Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh

Thursday, September 13, 2018


by Nalini Singh
Series: Play Hard #2
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: TKA Distribution
Publication Date: September 18th 2018
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★1/2
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷1/2
Amazon - The Book Depository

My first Nalini Singh book and oh my goodness! Why have I not been reading her books? Something is obviously very wrong with me. Rebel Hard came to my attention when a romance blogger tweeted about it having a Kiwi-Indian cast. As a brown/desi reader, I get so excited about romance books that feature characters that share my skin tone. I was quick to read Rebel Hard, and ahhh! It was just so so so good! Could I leave my review at that? No?

In order to heal her family from the wounds of her elder sister, Madhuri, eloping at a young age, Nayna Sharma agrees to an arranged marriage. Upon meeting a few of the unpalatable potential candidates, she realizes what a messy situation she has thrown herself into and in a state of panic, attends a party with her best friend and shares a steamy encounter with the hottest man she has ever seen. This man happens to be Raj Sen, a man she soon finds out is another potential candidate for marriage! I adored Nayna and related so much to her. She was a sweetheart who cared profoundly for the people around her and would do anything for their happiness. Her sister's elopement and eventual divorce and had left a bit of a taint on the family, and Nayna wanted nothing more than to erase that taint even if it means giving up her own dreams. Throughout Rebel Hard, Nayna struggled with that balance of making her family happy and trying to make her dreams come true and that struggle rang so true to me - I am certain that many readers, especially those that come from traditional South Asian families will relate her to her circumstances and her feelings about them. Even though she desired for romantic love in her life, she also wanted independence and freedom, mostly to travel and see the world.

So you can imagine why she was initially unwilling to completely give in to her fierce attraction towards Raj. He was much more traditional and had a specific vision for what married life would be for him, that didn't exactly mesh with Nayna's aspirations. Even though it could be said that Raj was a bit old-fashioned, it was hard not to fall for the guy. He was loving towards his family, hardworking and honest. What truly surprised me about him though was his willingness to listen to Nayna and when he finds out why she is wary of a marriage between them, he went out of his way to show her why they would be a good fit. You get to see his view on marriage evolve to include Nayna AND her dreams. Tell me that isn't the sweetest thing you have ever heard of? Raj was just the perfect guy and he turned me into a complete envious mess. Don't even get me started on how he decides to read Pride & Prejudice because Nayna tells him to! Where are all the Rajs in real life? I'm asking for a friend...

As you can imagine, with a swoony hero like Raj, the romance between him and Nayna was just sublime. It was one of those romances that not only had me giddy, but it also had me feeling every emotion between these two. I loved how open and communicative they were, especially when faced with a conflict. They actually talked about everything and that was beyond refreshing. Also, their chemistry was freaking out-of-this-world HOT. Nalini Singh can write a steamy kiss, that's for sure! *fans self* I also loved how rich in tradition and culture Rebel Hard was. It was especially fun seeing all the weddings that Nayna and her sister Madhuri attended. Nalini Singh did a beautiful job at describing the scenes, the drama and the extravagance of long Indian weddings! I also loved how family was important to both Nayna and Raj. I loved both of their families but did have more of a soft spot for the Sharmas. Nayna's parents were adorable, and her grandmother, an absolute riot. I want to be her grandma when I'm old, with a boy toy and an effervescent attitude.

You can probably tell I was in love with Rebel Hard, but guys, I'm going to need all of you romance readers to pick it up right away. This might only be my first book from Nalini Singh, but it certainly will not be my last. I'm excited that there are so many of her backlist titles to choose from!

Have you read any books with brown/desi characters?
Let me know in the comments below!

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