Saturday, May 21, 2011

ARC Review: Kiss of Snow (Psy/Changeling, Book 10) by Nalini Singh

Kiss of Snow is one of my most anticipated books of 2011! I would like to thank KMont for indulging me and my love of this series by forward her ARC, just so that I could devour this book early. As you'll see below, I loved it!

ARC review with no spoilers

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…
Ohhh, Hawke and Sienna! What can I say about their story? For me, it was most definitely worth the wait. Hawke is as delicious an alpha as I expected him to be and Sienna turns out to be a great match for him. I loved this pairing much more than I expected to, but perhaps I should have known better by now. After all, this is Nalini Singh and she knows how to write an excellent paranormal romance. In Kiss of Snow you'll find tension, lots and lots of sexual tension, plus the romance and more than a few of those hot, sizzling moments that Singh is known for.

We all know by now that Hawke has been trying to avoid Sienna like the plague for years. Hawke thinks he's too old for her, and well... he kind of is! Sienna makes him feel things he doesn't want to feel, and since his mate died at a young age, Hawke believes he can't bond with Sienna. Sienna on the other hand has been fascinated and emotionally affected by Hawke from the moment she joined the SnowDancer pack with her family. These two have been pushing each other's buttons for years, but now that Sienna is 19 years old and back at SnowDancer full time the tension between them is off the charts. Hawke decides to find a female to soothe his wolf, and Sienna decides it is time to get her man.

This is a May-December relationship and the story must be well crafted to make the connection between the characters believable. In Kiss of Snow, Singh uses a fine touch while further developing Sienna's character and her relationship with Hawke. Sienna's character growth can be measured from beginning to end by her actions and reactions, as well as in Hawke's reactions to Sienna.

Sienna is a 19 year old young woman, and toward the beginning of the story that shows both in her uncertainty and actions, but from a young age she also suffered torture at the hands of the Psy and in many ways is older than her years. This aspect of Sienna's character is believable and that for me turned out to be key in making this relationship believable. I love the way that Sienna just blooms once she decides to take control and goes after her man. This is where her incremental growth and self-confidence can be measured as the courtship progresses. It's lovely and very well done.

Sienna is both vulnerable and strong, but Hawke is a delicious alpha and acts accordingly. He's stubborn, possessive, protective, bossy and more... but as always what makes him and his alpha attitude acceptable in this situation is the fact that Sienna calls him out on it and, young or not, takes a stand. I love that Hawke doesn't necessarily back off either, but instead modifies his approach. Smart wolf!

There's a secondary romance between Walker Lauren and Lara, the SnowDancer healer. I loved this romance! Walker was ohhhh so tender and unexpectedly hot! Go, Walker! The segments that told their story did not take the focus away from the main couple's romance, but instead served to break up some of the tension at key moments, plus it was wonderful to get to know this quiet character.

And yes... I loved all the action within the overall story arc. The overall story line moved along, and although in the end it seemed almost like a slow move, many small details are revealed along the way that make an impact. In Play of Passion we saw the Psy Council split, with Anthony and Nikita teaming up to protect their territory against the Scots. In Kiss of Snow, the story arc continues as we see Henry and the Pure Psy make their move against the San Francisco territory and more specifically, SnowDancer. Sienna's powers are revealed in all their agony and glory in these segments which are quite cleverly weaved into the romance.

The whole pack is involved in the action and characters from previous stories are highlighted with key contributions. I particularly loved Judd in this story as he continues to grow in depth and breath as a character. The cats from the DarkRiver pack also play key roles in the romance and battle. There's a lovely thread involving the kitties that I won't spoil, but look for it! It is lovely.

I enjoyed the last few books of this series and remember loving Play of Passion. However for me, Kiss of Snow ranks up there with my very favorites of this series Slave to Sensation, Caressed by Ice and Branded by Fire. I love the way Singh extends the courtship between Hawke and Sienna throughout the story to make it a believable one, the sexual tension is off the charts and the payoff is worth it! The Psy/Changeling series is ten books long and for me it's still going strong. I'm still in love with the Psy and the Changeling characters in this series and can't wait to read that next book.

Category: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy/Changeling, Book 10
Publisher/Release Date: Berkley, May 31, 2011
Source: ARC received from KMont Lurv a la Mode
Grade: A

Visit Nalini Singh here.

