Bound by Flames (Night Prince #3) by Jeaniene Frost

BoundByFlamesPlay with fire, pay the price.
Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…
Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his over protectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both…

Bones and Cat will always be my favorite, but Leila and Vlad are coming in at a close second. Regardless of where my initial loyalties lie, I can’t help but love any couple that Jeaniene Frost writes. I have to admit though, some of Leila’s insecurities about Vlad seeped through just a little. Just like Leila, I should have known better.

Bound by Flames was intense, graphic and more often than not, totally heart breaking. It also made me gain a whole new respect for Vlad. Yes, he was arrogant, seemingly selfish at times and totally unreasonable, but his love for Leila was unwavering. The methods to his madness weren’t transparent, but he honestly had a reason for every move he made and every person he threatened.

There were times that I thought I had things figured out and just as many times that I was proved totally wrong. A couple of cameo appearances were made by some familiar characters and a couple of new characters were thrown into the mix. I love surprises and Bound by Fire didn’t disappoint. There was even a surprise confession thrown into the mix. *giggles* Needless to say, this book kept me on the edge of my seat and made me anxious for the next one, but a little sad too because the series is coming to an end. Into the Fire is the 4th and final book in the Night Prince series. There’s at least one vampire that I’d still love to find his HEA, so hopefully there’s at least a little bit more to come. 😉

DragonFlyRating5

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Up from the Grave (Night Huntress #7) by Jeaniene Frost

UpFromTheGraveLately, life has been unnaturally calm for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband Bones. They should have known better than to relax their guard, because a shocking revelation sends them back into action to stop an all-out war…

A rogue CIA agent is involved in horrifying secret activities that threaten to raise tensions between humans and the undead to dangerous heights. Now Cat and Bones are in a race against time to save their friends from a fate worse than death… because the more secrets they unravel, the deadlier the consequences. And if they fail, their lives—and those of everyone they hold dear — will be hovering on the edge of the grave.

I admit it. I’ve had this book in my possession since it was first released over a year ago. So why haven’t I read it until now? I’m a wimp. I just couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye to Cat & Bones. I figured I had put it off long enough though and I’m glad I finally picked it up. Up from the Grave turned out to be the perfect ending to an amazing series.

I’m not sure how much I can add to the hundreds of reviews that have already been written, so I’ll keep it short. Plus, if I write too much I’m afraid I’ll give something away. Up from the Grave had more than a few surprising twists, unexpected alliances and the normal heat, romance and fun that fans have come to expect from Cat, Bones and company.

Frost brought the book and series to a satisfying end and that’s pretty much all fans could ask for. It also made me love them even more. Up from the Grave also gave me a whole new appreciation for at least one character. I mention this mainly because I really hope that some of my favorites (one snarky vamp in particular) find their way into the Night Huntress World with books of their own. 😉

DragonFlyRating5

Twice Tempted (Night Prince #2) by Jeaniene Frost

TwiceTemptedDating the Prince of Darkness has its challenges…

Leila’s psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn’t sure what the future holds. If that weren’t enough, her lover, Vlad, has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she’s also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won’t admit that he loves her.

Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity…

Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity.

Oh Vlad, how I’ve missed you. *sigh*  I do have to agree with others who have commented on this spin-off series though. This isn’t the Vlad that we first met in the Night Huntress books. I’m kinda okay with that though. Let me see if I can explain…

The Vlad that we met before was sharp tongued and witty. He was loyal to his friends and you could always depend on him to have a wry comment and even act on those comments from time to time. The thing about that Vlad though was that he was guarded. You never saw the ‘real’ Vlad. The one he kept hidden. The one who had a heart that could be broken. That Vlad is the one we see in the Night Prince and I can’t honestly tell you which one I like more.

Of course Leila is the reason why we finally see this side of Vlad. He spends a lot of time hiding it from her as well. The bad part is that she knows that side of him exists. She just can’t get him to reveal it, even to himself. He says all the wrong things and gives her everything except for what she really wants and eventually pushes her away. Because of that there were some pretty scary moments in this book. This couple was on the brink of disaster more than once and a couple of times I wasn’t really sure which direction Frost was taking them. Talk about your emotional roller coasters. Yikes!

