Surrender of a Siren by Tessa Dare

It's rare that I enjoy the first book by a new-to-me author. I don't like change, and I like knowing what to expect. What tone, what kinds of characters, the level of angst. Predictable and safe.

Two words that definitely do not apply to Tessa Dare's novel, Surrender of a Siren.

With this book, I am charting new territory. I read it based solely on recommendations from fellow Tweeters. It's a book (and an author) I discovered on Twitter.com . What makes that unusual is that it wasn't discovered on a blog or printed review. It wasn't discovered propped up on the new release shelves or as a loan from my fellow romance readers. A few mentions scattered in those 140 character bursts convinced me to give it a try despite the extremely unlovely cover.

In a word, it was glorious.

I'm a stickler for well developed characters. I loathe action-heavy books with wimpy two-dimensional characters. No danger of this book letting me down there. Every single character jumps off of the page with emotional intensity. Every single one. Even those you only see for a paragraph or two. It's amazing. And a little exhausting.

Even more amazing is that the tension levels in this book are off the chart. The reader experiences the excruciating hyper awareness between the two main characters in what feels like real time.

And Ms. Dare knows her stuff. Sophia, our heroine, is an artist. And having known more than my fair share of artists, I can honestly say she nailed the compulsive need to express oneself that most artists have.

This is the second book in a series, but I haven't read the preceding novel. Surrender stands alone wonderfully.

I highly recommend this book for anyone sick of cookie cutter characters and plots. This is by far the best historical romance I've read this year!

**edited Oct 1 to correct this as 2nd in series, not 3rd.

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