Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh: review

5/5 stars on Goodreads

Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh

The third book in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling Trinity series (eighteenth overall in the Psy-Changeling series) leaves the first two behind. Not that they were bad books in any way, but as they were set in new places with completely new characters, they had a slightly alien feel to them. Wolf Rain returns to the original characters and settings, and it feels like home.

Alexei is a SnowDancer wolf plagued by a family curse of going rogue, i.e. becoming too feral to be allowed to live. Memory is an E Psy, an empath with unique abilities. She’s been held captive by a psychopath since she was eight, and Alexei is her rescuer.

The book doesn’t follow the usual traumatised victim trope. Instead, Memory is fairly level-headed and capable since the moment she is released, which is explained with her being an empath. The tension and drama in their story therefore stems more from Alexei’s past than hers. Their love-story develops fairly fast, but not unnaturally so, and is delightful to follow. Forces outside them, the psycho who held Memory captive and a nameless nemesis who threatens to incapacitate and destroy the entire PsyNet, try to throw rocks on their path. Both side stories are handled in a satisfying way. And as always in this series, there are plenty of tears for the reader, both those of joy and sorrow.

I liked Memory and Alexei both separately and together. And I liked even more how their story allowed many of the series regulars to make an appearance. One of the reasons I return to the series is to learn what is going on in the lives of the characters I’ve met and loved before, and this gave plenty of opportunities for that.

But the book isn’t riding on nostalgia and repeating the same story over and again. Ms Singh has a wonderful ability to renew her world with every book. In this case by introducing Memory’s singular ability that allows the world to develop further. And as dark clouds are gathering that threaten the existence of the Psy, there are many stories for her to tell yet. I’m going to read them all.

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

4/5 stars on Goodreads

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Truth or Beard is the first book in the Winston Brothers series and the first by Ms Reid that I’ve read, and I loved it. It’s a contemporary romance set in a small town in the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, with characters that seem to represent the heart of America. Jessica is a maths teacher who is dreaming of seeing the world. Duane is a car mechanic with roots tightly in their hometown.

The book starts with a bang (fairly literally) when Jessica mistakes Duane for his identical twin Beau whom she’s had a crush on since she was twelve. But as she is forced to confront her feelings for Duane, she begins to realise that he’s the one who has held her interest all her life. But as Duane launches an old-fashioned courtship of her, she has to tell him that she’s about to leave the town, maybe forever. It takes a few twists and turns, and a side-plot about a motorcycle gang, before they can get their happily ever after.

This was a great book with fully developed characters that nonetheless had room for change so that they could be together. And there were wonderful side characters, like Duane’s brothers who all get their own book in the series. I jumped straight to book number three, as I absolutely had to read more about Duane’s brother Cletus, who I loved. But I’m sure I’ll read the rest too.