Review: Storm Echo

Review: Storm EchoStorm Echo (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #6; Psy-Changeling, #21) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on August 9, 2022
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 384

FINAL DECISION: I loved this book. Although the emotional story between these two characters was more straightforward than others in this series, I adored Lei and Ivan and their relationship. The book didn’t go in the direction I expected so I sped through the pages and finished the last page satisfied and interested in the future.

THE STORY: Ivan Mercant has kept himself separate from his dangerous family and everyone else because he knows that his brain contains a monster that threatens others. But then he meets a changeling named Lei that changes him. But as quickly as she comes into his life, she is gone. Ivan searches unsuccessfully for her until he sees her in San Francisco. Soleil Bijoux Garcia is a healer who is alone. While on her quest to kill the DarkRiver alpha, she sees a stranger who seems familiar to her.

OPINION: I began reading this book intending to read it slowly over several days. Instead, I read it cover to cover in one rush. Singh gave new twists on the characters of the Psy assassin and the Changeling healer. I thought that the drama of their separation would be the center of the book, but instead, there is great gentleness between these two, and the real drama ends up being external factors.

I knew I would love this book once I realized that we had returned to DarkRiver. As much as I have enjoyed the expanding Psy-Changeling work, I admit that DarkRiver is a joy to see again. Appearances and updates on beloved characters increased my enjoyment of this book. The Psy-Changeling series always works best when it is grounded in the community of all the characters we have already met. Singh does community so well, and none of these appearances seem gratuitous, but each of these characters has a part to play in the world drama.

With these characters, I enjoyed that Singh did not plow the same storyline she has before with Psy and Changeling combinations. Ivan and Lei have different quirks, fears and challenges. Lei is a healer and reaches out, but she also has been deeply hurt by her past. Like many of the healers, she has a different type of strength but also great vulnerability. Her handling of Ivan is just about perfect. She’s not putting up with his BS in this book. In this relationship, she is not vulnerable and hurt but relatively intense and determined. I really adored Ivan because he is relatively vulnerable in this relationship. He needs care and tending and Lei is so wonderful in this regard. Just everything in their relationship worked for me.

WORTH MENTIONING: We get to learn more about the Architect.

CONNECTED BOOKS: STORM ECHO is the sixth book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. The romance is self-contained, but the overarching story goes throughout the Trinity series. Do yourself a favor and just start at the beginning of Trinity. This book is also book 21 in the Psy-Changeling series if you want to start at the real beginning.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

Review: Last Guard

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: Last GuardLast Guard (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #5; Psy-Changeling, #20) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on July 20, 2021
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 384


FINAL DECISION: Singh does “damaged” heroes and heroines better than almost anyone. How two people who to the world (and themselves) appear different find the person who brings wholeness and acceptance to one another. Combining the ongoing drama of the overarching storyline with the deeply personal connection between these two made this an immensely satisfying read.

THE STORY: Canto Mercant, mysterious and fiercely loyal, approaches the cold and dangerous Payal Rao about the collapse of the PsyNet. In joining forces, the two also confront their own pasts and the weaknesses of mind and body. Canto has remained a hidden part of the Mercant family, rejected by his own father, as his spinal injury communicated imperfection and weakness during Silence. Now that Silence has fallen, the “imperfect” must be brought out of the shadows.

OPINION: The inclusiveness of Singh’s Psy-Changeling world always takes my breath away — optimistic and never heavy-handed, the world is deeply imperfect but there are good people working to correct the flaws. (At the same time, there are plenty of evil forces out to create chaos).

I loved the sweet and fierce relationship between Canto and Payal. The deep acceptance between them. While there have been similar relationships between “broken” people, this one has its own unique qualities that have echoes of other stories but is also quite different. Different challenges, different personalities. Each couple approaches their challenges in different ways which keep these stories fresh and interesting.

The story builds upon the prior stories in the Psy-Changeling universe in new ways raising new challenges to the world. At this point in the series, I wonder how Singh will possibly be able to resolve all these issues, but I have faith because Singh so beautifully gathered the strands in the first “season” of the Psy-Changeling world.

Canto is one of my favorite heroes now. He’s got his own quirks, but his intense loyalty to Payal and his willingness to serve as Payal’s “knight” and let her shine may be a precursor of the female “alphas” whose stories are yet to be told.

WORTH MENTIONING: Lots of cameos from characters from the Psy-Changeling & Trinity series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: LAST GUARD is the fifth book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. The Trinity series is a direct spin-off of the Psy-Changeling series and thus this book can also be considered the twentieth book in that series. The romance here is self-contained, but the overarching plot is a continuation of the story in the Trinity series and is much better when read at least as part of the Trinity series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

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



Review: Alpha Night

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: Alpha NightAlpha Night (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #4; Psy-Changeling, #19) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on June 9, 2020
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 368

FINAL DECISION: A fast-paced, action packed entry in the series. I was amazed by the end to realize that only a few days had passed. Loved the alpha heroine queen and her devoted knight. The only negative is that is hard getting to know another changeling group. Hopefully, we will have all the main characters of the Trinity series soon so that every book is not a new group.

