Sunday, September 30, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: The Angel by Tiffany Reisz and Giveaway!

The Angel (The Original Sinners #2)
Tiffany Reisz

Release Date: September 25th, 2012
Publisher: MIRA (Harlequin)
Page Count: 410
Source: I received a complimentary ARC from Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest and unbiased review, as part of the virtual book tour

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.

The first word that came to mind the moment I thought of how to start this review, was victim. Having read and worshipped the first book in this series, The Siren, I realized what it and The Angel have in common is that they both revolve around victims. Not victims in the most literal sense, but victims to, none other, but the Original Sinners. Which brings us to ask: who exactly are the Original Sinners? In Reisz's first book, the answer is unclear, but in this kinkier, more frustrating, and dare I say it... hotter sequel, the blurry lines are finally distinguished. Our Original Sinners are Nora, Søren, Griffin, Kingsley, Michael, and very possibly... the tenacious Wesley. But hush! didn't hear it from me.

In The Siren, the victim was Zachary Easton, the one book editor who could really whip Nora into shape (her work, I mean!) and the one who unknowingly taught her a valuable lesson of love and trust. The Angel's victim happens to be rightfully intrusive reporter, Suzanne, who, like Zach, will change Nora Sutherlin's life forever, but concomitantly is just a passerby in the Sinners' lives, and will virtually never been seen or heard from again.

But before we get that hopeful, though, we as readers, have hell and high water to trudge through first.

Suzanne's trying to peruse the one case that should be left alone: Søren's position in the Catholic church. Oh, Søren. Terrifying, poised, perpetually sanctimonious, he's the small-town church's most respected priest, as well as the underground BDSM world's most revered Dom. He also happens to be Nora Sutherlin's lover. But again, shh...

A suspicious tipoff has Suzanne sprawling to get to the heart of the matter, but no one's going to make it easy for her, Søren included. As her investigation progresses, we learn of the overwhelming motives of why she's so desperate to persecute, as well as the more-frightening justifications of why the truth is so carefully hidden in the first place. But again, this is just the victim's story, the thematic narrative, the passing interference. The Sinners' story is much, much more complicated.

Under Søren's orders, Michael and Nora must hide out at trust-fund baby Griffin Fiske's luxurious palace of a home until Suzanne is convinced to leave. They can't be around while the reporter does her snooping; it's obvious she will expose Søren's lifestyle if she finds any incriminating evidence. Thus we embark on the intense, turbulent summer that begins in Griffin's mansion, composed of Michael's Sub training, as well as Griffin's road to adulthood... something he thought he'd never willingly face.

Nora and Griffin's fuckbuddies-and-best-friends relationship is explicit, entertaining, and very wicked; Michael, to say the least, is shocked, but more than intrigued. I love their dynamic, as well as Michael's initial reaction to and eventual credence for it. His character is probably the one that grows the most in The Angel, especially when he's officially appointed an Original Sinner. I was looking forward to lots of gore and submission regarding his Sub training, but there aren't many scenes. Most of them revolve around Michael coming to terms with his scars—both physical and emotionaland awakening in adolescent sexual discovery, but it's still all amazing. Even more phenomenal, is the effect Michael has on Griffin. With Michael, he's just... home. So proves Nora's theory that he's her Angel, that he's everyone's Angel. It's unquestionable; he's one of them.

The two storiesSuzanne's frantic search and Michael's angelhoodare intertwined perfectly, just so that there are always dire questions raised and is never a dull moment. Well-played, Tiffany Reisz, very well-played. Even when presented with resolutions, I remained scratching my head and pining for more. As expected, the wit, charm, and addictiveness of her literary voice command the tone of this novel. No complaints whatsoever; Reisz has struck gold again.

Nora's separation from Søren will, no doubt, be one of the most difficult periods in her life, but hey, if she survived five years away from himalbeit tearing apart on the inside the entire time—she can do a few months. It will force her to face the unvanquishable flame in the pit of her stomach for a certain sensation she's never known before called vanilla love. It will teach her a few things: the difference between true love and true respect, the irony of sacrilege versus sin, and the only way to cope with denial: to subvert it and confront those demons on her own. Certainly, this summer will change her life. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, but it depends on where her heart's been in the first place. Will facing her fears free her, or will they confuse her even more?

I said this for The Siren, and I'm going to say it again: if you are queasy at heart, if you are devotedly Christian/orthodox/vanilla/insipid, and if you like Happily Ever Afters, do not pick up this book. Not only will the carnal content destroy your sacrosanct mind, but it'll also leave scars and you in tears. We're talking casual sex, underage participants, abusive pasts, and even incest (yes, Reisz went there!) between these pages. So if that turns you off, back the f u c k away. You've been warned.

I think returning readers of the first book in the series will get the most out of The Angel, not only because of the recurring characters and themes, but also because of its newfound revelations. This sequel slowly, painfully, and sadistically answers the questions and divulges the hushed secrets that arose in the first book, particularly those that enshrouded the previously underexposed Søren. It's definitely more agonizing, but all the more gratifying; consider it a 400-page striptease. Dear Lord.

With the exception, of course, of The Siren, The Angel is far more powerful and captivating of a piece of erotic literature than I have ever known. It's equally astonishing, devastating, and foul, but all in different arenas as The Siren; whereas the first novel was heartbreaking, groundbreaking, the second is more adventurous, scarier, darker, more provocative. In the end, Reisz leaves us hanging onto the story of the one person who can make Nora Sutherlin weak on her knees... without a collar and without a cane, but she doesn't let on much, aside from the fact that Nora is finally giving her heart a break. Wesley doesn't make much of an appearance in this book, but he's the title character in the next book, The Prince, out in November. I will forever root for him and wait upon the book with every fiber of my being. 

Stephanie Loves: All right, multiple quotes again. I swear I normally don't do this: "'Please sir, will you let me go so I can drive my as—bottom home, take a shower, eat breakfast for once this week, throw on some clothes and drive back to church so I can sit in my pew looking prim and proper all the while imagining you naked as you're giving some homily on sin and how, shockingly, God's against it? Pretty please with you on top?and "'I may send you away, but I will give you a goodbye that will hold you all summer.'" and "'Life and death are less life-and-death than love is. When I fell in love ... I felt as though I had this open wound. I was so raw, so tender. And it hurt. But I didn't care. Love is the open would that you hope never heals.Just shoot me ugh, Tiffany Reisz, make love to me nOW!!!!!

Radical Rating: 10 hearts: I'm speechless; this book is an extraordinarily amazingly wonderfully fantastically marvelous masterpiece. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Thanks to Little Bird Publicity, one lucky reader will get the chance to worship read The Angel, themselves! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
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