Publisher: Penguin

Review: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Posted June 12, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Silver Silence by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Silver Silence by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling #16, Psy/Changeling Trinity #1
Also in this series: Caressed By Ice, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation, Tangle of Need, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Heart of Obsidian, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Allegiance of Honor, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Silver Silence, Silver Silence
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: June 15th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 320
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four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh introduces a bold new chapter in her extraordinary paranormal romance saga with the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. Wild passion will encounter the darkest of betrayal...

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater Bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence—her mind clear of all emotion—Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed...

Silence has fallen, and the Humans, Psy and Changelings have created the Trinity Accord, with the hope of fostering peace between the races in this new climate. Silver Mercant, personal assistant to Kalek Krycheck, the most powerful Tk on the planet, is also the head of EmNet, an emergency network set up to coordinate all available resources in the event of a large-scale disaster. Taking her out would hurt Kaleb, the Trinity Accord and temporarily disable EmNet. So it isn’t really a surprise when there’s an attempt on her life. The surprise is the bear shifter who ends up saving her life.

Valentin has been courting Silver for months – she just doesn’t realize it. When Grandmother Mercant – the head of Silver’s family – asks him to keep Silver safe until they determine who was behind her attempted murder, it’s just the excuse he’s been looking for. Silver isn’t nearly as Silent as she’d like to make out, and there’s no one better than Valentin to prove it to her.

For Silver, Silence is a necessity. She needs to keep control of her emotions at all times, to keep control of one of her secondary psychic abilities. But Valentin makes her feel things, and he’s persistent enough that her Silence just might not hold. If only that didn’t mean certain death for her…

Silver was about what I expected from previous books. Naturally there’s more to her than meets the eye. I was interested to learn more about the Mercant family. I wasn’t disappointed. Both Silver and her family were fascinating. Still, Valentin was everything for me in this book. Playful, arrogant, adorable..I just wanted to eat him up. He’s playful, fun and loving, but also more than capable of kicking ass and taking names.

Silver had a sarcastic kind of humor that really played well against Valentin’s more playful sense of humor. They had great banter and wit.

“My people chose Silence for a reason,” she’d said to him three visits earlier. “While parts of that reasoning have proven false enough to topple Silence for many, other parts still apply. I am and always will be Silent. That means I will never be ready to ‘run off’ and experience ‘shenanigans’ with you.”

Valentin is great at drawing Silver out of herself. He knew just the right tone to take with her.

“Can I—”

“No.” Silver put down the bottle on the bedside table Valentin had built with his own hands.

“You don’t know what I was going to ask,” he protested.

“You’ve been staring at my hair when you haven’t been staring at my face. You want to touch my hair.”

Valentin tried to think like a cat again. Sneaky. After all, Lucas Hunter had a Psy mate. If a leopard could do it, a bear could do it better. “I’ll shift and let you pet my fur in return.”

Though he often teased, Valentin respected Silver right down to her toes. He knew she was capable and didn’t try to stop her from doing what she needed to do. Too often alpha-males (be they human or other) are given a pass in being overbearing, but that wasn’t the case with Valentin. He wanted to protect Silver, but he didn’t even attempt it. Because he respected her and trusted her judgement.

His Starlight should’ve been in bed, resting. Instead, she was here, fighting to clean up a mess of violence, fighting to save lives. Because she was Silver Fucking Mercant, and she was as tough as any bear in StoneWater.

Including its alpha.

Despite the issues facing them in regards to Silver’s Silence, they were a great team. They showed a united front to his clan, worked together to deal with outside threats, and came to rely on one another through thick and thin.

I do feel like Silver’s medical issues was a bit too easily dealt with. The conflict lacked the emotional punch I’ve come to expect. It was just all neatly tied up in a bow. I didn’t doubt for a second that all would work out as it should.

We saw glimpes from the Consortium – the largest threat to Trinity – as well as from The Human Alliance. I’m anxious to see both explored further.

Silver Silence was an excellent start to this new chapter of the series. I can’t wait to see what Singh has in store for us next.

“Silver Fucking Mercant.” The words were the opposite of an insult, his tone drenched in primal admiration. “You’re an alpha under your pretty, soft skin …”

4.5 out of 5

four-stars

Joint Review: Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Posted May 29, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Blood Bound by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, #2) by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #2
Also in this series: Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10), Moon Called
Published by Ace
Publication Date: January 30th 2007
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 292
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four-half-stars

Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen...
Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.
But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.

Rowena: This month’s buddy review book is Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs. Blood Bound is the second book in the Mercy Thompson series and it delves into the vampire side of Mercy’s supernatural world.

When Mercy’s vampire friend drags her into the middle of a vampire problem, Mercy learns a whole lot about the supernatural predators and the danger that surrounds them.

What did you think about this one?

Holly: I thought this was a good follow up to the first book. Briggs introduces us further into her world and we get to know the characters better. We especially get to know Mercy, Adam and Samuel better in this book. I really enjoy being in Mercy’s head. Sometimes first person can get tiresome, but I’m never tired of Mercy.

