Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh


In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation"- the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion-and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities-or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

My thoughts: 

So I finally jumped on the bandwagon and read Slave to Sensation. I have been very curious about this book, but always found the title quite unappealing. But I have read so much praise for it that I finally got it on my swap site and went for it.

Don’t let the title mislead you. Sascha is by no means a “slave to sensation”. She is an interesting character, since she has never known emotion and yet her ability is worth nothing without it. However, she is still her own person and does what she thinks is right. She is not ruled by her desire for sensation.

I was very impressed with the world building. The world of the Psy was well developed and explained and a good contrast to the world of the changelings. I always had a liking for unemotional characters and I loved the Psy and their ordered, tidy world. I also liked their counterparts, the changelings with their emotions flaring up and their structures where family or pack is everything.

Sascha and Lucas meet for business and how it went from there was nicely done. To me everything that happened made sense, the side characters were introduced well, not overwhelming the plot but enough to make me want to find out more about them, especially Dorian and Hawke.

With the ending and the solution to the problem that occupied Sascha for a long time – a solution, by the way, that made sense and was not something far fetched – Nalini Singh has opened a lot of possibilities for other stories between Psy and changelings. I can’t wait to read them.


Title Slave to Sensation
Author Nalini Singh
Publisher Berkley
ISBN 978-0425212868
Buy link Buy Slave to Sensation

Circles of Life and Death by Rayne Auster

Blurb: Forced to take diplomatic passenger Makiel onto his courier ship to take him to Earth, Kyle is stunned when their first handshake leaves him reeling. He’s attracted to the handsome alien, but he doesn’t know why or how—and he’s determined to find out. The last thing he expects is a mystical connection that will change his life forever and make him a part of an alien civilization struggling to survive.

I’m a sucker for mystical connections and similar plots, so I figured this would be a great story for me. Unfortunately it wasn’t.

One of the reasons might be that – again – the format of the story is the wrong one in my opinion. On 40 something pages it touched so many things, that it could only scratch at the surface of each and never explore any in any greater depth.

S P O I L E R S !

The balance theme was a nice thought, but I found it confusing. Was the power transferred to be shared? Or only as some sort of storage? Was it transferred full force at first touch or not?

The history of the Siminrhod race, their destruction and their struggles to survive was explained once in short and that was it. I didn’t feel any connection with that and couldn’t really feel for or with them.

Makiel was first taken on to be transported to Earth as an emissary, but then it turns out another Siminrhod was the negotiator. I was never aware of the fact that Makiel was supposed to look for the circles of life and death until they found them. By the way, to make Stonehenge one of the circles is such a trite idea, even I could have thought of that.  The esoteric talk about alignment with the sun etc. was so obvious, I couldn’t believe it.

The rebellion was mentioned once after the rebels attacked Makiel. What was that good for? It was never talked of before, then the rebels turn up out of the blue, attack, never to be heard of again – at least for now.

What on Earth did Makiel expect from Kyle at the end of the book? Am I so slow that I didn’t get it? The ending was more than abrupt and left me totally unsatisfied. Was the word count up?

Too many ideas in this story were begging for their explanation that just couldn’t be given on a mere 40 odd pages. It had some interesting possibilities which could have made for a good story, had the author not used the very short format. The way it is, I can’t recommend it.  

Available at Dreamspinner Press


Intimate Beings by Jessica Inclán

Synopsis: Lately, Claire Edwards feels like she is floundering. A ho-hum teaching job, a string of terrible dates, nights spent only with Netflix and bizarre dreams of spaceships for company…life isn’t working out the way she hoped. But Claire has an extraordinary secret ability – she can go anywhere at all, just by wishing it. And if the intensely attractive man who suddenly materialises in her car one day is any indication, Claire’s not the only one…Ever since Darl James learned of his true origins, he has been searching for his partner and life mate, the one whose gift will complement and complete his own. Now that he’s found Claire, he vows to never lose her again, or their soul-searching, sensual connection. But keeping her safe won’t be easy when they’ve been marked for destruction by an evil, power-hungry race. A fierce battle is brewing, one that will test Claire and Darl’s new bond to the limit, and decide the future of all their kind…

Review: Darl found Claire very early on in the book and there was no discussion about them belonging together. Also they were separated a good deal of the book, so I suppose to call this book a romance would not be accurate. Actually, most of the book was about the goings on on Upsilia, all the Cygirians to get together and the struggle of Darl and Claire to find each other again as well. They had only a few scenes together and I found this a bit disappointing, as far as the romance factor was concerned.

