ARC Review: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

archangel's heart

Archangel’s Heart
Author: Nalini Singh
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Guild Hunter #9
Rating: C


Elena and Raphael are back again as the focus of another Guild Hunter book. This time the pair is called away from New York for a meeting with the Cadre. When they arrive, Elena is shocked to hear that she resembles someone who used to live in the area. Thinking there may be a connection to her mother’s past laying in the city, Elena investigates with the help of fellow angel Aodhan.

I mentioned in my review of “Archangel’s Legion” that Raphael and Elena’s books are usually game changers in the Guild Hunter series. Well… I was wrong. “Archangel’s Heart” was a filler book. We do have some fairly big revelations about Elena’s family, but I wasn’t on board with the direction of that storyline. Continue reading

Review: Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh

archangel's legion

Archangel’s Legion
Author: Nalini Singh
Published: 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Guild Hunter #6
Rating: C-


After a short break from following guild hunter Elena and archangel Raphael, the series returns to focus on these two in Archangel’s Legion. In this one, the couple is trying to stave off a war while hiding how out-of-control Raphael’s powers are becoming.

Whenever it’s an Elena and Raphael story you know something major is going to happen in the series. Despite their books being game changers, I’m never thrilled to see Singh return to the couple. Raphael is a character who is a little too powerful and the fact that he keeps gaining abilities is not helping things. Unfortunately, heaping powers onto main characters is a trend that happens in many long standing urban fantasy and PNR series. While it wasn’t surprising to see Singh go down this route, I was a little disappointed that she did. I would have preferred to see Raphael struggle with losing powers. Raphael has been one of the more powerful angels his entire existence. It would have been much more interesting to see an exploration of him dealing with dwindling powers and trying to maintain his place in the angel hierarchy amidst a war. As it stands, the plot of this one was pretty predictable since, at this point, I’ve seen it done so often. Continue reading

ARC Review: Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh

wild embrace

Wild Embrace
Author: Nalini Singh
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling (Novellas)
Rating: B-


“Wild Embrace” is a collection of four novellas set in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series. Unlike past collections, all four of these stories have never been published elsewhere.

Echo of Silence

Engineer Tazia Nerif gave up her family to follow her dream of working on the deep-sea station. Facing another lonely mandatory shore leave, she’s surprised when the aloof Psy she works with suddenly invites her to spend the time off with him.

Out of the four stories in this collection, “Echo of Silence” was the one I was the least excited about. So, of course, it actually ended up being my favorite in the anthology. The glimpses we saw of the deep-sea station were fantastic. The novella really worked to wet my appetite to see more of this setting and the people working there.  Continue reading

Review: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

shards of hope

Shards of Hope
Author: Nalini Singh
Published: 2015
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling #14
Rating: B


Shards of Hope” is the second to last book in what Nalini Singh is calling the “first season” of her Psy-Changeling series. This is exciting since I’m ready for a change in scenery and characters. While I’m attached to most of the people we’ve met so far, I’m ready to stop constantly checking in with them.

The events in the previous book, “Shield of Winter”, caused a mass upheaval for the Psy. Silence, the strict system by which they lived their lives, has fallen. “Shards of Hope” takes place in the aftermath of this event. Many Psy are at a loss of how to move forward. No group is struggling more than the deadly squad of Psy, called Arrows. Without the strict guidance of Silence to guide them, many are afraid that they’ll lose control of their powers and hurt everyone around them. Aden, their leader, is more optimistic. He believes that his squad can live happy and normal lives outside of Silence without causing mass destruction. Continue reading

Review: Must Love Hellhounds by Various

must love hell hounds

Must Love Hellhounds
Authors: Various
Published: 2009
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Anthology
Series: Southern Vampire Mysteries #9, Guild Hunter #.5, Kate Daniels #3.5, & The Guardians #5.5
Rating: B


The Brittingens Go to Hell by Charlaine Harris

Rating: N/A
Didn’t read this installment in the book. I’ve tried to read Harris in the past but could never really get into her. So I decided to skip this one.


Angels’ Judgment by Nalini Singh

Rating: A-
This is a short prequel story to Singh’s Guild Hunter series. It features Sara Haziz right before she decides to accept the Guild Hunter director job. Its basically a “how they met” story about how Sara and her husband, Deacon, got together. I loved this story.

