Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/03/05/joint-review-pt-2-wild-invitation-by-nalini-singh/ and here: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/03/05/joint-review-pt-1-wild-invitation-by-nalini-singh/
Beat of Temptation (0.5)
MinnChica: This novella is by far my all-time favorite of the Psy-Changeling series. It might even be my all time favorite story of the whole series, not just of the novellas. I absolutely love and adore Nate and Tammy, from the first moment we met them, they were so solid and sweet together, so getting the story of their HEA was so amazing. I loved the age theme, especially since Nate so was resistant to mating with Tammy. And watching Tammy struggle with becoming a woman, trying to seduce the love of her life, and dealing with some insecurity was so well done. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve read this novella, and just how much I love the story of Nate and Tammy’s beginnings.
I give Beat of Temptation an A++
E: Nate and Tammy’s story was hinted at in several of the early Psy-Changeling novels before Singh released it originally. As a result I think I have re-read this so many time I practically have it memorized. I loved how Tammy decided that she had waited long enough for Nate and if he wasn’t going to give her what she needed than she wasn’t going to give him what he wanted. Her fierce determination to be treated as an adult and an equal by Nate despite her gentle healer nature was so much fun to see. I also really enjoyed the glimpse of the younger Lucas. I also liked how the entire pack banded together in support of Tammy when Nate was being his most intractable. I also loved that they started their own tradition when they finalized their mating and have continued it yearly. It completely makes my heart melt to see big tough Changelings show their softer sides.
I give Beat of Temptation an A
Has: I read Beat of Temptation a few years ago when it was first published, and it was a delight to reread the story because I remembered how much I enjoyed it the first time around. I loved how they got together and their issues over the age gap and experience, which really heightened the tension with their romance. It was also fantastic to see how the roots of the series first emerged, and seeing how it developed especially with the other cast of characters. This was gorgeous, and tender romance and it still remains one of my favourite novellas set in this world.
I give Beat of Temptation an A
Lou: I adore this short story, and I would love to read a full novel featuring Tammy and Nate. Nate and Tammy are the glue that holds their pack together. Tammy with her loving and sweet nature, and Nate with his maturity. Seeing Nate court Tammy was sweet and frustrating at the same time. Nate, you took long enough to get your Tammy .
I give Beat of Temptation a B+.
Stroke of Enticement (3.5)
MinnChica: I thought this romance between Zach and Annie was so sweet. I loved Annie’s quiet personality, and how she didn’t let her disability rule her life. She was patient and loving with her students, and when Zach first approaches her, she doesn’t hesitate to jump into a relationship, despite her lack of knowledge about the shifter lifestyle. While I think this was a very sweet story, I also didn’t think there was anything super special about it.
I give Stroke of Enticement a B+
E: When I am in a quiet mood but want some intense romance I turn to this story because it is so sweet and wild at the same time. Annie had such an internal strength caused by her accident and by dealing with her disability that I just loved her. I could see why she was such a good instructor for Changeling students because she understood the struggle between what the inner self wanted and what the outer self was restricted due to circumstances to allowing. I also really liked that she wasn’t physically afraid of Zach, just emotionally cautious. Zach was great too. The way he charmed Annie’s mother and also his refusal to let Annie throw away their relationship based on her fears was really wonderful.
I give Stroke of Enticement an A-
Has: I really enjoyed Stroke of Enticement, which was great because usually I am not a fan of human and changeling pairings in this series. But this was a cute and sweet story and I found Zach totally adorable! I loved the scenes where he was slowly winning her over despite her issues with her mother and her disability due to an accident as a child. The romance between them was also very sexy and did I mention Zach was adorable? And while I am also not a fan of a short stories, this was one of those novellas which ends beyond perfectly. I was also happy we got a little glimpse of them in the future in the latter novellas in this collection and really tied the knot on a perfect love story.
I give Stroke of Enticement an A
Lou: This has to be my second favourite short in the anthology. Zack and Annie’s romance was super sweet and very sexy at the same time. Annie was such a strong character, and she knew how to deal with the changeling pups. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of instant love and attraction, I bought the intensity that Zack had for Annie and loved how he courted her and went about showing her that she was worth it.
Declaration of Courtship (9.5)
MinnChica: Although Singh has hinted at it before, it’s rare to see her write a novella or story about an extremely alpha and submissive couple. I was so excited to see how she would handle Grace and Cooper’s relationship, given the difference in their power rank. I loved this novella. I loved how patient and caring and sweet Cooper was with Grace. He was so amazing with her both emotionally and physically, and I loved everything about him. It was also really nice to step outside of the main SnowDancer den, and into one of the smaller remote dens. Of the four stories in this anthology, I think Grace and Cooper are my second favorite.
