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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Review: Nightshade by Michelle Rowen!

Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)NIGHTSHADE BY MICHELLE ROWEN 
Paperback: 352 pages 
Publisher: Berkley (February 1, 2011) 
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound
Read: excerpt
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Jillian Conrad never believed in vampires. But she’s just become a living, breathing weapon against them. Attacked by a desperate scientist, she is injected with a serum that was supposed to act as a deadly poison to vampires. And when the scientist is gunned down in front of her, his secrets die with him.

Declan Reyes was only half-vampire, but he hates them with all his heart. He knows that the poison in Jillian’s veins could finally destroy the undead kingdom. Also, the serum has had an unintended effect, making her blood irresistible to all vampires—including Declan, whose bloodthirsty traits are driven into a frenzy by her.

Driven by duty to protect her and by instinct to crave her, Declan takes Jillian into his shadowy world of blood and battle. But he soon realizes his increasing need for her may be a different kind of hunger…

Book Beginning: 
"Life as I knew it ended at half past eleven on a Tuesday morning.
There were currently thirty minutes left."

Notable Scenes
"His words should have scared me, made me feel threatened by his dark intent, especially after being told about his vampire father. But they didn't. I was afraid of Declan, but not for the reasons he probably thought I was." -Page 102

"But something else haunted me as well, in an entirely different way. It was what he said before sinking his fangs into me. I cringed as I touched the raw marks on my throat.

I'll find you."

That was what he'd whispered to me." -Page 324

So often in the paranormal romance genre, we have a situation where the vampire must fight against all his/her natural instincts not to bite a human, because of guilt, attraction, etc etc.  But what if instead of the human always being the weakest link, this time around it's the vampire running the risk of poisoning themselves from feeding on a human?  Intriguing idea, right? This was the concept behind NIGHTSHADE.  In her latest adult novel, Michelle Rowen delves into a darker brand of urban fantasy while still maintaining strong romantic appeal (and her trademark brand of humor). Mix in this unique twist on vampire lore and you've got yourself a winner!

NIGHTSHADE starts off fast and furious and keeps on rolling. It's break-time at work, and Jillian Conrad needs her morning coffee fix. But on her way back to the elevators, her life as she knew it—the normal, get up and go to work hum-drum routine we all grapple with—ends forever. She's at the wrong place at the wrong time. Caught in the middle of a stand-off with a gunman and a frantic scientist, Jillian is poisoned with a serum that makes vampires lose their senses with desire for her blood. Wait! Vampires are real? Yep. Sorry Jillian, they sure are. As Jillian's normal world comes crashing down all around her, she realizes in the blink of an eye she has become a crucial pawn in the struggle between humans and vampires alike.  

NIGHTSHADE was a fun, sexy and humorous vampire urban fantasy. I read it over a 24-hour period and immediately wanted the next book in the series to tear into.  I do have to admit that initially I wasn't too sure about Declan with his unsightly eye-patch, scars and cold personality. But just like he did with Jillian- he definitely grew on me.  I became vested in their relationship and anxiously wanted them to realize their mutual attraction to one another, and better yet—act on it. It happened when  I saw how Declan's personality changed when he didn't take a certain serum –the one that supposedly kept his half-vampire blood thirsty impulses at bay (he reminded me a bit of the movie Blade in that aspect too). One thing that threw me a bit were Rowen's characterization of the djamphirs—they honestly gave me the heebeejeebees—I kept wishing they were more like sexy apple-pie smelling Christophers from Lili St. Crow's books rather than gory monster freak shows, but they needed to be what they were to fit the storyline, so it made sense that she did what she did with them.

Poor Jillian—what a Catch 22! If Declan was on the serum, she knew it was safer to be around him. If he wasn't? Well things just got a whole lot hotter in the room—but also a whole lot more deadly. As for Jillian, I loved her character. She was such a great contrast to Declan. While he was etched in stone, she was approachable and downright lovable. It was also refreshing to read an adult book where the main protagonist didn't  have to kick butt in order to kick butt. Jillian was no trained warrior by any means, but she was smart, kind-hearted and played the hand dealt to her so well that it ended up saving her life.

NIGHTSHADE slams to a halt with a twist that really sets an exciting tone for the next book in the series. It was one I did not see coming and can't wait to see how it all plays out.  I would recommend this book to fans of adult paranormal romance as well as more mature teen readers. You'll find a lot to sink your teeth into. The next novel, BLOODLUST  releases in July of this year (so far away!)

Jillian Conrad Series

Primal (Breeds, #23)

Related Reading:

Primal by Lora Leigh, Michelle Rowen, Jory Strong and Ava Gray

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (February 1, 2011)

Four all-new stories of primitive desire- with a never-before- published novella of the Breeds

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh returns to her sensual world of the Breeds in an all-new novella that explores just how savage, and how far, a man is willing to go in the name of desire. Plus three other stories of irresistible passions from three masters of hot paranormal romance.

I wasn't familiar with the other authors within this anthology so I found myself a bit lost wading through the worlds of the main characters. But I thought  Michelle Rowen's novella was fantastic! It takes place immediately after the events following NIGHTSHADE and was just as dark, edgy and action-packed the book itself. Her story made me fall in love with the series even more to be honest.

As Jillian and Declan searched for a cure for the poison in her blood, they found themselves in a dangerous facility where vampires were tested on like lab rats and a scientist with a malicious grudge has a few plans of his own. This novella was A+.


Michelle Rowen writes paranormal romance, urban fantasy, futuristic romantic suspense, and young adult fantasy. She has been on the Waldenbooks/Borders Group romance bestseller list and was the winner of the 2007 Holt Medallion for Best First Book and the 2009 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for Best Vampire Romance. Her books include the Immortality Bites paranormal romance series, the Demon Princess books for young adults, and in May 2010 she launches a new paranormal series, Living in Eden, with the first book “The Demon in Me,” which is a fun, romantic look at demonic possession. Trust her, it’s totally possible. Michelle lives in Southern Ontario and is the 2010 President of Toronto Romance Writers. She wields her power wisely. Visit Michelle Rowen at her Official Website & Blog

1 comment:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

O that is a cool twist! I like the sound of that :)