A Madness of Sunshine, Nalini Singh
I love Nalini’s Guild Hunter series and her contemporary romances. I so wish I could enjoy the psy-changling series, so many books I haven’t read. Maybe I’ll give them another go 😉
This time the story is as much, maybe more, suspense as romance. Its a slow burn relationship, it’s more getting to know each other tentatively and maybe starting something, than a full on romance. I enjoyed it even though I was expecting more romance from the tag.
The background of Golden Cove, and the issues of past and present was excellent. When Nalini writes there’s always that extra touch, scenery is always so descriptive I can mentally see it, characters that I feel I know, understand, even things like the coffee, I can smell and taste it from her words.
The suspense was cleverly done, a couple of main possible suspects stand out, and yet there are things thrown in that made me wonder “ but what about? Could they? ”
Its cleverly wrapped up, proper ending. I hate it when I finish a story and am left wondering what happened after, wondering about certain characters.
The reason both Will and Anhara were in Golden Cove were believable, I really felt for them both. There were other characters already there too that had some nasty shocks, life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, sometimes its just damn windy and stormy. Life’s like that for us all sometimes, throws in unwelcome surprises, things happen beyond our control, someone does whats right yet still ends up poorer for it. It made the story feel very realistic for me.
Stars: Five. I was pleased at the way things worked out in the ending. I like that kind of finishing the story and giving a hint of what happens to them in the future.
Arc via Netgalley and publishers
Cherish Hard, Nalini Singh
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
I love Nalini’s writing, both contemporary and paranormal – just finished the latest Guildhunter novel – fabulous.
Anyway, I wanted to read this soon as I saw it was available but to my surprise I found it was one where though all the elements for a good book was there, great characters, solid story somehow it just didn’t work for me 😦
I love Sailor, love his confidence, and his innate Goodness, that sense of right he has – and cheered him when he did what was needed to Cory!!
I hadn’t connected him to Gabriel until about a third of the way in when the light bulb moment hit me and I was “oh yes, he’s Gabe’s brother” Gabe is still playing rugby professionally here, its a pre Rock Hard read – I loved that book.
There are clear parallels in the writing, with the Dragon – Jacqueline having characteristics that reminded me of Gabe – T-Rex. The humour and style are very similar.
I don’t really know why it was just a Good read for me and not a Great one, its difficult to pin down but somehow though I really enjoyed the characters I didn’t feel the magic sizzle between Sailor and Isa, lust yes, but Love? not so certain about that.
Stars:Three, a fun read but not a good as I expected.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
Archangel’s Heart, Book 9, Nalini Singh
Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy.
Well, I’ve loved this series since I read the first one aggees ago 😉 and reread some of my favourite ones from it.
Its a series that’s changed hugely since then though, evolved much the same as Raphael has! I think its one that though each book is more or less complete, you need to start at the beginning, because there are so many characters, its such a complex world that jumping in cold with have you lost.
So, I knew who everyone was and yet I still had to keep thinking back to how exactly they all fit together. There are so many characters invovled now that a list of who is who and how they connect would be useful!!
This book is more a part of the overall story arc than an individual romance, as some of them are.
The archangels have been called together to discuss Lijuan and her territory. Who can call the group together though? I mean, they’re very much autonomous beings, but we learn of a new group, a kind of overall order put together aeons ago for just such a purpose, as well as finding their own paths to Luminescence, a kind of personal goal of perfection – kind of like our mystics and religious wise men. ( Why are they always male though – the Luminata seem to be too – I can’t remember any females there).
They don’t call archangels to account per se, but see when they need to meet to discuss something important. At the moment they’re dealing with the Cascade and all the side effects of that, the fact there are eleven archangels, unheard of before as there are only ten territories, each are jealously guarded, and of course there’s Lijuan who’s been acting more and more deranged, causing such major issues for angels, vampires and mortals alike with her insistence that she’s a Goddess, and therefore above everyone and everything.
Seems simple doesn’t it – she’s not around, meet to decide if she’s dead or asleep, and what’s going to happen with her territory. At the moment its bringing bloodshed to the borders that needs to be stopped, as without a ruler in effect some of the vampires are going on mass killing sprees.
Only archangels and their seconds, plus consorts are invited – and the archangels have to go, to not appear is to forfeit their territory. Its a real royal summons…
Michaela is her poisonous best, though maybe that description should be for Neha, she’s a real nasty, still holding Raphael guilty for killing her daughter, though it had to be done.
