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Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changelings, Book 1) Kindle Edition
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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 coexistence, 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...
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
She was tall but there was nothing willowy about her. The woman’s body had more dangerous curves than should be legal on one of her race. In spite of the black pantsuit and stiff white shirt she wore like corporate armor, he could tell her breasts would overflow his hands. When she bent to examine something on the ground, he almost gave in to the urging of his beast. The curve of her hip was sensually female, her bottom a heart-shaped enticement.
Her head turned as if in response to his intent gaze, and despite the distance separating them, he could almost taste the earthy sensuality she’d tried to bury. Frowning at his own thoughts, he began to walk toward her. The Psy weren’t sensual. They were about as close to mechanical as you could get and still remain human. But there was something different about this one, something he wanted to sink his teeth into…;
- ASIN : B0023EF9H0
- Publisher : Berkley (March 31, 2009)
- Publication date : March 31, 2009
- Language : English
- File size : 1357 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 353 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0425212866
- Best Sellers Rank: #113,847 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2020
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Top reviews from the United States
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Why not 4 or 5 stars. The plot was decent, if not a little slow at times, but it was hardly all that the rave reviews made it out to be. I've read more engaging stories. I found I was able to put this down and do other things. There are also lots of typos, but they weren't so distracting I was put off by them. They were noticeable, though. I didn't judge too harshly for this considering, apparently this was the author's first book. There were also some instances in which it wasn't really clear who was speaking, and I had to backtrack to figure it out. There were also a couple of things that sort of contradicted the whole Psy premise. Such as Sascha memorizing a book of sexual positions. If the Psy rarely, if ever, do it, then why would they retain that info? And why, of all things to memorize, would she pick that if she was trying to tamp down her differences with other Psy? I don't even know why that was written in the story considering she never actually uses them. Also, were ALL emotions really gone? It didn't seem like it. They hungered for money and power. They held onto curiosity and arrogance... Even so, that's not what drastically dropped my rating for this book.
Here are my main 3 reasons for the anorexic 3.5
1. As stated in some of the other reviews, the writing is HEAVY on the repetitions. This is one of my pet peeves. Especially with all the praise for her writing, which again wasn't bad. But there were lots of words/phrases that popped up several times: night-sky eyes, ebony eyes, tangling tongues, to name a few.
2. The climax, what climax??? Exactly! It was so anti-climactic as to not even be shown but given in exposition basically...
Warning: light SPOILERS to follow...
Since the heroine was actually incapacitated when the villain (& don't even get me started on how predictable THAT was-needless to say, it's exactly whom I'm sure everyone initially thinks it is) was finally taken down, we don't get to see it. We only get the details that what was done to the kidnapped girls was reciprocated. I don't want to give too much away, so I won't say any more than that. So there is no real climax scene, at least not in action-again, I don't want to give it away.
END OF SPOILERS
3. The third reason that lowered my rating was its level of hotness. And, I know I'll probably get some negative feedback for saying this, but it has to be said, b/c it doesn't seem like anyone else has. Mind you, I bought the book after reading the sample in the 1-5 collection, but I never bothered to read any reviews-a first for me. The extended sample drew me in, and I had high expectations for the remaining 2/3 of the book. I almost bought the set. OMG, I'm so glad I didn't!! I would have been super mad at myself. I'm woman enough to admit, I'm a little pervy by most standards, maybe a lot. I'm okay with that. When I pick up a PNR, I've come to expect a certain level of heat. It's one of the main reasons I've become so enamored with them since discovering the genre a few years back. Since then, I've read so many I couldn't even begin to count. Some just the first couple of books, others the entire series. Besides YA books, which don't really interest me, I've noticed a recurring theme in PNR, lots of HOTNESS, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!! I don't even mind the hetero stuff, if the author is that good.
After I finished this book, I went back and forth on reviewing it. I almost didn't because I didn't want to not give it a high rating since this author has provided something seldom seen in romance: a wide variety of physical appearances in her characters. For example, the heroine is part Japanese, part Russian, and part something else that all comes together and makes for a woman that is "the color of dark honey" with exotic eyes and wild, curly hair-LOVES it!! So not clichéd! I even gave her back half a star just for the diversity. Yeah, I said it. It is why I wanted to truly love this book. Anyhoo, I digress.