I know that having these books told from Leila’s POV has taken a couple of readers by surprise, but I kind of like Leila’s voice. I think that keeping us out of Vlad’s head adds to the mystery. Plus, Vlad’s head would be a very scary place to be. *shivers* Finding out where Vlad was coming from and how he really saw himself revealed slowly and on his terms actually added a lot to the romance.

As for the rest of the story? Well, it was definitely full. There was a little bit of mystery, a lot of danger, some funny moments, plenty of action and a chapter that will give Cat & Bones a run for their money. *fans self* I can’t even give you a clue about this one because it will give too much away. I knew it was coming and still wasn’t prepared. Let’s just say that everything that happens up until Chapter 36 is well worth the wait. Honestly!

Once Burned ended with things up in the air for Leila and Vlad. Twice Tempted doesn’t end with that much frustration, but there is definitely more to come. That’s a very good thing though. We’ve got more Night Huntress stories to look forward to, but I really love these spin-offs that have developed. Cat and Bones are still my favorite, but getting to know everyone else a little bit better has been fun too 😉

DragonFlyRating5

 

Once Burned (Night Prince #1) by Jeaniene Frost

She’s a mortal with dark powers…

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…

He’s the Prince of Night…

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

Why yes readers, some things are well worth waiting for. The first book in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Prince Series definitely falls into that category. How could it not? With Vlad as the main attraction, Once Burned had no choice. 😉

Although this is Vlad’s book, it is written from Leila’s POV. I think this may have thrown some readers, at least from some of the reviews that I skimmed through that’s the impression that I’ve gotten. I had no problem with getting the story from another character. The fact that it was written from her POV helped the reader not only to get to know her a little bit better than you might have otherwise, it also leant a little extra mystery to Vlad. In the Night Huntress books, you get hints of Vlad from people who have known him forever… (quite literally for some.) Getting a fresh perspective on Vlad was interesting. Even though we’ve seen him in many of the previous books, other than knowing about his loyalty to his friends and his power there isn’t a whole lot that we know about him personally. Given that this is a series, it’s fair that by the end of Once Burned we’re still left in the dark about him to some extent.

Leila’s story is heartbreaking, but her strength and what she has done with the hand she has been dealt is amazing. I really liked her a lot. She seems to be a good match for Vlad, in so many ways. The other characters that were introduced were great too. I loved Maximus and this book has made me hope that we get to see more of him in the rest of the series.

As expected from this world Frost has created, there was plenty of action, mystery, tension and romance *cough* Chapter 36 *cough* (You know there always has to be at least one chapter that deserves a couple of re-reads – umm… just to make sure you read it right the first time 😉 )

Vlad was perfect from the perspective he was written. He is guarded and he takes his responsibility to those he considers ‘his’ very seriously. In some ways, he was all business in Once Burned. He is honest and shielded and after hearing more of his back story, that’s totally understandable. I now understand why Vlad’s story is a series instead of just an installment of the Night Huntress World Series.

Speaking of the Night Huntress World, a few of our lovable characters made a quick appearance in Once Burned. Bones was true to form. Leila’s description of him was great, even better was the fact that he knew what she was thinking. The mind reading aspect was both a curse and a blessing throughout most of the book. I’ve always thought that is not a power I would want to have. I am now positive that I don’t want it and don’t want to run into anyone who has it. *shivers*

Once Burned didn’t end in a cliff hanger exactly, but you are definitely going to be wishing for the next installment once you finish. Spring 2013 can’t come soon enough. *sigh*

One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost

Having narrowly averted an (under)world war, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans’ voodoo queen just keeps on giving–leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit.

Centuries ago, Heinrich Kramer was a witch hunter. Now, every All Hallows Eve, he takes physical form to torture innocent women before burning them alive. This year, however, a determined Cat and Bones must risk all to send him back to the other side of eternity–forever. But how do you kill a killer who’s already long dead?

