Book Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Book: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Published October 2004 by Ace Books|219 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Sookie Stackhouse #1

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out…

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.

Dead Until Dark was a book I read years ago, and I decided to pick up and re-read it.  It was fun, and I liked it.

Honestly, this is a book where I don’t have a lot to say.  There’s definitely a mystery to be solved, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I was quite surprised by who was behind the mystery.  Things definitely changed for Sookie once Bill came into town, and I had a fun time reading about everything that happened.

I liked Sookie, and I was really interested in her ability to read minds.  It’s interesting that she works in a bar, and you can see glimpses of how hard it is for her to shut it off.  I imagine it’s a lot easier for her to do it as an adult than it was as a kid.  One thing about it that didn’t make a lot of sense was the town knowing.  It seemed like everyone knew there was something going on with her, but a lot of people didn’t seem to know what it was.  And yet, it also seemed liked at least some people knew but pretended like it wasn’t something she could do.  How it didn’t spread like wildfire, I don’t know.

I really liked her grandma, and it’s a shame we didn’t get more of her.  She seemed pretty cool, and her exit from the book (and series) was way too soon.  I know there’s no hope that we’ll see her again, but I really wish we saw more of her.  Maybe we’ll get some stories about her in the rest of the series.

The world is pretty cool, and I know there’s more to it than what we see in this one.  Fairies, vampires, shapeshifters…what else are we going to see, and how does it all fit together?

3 stars.  I liked Dead Before Dark, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

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Book Review: Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase

Book: Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase

Published June 2012 by Avon|372 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: The Dressmakers #2

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

From the Journals of Sophia Noirot: A dress is a weapon. It must dazzle his eye, raise his temperature… and empty his purse.

A blue-eyed innocent on the outside and a shark on the inside, dressmaker Sophy Noirot could sell sand to Bedouins. Selling Maison Noirot’s beautiful designs to aristocratic ladies is a little harder, especially since a recent family scandal has made an enemy of one of society’s fashion leaders. Turning scandal to the shop’s advantage requires every iota of Sophy’s skills, leaving her little patience for a big, reckless rake like the Earl of Longmore. The gorgeous lummox can’t keep more than one idea in his head at a time, and his idea is taking off all of Sophy’s clothes.

But when Longmore’s sister, Noirot’s wealthiest, favorite customer, runs away, Sophy can’t let him bumble after her on his own. In hot pursuit with the one man who tempts her beyond reason, she finds desire has never slipped on so smoothly.

I liked this one!  I didn’t love it, and it’s not my favorite Loretta Chase book (or series), I still enjoyed it.

I really liked Sophie, and I liked her with Longmore.  I didn’t love them together, but I liked them as a couple a lot more than Clevedon and Marcelline.  I felt like he really wanted to help his sister and protect her, and Sophie seems to blend in everywhere she goes, so it’s the perfect way for her to help Longmore keep an eye on his sister.  Assuming she wants to be invisible, of course.

Like Silk Is For Seduction, I was more interested in the dress shop and the business Sophie and her sisters were trying to build.  Not to the same degree that I was with the previous book, since I liked this romance more than the previous one.  But I was still slightly more interested in the shop and the dresses than the romance.

I was pretty interested in what was going on with Clara- even though all of her issues brought Sophie and Longmore together, I was pretty interested in what was in store for her in the romance department.  I’m pretty sure the next book (whenever I read it) won’t focus on her, but hopefully we’ll see her and what”s going on with her, because she is one of my favorite characters in this series.

I didn’t love Sophie and Longmore together, and I’m not sure why.  Better them than Clevedon and Marcelline, but I still wasn’t into them as a couple.  This series (at least so far) has been more about the dresses than the romance.  At least, I’m more into that than the romance, which is why I picked up this series in the first place.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like Loretta Chase and I did enjoy Scandal Wears Satin, but maybe some of the descriptions of clothing could have gone towards making me fall in love with Sophie and Longmore.

3 stars.  I liked and enjoyed Scandal Wears Satin but I didn’t love it.  I liked it enough that I’ll pick up the next book at some point, because I am curious to see how things work out for the Noirot sisters.

Book Review: Silk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase

Book: Silk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase

Published June 2011 by Avon|371 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: The Dressmakers #1

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

From the Design Book of Marcelline Noirot:
The allure of the perfect gown should be twofold:
ladies would die to wear it…and gentlemen would kill to remove it!

