Review: Archangel’s Prophecy

Review: Archangel’s ProphecyArchangel's Prophecy (Guild Hunter, #11) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #11
Published by Berkley on October 30, 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 368
Goodreads
five-stars

“One must die for one to live.”

FINAL DECISION: Fantastic book which turns everything upside down. Dramatic and powerful, this book is a game changer in the Guild Hunter series, and left me screaming at the end for the year’s delay before finding out what happens next, but I believe this could be one of the most amazing books in the series because it challenges the reader rather than keeping to a formula.

THE STORY: Elena is the only mortal in memory to have been made into an immortal angel by the ambrosia kiss of Raphael, the Archangel. But something seems be going wrong. Elena is regressing and becoming more mortal. Raphael and Elena are in a race against time to discover what is happening. At the same time, Elena is tracking a murderer who is threatening her family. Even worse, the Cascade is at work again with sinkholes filled with Lava and flocks of mysterious birds approaching Elena.

OPINION: Eleven books in and a series can become predictable and stale. Singh tosses all the rules away with this ending of this book. Some readers might be upset by the cliffhanger ending and by what it portends, but it worked in ways that I didn’t expect when I first finished it. I ended up re-reading the last quarter twice and I loved it more each time. The last quarter of this book was intensely dramatic and powerful.

This book is an interesting mixture of an big and important Cascade story and a more mundane murder investigation. This book allows readers to see all of Elena — the mortal and immortal parts — and things begin to change in big ways. I was happy to get to see several of the secondary characters in this series, but this is very much an Elena-centric book. This is about her journey.

Things in the series seemed to be going on an expected path and I thought I knew what was going to happen. This book upset all those expectations and thus brought confusion and anger and quite a bit of disorientation by the end. But ultimately that is why I ended up loving it.  This book asks a lot from the reader and I, too, had to sacrifice predictability and security along with the characters.

Elena and Raphael are not characters who will be bound by fate and prophecy. They make their own path — even when that path is unclear and uncertain. I’m just along for the ride now.

This is the only book since the first book in the series where I have no idea what is going to happen next. There is something wonderfully creative and fascinating about being in this place of uncertainty.

I also need to re-read it in total as soon as I finish this review.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book ends on a cliffhanger.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ARCHANGEL’S PROPHECY is the eleventh book in the Guild Hunter series. This series is meant to be read in order. While each book is an episode, there are significant overarching storylines in this series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

 

five-stars

Review: Rebel Hard

Review: Rebel HardRebel Hard (Hard Play, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #2
Published by Tka Distribution on September 18, 2018
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
five-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: Fabulous story of two people who struggle with their expectations and learn to communicate their wants, desires and needs. I absolutely adored Nayna and Raj who are sweet and sexy and have a relationship of mature respect. This is a great addition to a great series.

THE STORY: Nayna Sharma has agreed to an arranged marriage as part of her effort to keep things peaceful and happy in her family. Nanya has kept her own wants and desires suppressed to make her parents happy. One night out with her friend at a party results in her meeting a sexy hunk, Raj Sen. Raj is a man damaged by his childhood. He wants security and a traditional marriage. He meets a woman, however, that calls to him in passionate ways he never expected, but their conflicting dreams seem destined to keep them apart.

OPINION: This is a sweet and yet emotionally fraught story. Nanya and Raj feel a connection from the moment they see one another, but the question quickly arises of whether the two will be together because Nanya capitulates to her family’s expectations, whether the two will be at odds because of their different desire for the future or whether they can manage to forge something new together.

I loved this story, loved this couple. Nanya is a woman finding herself for the first time. Indeed, her relationship with Raj gives her the springboard to forge a different life for herself. At the same time that she finds comfort and companionship with Raj, she also must face the possibility that her growth might take her away from Raj.

Raj is a man who wants a traditional marriage and life, but then he meets Nanya and he must confront the reality that he wants this woman above all other things. And yet, the tension remains as to whether giving Nanya the freedom she wants means that he will lose her forever.

