Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Review: "Nightshade" by Andrea Cremer

"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?"

“Nightshade” by Andrea Cremer, was an absolute intensified and lustful read for all Y.A. enthusiasts. It is not your average werewolf or supernatural myth, Calla and her pack called “Nightshades” are something called “Guardians”. They can change forms into wolves and humans, instantly; no need to strip down or wait for a full moon, they can just change on a whim. Calla their alpha female is to be united with the alpha “Bane” male Renier (Ren) although this is not a werewolf myth Guardians do keep to the traditional wolf hierarchy, there are alpha’s their second in commands and then their packs, which are to be united into one new pack. This has been planned since their birth on the same day which is “Samhian” (or Halloween). Within the first couple pages of the book we are introduced to Shay, a human who Calla saves from a grizzly bear attack. Instantly we know that there is something special about Shay although we’re not too sure. The storyline erupts after we meet Shay again at their school, and Calla and Ren are both asked to protect Shay from certain things that go "bump in the night". Obviously Ren is not OK with this because Calla ends up spending a lot of time with Shay then would be expected. As Calla dives into Shay’s world she is shocked to find out things about her world, pack, and family she would never have dreamed of believing. In a world where everything has been planned and you must obey, Calla is torn between her destiny which has been planned or something unknown.

Also torn between the mysterious yet timid and sweet Shay, and the smokey, seductive and bold alpha, Renier, Calla’s world is turned upside down and her emotions no matter how controlled she is run wild with lust.

This book was surprisingly like nothing I had expected it to be; it was refreshing! When I read that it was a Y.A. paranormal romance, I’m thinking some teen angst romance, but “Nightshade” absolutely blew my mind. It was a lustful, seductive and romantic dance between Calla, Ren and Shay. Calla knows she is meant to be Renier’s mate and she has to be “pure” (for the lack of a better word) although Ren does not have to follow the same rule, so in the past 4 years of high school he has been flirting and seducing every cheerleader there is! (Which does give him a bad reputation in Calla’s eyes). Although as the book progresses we see a more protective even loving side of Ren towards Calla and I for one found it the most attractive quality about him. Shay is portrayed as timid, curious, and not entirely sure about what is going on, although this is not exactly true. Shay is quick, and figures out Calla isn’t only human, nor is she not all Ren’s. Calla shows interest in Shay from the very beginning by saving him from a grizzly attack, then protecting him, and helping him find out about who he is and about her past especially. Shay gets Calla to break ALL the wrong rules of her world, and winds up falling in love with her and vise versa. Although here is the twist; Calla is not sure what love truly is. She thinks she has it with Shay but in the end Shay gets her into more trouble than she could have ever imagined. And she is not sure with Ren because they’ve been betrothed to one another since birth, and she only sees him as the flirtatious “player” he is at school. 

It actually is very frustrating when you have these two luscious guys in front of you and you don’t know what to do. It makes for an even more frustrating read because instantly I fell in love with Ren. Everything about him screams good guy! Even though he is portrayed as the law abiding alpha male, very controlling, and fierce, he shows Calla his more sweet, even vulnerable side, which is a very attractive quality for him. Shay never quite sat right with me from the beginning, it was illustrated as fate intervening in Calla’s life, although it felt more to me that Shay was placed delicately by another party to conflict and question Calla’s loyalty to her kind and pack. It was just far too coincidental for my liking, which also made for an incredibly storyline though.

Andrea Cremer knows how to jam pack a novel with suspense, action, mystery, and lustful romance. The plot had me hooked from the get go. First of all the development of their kind, the Guardians I absolutely adore the idea. And secondly the total mystery of everything was addicting. I couldn’t figure most of how things would be revealed, especially about Renier’s mother! Usually I am pretty good at predicting some of the outcomes of books, but “Nightshade” just blew me away! Twisting and turning at every chance Cremer had she took without hesitation! Without realising I had gone through 250 pages in one day; it is a fast paced easily read novel, and it makes you itch wanting to know what happens. The last 25 pages or so will keep you guessing and breathless until you figure out the book is done and you can’t wait to read the next one. Calla is left basically on the cliff hanger it is unreal!