Okay, let me just start this review off by saying I love Cat & Bones. I really, really do and I really did like this book. It just wasn’t my favorite. I know that this is the part where I’m supposed to come up with some sound reasons why it didn’t grab me the way the rest of the Night Huntress books did, but I can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to. I’d love to be able to give you a sound reason. Maybe by the end of this review we can figure it out together, but I’m not making any promises.

Cat and Bones are a great couple. They’ve been through so much together that they know what does and doesn’t work in their relationship. Bones sees Cat’s strengths and weaknesses better than she does. It’s fun to watch the way they play off of each other. They just get better and better and their powers get stronger and stronger. At least some of their powers.

A lot of our favorite characters are back in One Grave at a Time. Spade, Denise, Ian, Fabian, Don and Cat’s mother all have face time in this installment. I could have used more Spade and Denise. What can I say, I have my favorite couples. New characters were introduced that we will hopefully see more of in future books. Ian was typical Ian. He’s a character that I never really thought I would like, but he’s growing on me. His snarkiness is front and center in One Grave at a Time and with all the drama it was a welcome addition.

There were some lose ends left at the end of One Grave at a Time that I am sure will be taken care of in future books. It would have been nice to solve a little bit of the mystery, but I can appreciate why. I’m not sure when the next book comes out or if it will be a book in this series on in one of Frost’s other series. I know some people don’t like the fact that the series are connected, but I actually like the variety and intertwining. It keeps things fresh and interesting.

I’m not sure if I solved the mystery of why this wasn’t one of my favorites, but it’s still worth a read. It just didn’t get under my skin and blow me away like the previous books have. That may be just me though. You’ll have to let me know if you walk away from One Grave at a Time with the same feeling.

This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Danger waits on both sides of the grave.

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they’ve triumphed over the latest battle, Cat’s new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance . . .

With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous “ally”—the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war . . . to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

Cat and Bones… enough said? I just can’t get enough of this couple. Just when you think that they can’t get any closer or any more devoted to each other, they surprise you. Along with everyone else in the series. In each book another layer is revealed and it just brings the reader that much closer to these great characters.

One of the great things about Cat and Bones is that they are continuing to not only grow in their relationship, but they are also growing in respect to their powers. Bones’ new powers come from his ‘gift’ from Mencheres and Cat’s comes from her ‘special diet.’ The fun comes in because neither of them know quite what to expect. Okay, so it’s not always fun, but eventually it gets there. As usual though, Cat and Bones are only part of the story. Where would we be without the rest of the family?

Mencheres used to be one of my least favorite characters. My how things change. I love how Mencheres has turned into an almost entirely new character than when we first met him. I don’t know why, but I always pictured him as ‘old.’ I think it was because of the fear he projected and respect that was demanded because of that fear. Not that he doesn’t demand respect now just because of his power and presence, but because he has found love he seems more reachable now. It’s a nice change.

Then there is Spade. I thought when I read Spade’s book that he and Denise made the perfect couple. That opinion doesn’t change in This Side of the Grave. It’s going to be fun to see this relationship grows.

Vlad has turned into one of my favorite side characters. I had originally thought that he was going to be featured in one of Frost’s Night Huntress World books, but thanks to Amanda @ On A Book Bender, I have been corrected. Turns out Vlad will have an entire series dedicated to just him. *sigh* That’s a very good thing in my opinion. There isn’t much info on Frost’s site, but the series will be titled Night Prince. It will be interesting to see how this snarky, independent vamp gets tamed. In each of the Night Huntress books since his introduction a little bit of his shell gets peeled away. His sense of humor is a great addition and the loyalty he has for his friends, especially Mencheres is admirable.

Oh Ian.  I never would have thought that I would miss his presence in any of the books. He’s kind of growing on me though. He only made a short appearance in This Side of the Grave. I think he only had one line in the whole book. It was a memorable one though. Pure Ian! 😉

Along with all the heat and danger that is always a part of Cat and Bones’ existence, there is also a lot of pain in this one. I really don’t like tears in the midst of my Cat and Bones reading, but sometimes it just can’t be helped. I guess you could say that this one ends in somewhat of a cliff hanger. At least I have One Grave at a Time handy. I don’t think I’ll be reading it right away though. It’s the last in both series until next year so I think I’m going to hold on to it for just a little while longer.