This book is subtle and intense and personal. There aren’t flashy, overdramatic events. Instead, this is a complex, emotional journey for these characters. Is it possible for Raj and Nanya to change and grow and reconcile their disparate visions of the future?

These characters are grounded in their families. Singh always has a wonderful way to creating community around her characters and this book is no exception. The people around Nanya and Raj matter. They are developed characters with personalities and complexities of their own. We get to see their culture, their personal foibles and strengths. It always seems that any of the secondary characters in Singh’s books could be the subject of their own book. They are that interesting and well constructed.

This is a wonderful book about compromise and understanding, about change and the importance of family and tradition. There are no easy cliches in this book. And Nanya and Raj are just adorable together. Loved it.

WORTH MENTIONING: I love the inexperienced hero and heroine combinations.

CONNECTED BOOKS: REBEL HARD is the second book in the Hard Play series. The romance here is self-contained and can be read as a standalone. I think this book is so connected with the prior book in the series (and in fact happens concurrent with that book) that I would recommend reading the books in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to help prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: Ocean Light

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Ocean LightOcean Light (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #2; Psy-Changeling, #17) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on June 12, 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 416
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“This woman was no princess. She was a warrior. One Bo was dead certain was fighting the compulsion to stab him.”

FINAL DECISION: Hopeful, sweeter than I expected but with lots of intrigue and double crosses, I really enjoyed this book which continues to explore the struggles to create a united world with a man and woman who both need to overcome damaging pasts.

THE STORY: Bowen Knight of the Human Alliance should be dead. He was shot through the heart in an attempted assassination attempt. But even surviving that, Bowen has a ticking time bomb in his head — a chip he had implanted to prevent psychic rape by the Psy is degrading and threatens to kill not only Bowen but his friends and family at the top of the Human Alliance. Taken to an undersea facility controlled by BlackSea, Bowen has to confront some of his deepest fears. And when he meets the sweet and sexy cook Kaia Luna, Bowen decides that he doesn’t want to spent what might be the last few weeks of his life, without her. Kaia has faced so much loss in her life and getting involved with the seemingly doomed Bowen only threatens her with more sadness and grief.

OPINION: The Psy-Changeling series is one that I re-read every year. It takes weeks now as this is book number 17 (not including the novellas and free stories), but I never regret those weeks because the series is nuanced and complex and presents at its center a sense of hope and the possible.

OCEAN LIGHT takes readers into the mysterious world of the changeling group of BlackSea (which covers the ocean dwelling changelings). By the end of the this book, I still find this group very mysterious as it doesn’t follow many of the “rules” readers have learned about changelings. I hope that we get more books about the BlackSea characters as this book only made me more curious.

This book leaving me even more curious is a theme for me in this book. In fact, I ended this book with even more questions about where the overarching storyline is going than when I came in. There is some serious stuff going on in this series and while some parts are resolved, the core of the mystery still remains after this book. The Trinity series continues to investigate the conflict between those for and those against the Trinity alliance. The “villains” have managed to efficiently organize Psy, humans and changelings and the question still remains whether the “good guys” can manage to form their own connections in time.

Bowen Knight is familiar to readers of the series. Nominally the security head of the Human Alliance, Bo is, in fact, the leader and the person keeping the Alliance together. Bo has been obsessed with the idea of protecting the vulnerable humans from the psychic powers of the Psy. His singlemindedness has led him to have an experimental technology implanted in his brain to shield his mind from Psy. As we learned, however, Bo (along with his sister and friends who also got implants) are living on borrowed time as the implant is unstable. But as readers of the series will recall, although Bo has but months to live, Bo was shot protecting his sister in SILVER SILENCE. This book begins on the heels of those events.

In this book, we learn the origins of Bo’s determination to find a way to protect humans. In the face of Bo’s intense dislike of the Psy, ironically, Bo finds himself attracted to a woman who has her own reasons for disliking humans and wanting nothing to do with Bo. Bo’s brush with death creates a determination in him to not miss a moment of possibility when he finds himself attracted to Kaia.

