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4.8 out of 5 stars
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2009
This book will keep you up until the early hours...forget your essay, give the kids over to your partner, turn the phone off...feign illness because you will not want to be disturbed.

Riley an Mercy are a steaming hot couple. Very interesting because this is the first book to feature a changeling couple and they are from different species. Both are dominant and both think their species is highly superior to the other. Mercy is wonderful, she's lonely but recognises that her 'cat' would not be attracted to a mate who was less dominant to her but at the same time she doesn't want a mate who has the upper hand. Riley trips all her wires sexually but he's a wolf. She's feisty and independant but unfortunately...Riley doesn't see her as dominant to him and wants to protect her. We have lots of fireworks and misunderstandings here but it's a fun ride, you really will enjoy their 'playtime' and their journey towards HEA.

Lots of other stuff with the ghost, some great scenes with the beautiful Hawke and we revisit Sacha and Lucas which was lovely.

A brilliant addition to a wonderful series. One of the best sci fi/paranormal romances around.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2009
Mercy is a dominant female leopard changeling and a high ranking sentinel in the DarkRiver Pack who has been asigned as liaison to the neighbouring SnowDancer Pack of wolf changelings. Her coutnerpoint on their side is Riley, a steadfast lieutenant who seems to only loose his cool around her.

There's one other thing, Mercy is in heat but her leopard will not accept a mate weaker than it and so Riley sets out to prove that his wolf is dominant, protective and a whole lot more. When the Human Alliance rise up to disrupt order in the fragile NetMind - a psychic plane of connect Psy minds - it is up to Mercy and Riley to stop them but can they cooperate long enough without one trying to assert dominance over the other?

A very hot reader for those who like strong, dominant heros with strong, dominant heroines and the madness that ensures. From the very beginning it is clear that the pairing will not only be explosive but very accuately mirrors their changeling natures. Each scenes fairly sizzles with sexual tension and it has been a while since a book has made me sit up and take notice like I did.

I think my only bad point of this read is the apparent ease with which Mercy seems to accept Riley's dominance. I think the whole struggle could have been a little more real after the first encounter.

That said, brilliant addition to a smoking hot series of books. Fairly a good read on it's own but probably best enjoyed in chronological order as the 6th Changeling-Psy book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2009
Nalini Singh had me hooked on her psy-changeling series since the first one, Slave to Sensation. This is the story of Mercy and Riley, which we met in previous books. What is really interesting about the world that Singh created, is the relationships and dynamics between the 3 races, the Psy, the Changelings and Humans. In each book there is a different match or psy and changeling or changeling and human, letting the reader see the prejudices, preconceptions, interal struggles and break throughs of the heroes. This one is changelings, but different breeds, Mercy is a leopard and Riley a wolf. The chemistry between them is sizzling but the barriers as big as if they were from a different race! Singh manages to thrill into another journey into her captivating world. i cant wait for the next one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I've loved all of the books in the Psy-Changeling series so far but I actually think Branded by Fire might be my new favourite. As much as I enjoy seeing the Psy characters thaw their cold and emotionless shells to experience passion for the first time there was something special about this Changeling / Changeling match up. Mercy and Riley are both dominant characters who know exactly what they want both in and out of the bedroom and I loved seeing them sparring together to see who would come out on top.

Mercy would love to find a mate but it isn't easy for a dominant female alpha to find a man her cat will accept as worthy, none of the unmated guys in her pack are strong enough to take her on so she's resigned to staying single. The only man who really gets her blood pumping is Riley but there is one major problem - he's a wolf which makes him completely unacceptable. The pair are both high up members of their respective packs and they often end up working together when it comes to pack security. Riley makes no secret of the fact that he wants to claim Mercy, he knows just how tough and special she is and he is willing to work at earning her respect. The pair of them have off the charts chemistry, I really do think that this is the hottest book in the series so far, and I love the way they're constantly battling each other for control. They each take it in turn to dominate the other and I loved that push and pull between them.

As well as a fantastic, incredibly hot, romance between Mercy and Riley we also get to catch up with the previous couples in the series and there are some fantastic scenes with some of them that really made my heart melt. I'm also falling a little more in love with Hawk with every new book and I can't wait to read his story! These books really do get better with every instalment and although Mercy and Riley are currently my favourite couple I won't be too surprised if that changes when I read Blaze of Memory. I'm not normally this quick to switch teams but Nalini Singh manages to make me fall in love every single time & I'm definitely not complaining about that!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2011
I adore this series, very creative and exciting with interesting characters you can't fail to route for. Have read all the preceding books and none have disappointed. Mercy and Riley make a fascinating couple and a different type of pairing to previous story lines that add a completely different dimension to the potential problems and actual tensions. With more to be released over the next months i will be keeping a regular watch to get my next installment of the psy/changeling world. You don't have to read in order but it is worthwhile to help understand the complexities of the psy/changeling world and the inter-relationships between the three main groups (Psy, Changeling, and Human).[ASIN:B004R9Q1SA Hostage to Pleasure (Psy Changelings 5)]]Mine to Possess (Psy Changelings 4)Caressed by Ice (Psy Changelings 3)Slave to Sensation (Psy Changelings 1)Visions of Heat (Psy Changelings 2)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 August 2011
For the first time in this futuristic romance series, it is 2 shape shifters that take a lead role; Mercy a sentinel in the DarkRiver leopard pack and Riley, a lieutenant in the SnowDancer wolf pack. With 2 alpha's butting heads for dominance, it's a rough ride ahead for Mercy and Riley especially considering their deep loyalties to their individual packs. Add to the plot the further machinations of both the Human Alliance and the Psy Council and this book should have been a fantastic read.

