After one failed Marriage of Convenvience—her husband wanted to kill her—that ended in a honeymoon at Rainshadow Island, Alice North knows better than...moreAfter one failed Marriage of Convenvience—her husband wanted to kill her—that ended in a honeymoon at Rainshadow Island, Alice North knows better than to enter into one more MC.
So what the heck is she doing married to Drake Sebastian (it's just an MC, mind you) and honeymooning on Rainshadow Island again?
For me, this was the best in the Rainshadow series. And I'm not even exactly sure why that is. Everything just clicked. But what I liked most about it, was the heroine 'knowing her place'. Sure, the story was supposedly about her, like all the stories set on the world of Harmony are supposedly about their heroines, but Alice was pretty comfortable with her role of box-jumper to her mighty Magician. Yes, I liked that about her. She wasn't a remarkable heroine, she could handle herself when need arose, but she didn't push her luck. She knew well where her limits were and didn't gripe about letting her hero take the reins. When that happens the heroines usually get annoying for me, but Alice thankfully escaped that 'curse'.
Now, the hero. Oh, the hero. As said before, this books are supposedly about the heroines, but their heroes always steal the spotlight where I'm concerned. And I couldn't be happier about it. I love Kretnz/Quick/Castle heroes. There's just something about them that lets the reader know that they don't exactly want to be in the limelight, but they're willing to bite that proverbial bullet to get the job done. And Drake Sebastian was the prime example of that hero-credo. You know, those heroes that try to appear unassuming and bland, but deep down you know there's a beast deep down that just waiting to pounce. Oooh, shivers down my spine. I loved the guy. He was sexy, funny, dangerous, protective, possessive, a little self-deprecating at times, and not allowing the minor handicap of being day-blind get in his way.
Overall, this was another good effort from Ms. Castle, keeping the Harmony world alive and intriguing. The pacing was good, the plot pretty tight, the characters interesting, the villain twisted (boy, was the villain twisted), the suspense riveting, but what really got to me in this book, beside the hero that is, was the descriptions of the island shrouded in the psi-infused fog. The descriptions of the night scenes on Rainshadow Island were chilling. Loved them.
I couldn’t resist and had to dive into this one as soon as I finished Tangle of Need. The last two pages were too much an ince...more***a little spoilery***
I couldn’t resist and had to dive into this one as soon as I finished Tangle of Need. The last two pages were too much an incentive. ;) There’s no way in all that’s holy or non that I’d be able to write an adequate review for Kaleb’s book, but I’ll give it a shot.
This was the darkest book in the series so far, a metaphor, perhaps, of the darkness that the Psy as a race reached adhering so strictly to the Silence protocol. But in the end we glimpsed that light at the end of the tunnel (the Dawn) both for Kaleb and the Psy.
Now, concentrating on Kaleb, the driving force of the story and one that’s pretty much had a hand in everything that’s happened so far, I glimpsed that possibility of a light to his darkness almost from the get-go, when there was the first mention of him searching for someone. It was either a mortal enemy or a woman, and I prayed for the latter. Needless to say, my wish has been granted.
Yet, at the beginning of this story and thanks to the darkness that’s enveloped Kaleb ever since he’s become an important character in the series, I also had no doubt that that ‘light’ would need to be a fearsome blaze, a million-watt beacon, to be able to bring him back from the brink, redeem him in a way. And, obviously since he’s her creation, Ms. Singh knew that as well, and acted accordingly in creating Sahara.