Brilliant and ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot is London’s rising star. And who better to benefit from her talent than the worst-dressed lady in the ton, the Duke of Clevedon’s intended bride? Winning the future duchess’s patronage means prestige and fortune for Marcelline and her sisters. To get to the lady, though, Marcelline must win over Clevedon, whose standards are as high as his morals are…not.

The prize seems well worth the risk—but this time Marcelline’s met her match. Clevedon can design a seduction as irresistible as her dresses; and what begins as a flicker of desire between two of the most passionately stubborn charmers in London soon ignites into a delicious inferno…and a blazing scandal.

And now both their futures hang by an exquisite thread of silk…

I liked this one!  I’m on a romance kick right now, and this seemed like a good one to read.  I really like Loretta Chase, and it was no surprise that I liked this one.

I really liked Marcelline but I don’t know that I liked her with Clevedon.  I felt like we saw a lot more of Marcelline than Clevedon, and I felt like this book was more about Marcelline and her up-and-coming dress shop than it was about the romance between her Clevedon.

I think part of why I didn’t like them together was the fact that there was someone he was intended to marry, and Marcelline did everything she could to get to him so she could dress this really important person.  I mean, it brought them together, of course, and there are all of these obstacles, but I just wasn’t a fan of them as a couple.  Clevedon was what I expected but…he’s not my favorite romance novel hero.

Not that I could pick a favorite, because I don’t think I could.  But he just didn’t do anything for me.  Just…even though he wasn’t actually engaged to someone he thought of as a sister…I don’t know, I just couldn’t get behind them knowing he was supposed to eventually get married to someone and ignored that in favor of his own needs.  It just made it hard to care and root for them.

I did want Marcelline to be a really successful shop owner and dressmaker, and I did find myself rooting for her to actually make it.  I wanted her to be able to take care of her sisters and daughter, and she’s well on her way to doing that, I think.  We’ll see, though, because this is only the first in a series.  I’m curious to see how things turn out for them, and even though I know the following books won’t focus on them, I’m sure both Marcelline and Clevedon will make an appearance.

3 stars.  I liked it, and Marcelline is a great character.  I just wasn’t a fan of the romance in this one.

Book Review: Don’t Tempt Me by Loretta Chase And The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

Book: Don’t Tempt Me by Loretta Chase

Published June 2009 by Avon Books|353 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Fallen Women #2

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

Spunky English girl overcomes impossible odds and outsmarts heathen villains.

That’s the headline when Zoe Lexham returns to England. After twelve years in the exotic east, she’s shockingly adept in the sensual arts. She knows everything a young lady shouldn’t and nothing she ought to know. She’s a walking scandal, with no hope of a future . . . unless someone can civilize her.

Lucien de Grey, the Duke of Marchmont, is no knight in shining armor. He’s cynical, easily bored, and dangerous to women. He charms, seduces, and leaves them—with parting gifts of expensive jewelry to dry their tears. But good looks, combined with money and rank, makes him welcome everywhere. The most popular bachelor in the Beau Monde can easily save Zoe’s risqué reputation . . . if the wayward beauty doesn’t lead him into temptation, and a passion that could ruin them both. 

I really liked this one!  I liked Zoe, and I liked her with Lucien.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but it feels like the last romance or two that I’ve read has a main character who needs help getting introduced into society.  Maybe it’s just the books I happen to be picking up.

At any rate, I really liked Zoe, and she and Lucien are an interesting match.  They’re pretty good together, and I thought they were both hysterical.  Zoe’s a free spirit and headstrong while Lucien is still not over the death of his parents and brother, and the disappearance of Zoe.

Zoe definitely had a hard time adjusting to life in London.  Her sisters were pretty irritating, and for some reason, they reminded me of the Bennett sisters from Pride And Prejudice.  Zoe seemed pretty smart and observant, and I really liked that about her.  It took her a while to get used to everything in London, and I liked seeing her navigate a completely different world.

My Rating: 4 stars.  I really liked Zoe, and I liked her with Lucien.  I liked their romance, but I wish we saw more of their life after they got married.  It just didn’t seem like enough.

Book: The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

Published April 2007 by Grand Central Publishing|372 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Princes Trilogy #2

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

THE ONE THING A LADY MUST NEVER DO 
Wealthy Lady Georgina Maitland doesn’t want a husband, though she could use a good steward to run her estates. One look at Harry Pye, and Georgina knows she’s not just dealing with a servant, but a man.

IS FALL IN LOVE…
Harry has known many aristocrats-including one particular nobleman who is his sworn enemy. But Harry has never met a beautiful lady so independent, uninhibited, and eager to be in his arms. 

