Review: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookheartofobsidian
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal/Futuristic Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #12
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Kaleb Krychek
Heroine: Sahara Kyriakus
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 4, 2013
Started On: January 14, 2014
Finished On: January 18, 2014

With Heart of Obsidian, Nalini Singh has outdone every single book in the Psy-Changeling series, giving fans a whole new meaning to the term explosive, which renders this book the best addition to the series so far. One of the reasons that I think the story worked so well was the fact that Nalini decided to take a step back from the Changelings and focus on the intriguing world of Psy for a change. Added to it is the fact that Heart of Obsidian is the book that presents the most pivotal turning point in the series to date, thus it is no wonder that Heart of Obsidian practically turns the pages by itself with the sheer scale of entertainment it has to offer.

Kaleb Krychek, cardinal telekinetic is the man who had risen to power and attained his place in the Council at the young age of 27, the youngest to have secured a position as such. The sheer, raw and unadulterated power that he holds inside of him is one that kept me in awe from beginning till end, the scale of it one that I don’t think I would ever be able to completely wrap my head around. The plans he has for his race, a race that assumed Silence almost 100 years back to keep the madness at bay is one that only he is privy to. And all the while, Kaleb’s search for the woman who is the deepest flaw in his Silence had continued until finally, 7 years on, Sahara Kyriakus is found and returned to her rightful place beside him.

This spellbinding novel is the culmination of so many events that has continued to happen since the beginning of the series, the fact that Silence wasn’t what the Psy had assumed it would turn out to be made altogether more evident by a faction of the race who demands absolute Silence which would allow them ultimate control of the minds of every Psy. For them, it is absolute Silence or nothing else, even if it means the destruction of their whole race altogether.

Kaleb is an enigma, a man who makes your heart race, just because. Brought up as the protege of one the most evil of the Psy, no one knows for certain where Kaleb stands. The darkness that walks right along with him or rather inside of him is one that he had embraced a long time back, knowing that he’d been forged in the darkness, with his hands tainted in blood, his soul leeched dry of whatever emotions that would have made him even remotely hesitant in executing the plan he has in mind to take over the reins of a race that has been left floundering with their leaders in conflict with one another.

Kaleb’s most fascinating aspect turns out to be his “obsession” with Sahara, a term he would not have used to describe his relentless search for the woman for whom he would destroy everything and anyone who stands in his way and paint the world in blood red if required. Sahara when he finally finds her, is merely a shell of the 16 year old Sahara that was snatched away from his world, a woman who holds inside of her the sort of power that is enough make a man an Emperor, a power that in the wrong hands could be exploited for just that.

Kaleb’s plans for Sahara and that of the fate of the world takes an about turn when the Sahara he had known starts to return to him bit by bit, completely undoing his every intention and destroying every notion that he has held about himself when it comes to intimacies of the heart, body, mind and soul. With every searing kiss that is exchanged, Kaleb knows that its only a matter of time before Sahara realizes the darkness that swirls deep inside of him, ready to consume him and the rest of the world, if he were reach out and embrace the totality of it.

The things I loved about the Heart of Obsidian are many, and I am finding this review equally hard to write because I am afraid that I might not be able to do justice to the sheer pleasure reading this novel brought for me. I absolutely adored just how into each other both Kaleb and Sahara were; there were no pretenses to be had, no holding back and it worked beautifully for them with their entwined past making the connection between them that much more real. The heat and fire between Kaleb and Sahara was actually what I wanted for Hawke and Sienna, which unfortunately failed to materialize, the deep abiding connection between them something that I would carry in my heart always.

The telepathic dirty talk between Sahara and Kaleb was one that was enticing and arousing in equal doses, the scenes of passion between them hot enough to flatten down entire buildings with the raw power of it all. Beneath the icy cold exterior that is Kaleb lies the darkest of passions and deepest of desires, centered around just one woman who could bring him down to his very knees, the woman who would always be the game changer when it comes to him. Sahara’s adoration, love and deep seated protectiveness for all that is Kaleb was what made me fall in love with her, totally and irrevocably and I just might have to go ahead and say that I don’t think that I have ever fallen in love with a heroine that hard and fast. I definitely cannot wait to find out what Nalini is planning next for this incredible world that she has created, a world that is as enthralling as the stories that she spins around it.

Most absolutely recommended for everyone who loves romances, dark heroes, passions that run deep and obsessions that brings to light the most abiding of love.

Final Verdict: Stupendous in every single aspect, Heart of Obsidian is nothing short of a spectacular work of art!

Favorite Quotes

She couldn’t look away from him, his skin a sun gold that belied the cool lack of expression on his face. If he’d kept his distance, she might have resisted the temptation that had been riding her since the bedroom . . . but he crossed over to her, didn’t say a word when she ran her fingers over the tensile warmth of him, her nipples tight points against the thin fabric of her sleeveless lilac shirt.
His own hand was big, warm against her cheek as he cupped her jaw. “Don’t be afraid of me, Sahara.” Bending his head, he spoke with his lips against hers, the contact igniting a thousand tiny lightning strikes in her blood. “I’d line the streets with bodies before I’d ever hurt you.”

“I,” he murmured, “can never permit her freedom. She would find a way to harm you.”
Sahara’s eyes were haunted when they met his. “Am I so important to you?”
“Yes,” he said. “You’re everything.” The entire reason for his existence.

The caress felt raw, unpracticed, but no less addicting for it. The realization that he’d done this act with no other, that it was as new a pleasure to him as it was to her, was heroin in her bloodstream, a shocking punch of sensation, the world a study in passionate red. Stretching her body upward, her weight balanced on her toes, she kissed him with a wild desperation that lacked any sense of finesse.

Kaleb wasn’t cold now, his skin hot enough to burn, the arm he’d braced over her head trapping her in a prison she had no desire to escape. Thrusting her hands into his hair, she held him to her, sinking her teeth into his lower lip in a feral act of passion that should’ve shocked her.
It didn’t. Not in the madness.

