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review 2020-06-08 01:51
Review: Alpha Night by Nalini Singh
Alpha Night - Nalini Singh

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

 

There is simply no series like Psy-Changeling/Psy-Changeling Trinity. Nalini Singh has created such a vast, complex, unique, wholly addictive world filled with memorable, endearing characters that every time I start one of the books I know I’m in for a treat. Alpha Night is no exception. I was so hooked by Selenka and Ethan’s story that I stayed up until I couldn’t keep my eyes open, only to finish the book once I woke up in the morning.

Selenka Durev is the alpha of the BlackEdge wolf pack. She’s strong, disciplined, and deeply caring in a way only an alpha can be. She was raised by loving grandparents, but carries emotional wounds from her parents’ actions. Ethan Night is an Arrow raised in darkness. Ethan was held captive by a ruthless Psy Councilor since childhood and even though he has been freed and joined the Arrow squad, he still lives in a grey fog, detached and unfeeling. That is, until he runs into Selenka and the mating bond crashes through them both almost instantly.

Mating at first sight is the stuff of fairytales and soap operas. Yet somehow it happened and Selenka is fascinated by the sexy, remote Psy who calls to her like no one else ever has. And Ethan is equally taken with the stunning and strong alpha who awakens something in him he’s been searching for. I wasn’t sure when I began the book how I’d like the concept of mating at first sight, but I never should have doubted Ms. Singh. Ethan and Selenka’s connection is electric – bold and jagged and beautiful from the start. I loved how they came together, how the instant mating played out and the reasons behind it. Selenka and Ethan were so perfectly suited and had such fantastic chemistry that I was swept away by their love story – it’s both sexy and heartwarming. Their bond helps Ethan’s true nature come out: the protector, the giver, the deeply wounded man with a kind heart. He and Selenka are lethal predators, but the balance with how warm and loving they are endeared them to me.

However, just because it’s clear Ethan and Selenka are perfect together doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing for them. Ethan is convinced he’s damaged and there’s a surging power in him he’s holding back, a howling madness he’s sure will turn him into a destructive force of nature. I loved watching the layers of Ethan’s character and powers be revealed throughout the course of the story. The proverbial ticking time bomb in his head added intensity, as did the danger from outside BlackEdge he and Selenka faced. BlackEdge is facing a threat, but there’s another, far more deadly threat on the PsyNet. I can’t say much about either of these plotlines for fear of spoiling the story. The damage to the PsyNet is an ongoing storyline and watching beloved characters exhaust themselves and make hard choices to save the Psy both breaks my heart and has me hooked. And though Alpha Night doesn’t end on a cliffhanger in terms of the romance, the ending definitely had me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happens to the Psy.

Alpha Night is the fourth book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series and fans of both this series and the original Psy-Changeling books will be delighted to revisit some of their favorite characters as well as learn more about the wonderful BlackEdge pack. Selenka and Ethan’s romance stands alone, but to fully enjoy the book I highly recommend being familiar with the world and having read the previous Psy-Changeling Trinity book, Wolf Rain, before starting this one. I loved every bit of Alpha Night. Nalini Singh continues to deliver strong, well-drawn, endearing characters and expands her world in fascinating ways. I cannot wait to see what she does next!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2020/06/review-alpha-night-by-nalini-singh.html
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review 2020-04-22 18:47
Love Hard by Nalini Singh
Love Hard - Nalini Singh

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Juliet and Jacob knew each other in highschool but only tolerated each other for the sake of Calypso, Juliet's bestfriend and Jacob's girlfriend. When mutual friends bring them back together, Jacob is a now a single father and Juliet has managed to become vice president of a lingerie company. They get thrown even more together when Jacob's celebrity as a star Rugby player has him modeling for Juliet's company.
These two still rub each other the wrong way but now the friction is starting to cause sparks.

Love Hard is third in the Hard Play series but also has a strong connection to Rock Hard from the Rock Kiss series. The first 20% of this story deals heavily with the wedding between Gabriel and Charlotte (Rock Hard), Jacob is a groomsman in the wedding because Gabriel is his brother and Juliet is a bridesmaid because of her friendship with Charlotte. I've read Rock Hard and absolutely loved it, so I delighted at revisiting this couple but the focus even started to get a bit long for me, I'm not sure how new readers to both series would feel about all the characters that they would have no prior connection to. This could be read as a standalone but you'd miss emotional connections to characters that could dampen some enjoyment.

Jake “Golden Boy” Esera and Juliet “Bad Influence” Nelisi? Nope. Nope. Triple extra nope.

