Monday, June 10, 2013

Giveaway: Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

To celebrate the release of THE AMAZING Heart of Obsidian that released just 6 days ago (but I already read and reviewed it cause it was THAT AWESOME. See review HERE.), the brilliant mind behind this series, Nalini Singh and her partner-in-awesome-writing, her assistant Ashwini (Guild Hunter!!! Haha), are holding a Mega Contest where you'll get to win really, really beyond-this-world, mindblowing awesome prizes. Like you'll literally get a bookgasm when you go through the list of prizes.

To find out more about Heart of Obsidian:

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Author's Website

Soooooooo, I actually wanted to have a character + author interview with Nalini and maybe um, Hawke... (*SQUEEE* haha ok fangirlin' time over) But I think she's currently too busy at her crazy US/UK book tour, so the interview's not happening. :( Buuuuut, they're so generously providing a copy of SLAVE TO SENSATION to giveaway here at my humble blog! :D

This giveaway is mainly for those who haven't started reading this series yet or are book hoarders! Haha, so here's the deets to the book:

Slave to Sensation
Psy-Changeling #1
By Nalini Singh

Blurb from Goodreads:


Nalini Singh dives into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind-and none of the heart.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Random Musings (5): The Dreaded DNFs

I haven't been posting regularly or oftenly of late cause of studies, but I'm not cut off from the amazing book community online (thank the Gods for Feedly), so recently I've been seeing more and more book bloggers posting about books that they've reluctantly chucked into their Did-Not-Finish (DNF) piles (one such blogger is JoAnne at The Fairytale Nerd). It's such a mean and cruel shelf, but because of stupid time constraints and exams (ugh), homeworks (UGH), and such, I just don't want to spare (not waste :/) the precious reading times I have when I'm travelling or having a meal on books that I really have no interest in anymore cause I'm a super slow reader and when I lose interest in a book, I go at a pace beyond glacial and painful - like 1 book/month or thereabout. (SORRY!! If I offended anyone.)

So, here's my list (please voice your opinions on any cause I do want to shorten my pile!):

Young Adult

ACID by Emma Pass
Blurb from Goodreads:

2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.

I started this quite awhile back. It started off not bad! It was exciting and all until approximately 48% where I stopped and the action tapered off.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Blurb from Goodreads:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Such a pretty and mysterious cover with an exotic backdrop (Prague!!) and names, but this one was pretty much up and down for me. Not much ups, and it got really, really, really dull around 70%. I'm suprised I lasted that long.

False Memory by Dan Krokos
Blurb from Goodreads:

Miranda wakes up alone on a park bench with no memory. In her panic, she releases a mysterious energy that incites pure terror in everyone around her. Except Peter, a boy who isn’t at all surprised by Miranda’s shocking ability.

Left with no choice but to trust this stranger, Miranda discovers she was trained to be a weapon and is part of an elite force of genetically-altered teens who possess flawless combat skills and powers strong enough to destroy a city. But adjusting to her old life isn’t easy—especially with Noah, the boyfriend she can’t remember loving.

Then Miranda uncovers a dark truth that sets her team on the run. Suddenly her past doesn’t seem to matter... when there may not be a future.

Dan Krokos’ debut is a tour-de-force of non-stop action that will leave readers begging for the next book in this bold and powerful new series.

I didn't even last more than 15%! Such an intriguing, exciting and promising premise! But it got so boring.

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck
Blurb from Goodreads:

Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

Everyone seemed to like this one! And wow, India and tigers!! But I don't know, I just kinda lost ALL interest at 57%... I even had the second book on hand already. :/

Re-Review: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

Publication Date: May 31st, 2011
Reread's Finished Date: May 30th, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
Format: Hardback
Pages: 415
Series: Psy-Changeling #10
My Rating: 5/5!!!

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Author's Website
Blurb from Goodreads:

The hardcover debut of New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh and her highly acclaimed Psy/Changeling novels.

Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness.

Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would've been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf.

Then Sienna changes the rules-and suddenly, there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. Yet as they strip away each other's secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight...

A deadly enemy is out to destroy SnowDancer, striking at everything they hold dear, but it is Sienna's darkest secret that may yet savage the pack that is her home-and the alpha who is its heartbeat.

So, a few weeks ago before the release of number 13th in this amazing series, I decided to reread Kiss of Snow cause, well, Hawke is my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE in this entire series (yay, Hawke~ ;P), but I remembered not liking his book as much as I thought I should have. I went back to reread it, and OMG, was it one of the best book decisions I've ever made cause I enjoyed it so much more than the first time! I think that now that I have a handle of who's who (the names and all) and of the entire plot, I could really enjoy the story and Hawke and Sienna's romance that much better.
My first review I gave this book an appalling 4-4.5 rating, but I'm going to up this book to a solid, resounding 5. :)
Here's my re-review of the book if you're not bored of my little revelation up there (hehe):
Edit (5/30/13): Just reread KISS OF SNOW and I am wondering how in the world did I not fall in love with Hawke and Sienna in my first read. I mean, THEY'RE AWESOME and Hawke is, let me tell you, one perfect male specimen, right there. With the tortured past, alpha persona, protective nature and silver-gold(even though I imagine him as white)-pelt-hair-ice-blue-eyes (yeah, just had to add that) he has going on for him, and Sienna. She's such an amazing, courageous and beautiful young woman, smart too! I think, like Sascha, she'll make for a really good mate for an alpha, one that gained my respect quite early on in KoS.

The other couple that found their happy ever after (for now, at least) was Lara and Walker. Quite contrasting to the intense, steamy and fast-paced love story that was Hawke and Sienna's, theirs was a more subtle, sweet and tender romance that was as toe-curlingly heartwarming.