A pause before he shifted to face her, one of his hands lightly cupping the side of her jaw, his eyes a black inferno. “I want more.”
Caught off guard at the realization that his arousal hadn’t been tempered by the interruption, Sahara’s lips parted in a gasp. Kaleb took the silent invitation, his mouth on hers as he pressed her back to the glass, his erection pushing into her abdomen in hard demand. Moaning, she sucked on his tongue as his hand came up to cover her breast . . . and the world turned to shards of glass, the windows exploding in a glittering shower of deadly snow.

Gripping her jaw in silent answer, he braced himself with his free arm beside her head, and then he branded her mouth with his own. You are mine. It was a statement telepathed along the private pathway that had formed years ago. Mine to touch. Mine to look at. Mine.

Sliding a hand from under her back, he gripped one breast with a firmness that felt like a brand and lowered his mouth to her flesh again. Her mind went red, her back arching as if to thrust her breast farther into his mouth. Kaleb, I need—
Tell me. Another scrape of teeth that scattered her neurons, her nails clawing the earth, crushed grass under her palms.
Touch me, please. I can’t—
Here? He cupped her between the thighs in a raw intimacy, pushing up with the heel of his hand.
And the world splintered.

“Teach me what feels good on your body.” She ached to kiss and pet him as he was doing her, burned to see those cardinal eyes drenched in the same storm that had sucked her under.
Watching you orgasm gives me extreme pleasure, was Kaleb’s unvarnished answer as his lips sought hers once more. Feeling you sticky and damp against my tongue, my fingers, your body soft under mine, your aroused nipples rubbing against my chest, that’s what feels good.

Sahara screamed, her body clenching around Kaleb’s in an orgasm that felt as if it would tear her to pieces . . . and that was when Kaleb’s control snapped. There was nothing practiced about the way he pounded deep into her over and over again, nothing restrained about the way he wrenched her head to the side to kiss and suck at her throat, nothing calculated about the way he bent her thigh upward then pushed it wide to facilitate a deeper taking.
It was primitive; it was rough; it was spectacular.

Kaleb came in violent silence, his breath harsh against her ear and his body rigid. The hot wet of his possession as his semen pulsed inside her made her erotically abused muscles spasm again, clenching tight around him. Jerking, he raised his head, eyes of obsidian holding her own as he drew back one final time, then thrust deep past her clenching muscles.
“Mine. You are mine.”
They were the last words Sahara heard before Kaleb’s kiss tore her apart, his body locked with her own as they fell.

“Make me yours, Kaleb.”
The throaty request, falling from lips plump and wet, snapped the ring of black ice. Slipping his hand under her thigh after repositioning his own, he spread her further and, tearing away her panties with a negligible use of his Tk, pushed inside her. She was tight. He was slow, deliberate. Moaning, Sahara dug her nails into his nape, her breasts flushed, her nipples lush beads he wanted to roll against his tongue.

“Kaleb!” Sahara convulsed around his erection, her entire body shaking with the strength of her orgasm.
Kaleb had intended to continue the slow pace that was an exercise in erotic control, but his brain short-circuited at the possessive clenching of Sahara’s intimate muscles. Pushing her onto her front, her face turned sideways on the pillow, he fisted one hand tightly in her hair and slammed into her in a brutally deep and fast rhythm, her body tight and slick and of the woman who was and had always been his. It felt like madness, creeping red on the horizon.

Punching her fist on the pillow, Sahara undulated her lower body toward him. Move!
The feminine demand was the only thing he needed to hear. Pounding into her, he saw her fingers clench tight on the sheets, her lips part on a breathless cry, and then she was coming around him once more, the pulses harder, more viciously possessive. Caught in the vise of her pleasure, his back arched as white lightning tore through his spine.
The bed slammed back to the ground.
Hard.
So did every other item in the room.

Sahara’s fingers tightened on his arm. “You’re mine.” Simple, quiet words that were a punch to the chest. “I will fight for you, today, tomorrow, and all the tomorrows to come.”

“You do not let that monster destroy the life we are going to have together. You are mine, not his. You have always been mine.”
The claiming was so absolute, it dared him to fight. Kaleb had no intention of doing so. Shuddering, he crushed her to him. “Yes,” he said, battling the rage because if he gave in to it, he would lose Sahara. “I’m yours. I will always be yours.”
Her lips on his jaw, on his cheek, her love fierce. “Remember that. Each action, every action you take, it has my name on it.”

“Kaleb.”
He flipped her onto her back on that breathless moan, making sure she never touched the wood. Her legs locked around his hips, her arms around his neck, her passion as wild as the rain that had turned hard, pounding against his back. Taking her mouth, tasting her with his tongue, he broke the kiss to thrust in and out of her in a driving rhythm, the water dripping off his lashes to hit her cheeks.
“Everything, Kaleb,” she gasped, her nails the sweetest pain on his shoulders, “give me everything.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

[xrr rating = 5/5]

Caliber SEAL: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: Tangle Of Need by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookTangleOfNeed
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #11
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Riaz Delgado
Heroine: Adria Morgan
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: May 29, 2012
Started On: December 16, 2013
Finished On: December 22, 2013

Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh is the 11th book in the Psy-Changeling series, the book that follows the story of the much awaited coming together of Hawke and Sienna. By the 10th book in the series which happens to be Hawke and Sienna’s story, a lot has happened and the stories move towards the ultimate demise of the Silence that the Psy species had assumed a long time back rendering them emotionless, cold and calculative. A movement known as Pure Psy seems to have stemmed from within the Psy race, hellbent on achieving state of ultimate and pure silence that would “protect” them from all sorts of emotions that according to them happens to be the demise of their race. And all the while, the politics that governs the Psy race seems to be splintering into fragments, lending the series the edge it deserves.

