What is Naasir?

Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh (release date 3rd September)

My current fixation is “what is Naasir?”.  Now, if you don’t know who Naasir I am so envious.  It means you’ve not read Nalini Singh’s amazing Guild Hunter series – what a lucky lucky person you are.  So, stop reading this and go get clued up.  Seriously!

Back to my obsession…

Did Ms Singh give a big clue in the cover (check out that gorgeousness below!).  I want to say yes as we seem to have claw marks on it, but as fans of Shards of Hope (her latest psy changeling book) know the pic of Aden did not portray a gorgeous Asiatic man but a European one (still gorg tho’!).  Clearly we can’t trust a cover.

So, is he the tiger creature Elena speculates?  And if so how? Raphael commented that Angels may have experimented using animals to release toxins.  We all know that Neha made Venom something very other.  Is Naasir the big cat version of Venom?  And would it make him a changeling?  I’m not convinced he’s a changeling, afterall there’s no evidence that Venom is.  I can’t see Nalini going the changeling route.

Now we know that Honor is the reincarnation of Dmitri’s first wife – could Naasir be Dmitri’s son Micha?  Given the way the two are drawn to each other this is a possibility.  But for me its like the changeling idea, too convenient for Nalini, this is one author who never takes the obvious or easy route!

Could he be vampire born?  Or a mix of vampire and angel DNA?  We know vampires and angels can have children but not with each other.  What if there was an exception in some way?  Naasir is unique that’s for sure!

I wonder if Naasir is the vampire equivalent of Mowgli.  Against the very laws of Angeldom someone made a vampire child who grew up amongst animals notably tigers.  India features heavily in this series, so it would make sense to me that he’d be amongst tigers rather than lions (Titus might disagree).   So, why the stripes on his skin?  Was he forced to feed from his tiger “mum”?

I loved Mowgli as a kid and as a grown up I love Naasir, so the thought of my two book crushes coming together all these years later seems perfect to me.

Why am I fixated on Naasir?  I love the combo of childlike wonder and a deviousness that had an angel at his erotic mercy.  Not forgetting that he can buy a gift and play a prank.  He’s my kind of unknown.

What is going on with the release date?   Nalini is a Kiwi, yet her book is released in the US on the 1st and the rest of us have to wait until the 3rd.  Seriously?!  Oh well, gives me another 48 hours to fine tune my Naasir obsession.  Bring it on!

naasir

The Immortal Bogeyman

Angel’s Blood & Archangel’s Kiss  Nalini Singh (books 1 & 2 Guild Hunter series)

So, I’m on a re-read of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series before the arrival of the mysterious Naasir’s book on September 3rd.

Two things struck me with these first two books that didn’t quite resonate first time round.  Of course, these are stories about Elena & Raphael’s romance and the world of angels and vampires that Nalini has created, but beyond that there are two powerful themes in play here – The Bogeyman and the Immortality Choice.

At some stage everyone has a Bogeyman.  For the humans and vamps of the GH world Raphael’s Archangel is the bogeyman, that is no doubt the purpose of the broken vampire left in the centre of his New York.  Elena’s connection with Raphael allows us to see his own bogeyman – Ms Singh’s imagery of him with broken wings in a field is vivid and heart felt.

“Drip, Drip, Drip” Lijuan goes to extraordinary lengths to taunt Elena with her fears.  Whilst her nightmares increase equally Raphael’s determination to vanquish them grows, allowing her to start to understand the grip this horror has on her.  Again, the imagery of the blood, tiles, shoe, etc is vivid and painful.

Interesting to see how Michaela and Lijuan both fear not being the centre of attraction or being forgotten.  Lijuan in particular fears being inconsequential.  Their hatred of Elena is multi faceted but driven by the fact that her existence threatens their roles as the most compelling (Michaela) or extraordinary (Lijuan).  How the world has space for both of them is amazing!

Michaela and Lijuan also bring clarity around the choice to be immortal.  Knowing the potential downsides – insanity, infertility, boredom, watching those you love die – would you choose immortality?  Is living forever enough of a gift to live on knowing you’ve seen it all hundreds of times before?  And that the resulting detachment from humanity may make you evil?

Yet, so many willingly make the choice, even Elena’s own family aren’t immune.  What’s powerful though is that neither Dimitri or Elena willingly chose their immortal status.  Dimitri has at this point thrown himself into the advantages and for the time being abandoned his mortal heart, whilst Elena fights not so much to hold onto her heart but to bring her mortal heart to others.

What a fascinating and multi dimensional series this is and I haven’t even mentioned Bluebell or Aodhan!  Nalini Singh is the mistress of world creation, powerful imagery and gripping romance.  It’s not for the faint hearted!

Oh and my bogeyman is Jaws – white pointers terrify me.

More than a bad boy

Out of the Game Kate Willoughby (In the Zone #3)

I’m so glad I’ve found author Kate Willoughby.  I seem to like her hockey heroes, I wasn’t sure I’d find another to rival Tim Hollander, but Alex Sullivan did just that.  On the surface this should have been a pretty easy and predictable read.  Bad boy, man whore and all that, falls for the “good girl”.  Of course, bad boy had a tough childhood which kind of excuses his behaviour but said good girl turns him around.

Read that, a lot and happy to read it again and again.

So, I wasn’t expecting the emotional depth and roller coaster ride of this book.  In fact, at times I was a bit shocked at how much I felt for Alex.  Yes, he was immature and irresponsible, and if I was Clare I would have insisted on a far better apology before I would have forgiven him.  However, even though his story might be considered a cliché there was something both endearing and raw about Alex.  I found his personal ending quite sad and a bit unexpected.

Clare was another good heroine from Kate Willoughby.  I like her everyday approach to her female characters – girls you can relate to.