As the “alpha” of the Human Alliance, Bo’s world is complicated and filled with the possibility of betrayal. The Trinity world is more political and dangerous because it is unclear who can be trusted. And the lack of trust extends not only between groups but within the groups themselves as both the Alliance and BlackSea have to consider if there are traitors within.

Kaia is a new character to the series and one I really, really liked. She is caring and smart and not willing to put up with any nonsense from Bo. Her heart is so big and life has bruised her up pretty badly. Yet she still opens herself up and risks more pain with Bo. Kaia’s storyline here had much more interest for me. She is the one who is risking so much (because Bo could end up dead or as good as). And I admit that I was intrigued to find out what type of changeling she is. (I also want a cookbook with her recipes because they sound so good!)

I thought the romance between Bo and Kaia was intensely sweet. We get to see a side of Bo that he himself didn’t know existed until he met Kaia. There is something to be said for what a clever and determined man will do when he finds the woman. There is a bit of innocence in how Bo approaches his courtship of Kaia because he has truly never connected with a woman before. And that continues the irony of Bo’s life, just when he finds what matters in his life, this life has a countdown for him.

Most of the conflict here ends up being external and there is quite of bit of intrigue in this book. On the plot end, I was pleased to get to see some of my favorites from the series. Although we end up in a new environment, I like feeling the series grounded in its roots and with the characters who I already know and miss when they don’t appear.

I walked away from this book with a sense of warmth and joy and loved all the characters we got to spend time with in this book.

WORTH MENTIONING: I tilted between a 4 and a 4.5 for this book. The epilogue, however, firmly tilted this book to a 4.5 — any book where Kaleb and Sahara make a significant emotional appearance gets a little boost from me!

CONNECTED BOOKS: OCEAN LIGHT is the second book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. The books are interconnected with continuing storylines although the romance is self-contained. The Psy-Changeling Trinity series is a spin-off or Season 2 of the Psy-Changeling series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Cherish Hard

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Cherish HardCherish Hard (Hard Play, #1) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #1
Published by Tka Distribution on November 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“He was no Prince Charming. But he was a man who would love Isa forever if she just gave him a chance. Because she was it for him. For now and always.”

FINAL DECISION: Adorable sexy gardener approached by woman who wants to claim something for herself. Sweet, adult working out of issues. Loved this one.

THE STORY: Sailor Bishop is only a teenager when he sees a college girl getting her heart stomped on by her boyfriend. Sailor tries to track her down but is unsuccessful. Years later, Sailor sees her again when he is doing landscaping at a school. The redhead approaches him and kisses him and then runs off again. Now Sailor is determined to find out her identity. Isa Rain is ready to settle down, find a husband and have children. What she doesn’t want is a sexy younger man who is determined to build his own business. When her mother blackmails her into working for her for the summer, Isa finds herself in charge of the sexy landscaper and having to decide what to do with him.

OPINION: I love books where the true conflict is a difference in outlooks that have to be resolved in an adult manner. There are no easy solutions here. Isa and Sailor must determine not whether or not they can love one another, but whether it is possible for their lives to merge together.

In the process, both Ina and Sailor must confront their pasts and the impact their parents have made on them. Ina and Sailor are both nice people and I loved their interactions.

Sailor is a caring and determined man. He has built his own landscape business but has plans for much bigger things. He has a plan for what he wants to do with his life driven by the ghosts of his past. But he is not mindless or willing to hurt people as he goes through his life. In fact, he is entirely normal. He has a plan for his life until something makes him question his plans.

Isa is trying to build her own life apart from her parents’ expectations of her. She is good at the business her mother wants to draw her into, but it isn’t Isa’s dream. I liked that it isn’t a matter of talent, but a matter of choice for Isa. She has her own past to deal with. Two parents who prioritized their work over their family. That makes her wary of a man who has his own empire to create.

What is wonderful is that these characters work out their problems. The book begins on a gimmick as Ina wants to avoid Sailor, but develops into a mature and adult story of two adults figuring out if the attraction they feel can be something to last a lifetime. I loved the maturing and adult manner in which they characters operate in the world.