Tangle of Need is the story of Riaz Delgado, a lieutenant of the SnowDancer wolf pack and Adria Morgan, one of the senior soldiers of the pack. Riaz is a lone wolf, who has come back home to lick his wounds and bask in the love and togetherness of the pack to piece together the jagged pieces of his broken heart and soul. Adria herself is broken from a relationship that had practically splintered pieces of her heart, soul and self esteem, something she battles with continuously ever since having walked out from a life that had stopped working for her a long time ago.

The passion that ignites between Riaz and Adria is smoldering hot, one filled with resentment and anger on Riaz’s part and apprehension on Adria’s end. The fact that Adria proved to be strong enough to walk away from Riaz knowing she deserved better made me respect her a helluva lot, not that I didn’t understand where Riaz was coming from. The visceral hurt that seemed to be eating Riaz alive made me want to reach out to him and pet him until the pain his wolf was suffering was laid to rest, and I fell in love with Adria for being woman enough to accept and love Riaz as he is.

My contention with the story stems from the fact that I believe juggling so many aspects of the story made it lose focus on the main protagonists of the novel. There was Riaz and Adria and then there was Hawke and Sienna. Hawke and Sienna get as much time in the story as Riaz and Adria, probably to make up for the lack in their own story. I had a huge problem with how Hawke and Sienna’s story panned out, my main problem again being the fact that Hawke and Sienna as a couple didn’t get much time in the story due to everything else that was taking place. Don’t get me wrong, these books are quite entertaining and I still wouldn’t pass reading them up for anything, but I think when the focus is lost from the main couple in the story, therein lies a problem.

The way things ended with Adria and Riaz made me wonder for a second or two on whether Adria had been shortchanged by the man she adores and loves with her heart, body and soul. And though I felt that Riaz does return her love and does a good job of convincing her of just that, I still felt a teensy bit disappointed by how things ended for them. But deep in my heart I know and believe that their love is one that will survive because they are both equally strong and determined people who would fight to death for each other.

Tangle of Need ends on a sort of a cliff hanger ending in the sense that it leaves one practically on tenterhooks wanting to know how the next chapter would pan out. As one of the reviewers on Goodreads pointed out, the background storyline was focused on preparing the reader for the next book, Heart of Obsidian which I hear is filled with explosive and ground shaking moments. Can’t wait to begin reading!

Recommended for fans of the series. Read the series in order. Otherwise you’ll miss out on the great stuff that binds the stories together.

Favorite Quotes

Growling deep in his chest, he pulled her head back to take her mouth again. He wasn’t the least bit gentle, but she didn’t want gentle, her claws digging into his shoulders as her body moved with raw impatience against him. Taking his hand off her breast, he tore the button off her jeans, tugged down the zipper.

“Why are you doing this?” she whispered, her voice stripped bare.
Riaz’s answer sounded torn out of him. “I can’t stop myself.” He shifted her closer, the move so unexpected, she didn’t resist—and found herself plastered to the hard strength of him. His arousal pushed into her abdomen, the hot male scent of him seeping into her veins until she could taste the dark forests and biting citrus of him against her tongue.

“Oh God!” Arching into the firm, confident touch, she tore at his T-shirt until it was in pieces around them, his big, muscled body rising over her own, his mouth busy on her lips, her jaw, her neck.
His skin was a shade of burnished brown, warm and beautiful, her pleasure at touching him—at last—almost painful.

A single hard thrust and he was seated deep inside her, the thickness of him a pulsing brand.
She froze for a minute, her body stunned at the almost violent possession. Long unused muscles ached, but below all that was need. Such naked, raw need.

Even as she came with a scream, he pounded into her with such wild fury, the feel of him reverberated through her very bones. A brutal word in a masculine voice so harsh, it was almost unrecognizable. Her internal muscles spasming in erotic response. His hand clenching on her breast. The primal heat of him spilling into her.

He broke the kiss, gasped in a jagged breath. Two long, hard thrusts and he felt his spine lock. Gritting his teeth, he tilted her so that his pubic bone would press against her clitoris, and then he thrust again.
Tiny muscles spasming anew around his cock, a molten fist.
His mind went black.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | iTunes

[xrr rating = 3.75/5]

Caliber SEAL: GOOD READ!

Review: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookkissofsnow
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #10
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Hawke Snow
Heroine: Sienna Lauren
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: May 31, 2011
Started On: October 13, 2013
Finished On: October 16, 2013

So, you ask me, how does it feel to have reached and read Hawke’s story, the 10th book in the wondrous Psy-Changeling series; the main reason for me starting on this journey being to actually read Hawke and Sienna’s story which was pretty much sensationalized by the whole Goodreads community. Well, perhaps I might be a victim of my own expectations and all the sensationalism because I must say I was just a trifle bit disappointed with the story not because it wasn’t as exciting as the Psy-Changeling books always are, but rather because I felt that Hawke and Sienna was somehow shortchanged because of the gravity of everything else that was happening in the story.

Hawke is the Alpha of SnowDancer wolf changeling pack and is a man determined in the face of his fate. A fate that he believes wouldn’t ever ease the deep aching loneliness in his soul left by the death of the woman who would have been his mate for life. No matter how much Sienna Lauren might tempt him and call out to his inner wolf to come out and take a bite, consequences be damned, Hawke calls on the reserves of his icy and legendary control to stay strong in the face of temptation.

Two months after Indigo and Drew’s story takes place, the politics that governs the world inhabited by Psy, Changelings and humans keep changing, and not for the better in certain aspects. The Changelings call on all their reserves and up their vigilance when it comes to Psy because they all know that with the Psy council split into halves, its only a matter of time that war breaks out with the Changelings being the main focus of the war that Psy will wage in order to attain a world inhabited by pure Psy.

Sienna has known from the day that she and her family defected from the PsyNet and sought the protection of the SnowDancer Alpha that there would be no other man for her. Hawke might see her as a child but Sienna’s childhood has left her with many a scar and experienced so much more than even an adult might be subjected to during their entire lifetime. Sienna is an X-Psy meant for one purpose alone; destruction. With the ferocity of the power that Sienna always juggles in her hands, Sienna knows that her emotional well being is a key factor in controlling and keeping the destruction at bay. What Sienna doesn’t realize is that for an X-Psy, there does come a point of no return when there would be nothing left but to give in to the deadliness that she lives with every second of each day.

