how the secondary characters’ stories have a beginning and an end in each book, while Nora’s life only seems to get progressively more complicated.

I am so torn over this story that every time I try to imagine an ending that would make me happy and make sense for these characters, my brain literally short-circuits. For the first time in a long time my imagination is failing me and I cannot even remotely see where the author will take us in The Prince. The million dollar question remains – what is Nora’s HEA? Who is she meant to choose in the end – Søren or Wesley? Or is she meant to choose no one at all? Which side of Nora will prevail? Who is really Nora Sutherlin?

Tiffany Reisz, you have turned my world upside down with these books! I have more questions than answers and you might even be a little bit responsible for the occasional voices in my head.

5stars

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
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The Original Sinners – Reading Order and Purchase Links
thesiren5 theangel5 theprince5 themistress5
thesaint theking_reisz thevirgin

The Red Years:
The SirenAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The AngelAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The PrinceAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The MistressAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

The White Years:
The SaintAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The KingAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The VirginAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

✤ ✤ ✤

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Other books in the series or related posts:

BOOK REVIEW: The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

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.

review

Flustered. That is how this book left me feeling. Completely and utterly flustered. What started as a reasonably slow paced book which initially failed to grab my full attention, quickly became something that overtook all my thoughts and made me want more.

I find it really difficult to summarise this book into a nice little paragraph. I don’t believe the events in this book are as important as what Nora goes through emotionally. I see Nora as an exquisitely developed character with such an interesting personality whose colourful facets make this book exciting. Each one of the secondary characters – Zach, Søren and Wesley – represent a different side of Nora.

Zach challenges her mind, makes her see herself as a serious writer but makes her work for it.  He also awakens the seductress in Nora. He represents something she can have but is not sure whether she really wants. Seducing Zach is a fun game, it brings out the playful and confident woman in Nora, a woman that goes after what she wants and has fun doing it.

Wesley makes Nora question her life choices and makes her want to be a better person. He is 100% vanilla but he is safe, comforting, self-sacrificing and pure. She doesn’t see herself as evil or bad but she is not sure whether she would ever deserve someone as good as Wes, or whether she would ultimately end up corrupting his soul. Wesley’s love for Nora is black and white. He knows who and what she is, he knows what she does and he does not like it. He does not judge her for it but he wishes she could join him in vanilla-land. As much as I loved Wes in this book, I didn’t feel he really stood a chance with her, at least not as anything more than a friend. Nora is attracted to Wes but I think it is what he represents that attracts her the most to him – safety. He could never satisfy those sides of Nora’s personality that require kink but her heart is drawn to him nonetheless.

Søren is by far one of the most complicated male characters I have even come across in a story. For half of the book I hated him, believed him to be the bad guy, but the more Nora revealed about Søren, the more I understood their connection, especially when we found out why they could not stay together.

I was never Søren’s victim. We were lovers, we were equals, and what we did together was a game we were both very good at playing.”

I could not believe myself but I ended up liking him the most. I think he is the only one that fully understands Nora as a person. Their relationship might be as wrong as it could be but the bond they share is undeniable. Søren would have given up everything in his life to keep Nora but she never allowed him to do that. I was heartbroken seeing how much it hurt them to be apart and how much they craved and loved each other, but I understood Nora’s decision to leave. This is by far the most complex relationship in the book. As much as I wanted to believe that Nora was better off without Søren, I am not so sure she was. Søren had the power to keep her and stop her from leaving but he wanted her to stay willingly, out of love, not because of the D/s nature of their relationship. The tragedy of it was that part of Nora wished he had done just that, ordered her to stay – “You could have kept me, you do know that, don’t you? … Sometimes … I wish you’d kept me …” – but she loved him even more because he didn’t. I am not sure why Nora changes her mind in the end, I think it could be a defensive reflex on her part to go back to what she knows best because she was too hurt and afraid from giving up what could have been. However, what made their relationship complicated from the beginning was never resolved and I wonder how long it would take until one of them – or both – are again at a crossroad having to make a choice.

Even after attempting to deconstruct this book in my mind by writing this review, I am still just as flustered and just as unable to think of much else. These characters, especially the personal war that is happening inside Nora, have overwhelmed me emotionally. This is not your garden-variety romance, you might end up liking one character more than the other, but I assure you you will change your mind several times throughout the book. And long after you finished reading it. There is no meant-to-be in this story, each path could have been the right one for Nora and the wrong one at the same time. I was unsure about the ending but I knew this could have not been the ending for Nora. I will start reading The Angel as soon as the shakes are gone.

Tiffany Reisz’s writing style is as unique as it is delicious. When she wishes to grab your attention with a particular scene, she does not just do that, she enters your mind like a typhoon. There were certain scene descriptions that had me holding my breath, while others had me literally panting. I never knew what she was going to do to me and I loved it. I had never read anything quite like this book but I will stalk her writing from now on relentlessly.

5stars

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
✤ ✤ ✤
The Original Sinners – Reading Order and Purchase Links
thesiren5 theangel5 theprince5 themistress5
thesaint theking_reisz thevirgin

The Red Years:
The SirenAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The AngelAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAPaperback
The PrinceAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The MistressAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

The White Years:
The SaintAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The KingAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The VirginAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

✤ ✤ ✤

✦ Don’t want to miss any more posts? Subscribe to this Blog by email… ✦

Other books in the series or related posts:
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