The Siren! It’s Lit Swagger Discussion Time!

It’s that time again! Time to stretch your mind and really think about what we’ve read this quarter! Now, most of us read for pure enjoyment but sometimes it’s beneficial for our intelligence and imagination to take what we read just one step further. One step into the realm of How? and Why?

TheSirenThis quarter our featured literary masterpiece was The Siren, by Tiffany Reisz. A real imagination stretcher and thought-provoker in my mind.

Here’s a little diddy to set the mood for our discussion:

Overview

In the world of kink authors, she’s the top.

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.

Join in our discussion and let your voice be heard. Pick a few questions and let us in on your thoughts!

1. Did you feel the heroine’s Swagger? If yes, can you give an example? If no, how would you have liked to see her swagger things differently?

2.If you were Nora’s therapist, what issues would you have her work on, if any? (She’s a complex gal…)

3. How did you feel about Nora’s risky attraction to her young protégé Wesley? Why do you think the author created that relationship for Nora?

4. How many flames would you give this book? Were the love scenes steamy and engaging? Did they make you want to jump right into bed with them? Or did they make you lock your door while you read them?

5. Which man do you feel was right for Nora? Why?

6. In one word, describe how this story made you feel while you read it?

 7. Did you find the ending leave you smiling, or did you say WTF? How would you end this story?

 8. If you were the casting director, which actors would you have portray Nora, Wesley, Zach, and Soren?

 9. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?

Comments

  1. Okay, I’ll kick things off. *glances around at the shocked silence in the hen house* Yep, I think we all kind of just sat there, staring at our tablets or books afterwards. Right? LOL

    Tackling #4,5 &7: I enjoyed Nora’s actual writing the most. That got pretty steamy! And I loved the way Nora’s story flowed. It engaged me every time. Her past with Soren, and the full circle of the novel was one of its best attributes. Everyone ended up with whom I felt they belonged.

    #9 I’d want to know if the author ever thought of publishing Nora’s book? That would be interesting!

  2. …Rachael…Interesting idea of publishing Nora’s book! Writing is so cathartic…is it not? No matter what story an author pens, there is some personal attribute to that story for them. I find writing to be very personal…

    Ms. Reisz is a risk taker with plot lines that clench the jaw and flinch the muscles. I love that in a writer…I love raw honesty that stretch my boundaries.

  3. Susannah Scott says:

    Hey Chicks!
    I wrote my thoughts up like a book report. Here is my take:

    What a great coincidence, I have been reading a ton of erotica this month, and the Siren fits into my BDSM/Sadist slot perfectly! Nora is a glib, wise-ass writer with a red dom whip in one hand and a keyboard in the other. Traditionally, I would give you the hero synopsis here, but there is nothing traditional, or “vanilla” about this story. The hot British editor Nora works with isn’t really her match, nor is her 19 (but looks like he is 16) year old, type 1 diabetic intern.

    I guess Soren could be hero-ish to Nora—she is captivated by him—pun intended. Soren is Nora’s sadist, priest genius who owns their secret BDSM club. They’re estranged, but I think he is probably the best pick in the book for Nora’s male partner? I’m using the question mark there, because “partner” is a bit benign. Soren and Nora’s amorous pursuits put Nora happily in the ER at one point.

    Spoiler alert:
    The good: Holy wow, wow, if you are looking for a primer on the “lifestyle” and all the gadgets and hierarchy, this is your book. The bad: my ever present romance author/reader, really wanted a more traditional Happily Ever After. My expectations, however, aren’t the authors fault. The book is flawlessly written, and I found the insider, writerly jokes clever, scratch that brilliant. So, bravo Ms. Reisz for writing a great BDSM, Liza Doolittle-ish anti-romance!

    PS. Two other erotica books I can also recommend, since I’m on a binge: Night Owl, M. Pierce, and All He Wants, CC Gibb.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Susannah, I totally agree with you here! The comment of anti-romance is so right on! The book was cringe worthy for the basic romance fan but it was an “I can’t really put it down cause I need to see how T.R. works this out…And she DOES! Such a risk taker as a romance author…(*applause!*)
      Not knowing anything about BDSM in the real world…so many of the books, with BDSM as a landscape, romanticize it, Im thinking beyond what it really may be, possible leaving out some of the true darkness that may drive a personality to this lifestyle. s. Reisz certainly does not do that here. She allows the reader to REALLY see Nora’s flaws and why Soren is such an attraction for her….Real boundary stretching stuff here….Bravo!

