Series: Original Sinners #3
Published: 2012 by Mira Books
Genres: Erotica, Romance
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I’m doing this thing where I start writing reviews for all of the books I’ve read in the past two months when I’ve been busy with work things and moving and life getting in the way of my blog, and I’ve got a confession to make. I don’t actually remember exactly where The Prince (book 3 of Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series) ends and The Mistress begins. That’s largely because I read them pretty much in one sitting, and an all-nighter was involved. Why, you ask? Because The Prince ended on a major major major cliffhanger, and I needed to know that Nora was safe. And even though I know that the Original Sinners series is erotica/romance, and that usually those books end happily, I couldn’t take that on faith, because I generally read SF/F novels, and SF/F authors are sadistic fucks who tend to kill off my favorite characters in horrifyingly brutal ways on a regular basis (I’m looking at you, GRRM–still haven’t forgiven you for Khal Drogo. And don’t get me started on Scott Lynch for drowning poor Nazca in a barrel of horse piss…). So even though my logical self was saying, “Grace, it’s 9:30 at night, and the fictional character you’ve become attached to over the course of THREE BOOKS is going to be okay,” the devil on my other shoulder was like, “You know you have to hop on your Kindle and purchase Book 4 immediately. Never mind that that’s going to screw up your reviews because major plot lines take place over the course of two books. Never mind the fact that you have to be a functional adult tomorrow. DO IT!!!”
Back to my review(s). The Original Sinners series is centered around an erotica writer named Nora Sutherlin. She’s involved in love triangles, love quadrilaterals, and love dodecahedrons, but almost all of the characters in the book are poly and heavily into the BDSM scene, so there’s not the same level of love triangle bullshit that you’d find in other books. The folks in this series tend to be adults about their feelings and desires, which is one of the things that made me fall in love with this series.
At the beginning of The Mistress, Nora Sutherlin is going through a bit of an identity crisis. She’s finally returned to Soren, a very attractive and sadistic Catholic priest whom she’s had a long relationship with, but he sends her off to Kentucky to figure out her feelings for Wesley, her intern. Wesley is madly in love with Nora, but he’s also completely vanilla. Nora loves the ability to be “normal” with Wesley, and she does have genuine feelings for him. But there’s that central incompatibility, especially because Wesley has this desire to save her from her kinks. So Nora is visiting Wesley and meeting his family and all that jazz, but at the same time, she’s really running away from accepting the fact that she can be Nora the submissive, Nora the writer, Nora the dominatrix, and the Nora who likes to be silly and watch movies in her pajamas.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the love triangle, we see flashbacks to Soren and Kingsley’s past in an all-boys Catholic school, where Soren and Kingsley both begin to realize that they are kinky, and that it doesn’t make them terrible people, just different from most of their peers. And their romance was adorable, and I couldn’t get enough of it. The more I see of Soren, the more I want to keep reading. His very existence is deliciously sinful.
Then, at the end of the book/beginning of the next book, a figure from Soren/Kingsley’s past interrupts their present and kidnaps Nora.The Mistress (The Original Sinners, #4) by Tiffany Reisz
Series: Original Sinners #4
Published: 2013 by Harlequin Mira
Genres: Erotica, Romance
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Enter the plot of The Mistress, which really begins to dive deeply into the relationship between the Soren, Kingsley, and Nora. In the same way that Nora has been in denial with Wesley, Soren has been in denial about his feelings for Kingsley. He’s pretending that what he had with Kingsley never existed, because he’s running away from the fact that when he’s with Kingsley, he can truly lose control to his own feelings. And this whole time, Kingsley’s never gotten over Soren, despite the fact that he has many new relationships in his life. And in trying to save Nora, Soren and Kingsley need to dig back into the past, and old memories and feelings reemerge. But, as I mentioned earlier, I really like that this is the kind of love triangle where nobody gets screwed over. The feelings that one person has Soren has for Kingsley doesn’t make him any less in love and committed to Nora, and vice versa all around.
The main villain of The Mistress was creepy as hell, and the entire time I was reading, I was terrified that the story wasn’t going to end well, but luckily, when I got to the end, I was mostly satisfied. The only thing that bothered me was the conclusion of Grace’s (Nora’s editor’s wife from book 1) storyline, because Soren did something that was very out of character for himself as he’s been established in all the other books so far, and it seemed out of place.
One of the things that appeals to me most about the Original Sinners is that the entire series plays with the traditional idea of sin with respect to sexuality. The characters in the story are unabashedly themselves, and as the story progresses, it’s evident that even though what they do is considered taboo, that the love and commitment and healing that comes out of their relationships is so pure that it couldn’t possibly be wrong. It challenges the assumption that the physical and the spiritual are two completely separate realms, and instead celebrates the existence of both. And as someone who was raised Catholic and has all the guilt and baggage that comes with it, this was a very interesting perspective.
So um, yeah. This series is pretty addictive. I have lots of feelings about it, about 95% of which are positive. I’m excited to read the next four books, as well as all of the short stories/novellas that come in between. And I’m terrified of finishing the series, because I really don’t want it to be over.