There are so many elements to the Psy-Changeling stories that makes them what they are; an entertaining and one hell of a read. Juggling all these aspects of the story together with Hawke and Sienna, who in their own rights are just as complex and multi-faceted must have been something and once again made for a great read in my opinion. However, both Hawke and Sienna have been waiting for their story for 9 whole books; Sienna had to grow up age wise enough for Hawke to not feel like he is the worst kind of pervert. On top of that there’s the issue of Hawke’s belief that he wouldn’t be ever able to give Sienna everything that she deserves and that would be the whole of him with nothing held back.

At first, I loved the way Hawke’s resistance came tumbling down, bit by bit when it became clear to him that his wolf wasn’t backing down on this one. The many an exasperating situation Hawke finds himself in because of Sienna and her antics to live her life as she pleased ends up being fraught with so much tension one minute and the next so tender and wistful that one cannot help but feel all the longing held deep in check on both sides. And I absolutely adored how Sienna seemed to be able to match Hawke in intelligence and wit, giving her all those qualities that makes her the perfect life partner for Hawke apart from the almost visceral need that burns bright between them.

However, in my opinion, there was too much holding back on Hawke’s part when it came to the final combustive culmination on Hawke and Sienna’s relationship. There were so many interruptions into the interludes that took place between Sienna and Hawke and I know that it built up the frustration not just between Hawke and Sienna but the readers as well. I expected fireworks, explosions and Hawke to live up to his legendary prowess as the Alpha of the pack and give me some seriously panty-melting variety of combustive scenes of passion. But what I got instead was tenderness and love in spades, which is not a bad thing but I would say it does take away one essential aspect of Hawke from him; his wildness that is held deep in check because he is the one that holds his Pack together. I wanted him to be able to let go and lose that legendary control of his that had kept him from reaching out to Sienna and taking her up against a wall or any flat surface they  could get to because lets face it, Changelings are by nature sensual creatures. But perhaps, Nalini toned the whole thing down for Sienna because her “fragility” when it comes to her power and the darkness that consumes her is one that needed to be handled with utmost care for the story to have been what it was.

More than Hawke and Sienna’s courtship, I was more revered actually by the secondary romance that unfurled between Sienna’s uncle Walker and the SnowDancer healer Lara. Walker who has never let himself accept the fact that when it comes to Lara his feelings run deep and in a direction that it has never steered before made for riveting reading. Lara is a gentle soul with a spine of steel to back it up. She is the healer who gives her heart and soul into caring for people when they are in need of it the most. Not much of a dominant, Lara knows in her heart that taking a step back from Walker who doesn’t seem to want to pursue what is between them would be the best thing for her. But Walker surprises her with those little things that he does in showing just how much in fact that he does care and in the end I loved how the legendary cool of Walker broke down under the gentle playfulness and love that Lara gives him in spades. I think sometimes Lara and Walker’s story acted as a balm to the reader’s soul to take a step back from all the intensity this novel was in every other aspect.

I’m almost sad that I now have only just two books to read in the series and would have to wait with the rest of the fans of this legendary series for the next book that is scheduled to come out in June of 2014. That is going to be a long wait I suppose if I do manage to get the time to squeeze in the other two books before then. I’m almost jealous of those who haven’t yet discovered the wonderfulness of this series, those who are yet going to find out just how talented Nalini is in keeping the reader engrossed from page one till the end. As always I must say, Nalini is a talent not to be missed in a genre that already has so many great authors. It is a tough job to stand out and do that exceptionally well with each book she publishes. And to the readers who are just starting out on the series or a halfway tempted to skip to Hawke’s story, I tell you just as Nalini told me, don’t. It’d certainly be worth the wait to see how the world and the lives of everyone shapes up in the rest of the stories.

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of Hawke! You just might end up with lesser misgivings that I did after reading because I seem to be in the minority with those who think that Hawke’s story lacked that something which would have made it a stupendous read. But even then, this as any novel in the series is awesomely well done and I cannot recommend this book and the entire series highly enough!

Final Verdict: Hawke and Sienna; an explosive combination that sets the whole series afire.

Favorite Quotes

It took every ounce of will he had to drop her arm, to not accept the unintended invitation and take them both to the floor in a tangle of skin and heat. But he couldn’t stop himself from running the knuckles of one hand down her throat as he stepped away, his gut tight, his body so damn hard he might as well have been made of steel. He moved until he was in prime position to watch her, and then he waited. She did nothing for a long, still moment, and he thought she would deny him this.
But then Sienna began to move.
And his wolf stopped pacing.

“Did you ever play?” Hawke’s voice so rough, his body so muscular and overwhelming.
She had never felt more feminine, never felt more like a sexual creature. “No.”
A pause. “Sienna—”
“No,” she said. “No more questions. Not tonight.” She wanted to dance with him, be a woman in the arms of a man who made every part of her awaken in a hunger she’d never expected to feel and who, for this magical moment, was hers.
His jaw, heavy with stubble, rubbed against her temple again as he shifted his hold to press her closer. Then, as the music played, as the night grew softer and quieter, they danced.

“It was easier to believe that my shot at mating died with Rissa than to risk that kind of pain again.” Thrusting his hand into her hair, he shook his head. “Except I never had a prayer when it came to you. You’re in my every breath and every thought, intertwined so deep inside me that love’s not a strong enough word—you have my devotion, your name branded on my soul, my wolf yours to command. A hundred years? It’ll never be enough. I want eternity.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

[xrr rating = 4.25/5]

Caliber SEAL: AWESOME READ!