"Branded By Fire" is good, but when compared to its exceptional predecessors, it didn't quite have the same level of oomph to the story line. This isn't down to a lack of action (there's plenty that both Riley and Mercy tackle head on) or a lack of passion (there's plenty of heat generated between the leading lovers) but to the change of direction this series has taken. I find myself with a slight bias as I preferred the dynamics found in the previous Psy/Changeling and Human/Changeling relationships rather than Changeling/Changeling. The relationship between Riley and Mercy is one of the hottest so far, but there lacks the level of romance found in previous books. In fact Mercy initially comes across as someone needing an itch scratched and her leopard recognises Riley's wolf as aggressive enough to relieve it.

I like the direction this series is taking. There are plenty of characters that remain ambivalent, established bad guys that may be covertly helping the good guys out and additional Changeling species introduced. "Branded By Fire" isn't the bad apple in the "Psy-Changeling" applecart; I just didn't find it such a tasty treat as "Slave to Sensation" or "Visions of Heat". 3.5 stars
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on 31 March 2011
When the DarkRiver and SnowDancer packs agreed to become allies, DarkRiver sentinel Mercy Smith and SnowDancer lieutenant Riley Kincaid are forced into the role of liasons. Mercy and Riley spar with each other, but when their relationship becomes personal it turns into a struggle for dominance. When a changeling researcher is kidnapped and a greater conspiracy uncovered, Riley and Mercy are forced to work together to protect their packs and struggle to find a new balance.

This is the sixth book in the incredible Psy-Changeling series (after Slave to Sensation,Visions of Heat,Caressed by Ice,Mine to Possess and Hostage to Pleasure) and is the first book in the series to deal with two changelings. Mercy and Riley have been sniping at each other since the beginning of the series, so it was great to see their dynamic change.

Riley and Mercy spark off each other, creating a relationship where each is infuriated and intrigued. This is the first book in the series where a lack or supression of emotion hasn't played a part in the story; in fact Riley and Mercy seem to have an excess of emotion between them. It was great to see a relationship between two dominant personalities, especially given the difference between wolf and leopard changelings.

The Human Alliance introduced in the previous book take a greater role, and while the Psy as a whole become part of the backstory Councillor Krychek gets more development - which only creates more questions as to who he is and what his motivations are. Also part of the book focuses Sienna and Hawk who take the lead roles in the tenth Psy-Changeling novel (Kiss of Snow) available later this year. Given the story developments here I can't wait to see how that relationship is handled.

All in all, this was another incredible read and I can't wait for Blaze of Memory.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 49/50
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VINE VOICEon 5 August 2009
I love this series! Nalini Singh has managed to create a fantastic world, with an overarching theme which is fascinating, and then each book provides a brilliant story which supports the overall theme, whilst providing a tense, exciting and sexy story which expands the world of the Psy, Changelings and Humans. This is as much a thriller as a romance - a feat she's managed to pull off with every installment so far in this series.

Riley and Mercy are really vivid characters. Okay, so you know with this series you're going to get tough, dominant, hot guys, but you also know you're going to get feisty, talented, sexy women who are more than capable of handling their men and don't get bullied or intimidated or humiliated. There is always something unique about each character so with each book you're getting to know a whole community of individuals, not some stock sterotypes.

You definitely get a more heart-felt read of this book if you've been following since book 1 (Slave to Sensation) and know some of the background of the two leads. If you haven't I won't spoil the surprise.

The dynamic here has plenty of tension, because of the similarity of the roles Riley and Mercy both occupy in their respective packs, and the importance of their roles emotionally. Read it for the smoking hot relationship that develops between Riley and Mercy. Read it to find out what else is going on between the Psy, Changelings and Humans. Read it to find out what is going on with the couples you've read about in the previous 5 books. Just... read it!
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on 27 December 2012
I first came across Nalini Singh writing for Mills & Boon Harlequin and even then her interpretation of their conventional format made her stories stand out. Her Psy-Changling series is on a par with Christine Feehan's Dark series and Lora Leigh's Breed series for original storytelling. 'Slave to Sensation' introduces the reader to a world where humans play a less than minor role, with the main power being held by the 'hive like' collective of the cerebral Psy whereas the coalition between the feline and wolf changelings puts them in the top pack position amongst the other Changeling groups. Branded by Fire is about the 6th in the series and tells of the romance between Mercy, Lucas, the alpha leopard's only female sentinel and Riley, 2nd in command to Hawke, the alpha wolf. This series is best read in sequence but a couple of the later books are almost standalone reads. My favourite and taken out to read at least once a year (now via Kindle) is 'Slave to Sensation', one of the most understated romantic novels I have read in 40 years worth of being a romance addict! Like Austen's 'Persuasion', 'Slave to Sensation' touches my older jaded heart and as soon as the first word is read, I'm transported to a world where with Austen, love was lost to misplaced loyalty to Singh's world, where love is an emotion which... well, I'll let you read about it! Singh's 'Hunter's Guild' is a must read too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2011
Easily the best in the series so far.... action packed, tension filled and utterly romantic. Riley is every inch the hero of this story and my favourite character after reading this, Mercy has always had a small part in the other books so is really interesting to see how her brain thinks as a female sentinel

Throws something fresh into the mix of couples and completely opens up all the possible relationships in the future.
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