 

Absolutely satisfied

Under my Skin (Stark International #3) J. Kenner out Aug 25th

Well, all I can say is that the Jackson & Sylvia’s ending is everything fans will want (and probably a tad more!).  Whilst, I enjoyed the last book it had a cliff hanger ending and I’m all about the resolution!  No cliff hangers here!

Ms Kenner was brave to revisit the Stark scenario – it was such a triumph that she must have worried that fans would be disappointed (or maybe she’s lucky enough to enjoy that supreme level of confidence we’d all like to have!).  But Sylvia and Jackson have proved to be totally worthy of this revisit.  As a series its been fun, sexy, a little crazy and totally addictive.

I thought that Damian would be hard to compete with – in my view Jackson has no problem, whatsoever.  In fact, I’m #TeamJackson all the way.  He’s all the things that Damian is – successful, hot, demanding, tormented, gorgeous, controlling but unlike Damian he’s creative and he isn’t all about the money.  He’s passionate about creating something permanent and beautiful and that just speaks to my soul.  Oh and he’s a little unpredictable and I like that!

To be honest I’m less than keen on this publishing wave of romance trilogies with cliff hangers along the way but I can see that fans get stories much quicker than otherwise and there’s loads for an author to build on as they go along.  I doubt I’ll ever be totally converted and if I had a little patience I would wait until all three were out to read but where’s the damn fun in that?

thanks to netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review

 

A fresh vamp

The Last True Vampire Kate Baxter

Wow!  I was not expecting this to be really good, and yet it was!  Vampire books are a dime a dozen since Twilight – if you’re PNR fan its hard to find something good whilst you wait for the next book in your fave series.

Kate Baxter demonstrates considerable world building skill – its innovative and fresh.  She’s created something that is rich with many different tendrils snaking through the story.  Who or what is Vanessa?  What’s Tristan’s ultimate game plan?  What will Michael (and Ronan) do with Siobhan?  And why is Siobhan interested in Gregor?

Like all new series, she has faced the struggle between detailing the world she is creating for a series with keeping interest in the current book.  Its a tough challenge – Nalini Singh, Larissa Ione and JR Ward are masters (or perhaps mistresses!) at creating multi-layered complicated worlds yet telling a simple story between the two key protagonists.  Ms Baxter doesn’t quite reach those heights, but she gives it a pretty damn good go.

The politics in this book were very promising, perhaps not done with quite the intricacies of a Lindsay Pryor but definitely something tantalising is there.  She’s absolutely whet my appetite for the next book.

My main issue was Michael/Mikhail – I really like a hero who is my latest crush or book boyfriend.  I want to fall in love with him.  Luckily for him Clare is tethered to him, because he ain’t that loveable.  Generally, he’s a bit of a bore.  For a king he’s lacking charisma, charm, leadership and vision, but he knows how to fight.  In this way the dialogue between Michael and Clare (and everyone else!) let his character down.

Ronan definitely showed a bit more potential – he could be quite interesting!

Thank you to netgalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest review

 

Thank you Nalini!

The Bollywood Bride Sonali Dev (out Sept 29th)

A gorgeous read.

A romance that is both sweet and passionate; a relationship that smoulders with burning fire based on childhood friendship.

The contrasts in Ria and Vikram’s relationship reflects the differences between the Bollywood weddings that Ria stars in and the real deep connection that Nikhil’s wedding ceremony showcases.  The welcome from his family to his bride is simply magical.

I so enjoyed seeing the variety of contrasts that Ms Dev provides, perhaps that of Ria the Bollywood star and the troubled girl returning to her family in Chicago for a wedding is the most engaging.  But the most powerful differences are between Ria and her mother.  Whilst Ria may believe that her mother shows her own future, its clear that Ria has a powerful control over her mind.  Her ability to control her emotions and understand her mental fragility give real hope for her future.  The final scenes as she talks about her parents and her future is both gut wrenching and heart warming.

As for Vikram – intense, gorgeous, tough, gentle, creative, intelligent and sexy.  Who’d stand a chance?  Seriously.

Ms Dev has created a wonderful cast of characters from some crazy dancing aunties to a bitchy venture capitalist they shine.

Its one of those books you don’t want to end, but equally you can’t wait for the ending.  And you head relentlessly for the ending as you can’t put the book down!

I read this because of a quote from Nalini Singh – one of my fave authors (psy changeling & rock hard).  So, thankyou Nalini for introducing me to another new lovely author as I await the arrival of Naasir!

Thanks to netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.  The Bollywood Bride is out on the 29th September.

Fabulous History

The Incidental Spy Libby Fischer Hellman

For me historical fiction only has relevance if I know enough about the time period.  My two favourites are Tudor England and the atomic era during WWII.  Actually saying they are my favourites is a misnomer – the only other period I know anything about is Victorian England!  Perhaps, its my preference for romance but I’ve yet to read a story about the American atomic era, so this was my first!

Ms Hellman’s love of history and thirst for knowledge shines through.  Its a fabulously researched and beautifully told story.  I loved how she totally captured the mood of the populace and the scientific community.  Yes, its a fictional account but if you want to know how this hugely significant historical event felt to the average people living it read this book!

On the surface its hard to understand how the McCarthy era witch hunts came to pass, yet the way Ms Hellman portrays the paranoia, intrigue and political confusion of the time you can see the door that McCarthy pushed open.  Fascinating.

I thought the overall story and characterisation was good.  I liked Lena although I found the storyline with her son a little simplistic.  Its a fast paced thriller and I didn’t see the ending coming!

Its a short story, I would probably have liked a bit more!

Thank you to TBC on FB for a copy in return for an honest review.