Book Review: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Wolfsbane is the second book in the Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer. It was published by Atom on 26th July and the book is 400 pages long.

In the lair of her sworn enemies, the Searchers, Calla Tor wakes up certain it is her time to die. Why else would she have been shot at and kidnapped?

Instead of ending Calla’s life, the Searchers make her a very interesting offer… work with them instead. Help them stop this war once and for all. Save her pack. Save Ren. More importantly, help Shay fulfil his destiny. If Calla decides to risk everything for the people she once thought she would never trust, she has to realise what it may cost her. Will saving Ren and her pack mean losing Shay in the process or is he really going to be there for her no matter what? Is stopping the war worth risking losing everything for?

What I thought
There are many YA books about werewolves available now but the Nightshade series is by far one of my favourites.

Andrea Cremer’s writing is amazing. Quite plain and simple really but that’s exactly how I feel about it. While the book has a dark and mysterious tone throughout, the characters and language used was very real. Even though we are smack bang in the middle of a story about werewolves, there is a simple reality to the whole story because of the writing. Yes, some of the characters are werewolves but behind that, you can see that they are just normal people as well. They have the same problems and fears as everyone else but they also have a bit more than normal to deal with.

Cremer doesn’t hold back on the language she uses and I loved this. I have a big thing about the language used in YA books because some writers don’t write believable characters at all and it’s all down to the way they speak. The characters in Wolfsbane aren’t afraid to swear at each other (in the right context of course) and while this won’t be for everyone, I think it fit in to the story perfectly. A big war is about to happen and people are angry and upset so lashing out with what they say to people is only natural and this is captured wonderfully.

Although the first half of this book is quite slow going, I loved it. As Calla and Shay are with the Searchers, we get to learn so much more about both of their backgrounds. There is a lot of mythology put into the first half of the book and while some people may find this a bit boring and frustrating, I loved it. I think having all of this information answered a lot of the questions that I had from Nightshade but also it gave the characters a lot more depth and meaning. I could understand a lot of the characters much better knowing what they had come from and now, what they were about to face.

As Calla and Shay are now away from the other wolves and with a whole new group of people, they have a lot of time to grow closer but also further apart at the same time. I have always been split when it comes to the love triangle in this series and this book hasn’t made my choice any easier. As much as I love Shay and the way in which his character develops in this book, I seriously missed Ren. In the last book, I wanted to slap him for being such an idiot but as he wasn’t around in Wolfsbane much, I would have happily had that idiot back. I can definitely see why Calla is having such a hard time realising where her heart really lays and I can’t wait to see who she chooses in the end.

Calla is the character who really changes a lot in this book. Gone is the strong and confident leader we first met in Nightshade and instead, she is now very unsure of what she is doing… in all areas. Now that she is alone with Shay and Ren isn’t around, Calla feels guilt like there’s no tomorrow. Although she loves Shay, she can’t help but feel something for Ren still but she doesn’t know how to deal with these feelings. Shay doesn’t exactly help in this department either. Also, Calla is trying to do what is best for everyone, especially her pack but now she doesn’t know who she can really trust so again, her feelings are split in two.

While I did love Wolfsbane, it did feel a bit like a filler book to me. It is the middle book of a trilogy and there was a lot of explaining before anything really happened. Now that a lot of that is out of the way, I can see the final book being non stop throughout and I can’t wait for it to be released already.

Book Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade is the first book in the Witches War series by Andrea Cremer. It was released on 28th December by Atom and the book is 480 pages long. The sequel, Wolfsbane is due for release in July.

Calla Tor has always known who she was. An alpha wolf destined and born to be the mate of Ren Laroche, another alpha wolf. Together, they are to build a new pack, rule their fellow wolves and protect sacred places by order of the Keepers. All of this and they are both still high school students. Mountain High is unlike other schools though, the students here know who is in charge and humans definitely do not mix with the wolves.

When Calla violets the rules, she puts her and pack mates’ lives in danger. Saving the life of a human boy by revealing who and what she really is throws her whole life into chaos. Once she begins to get to know Shay, the boy she saved, Calla begins to question everything she has ever been told, including her match with Ren. Their marriage has been arranged since birth but Shay has other ideas about what will happen. He wants Calla for himself but has a territorial wolf to contend with for her affections. Is a forbidden love worth losing everything for?