  4. Okay, I’m going to be bad guy here. Let’s start with my background–SVU where sex crimes investigations are front and center. I tend to get passionate about the issue and pretty unforgiving with the suspects. So making ANY justification for their actions gets me hot under the collar.
    That said, two “CONSENTING ADULTS” is fair game. Those two words are non-negotiable in my book and a writer has to be extremely careful that the sub in no way appears to be a victim, unless you’re writing about a pedophile getting his or her due or a victim’s journey to survival.
    In the case of The Siren, I loved the author’s writing. She is brilliant in her prose, to the point where she’s almost poetic. Her writing is great, her character development is undeniably as complex as real people with psychological issues. But she justifies her character’s actions that are without any doubt wrong, unacceptable and immoral to the point that the reader actually thinks she is saying, “It’s okay, because…”
    Nora and Soren could end up with no one else. They are despicable characters that abuse children. And yet all of that could have been deleted from the book–it was not necessary to the character growth.
    I literally stopped reading the book and deleted it from my I-pad. Then I found it on my phone and felt guilty for judging the book without reading it to the end. So I skimmed it through to the end, and got disgusted with how the author justified Nora and Soren “helped” a teenager (because pedophiles say this ALL THE TIME!).
    So forgive me to my passionate response. I don’t normally write reviews of books I don’t like, this one however, became the first exception to my rule.
    I wish nothing but the best for author Tiffany Reisz. She’s a great author, but this story is not worthy of her talent and has tainted my desire to read any more of her books.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Bravo, Kym, for your honesty! So many stories written, are not to our liking based on subject matter. This book does go that one step further by trying to justify the taboo subject of abuse. I’d love to have an opportunity to ask Tiffany Reisz what her inspiration was for this story. She took so many risks to tell this story, and told it so brilliantly. I do wonder, why? It is a dark love story…and I truly believe these anti-heroic characters, as fucked-up (the only words I could think of!) as they are, are a true depiction of many sadist personalities out there…they seriously feel their actions are necessary. I tend to think this is probably one of the most honest portrayals of sadism and BDSM in the romance genre that there is. It’s anti-romantic. I’d love to see WHY she wrote it…Very brave author. I’d like to read more of her work just to see where else she leads her readers. She is such a talented writer.
      Thanks for your honest review Kym!

  5. Ugh, I’ve been putting off this reply because I’m not sure where to start. How about this:
    1.) Tiffany Reisz is a brilliant writer.
    2.) The story line is completely fucked up.

    I finished the book in very short order because it was exactly like a train wreck you’re horrified by but can’t for the life of you look away.

    The character development was fabulous, so richly layered and interesting. And the characters themselves were varied and distinct. I loved how Reisz wove Nora’s book into the plot – it was flawless and contributed so much. I also loved Nora’s strength, vulnerability and raw honesty.

    But when it boils down to it, with the exception of Zach, the whole book made me unhappy. I felt sad for Wesley, sad for Nora, and even a bit sad for Soren. I know this is because I don’t understand the super extreme BDSM lifestyle, but that’s fine. I don’t really want to. Handcuffs are awesome, silk scarves are divine, love nibbles and slaps on the ass are fun and exciting, but the extreme BDSM in this book – the kind of activities that can put someone in a hospital or make them bleed – Not. For. Me.

    This book only worked for me as a palate cleanser at a time when I needed one. When I went back to my books with a Happily Ever After, it was that much sweeter.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      My little hopeless romantic! You’re so right…It was a great palate cleanser! I truly love reading ALL kinds of books…even ones that make me cringe…it stretches my horizons and gives me an inkling of insight into the human mind and personality…personalities I would never have the opportunity to experience in my sheltered little life. As I read I kept thinking…am I not deciphering this correctly? Something doesn’t seem kosher, here…but I read and read and tried to just open my mind to the characters lives and not force them into my little pigeon-holes. I felt for them, I mourned for them, I hoped for them….all the things that an author hopes for when writing a book. Sometmes…we just don’t get that happily ever after as our life views would direct, but the characters get the HEA they are destined for wheether we like it or not. I think its tough for us romance writers to accept The Siren as a romance genre work. It breaks so many of our ‘rules’! Truly a risk taker…
      Thanks Mist!

  6. I had to look at this book from several angles. First, as a writer. Six weeks to rewrite a book? Six weeks???? And the publisher was dumb enough to contract a piece of crap that required six weeks of editing…and not just normal editing, but one where one of the publisher’s most important editors went to her home repeatedly? In what universe does this happen???? Not in the Big Five for whom I write. She lost my believability right there. I mean, really? As a parent and grandmother, I couldn’t handle the child abuse element. As a writer of BDSM and someone who’s researched the lifestyle, talking with many who live and abide by the “safe, sane and consensual” motto, I struggled with the darkness of this gawd-awful book. In my opinion, the Siren had zero swagger. Zero. Can you tell I did not enjoy this read? I’ll stop now before I move into crazy mode and really tell you how the book made me feel. I’ve been known to get up and take a cold shower after reading late into the night. This book made me want to take a hot bath and scrub my skin raw.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      V, I love your beautiful skin so hold off on that SCRUB! Did you enjoy this read? (*snort!*) Just adore you!! Good pick up on the editor issue…Believablility is an issue with many readers…in a contemp…its important to have it be believable to keep the reader engaged. I do wonder how many of Tiffany’s readers posted reviews where they actually liked the story line in this book. Seems as though we have a concensous that while the writing/prose was beautifully executed, this story-line turned us off.
      Take a nice calming hot bath, V…but give all abrasive objects to Calvin!!!

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