Posts tagged “Catherine Crawfield

Once Burned (Night Prince #1) – Jeaniene Frost – Vlad Vlad Vlad!

Night Prince, Once Burned, Jeaniene FrostWhile Vlad Tepesh lends himself as a fantastic supporting character in the Night Huntress series, his personality has the word “lead” written all over it, and Jeaniene Frost was smart to take advantage of it.

He gets his own storyline that introduces his potential better half, Leila.  Though mortal, a freak accident as a child leaves her with the unusual ability to channel electricity into psychic powers. Her powers are attractive to a group of vampires with malicious intentions who need her abilities to reach out to Vlad, the most infamous of them all.  His power to wield fire gives him a significant upper hand, but everyone has a weakness and his adversaries may have found his through Leila.  However when they meet, you don’t need chemistry lessons to know that fire + electricity = one dangerous combo.

On the heels of a Vlad-less Night Huntress book #6, I wasted no time getting to this spin-off to get my fix.  Though this series is the Night Prince, the story is told from Laila’s POV, so we can’t get into his mind quite as much as fans were likely hoping. I didn’t mind it much because I actually liked Laila’s character.  Though tragic and sympathetic, she’s not helpless.  I look forward to the evolution of her powers over the course of this series.  Sparks were certainly flying between her and Vlad, and so far I approve.  There appears to be substance to her which I’ll take any day over the typical disposable heroine.  Her powers at times reminded me of Rogue from X-Men, who also wears gloves to protect those close to her. She is one of my favorite characters and Rogue/Gambit is one of my favorite all-time fictional ships.  It’s just that while Gambit couldn’t handle Rogue’s power; Vlad can handle Laila’s, allowing them to be more tactile.

Vlad himself is everything I wanted and then some.  I feel like Frost wanted to let loose a bit more with him here.  He’s sexy, hilarious, frustrating, and terrifying all at the same time.  I love those types of dynamic characters in literature.  However, this book was written making it clear that there would be more to come.  Vlad is extremely private and even though he heats up the sheets, it’s a taller order to heat up his heart. With centuries of success comes centuries of pain, so I’m glad it may take multiple books for this resolution.  I like it when my characters truly earn their happiness, and standalone books rarely cut the mustard or me when it comes to that.

There could have been a bit more development with the story, but the characters carried it enough that I found the read satisfying and refreshing from Cat & Bones’s world.  It’s part one of a trilogy after all. I’m just glad I don’t have a long wait for the next one.

 


One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress #6) by Jeaniene Frost – Finally All Caught Up!

It’s tough enough trying to take down vampires and ghouls galore, but what about ghosts? Particularly ones that continue to wreak havoc beyond the grave for centuries on end? It’s not an easy fix, but Cat and Bones are determined to do it. Heinrich Kramer, a witch hunter who’s been dead for centuries, has the ability to become corporeal for one night of the year every All Hallows Eve.  This allows him to torment and murder innocent women.  One of his victims turns to our favorite vampire duo for help because they may be the only ones who can put a stop to it once and for all.

I’ve stated how I tend to like the odd books with this series.  As an even numbered book this sort of broke that pattern, though it’s not really a favorite.  I am not typically a ghost person, so I believe it says something when I can be engrossed enough to want to see what happens next.  Frost makes it very easy to hate the villain and want to see him get his loooong overdue comeuppance.

The story was okay, but I admit that I missed Vlad somethin’ awful this time around. I know that he gets his own novel, but he’s become the character I most look forward to reading about in this series. I understand it’s Cat and Bones’s story but the heart wants what it wants.

Cat has been mellowing out a little more lately, in turn making her less annoying to me, but there were a couple of eye-roll inducing instances, particularly when she harps on how she was apart from Bones for 4 years.  I just didn’t connect with that “angst” because they’re  together now, have been for a few years, and will probably be together for centuries to come–a luxury (or curse) most couples won’t have.

All in all, while I didn’t have the Fever experience with this  series (I read all 5 books in 6 days), I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking it out and getting it done.  Now I look forward to Vlad’s book!


This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5) by Jeaniene Frost – Better than the previous book

Though vampires are arguably at the top of the food chain, somehow they are turning up missing.  It becomes doubly suspicious after rumors circulate about an impending ghoul/vampire war. It takes a ghoul to know a ghoul, and Cat and Bones will need to enlist help from the ghoul queen of New Orleans, but is she a friend or foe? There’s no real time to find out.

I am noticing a fairly bizarre pattern for myself with this series; I tend to enjoy the odd books much better than their even counterparts.  Though I wasn’t completely on board with the premise this time around, I was much more engaged than during the prior installment.  Unless I was just getting used to thing, I had noticed the amount of humor slipping a bit with this series.  I can safely say that it was a bit more prominent this time, or at least it struck the right cord with me, which I hadn’t been experiencing for a little while.