Review: Play of Passion by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookplayofpassion
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #9
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Andrew Liam Kincaid
Heroine: Indigo Riviere
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: November 2, 2010
Started On: October 10, 2013
Finished On: October 13, 2013

Play of Passion by Nalini Singh is the 9th book in the Psy-Changeling series, the book that changes the focus that has been mainly on the DarkRiver Changeling pack to the SnowDancer, the wolf Changeling pack in the San Francisco area. Once again a dominant female comes into play, this time with a hero whose hierarchy in the pack is ambiguous at best which poses its own problem when it comes to winning the heroine over.

Andrew Liam Kincaid or Drew as he is most commonly known as is the tracker of the SnowDancer pack. His job is a difficult one in the sense not because of the abilities required of him but rather because of the decisions he may have to take when the inevitable moment arrives. Drew hunts those who go rogue from the pack and because of that he is not considered as a lieutenant though he reports directly to Hawke, the Alpha. The charm that practically oozes out of him hides behind a keen and sharp mind brimming with intelligence and at heart a wolf who wants to play with the mate he has chosen for himself though she might not be aware of his intentions.

Indigo Riviere is one of the dominant females in her pack and a lieutenant at that which makes submitting to any male almost an impossibility for her. Indigo had grown up seeing how destructive a relationship can be where the dominant female is not given the freedom to be who she is and she is determined to never let it happen to her, even if it means Drew charms her in ways that is completely alien to her and reaches out to the very heart of her that she has hidden behind so many walls that even she doesn’t realize just how much she has protected her heart from ever finding itself in a vulnerable position.

But Drew and his determination is no match for the stubbornness that streaks through Indigo and before she knows it Drew is kissing her time and yet again into yielding to his brand of strength and dominance, all the while giving back in spades, which makes it an impossibility for Indigo to turn her back and walk away.

Play of Passion is one the most angst-ridden book in the series because Indigo almost goes to that point of no return where she and Drew are concerned, trying to turn away from the passion that catches her heart, body and soul afire where Drew is concerned. Unlike most stories where you want to hit the hero on the head for being so stubborn, this time around I felt like admonishing the heroine because her stubbornness nearly proves to be Drew’s undoing. So many factors makes her wary of giving in, the thought of Drew trampling all over her and trying to make her into something she would never be the one fear that is constant until Drew shows her that he actually can be the sort of man who would actually be her equal rather than try to get into a pissing contest with her to find out who is more dominant than the other.

Their relationship is not one that comes into being without mistakes on both parts, but that is what makes the end result so heartwarming and well cemented in the end. There is no way on Earth any woman can remain unmoved by Drew and his charm and that unwavering faith of his that things would work out in the end. There were moments where you can’t help but laugh out loud where Drew and his courtship of Indigo is concerned, the factor that makes it impossible for Indigo to walk away from all that Drew is and what he offers.

In the meantime, Play of Passion brings forth the final steps towards the imminent war between the Psy and the Changelings that much closer, the Psy and their methods underhanded and sneaky, their plan for a pure Psy world where all Psy would submit to the will of the Councillors one that is chilly and unnerving to say the least. The fact that Changelings have proved that they are adaptive, agile and protective as hell when it comes to their own makes them one of the most worthy adversaries to battle with and win, and given the splits deep inside the Council, the war that is to happen is inevitable and bound to cause a wake of destruction unlike any other.

The end of this book brought me to the edge of the precipice that I’ve been wanting to reach ever since I started on the journey through the wondrous series that is the Psy-Changeling. The fact that Hawke’s book is the very next book made it impossible for me to read anything else but that afterwards, my rule of reading something else in between shot to smithereens by the fact that Hawke and Sienna makes their own appearances throughout the book, all showing glimpses of Hawke’s legendary control under fire where Sienna is concerned.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Play of Passion turned out to be how Drew makes someone like Indigo want to play and play they do with many a scorching scene of passion between them the testament to the fact.

Recommended for the fans of this series and fans of Paranormal/Fantasy romances. Read the series in order, because that is the only way to get the full impact of the whole cast of characters, each of them with multiple facets to them that makes this series the stupendous one that it is.

Final Verdict: Fantastically penned, as always.

Favorite Quotes

And then the damn male did that thing he did—he kissed her. As if he had every right to just take her mouth with the wild heat of his, to cup the back of her head, to bite down on her lower lip and suck her upper one into his mouth.
Her toes curled, the rage in her bloodstream translating into pure wild heat as the touch-hungry wolf took control. She hadn’t even realized she’d unfolded her arms until her palms met the hard wall of his chest. Hot. Strong. Beautiful.

But though he nudged at her with the blunt head of his erection, the shaft pushing eagerly at the entrance to her body, he stopped long enough to give her a wet, openmouthed kiss that was all licks and little bites, tender and affectionate and sexy all at once.
And then, as her body arched up, he thrust into her in a single hard push.
Her scream fell into his mouth, her fingers clenching on his biceps.

He closed his teeth over her lower lip in playful reprimand. “You’re not lying still.” One hand cupped her breast, fingers tugging at the taut peak of her nipple.
Inhaling a gasping breath, she opened her eyes to fire a retort . . . and saw the wolf looking down at her. “Hello,” she whispered.
His answer was to kiss her, his tongue pushing inside her mouth in audacious demand, his body strong and beautiful above her as he drove her stroke by slow stroke to another shimmering peak. This time, she held him as he shattered, his body going taut above her.

Crying out, Indigo gripped the edges of the bath, her breasts damp and gleaming above him as their bodies danced slick and hot beneath the water. The joining was a little rough, all raw. And then he closed his teeth over the delicate flesh of her breast and her body went taut in an explosion of pleasure, her muscles squeezing him tight as he crushed her to him and came with a hard, explosive grunt.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

[xrr rating = 4.75/5]

Caliber SEAL: FANTASTIC READ!

Review: Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookbondsofjustice
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #8
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Max Shannon
Heroine: Sophia Russo
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: July 6, 2010
Started On: September 10, 2013
Finished On: September 13, 2013

Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh is the 8th book in the Psy-Changeling series. This series has come a long way and Nalini Singh has certainly managed to keep up the momentum and the pace of each of the stories in the series which is one reason why the entire set is so coveted by its legions of fans.