The plot and writing were just the right amount of complex and amazing; All that military strategizing and deducing and guessing-games...it really differentiates Singh's novels to other Urban Fantasies-PNRs out there that makes reading her books such a unique and refreshing experience, with equal amounts of the dark-gritty components as with the humor, camaraderie, sense of family and of course, there's her signature writing style of romance. Though there were times when the story scaled just a little too much to the romance than the thriller and the pace got just a teensy bit dull, but hey, who am I to complain? Anyhoo, I'm actually more of a Guild Hunter (if you don't know it yet, this is Singh's amazing other UF/PNR series) fan and not much of a Psy-Changeling fan that I've only read a few installments in this series, but I think KISS OF SNOW has officially amped up the hype for me with regards to the release of HEARTS OF OBSIDIAN this June 4th, just 6 more days away!! I wasn't planning to read it at first, but omg, KoS is just that good.

To sum up this re-review, KoS is as heartwarmingly tender as it is heartbreaking, as complex as it is fast-paced. I loved every heart-pounding moment of it and I'd recommend this series to any Were/UF-PNR/romance fan that doesn't mind a little supernatural and action thrown into the mix.

P.S. Please ignore my very horribly written review way back in one of my earliest posts, written 2 years ago. (That was close to when I first started writing reviews and when I haven't started capitalizing my "I"s yet.) I'm only not erasing it for memory's sake, so don't read it! It's as spoilery as spoilers get. :)

Review: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Publication Date: June 4th, 20113
Finished Date: June 8th, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Format: eBook
Pages: 368
Series: Psy-Changeling #12
My Rating: 5/5!

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Author's Website
Blurb from Goodreads:

Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world…

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.

From “the alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career—one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.

I basically devoured this book the moment I got out of camp. Everything about this book was so awesome - the romance, the plot (the arc of the series really moved quite a bit in HoO), the interconnection between Psy, the changelings and the humans. This book did not disappoint the waves of anticipation and hype prior to it's release.
And when she looked up, it was to see Kaleb's eyes looking down into her own. There were no stars, but the obsidian was sheened with midnight colors, beautiful and mysterious.

Her fingers clenched on the muscled heat of his back, the fine cotton of his shirt crumpling under his touch. "You came back."

I won't go on very much about the plot cause there's a lot of mystery enshrouding the two protagonists in HoO, and learning them along the way with them is vital in this amazing series.

This story literally revolves around the lives of two people - ex-Councilor Kaleb Krychek, known to be the most powerful Psy in the world, rumored to be a dual cardinal with enough power to level cities and cause earthquakes, and his childhood friend, (view spoiler)Sahara. I hope that's not too big of a spoiler (I didn't reveal her last name, so you can't blame me for not trying!).

Even though I haven't read all the installment in this series yet (but I am a hardcore Nalini Singh fan, I really am! I've read each book in her Guild Hunter series multiple, and I mean multiple times), I think this will probably take the top second spot right below KISS OF SNOW. (Hawke~!!)

My Brief Summary (Spoilers alert!)
(view spoiler)Kaleb has been searching for a certain someone for seven years, three weeks and two days, and by now, everyone knows it's this mysterious Sahara ahem-ahem-ahem. His abilities honed to a lethal edge, financially, politically, economically one of the world's powerhouses, he also has the infamous Arrow Squad behind his back. Now that he's finally found the only person in the world whom he cares about, he's going to make her abductors pay for what they've done to her for the past seven years.

Sahara's had a relatively stable and caring family, up until the day she was taken and held captive in sterile and brutal conditions. To keep the secrets in her mind safe and her unique powers from being controlled by the wrong hands, she did things to her mind that makes her now a shell of who she used to be.

(END of spoilers!)

Kaleb isn't the gentlest of caretakers, he can seem heartless and uncaring, but deep down, he's just a man who hadn't received much love or kindness in his life, and so doesn't know how to express his feelings very well. But he does a mighty fine job in his own way, and it's so heartwarming to see him protecting (view spoiler)Sahara any way he can, even if it means letting her stay away from him. It broke my heart just a little at the end when everything came full circle for them. ;)

I loved the interactions between the side characters too! How Aden, Vasic of the Arrow Squad, leopards from DarkRiver and even Nikita Duncan and Anthony Kryiakus came into the picture; It gave the story a depth and life to it. The plot moved so much more than the prequels that seemed more like backdrops for the romances between each couples, but HoO showed us where Singh is trying to lead the arc to, and I have a rough idea of what the plot for Psy-Changeling #13 will be. However, there were major parts of the book that was just about Sahara's healing/recovery and Kaleb's part in it, so the plot had to take a backseat and the pace dulled down quite a bit, only really picking up again around four-fifths through, that's why HoO comes in as a close second to KoS.

But all in all a mighty fine read with tons of slow, compelling, tender and sweet romance, redemption (really, I'm not trying to be melodramatic or anything...ok, maybe a little, but this book is quite dramatic!) danger, and political intrigue. I don't know how Singh does it, but her style is just as addictive as ever! Recommended to every Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance fan out there; Maybe throw in a little thriller and action!



P.S. Miiiiight be doin' an interview and giveaway soon. ;)

Cyp's Abbreviation Dictionary

DNF = Did Not Finish
HEA = Happily Ever After
PNR = Paranormal Romance
UF = Urban Fantasy
YA = Young Adult

Erotica Reference

BDSM = Bondage/Discipline, Dominant/Submissive, Sadism/Masochism
f/f = female/female
m/f = male/female
m/m = male/male


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