Though with Kaleb as the ‘hero’ of the book, everybody else had no choice but take the backseat to the guy—he’s a force of Nature, bursting with energy (and not in a fluffy commercial bunny sort of way, but in a murderous tidal wave kind of way), cool, aloof, icy, his power vast and unfathomable, his determination an entity of its own, Silent on the surface, but what’s underneath is anything but Silent. Rage, thirst for vengeance, disgust at himself...and the most powerful emotion of them all—love. Love for one woman that’s keeping him leashed, trembling at the edge of the precipice, preventing him from turning into a monster. Kaleb is only the second Psy that featured as the ‘hero’ in this series (coincidence that they were both Tks?), and even though I’d love one of those ‘I heart Judd’ pins, I’m currently in the ‘I heart Kaleb’ camp. Sure, the guy was a (borderline) sociopath, a (budding) psychopath, and I don’t know how many –paths more, but there’s just something about a guy that’s willing to destroy his entire race, maybe the entire world, for one woman. Yes, those are the rules of Romancelandia, and I love those rules. I mean, wouldn’t you melt if I guy told you he only needed a word from you and everything could go kaboom? Okay, how about a guy that makes the earth move, literally, when he has you in his arms?
I thought reading about Judd and Brenna’s intimate skin-privileges was hot, with Judd having to be beyond exhausted (psychically) to be able to mattress dance with his mate without destroying everything around them. Kaleb cannot get psychically exhausted. There are just those obsidian shields of his and even those don’t offer full protection. His control over his abilities is beyond tight, but it cracks like china with that one woman. The power she wields over him is enormous, even she has (or has she?) no clue as to how much power she has, but Sahara, with her compassion, her empathy, her big heart, and soft soul, would never abuse that power, because it would mean using Kaleb, hurting Kaleb, and she would never do something like that. She’d exact her own kind of revenge on anyone who dared hurting him. As mentioned, Sahara wasn’t exactly a match to Kaleb’s overpowering presence in this book, but she didn’t need to be. She was, she existed, and that was enough. She was his only love, his soul-mate, his bonded, his conscience, his moral compass, his guiding light in the darkness that was his existence.
And she would continue being that and that’s what matters. Two halves of the same whole, two Psy, one ‘Silent’, the other’s Silence fractured beyond repair, bonded together for the rest of their lives, one light, the other dark, one comforting and empathetic, the other martial and protective. A bright bond against the backdrop of the stark darkness that is the PsyNet.
As I mentioned before, it’s the characters that make these books and this series come startlingly alive in my mind’s eye, but the rest of the story (though it pretty much all revolved around Kaleb and Sahara) should not be neglected. The action scenes of the PurePsy attacks were intense and gripping, poignant where the three races combined to help one another, the flashbacks on Sahara and Kaleb’s interactions before her abduction sweet and tender with a slightly ominous undertone, coming as they were, in the middle of the story, the initial stiltedness of the renewed relationship heartbreaking, yet hopeful, the final flashback where we finally got the truth of that horrible, ‘blood-drenched’ night chilling, but completely meshing with the Kaleb and Sahara we got to know throughout their story. It was also great seeing the DarkRiver leopards getting a bit more page-time after the last few installments concentrating on the wolves...And we finally discovered the identity of the Ghost (I knew it!) and everything made sense as this book brought (almost) everything full-circle.
I know this attempt at a coherent review doesn’t do the book justice, so let’s just say this book was an amazing installment in this series that keeps getting better and better and Ms. Singh didn’t disappoint the fans with turning Kaleb into something he’s not for his story (he’s still badass, he’s still dark, he’s still deadly, despite having that bright flame inside him). This was a heart-breaking yet beautiful (love) story to conclude the first arc in this series and bring us into the next. And I can’t wait. But first, I have to re-read the series. ;)(less)
Ooh, another Rainshadow book. I’ve become fascinated with the island, and more importantly, the Preserve, in the first book in the series and in this...moreOoh, another Rainshadow book. I’ve become fascinated with the island, and more importantly, the Preserve, in the first book in the series and in this one that intriguing spot of land on Rainshadow Island featured even more prominently.
This second installment in the series, albeit interesting in concept and plot, was a rather slow reading at times (maybe because I was watching a rather interesting editorial piece on TV as well), but still, I enjoyed it.
And as predicted, the crystals that were found buried in the garden in Crystal Gardens were important (and will be).