There is also something beautiful about how these two characters interact with their families. I loved that these characters are grounded and real. The story is also pretty sexy between these two but always grounded in relationship.

WORTH MENTIONING: Hero is about five years younger than heroine.

CONNECTED BOOKS: CHERISH HARD is the first book in the Hard Play series. CHERISH HARD is also a prequel to ROCK HARD from the Rock Kiss series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Archangel’s Viper

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Archangel’s ViperArchangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on September 26th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

“They let you drive now?” he said in a wondering tone of voice calibrated to get under her skin. “I leave for a couple of years and miss kitty’s first steps. Did anyone take photos for the baby album I sent you?”

“It’s full of pretty pictures.” Holly bared her teeth at him in a caricature of a smile. “Honor is a little concerned about how I keep drawing you with your head cut off,” she said in a deliberately thoughtful tone, “but an artist must follow her instincts.”

FINAL DECISION: Awesome, I loved this book in a way I never expected. Feeling fresh and young and yes, even a little weird, this book’s tone matched the strange, unique, and fun that make up Holly and Venom.

THE STORY: Four years ago, Holly Chang’s world was fundamentally altered when she and her friends were kidnapped by a blood mad archangel. Her friends were all murdered; Holly survived but ended up changed when the archangel put “something” of himself into Holly. She gained some qualities of vampires but she is neither fully vampire nor human. In the years since her abduction, Holly has been under the observation by various members of Raphael’s Seven.  Now the one who irks Holly the most, Venom, has returned to annoy her some more. Venom is a unique vampire who also possesses viper qualities and eyes. While Venom and Holly have much in common as to their abilities, they seem to rub one another the wrong way — until someone puts a bounty on Holly to kidnap her and the “otherness” inside her seems to be asserting itself. Venom and Holly must work together to discover what actually happened to Holly four years ago.

OPINION: The problem with loving a series is that sometimes a new book doesn’t live up to the hype and excitement. Having just completed a re-read of the Guild Hunter series, I had a worry in my stomach that I was too excited about Venom and Holly’s story (which has its origins in the very first book). I’m so happy to report that this book exceeded all of my excited anticipation. It was so different in its voice and tone and the characters lived up to the strange and mysterious origins. Their funky, weird and quirky natures bored into my heart (ha, ha) and they are definitely one of my favorite couples in the series.

Can I admit something? I often tend to take glances at the end of books as I get distracted during the story. (It’s a way of urging myself forward). This book I read cover to cover without even being tempted to read the ending. If you have similar tendencies or like to read spoilers, I urge you to let this book flow out in front of you instead. The story and relationship builds in such a wonderful fashion that I think that knowing the secrets in the ending will diminish the first-time reader experience.

Story feels young and fresh in a manner that I didn’t expect. One of my all time favorite books is FIRE AND ICE by Anne Stuart. This book has a similar feel in the characters and pacing (although there is really little similarity). The characters are younger than others in the series.

Although Venom is over 350 years old, he is the youngest of the Seven and the one character who has been the most mysterious in the series. This book peels back his layers and gives us his backstory.  He’s got a secret (not a deep dark one but an interesting one) that makes him adorable and perfect for Holly. Sexy and raw in a way that no one else in the Seven is, he has a different personality than I expected once his “gameface” is off.

Holly (who for a time called herself Sorrow) is quirky and funny and incredibly strong. We haven’t seen her progression for a while, and it was especially satisfying to see how she has grown and struggled and managed to reinvent herself after the horror of her “Making”. (I’ll also confess to having a total love for Dmitri and Honor and just adored seeing them with Holly). Holly makes this book for me. Her needling of Venom as the two find the rhythm of a relationship between them. Her strength in facing the reality of what her “making” might actually mean. And her determination to keep true to herself and her humanity put me on her side from the start. Of all the characters in this series, she was the only one from the present day who was 100 percent human and normal until she was forcibly dragged into the immortal world.