Cat seems to be adjusting to her full vampire status better, along with some pretty cool upgrades, inadvertent as they may be.  I am finding her slightly less annoying since the change.  Bones had me laughing a couple of times too (poking fun at Twilight), but, again, Vlad Vlad Vlad steals the show for me.  He probably has my favorite quote of the novel. It’s making me smirk just thinking about it:

“Premature inflammation! Very embarrassing, I don’t like to talk about it!”

It’s okay, Vlad.  Happens to the best of us.

Even though I had a few laughs, overall this definitely is not the series at its best. The end was pretty predictable which cost it some points for me, but it sets up the future books to potentially be more interesting.


Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress #4) – Felt like filler

Cat and Bones have more than earned a vacation. Away from their tough jobs, away from the politics, away from danger.  But while Paris starts off as the perfect getaway, peculiar dreams (or are they memories?) have been haunting Cat night after night.  It turns out she may be married to Gregor, a powerful vampire, and has been since long before she met Bones.  Hubby #1 wants his wife back.  Needless to say, that doesn’t go over well with Cat or Bones, but Gregor’s power is greater than theirs combined.

The title says it all.  This book felt like filler to me.  The premise didn’t really lend itself well to future plot development, at least not in a sense that rings true.  It technically does because there is a huge change, but I feel like practically anything could have spurred that major change along.  I never felt like Cat and Bones’s’ relationship was truly threatened so there was no tension or suspense, just contrived melodrama.  Just about everything is forgettable about this story save for the final 25%.

There is one plus, I think Vlad has emerged as my favorite character of this series.  He’s witty, fun, badass, and overall a well-done interpretation of Dracula. It’s a difficult character to really harness and make unique, but I think Jeaniene Frost does a great job with him.  It’s just never enough.  But knowing he has his own spinoff, makes me feel much better.


At Grave’s End (Night Huntress #3) by Jeaniene Frost – My favorite part actually WAS the end!

The saga continues with Cat, Bones and friends. Her usual methods of baiting vampy big bads are becoming increasingly ineffective as the community becomes privy to her many disguises. In addition, one of Bones’s many former conquests of the feminine persuasion happens to be up to no good, with vengeance and dangerous magic on her mind that are too much for even the most powerful vampire to take on alone.  Loyalties are truly tested this time around  and teamwork is the only way for everyone to make it out alive…or undead.

I didn’t enjoy the prior installment quite as much on a whole, but this one was a hit for me.  New side characters are introduced and others fleshed out a bit more. I’m really looking forward to what Vlad can lend to the series in future novels.  The others are sort of bland to me, but I think he has potential to be a real standout.

And while we’re on the subject of supporting characters, I am going to get on my soapbox for a little bit and rant about Cat’s comrade, Tate. He’s had it bad for her since she joined the team years ago.  Cat does try and makes it very clear where she stands on the matter, but he just won’t give it up. I find this worse than a love triangle because it really is a dead end that we have to see play out in painful detail, making me wish I were somewhere else…ANYWHERE ELSE! Does he REALLY think he’s got a chance against Bones? I mean, REALLY?! It’s Bones! Forget it! Personality-wise, Cat isn’t that great anyway, so I don’t get his hang up. Bones  is the only reason I invest at all in the Cat/Bones ship to be honest. But at least she actually gives him play. And when Cat describes Tate, it’s like…dude should be knee deep in poon. Sure, Bones may have slept with half the population by now, ruining them for all successors; I say this because practically ANY woman that’s come onto the scene, he’s been there and they want more. But I’m sure Tate is capable of wrangling up some for himself.  It’s a big world! *Jumps off soapbox*

So anyway, I enjoyed the book minus a couple of hangups. The end was particularly strong with non-stop action and suspense.  I’d say at this point that it’s my favorite of the series.


2012 Year in Review!! My top books and series of the year!

If you have any favorite reads for this year please share! 2012 has been quite a year for me. I’ve read some incredible books, some great books, some not so great books, some terrible books.  But overall it contributed to read count of over 131 stories this year. It’s kind of funny because I feel like a slacker compared to some other Goodreads friends who I’ve seen read over 400+ books; one even read over 900. But good or bad, I’ll take it as a victory. Communiting to and from my job takes a good 2 hours of my day, which allows me to and dedicate most of that to reading. A broken iPod has helped quite a bit too, but Christmas kind of rectified that so I’ll have to see how my read count in 2013 compares. But in the meantime, I want to narrow things down and present my favorite urban fantasy/paranormal books of 2012.

1

Ever After ARC (The Hollows #11) by Kim HarrisonEver After

I debated listing this one because it technically doesn’t come out until 2013, but it rocked my personal socks this year, and I’m sure it will rock yours in January, so I’m going to list it.