I give Declaration of Courtship an A-
E: I absolutely LOVED this novella! It had me with Cooper’s first words to Grace and continued to keep me captivated through all of their interactions. The way Cooper courted Grace as she refused to just go along with him. The way Grace addressed her fears about being so submissive to Cooper. The way she demanded that he not take her for granted after they were completely intimate for the first time. How she didn’t let Cooper get away with not sleeping and denying his fears about her safety. I just WOW the way Singh handled their disparate power levels and how she still kept the intensity of their relationship high. I think this overtook Nate and Tammy’s story as my favorite in this collection.
I give Declaration of Courtship an A+
Has: Ohh I am so with you guys on this story. I think this was my favourite of them all! I absolutely adored the build-up between Cooper and Grace and the dynamics they shared as a dominant and submissive wolf. Their romance was filled intricate nuance and I was enchanted on how Grace worked out her issues by being a submissive and Cooper giving her the space and time to adjust to his dominance. I really felt this added another layer of sexual tension because the way it developed was sexually charged and I was so caught up with them to finally committing with each other. Declaration of Courship is an entrancing and wonderful short story and filled with high emotions and romance. I was left very satisfied with this story although I wouldn’t have minded more!
I give Declaration of Courtship an A+
Lou: How freaking SMEXY was this short story. This is by far my favourite story in the anthology. Cooper was very intense and dominant but he acted so carefully around Grace whose wolf was a submissive. What I thought Nalini did great was showing the submissive side of the wolf, but never showing Grace to be weak but strong and assertive. Cooper did give Grace some distance, but the sexual tension between them was smoking. I thought this short story was one of the steamier reads from Nalini, and it matched the intensity of Cooper. Loved LOVED this story.
Texture of Intimacy (10.5)
MinnChica: This novella goes more into depth with Lara and Walker’s mating. While we got to see a lot of this pair during Kiss of Snow, this novella is almost like an extension of that, and we get to see into the every day lives of these two. I have a soft spot for Walker, and his love and devotion to the young, both Psy and Changeling alike. While I adore Lara, I never really seemed to connect with her on the same level as Tammy, or some of the other heroines. I’m not sure why, but this couple just doesn’t resonate with me as much as some of the previous couples in the series.
I give Texture of Intimacy a B-
E: I was really glad to get a glimpse in Lara and Walker’s relationship. I watched it grow in the small scenes Singh included in the novels and enjoyed the definite beginning in Kiss of Snow but this was special. I have been curious about Walker since he was first introduced and while this story answered some of my questions there is still a lot to Walker that we don’t have yet. I enjoyed seeing Lara and Walker get to know each other within their relationship and have to deal with the friction of their completely opposite methods of handling stressful events. I also enjoyed how each of them tried to send the message that they cared or that they were sorry through their behavior before attempting words. To me that made every moment worth so much more.
I give Texture of Intimacy an A.
Has: I think for me, Texture of Intimacy was the weakest story for me in the collection although I loved Lara and Walker especially when they got together during the events in Kiss of Snow. But I felt something was missing with this story because while it covered the ‘missing aspects’ of their courtship in Kiss of Snow, I felt this story was kind of disjointed and it felt too brief for me because and it didn’t really cover anything new. However I did enjoy the story because it was cute and it did broadened the tapestry of events in the series but I was left kind of disappointed there wasn’t much depth.
I give Texture of Intimacy a B
Lou: I enjoyed reading about Walker and Lara in Kiss of Snow, but I have to admit this was my least favourite story in the anthology. I felt that this story didn’t develop anywhere. I’m in agreement with MinnChica that I don’t connect well to Lara compared to the other heroines in the series and I feel the same about Walker. There’s an intensity missing between them for me.
MinnChica: Overall, this is a fabulous anthology for the Psy-Changeling fan. Getting to see Nate and Tammy as well as Zach and Annie all over again was nice. Add in the two brand new novellas, with Cooper and Grace’s sweet and sexy old fashioned courtship to Lara and Walker’s day to day lives as a mated couple, this anthology has it all. Plus, I’m so glad I can consolidate my bookshelf with only ONE anthology.
E: I have decided I am a huge fan of author collections. I get my novellas consolidated in one book so instead of flipping between books when I need a short story fix I can go to one spot. The other thing I really love about this is that Singh didn’t just include her previously published novellas but she added two new stories that really fleshed out life amongst the changelings. I absolutely loved this collection and I recommend it to other fans of Singh’s Psy-Changeling series even if you already own Tammy and Nate or Annie and Zach because the two new stories are so worth it!
Has: While I am not a fan of short stories or novellas, overall for me Wild Invitation was a fantastic collection which added and developed aspects from the Psy and Changeling series. Actually it was well worth getting the Grace and Cooper’s story because it was that good! Wild Invitation is definitely worth the read for me and I was left very satisfied overall.
Lou: I’m not a big fan of anthologies, but Wild Invitation is most likely one of my favourites. Again, I would have loved to have seen Cooper and Grace have a full story because the dynamics between them were terrific.
I give Wild Invitation a big A.