Bonds of Justice is the story of J Psy Sophia Russo, who at the tender age of 8 hadn’t been given much of a choice; to either become a J Psy or die. J Psy’s tend to have the shortest lifespan in comparison to either types of Psy in the fact that they have one of the most demanding sort of jobs on their minds and shields that is an essential makeup of Psy. J Psys are brought into retrieve memories of the most vicious criminals who need to remain behind bars for the rest of their life for the safety of the rest of the society. Sophia has always known that the time would come when one day she would have to give in to the fractured state of her shields which would mean her death, to be forgotten along with all the others just like herself.

Detective Max Shannon is one of the best detectives in New York Enforcement, a position that makes one of the most formidable Councilors of Psy, Nikita Duncan request for his services along with that of Sophia for a case of apparent suicides that has struck those closest to her. Already working on retrieving the memories of a psychopathic killer, a case on which Max is the lead the detective, Sophia knows that the fascination that she has harbored for Max just might be her undoing and bring death the inevitable death she is ready to face much closer than before.

Sophia is a scarred heroine if ever there was one. The horrors of her childhood, along with her abandonment issues together with that destructive career she leads makes her a disaster waiting to happen. The fact that the most innocent of touches may render her insane is a fact that hinders the burgeoning feelings that grow between Max and Sophia much more rapidly than either of them envisions. But Max is not a man to give up and neither is Sophia ready to do so on her cop, the only person who for the first time in her life is there for her, no questions asked.

Max is not a man who has led a charmed existence either. Having never known love from the woman who had given him life, Max carries a scar that has never properly healed in his heart ever since he was a child. Sophia and Max are two broken halves that make up a pretty darned fantastic whole and that is one aspect of the story that worked very well for me.

It is the makeup of the Psy along with the politics that governs their world that makes these stories so fascinating to sink oneself into. The NetMind itself is almost palpable in its reality, the treachery that is always a part of the powerful group of Councilors that oversees the affairs of the entire Psy a captivating aspect of every single one of these novels. Nikita is one of the most formidable Councilors, whose daughter Sascha becomes one of the first to defect from the PsyNet which causes the ripple effect that began the the sequence of events that seems to be the undoing of  the world of Psy. Bonds of Justice gives the readers insight into the worlds inhabited by Nikita and the rest of the Councilors, for all intents and purpose who have nothing but attaining power on their minds.

I found myself entirely way too fascinated with Kaleb’s character and Nikita’s too, a side of her that was revealed in this story that I would never have thought possible for a woman like her. While Max and Sophia juggle two cases that demands equal attention and focus from them, neither of them can ignore the heat, the oh so much heat that exists between them. It is almost as if the heat between them might result in them going up in a cloud of smoke; yes it was really that hot.

The villains provided the extra chills that managed to keep me hooked onto the suspense aspect of the story together with the romance and the politics that as always provided an unbeatable combination.

Recommended for fans of urban-fantasy/paranormal romances & fans of Nalini Singh.

Final Verdict: The intriguing insight into the Psy politics alone is reason enough to buy this! Recommended.

Favorite Quotes

Max felt Sophia’s hand tighten on his, wanted only to bend his head even farther and put his mouth on the unsteady beat of her pulse, suck hard. The possessive urge, the violent need to claim her to the core was a gnawing ache in his gut. He wanted the world to know she was his—make certain no one would dare lay a finger on her.

Shivering from the sensation, from the near-painful pleasure of the contact, she stood on tiptoe, trying to get closer. A raw male chuckle.
And then Max kissed her.
This was no brush, no teasing taste. He took her mouth with the contained intensity she could feel thrumming beneath her fingers, his muscles taut, his entire body held barely in check. And she realized he was savagely angry, a tiger no longer on the leash.

He felt it the instant she reacted, modified his stroke to what brought her the most pleasure, lifting himself off her enough that he could stroke downward to rub at the sensitive entrance to her body as well.
She was wet, slick. He couldn’t resist the temptation to dip his finger within. That was all it took.
A choked scream. Her body arching bowstring tight.

He could almost feel the vibrating tension in her, every tendon held taut. “I know who you are,” he said, holding her gaze. “I’m not going to be scared away because of your ‘imperfections.’ ”
A sheen of wet in her eyes, turning the midnight iridescent.
“We fit, you and I,” he whispered looking into that haunting gaze. “Two broken pieces making a whole.” It wasn’t the most romantic of statements, but it was torn from his soul. “I am not losing you.”

That slow, slumberous heat flamed, burned, but she took a step forward, lowered the zipper and then—taking a deep breath—pushed down both the jeans and her panties. Leaning forward to pull them off her feet, she could barely hear anything through the thunder of her heartbeat. Max didn’t say a word until she straightened back to her full height. But then he spoke . . . and she melted.

She swallowed as his fingers went to his jeans, as he undid the snaps and peeled the denim down his legs, along with his briefs. Her eyes were riveted to the thick length of his erection . . . to the hand he clasped around it. He stroked once, and her body arched. She couldn’t explain it, didn’t understand it, but the sight of him stroking his own flesh was the most erotic thing she’d ever seen. “Max.” A shuddering plea.

Shaking, she wrapped her other leg around him. The sudden act opened her up, made him slide inside faster than before.
They both cried out, and Max froze above her. “Sophie?”
She ran her teeth up the line of his throat. “Yes.” Always, yes for this man.

Her panties were torn off her, his fingers urgent as he tested her slickness. Lifting a leg, she wrapped it around his hip. He swore, lowered the zipper on his pants, and then the hot, hard heat of him was thrusting into her, pinning her against the wall. She cried out, holding on, holding him tight.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo | B&N | iTunes

[xrr rating = 4/5]

Caliber SEAL: GREAT READ!