I loved seeing more of Aodhan, but missed Ilium, (sparkle and bluebell!!) love the friendship and banter between those two.
Raphael is at his commanding majestic best, with Elena keeping him a bit on the humane side. Archangels do tend to dismiss mortals, even the ones we think are more compassionate and some of the discussions here about the local village show that really well.
I did miss seeing the Guild personnel, and the vampires, especially Dmitri and Venom.
Lumina though turns out not to be the peaceful place they all imagine, and the events aren’t as simple as they thought. It actually gave me nightmares after reading one night, not that its a horror kind of read, and no worse in the violence than any other in the series. It was the creepiness of the Luminata that did it for me….It’s a place full of hidden secrets masquerading as something else. Question is are they important secrets, what are they, why and how did they happen, and how does all that fit with the purpose of the place?
Still, I don’t regret reading it, despite the bad dreams!!
Its a fantastic read as always, bringing in all the archangels, a new group in the Luminata, answering some long held questions, and revealing more about Elena’s background.
Its not my favourite of the series, those tend to be the more romance centred ones, and the ones centred around Raphael’s territory, but as part of the overall story its moved things on a great deal.
It’s one of the few longer series that’s got so much going on each book still feels fresh and exciting. I couldn’t get in to the Psy novels, read the first ages ago, but wish I could as that series has got so many now and I love ones like these.
Maybe its time for a reread, sometimes I find that on second reading and with the passage of time I’m in a better frame to enjoy stories that didn’t grab me first time round.
Of course there’s the usual issue of time and cash 😉 to contend with too.
Stars: Five, one to keep, to savour rereading – preferably after reading the first book.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
Rock Redemption, Nalini Singh
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
We’re on to the third book in the series and its fast become a favourite for me. I loved Nalini’s Archangel series and now she’s firmly entrenched in my contemporary romance authors favourites too. I couldn’t really remember Noah from the other books, though have a faint recollection of Kit coming to Fox’s house one day and meeting Molly, where they got off to a bit of a difficult start. Never the less they’re now fast friends along with Thea, Molly’s sister and David’s girlfriend.
Kit’s wanted Noah since she met him but he’s always kept her firmly in the friend zone. Then a while back they got closer and he broke her heart – what a jerk, I was thinking when I read what he did, what a horrible man. She’s well rid of him. Still, hearts don’t work on logic and common sense, and despite how heartbroken she was she still cares for him – but they can’t seem to get that old friendship back. Then when we got to know Noah it was clear he was hiding a huge secret, that he was acting to protect Kit from him and his fears.
Things change though, they get closer once more and then a media photo goes viral and its make or break time, Kits career hinges on whether they can act as a couple. Its kind of like a bittersweet time for her, she’s still in love with him, and he wants to do whatever he can for her but is so scared of hurting her. He doesn’t seem to see what we can see, that by his actions he’s hurting her worse.
Of course I wanted to know what the secret was, and whether it would follow the usual format – well, Nalini puts a twist on it so that its different, that it gives another dimension to what happened, so we can understand better all his fears. Once its revealed so much makes sense and I so felt for him, and understood his past actions better.
Alongside all that there’s the parallel plot of Kits stalker who’s been around for some time now, and has done some pretty horrible things and forced her to move into a more expensive property, employ twenty four hour security, and all that means her career is essential, she needs the money to keep this up, and she is scared that entering the “relationship” with Noah will break her heart when he cheats – because she feels its a when not an if. He’s a kind of manwhore, doesn’t do dates or relationships, uses sex as an escape, doesn’t care a bit about who the girls are, they’re just faceless to him, to be used and then left. She doesn’t see how he can manage without for the few weeks they need to keep up the pretence. Then the stalker steps up the action too – and it wasn’t until almost the end before I began to work out who was behind it….very cleverly done, and a realistic rational behind it.
I really enjoyed this story, perfect pacing, great characters and I loved seeing the other band members there too. I’m looking forward to reading about Abe and Sarah next.
Stars: Five, loved it.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
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Rock Hard, Nalini Singh
Genre: Contemporary romance.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I loved Addiction and Courtship so was looking forward to this one. I wasn’t disappointed – its another great read!