The funniest part for me is that I expected the quips and arguments and the humor, but I didn’t expect how heartwarming I would find their relationship. The observation that these two will grow together hit me with so many warm fuzzies. Their story is one of acceptance and appreciation and love for a person “because” of who they are rather than “despite”.

The story is more focused on Holly and Venom than in normal in this series (in many ways this book and ARCHANGEL’S HEART are part of the same story) and as a result, I was simply gutted as the book reached its conclusion as no part of this series has since the very first book.  The romance between these two is uniquely their own. The two seem to find joy in annoying one another, testing one another. There is a similarity to the relationship between Ash and Janvier, but this is no repeat of that romance. Venom and Holly have an acidic sweetness that matches their natures.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book overlaps with the events in ARCHANGEL’S HEART.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ARCHANGEL’S VIPER is the tenth book in the Guild Hunter series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: Silver Silence

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Silver SilenceSilver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #1; Psy-Changeling, #16) by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #16, Psy-Changeling Trinity #1
Published by Berkley Books on June 13th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 464
Goodreads
five-stars

“Welcome to the Age of Trinity.”

“Even after all this time, Silver did not understand bears.”

FINAL DECISION:  Moving the action from San Francisco to Moscow, Singh kicks off the new “season” of the Psy-Changeling series with the compelling story of Silver Mercant, a powerful Psy woman, and the alpha bear shifter, Valentine who breaks through her silent walls.

THE STORY:  Silver Mercant is the uber effective assistant to the most dangerous man in the world and has also taken on being the coordinator for the new worldwide emergency response/humanitarian response group.  She has also acquired an admirer in Valentin Nikolaev, the Changeling Alpha of the StoneWater bear clan.  Valentin has been courting Silver for months — making sure to meet with her instead of her boss, leaving her food and appearing at her apartment unexpectedly.  When an attempt is made on Silver’s life, Valentin makes it his business to help protect Silver.  In a post-silence (aka a world where the intellectual Psy are allowed to feel emotion) Silver must decide whether to break her own Silence to embrace a potential relationship with her self-proclaimed “teddy bear.”

OPINION:  I approached this book with a bit of trepidation.  When an author puts out a book like ALLEGIANCE OF HONOR and specifically states that she is moving to a new stage in a beloved series with a new focus, a reader who loved the original series might be concerned.  I’m happy to report that while this book moves the series in new directions with the introduction of new characters (and changeling groups), this is still the Psy-Changeling series that I love.  And maybe a better version of itself.

“Something always seems to get broken when a group of bears is out to have a good time.”

I’m constantly amazed by the amount of detail and differentiation that Singh is able to create in her Psy-Changeling world.  For the first time, we get to meet the bear changelings in detail.  And, oh, what a wonderful group these are.  Cuddly, messy, outwardly and unabashedly emotional, partying.  These bears are different from the cats and wolves that the series was previously embedded with.  I love how Singh makes each of these changeling groups different and distinct from the other groups.  Each group has a different culture, a different history, a different set of value priorities and yet they remain unmistakably changeling in their attitudes.  I had thought that I would always love the cats the best, but these bears certainly made an impression on me.

Valentin is a different kind of alpha hero.  He is definitely a dominant and in control, but he is also sweeter and more outwardly romantic and emotional than the other alphas we have met.  (I didn’t think an alpha hero could beat the sexiness of Lucas Hunter, but Valentin certainly does).  He is strong and yet funny and has a soft heart that he is not afraid to show others.  He ends up being a surprisingly good match for the efficient and smart Silver.

Silver is as competent and complex as we have seen through the series.  She has a difficult journey in this book.  (Yes, I ended up crying about half way through). And I never expected where this book went. While this is not the first (or even second or third) Psy and Changeling pairing, Singh always manages to keep the journey of the particular romantic pairing separate and unique.  Silver and Valentin are not like any other couple we have seen in this series — and that is a beautiful thing.