WITH HER SERVANT. 
Still, it’s impossible to conduct a discreet liaison when poisoned sheep, murdered villagers, and an enraged magistrate have the county in an uproar. The locals blame Harry for everything. Soon it’s all Georgina can do to keep her head above water and Harry’s out of the noose…without missing another night of love.

I really liked The Leopard Prince.  I’ve read a few of Hoyt’s books, and I really like that she always has a fictional story in her boos.  At least, she has a fictional story in the books I’ve read of hers, and that hasn’t been many.  This book has the tale of the leopard prince, but unfortunately, I’m super fuzzy on the details, so don’t expect a lot of details or mentions of this fictional story.

I liked Georgina, and I liked the relationships she had with her sister and her brothers.  They’re pretty protective of her, and I liked that she was protective of her sister.  She really did try to look out for her sister, and I felt like she was pretty supportive of her.

There was more mystery than I was expecting for a romance novel, but I vaguely remember the first book in this series having a bit of a mystery as well.  I don’t know how I feel about Georgina and Harry together, though I really like them as individual characters.  I just don’t know I how feel about them as a couple.  There are a lot of obstacles, considering he’s her servant, and the local magistrate is pretty much out to get him.  Maybe I just didn’t completely love them as a couple, but I do think they’re good together.

My Rating: 4 stars.  I didn’t love The Leopard Prince but I still really enjoyed it!

Audio Book Review: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Book: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Published May 2017 by Record Books|Length: 9 hours, 25 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Menagerie #2

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

In this riveting sequel to New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent’s acclaimed novel Menagerie, Delilah Marlow will discover that there is no crueler cage than the confines of the human mind…

When their coup of Metzger’s Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of “exotic wildlife.” Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle’s owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price. 

But Vandekamp’s closely guarded client list isn’t the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

This is another book I’ve really enjoyed!  I really liked the first one, and I’m glad I switched to the audio book, because Gabra Zackman is one of my favorite narrators, and she was a great choice for this book.

I liked seeing the aftermath of what happened in the first book at Metzger’s, and what happened once they were taken to the Savage Spectacle.  What they had to endure there was horrible- more so than what we saw in the first book, and I hated seeing them go through that.  In particular, I hated what Genevieve, Gallagher and Delilah had to go through, but I think that’s because Genevieve’s story really stood out, and we get chapters from Delilah and Gallagher’s perspective.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the different perspectives we see in the book.  I really liked in Menagerie, and I did like it in this book, but not as much as I did previously.  I think part of it is that I didn’t find the other perspectives as interesting.  And I think part of it is that it didn’t translate well to audio.  At least for me, but there were points were I was paying attention but also had my attention elsewhere, so maybe I just wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been.

Like Menagerie, we get snippets of headlines and other stories about cryptids and the Reaping.  I’m curious to see how what’s going on now will come together with everything that happened before.  It’s more creepy and horrifying and it really opens up this world that Delilah is now living in.

Life at the Spectacle is pretty contained, much like life at Metzger’s was, but somehow, this book opened up more of this world.  I think it’s because of everything Vandekamp was trying to do, with the collar, and the clients that frequent the Spectacle.  When you have a lot of wealthy and powerful clients, it’s going to change things, and I’m curious to see the fallout from what happened there.

With being able to control them at the press of a button, and trying to break them to learn what their triggers are…it’s a brutal world they’re now living in, and it’s a lot more threatening, especially where reproduction is concerned.  There’s no consent for the cryptids (as far as humans are concerned), and that’s something to keep in mind if you pick up this book.

What’s interesting is that while Menagerie would make a great stand-alone, there’s still a lot of story that could be told in this world.  Spectacle is a great addition to the series and adds to the world we get introduced to in Menagerie.  I can’t begin to imagine what we’re going to see in the next (and last) book, but I’m hoping it’ll add more to the world while wrapping things up.

4 stars.  The brutality and cruelty was a little hard to handle, especially on audio, and the multiple narrators didn’t work as well as I thought they would.  Gabra Zackman did a great job narrating the book as well.

Audio Book Review: Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink, Narrated by Jasika Nicole

Book: Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink, Narrated by Jasika Nicole

Published October 2018 by HarperAudio|Length: 8 hours, 44 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: Adult

From the New York Times best-selling coauthor of It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale comes a fast-paced thriller about a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed to be dead.

“This is not a story. It’s a road trip.”