Surprisingly, though the story pretty much revolved around her, the heroine in this book came through as rather bland. Where were the martial arts promised in the blurb? She was rather forgettable, if you ask me. No matter, because I was completely blown away by the hero. Or more specifically, the hero’s talent. Or even more specifically, the authors description of the hero’s talent. I was particularly impressed with the term ‘graveyard cold’. Ooh, chilling.
The ending was a little disappointing for me, though. Not the resolution of the case part, but the psy-stalker part. It was over a little too quickly for my taste. But what can I say, I’m weird that way. ;)
Anyhow, a solid story with a promise of a great story in the future (featuring Harry’s brother and North’s granddaughter). Can’t wait.(less)
Yes, another good installment in this, one of my favorite, series currently being published.
I admit at being a little apprehensive after reading a few...moreYes, another good installment in this, one of my favorite, series currently being published.
I admit at being a little apprehensive after reading a few of not so favorable reviews, and I must confess at first I thought that Adria and Riaz’s story would’ve worked better as a short—there was too much ‘angst’ between them, too much anger, too much frustration, too much drama, too much, well, heartbreak. And there was too much Hawke and Sienna in this story to actually be categorized as a one-couple-romance.
But once Riaz pulled his head out of his heiny and Adria defrosted a little, it all started clicking for me. They were good together despite the hindrance of the non-mating and the final resolution, though one of the reviewers stated that it didn’t mesh with everything we’ve read so far, was quite well explained toward the end (what happened during and after the Territorial Wars, the ‘diappearance’ of Libraries and texts) and on the finish line made perfect sense. The mating is a reality, but not a definitive. At least that’s how I see it, and how I understand the explanation given in this book. The mating must be accepted from both sides (male and female) and on both sides of the changeling (human and animal). I sure hope (and am confident will happen eventually) the mating bond between Adria and Riaz will develop, because they do match. There are mutual feelings that weren’t present between Riaz and his ‘intended’, their wolves are comfortable with each other, they’re friends, confidants and lovers, and they trust each other. And let’s look at Drew and Indigo. Even Hawke said it took years of them to know each other before the mating dance and mating bond emerged. So yes, there is hope.
Hawke also had two mates. Sure, one died as a child, but she would’ve become his mate once she grew up. She died and he got a second chance. And what a chance. Him and Sienna were so cute together in this story, a somewhat continuation of their book. One of the reviewers mentioned something along the lines of Hawke losing his alpha edge in this one with all the cuddling, and baking he did in this book, but I don’t agree. To me, having Sienna with him, alongside him, doing domestic stuff, having her friends come over sometimes (despite having always to be their alpha), is something like him experiencing the life of a teenager he never got to have. He became alpha at 15, so he didn’t actually have a normal ‘childhood’. He had to grow up fast, but now, with Sienna (only 20), he gets to experience everything he’s missed. With her, alongside her, seeing it all through her eyes. To me, that’s they’re a perfect mix. He keeps her grounded (though she doesn’t need it that much), and she keeps him ‘young’, so to speak. I don’t think ‘letting his hair down’ when he’s with her, baking, getting drunk etc. means he’s lost his edge, become gelded. That edge, the dangerous alpha is still there, ready to jump into action whenever needed, he’s just found someone who lets him relax, lets him be something other than the leader of the pack, the alpha, lets him be just a man in love, just a husband, a friend, and a lover. *sigh*
Okay, back to Adria and Riaz. I, personally, loved them both. They were rather similar in spirit at the beginning, both damaged, both carrying internal scars that still seeped blood sometimes. Is there any wonder they were so drawn to each other even as they resisted that pull? They needed each other to heal, they needed one another for comfort, they needed a confidante. One of the reviewers scoffed at Adria’s ‘inner turmoil’ after the end of her relationship with Martin, that she acted like she was the only one exiting a bad relationship and it wasn’t as he beat her up or raped her on a daily basis. Sometimes psychological scars (even those not purposefully inflicted) are as painful (or more) than the physical ones. And Adria was psychologically scarred. And she was mostly to blame for those scars (and deep down she knew it). She’s spent years being something she was not, downplaying herself, she changed who she was for the man she was in a relationship with, and that wasn’t enough. Is there any wonder she kept pushing Riaz away? Because this time she knew that even if she was herself, it wouldn’t be enough. That she would always be just second best.
