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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Books: Nightshifted 
28th-Jun-2012 10:19 pm
Read Irresponsibly
Nightshifted, by Cassie Alexander. Urban Fantasy, paperback, 331 pages. First in the series.

Nightshifted is about Edie Spence, a night shift nurse in the supernatural wing of the local county hospital. Edie is a good woman with a junkie brother and a reasonable set of quirks. The hospital isn't fancy (it's literally "County Hospital"), the ward isn't whiz-bang nor is it falling apart and ignored. The rest of the staff are characatures with just enough about them to tell them apart.

The plot revolves around Edie committing a newbie mistake in the ward, and having a vampire die because of it. She goes off to find out what this vampire was obsessed about, and ends up getting charged with vampire murder by one of the vampire courts. Also, there are these things that are called The Shadows (that look like little shadows, duh) that are supposedly in charge of the supernatural ward, but show up only after really bad things happen, and no one knows quite why. In the meantime, we read about zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, and Edie's jerk of a junkie brother.

The author's strength in her debut novel is that she has a great sense of balance between the mundane and the absurd. Almost all of these supernatural beings are just regular Joes. The zombie is a fireman. The werewolf is married with three kids. There is a CD player that is haunted by a ghost that speaks German and can light up the CD power button even when there are no batteries, but has no other powers.

The weakness of Nightshifted is that this is a beach bag novel to me. It harkens back to the early Sookie Stackhouse days, when finding romance and being threatened with death are enough to balance the confusion and intrigue. I enjoyed that Alexander was willing to portray the difference between a one night stand and a budding romance within the same book, and that both guys had more of a role to play than Mr. Right Now and Mr. Right Someday. The resolution of the character conflicts at the end were saved from preachy only by Edie's continued showing of scepticism and spine. But honestly, this was not a deep, complicated, or terribly thoughtful book. It was just fun.

I picked it up because it was on my to-read list and the my sister gave it to me.

I recommend it to Urban Fantasy fans who like to root for the human stuck in the middle.

New-to-me Books for 2012

January
House of the Star by Caitlin Brennan, YA fantasy. 282 pages; hardback; stand-alone. 3/5 stars on Goodreads (3 = "liked it"), 4/5 stars on Amazon (4 = "liked it"); straight into the giveawaybox (eta: gone)
Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey, Fantasy. 404 pages; hardback; stand-alone. 2/5 stars on Goodreads (2 = "it was OK"), 3/5 stars on Amazon (3 = "it was OK"); straight into the giveawaybox (eta: gone)
Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt, Urban fantasy. 336 pages; paperback; first in the series. 3/5 stars on Goodreads (3 = "liked it"), 4/5 stars on Amazon (4 = "liked it"); going to keep it around and loan it to friends
Hexed edited by uncredited, listed under the first author, Ilona Andrews. Urban Fantasy, 326 pages. Paperback; anthology of four novellas. 3/5 stars on Goodreads, 4/5 stars on Amazon; going to loan it to friends who like Kate Daniels, then likely give it away.
Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White. YA Fantasy, 335 pages. Hardback; first in the series. [3/5 on Goodreads] Giveawaybox. (eta: gone)
Stormwalker, by Allyson James. Urban Fantasy, 330 pages. Paperback; first in the series. [3/5 on Goodreads] Giveawaybox. (eta: gone)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson. YA Fantasy, 423 pages. Hardback, stand-alone. [3/5 on Goodreads] Giveawaybox. (eta: gone)
Shadow Ops: Control Point, by Myke Cole. Urban Fantasy... sort of... 382 pages. Paperback, first in the series. [4/5 on Goodreads] Giveawaybox.

February
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, fantasy. 672 pages. Paperback; first in the series.[4/5 on Goodreads] Borrowed.
Westward Weird edited by Martin Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes. Hell-if-I-know, 302 pages. Paperback, anthology. [3/5 on Goodreads] Giveawaybox.(eta: gone)
Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire. Urban fantasy, 360 pages. Paperback; first in the series. Keeping it for now.

March
Fair Game, by Patricia Briggs, Urban fantasy. 293 pages; hardback; third in the series. Keeping it.
The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, Urban fantasy. 308 pages; paperback; anthology. Giveawaybox.(eta: gone)
Tempting Danger, by Eileen Wilks. Paranormal romance, 301 pages. Paperback, first in the series. Giveawaybox.(eta: gone)
Too Much Information, by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes. Comic book, 127 pages. Paperback. 9th in the series. Keeping it.
Touch of Power, by Maria V. Snyder. Fantasy romance. 390 pages, paperback. First in the series. Giveawaybox.(eta: gone)
Out Whom Shall We Gross?, by Brooke McEldowney. Comic book. 87 pages, paperback. First in the series. Keeping it.
Sonata for Piano and Armpit, by Brooke McEldowney. Comic book. 87 pages, paperback. Second in the series. Keeping it.
Sphinx's Princess, by Esther Friesner. YA Fantasy. 365 pages, paperback. First in the duology. It was a loan. 4/5 on GoodReads.
Sphinx's Queen, by Esther Friesner. YA Fantasy. 347 pages, paperback. Second in the duology. It was a loan. 4/5 on GoodReads.

April
Bone Shop, by T. A. Pratt. Urban Fantasy. Online. Prequel to the Marla Mason series.
Kitemaster and Other Stories, by Jim C. Hines. Fantasy. e-book anthology. 3/5 on GoodReads, 4/5 on Amazon.
How is that Underling Thing Working out for You?, by Scott Adams. 128 pages, paperback. Comic. Keeping it.
Teamwork Means You Can't Pick the Side That's Right by Scott Adams. 128 pages, paperback. Comic. Keeping it.
The Sentinel Mage, by Emily Gee. Fantasy. 509 pages, paperback. First in the trilogy. It was a loan. 4/5 on GoodReads; 4/5 on Amazon.

May
Dragon Ship, by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. e-ARC. Science Fiction. Fourth in the series; 14th in the Universe.
Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers, YA fantasy. 549 pages; hardback; stand-alone. Giveawaybox. 4/5 on GoodReads; 4/5 on Amazon.(eta: gone)
Eon, by Allison Goodman. YA Fantasy. 531 pages, paperback. First in the duology. It was a loan.
Silence, by Michele Sagara. YA Fantasy. 289 pages, hardback. First in the series. Keeping it.
Divergent, by Veronica Roth. YA Dystopia, paperback, 487 pages of story, 72 pages of afterwards. First in the duology.
Princeps, by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Fantasy. 496 pages; hardback; fifth/second in the series. Keeping it.
Black Blade Blues, by L. A. Pratt. Urban Fantasy. 398 pages; paperback; first in the series. It was a loan.

June
Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey, fantasy. 311 pages; hardback; seventh/eighth in the series. Keeping it for now.
Kitty's Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn, urban fantasy. 308 pages; paperback; anthology related to the series. Keeping it for now.
Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander, urban fantasy. 331 pages; paperback; first in the series. Giveawaybox.



In case you want back references, here is the Books for 2011 round-up post
Comments 
29th-Jun-2012 03:28 am (UTC)
This sounds fun! I will check it out.
29th-Jun-2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the review. You managed to say everything I was trying to express to you when describing it, but couldn't. It definitely is a beach read, but I will pick up the next book in the series because I purely enjoyed this book. No serious thought required. :-)
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