I thought the love developed sweetly between the main characters, even though I don't think he ever says the words to her (I could be wrong, but I don't recall it). I'm just confused by all the reviews talking about how sexy or erotic or the story is. Uhmmm not really. Okay, I have to put this in to perspective so anyone debating can get an idea of my personal hotness scale (1-5). I'll do my best since I realize not all the following writers are going to be familiar to everyone.
I'd give this story about a 2 (Tepid). I kept waiting for it to heat up.
Stephanie Rowe's Order of the Blade series: 3.6 (Hot)--4.0 overall for the actual series, I think more than anything, I like to see in what order the couples will complete the stages to their bonds. I really like this dark, interesting series, but my biggest issue is that they're usually battling for their lives and when they get a moment and are sharing a little freaky time, no one EVER bathes!! Not even after. That bothers me big time but not enough to stop buying them when Rowe puts them out. This series is different. They're demons. No Vamps or wolves to be found. First book in the series is free!
Evangeline Anderson's Kindred series: 4.0 (Very Hot)--4.0 stars for series overall, SFR done right! And definite page-turners. Plus cheap!! That's on price, not quality of plot. Her books are very entertaining and some are even laugh-out-loud hilarious, especially the first one.
Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series: 4-4.25 (Sizzling)--4.75 for series overall, PNR at near perfection. Warning: her stories will ruin you for other authors'. Really. Seriously. This is pretty much a general consensus.
Tina Folsom's Scanguards series: 4.25-4.5+ (Sssmokin')--3.5 for series overall (1st 3 books) I'm waiting for the box set for books 4-6, so I've only read the first three. The first single book is free if you want to give it a try!!
Emma Holly's Upyr series: 4.5-4.75 (Pull out the fire extinguisher)--4.5 overall for series. These books are well written and so sexy, I recommend reading them with a bed partner you can utilize afterward. Real talk. I will also say this. I USED to be partial to her books. She holds a special place in my "heart". Hers was my very first ever PNR story, and I found it at my local library-Catching Midnight, but she seems to have fell off writing on this series in lieu of her self-published stuff, which I'm mostly not a fan of. I haven't gotten into them since they seem to be heavy on M/M and M/F/M and M/M/F, and I'm not interested in that dynamic AT ALL. If there's some bi-ness in my stories, I want it to be F/F/M (like many of Selena Kitt's stories-heat=5.0, for sure-but she doesn't do full length or PNR or SFR). That being said, Holly's Upyr series doesn't have any M/M. Her Hidden as well as her Demon Tales series do offer lots of MFM and FMM, if that is your thing.
** And as a side note, I must say I'm utterly shocked at how many stories have recently saturated the market involving MM & MMF and even MMMMMMFMM, or something like that, geared towards women. I'm not a straight woman, never been one, but I just always assumed that would be off-putting to a hetero woman. Interesting that it doesn't seem to be.
Now that I've let anyone reading this into my deviant mind, I'll get back to the review of this book. There's only ONE sex scene here people! In a book well over 300 pages, that is not hot, even if the scene is extensive, which the one in here is NOT! It's actually pretty brief and not very detailed. There are a couple of shared dreams involving some quick foreplay, but that's about it. The couple has sex a few more times after the initial, but it is only told to the reader before moving on to the next scene. No description or details are given. I guess I just expected more from a PNR story about a woman who's never really been touched or felt emotions suddenly meeting her soul mate, a shifter with innate desire to be close-physically & emotionally. I thought there was so much Singh could have done with that scenario, but she just didn't go there. I expected a lot more.
Final thought: Would I recommend this book? Hmm... Probably not. At least not to someone who likes the kind of stories I like-3.5 or higher on my hotness scale. I'm not even sure I want to power on through the series even though all the books have consistently high ratings. I'm guessing that those who've made it to say, book 5 or 6 in the series just really likes this type of story. I read reviews for later books to see if I might want to continue, and many of them stated that this was "still their favorite of the series" or it was still the best... Not the best endorsement for me. I would, however, highly recommend all the series listed above if you like it spicy, and I like it Indian food hot (mmm Aloo gobi!) Hope this helps!