Those fears were unfounded in the end, because her golden-eyes black wolf was stubborn, obstinate and determined to never let her get away. And who wouldn’t love such a guy? I sure wouldn’t kick him out of my bed. ;) What I love most about this series is that single-minded determination displayed in both the DarkRiver and SnowDancer males. I love the leopards, but the wolves are my poison as far as this series is concerned (beside Judd Lauren and Kaleb Krychek, that is) and I can safely say that Riaz Delgado (I just loved the Spanish endearments and confession of feelings he started using toward the end of the book) is in the second spot on my favorite wolves list (Hawke holding the top spot safely and securely). There was just something about Riaz that drew me in, held me, enticed me. Seems to me it was that blend of lone-wolf, stubbornness, danger, even anger, determination, tenderness, endless capability of love, and, yes, playfulness he displayed throughout the story. I adored the courtship toward the end, the gifts, the humor in them (the silly carvings, the personalized hammer—how adorable was that?!). Who could resist?
See, this is what I love most about Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series. The characters. Don’t get me wrong, the stories and main arc are great as well, keeping us guessing, introducing new characters, new packs, new dangers, new intrigue. But the heart of it all, the heart of each separate book and the main storyline, are the characters. Their personalities, their interaction, their inner workings. There are so many books out there, entire series in fact, that focus on the action, the ‘story’, without really fleshing out the characters—but if the characters are bland, the story is bland, too. Nalini Singh accomplished and continues to accomplish the exact opposites. She starts with the characters and build the story around them, leaving the characters, their actions, reactions and interactions drive the plot, propel the story forward. And that’s what keeps this series ‘alive and kicking’, interesting and intriguing for me. I want to know what happens next to a certain character (and I’m so glad Ms. Singh keeps bringing the previous heroes and heroines back, continuing their separate stories merging them with the main one), what the consequences and ramifications of a certain action, certain word, certain though will be in the broader and (final) picture. And I keep craving more. (Just take Kaleb Krychek as example. He’s started off as an ambiguous character, secretive, Silent, foreboding, but slowly, throughout the series we got glimpses of unknown depths within him, seeing him as something more as another Psy, wanting to know more about him, wanting to read his story. And we got it. Yay!)
Anyway, as I mentioned, the characters in this book were the focal point for me, but the entire story, the plot was well-executed as well. There was enough romance to satisfy the romance-lovers, there was enough suspense to keep those suspense-lovers happy, there was enough action for a book that was mainly focused on the romance aspect. And there were multiple new hooks dangled to keep us interested in what happens next. The new ‘sea’ pack, the Pure Psy flexing their puny muscles, Vasic and his torment (I sure hope he gets a book in the future and a HEA he deserved while being alive!), and of course the last ‘chapter’, the last two pages focusing entirely on Kaleb Krychek and the prey he’s been hunting pretty much since he’s become a Councilor. Ooh, I want to read his book, but I’ll have to wait for when I return from my short trip. I don’t want to start reading now and not be able to finish it before leaving. (And no, I’m not taking the book with me, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate.)
Okay, this review looks more like a rant of a raving lunatic, but there was a full moon (a ‘Blue Moon’) yesterday, so I guess I’m entitled.
What I meant to write, before everything got a little out of hand, was that I absolutely loved this book—the characters (even secondary ones), the story, the ‘contribution’ to the main arc. No wonder Ms. Singh is one of my favorite authors and the Psy/Changeling one of my favorite series. I never get bored.(less)
A good finale to the Looking Glass Trilogy, though I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the Arcane yet.
This was the usual JAK/AQ/JC fare, only without...moreA good finale to the Looking Glass Trilogy, though I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the Arcane yet.