Pairing a wonderful couple with a political thriller is old hat for this series.  But this book gives us new enemies and (perhaps) allies to get to know. A series that never rests on its laurels or gets repetitive, SILVER SILENCE is a winner on all levels: emotional, complex, funny, daring, intriguing and a beautiful testament to love and devotion.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The story has moved away from familiar stories in the San Francisco area that series readers are used to and yet this book exists in that world and doesn’t feel separate at all.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SILVER SILENCE is the first book in the new “season” of the Psy-Changeling series.  Known as the Trinity series, this book is connected to what went on in the previous 15 books in the Psy-Changeling series and yet really starts out in a new direction. New readers could start here and catch up fairly easily, but I don’t know why anyone would.  Start at the beginning of the Psy-Changeling series because this is one of the best series out there.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to be able to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: Archangel’s Heart

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Archangel’s HeartArchangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #9
Published by Berkley on November 1st 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“He was hers. She was his. And together, they were something far better than either one of them was alone.”

FINAL DECISION:  Goes deeper into Elena’s background in unexpected ways.  This book is a tightly drawn suspense story, political thriller and a very human story about surviving and rising above the past.  Plus, there is a very settled and sexy couple: Elena and Raphael.

THE STORY: This book continues the focus on guild hunter turned angel Elena and her archangel lover Raphael.  Things have been quiet since the disappearance of Lijuan, the Archangel of China (who also happens to be crazy dangerous).  A year has passed and because no one knows whether she lives or has withdrawn from the world and is sleeping, there is uncertainty.  An ancient order of angels called the Luminata calls the Cadre together to make a determination of what to do with Lijuan’s territory.

Attending the Luminata requires Raphael and Elena to travel near the place of her grandmother’s birth.  There, Raphael and Elena must deal with dangerous archangels, mysterious threats, strange events surrounding the Luminata. Elena also hopes to find out more about her past and that of her family.

OPINION: The Guild Hunter series returns to focus on Elena and Raphael.  I have to admit that I love the Elena and Raphael books most in the series.  This book, thankfully, doesn’t involve problems in the relationship between Elena and Raphael (that remains increasingly strong) but rather Elena’s own history.

This book continues the overarching series story regarding the Cascade, Lijuan and the possible end of the world.  While this book doesn’t have a romance as its organizing feature, it doesn’t need one.  This book delves into the adventure and politics of the Guild Hunter world — but reserves its emotional core for Elena’s discovery of her own family’s past.

There is a dark suspense story involving the Illuminata who are a mysterious addition to the series.  Elena ends up investigating what is going on with this mysterious group and their connection with her own family.  That story keeps the pace of this book quick and the pages turning.

While the suspense story keeps the books hopping, the theme explored in this book is about how the past makes us who we are and how one can overcome the pain of the past to go forward.  Multiple characters in the book have to deal with their past — the question is how will they respond.  This is most present in Aodhan who is recovering himself after years of separating himself from those he loves.  The events in this book challenge his recovery and he must make a choice.  The series has been an increasing interaction between those of Raphael’s world and Elena.  In this book, we see the developing relationship between Elena and Aodhan, which has its own contours.

Singh goes deep into the emotions of her characters and even as the events feel dark and dangerous, her characters possess a lightness and beauty that gives the book heart.  I always love reading Singh’s books because even when things seem bad for her characters, they maintain a likeability and a lightness of spirit that overcomes all the darkness.

The events of this series appear to be approaching a crescendo and this book provides a little breather that allows the exploration of character and relationships.  Elena finds out the truth about her mother’s family which has been shrouded in mystery.  I’m glad I didn’t know where this book was going because I enjoyed the resolution which provided a happy ending in an unexpected arena.

Without giving away the secrets of this book, I can say that this book is about survival and overcoming darkness.  So many characters express this theme and it leaves such a good feeling that I dread that more darkness is on the horizon for these characters.

For fans of the series, this book gives more background on the characters you love and gets everyone in the right place for the next stage in this series.  There are no new romances but much happens in this book that illuminates where the characters are now and where they have come from.

