Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review - Nightshade (Jillian Conrad, Book 1) by Michelle Rowen (4/5 stars)

Nightshade (Berkley Sensation)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: February 1, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0425239827
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in Jillian Conrad series
Source: Borrowed from library
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the first book in Rowen's Jillian Conrad series. There are going to be at least two books in this series; the 2nd will be titled Bloodlust and is scheduled for a July 2011 release date.  I have read some of Michelle Rowen's series previously and enjoyed them.  I really loved her Demon Princess series and was excited to read a new series by her that was aimed more at urban fantasy than romance.  This was a very entertaining read, it was quick and fun.

Jillian (Jill to her friends) is just trying to get some coffee and get back to work.  She is grabbed by a man in an elevator and injected with something; next thing she knows she is being kidnapped by a large scarred man who is telling her she's been injected with a poison that normal hospitals won't be able to do anything about.  Jill agrees (kind of) to go with him and ends up having her eyes opened to a world where vampires are real and are definitely not the nice guys.

This book was a fast and fun read.  Jillian is a wonderful character: she is practical, sarcastic, noisy, and surprisingly resilient given that she is an unsuspecting victim to all that is going on.  The plot is solid and engaging if not completely original.  The beginning of this book especially reminded me of Gena Showalter's Playing With Fire.

Declan is an interesting character who is forced to take a serum to subdue his vampiric nature.  As the male lead he is a bit on and off; at points he is endearing and at others not.  Him and Jill have okay chemistry together, but it was never really something that blew me off my feet.  I have definitely read about better female/male match-ups.  That being said their relationship was okay, and they were fun to read about.

There is quite a bit of action in this book, making it more of an urban fantasy/paranormal romance blend than straight up romance.  Rowen's writing style is easy to read and the dialogue between characters is snappy and fun.  The book wraps things up nicely while still leaving some things un-resolved for the next book.

Overall a solid and fun read; equal parts urban fantasy and paranormal romance.  Jillian is a wonderful character, as is Declan.  The chemistry between the two could have been better but they were still a lot of fun to read about.  I love Rowen's writing style it is so easy and fun to read.  I will definitely be picking up Bloodlust when it comes out.  Recommended for readers who like books about dhampirs, strong women caught in unsuspecting situations, and paranormal romance that tends toward urban fantasy.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 100+ Reading Challenge

Nightshade (Berkley Sensation) 


  1. I haven't read anything by Rowen yet but I've had my eye on her work for a while. I'll have to add this one to my TBR list.

    P.S. I love the new header!!

  2. Thanks for the comment! Glad that you like the header. I linked to the artists website below the header, he has some spectacular artwork on there.

    - Karissa