Sara and Deacon are assigned the job of finding out who is behind a spurt of vampire slayings in the area. Signs point to it being a hunter who has gone rogue. However, things begin to get complicated when one of the archangels decides to test the potential new guild director.

Like most of the things I’ve read from Singh, this was pretty fabulous. However, places felt a little rushed. Singh had several good plot threads going that could’ve easily carried a longer story. Great installment for fans of the series. Continue reading

Review: Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

Archangels Enigma

Archangel’s Enigma
Author: Nalini Singh
Published: 2015
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Guild Hunter #8
Rating: A


Archangel’s Enigma is the eighth book in Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, which is set in a reality where angel’s rule the world. Unlike Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, these books have a little more edge to them and lean more toward Urban Fantasy than strictly Paranormal Romance.

Young angelic scholar, Andromeda wants nothing more than to be left to her studies. Unfortunately, her time is running short and she must soon return home to serve for 500 years in a corrupt court. Before she faces her unpleasant future, Andromeda decides to help Archangel Raphael find the resting place of an ancient angel who has been sleeping for centuries. To assist her in the quest, Raphael sends the feral Naasir. Continue reading

Review: Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh

Wild Invitation

Wild Invitation
Author: Nalini Singh
Published: 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy-Chinging Series #0.5, 3.5, 9.5, 10.5
Rating: A


Wild Invitation is a collection of 4 stories set in Singh’s Psy-Changling world. The first two had been previously published in An Enchanted Season and The Magical Christmas Catbut the last two were new for this collection.

Beat of Temptation is set before the first book in the series, Slave to Sensation. DarkRiver’s pack healer, Tamsyn has been waiting years for her mate, Nathan, to fully claim her. Unfortunately, he seems intent on making her wait indefinitely. I love this short story. It hits all the right angst levels for me and I enjoyed seeing younger versions of some of the characters from the main books. Continue reading

Night Shift

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Night Shift

Authors: Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, and Milla Vane

Publish Date: 2014

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Series: Psy/Changeling 12.1, Kate Daniels 6.5, SPI Files .5

Rating: B+


Night Shift is one of the best anthologies I’ve read in a while with contributions from three powerhouse writers in their respective genres.

It says something when the “worst” story in a collection is from Nalini Singh. Secrets at Midnight is her contribution and it’s pretty boring. Leopard shifter, Bastien Smith, has scented his mate but quickly finds out that not all is well with her. Singh can write some compelling short stories, so I was surprised at how she seemed to have sleepwalked through this one. The conflict is non-existent and it’s painfully obvious what is going on with his mate from the minute Bastien starts talking about her. If I had to rate this one on an individual basis it would be a C –.

Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews was the reason I had been so anxious to get my hands on the anthology. The story takes place in the Kate Daniels world and follows the characters Jim and Dali who were featured in Magic Dreams, which I had adored. This story completely lived up to my high expectations. Dali is approached to look into the case of a missing person and Jim tags along for the ride. It was great to see Dali take the lead and I loved getting a little more of these two working together. I’m still holding out hope that we’ll eventually get a full-length novel featuring Jim and Dali, as they’re just fantastic. A+

Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin was the only author in the collection who was new to me. Makenna Frazier is a seer who gets pulled into a high profile case involving leprechauns on her very first day of work. I’m guessing this is a prequel to Shearin’s Urban Fantasy series starring Makenna because the story works to set-up a much more involved plot. All in all, this was a good contribution and I was intrigued enough by the characters to potentially read the first book in the series. B+

The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane (aka Meljean Brook) was my second favorite contribution in the anthology. Mala is on a quest for her goddess to tame the beast of Blackmoor in a corrupt kingdom dominated by a tyrant. I really loved how different interpretations of words and personal perceptions influenced this short story. I’m not a huge fan of medieval settings but this one worked for me. I’ll be looking forward to the first full length book set in the world. A-

All in all a great anthology that is well worth the money.

Archangel’s Shadows

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Archangel’s Shadows

Author: Nalini Singh

Publish Date: 2014

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: Guild Hunter, book 7

Rating: C


Archangel’s Shadows is the seventh installment in Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series and features the characters Ashwini and Janvier. I had been looking forward to seeing Ashwini and Janvier get their book ever since I read about them in the short story, Angel’s PawnUnfortunately, I was a little let down by their novel.