WORTH MENTIONING:  We learn more about Aodhan.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ARCHANGEL’S HEART is the ninth book in the Guild Hunter series.  This series builds upon each of the prior books in the series and thus should be read in order.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Wild Embrace

Review: Wild EmbraceWild Embrace (Psy-Changeling, #15.5) by Nalini Singh
Series: , , ,
Published by Berkley on August 23rd 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 400
Goodreads
four-half-stars

WILD EMBRACE consists of four novellas in the Psy-Changling series.  They vary in length and complexity and while none reach the quality of the awesome novels in the series, these novellas are a great introduction to the series or a wonderful chance for fans to revel in some secondary characters.  The events take place at various times in the Psy-Changling universe (although there is no reason to worry about the order unless you are hyper concerned about spoilers).

One of my favorite parts of reading a Nalini Singh series is that every portion, every moment, every characters feels exceedingly alive.  Singh proves it by regularly giving readers the additional content (much free to newsletter subscribers) that tells the stories of minor characters, gentle moments and funny slices of life.

In the novella ECHO OF SILENCE (which takes place after book 2 VISIONS OF HEAT), readers finally get the story of Stephen Berg, a Tk Psy and Tazia Nerif, the human woman with whom he falls in love.  Readers of the series might recall that subsequent to the events in this book, Stephen has been known to give romantic advice to Arrows.  This story takes place just as Silence is beginning to be challenged.  The romance is incredibly sweet and painful as the two are in danger if it is known that Stephen breaks Silence but he cannot love unless he does.  I thought this story was the best of the four (I love those Tks) as the story was complex and multilayered.

The short novella DORIAN (which takes place over a period of time ending after book 5 HOSTAGE TO PLEASURE) consists of vignettes in the life of Dorian.  Dorian is a leopard changeling who was latent and could not shift into his leopard form.  The vignettes start when Dorian is a child and take place at various times in Dorian’s life.  The final vignette happens after his mate is able to help him to successfully shift.  (We finally get to see other characters reactions to Dorian’s shift.  This novella adds some additional and welcome scenes to HOSTAGE TO PLEASURE.

In the novella PARTNERS IN PERSUASION (which takes place after book 11 TANGLE OF NEED), we get an unexpected pairing of a dominate female leopard changeling and a submissive male wolf changeling.  Felix is at his heart a gardener (aka the horticultural expert of the Snow Dancers) who has been hurt by his attraction to a dominate woman before.   Despite this, Felix is really, really attracted to Desiree.  I loved Felix who might be a submissive but is certainly no pushover and definitely proves that submissives can be dangerous when those they care about are threatened.  The careful navigation of Felix and Desiree’s relationship mirrors those which arose in DECLARATION OF COURTSHIP (which had a dominate male and submissive female changeling). Questions of consent and trust are artfully navigated here without the hero being a wimp.

The final novella, FLIRTATION OF FATE is the sometimes heartbreaking second chance at love story between Garnet (aka Jem) and Kenji, both Snow Dancer lieutenants.  The two grew up together and it seemed like they were fated to be together until Kenji broke Garnet’s heart on her twenty-first birthday by standing her up.  In the years since, the two have ignored one another and engaged in a combative flirtation.  The big question throughout this novella is why did Kenji break Garnet’s heart when he clearly loves her so much?  I had figured out the reason before the reveal but I loved how these two were unable to let one another go despite their best attempts.  I hope that we hear more about these two in the future because I would like to see that they have been able to work through their challenges. FLIRTATION OF FATE takes place at the end of HEART OF OBSIDIAN (book 12).

Overall Rating for book 4.5 stars.

 

four-half-stars

Review: Rock Wedding

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Rock WeddingRock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4) by Nalini Singh
Series: Rock Kiss #4
Published by Tka Distribution on July 19, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION:  As the final book in the Rock Kiss series, this book is a beautiful gift to fans of the series while also providing a compelling second chance at love story.

