Thursday, May 3, 2012

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Publisher: HarperCollins
Age: Adult
Species: Vampire/ Exceptional Human/ Humans
Rating: 4.8/5
Interest: Vlad's Book/ Night Huntress World/ Jeaniene Frost/ Cameos/ Sexy Book
Source: Won in Jeaniene Frost's blogger-only ARC contest
Release Date: June 26th 2012

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.

Vlad, since his first appearance in At Grave's End, has been one of my favorite Night Huntress characters. It's very strange that I find his utter contempt for Bones, whom I adore, endearing rather than rage inducing. I was SO VERY EXCITED to learn Vlad was getting his own series and was thrilled to get my hands on an early copy of Once Burned.

One aspect of the book I was a little worried about was our fearless heroine Leila a.k.a. Frankie. Frost writes exceptionally strong, kick ass women which is on of the reasons I love her so much. However, whoever was going to end up in Vlad's bed (because let's be realistic, who wouldn't tap that?) had to not only be an alpha female, but accepting of his pyrotechnics, macabre humor and bloody past. When you're verbally sparring with the Prince of Darkness himself, you constantly have to be on your A-game. Leila completely brought it. Headstrong, compassionate, funny and heroic, Leila was an excellent addition to Frost's exemplary line up of leading ladies. I can't go into specifics, but girl was not afraid to tell Vlad what was what, resulting in some hilarious moments. I loved her!

It was very exciting to get to see more of Vlad, his motives, some of his memories. He pretty much knocks Leila's socks off whether he's being snarky, infuriating or somewhat caring. Which is quite enjoyable to read. Basically, he's an arrogant prince and he consistently acts like it. Reputation and... honor are extremely important to him. Almost to a fault. He goes... above and beyond to punish some offenses in the name of not looking soft. After getting a solid peek at his past, it's understandable as to why he has to do it, but some scenes had me thinking "he can't possibly be that cold, can he?" Turns out, he really could, given no suitable alternatives.

I was surprised at one point when I realized the book was entirely told from Leila (Oh my god, I did not just call her Kira and leave it up there for weeks. I am so completely sorry Jeaniene!) point of view. I understood that Vlad's book was the beginning of a new series, but I thought it would be done in the same style as the other "spin-off" Night Huntress books which alternates POVs with the leading man and leading woman. It's a little sad, since there were definitely a couple of times I was positively dying to know what Vlad was thinking.

The side characters in Once Burned were just fabulous. Marty, Leila's vampire work partner, was a good character. He was in the book enough to get a friendly feeling towards him, but he wasn't constantly peeking around the corners of Vlad's castle. His loyalty and affection for Leila really made me love him, he sincerely cares about that girl. Maximus and Shrapnel were comical at times and friendly. The other side characters aren't very present, but still enjoyable.

I had very minor issues with Once Burned, but they bugged me too much to give the book a complete five. As much as I loved Leila's heroism, I did not enjoy her deliberately walking into dangerous situations just to prove a point or out of a weird sense of honor. I don't mean that I wanted her sitting on the sidelines by any means, but she could have saved a lot of people some grief by being more cautious. There was also the feeling that the plot progressed and ended too quickly. It didn't move along at warp-speed or something, but there was a clear feeling of unhurried relaxation for a big portion of the book, that abruptly ended, replaced with near constant action. The last thing was the ending which was a very obvious "we're setting up for another book" ending.

CAMEOS! I believe I've mentioned this before, but I live for Jeaniene Frost's cameos of Cat and Bones, Denise and Spade or Kira and Mencheres. Cat, Bones, Kira and Mencheres were all in a scene and it was one of the most fabulous things ever. Bones even gave Leila some tips on handling Vlad which was utterly glorious. I vote for Cat and Leila as BFFs.

Once Burned is a fantastic new series by Jeanie Frost that all Night Huntress fans will fall head over heels with. Filled with wonderful banter, scorching chemistry, torture, mystery and even a few carnival performers, it's sure to make a wonderful addition to any paranormal fan's collection. Even if you haven't read her Cat and Bones series or other books, I HIGHLY recommend you pick up Once Burned, you will love it, plain and simple.

*You don't have to read the Cat and Bones or any other books to understand this series. I'm sure it would help, but it's not necessary.

Teaser Line #1: The way they all looked at me made me feel like the instument Vlad once casually likened me to. I also jump through flaming hoops for REAL, ran through my mind before I could squelch the derisive thought.
     "Oh, you're right," Cat said, aghast. "We're giving you the freak stare! How rude."

Teaser Line #2: "Sing?" I replied doubtfully.
      A nod. "In your mind, of course, but remember-- It has to be so annoying and repetitive that it distracts the person from breaking past the mental melody."
      Cat looked at Bones with open suspicion. "I think I know why you're doing this, and it's mean--"
     "Tepesh has it coming," Bones interrupted, his tone hardening. Then he smiled at me. "Go on, try to block me."

Teaser Line #3: The three of them departed, leaving me with the vampiric versions of Ken and Barbie-- Which I regretted thinking as soon as Cat let out a snort.
   "Thanks, I think."

(1000000+ points to Leila for calling Cat and Bones a vampiric Barbie and Ken.)

Also, Thank You a thousand times to Jeaniene Frost for holding this contest and for the ARC!

Happy Reading,

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