Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Queen Review

Title:  The Queen
Series:  The Original Sinners:  The White Years
Author:  Tiffany Reisz
Release Date:  Oct. 27, 2015

Rating:  5 Beautiful Erotic 's

First Thoughts:  Raw, Erotic, Intimate . . .I'm left feeling a bit guilty, like I've been eavesdropping on a a matter of fact, I have.

*Many thanks to the publisher, Harlequin,  for providing me with an ARC of The Queen via Netgally.

Other books I've reviewed by this author:  The Siren and The Saint


Once upon a time, Nora and Søren made a fateful deal—if he gave her everything, she would give him forever. 
The time has finally come to keep their promises. 
Out of money and out of options after her year-long exile, Eleanor Schreiber agrees to join forces with Kingsley Edge, the king of kink. After her first taste of power as a Dominant, Eleanor buries her old submissive self and transforms into Mistress Nora, the Red Queen. With the help of a mysterious young man with a job even more illicit than her own, Nora squares off against a cunning rival in her quest to become the most respected, the most feared Dominatrix in the Underground. 
While new lovers and the sweet taste of freedom intoxicate Nora, she is tempted time and time again by Søren, her only love and the one man who refuses to bow to her. But when Søren accepts a new church assignment in a dangerous country, she must make an agonizing choice—will the queen keep her throne and let her lover go, or trade in her crown for Søren's collar? 
With a shattering final confession, the last link in the chain is forged in The Original Sinners saga. It's the closing chapter in a story of salvation, sacrifice and the multitude of scars we collect in the name of ecstasy—and love.
My Review:

All Hail the Queen!  And that is you, Tiffany Reisz!  I bow to you as you've delivered yet another masterpiece - the absolute perfect ending to this series - how very fitting that it go out like this.  I started this book with trepidation, sad because the end was in sight, worried it might fall just a wee bit short of my sky high expectations . . .ridiculous, I know, as you've never failed to deliver anything but the creme de la creme.  The Queen is that and more, as it delivers a knock out punch straight to the heart.  It is raw, erotic, honest, and yet so very intimate. I was left feeling a little guilty - like I had been eavesdropping on someone's confession and in fact, I had.  Discussing the story without spoilers is nigh on impossible but I'll try to hit some highlights and give voice to the multitude of emotions that consumed me as I read. 

The Queen opens with a beautiful wedding in Scotland (imagine Soren & Kingsley in kilts!) Afterwards, Soren & Nora sit in the chapel, as they nervously await a life altering event that will occur in three short hours.  Nora wants nothing but honesty & love between them, so she asks Father Stearns/Soren to hear her confession.

"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned," she began her confession.  "When we were apart there were two times I almost came back to you and didn't."
"Two?"  Soren looked at her, wide-eyed and stunned.  Usually she loved shocking him, it was such a feat.  Not today.  "Why didn't you?"
"Are you sure you want to know?"

 Thus begins the story of the transformation of Eleanor Schreiber into Mistress Nora, the Red Queen - the Queen of the Underground.  Nora retraces the time after returning from her year of seclusion away from Soren & Kingsley, including details of her battle to claim the throne of the Underground as her own and her determination to protect the secrets of those she loves.  Eleanor believes she is destined to become Mistress Nora, even though it means giving up her love, her heart, her priest - Soren.  She revels in the power of freedom, even as Soren mourns his loss of her and continuously tries to seduce her into coming back to him.

"Come back to me," he said against her lips.
"I can't."
"Come back to me," he said, against her neck.
"I won't."
"Come back to me," he said, lifting her skirt to her hips.
"I don't . . ."
"You can't say it, can you?"  He slipped his hands into her panties and ripped them off with one fierce tear.  "You can't say you don't want to come back to me because we both know you do."
"Not enough to do it."
"Not yet.  But you will."

Mistress Nora emerges as Kingsley trains her for her role as the intimidating Red Queen - a dominatrix that commands fear & a burning desire to please in men everywhere.  As her power grows, so does the relationship between Nora & Kingsley, in spite of the wedge it drives between Soren & Kingsley.  Their emotional turmoil - hurt, anger, hate, love - literally ignites the pages.  The pain of words spoken & unspoken weighs heavily on them both and yet, neither is willing to give in or give up.   And so this indomitable trio find themselves at an impasse . . . Soren, Nora, and Kingsley - three people bound together by a thread of love that may be stretched but never broken.  

After Nora's confession ends, Soren surprises her by offering his own confession - and that's when the depth of his pain, sorrow, & regret becomes very real, as we learn just how much he sacrificed for love and how far he went to reclaim it. 

"And I had never known such pain," Soren said, his face a blank mask.  "Even the day you left me could not compete with the agony of seeing you so happy as he moved into your house and into your life and into your heart.  Standing there watching you two together was pure masochism.  Yet I couldn't stop looking at you and him.  It was my penance.  I'd waited too long;  I'd lost my Little One.  St. John of the Cross spoke of the 'Dark Night of the Soul.'  Then, finally, that moment, I knew what he meant."

 There are so many things that make The Queen a special book but what I will remember and treasure most is the gift of finally seeing, hearing, & breathing in the real Soren, finally meeting him completely unmasked and vulnerable.  This book strips away his many complex layers and bares the heart & soul of the man.  The incredible depth of both his love and his pain is inescapable as he drops all shields and lays it all on the line for love.  We share the weight of his sacrifices and suffer the agony of his despair, believing he's lost everything forever.  My heart ached as I cried for Soren & Nora & Kingsley.

