What I’m reading: April

The last week or so I have been glomming on Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series.  It is far from the first time I read this series.  I love it.  I love the complex and rich worldbuilding, but most of all I love the characters.

They are Changelings, Psy and human, but what I also appreciate is that all of them has a past that have affected them and that affects the plots in the books.

But what I appreciate the most is how all the books in the series builds up  to the climax of the story arc.  It is also interesting to see the changes in the world, from Slave to Sensation ( book one) to Heart of Obsidian.  While I suppose you can read the books out of order, I recommend you read them in order. At least the first time  🙂

Oh, and if you are looking for diverse books? I definitely recommend these.

The only draw back is that I need to find another series to glom on. Maybe Patricia Rice Malcolm Ives series? After all, I just replaced my copy of Merely Magic, which I bought when she originally selfpubbed her backlist, with the Sourcebooks edition.

Review: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

WARNING: Contains mild spoilers ( the name of the hero and the heroine) 

The Particulars:  Paranormal Romance, Berkley, available as e-book and in Print

The Source:  The bookstore
The Grade: B
The blurb:

Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world…

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.

From “the alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career—one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead

The Review:

I snapped up a copy when my local bookstore by mistake started selling this book too early.  (I got a bit lucky, since they had computer issues, so they couldn’t see that the book had a hard street date 🙂 ) This  is an excellent addition to the Psy Changeling series.

The world of the Psy is crumbling in this book, and there were a lot at stake.The plot was fast paced, with  a deft mix of action and romance.   I couldn’t stop reading, as the book builds toward the final confrontation with Pure Psy.  There were times were I hated Pure Psy for the decisions they made, and the lines they crossed.  
Interwoven in this is the romance subplot.  It was exquisite.  From how Kaleb guided Sahara back out of her shell, to how Sahara started to rebuild her life.  What I liked was how Kaleb opened up with Sahara. And the things he revealed was heart wrenching.   I liked Sahara. She had a spine, which made me cheer for her. I also appreciated that she made her own path during the book. And her gift made me shiver, yet it made sense in a way. I loved how Kaleb and Sahara grounded each other, and created something that was whole from two flawed halves.

Maybe it was because I had been looking forward to this book for so long, but I had some trouble sink in to the story.  Because of that I had trouble connecting with Kaleb and Sahara. It is possibly that it partly stems from  my uncertainty if  they were too scarred to truly love at times. But when they got their HEA it felt right, and they had earned it..


Review: Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh

The Particulars: Paranormal Romance, Berkley, available in print and as e-book.
The Source: Purchased at Kobo
The Grade: B
The blurb:

Clay Bennett is a powerful DarkRiver sentinel, but he grew up in the slums with his human mother, never knowing his changeling father. As a young boy without the bonds of Pack, he tried to stifle his animal nature. He failed…and committed the most extreme act of violence, killing a man and losing his best friend, Talin, in the bloody aftermath. Everything good in him died the day he was told that she, too, was dead.
Talin McKade barely survived a childhood drenched in bloodshed and terror. Now a new nightmare is stalking her life–the street children she works to protect are disappearing and turning up dead. Determined to keep them safe, she unlocks the darkest secret in her heart and returns to ask the help of the strongest man she knows…
Clay lost Talin once. He will not let her go again, his hunger to possess her, a clawing need born of the leopard within. As they race to save the innocent, Clay and Talin must face the violent truths of their past…or lose everything that ever mattered.

The Review:
This book hooked me from the start. I couldn’t stop reading it. I had to find out what happend.
It crackled with tension from the start. I loved the fact that both Clay and Talin had scars from their childhood. I could almost touch Talin’s hesitation over how Clay would react to seeing her again.
A lot of the tension in this book came from their past, and the struggle to move past it. But, that is not all that is going on.Amidst all this, they are running against the clock to find Talin’s missing charges.
I could almost touch Talin’s worry. Worry over her health, worry over if they would find the children.
I loved how Nalini Singh revealed yet another layer of the world in this book, revealing just how debated the Silence had been when it was introduced 100 years earlier.
So, What I didn’t like. I didn’t like the POV’s from Ashaya and Jon. Yes, I know that they were necessary, and that they set up for the next book, but I was so focused on Talin’s and Clay’s story that it just annoyed me.

Review: Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh

The particulars: Paranormal Romance, Berkley, available as print and e-book
The Source: Purchased at Kobo
The Grade: B
The Blurb:
Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous – aching need… exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.

Changeling Vaughn D’Angelo can take either man or jaguar form, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar’s instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating, and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith’s sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced – and keep her from Vaughn…

The Review:
What I like most about Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series isn’t the romance. No, it is the world. ( Ok, I might be exagerating a bit). The world she has created is detailed, and varied. There is the cold emotionless Psy that governs the world. The territorial changelings, that craves touch. And humans of course. Together they create a world that is stratified with Psy on top and the changelings and humans beneath., At least if you ask the Psy. Tossed into the world is memorable characters. 
This book is no different.  The picture that she painted of Faith’s life before she met Vaughn gave me goosebumps.   My heart went out to Faith when she fretted about wheter or not she would go insane.
As a changeling, Vaughn is Faith’s total opposite. He craves touch, he is violent.
That said, I loved the way he patiently coaxed Faith out of her shell, and helped her grow into the woman she should have been.
So to the weak spots.
It might be because of me, but the sexual tension I felt… flickered. Most of the time it was hidden in the tension to reach the end. I also didn’t like how she treated the mating bond. It felt as if she realised that they needed to be mates, and added the discovery.
Also, the book felt… unbalanced.  I felt that the only one that changed in the book was Faith. Vaughn was the same person at the end of the book as he was at the beginning.  

