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. 😉

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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. 😉

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.

One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Description: You can run from the grave, but you can’t hide . . .

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She’s still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.

Being around him awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline kick of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head—wanted: dead or half-alive—means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard she tries to keep things professional between them, she’ll find that desire lasts forever . . . and that Bones won’t let her get away again.

OK, I’ll admit it. I am totally hooked on Bones and Cat. It’s been a long time since I read through a book this fast. I currently have books 3-6 ready and waiting. I’m not saying that I will read them all at once, but it is tempting.
One Foot in the Grave opens 4 years after Halfway to the Grave ends. At first I was kind of dismayed that Cat and Bones had stayed apart that long, but as the story unfolded it made sense. Their commitment and love for each other wouldn’t have meant nearly as much if it would only have been a few months. It gave Cat time to prove herself to her team of agents and to establish herself. It also gave Bones and Cat plenty of time to be totally miserable, which made for a perfect reunion.
One Foot in the Grave introduced some new characters and gave some interesting depth to familiar ones. There was plenty of action, mystery and the sexual tension between Cat and Bones to keep you turning pages and making you not want to put it down until you find out what happens next.
I’m not going to say much more because I don’t want to give anything away. There are a few unexpected twists and turns from beginning to end, but I want you to discover them for yourselves. If you haven’t been introduced to Cat and Bones yet, grab Halfway to the Grave and get ready to be hooked right along with me.

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Description: Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

Here’s another series that for some reason I held off on starting. Not sure why I find the need to hesitate when it comes to starting a new series. Really, what do I have to lose? If I don’t like the first book, I don’t have to continue so why pause? I honestly have no idea.
I love paranormal romance of any kind, but vampires are my weakness. It isn’t just because I am following the craze that seems to surround the undead lately. I’ve been in love with vampires since even before Interview With a Vampire. Maybe I peaked at Dark Shadows too many times when I was a kid and no one thought I was looking. Who knows, but regardless of when my obsession started, the point is I’m hooked and there is no turning back.
Which brings us to Halfway to the Grave with Cat and Bones. Cat is the perfect heroine. She is vulnerable, but not weak. She is innocent, but not prudish. But most of all, she is loyal to those that she loves to a fault. Even when she doesn’t want to admit that she loves them. And then there is Bones. I’m not sure exactly how to sum him up. He was so sure of himself and his love of Cat that it was heartbreaking to see how much she fought it. He was romantic, loyal, sensitive, damaged (a very important character trait among the undead), beautiful and more human than most of the humans that considered him a monster.
The banter between Cat and Bones was priceless. Even the nonverbal banter that Cat had with herself was great. Cat’s coming to terms with her feelings and what she thought Bones’ feelings were gave the reader a great insight into her character. Frost brought both of their feelings to the surface in so many ways you were laughing one minute and teary the next. Just a warning, the end of this one will make you want to make sure you have the 2nd book in the series close at hand.
Come to think of it, the one good thing about waiting to start a series until it is established is that you don’t have to wait on the next book. It would be awful to think that I had to wait to find out what happens to Cat and Bones after coming to the end of Halfway to the Grave. Hmmm… maybe I did put some fore thought into this waiting game after all.