Keisha Lewis lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system – uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

Why did Alice disappear? What does she have to do with this secret war between inhuman killers? Why did the chicken cross the road? These questions, and many more, will be answered in Alice Isn’t Dead.

I loved Alice Isn’t Dead! Ever since I heard there was going to be an Alice Isn’t Dead book, I knew I had to read it. It’s rare I pre-order books, but this was one I pre-ordered on Audible the second it was available to pre-order.

It’s a great book, whether you’ve listened to the podcast or not. It has some of the same elements and events from the podcast and while it’s the same premise as the podcast, it’s also a completely different story. So if you’ve listened to the podcast, it’s also worth checking out the book, because it’s a different take on a story I’ve come to know and love.

I liked hearing this version of Keisha’s story, and how she went in search of Alice. I loved seeing them find each other again and what happened once everything was over. It makes me want to listen to the podcast all over again, to see how they’re different but also the same. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to the podcast, particularly the earlier episodes, and it might be fun to revisit the podcast.

Back to the book…I honestly don’t have much else to say about the book. I loved the story, the search for Alice, and how things weren’t what they seemed. It’s a very different feel than the Night Vale books, and it’s more of a thriller than whatever category you want to place Night Vale into. I know there’s no way any mention of Night Vale would happen, but now that I think about it, it would have been cool to have seen a mention of it. Still, Alice Isn’t Dead is great, regardless of connections or mentions to the same weird desert town that got me into listening to Alice Isn’t Dead.

Since I did listen to the audio book, I think I’ll talk about that! I knew I had to go with the audio book for the Alice Isn’t Dead book. I’ve loved the podcast, and I can’t imagine physically reading the book. It would be interesting to read Alice Isn’t Dead in print, but I remember the print version of the Welcome To Night Vale book not working in print, and I have the feeling it would be the same with this book.

I’m glad Jasika Nicole narrated the book- she did great as the voice of Keisha on the podcast, and I knew she would be great at narrating the book too. It’s definitely worth listening to, especially if you’re a fan of audio books. Something about the story works so well on audio- it’s like it was written for the audio book listener in mind.

One last thing I’d like to talk about: Keisha’s anxiety. It’s definitely present throughout the book, and the thing I loved the most was that it wasn’t cured or magically gone by the end of the book. You see how she copes and deals with it, and I loved Keisha more knowing that she was still the same Keisha we saw at the beginning of the book.

5 stars. I loved Alice Isn’t Dead, particularly as an audio book. If you like a little bit of horror and road trips and thrillers, this is the book for you!

Book Review: Binti: Home And Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Book: Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Published January 2017 by Tor.com|164 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Binti #2

Genre: Adult Sci-Fi

It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.

But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

I liked this one!  Not as much as Binti, and I didn’t love it.  I wanted to love it, but it didn’t capture my attention the way Binti did.

I liked seeing what was going on with Binti, and the journey she took with her grandmother.  I did like seeing how much things had changed for her, and how differently people saw her because of everything that happened in the previous book.

Still, I felt like what actually happened in the book does not match up with how the book is described in the blurb.  I thought we’d be seeing more of Okwu on earth and working with humans for peace.  Instead, we get a completely different story involving Binti realizing that’s more special and different than we could ever imagine.  She’s great at math, and has alien DNA, and this novella added another element to how special Binti was.  I don’t mind when characters are super-special, but in Binti: Home, it really bothered me for some reason.

So, I felt like this one was more of an afterthought.  Binti (the first novella) felt like a pretty complete story and was pretty contained.  This one, not so much.  It somehow seemed more rushed and much more of a rough outline than the previous novella.  Even though it’s longer than Binti, I wanted more development with the characters and the world.  Particularly with this book.  It kind of makes me wonder what Okorafor would do with the idea if it had been a novel from the very beginning.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I like the character and the world she lives in.  It has a lot of potential, but I think the novella format is working against the story, because it could definitely be expanded into something a lot longer.

Book: Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Published January 2018 by Tor.com|208 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Binti #3

Genre: Adult Sci-Fi

The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor’s Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.

Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene–though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives–and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

Don’t miss this essential concluding volume in the Binti trilogy.

I thought The Night Masquerade was okay.  I’ve liked this series to varying degrees, and even though I liked seeing how Binti tried to make peace between the Meduse and the Khoush, I still didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

One of my issues with this trilogy is how short each volume is.  I know they’re meant to be novellas, but I just wanted something longer.  There’s a lot that could be expanded on and developed, and Night Masquerade is no exception.

