Wild, absolutely wild

Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh (book 11 Guild Hunter)

This book has driven the fans wild, absolutely wild.  And I’m not going to tell you why. #spoilers

If you want a new series to read, do you want one that’s rock steady and you get what you expect?  Or do you want one where the author embraces her vision for the characters and leaves her readers at 2 in the morning throwing the kindle against the wall with tears streaming down their faces and fury in their hearts? I know what I’m choosing.  Drive the fans wild I say.

Elena and Raphael are the alpha couple of paranormal romance.  Their story is so intricate and absorbing that time after time Ms Singh revisits them.  I’m usually a one and done girl, once I’ve had the HEA, I’m moving on.  Not with these two, never with Elena and Raphael.

All the Nalini Singh trademarks are in evidence – superb characterisation, outrageous story telling, unparalleled world building, true humour and painful emotion.

After eleven full novels and a whole load of novellas all of which I’ve read several times searching for clues I now have absolutely no idea what will happen next.  And it’s killing me.  Think on that.  How many authors run out of steam about book 7 or 8?  With book 11 in her guild hunter series Ms Singh has thrown everything we know up in the air. Perhaps under a bus might say it better.  Pure bloody genius.

Given everyone else is ‘telling’ the author what should I happen next, I will too!  I need Aodhan to get his book, then conclude Elena and Raphael’s story with Bluebell’s accession. Yes, definitely that.  Oh no that means that Titus might not meet Tasha. I need Titus settled.  And what about Caliane, perhaps with Alexander? Or Kier?  I’ve forgotten new character Andreas needs a story.  But will Astaad decide on Mele alone?  Eek! Now I’ve started I can’t stop.  Like I said superlative characterisation and world building.

The cover has it

Ocean Light by Nalini Singh (Psy-Changeling Trinity #2)

Bowen Knight the de facto leader of the Human Alliance gets his book.   We left Bowen clinging to life following a catastrophic shooting and with a failing chip in his brain.  We find him in the care of the BlackSea changeling group and meet Kaia.

Given time is of the essence, I expected a fast paced romance with breakneck speed and passion.  Ms. Singh however, delivers a slow burner, that’s sweet, touching and totally endearing.  With absolutely no time to spare we find two people who above all become friends.  All around them is a freneticness (including the pregnant doctor), yet there’s something almost logical about their connection against the ticking timebomb in Bowen’s brain. It made my heart ache and was simply beautiful.

Whilst the romance might be a slow burner, the story is a cracker with dynamite on board.  If the romance made my heart swoon, the twists and turns made my head spin and my blood rush.  And don’t forget those glimpses of the enigmatic BlackSea.  A whole book based with them and quite honestly I’m still not sure!

Please indulge me what I talk about the international cover.  Clearly, it’s divine but that’s not the point.  This cover is important.  So many romance readers are lucky enough to see people who look like us on book covers all the time.  I was so disappointed that the cover for probably my fave Nalini Singh book ‘Mine to Possess’ didn’t reflect Clay’s darker Egyptian heritage.  Diversity in romance is like anything else, the more diversity the more innovation, connections, learnings we all benefit from.  Romance and diversity bring love and richness – they go together.

If you’re interested in diversity in romance have a look at this report https://www.therippedbodicela.com/sites/therippedbodicela.com/files/2017%20diversity%20study%20%281%29.pdf


Tom’s Redemption

Forbidden Bonds By Lexi C. Foss (Immortal Curse #2)

Fast paced action, spell binding romance, bone crunching betrayal, political intrigue and adventure galore. Lexi C Foss’ Immortal Curse series just went skywards.

Having created an immensely strong and compelling world, Ms Foss sets out to prove that one of her villains isn’t as bad as fans suspect. And what a cracking job she does. Tom is redeemed!

Of course we have Amelia. She’s the quintessential heroine, needing no redemption – well not yet, anyway. There in is the fun! Ooh poor Isaac, his little sister has transformed from the sweet darling he worshipped to the kind of kick arse heroine Tom needs! Her change and her absolute fight to get what she wants had me glued to the page. Woe betide these boys who make decisions for the new Amelia!

The battle between the Ichorians and the Hydrians is in full force. The complexity and subtleness that Ms Foss has bought to her paranormal world is superb. I’m not going to make author comparisons, but The Immortal Curse series needs to be on the kindle of any PNR fan, no exceptions.

But start with book one, and enjoy Isaac!


Hearts, brains and blood

Blood Laws by Lexi C Foss (Immortal Curse #1)

Lexi C Foss has created a world that’s imaginative, original and believable. If you’re a PNR fan you’ll want this for breakfast.  And then maybe you can savour Isaac for dessert.  Not only is he yummy, but there’s something about his dark intellect that will have smart girls craving seconds!

The pace is fast but not so furious that you miss the subtlety that Ms Foss has woven in.  At each tantalising reveal you’ll need to remember to breathe!  Good luck with that because Osiris will steal your breath and have your heart banging and your toes curling.

Obviously Isaac is the star but the wider cast are wonderful.  Stas is a great heroine, they are so beautifully suited.  I now know who book two will be about, and whilst it’s a great choice, there were a number of contenders.  This series should get better and better.

The story focuses on the aftermath of a series of laws between two warring civilisations, based in modern day Manhattan. Billionaires, gleaming buildings, a blood court and a para military force with their own agenda.  Just wow!

