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New Release Review! THE ROSE by Tiffany Reisz (The Red #2)

The Rose cover

Author Tiffany Reisz returns to the world of The Red with an imaginative sequel full of lust and magic, and the dangers unleashed when the two are combined… 

On the day of Lia’s university graduation party, her parents—wealthy art collectors with friends in high places—gift her a beautiful wine cup, a rare artifact decorated with roses. It’s a stunning gift, and one that August Bowman, a friend of her parents and a guest at Lia’s party, also has his eye on. The cup, August tells her, is known as the Rose kylix, and it’s no ordinary cup. It was used in the temple ceremonies of Eros, Greek god of erotic love, and has the power to bring the most intimate sexual fantasies to life.

But Lia is skeptical of August’s claims of the cup’s mythology and magic—after all, he’s a collector himself, and she suspects he just wants to get his hands on this impressive piece of art. So he dares her to try it for herself, and when Lia drinks from the Rose kylix she is suddenly immersed in an erotic myth so vivid it seems real—as though she’s living out the most sensual fantasy with August by her side…

Realizing the true power of this ancient and dangerous relic, Lia is even more wary of giving it up, though August insists it is only safe with him. He’s willing to pay the full value of the cup, but Lia has another type of trade in mind. One that finds them more tangled up in each other—and in fantasy—than either was prepared for. 

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Every time I see that there’s a new Tiffany Reisz book coming out, I think awesome, I really like Tiffany Reisz! without really remembering, however, exactly how AWESOME Tiffany Reisz’s books are until I start reading them. She. Is. Seriously. Freaking. Amazing.

I haven’t yet read The Red (I know! I OWN it! I have no excuse…it’s up at the top of my TBR now, though, believe me!) but you really don’t have to have read it (yet!) to truly enjoy the second book in the series. The heroine of book one is the mother of Lia, our heroine here–we do hear plenty about how her parents met and more than Lia wants to about their healthy sex lives, but starting the series here worked just fine. If nothing else, it’s been years since the events of that book took place–this one starts at Lia’s graduation party from Kings College, so we’re not *exactly* picking up where the last book left off, anyway.

The blurb for this book doesn’t even begin to do it justice, although it is perfectly accurate. Reisz’s tale is a perfect blend of eroticism and romance, giving us mythology with a modern twist that both makes the ancient stories more palatable but still acknowledges the darkness of their origins. (Lia and August do a gender-swap version of the Psyche and Eros myth! So. Good. And don’t get me started on the Achilles-Brisies-Patroclus portion, OMG.) To be honest, I have a tendency to skip over sex scenes in some books, especially after the first one–just get to the story, already!–but I wouldn’t dare to in any of Ms. Reisz’s books. They’re that good, and that vital to the overall story she is telling. 

Like every other book I’ve read by her, The Rose is so much more than just a titillating read. It’s hot as heck, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also smart, romantic, and made me laugh out loud more than once. Lia and August’s conversation is as snarky and fun as it is hot AF. A conversation between Lia and her mother offers a searing assessment on the treatment of women in history and in art that will stay with me long after Ms. Reisz is done writing this series (PLEASE tell me she’s not done with this series yet! I need more!) and there are so many clever twists and turns in the plot–honestly, I have no idea how she manages to come up with her plots–they’re so well thought out and engrossing, and details that you barely even noticed from the early chapter suddenly become …OMG, remember when…and now… moments later on. An ongoing mystery in the book is pretty heavily hinted at for readers throughout–Lia remains adorably clueless, of course. She’s also exactly as dubious as she should be about the possibility of the ancient gods and goddesses being real and relevant today, because I mean really, even though plenty of proof abounds. Again, exactly as it should be!

I’m honestly not even coming close to doing this book justice. If you’re a fan of smart erotica, read it. If you’re a history and mythology nerd, read it. If you love romance that makes you think as much as it makes you swoon, for the love of the gods, READ IT NOW!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Published in4.5 starsABook reviewsBOOKS!new releasespotlight
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