This was the usual JAK/AQ/JC fare, only without (!) an annoying heroine. Yay! Good pacing, rather tight plot (though there were a few moments she lost me), great characters, good mystery, a funny dust bunny companion with a quirk for purses, sizzling chemistry and hot sex.
And it was also a great introduction into the Rainshadow series. That second last chapter offered just enough of a lure to make me want to read the next book. Just what is in the Preserve? Ooh, I can’t wait.(less)
Argh! Sooner or later, even in a series this good, there's always a bad egg somewhere. Obsidian Prey is one of those bed eggs for the Harmony series.
N...moreArgh! Sooner or later, even in a series this good, there's always a bad egg somewhere. Obsidian Prey is one of those bed eggs for the Harmony series.
Not because of the story, because it was great overall. Not for the intrigue, mystery or suspense. Not even for the villain. And especially not for the hero, because I simply loved Cruz and now I want to read Quicksilver again (I love those Sweetwater men).
No, my bad-egg-theory derives from the fact I utterly hated the heroine, the bitch with the warped logic. Lyra made all the other previous, annoying heroines with their adversity toward the Guild and the hunters, look like fairytale princesses. This one was judgmental, sarcastic beyond the point of feisty, stubborn, raised on poison by her bitter grandfather, and so stupidly she blind she didn't see what was in front of her nose. I couldn't stand her to the point I wished someone would stab/shoot/strangle/drown/etc. her and replace her with some other woman. Someone with a bit more sense, at least.
So I sort of squinted and squirmed through the scenes she was in, not a great reading experience, let me tell you, and somehow made it through the book without throwing it against the wall or through the window. She didn't even become likable in the end.
So this one gets three stars, because of the plot, the pacing, the suspense, and the hero.(less)
Woohoo! Another 'freak' Ghost Hunter talent. And the heroine wasn’t that annoying either. This series keeps getting better and better.
Tight plot, quic...moreWoohoo! Another 'freak' Ghost Hunter talent. And the heroine wasn’t that annoying either. This series keeps getting better and better.
Tight plot, quick pacing, gripping suspense, possible alien threat, love at first sight (don’t you just love one of those), heavy denial of love at first sight (me likey), great chemistry, even greater attraction, cute couple, twisted villain (I didn’t see that one coming, great surprise), funky motley crew of journalists, some magic moments in the alien jungle...And a dust-bunny dressed like Elvis.
The hero was yummy, the heroine was feisty, they ran for their lives, they worked wonderfully together to uncover the conspiracy within the Guild, they both almost died...And the ‘guy thing’ in the end was absolutely priceless. ;)(less)
Let's start with something different this time. I don’t understand the adversity of these heroine toward the Guild. I simply don’t. “Hunters [Guild me...moreLet's start with something different this time. I don’t understand the adversity of these heroine toward the Guild. I simply don’t. “Hunters [Guild men] are just glorified mobsters, good enough only to provide not-so-much needed protection underground.” Yeah? I didn’t hear any of the heroines so far protest and diss the Guild while the heroes protected them from becoming ghost bait. But as soon as the danger has passed, let’s go back to bitching about the Guild. I mean, sure, the organization has some bad eggs, which one doesn’t? That doesn’t mean they’re all bad. Just look at your hero. You let him into your pants, didn’t you? That means he has some redeeming qualities, right?
That aside, this one was yet another great installment in the Harmony series. There are (for now) 8 books in the series and I was starting to wonder just how Ms. Castle would keep it up, keeping the reader interested in the series, when the first two books pretty much explored all there could be explored about the Guild and its men. Yeah, they’re ghost hunters, they manipulate ghost light (the green stuff) and they’re all (at least the heroes) hunky, yummy, mysterious, dangerous types. I’m sure the next books would sound repetitive (at least in the hero’s ability department), right? Wrong. Because she goes and throws us all a curve ball – first with blue-ghost energy and then with the ‘silver stuff’. Yay! More ‘freaks’ from the other end of the para-spectrum. More, more, please, let’s have more. Beside the hunky, yummy, mysterious and dangerous heroes working all kinds of ghost energy.