Rowena: I’ve had that happen to me when the protagonist gets on my nerves and I’m not sure about finishing the book or not. Mercy is a great protagonist though. She’s interesting and she’s got a certain kind of charm that I like. I can see why everyone likes her and are drawn to her. She’s supernatural but she’s also normal. I’m digging her and will definitely keep reading this series because of her.

Adam and Samuel were a lot of fun in this one. I’m loving all of the tension they’ve got going because they both love them some Mercy. I also really like how protective of Mercy they are…whether she wants their protection or not, she’s got it.

So are you team vampire or team werewolf?

Holly: Definitely team werewolf. The only good vampire is Stefan, and even he has his questionable moments. I love Adam, Samuel and The Marrok. The way his relationship with Mercy develops over the series is great. Are you team Adam or team Samuel?

Rowena: Adam. As much as I love Samuel, I love Adam for Mercy. I also love Jessie for Mercy. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Samuel will find his true love and live happily ever after.

Holly: I’m team Adam, too. As much as I believe Samuel cares for Mercy, he wants her for his own reasons too. Adam wants her for her, not for what she can do for him.

What did you think of the vampire politics? This world is so well-drawn. I was easily able to imagine the scenes.

Rowena: I didn’t think I’d be that interested in the vampire side of this world but Briggs did a great job of drawing me in. I’m still Team Werewolf but I did enjoy reading about the way things are done on the vampire side of things. You can see that there could be potential for good within the vampire community but so far, only Stefan seems to want to be good. I thought that was interesting.

So what do I have to look forward to?

Holly: The next book, Iron Kissed, is my favorite. It’s the hardest to read, I think, because of things that happen to Mercy. We see more of Adam and Jesse, plus Adam’s pack. I’m anxious for you to read it so we can discuss.

Rowena: Oh yay then I’ll definitely make sure to get it read soon. I’m looking forward to it.

This book was good. It had fun moments sprinkled among the intense moments with chasing down the bad guy down and Mercy being on her own for a lot of the tracking stuff. I thought that this book showcased just how strong Mercy is, despite not being an alpha or even a wolf. She’s smart and she’s strong and she really made this book for me. I can’t say anything else other than this was a great addition to the Mercy Thompson world and I was happy with the writing, the story and the characters. All around win for me.

You?

Holly: I love the humor sprinkled throughout. This was a great installment in the series and really opens things up for future books. I definitely call this a win.

I’m giving it a 4.25.

Rowena: Me, too. 4.25.

Final Grade

Holly: 4.25 out of 5 
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars

Guest Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

Posted May 24, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina BowenReviewer: Tracy
Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #3
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2), Pipe Dreams
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
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four-stars

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

Lauren Williams works for a multi-million dollar technology company and loves it.  Her boss also owns the Brooklyn Bruisers, an NHL hockey team.  Lauren grew up with hockey and used to love it.  She loved it up until the Bruiser that she was planning on marrying suddenly up and left her for his ex-wife with very little explanation.  Lauren’s not willing to put herself out there again when Mike Beacon, the man who broke her heart, starts to show signs that he’s interested in her once again.  She’s moving ahead with her life and her plans for single motherhood and Mike has no place in her plans. Unfortunately for Lauren’s plans, Mike is determined to get back the woman he never stopped loving no matter what he has to do.

I have to tell you that when I read about why Lauren and Mike broke up in the first place I didn’t want to have Lauren and Mike get back together.  Seriously, I was that mad at him for being an insensitive ass.  True, his motivations were honorable but the way he handled it was horrible and I wasn’t sure I could forgive him.

By the middle of the book I still wasn’t sure how he was going to win Lauren back but by that point I was on his side.  He was a good guy who had made a gigantic mistake.  I couldn’t condone how he handled things with his ex-wife, and of course there were plenty of ways he could have helped his ex and stayed with Lauren (but then we wouldn’t have a book, would we?) but that’s not what happened.  Now that time has passed since his ex-wife died he knew that he couldn’t live any longer without Lauren by his side but he not only had Lauren to contend with but also his extremely sassy 13-year-old daughter, Elsa.

Elsa was a piece of work and I truly wanted to climb into the book and give her a good talking to but I could understand why her emotions were all over the place. Her mother had died, her dad is gone a lot because of his hockey schedule, she had to move away from her friends and now he’s gonna date a woman that everyone tells her stole her father away from her mother?  Yeah, I’d be an emotional wreck too.  Despite her sassiness, however, I liked the kid.  She had her moments of goodness and I thought she was a good addition to the story.

The romance in this book was extremely emotional but oh, so good.  Lauren and Mike were so good together but it was definitely hard for me to see how they’d work things out and let the hurt of the past go.  I was happy that they were able to move on and that Lauren was able to trust Mike again.  The story was fabulous and of course I loved the hockey talk as well.  😊

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Posted May 1, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Magic Bites by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)
Published by Ace
Publication Date: April 1st 2007
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 260
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three-stars

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…
When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

People have been recommending the Kate Daniels series for years. Several times it was suggested I skip Magic Bites and start with book two, Magic Burns, because this wasn’t an accurate representation of the series or the author. Recently a friend read the series and pushed me to try it. She said I should read in order because most of the world-building is done in this book. Let me just say..she lied. Ha! I should have taken the advice of others and started with book two.