What I thought
I had been dying to read Nightshade ever since hearing about it so when I won a copy, I started reading it the week it arrived. I just couldn’t wait any longer than I already had.
Nightshade’s opening chapter was really exciting. It throws you into the world you are about to delve into very quickly and doesn’t spare any time getting right into the story. Right from the very start, I was addicted to this interesting and different world and knew this was going to be a book I would fall in love with. Everything about the way Andrea Cremer writes draws you in and does not let go.

Calla was a fantastic heroine and one I couldn’t have liked more. I’m all for strong, brave and smart girls and that is exactly what Calla is. She shows so much strength and loyalty from the very beginning and I loved her for that. If you think of what an alpha wolf is supposed to be then Calla has it all. As the young alpha of the Nightshade pack, she has a lot to deal with at such a young age of seventeen, although she has had to deal with it her whole life. It was what she was born for after all. Even though Calla has known what she has to do, it doesn’t mean she is happy with the way things are. This being said, she never complains too much, especially not to the Keepers because she has accepted her way of life. Then she meets Shay, the boy whose life she saves.

Until Calla saves his life, Shay has no idea about this completely different way of life. He is an outsider and when Calla lets him in on her secret, he has a hard time coming to terms with it all and just accepting the way things are. Shay has known a completely different life to Calla and has different ideas about the way things should work, especially having an arranged marriage to someone who you don’t even love. Shay’s outlook on life helps Calla to see her world in a completely new light and it makes her question everything she has ever been told. Usually I am all about the bad boys in YA books but Shay suddenly made me change my mind. He’s sweet, caring, sensitive and extremely hot. He is also really intelligent, quickly proving that he has a mind of his own and that he wont be told what he can and cant read. I loved that he stood up for himself in a new school where he knew no one and he didn’t seem to care what anyone thought of him.

I think what changed my mind slightly about the bad boys was Ren. Usually, he would be the kind of character I loved but there was just too much about him that I couldn’t like. Ren is really full of himself and quite the ladies man. He and Calla are not an actual couple in a certain sense so Ren has no problems with doing whatever he likes, which means dating any girl he wants. Due to the nature of how the packs work and their hierarchy, Ren can pretty much get away with whatever he likes a lot of the time. Being the male alpha of a new pack means that even though Calla will be an alpha with him, he has the last say. He is arrogant and while I would usually kind of like this, I didn’t with Ren. It was too much sometimes and I just wanted to see a different side to him, which luckily, I did later on in the book. Unfortunately, my dislike of him started early on so it was hard to think of him in any other way but he did redeem himself a little towards the end of the book.

Even though I disliked Ren, the love triangle between him, Calla and Shay was amazing. The tension between the three characters was very intense and I could feel everyone’s emotions so well. The minute Shay turns up at school is the moment I knew how much trouble there was going to be. Having already saved his life when she shouldn’t have, Calla is in deep trouble. This human boy makes her feel all sorts of things she shouldn’t be feeling and I couldn’t wait to find out what she was going to do about it. Due to the nature of the packs, there is also a lot of sexual tension between some of the characters and not only Calla and Ren. Even though I was routing for Shay, I couldn’t help but love the more steamy scenes between Calla and Ren, as well as some moments which made my heart beat a million times a second between Calla and Shay. One of the best love triangles written in a long time.

Nightshade is a book that never bored me, not even for one line. Along with a lot of action and chemistry between characters, Cremer has created a world so intricate and exciting that I couldn’t help but to be fully immersed in her world. The pack dynamics were great to discover and I loved reading about both the Nightshade and Bane wolves, both young and old. Wolves from both packs are really different but each has their own distinct personality. Getting to know each wolf was great and I already have a favourite. Ansel, Calla’s little brother was a wonderful character with a personality you cant help but smile at. I would love to see him included more in future books as well as Bryn, Calla’s second and best friend.