THE STORY:  Abe Bellamy and Sarah Smith’s marriage fell apart under the weight of Abe’s drug and alcohol problem.  Their relationship almost destroyed Sarah, but she has learned to live without Abe and has become more confident, more independent and more mature.  After finally achieving sobriety, Abe realizes that he alone was at fault for the end of his marriage and he wants the woman he loves back.  Sarah, however, doesn’t know if she wants to risk herself again with Abe.

OPINION:  ROCK WEDDING is truly a wedding bonanza with multiple weddings in the book.  Fans of the Rock Kiss series will be pleased.  ROCK WEDDING lives up its name as it has four rock weddings in it.  As the final book in the Rock Kiss series, this book is a beautiful gift to fans of the series while also providing a compelling second chance at love story.

Organized around the weddings of the other couples in the series.  Making the weddings of the other couples central to the story makes them not only a treat for fans but also a lens through which Abe and Sarah take stock of their relationship.  Serving as both reminder of their own broken marriage but also the promise of a new life together, the weddings serve as important tent poles in Abe and Sarah’s relationship along with giving series fans the joy of seeing their favorite couples married in their own unique ways.

Abe and Sarah have a rocky past to overcome.  Abe was mired in grief and drug and alcohol abuse during their marriage.  Unable to love Sarah as she deserved but unwilling to be apart from her, Abe made Sarah miserable until he broke her heart with his verbal abuse and forced her to leave him.  Sarah knows that she should not trust Abe again because he only endlessly disappointed her, but he now claims to be sober and know that she is the woman for him.

Abe is a recovering addict who used his addictions to hide his grief about the death of his baby sister. After losing his wife, he begins the long road to sobriety.  He now recognizes that he needs Sarah and that their breakup was his fault.  Now that she is free, he doesn’t intend to lose his chance with her.  I liked that Abe took complete responsibility for his actions.  It is often difficult to make an addict a hero but Singh has done a good job reforming Abe and the length of the time period covered by this book can give readers some security that Abe has turned the corner.

Sarah has completely changed since her marriage.  She wanted her marriage to succeed so much and believed herself so unimportant that she allowed herself to be completely malleable.  Once her marriage was over she allowed herself to be swept up in another relationship that she really didn’t want.  But then she began to become her own person.  She opened her own business and began to use the strength that allowed her to survive her difficult childhood.  I love that she no longer takes any gruff from Abe.  I loved her sweet vulnerable character with a spine of steel.

This couple is hot together as is true of all the couples of this series.  Plenty of really sizzling sex scenes that are always accompanied by an emotional component that makes them relevant.

I give this book an extra credit because I love that all the couples of the series are involved in Abe and Sarah’s journey.  It’s like one of those great summary epilogues but expanded into a giant buffet of goodies for fans.

This book was so good that I immediately went to each of the other books in the series to read my favorite parts and I completely re-read the first book in the series ROCK ADDICTION to remind myself of how far these characters have traveled.

I’m going to miss these characters (although Singh has promised a spin off series about Gabriel Bishop’s brothers) but I am thrilled that they got such a great send off.

WORTH MENTIONING: A bit of a spoiler for those who might have sensitivities as ROCK WEDDING discusses the aftermath of a miscarriage and stillbirth.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ROCK WEDDING is the fourth book in the Rock Kiss series.  It can be read as a standalone although Abe and Sarah’s story is mentioned throughout the series and various characters from the series make significant appearances here.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Archangel’s Heart Cover Reveal

by Nalini Singh
Genres: Paranormal

Simply gorgeous cover for the next book in the Guild Hunter series!  I’m especially excited that this book focuses again on Raphael and Elena.  How amazing does Elena look here?

Archangels Heart Cover

Archangel’s Heart is the 9th book in the

Guild Hunter

Archangel’s Heart releases November 1st!

Now Available for Pre-order HERE: http://bit.ly/28P4Qel

Add it to your TBR: http://bit.ly/GoodreadsArchangelsHeart

Blurb

One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Author Information

nalini Singh

Nalini Singh is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. She lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing.

If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts and free short stories on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. The Rock Kiss books are all stand alone and can be read in any order.

STALK HER:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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