My favourite couple Stephanie and Porter were there again for quite a large part of the book, and they bickered to a lesser degree this time. I think that slowly they are coming to terms with each other. How ironic that the only couple that might enjoy a break from each other (well, they wouldn’t, but Porter certainly gets on Stephanie’s nerves sometimes) never seems to get separated.

I missed Edan throughout the book. He only arrived at the end of the book and met Claire for the first time. I wonder what it is about him that has everybody in awe. We get hints of what he can do and how extraordinary he is, but so far – due to his lack of presence – we haven’t seen much of his abilities. I certainly hope that Jessica has something in store for us here. Also the search for his twin has me puzzled. EVERYBODY seems to have heard of him, and knows what he can do or at least knows of his power that could be reversed by his twin. So, why on earth doesn’t that girl show up and say, "Hey, here I am, I can make myself younger, I’m the yin to your yang." Where is she, for Christ’s sake?

Apart from all the personal circumstances, which also play a big part in the overall plot, the story developed further, which was good to see. More and more people found their way to their fellow Cygirians and finally an ally was found to help them fight the Neballats (even though that ally might not even be needed, the future will show). So, now, we’ll have to wait until later on in the year to finally get the conclusion of the story. It’s going to be a long wait.

My Review of the first book in this trilogy, "Being with him"

[rating: 4]


Surrender love by Kayelle Allen

Synopsis: Luc is sad, depressed and lonely after his lover Wulf left him. When he meets Izzorah, the drummer of a rock band Luc’s company is contracting, he’s smitten – and vice versa. However, Luc and Izzorah both are harbouring some secrets they don’t want to reveal. 

Review: I read this book because the plot sounded interesting and I had read a fantastic review of the book somewhere. Well, I liked some of it, but disliked other parts. It is the first part of a trilogy with Surrender Trust and Surrender Will to follow.

What’s the good stuff?

  • Luc and Izzorah are good characters. I liked them immediately. I understood the reasons they didn’t want to reveal some of their secrets to each other at first.
  • The world Allen built is extremely fleshed out.
  • Good side characters. The band members, Izzorah’s relatives and Luc’s friends and servants. I especially liked the android butler (I usually hate machines acting like people), Nanchonta (I’d like to know more about him) and even Pietas (what a name for such a character!)
  • Good romance with no idiotic misunderstandings. Good communication between Luc and Izzorah.

What didn’t I like that much?

  • World too fleshed out for me. Mind you, I’m totally ok if the world is as complex as anything, but I do not want to have to read a prologue that covers thousands of years of history in order to understand what is going on in a novel. Neither do I want to have to consult the writer’s website to get background info. I understand that Luc appeared in at least one previous book, so there might be more information to be gathered in those other books, but this is the first book of three, so I would expect it to be a good place to start.
    The setting is futuristic, not on Earth, with lots of other species or humans from God knows what planets bouncing all over the place. Just too complicated for me, after all I’m not watching the 75th episode of Star Trek and I know who’s who and who’s from where.
  • The names of people and places were exotic to the extreme. I hardly could remember who is who, just because of the names themselves. Besides, I prefer it to recognize from the name whether a person is a man or woman. Maybe I’m just too narrow minded, though.
  • What is that game Peril about? I didn’t get that at all. What is it good for? Why do they play it? Is it only to pass the time, since the Sempervians have so much at hand? A mystery.
  • I hate love scenes that happen when people are dreaming. Not scenes in which lovers can only come together in a dream, but the ones in which people dream about it, but in the end they find themselves alone. I especially don’t want to read remembered love scenes with an ex.
  • The sexual tension was dragged on forever. Luc and Izzorah couldn’t get together for various reasons, which is fine, but then the release of the tension was sort of an anti-climax (no pun intended). The scenes were cut off so quickly and suddenly the reader found Luc and Izzorah having breakfast hours later. Huh, we’re talking erotica here, I found that strange.
  • Now, Wulf, the whiner. I can’t believe that Luc would be so blind and stupid not to notice that Wulf didn’t like what Luc asked of him (commanded him to do, forced him to do, whatever). Luc didn’t strike me as a man who just pursued his own pleasure without any consideration for his partner. Why Wulf would accept all that crap without enjoying it and never say a word "because of his love" for Luc is beyond me. Was he afraid Luc would leave him? Can’t be, since he left Luc after all.
    Edit: I just realized there is another book out, obviously a prequel, "Wulf". It’s about how Wulf and Luc came together in the first place. It is "a romance that lives forever". NOT! At least in that respect one can’t blame Allen for being unrealistic. The everlasting romance lasted a whopping 5 years.

Don’t know whether I’d read the next book or not. Possibly if the next book is a sequel to Luc and Izzorah I might, just to find out what’s going on. After all, this first book has an open ending (HEA, but with lots of open questions). Also, I’m hoping to find out more about Nanchonta. So, "Surrender love" is a draw for me.

Available at Loose ID

[rating: 3]


Being with him by Jessica Inclán

Synopsis: Mila Adams has always known she was different. For as long as she can remember, she has had the ability to shift time, and who would believe that? Certainly not the obnoxious blind dates her mother keeps foisting off on her. But Mila can’t help feeling there’s someone out there for her, a soul mate who might understand her unique ability. And when she looks into the dark eyes of financial whiz Garrick McClellan, she can’t but feel her time has finally come.

Any man would lust after a beauty like Mila, but the moment Garrick touches her–feels her shifting time just as he can–he recognizes her as his partner in power. Their connection is immediate, passionate, raw, and beyond anything either has ever experienced. But who are they? What is this gift that joins them so intensely? Are there others like them? And why do they feel that time is running out?

Review: Mila and Garrick were a great couple. I like the concept of two people complementing each other. Those two did that to perfection, as did all the other couples involved. A very interesting thought, that without the other half the impressive powers you’ve got are rather useless. However, once you found your other half, you can do quite a bit together.

I liked the unique setting and how the abandoned ones helped themselves. Mila and Garrick together were able to figure out a good deal and once they were united with the others they accomplished a lot without relying on others. On the other hand the villains in the book are some powerful and evil, but pretty miserable, pitiable creatures. I could picture mankind somewhere in their place in the not too far future. Not a very nice prospect.

The whole story was told well, even though I would have liked a few more details about Cygiria. I suppose and hope a lot more will be explained in the oncoming books in the trilogy. I can’t wait to hear more about the situation at the moment, how Mila will find her sister and what will happen with Edan and his still missing double.

The secondary characters were all pretty amazing, too. One of my favourite couples were Porter and Stephanie. It is nice to see that Jessica Inclan didn’t only pair up people who understood each other 100% and were just perfect, but also a couple who really got on each others’ nerves. Still they couldn’t be without the other. Hopefully we will see them in future books, too, and maybe watch them as they grow together in a satisfying way.

From the title and the book cover I expected a novel that was much more on the erotic side than it actually was. Don’t get me wrong, the love scenes were sensual and extremely pleasant, but people who relish sex scene upon sex scene will be disappointed. There is a definite plot there and a lot of story to be told. I can’t wait to read its continuation.



Warrior by Cheryl Brooks

Synopsis: The story is about Tisana, the local witch, who gets a new patient. He is being brought in by Tisana’s ex, Rafe. His newly acquired slave is severely ill and he wants Tisana to nurse him back to health. The slave turns out to be a Zetithian, Leo, with whom Tisana falls in love pretty quickly – and vice versa. All would be good, if he didn’t belong to Rafe, who will come back and claim him again soon. When Rafe eventually comes back, he’s come for another reason though. He wants Tisana’s and Leo’s help in finding his two sons who have been kidnapped for unknown reasons. Together they get on their way on a rescue mission and at the same time on the mission to make Leo a free man once more.

Review: This is the second installment of Brooks’ Cat Star Chronicles after "Slave". I enjoyed the first book, but I enjoyed this one more, which was due to the heroine. Tisana wasn’t such a tough entrepreneur as Jacinth, which I preferred. The couple in the book was established pretty quickly, so there was not much angst on that part, but, of course, there was the problem of getting Leo out of the (virtual) clutches of Rafe’s wife, who wanted him for prestige reasons. That was dealt with not too early, but fairly easy I’d say, and from then on, it was all about rescuing the boys.

Usually I neither like books with children involved, nor with animals, but in this case I must make an exception. The children were marginal characters who served only as the reason for the mission in the first place. I don’t think they even uttered a word during the whole book. The animals on the other hand chatted nonstop, which was quite fun. Tisana has the psychic ability to converse with animals and that helped her a lot on her mission. The conversations between her and the various animals were quite amusing and added an entertaining touch.

The hero, Leo, was a good character, no uber-alpha, but a warrior and pretty self assured (not surprising considering his way with women, but I don’t want to give away anything). The heroine was compassionate, strong, down-to-earth. They were a perfect couple.

At the end the reader meets the couple from the previous book again, which was nice. However, Jacinth, and her business-like manner, in which she immediately wanted to take advantage of Tisana’s gift, really rubbed me the wrong way. Can’t she leave people alone for a minute, for crying out loud? She just met her and already proposes to make money out of her. She might be a space trader, but still, give it a little rest, won’t you?

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This book has also been reviewed by Literary Escapism.