Family ties and so much more

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Politics, drama, romance and unforgettable quotes – Ms Singh is in the form of her life!

“You’ve made me a better man”.  How many times has the romantic hero yearned to a better person for his love?  Kaleb being a prime example.  I loved this twist, for once its the girl who wants and needs to be a better person.  It was beyond touching as she dares to be more than she thinks she can be.

Zaira the pied piper with a pony t-shirt – who saw that coming?!  Yeah!

Yet, what resonated for me was the insight into family.  Aden sets himself the task of creating a family for the Arrows, drawing on two role models – an old and a new character.  Its a pretty easy stretch to compare this new family with those of the changeling packs.  But I think Ms Singh is saying so much more.

She’s asking what do you do about renegade family members?  Can the bonds of family loyalty stretch to include others?  What should you sacrifice for your child?  Aden’s view of a renegade family member is extraordinary and will have rung true with anyone who’s suffered from the terrible actions of a family member.  You can love and accept someone who stands for all you abhor.  How hard is that?   Whilst Nikita didn’t give Sasha the kind of relationship she wanted from her mother it was what she needed.  And that was no doubt painful for both.

As for Aden’s own parents – their ambition for him was worse than any stage parent I’ve ever come across, yet they set in motion so much of the good that is now happening.  I loved that Aden, wasn’t conflicted by them – they didn’t define him or his story.  That would have been an easy angst story, but not good enough for Aden.

Ms Singh is the queen of the quotes – they make you smile, grab your heart and always add to the characters.  My kindle is full of highlighted text.  Kaleb and Sahara discussing Nikita and Anthony – absolutely perfect!

As its Nalini Singh the fantastic story adding layers to her already rich world is a given.  What’s challenging now is not to work out who the next book will focus on, but who’s behind the political shenanigans.  Its only as you start to ponder who the architect of the drama is, that you appreciate how rich the psy changeling world is -there are so many candidates.  And all of them valid.

Congratulations Nalini what an extraordinary achievement this series continues to be.



Gotta have Faith

Visions of Heat (#2 Psy-Changeling series) Nalini Singh  (spoilers below – watch out!)

This was another re-read for me.  I’m shocked at how much I’m getting out of a book the second time round, especially as I know what happens in the next eleven books!  This is an absolute credit to Nalini Singh’s skill and imagination.

It’s easy to talk about the amazing world she’s created, but its so much more than that.  Its an intricate story arc, with each book carefully developing the story.  Ms Singh doesn’t waste a phrase, its all beautifully crafted to give you the insights you need as the story goes forward.  Clearly, her imagination runs riot (thank god!) but its her story telling skill and the link from one episode to the next that keeps you hooked.  She’s a master craftswoman.  Be very envious!

I’m quite surprised I didn’t realise that Faith’s father Anthony was leading a fifth column inside the PsyNet.  Although, I’d not twigged at the time (or perhaps forgotten since reading) his response to Faith’s defection and his subsequent conversation with his daughter and Vaughn made it quite clear.

He knows where he needs to be and what he’s doing – I wonder why he never told Faith?  Perhaps he really did see her as the perfect Psy as he intimated. (or should I re-read that bit?!)

However, now in hindsight the clue was in Faith’s name.  It’s an interesting choice for a member of the Psy race that eschews all emotion and lives by science and data, seeming only to value business growth.  Unlike the other two virtues – Charity and Hope – Faith is all about believing in something that you cannot know or prove and probably never will.  It’s an unknown concept to the Psy, yet it was Anthony’s choice for his elder daughter.

As for her clan name – NightStar – it seems perfect for Anthony and Faith, reminding us of how the night star can guide the lost home.  And when seen its a point of fixed point of clarity – something (or someone) to follow.

From now on, I’ll be scrutinising those book names.

With book 14 Shards of Hope due out in the UK on the 4th June I think I’ll abandon my re-reading until after I’ve read that instalment.


Want to be a winner?

