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Edith "Edie" Spence has been out of nursing school for only a year. When her brother, Jake, overdosed on heroin for the third time, she was ready to pull her hair out. That is when Edie was approached and asked if she would like to see Jake clean. Edie has no idea how, but Jake is now unable to get drunk or high. And in return, all Edie had to do was accept a nursing position at County Hospital. Sounds like a dream come true, right?

Now Edie is the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, off the records and off the charts. The pay is lousy and the patients are ... different. Floor Y4 caters to the supernatural creatures that others do not know about: werecreatures in their mortal phases, the daytime servants and donors of the vampires, zombies (No, not the horror-movie-eating-brains type), shapeshifters, and more than you can possibly imagine. Edie is just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest night shift unscathed.

When a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, Edie's life takes a dangerous turn. (Well, more dangerous than normal for a human nurse on Y4.) The man's dying words - Save Anna - haunts her. Soon Edie finds herself on a mission to rescue Anna from the undead. Crashing a vampire den is just the beginning. Anna is a nearly hundred-year-old, but nine-year-old-looking, vampire. And because Edie rescued the feral vampire, she must now fight for her soul.

**** FOUR STARS! This is not only the first of a new trilogy, but is also Cassie Alexander's debut novel. And I am very impressed! The author has combined two things I highly enjoy: Urban Fantasy and a hospital setting. To make this story even more alluring to me, zombies are added. (Because every Gamer out there knows that everything is better with zombies.) But Cassie does not stop there. She has decided to do away with the normal type(s) of hero by giving the human heroine a zombie boyfriend. But wait, there's more! Let's toss in a mysterious potential boyfriend who is not human and only gives his first name. Are you ready to buy now? Well there is even more! Edie also has a CD player that is haunted by Grandfather. Too bad she does not speak German. By blending all these ingredients together, this author has created one tasty dish.

This story, as you can tell by the title, deals mainly with vampires. The next book (due to come out in November 2012) is called Moonshifted (Edie Spence). The last book (due for release in 2013) will be named Shapeshifted. If those future stories are as good as this one is, this author will have earned her stripes. One thing is for sure, Cassie Alexander is an author that I will be keeping an eye on. She has a very bright future ahead of her. Highly recommended! ****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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on 10 January 2013
Recently out of nursing school, Edie Spence has a new job, she's the newest nurse on Y4, a floor buried in County's recesses that solely exists to take care of society's paranormals, their servants and donors.

The floor is run and sponsored by the mysterious "Consortium", and "The Shadows", an equally mysterious, and feared, set of creatures that, sometimes, give mystical protection to the creatures and staff of Y4, and which are known to tinker and tamper with both the staff and patient's minds, and which empathically feed on misery and pain, both human and inhuman. Then, while Edie is just getting adjusted to the way things are run here, a vampire donor/servant is admitted, and he's near death, but he gets a cryptic message out. It's "Save her". She knows she should just blow this message off, it's not her job to rescue people, but she doesn't, and she is off to save her, or Anna, as she finds out the vampire's name. Eventually Edie finds Anna, finds out that she is a young vampire girl that is being used and abused, physically, mentally and sexually, and ends up killing one vampire and getting bit by another.

So it's off to Y4 to get treated, and in the process has to turn over her apartment to her junkie brother Jake. Mistake. Then she goes clubbing and meets/gets laid by a shapeshifter, almost ends up being arrested by a vampire bounty hunter for the murder of the vampire that was holding Anna hostage and gets a zombie (!) for a boyfriend (!!).

Times are tough, and I promised myself that I would stay with the urban fantasy series that I had previously been reading, and that I wouldn't start any new ones for a while. However, the product description of this novel made the hero a nurse, and made the novel out to have a strong medical backdrop. So, having been stuck in the medical system for the last thirty years I thought that I would give this new series a try. Now, while I found much of it interesting, there was too much wrong with this novel to raise it above average.

First of all, while there is indeed a medical angle to all of this, there just isn't enough to hold my interest. Edie is a nurse, and so is author Cassie Alexander, a burn ward RN, yet precious little of the medical background is actually used in the novel at all, with the Y4 floor barely being used or explained at all. And as an experienced nurse, I know that Alexander knows more than she's bothering to write about.

Another problem is the characters. Edie isn't really all that interesting a character, and who manages to blow every good chance she gets, and her co-workers are just furniture to be moved around and used when needed. The paranormals, including the shapeshifter, who will be a continuing character in the series, are all ill-defined. In fact, the shapeshifter will continue to become more and more of a deus ex machina throughout this series. This trend towards ill-defined or clichéd characters continues with Edie's junkie brother, who is just a tiresome bore, and a hot fashion model/vampire donor who is just another unstoppable Terminator clone.