Nightshade has a lot more going on than a love triangle and some pretty awesome wolves though. There is so much history and mythology in this book and I loved every single bit of it. A lot of it I wasn’t expecting at all and I didn’t see most of it coming. I was glad that there were so many twists and turns and I loved that I was kept guessing at every single turn of the page. A large amount of the past was explored through Shay questioning what was really happening and found myself being excited to find out where the story was going to go. I don’t want to say too much about this though as it will spoil the story if you read it for yourselves.

There have been many werewolf books released recently but this one stands out completely from the rest. I have never read anything like this before and I was really surprised to know that this is a debut novel. If Andrea Cremer can deliver this much excellence in one book, I am sure Wolfsbane will be a massive success. If you’re wanting something different, this is definitely the book for you! Highly recommended.

Book of the month – January

Each month we’ll take a look back at everything we read and choose our favourite 

Vicki’s Book of the Month

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

I read some fabulous books this month, but the one that stood out for me was Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. I loved everything about it, the world building, the politics between the wolves and their masters and the mythology. Oh, and there’s a couple of pretty hot guys in there too!

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?

Published January 2011 in the UK by Atom

Lyndsey’s Book Of The Month

Arrow by R.J Anderson

Lyndsey’s been a fan of the Faery Rebels series for a long time and has a special place in her heart as the first YA books she read. The third installment certainly didn’t disappoint, In fact Lyndsey says it’s her favourite to date.

Rhosmari trembled as the Empress walked over to her. ‘Oh, do not struggle. There is nowhere for you to escape,’ the Empress said, her voice silken and sweet. Then she unsheathed a small dagger from her waist. ‘This will only hurt a little…’ Rhosmari has lived her whole life on a sheltered chain of faery islands. But with the Empress’s power growing, and her desire to enslave the entire faery race becoming a reality, Rhosmari knows she must fight back..

Published in the UK January 6th 2011 by Orchard

So I Say Thank You For The Books….featuring Andrea Cremer

‘So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ is a regular feature were we invite Authors and book bloggers to share with us who or what inspired their love of books.

Today we have a guest post from Andrea Cremer, Author of the truly awesome Nightshade, as part of her UK blog tour!

Over to you Andrea…


I’ve been fortunate to spend my life surrounded by book lovers. My parents are avid readers and read to me as a child. I have vivid memories of snuggling on the couch with my mom while she read books like The Hobbit, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Dark is Rising to my little brother and me. My aunt Helen gave me a book every Christmas and I haunted the library of my hometown so often that the staff practically adopted me.

Having wonderful books shared with me turned me into a seeker of books. I found those books that spoke to my own passions: fantasy and adventure. I devoured the Lord of the Rings and David Eddings’ Belgariad and Malloreon. I hunted for books that featured strong female characters, loving Ayla from Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series and Morgan Le Fay in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon.

To this day my favourite book is Richard Adams’ Watership Down. Yes, it’s a tale about rabbits, but what inspired me about this novel is the way in which Adams brought an entire universe to life. Watership Down is an epic tale of survival and loyalty, but it’s also an incredibly beautiful and complex blend of folklore and fantasy. My copy has been read so many times that the pages are tatter and the cover only half-attached to the book.

There is nothing quite like falling in love with a new novel – with each page you are drawn into a world you love and meeting characters who become dear friends. Books are gifts to be treasured, that never stop giving, and I’m eternally grateful to the wonderful people who brought books into my life and the talented authors who penned such magical stories.

Andrea’s Debut novel, Nightshade, is published in the UK by Atom January 2011
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?

Read Vicki’s review and enter to win a copy here

Visit Andrea’s Website here

Find out more about Nightshade here
Don’t forget to check out the previous post on the tour @ Book Chick City and the next stop on 10th January @ The Crooked Shelf
Are you interested in taking part in ‘So I say Thank you For The Books..’? You can find more information and contact details here

Book Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer plus GIVEAWAY!

