16 Sep '12

A Nix ARC BDSM review – The Angel by Tiffany Reisz (5 Stars)

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The Siren introduced us to the world of Nora Sutherland, erotic writer extraordinaire. In the Angel, we are introduced to Eleanor, the woman who created her.  Do NOT read this book without reading The Siren.  In fact, don’t read this review…go read The Siren. If you don’t want to read my English Essay type review where I try to deconstruct my feelings towards this book, that’s fine, just read the book instead.  
Nora has been a permanent fixture in Soren’s bed ever since the departure of Wes at the end of The Siren. She craves the pain that he gives her and he, in turn, craves her. When a reporter starts to investigate him upon his nomination for Bishop, it becomes apparent that all they hold dear is under threat. If they find out about Soren, they find out about the two people whose secrets he holds close to his heart; Nora and Michael.
Unperturbed at the risk to himself, but finding the risk to the others unacceptable, he sends them both to the home of Griffin Fiske, a favourite Dom of Nora’s from time ago. Whilst there she has instructions to train young Michael to be a sub, but playboy Griffin is not allowed to touch. Griffin is a bisexual Dom who parties hard and gives his heart to nearly nobody; Soren doesn’t want him anywhere near someone as vulnerable as Michael. But the vulnerability that Michael exudes is hard for any Dom to resist and the “no-touching” rule makes him harder to resist. When Griffin finds out he is also a Masochistic, Bisexual bottom, it seems that someone has cooked up his ideal man. But Michael has been hurt so many times he bears physical scars and Griffin can offer nothing to him but eventual pain. It clearly will be a long long summer for them all whilst they try to sit on their hands.
Meanwhile, Soren has to deal with the reporter sure that he is hiding a secret. Allowing her prejudice to cloud her judgement she decides that he must be a paedophile and she vows to dig until she finds some dirt to punish him with. In keeping his heart protected, Soren must tell her more than he’s told many other people before; he must tell her about his past. In baring the secrets of his past, can he keep the secrets of his heart safe?
OK, you lot, my darling readers, are getting the non-GoodReads version review. I will be keeping as many spoilers out as possible, but there must be a few to explain my reactions. This is a love story, but its not a romance. I don’t know what the end will be; I don’t know what ending I’m even hoping for. There is only one thing that I am sure of; I am team Nora. I am not team Soren, I am not team Wes. I care not who she ends up with as long as it’s the right decision for her and right now I don’t know that living without either of them will be the right decision. They both heal a part of her, both needed in their individual way. She needs the healing pain from Soren as much as the unconditional love from Wes. Fair notice, I may get fan-girlie in this review and try to implement some shit reasoning onto a character that isn’t mine to reason for (sorry Tiffany!)
This series elicits a personal reaction in everyone who reads it. It doesn’t deal with middle of the road feelings or situations; it deals with the extreme edges of emotions. It deals with the slightly obsessive, possessive edge of love, not the warm and cuddly bits. It doesn’t deal with happy as a warm and comfortable feeling, it deals with happy as a visceral need. It deals with emotions that you can’t control, needs that you can’t suppress and situations that leave you uncomfortable with your individual response.  I was never imagining myself in Nora’s shoes. I was never thinking that any of the men in this book could be added to my book boyfriend list. I was reading Nora’s story, what she wanted and needed, and that made this book addictive and compelling.
Two things you need to know about me before we continue this review. They are personal things but they are things that influence my reactions to this series so I think they need to be stated.
1.       I don’t practice organised religion. If you do, you may have problems with this book. I do have faith, but I don’t believe that the world is black and white. My personal take on religion means that I don’t give a shit that Soren is Priest, made my heart ache for the reporter and made me fall a little bit in love with Soren when he does the one thing his church says he shouldn’t, for a women he barely knows, to allow her to grieve for her dead brother. There were tears dripping down my face at that scene.
2.       I have no masochistic bones in my body. To me, pain will never equate to pleasure. This means that Sadism scares me, but that wasn’t the reason that I didn’t like Soren. I didn’t like Soren as I saw no love or respect in his beatings of Nora in The Siren; I only saw punishment. I don’t judge a character by his make up, I judge him by his actions and, in book one, his actions did not put him in my good favours. The Angel changed my opinion of him in more than one scene, but I can pinpoint where it began. It began, perversely, with a knife play scene. Yes, I said I hated pain, but I enjoy Domination and submission.  Every mark he put on her body had a meaning and she knew that, as did I. To be marked in that way, with such care and devotion, is worth the pain in my mind and that was a scene so intense, and hot, I knew I was in for a ride with this book.
I could go on and on about the Nora and Soren but they aren’t together for the most of the book.  They are the driving force of the series, the reason behind all of the actions, but they weren’t the focal point. The main plot points of this story are Michael and Griffin’s developing relationship, Nora’s feelings for Wes and Soren’s past. I loved every single one of them.
Michael and Griffin were beautiful and hot and amazing. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve read anything more perfect. I promised no spoilers but read the tattoo scene and come back to me. I cried. Michael needed protecting, Griffin needed to be needed…. they fit. 
Nora’s feelings for Wes were hard to read. They were made harder for the fact that I liked Soren, that I could see that she was hurting him. There is a scene right at the end where Soren makes a choice and I cried again. The only reason I didn’t want to slap her silly was that I knew she wasn’t playing fast and loose with either mans feelings; it was as hard for her as it was for me to read.
Reading about Soren’s past was quite hard in places. It made me understand a little bit more, but it didn’t make me like him anymore. As I say, I don’t judge a character on what makes him up, but it was interesting to read the history behind him. His childhood was horrific. Truly, no one would come out of that without some sort of damage. My heart bled for him but I didn’t like that he was sharing something so personal with that reporter. I know it was unfair of me to see her as a threat to Nora/Soren’s relationship, and hate her for it, even though Wes is a massive threat too. However, I draw your attention to my previous comments; I am team Nora and Wes is not a threat to her, this bint is. I think I should also mention here that some of the events in The Siren are explained in this book with reference to Soren’s past. One of the many issues I had with the man was his part in the scene between Michael and Nora. The reasoning behind it is explained in this book and it is this, along with the scene with the reporter, showed me just how good a man Soren is. Yes, he is kinky. Yes, he is manipulative. Yes, he is a priest having a S & M relationship, but he is a man who will reveal parts of his soul to try to help another. I am hooked.
This is a book that can’t be summed up in one sentence. It’s kinky, twisted, heart-breaking, heart-warming, controversial, beautiful, hot and many other things in-between. I can’t tell you if you’ll like it, I can only tell you that I adored it. It will remain on my keeper shelf, it will be read over and over again and it will be on the favourites list for 2012. If you can cope with a priest having sex, a woman who needs pain and the notion that these are normal people who just happen to be kinky, try this book. I can’t wait for book three.  
  

Nix

3 Responses to “A Nix ARC BDSM review – The Angel by Tiffany Reisz (5 Stars)”

  1. I enjoyed reading your review, just as I enjoyed The Angel. I find Nora fascinating, and I guess I join you on Team Nora … to some degree. She owns up to her mistakes, and she wants the people around her to be happy and content, even if it means she is not. But I do like her with Soren, now that I understand him.

    I guess I do. I don't really know. I liked her with Zachary

  2. Yes! It IS hard on us readers when there is no clear winner. Ultimately, I agree with you that I just want Nora to be happy, whatever that takes for her. I do not want Wes or Soren turned into a Bad Guy, just to make it easier for us to accept Nora's choice.

    Maybe a menage is the answer. We know Soren has "gone there" before, and the synopsis for The Prince

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