The story moved very slowly. I had a hard time slogging through all the descriptions and, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t really care for Kate. I didn’t dislike her necessarily, but I didn’t connect with her and her monologues were frustrating and, often, boring. I found the world to be a bit chaotic and kind of confusing.

I didn’t dislike the story so much as I just didn’t fall into it. Had I not had book two already waiting (and all those friends encouraging me to continue) I probably wouldn’t have moved on with the series.

The good news is, I did move on and really ended up enjoying book 2.

For those who are on the fence about the series after this book, I encourage you to continue. The series only gets better as the books go on.

3 out of 5

three-stars

Guest Review: Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde

Posted April 24, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Going Nowhere Fast by Kati WildeReviewer: Tracy
Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde
Published by Penguin, InterMix
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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three-half-stars

Two hearts.
Three rules.
Four weeks to break them all.

When Aspen Phillips’ best friend invites her on a month-long road trip, she has serious mixed feelings. Sharing their tight quarters will be Bramwell Gage, overprotective brother and all-around jerk. Bram may be ridiculously sexy, but he’s made no effort to hide how he feels about Aspen—that she’s trash who’s no good for his sister. But Aspen is determined to get along with the uptight millionaire—and to keep her promise, concealing a secret about his sister that Bram can never know.

But after a scorching kiss reveals that Bram’s feelings toward her run much hotter than she believed, Aspen's emotions swerve into a complete 180. Suddenly the girl who has nothing has everything—but only as long as the truth about his sister remains hidden. Because when all the secrets and promises unravel, she risks losing it all...

Aspen is meeting her best friend, Bethany, so that they can go on a post-college graduation trip.  Unfortunately Bethany’s brother, Bram, will be going as well and Aspen and Bram don’t get along.  The first time they met Aspen and Bethany were getting back from a rave they’d gone to and Bethany was drunk.  Since they were freshmen they were underage and Bram didn’t like the fact that Aspen was “ruining” his sister and having a bad influence on her. This continued for four years so the thought of spending a month with Bram is not something Aspen is looking forward to.

When Aspen gets to the meeting place Bram is there but Bethany is nowhere in sight.  Aspen gets a text from Bethany stating that she’s checking herself into a rehab but doesn’t want Aspen to tell her brother where she is, even though they’re close siblings.  One thing leads to another and Aspen ends up on the trip with Bram anyway.  During the time they’re traveling they discover a lot about each other and they end up creating a truce…or two…or 85.  They’re so attracted to each other that they decide to have “hate” sex, but can it really be considered hate sex when at least one of them is in love with the other?

I have to say that I love romance travel stories.  Something about moving from place to place and well, being separated from your norm just does something for me.  I think because it’s all that more exciting when they get home and they discover that it works at home as well as it does on the road.  In this case, that didn’t exactly happen but it still worked out in the end.

Aspen had once been a middle class girl but then her father got cancer and died, her mother lost her nursing job as she couldn’t take care of dying people any longer, the family lost their house because the medical bills were astronomical.  Now they scrape together what they can.  Aspen was thrilled to go on the trip as it was pretty much all expenses paid but she hated that Bram was going.  She knew that he loved his sister but he was so over-protective with Bethany it bothered Aspen.  She knew it stemmed from their parents dying in a car accident when Bram was 19 years old but Aspen felt that Bram needed to be a brother to Bethany, not a father figure.  Because of the father figure mentality, he was quite harsh with Aspen and what he felt where her bad influences on Bethany.  He was constantly telling her this and it started to get on my nerves after a while, I must say.  I knew that he was attracted to Aspen but despite their “truce” he still was harsh with her.

Aspen was a strong woman but a person can only take so much before they break.  In her case it was Bram still being angry toward her supposedly bad influences even after they were having sex and having a good time together. He kept telling her that he shouldn’t want her and shouldn’t be with her and of course she thought it was because she was poor and he was a millionaire and that he was slumming and felt bad about it. My problem came when she actually told Bram all of this and he was shocked at the revelation.  He basically told her that he had never thought badly about her because of being poor and that she was projecting her bullshit on to him.  As this is a first person POV book we had never been privy to Bram’s thoughts, only Aspen’s, and as such was led to believe that Bram was an ass but was he?  The guy that I had just spent 75% of the book kind of disliking isn’t who I thought he was and now I’m supposed to like him?  Gah!  I’m so confused!  When I then looked back at Bram, not through Aspen’s eyes, I realized he’s not a bad guy.  While he could be an ass he wasn’t as mean and judgey as I thought and made me rethink my entire take on the book.  It was exhausting.

Bram ended up being an emotionally scarred hero and by the end of the book I liked him. Yes, he could be overbearing but he did it with good intentions and he had a big heart.  I was quite happy that Bram and Aspen finally worked out their issues and got their HEA – they worked hard for it and deserved it.

Despite my issue (named above) I also liked the writing in the book and the secondary characters.  I’ve only read one set of short stories by Wilde and they were erotic romances.  This was a good full length novel and made me want to read more of her books.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars