Easter Reads Round-Up

It’s been a very relaxing Easter weekend – there’s nothing like a four-day weekend, followed by a four-day working week!  Even better, the weather’s been wonderful with the sun actually being out on all four days, and while it’s not exactly T-shirt and shorts weather yet, it’s getting close!

Anyway, I read a few books over the week, all of which were pretty good – here are my thoughts.

042521575x_01__aa_scmzzzzzzz_.jpgVisions of Heat (Nalini Singh) – This is the second book in Ms Singh’s Psy/Changeling series, the first being “Slave to Sensation”.

Vaughn, a jaguar shapeshifter who was adopted into the DarkRiver leopard pack, takes centre-stage in this story.  Faith Nightstar is a powerful F-Psy (F stands for Foresight) – as a result of her powerful gift for predicting the future, she can only handle minimal contact with the outside world, and lives in an isolated compound, which just happens to be on the fringes of DarkRiver territory. 

When Faith starts having dark and disturbing visions that she can’t quite understand, she goes searching for Sascha Duncan (Psy heroine from SoS, who ended up with the head of the DarkRiver clan) for help, and meets Vaughn.  Yes, it’s all slightly neat, but since Faith is a foreseer, she “knows” that speaking to Sascha is the right thing to do…

It’s been a while since I read SoS, and Ms Singh does a good job of filling in the backstory, without retreading old ground.  Vaughn’s struggle to control his jaguar, together with Faith’s innate aversion to touch, makes for added tension in their relationship, while Psy politics and powerplays provides an extra layer of suspense.

What I really loved, though, were the Psy background details and the development of the overall storyline – some interesting twists are revealed towards the end of this book and I want to know more!  My only minor niggle is the over-reliance on the “fated mates” plot as the root of the attraction between Faith and Vaughn, but it’s a believable relationship overall. 

In general, I enjoyed this book – it’s a B for me.  I’m definitely getting the next book in this series, “Caressed by Ice” (out in September this year).  This time, it’s about a Psy hero and a Changeling heroine – it’s be interesting to see how the role reversal works.  Excerpts for “Visions of Heat” and “Caressed by Ice” are on Ms Singh’s website.

Quick thoughts on two other books I read: 

0441014348_01__aa_scmzzzzzzz_.jpgCursor’s Fury (Jim Butcher) – This is the third book in one of my favourite fantasy series this year.  I know I referred to these books as a trilogy previously, but there’s a fourth book “Captain’s Fury” coming out this December.  Quartet, possibly? 

Jim Butcher’s “Codex Alera” series is set in a world where most people have furies at their command – think elemental-type creatures, which give their owners with different abilities and magicks.  In this book, the politics and tension simmering in the previous books come to a head, and it’s civil war.  At the same time, a hostile nation takes advantage of the internal turmoil to attack and Tavi, the fury-less protagonist from earlier books, ends up commanding the main force against an invading army. 

There’s action, there’s politics and yes, there’s romance, though relationships do take a back seat.  The pace never lets up and multiple plotlines are handled seamlessly.  This book wraps up a lot of the open questions from the first two books quite nicely (with some surprises), though there are definitely still some stories to be told.  Grade B+ for me – full plot summary and excerpts on Mr Butcher’s website

I also read Elizabeth Peter’s The Jackal’s Head – like her Amelia Peabody books, it’s set in Egypt, but is a standalone book.  Very likeable heroine with an Emerson-type hero – and the mystery’s not bad either!  However, you can tell that this was one of her earliest books, and I can see the root of her Peabody mysteries here.  Grade B- and I’m going to continue to track down her other books.

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