As a side note: I know that some readers have been frustrated by the fact that The Night Huntress World books are so intertwined with the plots of the Night Huntress books. Jeaniene Frost has a list of the suggested order that the books can be read in here. I followed the order of the list and I’m glad that I did. I probably would have been a little confused about Mencheres’ and Spade’s current situation if I hadn’t. I’m glad that the books are split into two different series though. Those of us who follow Cat and Bones are used to having them front and center. The relationships that are built in the Night Huntress World books deserve their own story and not just a side story within the Night Huntress series. I’ll continue to read them in the order that is suggested and just be glad that there are more of them to read. 😉

Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost

An immortal war has been brewing in the darkness . . . And now one woman has stumbled into the shadows.

Chicago private investigator Kira Graceling should have just kept on walking. But her sense of duty refused to let her ignore the moans of pain coming from inside a warehouse just before dawn. Suddenly she finds herself in a world she’s only imagined in her worst nightmares.

At the center is Mencheres, a breathtaking Master vampire who thought he’d seen it all. Then Kira appears, this fearless, beautiful . . . human who braved death to rescue him. Though he burns for her, keeping Kira in his world means risking her life. Yet sending her away is unthinkable.

But with danger closing in, Mencheres must choose either the woman he craves, or embracing the darkest magic to defeat an enemy bent on his eternal destruction.

Jeaniene Frost never ceases to surprise me. She has a real knack for giving characters that she just scratched the surface with previously so much depth that you can’t help but fall in love with them. Yes, I am talking about Mencheres.

Mencheres was never my favorite character. I’m guessing that’s because I was always seeing him through Cat’s eyes. He was someone with so much power that he intimated her and then seemed to use that power however he could to manipulate others. Yep, that’s pretty much Mencheres on the surface. Trust me, even if you aren’t a fan of this powerful vampire, you need to read this book. You will see him in a totally different light.

Kira was the perfect person to bring out the hidden aspects of Mencheres. She wasn’t part of the vampire world until she met him, so she came into his life not knowing how intimidated she should be. She grew to love him for who he truly was, not the person everyone thought he was. They both grew a lot in this story and because we learned so much about Mencheres’ back story and his own internal battles, I doubt if any reader will ever look at him the same way again.

I’m not sure who Frost will feature next, but I can’t wait to find out. Ian didn’t make an appearance in Eternal Kiss of Darkness but Vlad was there. Either one of them would make for an interesting side trip in The Night Huntress World. I love reading about Cat and Bones, but this additional series adds so much to their series. Besides that, there is always just enough of Cat and Bones thrown in that we don’t miss them too much. 😉

First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Night Huntress series comes a breathtaking new journey to the dark side of desire.

 The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows—her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield—and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family’s past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness—and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who lusts for a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human—even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the nightmare together . . .

Because once the first crimson drop falls, they will both be lost.

Spade has spiked my curiosity since the first time we met him in Bones’ cave. I knew there was much more to him than the bits and pieces we have discovered in the first 4 books in the Night Huntress series. I am so glad that Frost decided to start the Night Huntress World books with his story.

Turns out Spade is the perfect tormented and damaged character. He has loved and lost and never wants to feel that pain again. Who better for him to fall for than another damaged character, Denise. All of us who have followed Cat and Bones’ story so far have been witness to Denise’s pain. It seems really cruel of Frost to bring her even more, but the real story here is how she handles it. Both of these characters grow a lot in this story and it’s almost worth all the torturous sexual tension that Frost puts us through to get there.

If you haven’t read the first 4 books in the series you will probably still enjoy this book because it is a stand alone novel. I think you will get a lot more out of it if you read it in the order that Frost recommends. You can find that time line list here. You get just enough of a glimpse of characters from the other books that it helped me to know some of their background. Especially when it came to the “love” that everyone had for Ian. It should be fun to see how Frost turns him into a vamp worthy of love. He’s just too much fun to detest. He has to have some redeeming qualities though to be worthy of Bones’ and Spades friendship.