There was something towards the end that seemed randomly introduced, and I don’t know that it worked.  The series has been fine with no romance- I really liked that there was no romance and I liked seeing how much the events of the first novella changed Binti’s life.  I liked seeing her go back home and try to get things resolved between the Meduse and the Khoush.  I liked seeing how people saw her differently because she not only went away to school but because she was Meduse as well.

I didn’t care for the romance at all.  It felt sudden, and though it sort of makes sense, I also was fine without it.

I know people love this series, and Okorafor is pretty amazing.  She creates these amazing worlds, but with this book in particular, I kind of feel like novellas are too short of a format for her.  It’s nice to see her do something slightly different, but part of me wishes I had just read Binti and not continued on with the series.  I don’t regret seeing it through to the end, but I had a hard time with the length.

It’s not the book at all- I really do think it’s just me.  Maybe I’m just too used to reading her novels and that’s why I had a hard with the novella.  It would be interesting to read a full-length version of these stories, because there’s a lot she could explore in Binti’s world.

My Rating: 2 stars.  I wanted to like this one more but the length didn’t work for me.  I don’t know that I’m necessarily the right audience for this book, and even though there were things I didn’t like, I do really like the world she created.

Book Review: Allegiance Of Honor by Nalini Singh

Book: Allegiance Of Honor by Nalini Singh

Published June 2016 by Berkley|478 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Psy-Changeling #15

Genre: Adult Romance/Adult Paranormal Romance

The “unparalleled romantic adventure”* of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as a new dawn begins for the Psy-Changeling world… 

The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.

But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling.

To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?

I don’t even know where to start for this review!  I mean, I liked Allegiance Of Honor, but not as much as I thought I would or as much as I wanted to.  I really did want to like it more, but I think, after Heart Of Obsidian, I started to lose interest a little bit.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this series, and I really love the world.  I liked catching up with all of my favorite characters, and seeing how everything was resolved.  I liked seeing everyone come together for the Trinity Accord, and how important it was for Trinity to stay standing.  Everyone wanted a better world for all Psy, Changelings and humans, though some groups seemed more interested in saving the Psy.

It’s just…the world as we know it got so big, and I felt like we only saw glimpses of the characters we’ve come to know and love.  There’s a lot to wrap up, and with a world like this one, everything moved pretty fast.  Some things weren’t resolved (like the Architect and the Consortium), and for a group that seems like a pretty big threat to Trinity, I expected more resolution to it.

But there’s also a sequel series, so some of the things that aren’t resolved in this book/series will probably be the focus of that series.  That’s what I’m hoping, anyway, because otherwise, I’m not really sure what the point of introducing them was.

If I thought the character lists were getting longer…well, let’s just the character list featured at the beginning of this book was the longest we’ve seen so far.  Understandable considering we’ve met a lot of characters along the way.  But one of the things I gave up on books ago was trying to keep a lot of characters straight, especially the side characters.  But also some of the main couples as well.  I had a hard time remembering a lot of the newer characters, and as much as I liked catching up with some of the characters, it also felt a little bit unfocused to me.  Maybe it’s because of all of the characters we followed in this one.

I think part of why I only liked this one is that it felt like a really long epilogue.  Everyone’s happy, things are mostly okay, but things are also setting things up for the next series.  I’ve enjoyed the series, and I liked that it was for the fans…but…it also seems like it’s more for the hardcore fans of the series.  I like Singh and this massively amazing world she built, but it was a little too happy and sunshine and rainbows for me.  Or maybe I just wasn’t in that mood when I was reading the book.

I think I just missed the overall story that we got in the previous books, and I kind of missed that in this book.  It just wasn’t there enough in this one but in a series this long, you’re not going to love every single book.  I just wanted something with a little more action to it, I think.

3 stars.  It’s not one of my favorite books in this series, but I liked it enough.  It’ll be interesting to see how some of the things in this book come up in the following books.

Book Review: Shards Of Hope by Nalini Singh

Book: Shards Of Hope by Nalini Singh

Published June 2015  by Berkley Hardcover|483 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Psy-Changeling #14

Genre: Adult Romance/Adult Paranormal Romance

The “smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action” of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races…

Awakening 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.

I really liked Shards Of Hope! We find out more about Aden and we actually see some different changeling packs, which was nice.

Don’t get me wrong, I love SnowDancer and DarkRiver, don’t get me wrong, but other changeling packs are mentioned throughout the series, and it was nice to see the Psy-Changeling word beyond San Fransisco. Particularly the Changeling world, because I feel like like we do get glimpses of the Psy world outside of San Fransisco, but not the changeling world.