So, yeah, another winner in the series if you ask me. Intrigue galore, two (2 !) baddies, a hottie for a hero, a feisty (if slightly judgmental heroine), two (2 !) dust-bunnies (I loved Max more than that spoiled little brat Araminta), great pacing, an invisible brawl scene, hot attraction, even hotter sex, a secretive past on the hero’s side, a secretive past from the heroine’s side...Woohoo! Sit tight and enjoy the ride. (less)
Another winner. Tight plot, great tension, explosive attraction, gripping mystery, rather cuckoo villain, hot sex, man-of-my-dreams hero...JAK/AQ/JC k...moreAnother winner. Tight plot, great tension, explosive attraction, gripping mystery, rather cuckoo villain, hot sex, man-of-my-dreams hero...JAK/AQ/JC knows what she's doing.
The only hiccup (as always) was the heroine. I don't know why they always get on my nerves. Maybe it's because I want their counterpart for my own and am simply green with envy. ;) And maybe it's just I can't stand their reaction, reasoning, and stubbornness when they're clearly in over their head...And their utter blindness when it comes to the hero, their motives, and their feelings.
Anyway, loved it. Cooper (the hero) more than compensated for Elly (the heroine). Loved it from beginning to end. More please.(less)
A great ending to this two-part Harmony story. The heroine wasn't as bitchy, but still stuck her nose into things she should not be sticking her nose...moreA great ending to this two-part Harmony story. The heroine wasn't as bitchy, but still stuck her nose into things she should not be sticking her nose into, the hero was even yummier than in the previous book, the mystery was intriguing, the 'suspense' gripping, but I could've done with only one climax instead of two—the kidnapping was enough of a finale for me, I didn't need that extra little hiccup of suspense. It seemed like an afterthought.
Loved the romance between Lydia and Emmett having more of a center stage in this one. They were already past the initial get-to-know-each-other thing, and past the first few weeks into the relationship, making their continued relationship a real pleasure to read.
Now I think I'll take a small breather from the series, but I'm sure to return soon.(less)
What a great start (real one) of the Harmony series. Wonderful introduction into the world, the history, and paranormal elements. And despite the fact...moreWhat a great start (real one) of the Harmony series. Wonderful introduction into the world, the history, and paranormal elements. And despite the fact it’s set in a foreign planet, in the (distant?) future, and the inhabitants all have paranormal abilities, it still reads like a pretty straightforward romance (almost contemporary, if you ignore certain para/sci-fi terms). It has murder, it has romance, it has danger, it has an explosive attraction, it has mystery and intrigue, it has sex, it has a pet, it has a tall-dark-and-dangerous hero, a stubborn heroine (that is, in true JAK/AQ/JC style, a little bitchy sometimes)...
And it also has a sequel. Does it need it? Yes, because there are two parallel stories going on. One is the current case (which is ‘solved’ at the end of the first story) and the second is the backstory that still needs an explanation—what happened to Lydia six months ago to make her experience her Lost Weekend, when she came to in the middle of the alien catacombs without her amber. Had she truly been reckless or had someone tried to get rid of her?
And yes, it also needs a sequel, because the romance isn’t ‘done’ yet. And well, I’ve grown rather fond of Emmett, though I still think he could’ve found someone less argumentative, biased, and bitchy that Lydia. I truly hope she’ll grow up a bit in the next book.
Anyway, this was a great start to the series and I’m an even bigger fan of it and the world as before.(less)
The only good story in this collection was JAK/JC’s Bridal Jitters. A good introduction into the futuristic world of Harmony, its peculiar ruins, and...moreThe only good story in this collection was JAK/JC’s Bridal Jitters. A good introduction into the futuristic world of Harmony, its peculiar ruins, and paranormal abilities of its inhabitants.