2

All Dorina Basarab novels, including Fury’s Kiss by Karen Chance

Fury's Kiss, Karen Chance, dorina basarab

Though I was fairly familiar with its original sister series, Cassandra “Cassie” Palmer, I was really surprised to find that I love this series infinitely more. It’s got all of the pluses, none of the annoyances. Dory is a riot, but she kicks ass too. It just pains me that it take 2 years between books.

3

Wicked as They Come (Blud #1) by Delilah S. Dawson

Early on in the year this was my favorite book.  The world was new, interesting and exciting. And Criminy was awesome! I definitely can’t wait for the next book featuring him and Tish, but much like Karen Chance, this author alternates from book to book.

4

A Perfect Blood (The Hollows #10) by Kim Harrison

A Perfect Blood, Rachel Morgan, Kim Harrison

Yes, the Hollows takes two spots on my list.  In addition to the Ever After ARC, with all of the different publications this year from Into the Woods to Blood Crime to Trouble on Reserve to Trent’s POV from the paperback of A Perfect Blood, two spots can’t be surprising. However, while good, this book wasn’t quite in the same class as Ever After, but I did love it.  And like most Trenchers out there, Trent’s POV left me speechless! Oh and it’s also pretty awesome anytime I can meet Kim Harrison!

5

Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) by Susan and Clay Griffith

kingmakers, susan and clay griffith, vampire empire #3

This was another fantastic finish to a wonderful trilogy.  I was fortunate enough to read the ARC for this series and I loved it! If only there was more!

6

Dead Morning Sky (Experiment in Terror #3) by Karina Halle

experiment in terror, dead morning sky, karina halle

I wanted scary and I got scary! Just a little more than I bargained for with the weird crap that was happening OFF the pages while reading it.  And funny enough, there was no repeat of that peculiar activity after I was done. I have since stopped here, but there are definitely more books with Dex and Perry’s adventures. I plan to get to them after catching up with the Night Huntress series that I’m currently reading.

7

Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire

ashes of honor, seanan mcguire, october daye, toby daye

I read this book at a pretty difficult time. I started reading it and then I got my hands on the Ever After ARC.  I was riding too much of a high for anything else to compare, including this.  But in hindsight, this book rocks and I bet the next book will be my favorite of the series!

8

Tale of the Vampire Bride by Rhiannon Frater

Tale of the Vampire Bride, Rhiannon Frater

I was gripped from beginning to end on this one. It’s not an easy read, and do not mistake this for a romance. It’s more like one of those train-wrecks that you can’t look away from.  Unfortunately the sequel was nowhere near as good, but I hope this series continues eventually. I would love to read a third book if it could get back to the level of book 1.

9

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

ANGELFALL, Susan Ee, Penryn & The End of Days

I have a bit of an aversion when it comes to the Young Adult genre, but this is an exception. I LOVED this book and I often find myself wondering how long it’d be until the second book is released. That’s definitely a sign of a book worthy of this list. Even better, it’s probably the best $0.99 I’ve spent on a book!

10

Love is Fear (Valerie Dearborn #2) by Caroline Hanson

Love is Fear, caroline hanson, valerie dearborn 2

Though this trilogy arc is complete, this book is probably my favorite of the three. I finished wanting more, more, MORE!

Honorable Mentions

Iced (Dani O’Malley #1) by Karen Marie Moning – I definitely didn’t inhale this one as fast as the original Fever novels, but it did leave an impression. Honestly though, I just want more Mac and Barrons!

At Grave’s End (Night Huntress #3) by Jeaniene Frost – The review is pending right now because I wanted to post this year in review first, but I did enjoy it the most of the three novels thusfar. This series isn’t really among my favorites, but it seems to be positioning itself in the tier of series that are right below my favorites.  Not a bad place to be. There’s Bones to thank for that.

Fire Baptized (Habitat #1) by Kenya Wright – I inhaled this book as well.  This fresh take on the urban fantasy genre was just what I needed at the time and unlike some series where the sequels don’t measure up, its sequel certainly did and I look forward to book 3!

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion – I enjoyed this book quite a bit, as well as the movie. It presented a different take on the genre that I found refreshing.

A Blood Seduction (Vamp City #1) by Pamela Palmer – an alternate Washington, DC gets some bonus points!  This book introduced a pretty intriguing world. I read it in a day and enjoyed it, so that’s why it gets a mention.  Just beware that this isn’t true romance.  If you go in with those expectations you’ll likely be disappointed.

The Fire Lord’s Lover (The Elven Lords #1) by Kathryne Kennedy – I read this particular book in one day and I loved the world building and build up to the eventual romance. Unfortunately the sequels never really struck the same chord.