THE STORY: Selenka Durev is an alpha wolf who meets Arrow Ethan Night and instantly knows that he is her mate. Selenka’s pack is in danger as the Architect continues to make plans to disrupt the fragile peace of the Trinity Accord and build an empire for herself. Ethan believes himself damaged and operating on borrowed time before his mind becomes a weapon that must be destroyed. An mating between two strangers who have both been betrayed is difficult. There is something different about Ethan that the two must investigate while getting to know one another.

OPINION: Enjoyable entry in the Trinity series. This was an interesting combination of personalities. Selenka and Ethan were definitely not what I was expecting. Having a female alpha changeling was great with different issues. I especially liked that Selenka is definitely just as ruthless as an alpha as Lucas and Hawke but gives the alpha role a different twist. (Valentin is the softie of the group — but bears). Ethan is a different Arrow than what we have seen before as well. Singh is expanding and breaking her own constructs which only makes this series more compelling and complex with every book.

Ethan’s condition kept me interested to the end and I was not expecting what the resolution was. It was surprising and yet completely obvious once I knew the ending. Singh did a great job planting clues and yet not giving the game away.

My only slight disappointment/complaint is that once again we are introduced to another new group — BlackEdge. I’m hoping that now that we have three packs, the books will begin to explore more deeply the characters and dynamics we have already been introduced to. Much of each of these books in the Trinity series has to take time to introduce the particular dynamics and characters which is understandable but keeps this spin-off series from really rising to the levels of the original. Let’s have some more BlackEdge, BlackSea or StoneWater characters!

WORTH MENTIONING: There are some cameo appearances by beloved characters from the original cast, but they are only cameos.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ALPHA NIGHT is the fourth book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series. It is also the nineteenth book in the Psy-Changeling series. A reader could pick up the series at the start of the Trinity series. While the story here is mostly self-contained and the romance is completely self-contained, there is so much world-building and background that a newcomer to the series might spend a lot of time trying to catch up.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

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


Review: Wolf Rain

Review: Wolf RainWolf Rain (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #3; Psy-Changeling, #18) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on June 4, 2019
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 416

FINAL DECISION: At times painful and sad but ultimately redeeming and powerful, Memory and Alexei take readers back to SnowDancer and many beloved characters, but new things are awakening in the Psy-Changeling world.

THE STORY: Memory has been held by a man who sought to control her psychic abilities. When she is rescued by an ill tempered wolf changeling, he labels her an empath, but Memory knows that she is no empath as her power is dark and dangerous. Alexei has been keeping an emotional distance from his pack, but a tough but vulnerable woman opens him up to emotions that he doesn’t want to have. But his desire to help the vulnerable takes him on a journey to help solve the questions around Memory.

OPINION: This book had a different feel that others in this series. This felt like a suspense or mystery book at times with lots of questions and various suspects sprinkled throughout. Indeed, the book starts out with a mysterious woman and then Alexei meets her and the two are off.

Memory is a woman who discovers herself through the story. She had the possibility of being seriously damaged and allowing herself to be beaten. Instead, she emerges from her trauma as a woman determined to be her own person. I loved her story because she is a testament to strength and will. I found her to be a worthy match for one of those difficult wolves.

Alexei is a man who has been faced with too many shocks and disappointments. He functions, but is pretty broken when this book begins. He feels like he has lost any possibility for a future because of his destiny. Yet he manages to contribute to his pack. And that his the amazing thing about Alexei — he is steady and dependable even in the midst of his personal crisis.

So as the book begins Memory and Alexei are both facing an uncertain future and a past that haunts and perhaps controls them. There is also deep questions about destiny and free will — are these characters destined for unhappy endings or can they control their own fate and make their own futures?

One of the things I love most about Singh’s Psy-Changeling series is that the books always take these characters as part of a bigger world. And these characters sit right in the middle of the original Psy-Changeling world of DarkRiver and SnowDancer. Thus, there are plenty of updates on beloved characters which makes this book a welcome surprise.

Yet things are changing in the Psy-Changeling world. New dangers are appearing and we certainly get to know more about what is happening in the Psy-Changeling world. But the book always tilts towards telling the story of the characters and this book just made me happy. There is sadness and darkness, but I loved that we end up in a place of hope and happiness.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are plenty of appearances by characters from the original series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WOLF RAIN is the eighteenth book in the Psy-Changeling series and the third book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. The romance here is self-contained, but the series has ongoing conflicts and characters which cross the series so I think this is better read as part of the series (at least the Trinity series).

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 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

“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.


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

“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.