Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh
Hard Play #2
Nayna Sharma has always been the good daughter, responsible and obedient, so she’s finally given into her parent’s wish for an arranged marriage. In one last chance at freedom, Nayna shares a wild kiss with a stranger at a party, but she’s shocked to find out that Raj Sen is her next match. Even worse, her parents love him and think he’s the perfect choice for her. Raj is captivated by Nayna but he’s always imagined a traditional marriage and he’s afraid that Nayna’s desire for freedom will take her away from him. Nayna is interested in Raj as well and she wants to make her parent’s happy but can she really give up all her dreams?
I found Rebel Hard to be a better read than the previous one, Cherish Hard, but for me it was just a good read without the elements I usually love and see in a Nalini Singh paranormal. While this starts out with Nayna agreeing to an arranged marriage, instead Raj and Nayna start dating and get to know each other, though they still have parental pressure hanging over everything. Raj thought he had his future planned out and Nayna throws him for a big loop; there’s definitely a lot of insta-love but a lot of time also passes so overall it was believable. I worried that Nayna would have to make most of the compromises in the relationship but I felt that Singh handled their growing feelings and decisions well. I liked both characters but in some ways, both Raj and Nayna were almost too perfect. Not necessarily a bad thing just something I felt worth mentioning.
One of the best parts of the book was the look into Indian culture and Singh does a phenomenal job of this. However, this was also my greatest source of frustration while reading because I wanted Nayna to have the life she wants and every time I turned around her family was making it impossible for her to do so. That being said, I liked that Nayna starting asking for what she wanted and standing up for herself; I was also glad to see how much Raj supported Nayna and stood by her even when he knew his parent’s might not approve. While I might not understand the more traditional aspects of Indian culture, it was certainly eye opening to explore various parts of it and Singh does a great job of showing the good an the bad.
Part of why I didn’t rate this higher is because it felt like Singh was doing a lot of telling throughout the story. A lot of time goes by in Rebel Hard, but I actually couldn’t say how much because I never had a grasp on an actual timeline. Things would sort of breeze by with a quick explanation and this created a disconnect for me where I felt like I was just dropping into random events in Raj and Nayna’s relationship instead of really becoming immersed in it. Part of this comes from the side story of Isa and Sailor who are from the first book. Had I not read Cherish Hard I would have been a little lost on details and confused about why we were getting parts of the story without getting any details. For me, contemporaries are not my favorite from Singh and I much prefer her paranormal romances.
ARC provided by NetGalley for honest review
3 out of 5 stars
Nayna Sharma agreed to an arranged marriage in the hope it would heal the fractures in her beloved family… only to realize too late that a traditional marriage is her personal nightmare. Panicked, she throws caution to the winds, puts on the tiniest dress she can find, and ends up in the arms of a tall, rough-edged hunk of a man who has abs of steel—and who she manages to mortally insult between one kiss and the next.
Abandoned as a child, then adopted into a loving family, Raj Sen believes in tradition, in continuity. Some might call him stiff and old-fashioned, but he knows what he wants—and it’s a life defined by rules… yet he can’t stop thinking about the infuriating and sexy woman who kissed him in the moonlight then disappeared. When his parents spring an introduction on him, the last woman he expects is her. Beautiful. Maddening. A rule breaker in the making.
He’s all wrong for her. She’s all wrong for him. And love is about to make rebels of them both.
Published by Nalini Singh on September 18, 2018
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