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review 2019-11-11 14:32
Nightshades - Melissa F. Olson

This was a nice new start of an urban fantasy series. And yes, it did involve vampires, or shades as they are called, and of course, we have seen more than a fair share of them already in recent years, but still... It didn't bother me too much.

There was a lot ongoing in this book and a lot of characters that were being introduced and then, a huge cliffhanger...

Still planning to read the next one, though.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2017-10-28 17:36
"Switchback - Nightshades #2" by Melissa F Olson
Switchback: A Nightshades Novel - Melissa F. Olson

"Switchback"  is the second 200-page episode in Melissa Olson's series about an FBI unit tasked with investigating crimes by vampires (shades) whose existence has just been revealed to the world. The twist is that the FBI unit has the second oldest vampire in the world as a consultant.


Carrying straight on from "Nightshades", "Switchback" sees the team called in to investigate a shade attack on the police department of a small, rich, very white "village" just outside Chicago.


Like its predecessor, this is a light, fast, fun read that is well paced, well plotted and doesn't give you time to draw breath. Reading this is like watching an episode of a good SyFy show that's just getting into its stride and where all the mysteries lie ahead of you.


I could eat up one of these a week, so I hope Melissa Olson keeps them coming. There was a gap of fifteen months between the first two. Still, I'm also keen to read the next book in her Boundary Magic series and I live in hope of a sequel to "The Big Keep" so I'm willing to be patient.

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review 2016-11-07 21:47
"Nightshades" by Melissa F Olson
Nightshades - Melissa F. Olson

"Nightshades" was a fast, fun read that felt like watching the pilot episode of a series that you REALLY REALLY want the SyFy Channel to buy.


It opens with some gritty and scary action that tells you that you're not dealing with the sparkly type of vampires here but with the kind that love ripping people apart just because they can, and moves quickly into an "FBI vs the monsters" sequence that managed to combine threat, dark humour and pop-culture references in a way that felt very real-world


After that, the plot goes to some unexpected places. The FBI SAC is an unconventional guy who makes surprising but insightful choices.


The rest of the book is driven by the relationship between the SAC and the new person he brings onto the team as a consultant. Both characters are clearly (if economically) drawn and are people I want to know more about.


Add to that a fresh way of thinking about the who, how and why of vampires;  a complex and not completely revealed backstory; violent, blood-drenched action scenes, a really evil lead vampire and just a taste of decadent passion and you have a story that sweeps you along and leaves you wanting more.


"Nightshades", which is more of a novella than a novel, is an interesting story and a great set up for a series but it left me wanting more RIGHT NOW.


If Melissa Olson decides to stick with the novella length for this series, I hope she keeps them coming fast and frequent.

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review 2016-09-16 00:47
Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson
Nightshades: A Paranormal Thriller - Melissa F. Olson

Things are not going well for the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations in Chicago.  Not only are young people being kidnapped by a Shade (read: Vampire), several agents have lost their lives trying to fight them.  The government has only been studying vampires for two years and so far they really aren't equipped to deal with them. Alex McKenna takes the job no one wants and becomes Special Agent in charge of the Chicago bureau. Now that he has the job, he has to figure out a new strategy for dealing with the Shades and this might just involve finding himself someone on the inside.

Nightshades is clearly a novella and meant to start off a new series.  I've never been a fan of beginning a series that way because I don't feel that novellas offer enough room for character or world building.  I'm sorry to say that Nightshades didn't buck the trend on this, though it was a fairly good attempt.

Nightshades is as much a police procedural as it is a a vampire story.  In the last ten years, vampire stories have been so widely produced and distributed, I for one have given up on the idea of anything new being added to this particular supernatural lore.  Olson does include a few differences from traditional vampire lore in that her vampires can go into the sun and are said to by symbiotic with humans because their saliva can heal.  Vampires do need human blood to survive but the feeding of a vampire benefits a human because it boosts the immune system. Granted, it's not the first time we've seen vampires heal but for me at least, it's the first time it was described as symbiotic and explained that the reason we are having so many problems with diseases is because the vampire population is too low to counteract it.

One of the things I like about Alex is that he fought for his new position to prove himself.  I like that Olson had him trying to escape his mother's legacy as the first head of the FBI.  That's a bit of a gender bender there.  None of this however stops Alex from pulling rank and hiding vital information from his team.  Alex reminded me of Picard and Kirk in the sense that he damn well should have stayed with the ship but then came up with a B.S. excuse to put himself in the line of danger. Like any good captain, it looks like he's going to get the girl at the end of the day.

Lindy is a 1000 year old vampire and she actually reads like one in many respects.  Lindy speaks multiple languages and constantly has to work to make sure that she keeps up with things like human slang.  She studies her coworkers to learn about how to be more human.  When she learns that her coworker has a cat for instance, Lindy adopts one.  She even goes as far as to stain tupperware and leave it in the office to give the impression that she consumes food. Lindy is both smart and capable.

In terms of inclusion, there really isn't any significant amount to speak of.  Noelle Liang is a star engineer for the Chicago FBI office and she's a lesbian.  When Alex has a tech question or task, this is Noelle is who he turns to.  Unfortunately, Noelle didn't really rise to a lever of a character because she didn't have a significant role in the story and beyond her race, sexuality and job, we know virtually nothing about her.  Because Nightshades is a novella, I'm very tempted to give Olson a pass on this because there wasn't really a lot of room for character development.

In terms of people of colour, aside of Noelle, there's also Stella and Diaz.  Stella is a hematologist and a captive of the head Shade.  Stella is being controlled against her will and lives her life in fear. We lean nothing about Stella except that she works for the King, that she's Black and is afraid.  Stella is a tool; she's not a character.  Then there's Diaz, whose attack began this story.  Diaz is a tough no nonsense man whom Giselle becomes fascinated with.  Diaz's main contribution is to be attacked and then glamoured into helping the Shades.



Read More


Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2016/08/nightshades-by-melissa-f-olson.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-07-25 09:26
Nightshades (Melissa F. Olson)
Nightshades - Melissa F. Olson

3.5 stars

Need to say this first: Cliffhanger is EVIL!! How could you, author?!?

I am familiar with Melissa F. Olson's other urban fantasy series (and I like them very much), so I don't really think twice of trying this new one of hers. The opening was quite a punch -- scary and gritty. Then the story rolled.

I liked Olson's portrayal of vampires ... or shades. I liked the characters introduced as well. Alex McKenna, the new SAC of Bureau of Paranormal Investigations Chicago, who has a chip on his shoulder, trying to prove himself being his own man, without the 'family name' behind him. Then there's Lindy, a millenia-old vampire who tries to cut ties from other shades, and blends with humans. They team up to catch Hector, Lindy's brother, who has captured teenagers to study and create special bond he used to have with Lindy, before Lindy breaks it off.

The idea is intriguing ... but then, you know, cliffhanger (ARGH!). This is definitely more like a set-up, I think, to future books. I am going to follow it, just because I need to know what will happen with Alex's best friend. I hope he doesn't die. Or being used by Hector!

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