The paranormal world of Cassie Alexander's "Nightshift" is also ill-defined. Really, by the end of the book Edie's world is pretty much left unexplained, although the vampire's world is vaguely, and clichedly touched on. I mean, what is a shapeshifter really, his abilities are never really explained, as are the werewolves who pop up, and exactly what is a vampire other than unstoppable, blood-drinking, immortals with super strength who ***yawn*** can't stand sunlight. Alexander is an sf writer and a nurse, she should know some biology and sociology, things to be used to populate her world with believable, plausible, and interesting creatures.

Then there is the just plain ridiculous, things that show that Alexander simply isn't taking this seriously, and may be insulting the intelligence of her audience. Things like Edie getting a zombie boyfriend, yeah?, just how does THAT work is never really explained either. Things like this, and like her junkie brother, are just tone-deaf filler that shows that Alexander just doesn't understand the urban fantasy form.

This is not to say that I disliked this novel, it's just that it reads like hackwork as the world and characters all seem second-rate and borrowed from other sources without anything original added to them. I mean, there are some good scenes here, but for the most part "Nightshifted" just seems like Alexander (who writes short-stories under another name) is faking it. Alexander just gives the impression of slumming, as she seems to have little enthusiasm for really taking the trouble to do some serious world building here. I appreciated the working class sensibility that this novel has, it's just that in the end there is little of substance, interest, or originality that makes this novel stand-out from the pack.
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on 11 August 2012
Sometimes I try a new book/author and I'm less than impressed, other times I feel like oh WOW and yet other times I'm left with a feeling of ...hmmm - good book. Maybe I'll try the next one. I liked Nightshifted - And there is going to be a next one, in just a few months.

Basic premise - Edie Spence is a registered nurse, one who has recently been working at a upper end hospital (i.e. private pay). Problem was, she had this brother who has a certain problem. A stranger offers help if she goes to work at a county she does, and ends up on a restricted ward. It's so restricted that most people - even in the hospital - don't even know it exists.

There are supernaturals on this ward...And so the story begins. Edie is new at her job, and unfortunately, one of her patients dies on her watch. She feels pretty bad about this; but not only did this guy die, but as he was dying he tells her to protect someone and her oddysey begins, bringing her into all kinds of danger and to the special notice of these shadow entities... (real shadows, people!) ....

The narration is first person (my favorite), the dialogue is decent - believable, and I enjoyed all the different species of 'others', as well as Alexander's take on vampires, dragons, and Which brings me to... I enjoy the occasional zombie book, where people are killing zombies, etc. I even enjoy that hugely popular book about that 'white trash' zombie girl.....even though I do get a little squicked out when I think too deeply about the whole zombie thing. It's the diet, okay?

possible spoiler (if you haven't already read this book, or even if it hasn't yet been mentioned...) coming up...

*spoiler* So according to the Amazon blurb - 'falling for a zombie'....This zombie is different than your normal literature zombie - but it's very, very hard for me to get past the whole need for human flesh thing. And this zombie apparently even is kind of like the Igors in Terry Pratchetts discworld novels, in that he uses parts from ...other replace parts of himself. no matter what kind of zombie is being used, it's a little difficult for me to get the whole zombie as a love interest thing. Hell, if I think about it too hard, I get a little spooked with the whole centuries old vampire as a love interest either. *spoiler end**

Okay, now that I've re-established my almost queasy belly - there are times when reading that I just have to not think too much, just read for the story. I have to say that Nightshifted was an interesting story. It had a little of everything, including a haunted cd player, a gamey quadriplegic, baby in danger, a dragon, shifters, shadows, and the main character comes close to being done in.

The sequel Moonshifted will be coming out in November, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy it.
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on 14 September 2012
I have to say that as soon as I read the blurb (ok, being completely honest here: I read the blurb once I was already in cover love with Nightshifted's stunning cover) what immediately piqued my interest was that 1) the heroine was a nurse (come on, usual UF heroines are all badass action figures, a nurse heroine seemed such an ordinary person I felt the reader could relate too), and 2) that it had a hospital for paranormal creatures! How fun does that sound?

Edie was a really human heroine in the sense of the word that she didn't have superhuman strength/powers and had the thoughts and reactions of how a normal person would react when faced with such events. It was also unusual to see a heroine so unapologetic about her personal life/sex life.

Before starting the novel I had seen some people mention that they felt lost with the nonstop medical jargon, but in my opinion Nightshifted had just the right amount to make the heroine a credible health care professional and provide the details going hand-in-hand with a hospital setting. I didn't find them numbing, just adding that bit of professionalism and nuance to the character, or some much appreciated humour:

"I'd never known a doctor-nurse relationship to survive--unless one of them was a shrink, or a dentist."