So all in all it’s been a good year! This blog has been good to me. YOU guys have been good to me. And I hope 2013 is even better!! The great thing about books is that there’s something for everybody.  I wish you all a very Happy New Year!


One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress #2)

one foot in the grave, jeaniene frost, night huntressIt’s been four years since the events of Halfway to the Grave. Cat, has honed the skills Bones has taught her, working for a secret government agency as the head of a unit that hunts down troublesome undead.  Her half-vampire heritage offers an invaluable benefit to the cause.  But you don’t do what Cat does without making a few enemies.  She’s now a target as someone has put a hit out on her.  Her only hope is Bones, the vampire she left behind.  Though he’s “dead” he’s the only one on this earth to make her feel alive, and those feelings come rushing back. But can she keep them at bay? Not if he has his way.

I am always a little concerned about ships when the characters get together off the bat because I feel they become stale.  Even with the insta-love between these two, I thought the first book was exciting and fresh.  But this one felt like more of the same.  I liked Bones in book 1, but there wasn’t a lot of evolution here, so he came off as Gary-Stuish. And Cat, his Mary Sue.  Unlike the first go ’round, I didn’t find  the number of times one was jealous, insecure,  or baiting vamps for slaughter to be nearly as amusing.  And then Bones practically always had the answers to the problems so I just didn’t find him as intriguing and to be honest, his dialogue started to irritate me a bit with the “blokes”, “luvs”, “sods” etc. He’s over 200 so I wish he would have acquired vocabulary with more variety by now.

There was a fair bit of action and definitely some laughs, but Jeaniene Frost doesn’t include enough follow through after the build up. I feel like there’s this massive world with characters waiting to be explored, but we get less than I want to see in a read. I’m really big on supporting characters, yet I didn’t find myself attached to anyone here. Everything just kept working out a little too easily, so nothing was perilous, gripping, or gritty. I felt like it was basically all centered around when these two could get back to shagging.

And speaking of which, of course I can’t complete a review without my opinion on chapter 32.  It’s pretty much the only thing I was asked about or told about, even during Book 1.  To be honest, it wasn’t much to write home about for me.  It wasn’t bad (none of her scenes are) but the hype surrounding it made my expectations too high, so an underwhelming result was inevitable.  Don’t get me wrong, I  certainly have my short list favorites in literature, but this is just not one of them. Sorry! *ducks from flying tomatoes*

Overall, it certainly wasn’t a bad read, but it just wasn’t as good as I was hoping it’d be.  After the first book I thought it would practically inhale this one, reading it in no time, but that just wasn’t the case.  There’s still Book 3 which I do plan to read, but that will be the final determinant of whether or not I plan to keep going with this series.  Though I like to come to my own conclusions, I’ve heard that the earlier books are better so I don’t know how well that bodes for the rest.


Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) – Finally taking the world of Cat and Bones for a spin again

Halfway to the grave, night huntress, Jeaniene FrostFor the record, I probably would have started this series a long time ago. It’s just that my first exposure to Jeaniene Frost’s writing included a spin-off book from this series that left a LOT to be desired. It took a while to build up the nerve to give her stuff another shot.  But thankfully, this particular book has a  more of what I’m looking for in an awesome vampire read.  My experiences were like night and day!

This series follows Catherine Crawfield, a half-human/half-vampire who takes it upon herself to dole out vigilante justice against vampires with the hope to meet her vampire father and put him on the business end of her stake.  She runs into the wrong (or right) vampire, Bones, who shows her that she is truly no match for what she’s up against. Being a vampire bounty hunter himself, he forces her into a partnership to take down fanged big bads together.  And so begins the story of the beloved Cat and Bones team.

I thought this was a really good start to the series.  Cat’s character starts out pretty self-righteous and angry, but she’s left questioning everything she believes in, which is good for character progression. I can see why Bones has a lot of fans. I found him very entertaining all throughout. I’m not an insta-love fan, and I do believe they get together a little too quickly here, but knowing that the whole series involves them allows me to be  a little more accepting of the dynamics. It’s at least good to know that not everything will be easy for them. I do worry that they’ll become stale for me since I usually become more attached to ships with better build up, but I am keeping an open mind.

I laughed quite a bit at the countless euphemisms and innuendo. They were effective even when I was in a bad mood and placed well enough so as to not become annoying.  The end really amped up the action which I totally loved. The carnage was awesome and I enjoyed seeing Cat and Bones as genuine badasses!

I purchased a copy of the book that contained bonus material with deleted scenes.  A lot of it felt really repetitive to what I’d already read and only a couple of developments added to the story.  The rest is forgettable, which is why it wasn’t included in the first place.

I definitely recommend at least giving this series a try.  It’s not a favorite of mine quite yet, but I definitely will be reading the next one ASAP.


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