I’ve read a lot of really good books of late. So many I keep having to write about several and put more off until the next week, LOL.
First off, Nalini Singh’s Hostage to Pleasure
It’s no secret how much I love Nalini’s books. The world she’s created with her changelings and the Psy is riveting and unique and her characters just as much.
I’ve been waiting to see what she’d do with Dorian, a shifter who is unable to take his animal form, a man tortured by the horrible murder of his sister by a Psy madman. It’s made him blinded by his need for vengeance in many ways while still honor bound to protect his family of changelings.
Singh gives him the challenge of having to protect a Psy, a woman he hates on principle because she’s one of “them” But Ashaya is also a mother, a woman who has lived the lie of silence on the outside while doing all she could to protect her child (and two others by helping them escape in a previous book) and now he’s having to deal with the fact that things are never what they seem. His riotous reaction to her nearness, her scent, his need to protect her, his desire for her, is at war with anger and guilt.
Shaya has secrets about her twin, big ones and that doesn’t help his natural distrust. But she’s not a doormat or a wilting flower. In fact, she’s one of my favorite Singh heroines to date. She’s strong and will do whatever it takes to protect her son. I liked that about her. I liked her approach to Dorian, her desire for him, to heal him, her fear of feeling anything for him. When they come together it’s authentic, not forced. It’s sexy and romantic and Dorian is uber alpha all the way.
This one is in my top three books in this series. Well done!
Shelly Laurenston’s The Beast In Him
I discovered Shelly Laurenston through her anthologies with Cynthia Eden (a favorite of mine) and I’ve been working my way through her books ever since. It’s very hard to write humor effectively, there’s a balance and Laurenston seems to know just how far to push, even when she’s pushing way harder than other authors would in her genre. Simply put, her books have really great and unexpected humor along with unconventional characters, weird characters that if I read someone describing I’d wonder why on earth I’d want to read about them, but I do and I love every one.
The Beast In Him gives us Smitty’s story and it’s one of my faves, the reunion/friends to lovers story. Only Jessie Ann does not run into his arms, grateful to see him again like he expects, no, she pretends like she doesn’t know him and gives him all sorts of trouble.
It works because he’s such an alpha he needs to be taken down a few pegs, even though everything he does, he does for everyone else’s good. Again, I can’t explain WHY it works, she just does it and makes it seem easy.
I have a thing about shifters, I generally stay away from those that aren’t wolves or big cats but Laurenston can write dragons or wild dogs and I love them. She’s got talent and I’m quite happy to read everything she puts out there!
Laurell K Hamilton’s Swallowing Darkness
Folks, I gotta say, I was really impressed with this book. It’s very light on sex. There were two scenes, one that wasn’t quite finished but where the title comes from, yes, that’s what it means and one I felt was unnecessary to describe as much as she did and with the characters she used, although I understood why she did it, I felt like it took away from the main character relationships.
However, this is urban fantasy far more than romance. The action is well done, Merry is in danger pretty much from page one but she’s not whining, she’s not desired by everyone and she’s not a passive victim. She’s out for vengeance and fully aware of the stakes now that she’s pregnant. I liked this Merry a lot. I liked Merry using her hand of blood without apology. I liked Merry telling Doyle how she felt. I liked her men not pouting (there was a tiny bit but not too much).
In short, this, to me, was the LKH whose writing I fell in love with, the plot was strong, it stayed on course, there weren’t four zillion characters and a bunch of threads left undone. In fact, she could end the series right now if she chose (though I hear there’s another book coming). But she makes choices, she’s active in her future, they’re hard choices and she makes them with the sort of ruthlessness she’s been missing in the last two books or so.
Swallowing Darkness was very well done and I’m glad I grabbed it.
Perfect Kisses – Susan Johnson, Sylvia Day and Noelle Mack
I was lucky enough to have the ever so fabulous Sylvia Day drop this into my hands at RT in April. I love Sylvia’s writing, she’s one of those people who can go from historicals to paranormals without blinking and have me grabbing up everything she writes.
So it’s not that big a surprise that it was her story Mischief and The Marquess that was my fave of the three. The reunion/friends to lovers theme which I always gravitate toward – with a wonderfully non virginal character who’s been disgraced and her childhood friend now whooo hot guh sexay and wanting to make her his at looong last. The sex doesn’t happen right off but the tension is there and drawn very well. The cast of characters is interesting and you care about them, you want to know more.
Johnson’s School For Scandal was another story I really liked although I thought the ending was a bit abrupt. She wrote some lovely romantic and sexy scenes, she gave readers a wonderful heroine who likes sexin (thank goodness!) and who knows what she likes and isn’t afraid to ask for it. And a hero who isn’t freaked by that quality at all, which made me really like him
Mack’s Ruby Kisses had the least amount of sexin and romance of the three stories but a different sort of setting than a regency ballroom, which I always like (although I am a hooor for ballrooms and pretty dresses, sue me). I think if she’d had about 15K more, she could have fleshed out what was a very complicated story to make it far more satisfying. I can see what she was going for and I liked that part, but I wanted more and found the wordcount stifled her ability to get me there. Still, I like Mack’s writing!
Again, there was more but I’m off to get some writing done before my kids riot for lunch. Have a great Saturday!