LOL, I loved that quote! :-D

I found the story to progress quite slowly until the first half or so. Sure the story didn't transport me in a whirlwind but I was so immersed in the med terms and trying to catalog away all the characters and events, not knowing which would be important for later, that I didn't lose interest or my footing due to the slow pace.

Nightshifted was a book which completely threw me off character-wise. I usually know which characters to root for but here the love interest I was swooning about turned out to be not quite the hero with whom the heroine found those romantic tingles. And some of the secondary characters just frustrated me too much (sorry but after seeing how much Edie's OLDER brother used her and took advantage of her I just wanted to slap him and really force him to realize what a jerk he was behaving like! aaggh). Actually my favourite secondary character was Ti, a zombie! Until now I was quite the anti-zombi-st, but the way Cassie Alexander created him not only was he an interesting character, but the most warmhearted, generous and considerate one. I found it quite interesting (and shocking) that one of the characters who displayed the most feeling and emotion was a rotting zombie!

Somehow the ending was so completely different from the whole story: both in pace and in action. But we can't say it wasn't an epic fight scene and showdown :-D And as many details that were alluded to or mentioned in Nighshifted were never explained (what and how did Grandfather do what he did? what happens with shapeshifters, and zombies, and the Shadows?), so a lot of the rules were still left a mystery, I hope Cassie Alexander will get to them in Book #2 because I would like to understand the rules of this universe.

My main disappointment about Nightshifted was that though the cover is really stunning it threw me off and made me expect something quite different from the story. Based on the cover I was looking forward to some dragon action (in my opinion there just aren't enough dragon stories) but sadly the dragon featured on the cover only had one teeny tiny scene in the book :-( *sad panda face* And based on the cover and the blurb I was also expecting a light and funny urban fantasy, but Nightshifted was rather the gritty and darker kind. Which is not a bad mix, but I was led to expect something else. Nightshifted was a vampire novel, as with the mystery being about them, vampires being the most represented paranormal creatures in the character count, and I wasn't too fond of that. I was hoping we would get some more interesting paranormal creatures (dragons *hint* *hint*), hopefully in Book #2. :-)

Verdict: Nightshifted started with a unique and exciting premise (as well as a fantastic cover ;-) and while the story wasn't light, I enjoyed getting to know the characters and universe Cassie Alexander has created. Edie was a credible and unusual heroine, whom I liked all the more for being such an ordinary and relatable person. Be warned that most of the little mysteries and plot lines won't be wrapped up by the end, so take that into account if you are planning on reading Nightshifted as a standalone. With a universe richly populated with vampires, zombies, shifters, weres and dragons I'm sure Cassie Alexander has much more thrilling adventures planned for the Edie Spence series, and I'm looking forward to them!

I give Nightshifted 3.5 stars!

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 7/10
Writing 8/10
Ending 8/10
Cover: 10/10 - terrific cover, love it! - even if it doesn't really represent the story..
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After all the so-so reviews from the big blogs I've seen, this book managed to pleasantly surprise me. I loved it and I devoured it in a few hours.

Refreshing, down to earth and at the same time crazily entertaining.

Edie works nightshifts, she gained few kilos because of the nature of her job, she is lonely average woman caught between weird world of paranormal and occasional one night stands to relieve the pressure. She only got contracted for the job she is doing because the supernatural agreed to keep her junkie brother from overdosing on heroin, but she sort of got used to her colleagues and unusual clients and she is okay...

Until one of the half-vamps dies on her duty and she feels compelled to search for his relative and save her from a live of slavery for local vampire baddies.

What happens next is insanity which escalates with each night of running from vamps, syphilitic dragons, shapeshifters and your neighbourly zombie-firefighter who she might or might not trying to date.

Grisly fun in a manner of True Blood series and totally bonkers. Really recommended!
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on 14 September 2013
Let me say right off the bat that I could do it over again I would not buy "NightShifted" by Cassie Alexander. I started reading this book and I kept wondering if this book was not the first book in the series. It seem that Ms. Alexander drops her reader in the crazy world were nurse Edie Spence is work section Y4 caring for vampires, zombies, and other paranormal patients.
This book to me was boring and uninteresting to the point that I could not finish it(and I type of reader that no matter what I will finish a book that I bought.) Some may like NightShifted but I am not one of them.
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on 8 October 2013
I really enjoyed this book. I read a lot of books in this genre and sometimes you get the feeling that you've read this all before but this was exciting and different.
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on 4 February 2015
interesting read. not really my taste
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on 24 February 2013
I found this book hard going and after getting half way i thought "why am i bothering im not enjoying this" i probably will give it another go later on but i don't hold out much hope.
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