Review: Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookblazeofmemory
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #7
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Devraj Santos
Heroine: Ekaterina Haas (Katya Haas)
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 3, 2009
Started On: August 5, 2013
Finished On: August 7, 2013

Nothing is stronger than the will of the human heart.

How anyone could have NOT LOVED the 7th book in the Psy-Changeling series is beyond me. I have seen well above 4 star average rating for almost every book or should I say all the books that I have read to date in this series on Goodreads. But Blaze of Memory has a 3.97 stars average rating which made me wonder whether Nalini had fallen short of the mark when she aimed to bring the story of Devraj Santos and Katya Haas to her fans. But in the end, it just went to show that relying completely on ratings to lead your way can sometimes backfire on you as I loved every single inch of this book and then some and wanted a little bit more being the greedy and voracious fan of the series that I am!

Devraj Santos (Dev) is the director of the Shine Foundation that seeks out the Forgotten, the generation of the first defectors from PsyNet when the protocol of Silence had first been put into place. The Shine Foundation seeks out kids who have “gifts” that they do not know how they ended up with, continually at danger if the Council were ever to find out their existence and move to eradicate them for the fear of loss of control as the most lethal race in the world. However recent events seem to have put cracks in the picture perfect world of the emotionless Psy as presented to the rest of the world and it is a continuing thread in all the books how the PsyNet seems to be slowly disintegrating and turning onto itself which makes for interesting reading in itself.

When Dev finds an utterly broken woman left on his doorstep for him to find, a female Psy who doesn’t remember who she is and how she got there though Dev knows that she might end up being the worst kind of threat to him and his foundation, he cannot help the protective instincts that surges forth with every single minute he spends in her company.

Katya Haas is a woman who has been violated in the worst manner possible and left to fulfill her destiny or die a slow and painful death which would strip her of even the little bit of tattered dignity that she has left. The one thing that Katya realizes from the onset is that the flawless Psy conditioning that should make her immune to the delicious appeal that Dev is on her senses has been effectively broken down and that she is no match for the chain of emotions that kickstarts deep inside of her when Dev is around.

Though trust is an element that is missing between Dev and Katya, the need that each rouses in the other is one that neither can turn their backs on. And as Katya tries to unravel the literally kicking time-bomb she is, Dev finds his heart, body and soul totally enamored by the enemy who could be his utter and complete destruction as the Psy Councilor playing puppet master to Katya wants.

Blaze of Memory proved to be nothing short of a fantastic read, the only thing I missed being the epilogue that Ms. Singh always tucks in at the end of each novel. But the Petrokov Family Archives which was presented throughout the story in the form of letters served to be an interesting facet into seeing how the Silence Protocol came about from someone who had witnessed it firsthand. And there was this bit towards the end of the story where Katya beseeches Dev to go visit his father which proved to be quite the emotion wrangling scene.

Dev might not be a shapeshifter, but he has his own set of skills that makes him just as lethal. Dev is just as finely honed as any sentinel in the DarkRiver or lieutenant in the SnowDancer pack of Changelings. His intensity and hardness both being features required of him with the job he had undertaken as the Director of a foundation that needs to make decisions that impacts the lives of so many people under his care. His salvation from letting the coldness totally rule over his emotions comes in the form of Katya, a woman he thinks to be broken in every fundamental way possible but surprises and amazes him with the strength she displays given the room to flourish.

Katya is the sort of heroine that any reader would fall in love with. Nalini has an innate talent in creating heroines who are tough, strong and yet with a core of femininity and vulnerability inside of them that makes them human and that much appealing. I felt for Katya with every single cell in my being, her immense strength in defying a master of mental combat one that had me enthralled and in awe by the time I was done.

The scenes of passion between Katya and Dev are scorching hot; Nalini certainly knows how to ratchet up the heat-o-meter when it comes to sizzling scenes of heated love making between her characters. The last couple of chapters are so intense that I felt like chewing my nails out in agitation and the tangle of hot emotions that coursed through me to see Dev and Katya nearly lose the precious and beautiful love that they had found with each other. If you are hesitating on picking up this wonderful wonderful book because of the slightly lower ratings when compared with the other books in the series, don’t. Blaze of Memory is just as spectacular and just as lethal on the senses.

Final Verdict: Like an inferno that rages out of control, Blaze of Memory is just as vivid and beautiful in its wildness. Definitely recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Heat.
Touch.
Life, electric in its fury…a kiss that demanded her participation.
Shuddering in surrender, she drowned in the scent of him. Wild and exotic. Dark and male.
A man who’d snarled at her, caged her… fed her.
“Dev.” Spoken against his lips, she was so loath to break contact.
His mouth took hers again before she could say anything more, his teeth sinking into her lower lip.

“I don’t understand,” she murmured, lifting her fingertips to touch kiss-swollen lips, “how my race could’ve ever given up such exquisite sensation.”
His cock pushed against the zipper of his pants, the metal threatening to turn him into a eunuch. “Katya.”
As a warning, it had no effect. Dropping her hand from her lips, she clenched it over her navel, as if soothing some inward ache. “I feel so … hungry, so hot, as if my skin is about to burst.”
He shuddered, voice lost.

Hands on her hips. Warm. A little rough. Perfect. She sucked in a breath, and when he lifted her, it was instinct to wrap her legs around his waist. He moved her until she—“Dev!” she screamed into his mouth as his still-covered cock pushed into her softness, parting her with possessive heat, the thin cotton of her panties no barrier.
His thumb smoothed over the crease of her thigh, inciting her to move impatiently . . . but that only rubbed her clitoris against him, further tightening the fist that was her body.

She couldn’t stop the strangely fluid movements of her body—part of her knew what to do, how to do it. “More,” she ordered, nipping at his ear.
“You’re too tight.”
“More.”
Groaning, he slid a second finger inside her and pumped once.
Twice. Pleasure and pain, a stretching ecstasy. Her arousal peaked, hovered there, waiting, waiting… His thumb brushed her clitoris.
Everything exploded.