Over the years I’ve moved away from reading primarily Romance novels (usually fantasy/paranormal based) to reading more Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi. Though I love my happy endings, the sickly-sweet or too-erotic turn that most of romance has taken lately just leaves me … apathetic. I’ve always said that characters are my first and foremost, and I still believe that, however, just behind character is world. I need the world to be intriguing, deep, and feel almost like some place that I could visit, someplace that could be real, in a slightly different time and place; maybe even in a parallel universe.
This is what Nalini Singh gives me, time and time again.
Don’t misunderstand, this is a Romance, with a capital-R. And it has the ‘instinctive-mate’ thing going on, which is only half a step away from ‘fated-mate.’ Looking at the timeline I’m forced to admit that the romance develops quickly, however it doesn’t feel like it’s too fast. It feels like Lucas and Sascha take the time to get to know one another, that they understand each other, and that they genuinely like one another. The crucible in which they come together serves to heighten the emotions, quicken the pace of their romance, but I never doubt that they are good together. They belong together, and whether they came to that conclusion in a couple of days, weeks, or months, I believe in them as a couple. The ‘mate’ instinct is there for Lucas (though it doesn’t really come into play until more than halfway through the book), but it’s not what decides their interest in one another. It doesn’t drive them to be with the other, only serves to reinforce the fact that he loves her and always will. And that makes my romantic heart sigh in happiness.
None of that would matter so much if I didn’t connect with the characters – and I won’t even get into the plethora of characters that populate this world because I’ll end up talking about them in their own books, except to mention a couple: Hawke, Judd, Mercy, and Indigo immediately intrigued me. But it’s Lucas and Sascha that drive this story. Lucas’ need for the truth, his need to avenge his Pack, and his need to protect those he loves and is responsible for. It’s hard to find fault with an Alpha that’s everything an Alpha should be. Is he sometimes autocratic? Sure, but he also answers to his Pack, and to his mate. There’s no decision that he makes that isn’t open for discussion with his trusted advisors – who will call him on it if they think he’s doing something wrong, because they’re strong and awesome, too – and that makes him even stronger that the despots that many ‘Alphas’ become in other novels and series.
Sascha. Often in hetero-romance novels I’ve connected and been more interested in the male half of the couple, but here it was Sascha that I connected to most deeply. Without getting into spoiler territory too far (I know there are some of you out there that haven’t read this series yet) I’ll say that her psy-talent is one that I find incredibly relate-able. I love everything about her. But most especially, I love how her emotions make her strong. I love that she’s independent and able, that she can take care of herself. That she’s curious about the world around her.
This is already long, but I can’t end it without talking about the world that has intrigued me for nearly a decade. Nalini Singh has created a world on the brink of revolution. The Psy, cerebral, intelligent, incredibly powerful gifts of the mind (including telekinesis, telepathy, and foresight – and many more that come up over the series), are without emotion. They feel no rage, no jealousy, no pain. There’s no joy or happiness or love in their lives either. But they rule the world. And the Psy Council works hard to ensure that remains the case – no matter what lies they have to tell.
But no matter what the Psy think, the Changelings – those that can shift shape between animal and human (including wolves and leopards) – are not content to let the Psy run roughshod over them. They’re not the ‘dumb animals’ that the Psy often relegate them to, and the world is changing. No longer can the Psy assume that they’re the most powerful beings on the planet.
There are also humans in the mix in this world, and I’ll only say that they don’t come into play a lot in this book, but do later in the series. This world, the characters in it, and the story itself continue to evolve and become ever deeper as we continue through the series. And I love that. I also really, really, really love that there’s such amazing internal consistency that I can trust every single thing said, hinted at, and revealed. On many of my re-reads, I’ve caught hints of events, characters, or story foreshadowing that still amaze me.
After a 100-years of this status-quo, we’re thrust into this world and in Slave to Sensation we see the very beginnings of the evolution that is about to happen. Over the course of the next fourteen books the change is realistic, believable, and consuming. I’ve become incredibly invested in the characters and the world they live in. It’s not an easy thing to change the world, and I continue to be absolutely enthralled with how Nalini Singh shows it to be done in this Psy-Changeling series.
Top reviews from other countries
So when Sascha meets Lucas, a changeling and alpha of the DarkRiver pack, and her emotions start to take control, start to crack her carefully crafted facade, she believes she is finally descending into madness. She knows it’s only a matter of time until she is discovered by the Psy and sent to rehabilitation. But she doesn’t want to die, even if it’s just mentally.