There is little flashback to Jake and Jules in highschool but the author does it right by just having our characters think back and discuss their relationship back then and reminisce sweetly about Calypso. Calypso was the mother of Jake's little girl, they had her in their teens and Calypso ended up getting a bacterial meningitis infection and passing away soon after giving birth. There was absolutely no romantic feelings between Jake and Jules when they were in highschool and the way the author had them growing close and developing attraction in the present was done perfect. They already have an emotional connection because of their mutual love of Calypso and I love how that brought them together instead of worried angst to keep them apart.

I also liked how the author developed Jake's character, Jules knew him to be a pretty straight and narrow guy in highschool while she pushed the boundaries because she didn't have a caring home environment. Jake comes from an extremely loving and supportive family and Calypso's death makes him want to become even more of a control freak but because of therapy and his support system, he recognizes that about himself and actively checks his impulses. Jules lost her parents young, spent time with an uncaring aunt only to be moved in with grandparents that put their issues with her parents on her for the majority of her young life. These character foundational developments clearly showed why Jake was sweetly more open at times and why Jules kept her walls up more.

That night she dreamed of tracing the coils and shapes of his tattoo with her tongue, fantasized about licking sweat from his skin after a hard game of rugby, and woke at midnight to the impression of his strong body pinning her to the bed while he smiled down at her. “Oh hell.”Juliet was in trouble.

I loved these two together, they had a great ease to how their characters flowed together and delicious heat to their tension. The story did at times though, butt them out too much as the focus went on the great Esera-Bishop family members; their greatness can eclipse. I did enjoy the slight drama that came from Juliet's ex-husband and how that tied in threads of how Juliet didn't want to get involved with another sports athlete and allowed to show Jake's caring and protective side, he was seriously sexy in how he treated and supported Jules through it all.

They might’ve scratched the itch, but in doing so had turned it into a chronic ailment— because now they knew how good it could be between them.

This book had sections that I loved sinking into and others that dragged but Jules and Jake were characters that I enjoyed separately and together. The time that Jules let Jake know how his supportive family made it easier for him to be the more open person and the way Jake supported Jules but ultimately let her make her own decisions, made the romance flourish in the story. I also liked how they couldn't battle their sexual heat anymore, came to an agreement to scratch the itch once to get it out of their system, but didn't drag out the stubbornness on adhering to that when after they slept together, they both admitted to themselves and each other there was deeper feelings involved. Singh always does a great job on making characters feel real, the little additive of Jake not being a morning person and Jules delighting over that because he showed a normally hidden grumpy side was enchanting. If you're looking to immerse yourself in a big loving family, the Esera-Bishop clan, and their friends, is well worth reading about as Singh delivers on the emotions and love.

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text 2020-04-19 19:07
Reading Update: Page 1
Love Hard - Nalini Singh

Sunday sugar ;)

 

Stay safe, healthy, and well read my friends!

 

Love Hard by Nalini Singh purchase link

 

Homemade Gumdrops recipe

Fun treat, mine took 14hrs to dry

 

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review 2020-04-05 13:57
Slave to Sensation
Slave to Sensation - Nalini Singh

by Nalini Singh

 

This is a science fiction Romance, set in the future where people with psychic abilities are conditioned not to feel emotion and are put into key positions in society and government. It's a highly controlled society in a dystopian fashion where a Psy who deviates from their conditioning is likely to be put into 'rehabilitation' that amounts to a prison camp and lobotomy-like treatment.

 

Against this landscape we have Sascha Duncan, a Psy who has somehow not absorbed her conditioning and who lives in constant fear and self-control, masking her emotions even against other Psy, including her own mother who might well turn her in if she knew.

 

Another, very different society exists outside of the repressed city. The changelings are part animal, tribal and have different factions. Negotiating a building contract on changeling land brings Sascha into contact with a sensual alpha changeling whom she reacts to in ways she must keep hidden or risk rehabilitation at the hands of her own people.

 

Lucas, the alpha, is also confused by Sascha's occasional slips of instinct and reaction that shouldn't be possible for a Psy. He becomes fascinated with her and considers it a challenge to try to seduce her.

 

One thing that spoiled this rather interesting story for me is that it slips into graphic descriptions of sexual acts. The sensuality of the story is one of its strengths, but about a third of the way through I started wondering why I was reading something that sounded like it had been written by a male porn writer rather than a female Romance author. She gets her pleasure from pleasuring him? Really?

