Author: Michelle Rowen
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Nightshade (Book 1)
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
ISBN-10: 0425239829 (Berkley/Penguin)
ISBN-13: 978-0425239827 (Berkley/Penguin)
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…
Quick & Dirty: This compelling, frightening, and well-written urban fantasy will have you begging for the next installment.
Opening Sentence: Life as I knew it ended at half past eleven on a Tuesday morning.
Excerpt: Chapter 1 & 2
Jillian Conrad had a particularly bad day at the office. In the midst of a coffee run, she is caught between a gun wielding, dangerous looking Declan Reyes, and a stark raving mad scientist. The mad scientist injects Jillian with a deadly serum. Greatly displeased by this turn of events, Declan kills the scientist. Declan needed that serum to help destroy the undead kingdom. With no choice left but to flee the scene of the crime, Declan kidnaps Jillian because she now has the serum he needs coursing through her veins. This unlikely pair embarks on a deadly adventure to destroy the vampire king and unbeknownst to them, save each other in the process.
This is the first novel I’ve read by Ms. Rowen, and I have to say – I’m hooked. I love her writing style, and ability to craft a captivating, fast-paced story. Ms. Rowen succeeds in blending a bit of romance into this unconventional story, making Nightshade an extremely satisfying read.
While some of the treachery and betrayal was predictable, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. Interesting secondary characters add depth to this captivating world. The vampire mythology and worldbuilding are fantastic. Ms. Rowen’s take on Dhampyr’s is particularly riveting.
Jillian’s character surprised me in many ways. She doesn’t have any hidden talents or latent powers upon which to rely. Jillian only has her wits and determination to help her survive against a dark and dangerous backdrop where vampires and their enemies rule. Jillian is a strong female character that is forced to adapt quickly to deadly surroundings. She has a tough journey ahead of her, and I’m looking forward to seeing her grow into her role as heroine.
Declan Reyes isn’t your conventional urban fantasy heartthrob; handsome beyond all reason with very little physical flaws – yeah not so much. I love his complexity. Declan still manages to be sexy even with his imperfections.
Overall, Nightshade is a thrilling urban fantasy. Pulse-pounding action and strong characters breathe life into the story, and will grab you from page one. Nightshade is a great start to a very promising new urban fantasy series. One taste is all it takes, and I can hardly wait for the second installment, Bloodlust, to hit shelves on July 5, 2011.
Terror coursed through me.
But it was only the beginning. After inhaling my scent and sliding his cool, wet tongue over my throat for a few seconds, seconds during which I whimpered and clawed at him and tried to break free, I felt the sharp tips of his fangs press against my skin.
Declan, please…help me…I wasn’t sure if I said it aloud or only thought it. Either way, he didn’t help. He didn’t burst into the room to save me.
And then I felt the pain.
I screamed and kicked as the vampire pierced my skin and sank his fangs deep into my throat. The next moment it felt as if I’d been paralyzed. I couldn’t move anymore, couldn’t fight against him. But I could still feel everything.
The pain was acute; deep and searing, like twin blades digging into my flesh. Then there was the equally horrible sound of slurping as he began to drink my blood. His hand, which had been stroking between my legs quickly moved to undo the top button of my pants and greedily slip inside.
And I couldn’t move. I couldn’t beg for him to stop. At that moment, I couldn’t even scream.
The Nightshade Series:
FTC Advisory: The author provided me with a copy of Nightshade. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
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