A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

TBR Challenge: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh

The theme: Paranormal or Romantic Suspense. As I inevitably seem to do with this theme, I got a two-in-one!

Why this one: I’ve been listening to the series on audiobook and the timing was perfect.

This is another book that I’d started before and not finished. Having now completed it, I can see why it’s one of the most popular of the series. All the books so far have had a basic hero type — uber alpha/possessive/protective — but Judd also has some complicated issues; he literally can’t access emotions without risking lives, including his own. And the world-building is really starting to get intense, making me interested in continuing the series now, even though it’s not entirely my thing. (An excellent audiobook narrator really helps.)

As I blogged earlier, I find the sexual politics in these books rather annoying, and this one in particular bothered me, since it was so much less justifiable than the others. Brenna is so… blushy, not at all the image of Changeling women we’ve been given previously. I’ll be interested to see what happens when/if we get another Changeling heroine later on, but so far the series is kind of conventional for my tastes. (Which was also my impression the first time I tried it.)


The Times, They Are Not a Changing

I’ve been listening to Nalini Singh’s “Psy-Changeling” series on audio; I didn’t get into them in print, but the audiobooks are entertaining and the narrator really brings out the sensuality of the stories.

But I’m noticing that the attitudes towards sexuality are kind of… confusing and dated. (The first book was published in 2006.) So far, 3 novels and a novella in, the series fits in very much with a post I wrote a while back at Karen Knows Best, about paranormal heroines and their inability to get some until they’re mated.

For those who don’t know this series, it takes place in an alternate universe in which there are three races: human, Changelings, and Psy. The Changelings are animal shifters; the Psy have psychic powers. They’re also trained from childhood to repress all emotion.

The first two books in the series have Psy heroines, and it makes sense in context for them to be sexually unawakened. But the first novella and third book have Changeling heroines, and that’s where I’m starting to find it sticky.  Changelings in general are extremely physical beings — this is part of what creates the tension when they mate with Psy — and young changeling women are described as being very sexual. But our first Changeling heroine very conveniently found her mate when she was 15 and so hasn’t had any sex at all while he’s been waiting for her to mature.

And our second… she obviously has some kind of sexual past, but she’s judgey about other Changeling women — one of whom she thinks is crossing the line from sexual to “slutty” — and her brothers are very stereotypical about trying to keep men away from her. How does this fit in with the Changeling mythology that was created? The leaking in of our own cultural double standards into a fantasy world disappoints me.


A is for Archangel’s Blade aka W is for Wangsty

NOTICE: I currently have a concussion, which might have affected my reading and/or writing about this book. Please apply copious grains of salt.

Feeling the need for a little more structure when choosing my reading, I’m stealing from joining Miss Bates in her alphabet project, and if I ever catch up to her (she’s on E) we will coordinate thereafter.

Miss Bates started with A is for Archer. I considered beginning Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, but decided it would be better to work on a continuing series than to begin a new one.  Right now, I’m not sure I’ll be continuing with this series by Nalini Singh. After liking the first two very much, on audio, I didn’t care much for the third. I thought it was my fatigue with the continuing couple, but in this fourth book, I was really noticing weirdnesses with the writing. Some examples:

Happy? She didn’t know what happiness was anymore. Maybe she’d never know, though she thought she’d learned something of it by watching the biological children in the foster homes she’d been shuttled around after she left the orphanage at five.

Dimitri’s gaze had made it clear he appreciated her curves, that he had no problem with that fact that her natural body shape was too much of an hourglass than was currently fashionable.

It’s not the concussion, right? — these are legit hard to follow. I have no clue what “biological children” means in that sentence.

Grammar and word choice aside, I just didn’t like this book. The vaguely mysterious plotline is a complete mcguffin, just there to keep the characters mildly occupied when they’re not flashing back to the terrible, terrible events of their past. I did like that vampire hero Dimitri is the same fairly nasty character he was in the previous books, with no whitewashing, but oh did I get sick of him going over and over his angst. This is pretty much his life:

“Good morning, sir.” How can any morning be good after the horrible things I’ve done?

“Dimitri, we’re going to get some coffee, wanna come?” Oh, my beautiful wife will never drink coffee again because of those monsters.

ad nauseum.

But everyone else in the world loved this book, so don’t mind me.






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