The Queen is a powerful story of love and the scars it leaves etched upon the heart & soul.  It's a story of sacrifice for the sake of love and survival, of forgiveness & salvation.  It's the story of three hearts beating as one - a King, a Queen, and a God.  I was absolutely, totally & completely consumed by this story, this series.  It's shocking, erotic, raw, real.  One of the most intimate books I've ever read.  A Page Burner!  A 2015 Favorite!  A Must Read!

5 Gorgeous 's . . .And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . .xxx


Note:  All quotes may not appear in final edition of the book.

"You don't really think I'm a sociopath, do you?"
"You have a conscience.  But you know what they call a sociopath with a conscience?"
It sounded like the setup to a joke so Elle took the bait.  "No, what do they call a sociopath with a conscience?"
"They call her 'Mistress.'"
♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥

"He misses you, you know," the woman said as Nora started out of the office with her roadmap.
Nora froze, the words chilling her to the bone.
"He's better off without me," Nora told her.  "Whether he knows that or not, he is."
"God isn't better off without any of His children in His life and His church.  He wants them all home, even His prodigals.  Especially His prodigals."
Nora had given her a smile, a sad smile although she hadn't planned on being sad that day.
"I wasn't talking about God."
♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥

"I didn't leave you to hurt you," she whispered.
"But it did."
"I spent seven years on the receiving end of pain.  I'm ready to be on the giving end."
"Did you have to start with me?"
♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥         ♥

"She is my heart.  If anything happens to her because of you, I will castrate you.  I know how much you want children.  I will take that dream from you with my bare hands and a rusty knife.  You know what I'm capable of.  And you know I know how, because I have done it before . . ."
♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥

"I have given you my heart, my body and every secret about me you would ever want to know.  I have put my priesthood on the line for you, my work, my reputation, my happiness and quite often my own sanity.  What more do you want from me?"
♥        ♥         ♥         ♥        ♥         ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥       ♥

"God said 'Love is patient.  Love is kind.'  He never said 'Love is easy.'"
"Love is patient," Nora repeated.  "You think if I'm patient he'll eventually come around and love me for me instead of waiting for me to be someone I'm not?"
"I've been screwing up mightily for sixty-eight years.  God's still patiently waiting for me to get it right, and He hasn't given up on me yet."
"Fine.  I'll give him sixty-five more years to come to his senses.  Then I'm moving on with my life."
♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥

"Don't confuse love with romance, young lady.  Romance is beautiful, it's a gesture, it's a walk in a park with a pretty girl.  Love is ugly sometimes.  It's a crawl into a war zone to save a friend.  Romance whispers sweet nothings.  Love tells painful truths.  Romance gives an engagement ring.  Love takes a bullet."
♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥         ♥        ♥        ♥

"I can't come back to you, but I won't live without you, either.  One is purgatory.  The other would be hell."
♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥         ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥        ♥

"Am I a hypocrite?" Soren asked.
"You're human."
"You don't have to be insulting, Eleanor."

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG: Writer's Resources ~ How Wealthy Are You?

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a community of writers whose purpose is to share with and encourage other writers. Writers can express doubts and concerns and offer & receive encouragement and guidance.  IWSG posts the first Wednesday of every month.  Be sure to check out other IWSG writers/bloggers here:  IWSG Members

Writer's Resources~As Good As Gold . . .

As a writer, I am continuously seeking opportunities to learn from the best.  I've read & studied dozens of how-to books & magazine articles, taken classes, and reached out to other writers in an effort to take advantage of every opportunity to learn.  I participate in writing groups, enter writing contests, and continue to write and submit book & magazine articles, as I advance and perfect my craft. In other words, I've utilized many different Resources as a writer and have discovered a few gems along the way.

Resource - n. source of help; an expedient; the ability to cope with a situation; a means of diversion; (pl) wealth; assets; raw materials.

I love that definition . . .Resource - a source of help; wealth; assets - Doesn't that say it all?  Resources are invaluable to a writer - as good as gold.  There are literally thousands of great resources for both new and experienced writers.  I'll share a book or two from which I reaped a wealth of writing knowledge.

  • Story Engineering - Mastering The 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing by Larry Brooks - My copy of this book is highlighted, written in, & tagged with notes throughout.  It covers the core functions in engineering and designing your story and then takes it to the next level by teaching techniques to breathe life into it.  Rich with examples, Story Engineering portrays story structure in a concise, step by step method that I found to be interesting, helpful, & easy to implement.  I refer to it again & again.
  • GMC - Goal, Motivation & Conflict - The Building Blocks of Good Fiction by Debra Dixon - I  recently discovered this book after reading an article by another author recommending it (Many thanks, Nancy).  Oh my goodness!  What a gem! Using movies as examples, Dixon gets down to the nuts & bolts of a great story - the 3 things every story must have: Goal, Motivation, Conflict.  GMC is simple, clear, & easy to understand with charts & examples for putting the information into practice.  The light came on for me while reading this book.  I consider myself a much richer writer for having discovered it.
  • Stephen King On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft - I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the cover of this book.  All I can say is I found a wealth of information delivered in an entertaining manner from one of the best in the business. King delivers a lifetime of experience with pages filled with tips, hints, & life lessons. It's humorous, it's serious, it's emotional.  I love this book & often find myself referring back to it.
This is by no means a complete list as I only mentioned three of my favorites.  My book shelves are filled with wonderful resources for writers.  There is a wealth of information available to writers  in books, magazines,  and online.  I'd be amiss if I didn't mention that one of the best resources is other writers.  Reach out to the writer community . . .I think you'll find them ready, willing, & able to assist you.  I know I have.

How about you?  Are you rich in writing resources?  Are there some real gems sitting on your desk that you're willing to share with us?  What do you consider your most valuable writing resource?