Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

nightshade cover From Goodreads: Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything–including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Oh Andrea Cremer write me a sequel and do it now! I picked up this book at BEA when every YA reviewer I spoke to asked me if I had a copy yet. It was clear that Nightshade was set to be a huge hit for the fall and was included in Penguin’s big five promotion.

I am happy to report that Nightshade lives up to the drama. Cremer sets the reader up perfectly for a book two. I found myself really invested in Calla as a character. It has been quite a while since a YA paranormal has made me want to do anything besides brutally murder the whiny chick.

Calla is strong, and has a great sense of duty. Although it is hard for her to break traditions to do thing things she needs to do Calla is open minded enough to know she should live for herself and at least try to figure out why the Guardians are working for the Keepers.

The Keepers are magical folk that have been around since before humans existed, they help shape the world and use their magic to take care of everything in it. Calla is an alpha Guardian and it is up to her and the other packs to make sure that the Keeper’s holy lands are safe.

Calla has been promised to Ren (oh le sigh at the literary boi hotness) since they were born on Samhain. All of this is fine with Calla until Shay shows up and threatens to rock her very existence to the core. This is a book begging for the reader to pick a side. Do we choose the strong misunderstood alpha male Ren (oh yes please) or the equally strong mystery boy who has a role to play in Calla’s future as well?

Nightshade kept me guessing to the very end where Andrea Cremer leaves the reader waiting with bated breath for more! I do hope there will be a second book at BEA this year and this time I will know what I am gunning for when I make my way over to the Penguin booth.

If you enjoy L.J. Smith, Christopher Pike or, Annette Curtis Klause you will love Andrea Cremer.

FTC Disclosure: I picked up this book at a conference. I paid to ship it home. Boo to the ya.

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Author Review: Candace Havens

A while back I received an amazing box from Candace Havens, even with rocking bookmarks. This box really made my day as a reviewer, the books were pristine and signed with one of the most beautiful signatures I have ever seen. I am now aspiring to come up with my own fancy signature, even though I really have no need. Guess I could start writing checks for bills instead of paying them online.

It’s not very often as a reviewer that you get such an awesome present, and with that aside reading these books for me was a pure joy. It has the mystery of Charlaine Harris without all of the plot skipping and annoyances. Candace takes each of her characters and within the first few chapters she has fleshed out a person that you can see bumping into at the local Starbucks. Her list of side characters are also very personable and you really are able to like or relate to all of the persons in her stories. Her writing style is easy to follow and fun, and at least once in every single one of the books I laughed out loud. I am in awe of her persistence, and ability to keep up with the details of previous works from herself, even the small.

I first read The Demon King and I from my Haven’s selection. I was able to like the main character immediately. She was an heiress with actual depth. The book follows Gillian and her sisters through their every day lives, parties, shopping, complicated jobs, and the like. However the girls also have an extra responsibility, they are guardian keys that save our world from being overrun by beings from other dimensions. Gillian is the Guardian of the demon realm, but when the old king is supplanted and a new more human looking (okay actually hot) demon king is on the throne, will Gillian be able to perform her duties without conflict?

Immediately enthused with Havens stories I jumped straight into Charmed & Dangerous and I have to admit the Bronwyn stories fascinate me even more that the Demon King and I. Bronwyn is a high witch, meaning she has loads of power. She can do all the cool stuff I wish I could like melt someones brain with an evil glare. These books are great for the mystery and plot but also and foremost for me the list of characters and places. Sweet, Texas, albeit a fictitious town is teaming with small town vibe. They even have a Piggly Wiggly. Being a small town girl I loved the places in Sweet, like Lulu’s Diner where you can get a rockin’ chicken fried steak. Bronwyn has her share of man troubles but eventually settles for a non practicing warlock who recently moved to town as the new doctor. She works for the PM in London and saves him from bad magic, and meets a Sheik from Dubai who hires her onto his payroll too giving her a new jet to be at his beck and call. You also meet Kira the new librarian and she has a secret magic of her own. The next two Bronwyn books I breezed through really wishing there was more, I absolutely fell in love with the Sheik and wanted her to somehow end up with him but yeah I understand, Sam is the love of her life. In the second and third books we learn more about minor characters such as Kira, the PM, his assistant, and new rock star named Zane who uses his stardom to feed the hungry. The Bronwyn books are a awesome read for those of us who like a little paranormal in our romance. They have awesome characters you want to sit down at Lulu’s and have dinner with, and plot gripping action that keeps you on the edge of your chaise lounge.

The last and final book I had from Candace was a great surprise to me. Like a Charm follows Kira the new Sweet librarian through her romance with Bronwyn’s friend Caleb. Her finding out she can see, hear, and rent books to dead people, as well as her forming relationships in the town like with Bronwyn. Kira was a Sweet Texas girl born and raised. Being from a town that produces so much magic, Kira always felt lost and when old enough kicked it out of town to school and then Atlanta to becoming a high priced contract lawyer. Her love of Armani speaks to my soul, when trouble arises she goes home for a visit and is bequeathed the local library. It was a private collection. Will she continue in her fast paced law career in New York or stay in Sweet to build a life for her and Caleb in the library that was her solace growing up as a akward non magical child? Kira was always one of my favorite characters from the Bronwyn series and it was super awesome to get a close up look of her life in this installment. I cannot wait to read Haven’s title coming in July, “Dragons Prefer Blondes”, I have a feeling this will deal with Gillian’s sister and her being the Guardian of the Dragon Realm.

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