Tag Archives: Nalini Singh

In for a Penny – What I Have Been Listening To

THE CURSE OF THE FOURTH BOOK

I am still deeply immersed in the Psy-Changeling universe. As I won’t be finished with my current graphic arts projects until the end of next month, if I continue as I have been I might manage to listen to the sweeping series in its entirety. However, there is the curse of fourth book to be considered. Keep in mind this is not a real phenomena unless you are well… me. For some reason I wash out of most book series around book four.

Where there is no emotion, there is no need for violence.” – Spock

STSIn Slave to Sensation, the reader is introduced into a truly unique world, not quite dystopian, nor paranormal or even speculative fiction but a chimera of them all with a scorching, passionate romantic core coupled with a wide arching mystery. Earth in the late 21st century is populated by three “races“, the Psy, Changeling and Humans. The Psy (psychic) are completely cerebral, making Star Trek’s Vulcans look like hysterics in comparison. This is due to the “silence protocol” in 1979 the psy race adopted “silence” eradicating all emotion. Offenders are ruthlessly rehabilitated – translation left a drooling shell of their former selves. The Changelings live separate from the Psy in harmony with nature if not with the other packs.


SYNOPSIS – In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.


In my typical fashion when on a reading bender I dove immediately into Visions of Heat and enjoyed it more than I remembered from my first go round. There was just something about the story of the F-Psy Faith Nightstar and the adopted jaguar Vaughan from Lucas’ Snow Dancer pack that appealed to my sci-fi loving heart.

Caressed by iceWhen I first discovered this series I immediately devoured the first three novels in rapid succession and of them all my favourite by far was the third Caressed by Ice. Unlike the first two novels, featuring the relationship between Changeling men from the Snow Dancer leopard pack and women from the Psy, Caressed by Ice follows the Dark River wolves and their adopted Psy family, the Laurens. After the suicide of Judd Lauren’s sister, the entire family was slated for “rehabilitation” rather than submit they escaped to the uncertain safety of shelter with the Changelings, assuming they didn’t kill them outright. Instead of a certain death, the Dark River wolves offered the family sanctuary within their ranks if not true acceptance.

Judd Lauren was a former member of the shadowy death squad knows as the Arrows. Brenna Kincaid is the last changeling he should have anything to do with, the sole survivor of a Psy serial killer’s rampage is strangely drawn to the seemingly emotionless Psy. Even after multiple readings Caressed by Ice remains my favorite. When I started Mine to Possess I thought this time the “fourth book” wouldn’t be an issue. I was so wrong, not to put too fine a point on it Tallie got on my last nerve and ultimately I simply didn’t care enough about Clay to persevere. Perhaps it would have improved as I only got about 15-20% in before I tapped out but unlike the heroines in all the novels I have read by Singh before she was the only one who came off as whiny and even worse weak. By contrast Brenna was tortured at length by a murderer and even though she was forever marked by the experience she never seemed small and mean spirited as Tallie did in her initial exchanges with Clay.

Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling universe defies many of my previously established reading edicts, a lack of interest in series featuring a large number of varying characters, reading out of order and most shocking of all reading beyond the fourth book. Somehow this incredibly talented author has managed to create a series that one can read in one sitting without diminishing the reader’s interest in what happens not only to the characters within the individual story but those who have gone before and those to come. In doing so Singh has effortlessly caught and retained my attention despite the hiccup of the fourth book. I adored Hostage to Pleasure and am enjoying Branded by Fire so much, it may unseat Caressed by Ice as my all time favourite.

Jaguar1In the meantime as I read I will continue to ponder what exactly is the difference between leopards and jaguars? What a leopard-wolf hybrid would look like and if the real reason I  washed out of the fourth book is because I am bigoted against humans?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nalini-Singh1I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated frequently).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

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A Penny for Them – What To Read Next

do-androids-dream-of-electric-sheep-omnibus-cover-by-jay-shawWhat I read at any given time varies widely depending on my mood, which can be difficult for reviewing purposes. But that is beside the point sometimes I get fixated on an author and I don’t want to read anything but their stuff and then other times I am figuratively wandering around the kitchen thinking “I’m hungry, but I don’t know what I want to eat!” Isn’t that the absolute worst feeling? I don’t know if it is the weather or some other conditioned response but I seem to gravitate towards sci-fi/fantasy in the first months of the year, perhaps it is the same reason Blade Runner is the go to movie on New Year’s Eve?

Regardless, I am fortunate to be able to do my day job AND listen to audiobooks (at the same time) and as such the availability thereof at my local library also impacts what I happen to be read/listening to at any given time. The latest Nalini Singh happened to be available at the library and even though I had only read a few of the epic Psy-Changelings series the synopsis of Shards of Hope intrigued me enough to break with my typical reading protocol and not read each and every installment before reaching the fourteenth entry in this massive series. I was not disappointed. In fact I was inspired to read the whole thing to catch up with the characters who I had missed.

RECENTLY COMPLETED

Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling #14) – Nalini Singh

SOHAwakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira. 

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My Two Cents Worth – From it’s Saw-like beginning to the perfectly satisfying ending Shards of Hope proves that Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling universe is still uniquely fresh and entertaining in a genre that can be more than a little rote and trite in the wrong hands.

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Enamor (Hearts of Stone #1) – Veronica Larsen

The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there’s one to begin with. Here’s mine. My new roommate is a conceited, womanizing jerk. He pushes my buttons and drives me so crazy I want to strangle him daily.
There’s a million reasons why I should stay far away from him, the most obvious of which being that I hate him with the fire of a thousand suns.
Except that I don’t hate him.
It’s a reckless game we’re playing, treading the edge of an attraction so intense it might as well be a grenade.

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My Two Cents Worth – Enamor started of slowly in my opinion but once the story got it’s hooks into me I was all in. While there was some angst in this N/A, what set it apart was the exquisitely depicted romance between Julia and Giles. If anything their affair was the anti-thesis of “love at first sight”. I will definitely read the rest of this series.

I’ll Meet You There – Heather Demetrios

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straight edge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

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My Two Cents Worth  – Last but not least was another excellent read, I don’t have much else to add to other than Ms Demetrios is a fantastic writer and I recommend this one to well pretty much everyone. It goes on the short list of books that made me cry and I pride myself on being a stoic reader and not resorting to water works for anything less than the best.

CURRENTLY READING

I was left with a bit of a reading hangover following the one-two punch of Enamor and I’ll Meet You There and wasn’t sure what to follow up those excellent novels with. While I am still flirting with the idea of reading Emma Chase’s next entry in the Tangled series I started to get over stimulated and had to abandon that idea in favour of reading it rather than listening… boundary issues you know? I was left with no other choice than to dig down in my e-reader and see what treasures I could unearth.

Frigid (Frigid #1) -J. Lynn/Jennifer L. Armentrout

FrigidFor twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn’t anything new. They’d been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the ‘man’ in man-whore. He’s never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn’t want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she’s perfect and she’s everything. But the feelings he has for her, he’s always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they’re stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor’easter, there’s nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

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My Two Cents Worth – My only complaint so far is why oh why would this young man insist in going around in winter as evidenced by the cover in a jacket WITH NO SHIRT!?!? But I assume I am just too old to understand.