The Rock connection is quite tenuous, Charlie is best friend to Mollie, who’s with Fox, lead singer of Schoolboy Choir, and they were in the first book. Mollie has had some huge trauma in her past, which has lead to her current problems. We don’t find out the full story til well into the book, but judging by the security around her home and her panic attacks and flashbacks when someone gets too close, its something huge. When it was revealed I felt so saddened for her – and admiration too. She’s come such a long way, lots of people would have just folded, given in to their feelings but she’s fought back. She doesn’t seem to realise just how strong she’s been, but luckily Mollie is only a phone call away to remind her and chivvy her on when needed. Gabriel – he’s such a star, gorgeous, rich, ex top rugby star and now a very successful businessman, he’s hotly pursued by models, actresses, anyone who wants to be seen, and usually they’re the tall, blonde, leggy type. They mean nothing to him, he only ever does one date and then its a dozen red roses and on to the next! He’s a reputation for being ruthless in all areas of his life. So when he’s hired to turn around the business where Charlie works, his reputation precedes him. He’s known for being brutal and inexorable in getting what he wants, so everyone is wondering if they are going to be the next to go. Poor Charlie, working late once again one evening, doing the work her boss really should be doing, but always passes on to her and then takes the credit herself, hears an intruder, and throws the only thing she has to hand- a stapler. To her mortification though its her new boss…oops! He’s intrigued by her, she seemed a shy mouse and yet she’ll take on an intruder. Bored by his current dalliances he decides he wants to know more, and as he learns about her he begins to appreciate her sharp wit, her intelligence, and once she’s persuaded by Mollie to wear clothes that aren’t two sizes too big, but fit and flatter he’s entranced by her tiny, curvy body too….
I love the way he’s so decisive about pursuing her, and yet so gentle and understanding, and so willing to wait for what he really wants. Given his past you’d expect him to just move on to the next willing body, but once we meet his family and learn more about him we can see he’s been brought up to appreciate when something is right, to hold fast to it and he’s decided Charlie is right for him. I love Charlie too – it’s hard to push yourself forward when everything inside you wants to hide and go unseen. Her boss Anya has taken advantage of that, getting her to do all the hard work and make her job easy. Gabriel soon sees through that though, sacks her and promotes Charlie. They’re working close so she has to find a way not to quiver every time he shouts, and soon she’s done just that. He’s actually been working on that, pushing her carefully to find her voice and argue with him, and when she does he loves it. Its not something that happens often at first but as her confidence grows so does her courage. That’s when he starts to move in, to flirt and make it clear just how much he wants her…I loved the bracelet issue and the cooking lesson. Shows some of his forward planning and let her know just how long he’d been working on her. She needed to know that, she needed to be certain she wasn’t going to join the ranks of one night and red roses! Of course its not all plain sailing, she has setbacks, and her past comes back to create some dramatics and danger. Sadly for me that bit – the drama – was over far too soon. I felt that in the first book too, I just like my sad parts to be strung out so I can wallow, but that’s not for everyone of course. Its why I’ve dropped a half star but it’ll be perfect for other readers. You can’t please everybody all the time etc….
Its a great read, covering some very real issues people have, and with a sharp wit that made me laugh. The chapter headings too and the T-Rex allegories etc were terrific, and I found myself looking forward to those at the start of a new chapter. Darynda Jones, with her Charley Davidson novels does great chapter heading too- hers are t-shirt/bumper type slogans, and I look forward to each one of them when I’m reading.
Stars: Four and a half, one to keep and reread.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers
Rock Courtship, A Rock Kiss Novella, Nalini Singh
Genre: Contemporary romance
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
We met Thea and David in Rock Addiction, the first book in the series. This novel could be read as a standalone, the story is explained along the way so the reader can follow events easily but it’s so much better knowing the full story and background in my opinion.