Aden was ap retty mysterious figure, but I’m not surprised, considering he’s an Arrow. Obviously, Silence is really important for him, especially as the leader of the Arrows. It’s interesting that he was so underestimated in terms of his power, and with the updates from the PsyNet and the livestream comments, it’s obvious people seem to either love him or hate him. Well, I don’t know that love and hate is the best way to put, but people have some really different thoughts about Aden as the leader of the Arrows. There’s more to him than people thought, and I’m glad they finally saw that Aden is the one who should be leading the Arrows. Even though he’s Psy, he’s obviously their Alpha, and I really liked seeing how much he wanted to change things, particularly for the kids.

I was really hesitant about the romance between him and Zaira, especially since I wasn’t a fan of the romance in the previous book. Zaira wasn’t cold like I expected her to be, and it was obvious she’d follow Aden to the ends of the earth. I liked them together slightly better than the one in the previous book, but I still wasn’t completely into it. This part of the series is clearly wrapping up, and I’ve found that as the series went on, I wasn’t also interested in the romance. Maybe the Psy-Psy romance focused books aren’t my thing as far as the romance goes, but I do really like the series, so even though I might not love the romance, I still really like the world.

Shards Of Hope does build on Shield Of Winter, and I know I already mentioned how much I liked seeing more of the Arrows and how much he wanted to incorporate the really cool things the changelings are doing with their young. I thought it really showed how willing he was to make things better for the Arrow kids and how there are different (and maybe better) ways of doing things.

With one book left in this series, I don’t know that we’ll see more of the changeling world we were introduced to in this book. I’m hoping we get more of it, but there’s a lot to wrap up- and with a lot of characters too. The character list felt like it went on for pages, and I gave up books ago on trying to keep all of the characters straight because there are so many. This world that Singh built is massive but also awe-inspiring. I’m curious to see where things will go, and how everything (and everyone) will come together. There’s definitely a lot more story to tell, and Singh really could go on for books to come where this series is concerned.

I don’t know, I feel like I’m talking more about the series as a whole than the actual book. I don’t really have anything else to say about the book, but I’ll be glad to read the next book.

3 stars. I liked it but I didn’t love it. Part of it is not being completely invested in the romance (I tend to like the Psy-Changeling romances more than any other pairing), but at this point, I’m pretty curious to see how it will all come together.

Book Review: Shield Of Winter by Nalini Singh

Book: Shield Of Winter by Nalini Singh

Published June 2014 by Berkley Hardcover|431 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Psy-Changeling #13

Genre: Adult Romance/Adult Paranormal Romance

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life. 

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…

I really liked this one!  We finally get Vasic’s book, which was nice.  I was wondering if we’d ever get his book, and I’m glad we did!

I’m curious to see what is next for the Arrows, particularly with Silence falling.  I mean, protecting Silence is their main goal, so I’m wondering if we’ll at least get a glimpse of what their goals are now that things are changing.  It kind of seems like their future is linked with the Empaths, and I wasn’t expecting them to have such a big role in this book.

It makes sense that Empaths are really important to the future of the Psy, so I’m hoping we’ll get more of them as well.  I think Slave To Sensation is the last book that had such an emphasis on Empaths, and I really felt like a lot of this series was building up to both Heart Of Obsidian and Shields Of Winter.  We start to see what a post-Silence world looks like, and with a couple of books left in the series, I’m curious to see how things get wrapped up.  I now things are far from being resolved, and I really do want to know what else is going to go wrong before it gets better.

I like Vasic and Ivy, and I do like them together, but…something about their relationship seemed a little cold to me.  I know Silence is really important for Vasic as an Arrow, and he’s seemed pretty cold whenever he’s popped up in the series before this point.  Maybe it’s just me, but I expected more angst and tortured hero from Vasic.  Considering all of the things he’s had to do, I figured there would be more angst as far as his relationship with Ivy goes.  He’s an Arrow, and she’s an Empath, and I figured there would be more conflict with that, but there wasn’t really enough of it, at least for me.

Maybe I was expecting something like the romance we saw in Slave To Sensation or Caressed By Ice, and that’s why I wasn’t into the romance.  I wish I liked them more together, because I do like them together, and I think they’re a great couple.  I just didn’t love them.

4 stars. I really liked Shield Of Winter, and I’m really curious to see who will be paired together in the next book.  And how the series is going to end.