Just a little reminder of what the Bookanistas are about:
The Bookanistas: Books are the New Black. We are a group of writers who are in various stages of the publishing process - and we have decided to band together and review the special books of our peers. We – as fellow writers – have decided to only post positive reviews, therefore, only reviewing the books we LOVE. No negative reviews here!
Other Bookanistas reviewing today:
Christine Fonseca is coveting the cover of A TOUCH MORTAL
Shelli Johannes-Wells is working some MAJIK
Bethany Wiggins is totally team Jay with THE BODY FINDER
Beth Revis recommends THE REPLACEMENT
Carolina Valdez Miller talks up NIGHTSHADE
Shannon Messenger raves about The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
Lisa and Laura Roecker and Kirsten Hubbard are coveting 2011 covers
And now, to tease your taste buds, I offer you a review of:
NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer
Summary (from the book):
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?
Here's the thing about this book: I got it because someone handed it to me and said, "Check this one out. You'll love it." I had never heard of it, to be honest. So, I flipped it over and glanced at the cover and thought: WOW (yeah, my mouth even rounded out). It's truly beautiful, isn't it? It's gorgeous--so shiny and colorful and glittery and the calla lilies with the blood specks and the purple...it's bookcover as art. And it was enough to get me to read the book without even reading the summary. Which...had me a little thrown at first. Took me a couple of pages to orient myself, and then I realized why, it's because...WHOA...this books is not like anything I've ever read. A truly original premise. And utterly gripping--which is saying something because it's a massive book for YA. The ARC is 452 pages, and not once did I want to turn away from it.
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out what I think is the highlight of this book. Yes, it has shapeshifting wolves and other paranormal creatures, magic, and some super cool fantasy elements--but what really stands out is its kickass female. Calla is one tough little thing. She's strong and smart and the leader of her pack--a supreme alpha. But that's where the irony truly lies. Because as strong as she is, the control she has over her own life is really just an illusion--though it takes saving a human, despite the laws of her world, to make her realize it.
You might have guessed, then, that this human boy is the one she falls in love with. Now, I don't want to give anything away, but I will tell you that there's a love triangle that is one of the most complicated love triangles I've seen in YA. I kept flipping back and forth on who I wanted Calla to fall for. Both guys bring out a different side of Calla--and I couldn't decide which I liked better. Indeed, my emotions ran really high with NIGHTSHADE--at times I felt myself getting really angry with Calla's choices or with one of hthe boys, and at other times, I felt like I had to stop and fan myself to force the heat to die down. Talk about some steamy scenes (nothing too graphic, though). I feel like such a cougar even thinking about these boys as drool-worthy, so I'll...just...stop there.
But there's more than just romance and kissing and...stuff. There are some major adrenaline-charged scenes as well, scenes that had me flipping through the pages like an Olympic speed reader, especially in the final third of the book. There's a drawn-out fight scene that had my fingers cramping, I was gripping the book so hard. The werewolves are just a tip of the dark iceberg (although it's not a dark fantasy, per se). In NIGHTSHADE, the humans were the lowest common denominator, subject to the whims of the werewolves and their masters--yet the humans are completely oblivious. Cremer's approach to the paranormal was simply brilliant. Such a strong female mc...such passion...such a marvelous concept....
I devoured every page.
If you haven't done so already, be sure to stop by and enter my contest to win one of 7 (or 8) ARCs: MATCHED by Ally Condie, FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan, TORMENT by Lauren Kate, EXTRAORDINARY by Nancy Werlin, PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desrochers, HALO by Alexandra Adornetto, THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger. This contest is open internationally! Unless you live in Antarctica. Sorry. I have to draw the line somewhere.
P.S. If you have an ARC or new book you think the Bookanistas would love enough to review, send me an email and we'll add it to our list.The Bookanistas give nothing but love!