 

There were only a couple of sex scenes that were more graphic than I want to read and conversely the story misses out telling us when they first have full sex, but I still felt those scenes were unnecessary to the story. I'm not a prude and it isn't just that I don't want to watch someone else (fictional or not) having sex, but taking it there changes a sensual, borderline beastiality fantasy into something too close to human reality and the dominant male aspect of Lucas is a turn-off. It works for a panther, but is too domineering for a man in my world.

 

I wish Romance authors would work out a system of rating or warnings so that unwary readers don't have to stumble into porn passages. I would read more of the genre then, like I used to in high school. I constantly see young or religious readers seeking out lists of "clean" Romances, so why do so many cross over with porn these days?

 

Enough ranting. The story itself is very interesting and I think has a basically science fiction structure, which was the appeal for me. The dynamics between the lead characters is well done. Secondary characters don't develop as much, but that can be forgiven. The plotting does have some weaknesses and towards the end, the struggle to balance Lucas' domineering nature with caring aspects of his personality doesn't work as well as intended.

 

Still, I did enjoy the story for the most part and thought the world building was very imaginative. I do think I'll go back to avoiding stories about "alpha" males though. It's just not my thing. Lucas might be exciting for a tumble but I couldn't live in a situation where a pushy alpha male thought he had the right to tell me what to do or not to do.

 

The biggest weakness of the story is what should have been a suspenseful action climax, but was just glossed over and referred to after the fact. Despite that, an emotional aspect of the aftermath did make me tear up, which is rare for me.

 

Overall my opinion is that Singh writes emotion well, but she doesn't really do action. Her plotting could do with a more solid outline but her skill for exposition is well above average and I'd love to see her write straight-forward SFF, as mish-mashing it with erotic Romance weakens the overall story. I'm not planning to continue the series, but I'll keep an eye on what the author does in future.

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review 2020-01-24 01:32
A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh
A Madness of Sunshine - Nalini Singh

4.7 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Anahera is going back to her hometown, a place that she never wanted to return to but somehow finds she needs the comfort of. While there, Miriama, a young beautiful girl disappears while out jogging and Anahera finds herself helping the new town cop, Will, uncover the secrets of Golden Cove and it's residents.

She returned home two hundred and seventeen days after burying her husband while his pregnant mistress sobbed so hard that she made herself sick.

In this standalone, Singh has written an intoxicating mystery suspense. The writing was smooth in a way that sucked me in and wouldn't let me go; I was lost in the beautifully dark atmosphere. Readers are pulled in with the character of Anahera, a woman who grew-up in Golden Cove. Her father was an abusive alcoholic who her mother didn't kick out until he began to turn his abuse on Anahera. While she still has friends that live in Golden Cove, it's not a place of happy memories for her. The background Singh creates for Anahera, abusive father, widowhood that surprises her with a husband who cheated on her, and a miscarriage, all perfectly shapes the character we see on the pages, steely contained, strong, and heartfelt willing.

“Everyone has secrets,” he repeated after completing the maneuver. “It's often the people who look like they have no secrets at all who turn out to have the biggest ones.”

While we're led into the story by Anahera, she gives us the lay of the land and townspeople, the emotional aspect, the new town cop Will leads the technical, murder mystery part that takes over the middle of the story. As a reader, I was emotionally locked in the story because of how Singh quickly and thoroughly created a web spun with the townspeople from Anahera's experiences and feelings about them. This made me eager to follow along with Will as he gathered evidence and tries to piece together the how and why about Miriama's disappearance. While I didn't connect as much with Will, he had his own layered backstory of how he ended up in Golden Cove and gave credence to his feelings and actions. The focus of the story is the mystery of Miriama's disappearance but for those looking for it, the bonding relationship that develops between Anahera and Will, infuses the story with a slow burn romance.

That was the thing with this town---the way the gossip flowed, you'd think you knew everything. But there were secrets here, a thick tide of lava beneath the surface.

Along with the atmosphere and emotions evoked, the details that Singh includes made this story a cut above for me. How Will goes about the investigation and the facts and alluding he finds or is told along the way kept my eyes on everyone. When Will finds out that three woman hikers disappeared from the Golden Cove area fourteen years ago too, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. If you weren't feeling the atmosphere as much as I, I could see how the middle could drag a touch, as there might be considered one too many red-herring dancing to and away reasons given out. I also thought the villain(s) reveal started to creep into info dump reveal as it went on a beat too long. The ending also felt abrupt but it could be me just not wanting to say goodbye to these characters. A Madness of Sunshine was a small town mystery suspense that showcased the good, bad, and ugly of a small New Zealand town while chilling me to the soul at times and at others, having me smile through the tears.

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