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Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

Title: The Siren
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Series: The Original Sinners,
book 1
Genre: Erotica, BDSM
Publisher: Harlequin
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“The Siren is a modern-day retelling of My Fair Lady with uptight English literary fiction editor Zachary Easton as an unwilling Professor Higgins and well-known wild child Nora Sutherlin as his erotica-writing Eliza Doolittle.
 Zach only has six weeks left at Royal House New York before he heads to Los Angeles to take over as Chief Managing Editor at Royal West. When his boss orders him to help Nora Sutherlin rewrite her latest novel, Zach agrees to work with her only if he is given complete control over the fate of her book. If Nora doesn’t rewrite it to his satisfaction in six weeks, Royal won’t publish it.”
The Siren is the first book in The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz.

I have to start this review by telling you that this is not your normal romance, don’t expect a HEA and expect many out of the comfort moments.

Nora Sutherlin is a famous erotica writer, she is working in her next book; the most special book she has written yet. She wants this book to be published by an important and respected publishing house.  Here comes Zachary Easton, editor of Royal West Publishing house. His boss approached Zach, he wants to publish Nora’s book and wants Zach to work with her as her editor. For Zach erotica isn't serious literature and the last thing he wants is to work with an erotica writer. He accepts the job with the condition he will have the last word about publishing the book, if he thinks the book is crap he won’t allow the book to be published.
Zach is completely opposed to the idea until he meets Nora. She is not the typical writer he is used to work with; she is a young and beautiful woman with an incredible sex appeal and so sure of herself that is refreshing and frustrating at times. After Zach reads her manuscript he realizes the book is not perfect, needs a lot of work but the potential is there, Zach recognizes that Nora is a talented and serious writer. The question left is will Nora be able to withstand the pressure he will inflict on her or will she break under it.
What Zach doesn’t know is that Nora is used to be under pressure and likes it. Nora is not only a writer, she is also a prominent figure in the BDSM world. She was a submissive for over thirteen years until four years ago when she ended her relationship with her Dom, Søren. After that she became a well-known Dominatrix. People pay her to inflict pain and humiliation, some cases ending with sex.
Nora has a “living-intern”; Wesley is a nineteen-year-old university student who is everything Nora isn’t. He is innocent and pure and he's in love with Nora. He is a good Christian boy who doesn’t approve of Nora lifestyle but is there for her, waiting for the perfect moment to proclaim her love for her.

There are books that affect you in a way you can’t understand and The Siren was one of those books. This book not only took me out of my comfort zone many times it also made me want to learn more about the D/s lifestyle to try to understand the issues this book touches.

Nora is bigger than words; she is one of the most complex characters I have ever read. She is a strong, self-assured woman who knows what she likes and wants and how to get it, but at the same time the more we know her the more we can see under her layers, and under that tough façade there is delicate and fragile woman in need of love and protection. We also see that after four years of having left her Dom (Søren) she is still pretty much in love with him. She has her reasons not to be with him but sometimes the heart overwrites the brain.
We learn about Nora and Søren’s relationship through the recollection her memories and their relationship was one of extremes. She fell in love with him when she was just fifteen years old, he was a lot older than her and in a position power over her, I don’t want to give much away about it, let’s just say I was very uncomfortable with it when I learned about it. To add to that Søren is a hard-core sadist, he trained Nora since a young age to be his submissive, they didn’t consummate their relationship until she was twenty years old but still their relationship was somehow disturbing. 
“Simple game—he’d fill a wineglass with one of his expensive reds and set it on the edge of the table. Then he would fuck me. Hard.” Nora grinned as Wesley flinched. “If I thrashed too much, or fought him and knocked the glass off…then the wine wasn’t the only red that we spilled that night." 
A night with him meant waning pleasure and waxing pain, waxing pleasure and waning pain. He brought her through the cycle over and over again. The pain brought her body to life. The pleasure was always most acute when it followed the pain.
Søren doesn’t have many page-time in the book but when he is present either in memories or in an scene he is one of those characters that overshadows the rest, his presence is like a big dark cloud that engulfs us all in its shade. I wanted to hate him for what he is and for what he does but I couldn’t, I’m not saying I liked him because I didn’t. But I couldn’t do more than to want to learn more about him, to try to understand the why of his actions, but now, after thinking so much about him I don’t think there is a “why”, he is who he is and that’s it.

Zach is an uptight man who lives a life in black and white and rarely steps out of the lines. All this changes when he meets Nora, but there are many complications in their situation, for once he shouldn’t be attracted to her, he works with her and a relationship between them is a no-no and for other part after a year he is still mourning the separation from the wife he still loves.

Wesley is like a ray of light that filters through the clouds in a dark day. He is only nineteen but sometimes he acts beyond his years. His heart is pure and we see it in clear contrast to the other characters. In a sense Wesley sees Nora as many of us readers see her, he doesn’t understand her lifestyle and her decisions but he accepts them and is there for her. He only wants love without pain for Nora, but what he doesn’t understand is that for Nora pain means love. For her the bruises left by Søren are marks that show his love for her, they also show that she belongs to him and she always wore her bruises proudly.
“Kid, Søren could eat you for breakfast and not even need to chew. Don’t ever fuck with a sadist, Wesley. For Søren, torture’s just foreplay.” “Why did you stay with him?” he’d whispered. Nora had grinned at him, and she saw a new fear in Wesley’s sweet brown eyes. “I like foreplay.”
As I said before this is not a traditional romance, The Siren is a lot more. It’s a book about conflicted characters that are shadows of their own selves because they are missing their other half. It’s also a not-easy journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

Tiffany Reisz writing is fluid and organic, and perfect paced. The world Mrs. Reisz created is complex and unique. As I said before The Siren took me out of my comfort zone and it made experience and feel things no other book has ever done before. The topics touched in this book are not for the faint of heart but the way Mrs. Reisz writes them are so masterfully done that you can only accept them as necessary in the story.

With The Siren I broke my personal record on most re-read paragraphs, some I re-read because I wanted to understand the situations better, some others because I wanted more. Fortunately, the second book in the series, The Angel, will be release on September 18th, saying I’m eagerly waiting for it is an understatement.

The Siren is one of my favorite books of the year, one I recommend to anyone with an open mind who is willing to be taken out of her/his comfort zone by an extraordinary book.

My Verdict: 5 Paws

Other books in the series
The Siren
The Angel (Sept. 18th 2012)
The Prince (November 2012)

Other reviews Goodreads


  1. Excellent review :) I totally agree.

    And I've had a sneak peek at The Angel - Soren gets lots of page time and I went from disliking him to loving him. Oh it's good :)

  2. Everyone seems to be reading and loving this one :D

  3. Wow! Excellent review!! I can feel your emotions, they come loud and clear in your review, awesome work Marcella!!!
    I'm ready to read it.

  4. The Siren wasn't something I expect I'd enjoy let alone have me so displaced emotionally.
    Loved this book!

  5. Oh I loved that book! Definitely one of my faves of this year too! :) Fabulous review, sweetie!

  6. *sigh* I'm still undecided. But your review is amazing Marcela!


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