The next book on that list is Eternal Kiss of Darkness. which centers on Mencheres. I’ll probably step away from the Night Huntress World for a while now. I need a little bit of a break. I will be back soon though.

Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost – Bout-of-Books October Review

Her deadly dreams leave her in grave danger

Since half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her undead lover Bones met six years ago, they’ve fought against the rogue undead, battled a vengeful Master vampire, and pledged their devotion with a blood bond. Now it’s time for a vacation. But their hopes for a perfect Paris holiday are dashed when Cat awakes one night in terror. She’s having visions of a vampire named Gregor who’s more powerful than Bones and has ties to her past that even Cat herself didn’t know about.

Gregor believes Cat is his and he won’t stop until he has her. As the battle begins between the vamp who haunts her nightmares and the one who holds her heart, only Cat can break Gregor’s hold over her. She’ll need all the power she can summon in order to bring down the baddest bloodsucker she’s ever faced . . . even if getting that power will result in an early grave.

Cat and Bones just keep getting better and better. I can say that even though through most of this book I was either so furious with them I wanted to shake them and lock them in a room together until they straightened everything out or I was crying right along with them through their broken hearts. This one was an emotional roller coaster! Let me just say, I love roller coasters!

There was a lot going on beyond the Cat and Bones turmoil in Destined for an Early Grave. Cat learned a lot about herself and made some important decisions. We saw a lot more of Vlad, which is a very good thing. 😉 Spade was as witty as ever and had some snarky dialogue that was just dry enough to be beyond funny. (Evidently he’s not a big country music fan 😉 Mencheres proved to have even more secrets (is anyone really surprised by that?) Finally Gregor was one of the scariest bad guys we’ve been introduced to yet. There wasn’t a lot of breathing time in Destined for an Early Grave – there also wasn’t a lot of Cat and Bones time either. It was sad, but necessary to get them where they needed to be.

Even though it was gut wrenching, I don’t think I would have changed a thing. The turmoil made the good parts just that much better. Even though I can’t wait to see where Cat and Bones end up next, I’m going to take a side trip with the first book in the Night Huntress World series, First Drop of Crimson. A side trip with Spade will probably be well worth the ride.

At Grave’s End by Jeaniene Frost

It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield’s life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she’s successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat’s worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover’s finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn’t enough, a woman from Bones’s past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat’s about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she’s learned as a special agent won’t help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.

Cat and Bones just can’t get a break. But to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The danger, action and passion were nonstop in At Grave’s End and parts of it left this reader crushed, literally.

A lot of what kept the story moving was the addition of new characters. You were also shown another a side to some previous characters that gave you no choice but to look at them in a whole new way. Didn’t make you trust them any more in some cases, but at least you found reason not to totally hate them anymore. A couple of the members of Cat’s team also went through some major changes, but you’ll have to read At Grave’s End to find out more about that.

Actually, lots of things change for many of the characters, including Bones and Cat. Some things that you never see coming. I don’t want to give anything away, but Bones does acquire some new powers that really add to the funny banter between the two of them. Cat still finds reasons to be jealous, but also is strong enough to get over them. Bones’ jealousy is tested a couple of times too, which seems only fair.

There wasn’t much about this one that I didn’t like. The new characters added to the plot and weren’t just new names and faces. The changes that all the characters went through moved the story in directions it couldn’t have gone without those changes. Even Cat’s mom was full of surprises. I can even forgive Frost for the tears that she caused me to shed because without them, well, you’ll see.

I’m going to step away from Cat and Bones for a little while, but not long. I want to save the next one for the Bout-of-Books Read-a-thon because I know it will be a fast read. I also want to make sure I have the first and second Night Huntress World books on hand before I start the next Night Huntress book. Since Frost has given some of the other characters books of their own, the least I can do is read them in order. 🙂 I am a responsible reader after all.