“Katya,” he said against her ear, trying to draw breath, to not lose himself completely.
Her fingers thrust into his hair. “You feel so good.”
The simple statement, made in that erotically husky voice, stole what small fragments of control he’d had left. Putting one hand on her hip, he pinned her in place as he began to stroke in and out in a hard, steady rhythm that had her clawing at him.

He lifted her with a display of strength that stole her breath. “Legs around my waist.” It was a clipped order.
She obeyed immediately. He rewarded her by sliding into her in a single hard thrust. Her scream echoed off the walls as pleasure short-circuited her body. His hands gripped her bottom, holding her tightly in place as he moved in and out. She clawed at his shoulders, feeling herself hanging on the precipice.
“God damn it!” Dev’s body went taut against her and she knew he’d lost every bit of his steely control.
That was all it took.
Electricity rocked through her, as wild and as hot as the man who held her pinned to the wall in helpless surrender.

She tried to pull away, but only because it amplified the sensations. Dev knew. He used his body to hold her in place, even as his lips insisted she return every kiss, every little bite, every breath.
She gave him all she had.
And still he asked for more.
Melting, she ran the back of one foot over his calf, urging him closer. Her reward was the release of her hands, as his own slid down her back, pulling her up. Instinct had her putting her legs around him in a shockingly intimate embrace, the hottest part of her pressed to the hardest part of him.

“Katya, baby, stop.” It was a groan. “I can’t hold on if you do that.”
She raised her lips to his again, infusing her kiss with every ounce of passion in her. Shuddering, Dev gripped her hard on one hip. “I sure hope you’re ready, sweetheart.”
“Yes, yes!” Crying out as her body stretched around the hard thrust of his entry, she wrapped both legs around his waist. And then she let him lead.
He took her on a ride that eclipsed anything they’d ever before done. Wild, untamed, and vividly physical, they danced. The last thing Katya remembered was seeing Dev’s eyes shimmer gold.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Diesel

[xrr rating = 4.75/5]

Caliber SEAL: FANTASTIC READ!

Review: Amidst a Crowd of Stars by Megan Hart

Format: E-book
Read with: Mobipocket Reader & Amazon Kindle
Length: Short Novel
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Hero: Keane Delacore
Heroine: Marrin Levy
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 1, 2005
Started On: September 21, 2010
Finished On: September 21, 2010

I have always come across rave reviews of books by Megan Hart and I think I did start out with one of her books sometime back which I never got round to reading more than a couple of pages. But after reading this book, I have the mind to hunt down the book I left hanging because Megan Hart writes a poignant story that really touches something deep inside of the reader.

Amidst a Crowd of Stars is a futuristic romance set on a planet called as Lujawed, a planet where the sun always shines relentlessly. The planet is harsh desert all around, the water hidden so deep within it that bringing forth water on such a dry land was a back breaking task in itself. Marrin Levy and her husband Seth with their two young girls make their way to Lujawed with her husband’s idealistic and unrealistic dreams to change their lives for the better. Lujawed had been one of those rare planets which had been settled without war. The native Lujawedians weren’t really forward minded people and didn’t give much thought to changing their lives for the better with irrigation, sanitation, roads, medical care and other such services Earthlings had come to depend on as the necessities in life.

When Seth had contracted a virus and died, leaving her with two girls and one more on the way with a mountain of debt in his wake, Marrin had been devastated to say the least. Many a time she had nearly given up and she would have returned back to Earth if they had had any money left, and nearly after 3 years of struggling in poverty, hunger and backbreaking labor had forced Marrin to send for what the Homesteaders called a “field-husband” with whom she had to enter into a contract which gives the husband conjugal rights in exchange for his labor.

When Keane Delacone steps onto Lujawed and smiles upon Marrin and her three daughters Aliya, Sarai and Hadassah and wins over the affections of the elder two right away, Marrin is taken aback even though she knows that Seveerans who didn’t reproduce where science had replaced childbirth, procreated solely via artificially inseminated and cultivated embryos, do not age like those from Earth. Technology had advanced so much for Seveerans that they had obliterated the aging process and their lifespans were limited only by accident or choice. Even then, Keane who had been 40 Earth years old when he had stepped onto Lujawed had looked younger than Marrin who had been 26 Earth years old then. But even then, Marrin had been taken in by the beauty that shone on the surface as well as deep within him, which she had come to acknowledge and love as one full rotation had passed with them living together, but never coming together as husband and wife.

With Keane by her side, life had prospered all around them. As love had  blossomed between the two, a love that had grown stronger with time, so had come about the realization of Seth’s dreams. The harsh desert landscape now yielded them with flowers and grass all year round, and Ashco their company had been borne, which currently was the largest supplier of fresh udeji melons in the entire county.

On a planet that rotated twice as fast around the sun as Earth does, the years had doubled for Merrin, but not her lifespan though her beloved husband does not look a day older than when he had first stepped onto Lujawed. I don’t think I can adequately describe the emotions that flitted through me whilst I was lost in the magic of the love between Merrin and Keane, a man so gentle and kind, the kind of man who knows what his partner wants and needs even when she doesn’t know how to voice her wants and desires. A man who is so patient as to wait for her to fulfill all that she wants in life and then some, to stand beside her in her victories and share every little thing in life that is important to her. Now, why can’t men like Keane exist in real life I wonder? *Huge sighing session begins*

The ending left me undoubtedly with tears in my eyes, made all the better with the unusual style in which the story is represented. Starting from the present day, Megan Hart takes us back through the years or rotations as they are called, beginning with a Merrin who was in her last days on the verge of death with an unwavering Keane by her side mistaken by the nurses at the hospital as Merrin’s grandson. Megan Hart then takes us on the journey of their life together which spans around 120 plus rotations during which her three children get married, start their own lives, Merrin retires on the request of her husband who has never asked for anything from her till then so they could spend whatever little time Merrin had left together. The ending which was bittersweet couldn’t have been more perfect than what it was and I am so very glad I read this short yet meaningful novel. My only wish as always is that this could have been longer.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!