The romance was heart felt, the drama Machiavellian and the characters intricate. What more could you want?  I think I already mentioned Isaac?

One of the best first vampire books ever.  I dare you to put it down.

Four shorts

On the Hunt (short story anthology) Alexandra Ivy, Rebecca Zanetti, Dianne Duvall & Hannah Jayne

I usually prefer my books long – very long – and so avoid short stories.  But I’d heard a lot about the authors of the first three stories in this anthology and decided to give it a go (thanks netgalley!).  When I say I’ve now downloaded books by both Ivy and Zanetti you’ll understand that I’m glad I went with these shorts.

The first three were for me that bit better – fast paced, memorable characters, intricate world settings and strong story lines.  I was particularly annoyed when Scorpius Rising finished – a new take on a wannabe zombies?!  Those damn hunky Scotsmen are everywhere.

But for me the passion, longing and raw sensuality of Mika and Bailey won me over – and there was enough of the intricate world that Ms Ivy has created to really have me hooked!

As for Dianne Duvall’s ghost story – who doesn’t love a lonely spirit or want a sexy dream or two?!  Yuri seemed both lost and yet very real.  Whilst the ending was perhaps a bit obvious I just loved Yuri, I would have loved to have seen more of his interactions.

The fourth story, was a tad different (probably in a good way) with strong characterisation but perhaps I’d done the short thing by then or perhaps it lacked the pace.  I didn’t quite get the first person story but the fashion setting made it stand out.

Thank you to netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.


tick tock, tick tock

The Seven Series Dannika Dark (5 books & counting..)

Having just finished the latest in Dannika Dark’s paranormal Seven series – Three Hours – I’m pondering the nature of time in the old adage of falling in love .

Like most romance fans I adore the falling in love story, trying to work out when they both fell and not just how.  Ms Dark’s stories deal with her heroes connecting but more often than not reconnecting, with time as her backdrop.  Focussing on the time element gives her stories more intimacy; that her heroes are largely immortal adds another dimension – afterall what do immortals care about time?!

I wonder if her couples are fated to complete their journeys – so that the time dimension is just the road they take?  Or is Ms Dark using the notion of time to show her readers the moment/s her heroes fall in love giving her stories added grit? I tend to think its both depending on the story.

With Lexi and Austin (Seven Years #1) it feels that the tragedy they shared would always draw them back – it haunted the seven years they were apart.  At first glance Izzy and Jericho’s story (Five Weeks #3) would seem to be the same.  Having been apart for so long I expected a story in their past, yet its told far more in the present – the stars aligned and at that moment and only that moment they were fated to be together.

Interestingly, April and Reno’s story (Six Months #2) though totally in the present, is the one that’s more about the future.  He’s immortal, she’s not.  Their different futures haunt their connection.

Where so many romances are dominated by the instant connection – love at first sight – the power in this series is exploring the time between the connections.  In the latest book Wheeler and Naya (Three Hours #5) had a much earlier troubled meeting in another book.  Yet, its the power of three dreadful hours that have them trusting each other and revealing their hearts.

Keeping the focus on connecting and reconnecting Lorenzo’s book (Four Days #4) reconnects readers with her original couple in the Mageri series, showing what an imaginative world she’s created and allowing the interconnections between the different elements.

If I follow the logic, there’s books titled Two Minutes and One Second to go – can’t wait.

Vampires are people too

Serenity Box Series 1-3 books Marissa Farrar

Oooh! She’s good in fact she’s so good, she’s got to be bad.  Marissa Farrar has me hooked on her Serenity series.

I started on this series as I love vampires and romance.  But now I’m hooked I know its not really a paranormal romance series, in fact not at all.

Romance stories are all about the alpha male; finding his true love usually sends him all Tarzan.  He can’t be 100 metres from her and he’s happy to take on any challengers and win.  Yet, despite their connection and his feelings for her Sebastian leaves Serenity, when he comes back his choices don’t end well for her.  They both know he can’t defeat Dimitri, in fact he’s amazingly sanguine about it.

Vampires are usually all conquering all powerful – not so Sebastian and his kind.  They can’t kill each other for starters, and then there’s the absolute inconvenience of the dawn.  To make it even messier he feeds only on humans.  Sebastian might feel badly about it but he still eats and he has no way to tell the good from the bad humans, only those who won’t be missed straight away.  Hardly, the makings of a hero.

Each book isn’t formed around a “happy ever after” ending which defines the romance genre.  Marissa Farrar doesn’t play that game, that’s for sure.  The ending of Buried totally shocked me.  I thought my kindle had lost a chapter.  Unthinkable for a romance book.

In fact in parts Buried (the brilliant dark second book) is quite frightening, and Jackson is replusive.  As for the twist in third book, I didn’t see that one coming!

Sebastian said it best telling Serenity he might be a vampire but he wasn’t a super hero. Vampires have never seemed so human.  Even a witch seems stronger.  That’s the real cleverness – yep its a vampire book, but actually its all human – family, love, guilt, ego, betrayal,  jealousy, choices, weaknesses, anger, longing and so on…

Marissa Farrar’s series defies an easy description, which can’t make it easy to sell but to read – its fantastic.  Having just finished book three, there’s almost a hint of a happy ending – do I take it run?  Hell no – I’ve just downloaded book four – Dominion here I come!