She can control her pack, but not her heart…’
I wanted him to kiss me-wished he could smell the desire that I knew was pouring off me. ‘You can’t, Calla. This boy isn’t the one for you.’
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: graduation, marriage and then a life leading her pack. But when she defies her masters’ laws to save a human boy, she must choose. Is one boy worth losing everything? (from Amazon)
Andrea Cremer’s debut novel, Nightshade had me seduced long before I held a copy in my hand. I’d read a review that quite frankly had me drooling, and then saw the beautiful and hypnotic cover and fell in lust. Having now read the book I can tell you that’s changed to pure and absolute love.
Calla lives in a world where the rules are set in stone. As a guardian (werewolf) her job is to protect her masters (The Keepers) from their sworn enemy (The Seekers). As Alpha of the young Nightshade pack, she’s known since birth that eventually she’ll be united with Ren, Alpha male of a fellow Guardian pack, Bane. Together the two young Alphas’ will lead their newly formed pack and continue the protection of The Keepers and their closely guarded history. But shortly before the ceremony, which will bond Calla to Ren forever, she does the unthinkable and breaks one of The Keepers most stringent rules- she rescues and saves a human boy when on patrol. When Shay turns out to be anything but an everyday human, Calla’s world suddenly takes an even darker and more menacing twist. But Shay doesn’t even realise he is special, and together they find that everything they ever believed in or trusted isn’t as it seems.
Andrea Cremer has created in Nightshade a complex and fascinating world in which I found myself completely absorbed in. Details are dripped in very slowly, which really builds tension and mystery, especially around The Keepers. It’s quite a way in before we know what they actually are and the beginning of the book ran the risk of being confusing, however I found Cremer’s writing utterly compelling and the not knowing added to these sinister creatures and had me hooked.
I really liked Calla straight away. She’s strong, loyal and fierce but within the first few pages we’re shown her compassionate side when she saves Shay’s life. I liked how she fought with her morals throughout the book, how when it came down to it she was prepared to risk her own life without question, for what she believed.
I must admit to having a kind of ‘uh-oh’ moment towards the beginning of the book when the love triangle between Calla, Ren and Shay started to take shape, and I really disliked Ren, who was cocky, arrogant and domineering. However like everything about this book, Andrea Cremer turned my feelings and presumptions about him completely on their head. There’s a scene involving him and Calla in the final chapters, which had me a soppy, weeping mess. Shay on the other hand I adored straight away. The chemistry between the two was everything I want from a fraught and forbidden love and was just oh-so-romantic. I also found the dynamics and characters of the pack members interesting too, with Calla’s brother Ansel being a favourite.
What I really loved about Nightshade though was the exquisite world building, where dark forces and ancient magic live alongside humans, unbeknown to them. The depth of myth and folklore entwined between the pages create a believable and atmospheric setting, while Cremer’s attention to her characters, right down to their body language, brought them vividly to life. While the book is filled with fantastical and mythical creatures, when you strip it bare this is a story with its roots very firmly in the real world. At the back of the book a small Bio tells us Andrea Cremer is ‘a history professor and has previously written about violence, sex, religion and power and used this research to create the world of Nightshade.’ I can absolutely see this, because take away the werewolves and other paranormal creatures and Calla’s world could be ours; The Keepers could be the tyrannical leaders our world has endured, the faith and rituals are cult like, the battles of power between the packs and the alpha males and females the same battles which are played out in real life daily at work, home or school.

Nightshade had everything I loved in a book. A fantastic, strong main character, twisty and dark mystery and a love story that took my breath away. It was as beautiful and as exciting as I hoped and then some. Tantalizingly, Andrea Cremer leaves this book with a killer cliffhanger and a whole host of possibilities for our characters, so much so I was shouting for more! I even read the sample chapter of the following book in this trilogy, Wolfsbane, something I never do! So eager was I to soak up as much as I could from this brilliant book. I fell helplessly in love with Nightshade and can’t recommend it enough.

Published in the UK January 2011 by Atom

Thanks to the publishers for sending a copy to review.

Don’t forget to call back tomorrow for our stop on The Nightshade Blog Tour, where Andrea Cremer tells us what inspired her love of reading and writing.

Your Chance To Win!

We have ONE copy of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer to giveaway to one lucky winner 

Uk Entrants only at this time (by publishers request) 

To enter you must fill in the form below. 

Contest closes at midnight GMT on Thursday 13th January

Winner will be picked by and notified by email. Failure to provide a mailing address within 48 hours will result in another winner being drawn,

Good Luck!