I loved the first book which was full length, but this is a novella and I’m no so keen on those, always feel as if I am just getting into them when the end rears up at me. Still, its a good read, funny at times, very bittersweet at others. David had been advised by Thea’s sister to put his case for their relationship in a memo, having already asked her out and been turned down. He knows there’s attraction there – Thea’s just scared to enter into anything with him. The memos that fly back and forth between them get really amusing, and made me smile. David really puts a lot of thought into his first ones, and takes away Thea’s objections before she’s even made them. I can understand why Thea is cautious, she’s had her heart broken before and a rock star isn’t who comes to mind when one thinks of steady, reliable boyfriend material. As David says though, he’s never had that kind of publicity since their very early days years back. He doesn’t do the groupie lifestyle and it’s not fair to judge him for the behaviour of others. Once she gives in – wow – once again Nalini writes some searing sex scenes, scorching up the pages…
SO why isn’t this five star from me? Partly I think is the length, I think there’s so much to explore between them that novella length restricted that, and made events unfold too quickly. The drama part, where it all goes wrong, where the heartbreak happens was good but so so brief. I’ve said before, I need to wallow over it, to feel close to tears for the main characters and though it was so believable, and handled well, it just didn’t deliver what I needed.
Stars: Four – its a hot, sexy read, but too short to have the impact it deserves. Full length and it would be a five from me.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers .
Black Lies, Alessandra Torre
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I’ve loved some of Alessandra’s other novels so was excited to see this but…I was also really concerned over whether I’d like Layana. I need to be able to empathise with the main characters, and Brant sounded lovely but Layana? well…it looks as if she’s cheating and I’m really not a fan of that.
Still, in her usual way Alessandra makes me feel for the characters I doubt I’ll like. I loved Brant and Layana to begin, and then Lee entered the picture and I almost stopped reading. I just couldn’t understand how Layana could do this. It seemed so out of character, plus of course it was so clear that she loved Brant….but there’s more behind the obvious story, and once again my perceptions were challenged, my views turned upside down and I realised I was judging without full facts.
Its hard to say too much here without giving anything away, but its a book that took me totally by surprise, I certainly didn’t see what was going to be revealed. Its a terrific read, full of drama and emotion and of course some steamy, sensual, erotic love scenes.As Layana says we’ve no idea what her love entails, nor the things she’ll do to keep it. Of course I love a good bitch and Brant’s controlling aunt provided that. Like Layana I didn’t like her right from the beginning…and I love to get a character that makes me feel that way. I enjoy good characters, ones I can feel for, but someone “bad”, a real bitchy type adds another dimension to the story for me.
Its a very original premise, certainly I’ve not read one like this before, and as Alessandra says, she has taken some licence with facts. Sometimes fiction demands that, if proper facts were used then the story may become bland and uninspiring, but so long as authors say what they’ve done I’ve no problems with stretching the truth and reality.
Stars: Five – a wonderful book, and when I think I almost gave up on it – arggh, what I would have missed.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
Rock Addiction, Nalini Singh
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I love Nalini’s Guildhunter series, so when i saw this I wanted to see how she treats contemporary romance.
So, what did I think? well, Fox is a real star in all ways, both by profession as a top rock star, and by his treatment of Molly. He’s got his own demons from his past to deal with, abandoned by his mother at a young age then sent to boarding school so he was out of her way. Its left him with a distrust of “love” and until now he’s just been careful and wary in relationships. Molly though – soon as he sees her she sparks something in him. She too has her demons from her teens when her father, a strong Family Values Politician was caught out with a teen her age – just 15…and the resulting drama from the press put the final nail on her family life. She’s avoided anything resembling the spotlight ever since, tailoring her life and work to keep well away from anything resembling scandal. Fox though…she’s a real pull to him from the start, and when he proposes a one month fling while he’s staying locally and can keep away from the press she decides it’s time for some fun.
And do they have fun!! Oh yes, and soon the whole band are in love with Molly, she’s become a sort of mother figure to them. She’s so good natured she provides the link they need, away from all the false promises. She doesn’t want anything from Fox and that’s so different to all the usual crew wanting recommendations, discs passing on, names putting forward to producers etc or simply just enjoying expensive presents. Molly doesn’t want any of that – just Fox, just the man himself, his time and person, no extras..and it takes him time to accept it.
Its a real love story between two people with scarred pasts who are treading cautiously, and at times the anger from the past spills over and affects their relationship. I enjoyed this novel very much, great characters, real world building and I felt as if i was there with them. I would have liked a bit more of the “down” drama, the bits there were just acted as minor speed humps in road map of their relationship, when i want a huge roadblock – and then it’s so good when they are past it. As it was it was lots of happy with some down hiccups…I do want to see what happens with her sister though – and Charlie and the T-Rex!!
Stars: Four and a half, a fun, sexy read. That extra bit of drama would have made that a five from me.
ARC supplied via Netgalley