Such a fabulous book for the beginning of a series. The only thing I would have enjoyed more about the book, if there was more interaction with the pack mates and Ren and Calla. It seemed that Cremer really wanted to sell the emotions between Shay and Calla, and spent so much time developing their characters I feel some of the other ones have gotten left out. I’m sure she was depending on their “past” relationship between Calla and Ren to fill in how they felt about each other but that really was not a self explanatory emotion, seeing as the emotions were running wild throughout the entire book. I am hopeful for the second instalment “Wolfsbane” and I do hope Cremer goes into a bit more detail about the pasts of some of the pack members especially Ren. There were so many unanswered questions and not all of them will be answered, but still it was a spectacular read!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by "Breaking the Spine" were bloggers can post their anticipated upcoming publications!

"Bloodrose" by Andrea Cremer

Publish date: February 21, 2012 

"Is true love worth the ultimate sacrifice?"

This is all that is currently described for "Bloodrose" by Andrea Cremer. It will be published  February 2012 and I cannot wait! I am currently reading "Nightshade"  the first in the series and I am absolutely addicted to it! I have not been able to put it down, and the second one is awaiting me to read it on my shelf.  It is a lustful, vividly beautiful story and I cannot wait to see what happens with Ren, Calla, and Shay !

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (3)

Teaser Tuesdays is a bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading.
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share 2 "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

"His fingers lid down to the curve of my hips, rocking our bodies in rhythm with the heavy bass. The sensation of being molded against the hard narrow line of his hips threatened to overwhelm me..."

"Nightshade" by Andrea Cremer
Page 77

SIDE NOTE: This book has absolutely blown my mind, I am head over heels for Ren ! (hehe). Cremer has put a lot of thought and description into each character and it makes this story riveting  adventurous and lustful!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stratford's "Camelot"

This past week a couple fellow employees’ and I took a little trip to Straford in Ontario, Canada. We all work at the Shaw Festival (rivals I know) and we had won this little trip to go and see their rendition of “Camelot”. I thought I would write a little review about it because I think more people should attend live theatre far more often than most of the world does, I think it is just as fabulous opportunity to really dive into culture, and enjoy some of your favorite works by Shakespeare, Shaw, Tennessee Williams, etc. 

Stratford’s “Camelot” is describe as “a gorgeous musical” with “score [that] gilds a legendary tale of idealism, passion and betrayal.”  In my opinion yes the music was thriving and addicting, you couldn’t help but tap along with it, although the storyline was lacking in my opinion. It seemed that the music was not part of the story entirely, it seemed like it was something they added in sort of randomly. It did not seem like an actual musical where the musical numbers assist the storyline, not stop it, which is exactly how I felt about Camelot. 

Don’t get me wrong it is a fabulous show very family orientated, with great affects such as, at the beginning they use a real falcon when Merlin turns the young Arthur into a bird, very exciting and impressing. There were battle scenes with great sword fights, and I personally loved the jousting scene, that is when the music really felt like it was part of the show. The romance between Arthur and Guinevere was exciting and romantic and obviously the romance between Lancelot and Gwen caused some strife with King Arthur and therefore his demise. It was your average story of Camelot although there was not a whole lot from the character Merlin. He was in the beginning but as the story goes, he was trapped by a Nymph who took his powers away and therefore could not warn Arthur of his future problems with Lancelot and his wife Gwen, which in turn caused the end of Camelot. The one thing I must say I was over the top impressed by was the theater and the stage. it was absolutely fabulous. Gorgeous set and props, very Celtic and medieval, it was just amazing, and it played well with the show and dance numbers as well. It all flowed together with vivid colors, of green, and golds, blues and red; with a lovely huge twisted tree in the center they used throughout the performance. I was overly impressed.

Over all I was not overly impressed by the performance but it is worth seeing. It is definitely not your average show, and you’ll find yourself singing a song or two on your way out.