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Dominated by a triumvirate of three competing races – psy, changeling and human, Nalini Singh has created pretty much the perfect fictional universe.

Unusually for me this was a re-read.  Given how full Amazon’s shelves are I’m not much of a re-reader.  What’s the point when I know what will happen?  However, with the 14th book in the series out June 4th and a new cover reveal there’s a bit of buzz about it and I’ve been swept along.

In actual fact I didn’t re-read it, I savoured it.  This time there was no rush to the end to see what happened.  Ooh what a delight!

Two things struck me this time round.

The concept of sensation.  Like the rest of her race psy Sascha Duncan has been programmed to shun all emotion.  An emotionless state isn’t totally unique, but the psy live in an airtight vacuum.

When I first met the psy I thought they couldn’t feel but I needed to expand my understanding of feeling – its also touch, smell, taste.  Sascha’s world isn’t just devoid of emotion but anything that might appeal to the senses.

Think about it – no silk dresses, no freshly laundered sheets, no sand between toes, no sloppy kisses, no hazelnut lattes, no chocolate, no smell of home.  Certainly, no gorgeous male like Lucas Hunter to inflame all your senses!

But the real shocker was Ms Singh’s genius.  In this first story she put out the tentacles of a story still coming together fourteen books later.  Its an intricate universe, carefully balanced and wonderfully crafted.  Now, I know where she takes the story I am in awe.

If you want a HEA romance with passion, you’ll enjoy it.  But if you want romance plus – something that takes you to another world and lays down the possibility of so much more you’ll love it!

First time round I gave it a solid 5 stars, this time round I’m annoyed there isn’t a 5 star plus.

Want to see what all the fuss is about?  To celebrate the new cover for Slave to Sensation and introduce new readers to this fab series ahead of her 14th book, Nalini is offering the chance to win the first 5 books in the psy/changeling series.  Its open to readers everywhere – so no excuses for not entering!

And here’s the new cover – I liked the old rather intense paperback image better but maybe this one captures Lucas a lot more?


Becks is no T-Rex

Rock Hard Nalini Singh (#2 Rock Kiss)

Having read the first book in the series I was keen but not desperate to read the next book in the series.  I hadn’t really “got” Molly and Fox.  But Nalini Singh had been posting some updates on this story for the past month which whetted my appetite a bit.

“Any problems with my goals?”

The hero is a former international rugby player, and a Kiwi national icon.  So, its tries not goals he scores.  At this point I must say hats off to Ms Singh.  Being a New York Times best-seller, she’s writing for a global audience.  Rugby is far from an international sport, so its a brave move to write about it.  Not only that but to base it somewhere rugby isn’t just a sport but a religion, she captures this perfectly.  The date at the rugby and the bbq in the park fizzle with authenticity.

I hope her legion of global fans, appreciate the difference in football codes.  After all, rugby heroes are physically different from your soccer global stars, they personify menace, grit and determination all at once.  David Beckham is no match for T-Rex.

Becks might not be a match for him, but Charlie mouse takes him down.  Interestingly she starts off with a stapler along the way roses, bracelets, black lace, muffins and pasta sauce play their part.  T-Rex’s advice that a hole punch was a better option will stay with me!

This is romance that sizzles on the page, its the kind of romance that the term “can’t put it down” was made for!  Nalini Singh is in stunning form with Rock Hard, kicking this series into touch (see what I did there!).

Being part of Charlotte’s metamorphosis, I was rooting for her to bring him down.  But as her story unveiled that wasn’t important I just wanted him to win her.  I could totally relate to the enormous task he faced.  And I loved the way he detailed his plans for her to veto (as if she would!).  Gorgeous just gorgeous!

Both Gabe and Charlie and far more complex and real characters than Molly or Fox, and that made for much better story.

Oh and Nalini if you’re looking for another Kiwi national sport – maybe try cricket with a Chris Gayle look a like?

The book is out on March 10th and I received an ARC in return for an honest review.