My Psy/Changeling series reviews:
Mine to Possess, Book 4
Branded by Fire, Book 6
Bonds of Justice, Book 8

14 comments:

  1. Oh, this is a wonderful review, Hilcia, thank you! :)) I couldn't contain myself after your Tweet. *lol*

    I seriously consider picking this series up again. I stopped after Caressed by Ice for a reason I do not remember because the next one has been sitting on my TBR since then.

    Is the overall story arc with the Psy and Changelings progressing strongly throughout the installments I missed? I'm curious since I loved the 'verse Singh created there. :)

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  2. Skipped your review Hils :) For once,I don't want to know anything about the story of the book :) I'm just glad it's an A grade :P

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  3. Wonderful review, H! Having also read Kmont's review, I'm happy to hear that first and foremost it's the story of Hawke and Sienna's emotional and romantic journey.

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  4. I just finished Play of Passion so now I'm ready for Kiss of Snow!

    Great to see the A. :)

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  5. Hilcia! You just made my sunday!
    This book has the best grades everywhere I looked, I can't wait!
    I have it pre-ordered since christmas!
    Kiss

    Sonia

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  6. Lilli, thank you! I enjoyed our abbreviated conversation on Tweeter... ;P Well, to answer your question, Nalini's 'verse progresses strongly in some books and slower in others, but it progresses. And, most importantly so far into this long series, there are no plot holes or issues that don't belong in her "world." If you decide to continue I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! This one was worth the wait. :)

    Nath, believe me I understand! I do it all the time... *g* Hope you enjoy it, lots!

    Kylie, thanks. Yes. Believe me you won't be disappointed on that score. The story is definitely focused on Hawke and Sienna, even with everything else going on around them. It was really well done. Enjoy!

    Leslie, you are ready! I'm so glad you caught up. I hope you enjoyed Play of Passion. I really loved Indigo and Drew's story too.

    Sonia, yes! I think you're going to enjoy this story. I hope you get it soon and I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts. :D Soon! ((Hugs))

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  7. HILS!!! Great review. omg I'm SO psyched to read this one. I have been waiting for this pairing since what? Caressed by Ice? It's been years!! I am so ready. Well, sort of. lol I just read Blaze of Memory this weekend, so next is Bonds of Justice and Play of Passion... I'm so motivated to catch up!!!!

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  8. Christine, I'm so glad you're finally catching up with this series. And you can do it! You only have two books to go... and if you got through Blaze of Memory the next two will be a breeze. Bonds of Justice and Play of Passion are great reads! PLUS, plus you'll have Kiss of Snow to look forward to. :D

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  9. Fantastic review Hils - thank you! For a while now I haven't been in a PNR/UF mood, so I've fallen a bit behind with this series (I'm up to Bonds of Justice). Plus...Sienna is so unlike me I've been loathe to pick it up for fear that I would hate her and thus the book for just that reason (and I can't bear to do that to Nalini). I have to say though, I think I might like to give it a go now :)

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  10. Orannia, I know how that goes, lol! I went off the PNR wheel for a while, with the exception of Singh and two other writers. I've added one or two more to my list recently.

    I really loved getting to "know" both Hawke and Sienna in KoS. Their characters were so familiar already, but yet in this book we get the real thing. Singh really took her time further developing both characters. I hope you enjoy the book, if or when you decide to read it. :)

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  11. Great review, Hilcia!! I am catching up on this series just so I can read this book. I've been waiting for Hawke and Sienna's story since these characters were introduced. Glad you enjoyed this book so much. :P

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  12. Ames, you're not the only one catching up with this series. I've seen a lot of Nalini Singh reading going on around the web, lol! It's a good thing... I always loved Hawke, but I'm really glad the pairing with Sienna worked out for me in the end. :D I hope you enjoy it too. :D

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  13. Thanks for the review, Hils! You've pushed my waiting button even more! j/k. Sort of...lol

    I want, I want, I want this book! I pre-ordered KoS weeks ago but I haven't received a shipping notification so I don't think I'll get it anytime soon. Aaah, the agony of waiting after the book is release!

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  14. Tabitha! One more day! Are you getting the print book? I hope you get it tomorrow. I think I would have ordered it for my Kindle, that's how much I wanted to read this book, lol!

    I ordered Magic Slays for my Kindle because I'm NOT waiting. *g*

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