Lucas introduces her to new emotions and experiences, pushes her boundaries, and truly shows her how to live. He refuses to let her go because she belongs to him and his panther, and they belong to her alone.
Can they overcome all their obstacles to be together, and save Sascha’s life? Or is their end inevitable?
Wow. Wow wow wow! Another book I went into totally blind purely on the recommendation of a fellow bookstagrammer and she was so right. This is only book one in a series of 15 books and I already know I’m going to be so broke buying the rest of the series!
The writing is so incredibly immersive, I could picture the world she created so vividly. I kept swaying back and forth on who I thought the killer was, and what Sascha truly was. I was absolutely hooked! This series definitely needs to be hyped up more! Go.and.get.this.book!!! Right now!
To those Neto Nalini Singh this is what is called season 1 and she has just begun season 2 great books you just have to read over and over.
Our main characters for this instalment are Psy Sasha and Changeling Lucas. Sasha has always known how different she is from the other Psy and learnt from a young age to keep her feelings closely hidden - even from her mother who would never understand her behaviour. As the daughter of an important Council member Sasha knows more than most just how dangerous it would be if anyone found out just how different she is and she knows that not even her mother would protect her if she is discovered. Lucas is the alpha of the DarkRiver Leopard pack and he is working to track down the Psy who has been brutally murdering Changeling women. The latest victim was a member of his pack and he will do whatever it takes to make them pay, even if that does mean working with Sasha and trying to use her to get the information he needs.
I absolutely adored this book, I loved the world building, I'm fascinated by the Psys (although I wouldn't want to be one!) and I always enjoy reading about different kinds of shapeshifters. Above all I loved the relationship between Sasha and Lucas, Nalini Singh takes the time to develop their relationship slowly and I enjoyed every minute of it. The way Lucas cares for his pack is heart warming but it was so good to see the way he began to care for Sasha and how determined he was to protect her and keep her safe from harm. Sasha had never been allowed to freely express herself so she finds it hard to even understand all the emotions that Lucas brings out in her, she instinctively knows how to love but she is so used to locking all her feelings away that she finds it hard to express herself. Lucas never pushes her beyond what she is prepared to give though, he understands how hard it is for her and he teaches her how to care for him and his packmates. One of my favourite things about the couple was the banter between them and when you have conversations like the one below it is very hard not to laugh out loud:
"I could turn your mind to mush if I wanted"
"But then who'd lick you to orgasm?"
Slave to Sensation was a fantastic start to the Psy-Changeling series and one that has left me very excited to find out more. We have been introduced to a great range of side characters so I'm happy that each book focuses on a different couple but I'm also interested to see how the ongoing storyline of the political relationship between the Psy and Changeling races will play out. If Nalini Singh wasn't already on my list of favourite authors this would have earned her a place there so if you haven't read any of her books before then you really should do as soon as possible!
I found the world that she has created for this series fascinating. I love the contrast between the Psy and the Changelings and I was interested to find out more about how they interact. It was a very good premise to have a Psy character who has been hiding her imperfections from the rest of her race for some time. The Psy are well-written. Their coldness and lack of emotion really comes off the page when you are reading. Similarly the warmth and family orientated attitude of the Changelings is clear to the reader. Lucas is the perfect domineering male shape-shifter character and Sascha is well-written as a cold Psy who secretly feels emotion.
Where the book falls down is the large amount of "glossing over" that Ms Singh is keen on. Lucas and Sascha's relationship happens before your eyes but has little or no explanation throughout. At the end, I had no real idea what sort of relationship they were having. The contrast between Lucas' world and what Sascha is used to is touched upon but not expanded in any detail. We have no clue as to how the sudden change affects her. There is some heat between the characters but nothing to get excited about. I was interested in them but I wasn't really willing them to get together which is surely the point of the book?
In short, I think that this is okay for the beginning of a series and an interesting world has been created. However, I would expect a great deal more from any future books in the series. There particularly needs to be a lot more detail in the relationships between all the characters. This was far too brief in that regard. If you are used to the way other writers in this genre write their characters' relationships and emotions (Kresley Cole, JRWard, Gena Showalter for eg) then you will find this sadly lacking in detail. A good start but serious room for improvement.
NB/ Kindle buyers- this Kindle version does not have any major problems with formatting or typos etc :)