Ashwini is still recovering from an injury she sustained in the last book, Archangel’s Legionwhen she’s given the “fluff” task of investigating the cause of a mummified dog. What on the surface looks to be a simple case, turns out to be connected to something much more insidious. With the city’s vampire population on the verge of going into a blood frenzy Ashwini will need to work together with vampire, Janvier, to put the pieces together before everything turns to chaos.

From my description you would think that most of the book will concentrate on Ashwini and Janvier, but that would be incorrect. Archangel’s Shadows is steeped in characters and the perspective changes frequently. As I’m a fan of ensemble books, this normally wouldn’t be an issue but it didn’t work for me here. Primarily because when the point of view switched to characters other than Ashwini or Janvier it was rarely to advance the main plot. This caused the book to drag in places and interrupted the flow of the story.

I also had an issue with how easy everything was for Ashwini and Janvier. Conflicts were handled quickly and efficiently, both in their investigation and their relationship. The big battle (if that’s what you would call it) lasted a nano-second and both of them walked away without a scratch. This was a huge let down after watching Ash and Janvier try to find answers around a mummified dog and dead prostitute for most of the story. The same thing goes for the conflict in their relationship. Most of the book is Ashwini angst-ing over if she should pursue Janvier since she has a “big dark secret” that might ruin their relationship. While I could understand her worry, it was annoying how easily the issue was fixed once she finally told Janvier about it. I hate when the majority of conflict between characters is due to not talking and the solution to Ash’s problem was so obvious that the whole situation was just frustrating by the end.

I’ve heard a lot of people refer to this installment in the series as a filler book and I can see where they’re coming from. After the events of the Archangel’s Legion, I’m guessing that Singh wanted to re-stabilize her world and that’s why this book’s plot is rather low-key. However, the low amount of conflict, tension, and how easy problems were solved didn’t work for me here. I look forward to reading the next installment in the series, but I’m really hoping that Singh will start keeping her books to one or two character perspectives.

 

Shield of Winter

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Shield of Winter

Author: Nalini Singh

Publish Date: 2014

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: Psy/Changeling, book 13

Rating: C+


I love Nalini Singh’s books, but lately her Psy/Changeling series just hasn’t been doing it for me. Partly its because she’s spending a lot of time focusing on the Psy characters instead of the changelings. Mostly though, it’s the over-abundance of character cameos and point-of-view switching has been dragging down the pacing on these novels. Like the 10th book in the series (Kiss of Snow), Shield of Winter has a pretty ambitious main plot, but it suffers from the inclusion of too many extraneous details that bogs the story down. This didn’t hurt my enjoyment as much in Kiss of Snow because the central characters that were focused on had been built-up over the course of the series. By the time you got to that book you were already emotionally invested and wanted to see them succeed. Shield of Winter did not have that same luxury.

In Shield of Winter, Ivy and Vasic are brought in to handle the mass outbreaks of infection among the Psy race. These outbreaks turn masses of Psy into mindless killers, with a zero percent recovery rate for the infected. This plot alone would’ve been more than enough to carry the entire book by focusing on the group who was brought in to cure the infection.

Instead of focusing primarily on these people, Singh dedicated a lot of page time to following characters from previous books and what they were up to. I think she was trying to show how those characters were affected by what was going on, but it came at the expense of tension. These characters weren’t at ground zero like everyone else, so it dragged down the momentum. Things got a little better when Singh brought Sascha (Slave to Sensation) directly into an outbreak but that didn’t last long. Honestly, I think the story would’ve been tighter and more engaging if the chapters featuring main characters from past books had been written out.

What also slowed the story down for me was the addition of a side story involving Vasic’s gauntlet. The gauntlet is a technological device grafted to his skin that is malfunctioning throughout the book. Essentially, it’s putting a time limit on his life expectancy. So, during the outbreak they were also working on how to fix the device without killing him. Typically I wouldn’t have had an issue with a side-plot like this, but the main story is so ambitious that it’s inclusion didn’t work. In fact, towards the end of the novel the outbreak story gets wrapped-up (rather anti-climatically) and the last few chapters are dedicated to trying to solve the gauntlet issue. This caused things to feel off-balance and the remaining few pages to drag as we did some clean-up on other story threads.

Overall, this was an ok addition to the series. I always enjoy Singh’s writing style, world, and characters. However, the pacing and sheer size of the plot in this book did not work for me. I would recommend this mainly to people who are huge fans of the series. If you’re new to these books, I would suggest beginning with the early titles instead.