Book recommendation: Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh

Adria, wolf changeling and resilient soldier, has made a break with the past. Now comes a new territory, and a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant already sworn to someone else. For Riaz, the primal attraction he feels for Adria is a staggering betrayal. For Adria, his dangerous lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It consumes her. It terrifies her. It threatens to undermine everything she has built of her new life. But fighting their wild compulsion toward one another proves a losing battle. Their coming together is an inferno …and a melding of two wounded souls who promise each other no commitment, no ties, no bonds. Only pleasure. Too late, they realise that they have more to lose than they ever imagined. Drawn into a cataclysmic Psy war that may alter the fate of the world itself, they must make a decision that might just break them both.

Note: The cover is for the UK edition, since I think the cover for the US edition is… ugly.  ( To put it mildly.) The book is out in the US in late May, and in the UK in June.

You can pre-order it from Amazon, BN and Book depository. ( UK edition)

Review: The Mistress of Trevelyan by Jennifer St Giles

The Particulars: Historical Romance, re-issued backlist, available as e-book.
The Source: Amazon Freebie
The Grade: B+
The Blurb:

In 1873 San Francisco, spirited Ann Lovell takes a position no one else dares — as governess to the motherless sons of the enigmatic Benedict Trevelyan. It has long been whispered that Trevelyan Manor hides dark secrets and sinister deeds — including the murder of Benedict’s wife. But Ann refuses to pay heed to spiteful rumor.
As she grows to cherish her young charges, Ann also finds herself powerfully drawn to the handsome Benedict, whose passionate persuasion introduces her to a new world of sensual pleasures. But even while falling in love with the master of Trevelyan, Ann wonders if his attentions are intended to blind her to the secrets of the past — and if Benedict holds he key to her destiny…or her destruction.
The Review: 

This is another author that I have been curious about for awhile. When she offered it for free at Amazon, I decided to take the chance. And I am glad that I did.
This was an highly enjoyable historical romance. At times it felt like I was transported back to San Francisco anno 1873. From Ann’s reverence of books, to her struggle to remain proper, to the fashion styles.
But, most of all I loved the interactions between Ann and the Trevelyan family. From the moment she knocks on the door , convincing Benedict Trevelyan to hire her ( despite her lack of experience) to the last unexpected twist, Ann is open hearted and curious. I loved her patience with Robert and Justin, her struggle to over come her fear towards horses.
And then there is the romance. Oh my. I enjoyed their struggle against the attraction, and Ann’s determined attempt to keep the properity.
But, there are secrrets in Trevelyan Manor. Of course. I enjoyed Ann’s curiosity about what had happened to Francesca almost as much as I enjoyed the romance.
The past affects the household, and it obstruct Ann’s and Benedict’s happiness.
So, what I didn’t like. First, there were some formatting issues. Very minor, but I got a bit tired of them after a while.
The more major part, were that I liked the story fine. Until they became lovers. It felt… a bit predictable, and a bit against character.
Still, I am glad I downloaded it and I plan to purchase the next book in the series ( or download it as a freebie if Jennifer St Giles remains in KDP.)

Review: HeartMate by Robin D Owens

The Particulars:  Futuristic Romance,  Berkley,  available as e-book and in print
The Source: My bookshelf
The Grade: B+

The blurb:

All his life, Rand T’Ash looked forward to meeting his HeartMate, with whom he could begin a family. Once a street tough but now a respected nobleman and artisan, he has crafted the perfected HeartGift, which, in the custom of the psychically-gifted population of the planet Celta, is the way a man finds–and attracts–his wife…

Danith Mallow is irresistibly drawn to the magnificent necklace on display in T’Ash’s shop, but she is wary of its creator, despite an overpowering attraction. In a world where everyone is defined by their psychic ability, Danith has little, and thus is at the opposite end of the social specturm from T’Ash. But T’Ash refuses to accept her rejection, and sees it as a challenge instead. They ARE HeartMates, but can T’ash persuade his beloved to accept her destiny by his side?

The review:

This  is a fast paced read, filled with romance, action, and Zanth of course.   No Celta book would be complete without a Fam.    The setting is a refreshing mix of regency customs and magic.  Every part of the world feels solid.  From the nobles to the Downwind gangs.  But what made the book so good were the romance between Danith and T’Ash.  
I loved reading about T’Ash and Danith’s romance.   Everything went wrong from the start for T’ash. Danith rejects him.  But their romance shouldn’t be an easy one.   T’Ash is a powerful GreatLord, with a large dose of inborn arrogance. Danith is a commoner, an orphan, with very little Flair.  

Meeting T’Ash turns Danith’s life upside down. Suddenly she is showered with gifts, since T’Ash is determinded to follow every step in the etiquette book.  ( That scene made me smile)     It isn’t just the gift that affect her.  She finds out she isn’t as Flairless as she thought.    With every change, she clings harder to the familiar.
I loved how Mitchella stuck by her friend, even if her help might have caused problems between T’Ash and Danith.
But the romance plot were  intertwined with so many other things. From T’Ash past, to HollyHeir’s request that he honor a blood debt, to events unfolding in the background.  All of the action and danger stems from this part of the plot.

So for what I didn’t like.  It felt like everything happend too fast. For example,   Danith went from being flairless, to having a unique Flair.   Yes, it is spread out during the book, but I wish it had taken a bit more time. But, on the other hand it wouldn’t have been the same story without it.   Also, I didn’t feel that tugging that I get from really good Robin D Owens novels.