>Four Doll ARC Review: This Side of The Grave by Jeaniene Frost


*Tittle due for release February 22, 2010*
This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 5)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.

I don’t know where to begin. I almost feel like I need a cigarette after reading the fifth installment in Frost’s ‘Night Huntress Series’ because the wait is finally over.

I am fairly new to the whole Urban Fantasy genre, and this series was one of the first (after Charlaine Harris’ Sookie books) that I picked up and I instantly fell in love with Cat & Bones. Since my initiation into the UF world in 2007, my horizons have broadened and I have read many other fantastic books. That being said, I am still loyal to the ones that got me hooked and Frost’s work is no exception.

This Side of The Grave took me a while longer to fall back into rhythm with and it’s not from a lack of desire to read the book. It just didn’t impact me the way the earlier books had. The plot was a bit slower than I had anticipated. That could be a “me” thing or a “waiting so long for book I am not in the zone” thing. But, somewhere around page 125 or so I decided I was over thinking the story and that I just needed to sit back and enjoy the book candy. Then everything clicked for me and I got my reading groove back. Once the mojo was restored, I started enjoying it more and seeing where Jeaniene Frost’s talent really shines through… and that is in her characters.

And what characters they are! Many will go on & on about Bones and his yumminess, but I really love her side characters like Mencheres, Tate, Fabian (the ghost) and Vlad….I really love Vlad! Vlad had some of my favorite scenes in the book and I love the chemistry between him and Cat. Speaking of Cat, she has grown so much since the beginning of the series. Her maturity has been well written and it appears that married life agrees with her…at least if she can mange to keep her jealousy over women scoping out her man in check;).

Okay, so I already said that I think Jeaniene has some great characters but there is one thing I feel she does better than create these great characters. What’s that you ask? Well, the woman can really write some fun and blush inducing sex scenes. That is something she does like no other and she does it without them feeling overly dirty or sweetly romantic. She writes sex scenes that are realistic in the way a man & woman might tease each other during the act. Yet, she also manages to take it to that fantastical level so that even though there is a slice of realism in their interaction, they are far more sexy than your everyday real-life shag.

All in all I liked This Side of The Grave. I had hoped to love it, and maybe I will once I get a chance to read all the books back to back. But, the wait is finally over and I feel grateful that I got a chance to reacquaint myself with some truly great UF characters and even more grateful that the wait for book 6 won’t be near as long. Bring on Vlad’s book! I really can’t wait for that!!!

*Quickie review from the Kittn*
Jeaniene Frost is an automatic buy for me, whether it be her Night Huntress series or her Night Huntress World series. Like Day said, this woman can write! Characters, plots, … smexy time. 😉 All of it. She sucks you in and holds you until the turn of that last page.

My feelings on This Side of the Grave aren’t all that different from Day’s and that’s the biggest part of the reason I’m going to make this short. Like her, it took me some time to get back in the groove of things and I really wish I had done re-read of Destined for an Early Grave before hand to refresh my memory after reading First Drop of Crimson and Eternal Kiss of Darkness.

This edition is a lot slower than the previous ones so Cat can deal with some family issues and old enemies. However, while we waited, we got some great one-on-one time with one of my favorite sub-characters, Vlad! Having more of him in any book is always a plus, but because Ms.Frost writes such great characters – but books can only be so long – there is always someone who doesn’t get ample page space. This time around, sadly, it’s Ian. Never fret though, he does make a cameo; I just wish it were longer.

This Side of the Grave is a good addition to the series. We get everything we’ve come to expect from Ms. Frost – action, adventure, romance, .. chapter 32’s. I think fans will be quite happy with the result.

*Elvie’s Two Cents*
I get a pat on the back for being prepared. To get ready for This Side of the Grave, I actually managed to listen to all six audiobooks set in the Night Huntress world beforehand, so I was ready to jump in at full speed!

I think the best adjective to describe this latest addition to the Night Huntress series is “solid.” Ms. Frost delivers a respectable, enjoyable read that doesn’t color outside the lines or offer jaw-dropping surprises (although, I will say two words – Jeanne d’Arc!). That’s not to say that nothing new happens – it wouldn’t be Cat’s crazy life if bizarreness, emergencies, and tragedies didn’t crop up regularly. The main conflict of the story, of course, is the need to deal with the race war that the ghoul Apollyon is trying to stir up, using Cat as a focal point despite her transition to full vampire status. The side stories and the introduction of what is likely to be the next be problem in Cat’s world help mix it up, though.

Aside from the previously mentioned big role for Vlad (I’m a fan of Ms. Frost’s take on Transylvanian snark, too! Vlad’s book soon, please??), my favorite thing about this book was Tate’s redemption. Yes, Tate manages to finally lose the asshat provocateur role he’s been adopting ever since Bones re-entered Cat’s life. Aside from being generally annoying, I felt like it was a real barrier to Tate’s character coming into his own and fulfilling his potential. And it’s just in time, too, because I think Tate is going to need all the friends he can get in the next book…

All our friends from previous books and spin-offs put in an appearance, even if some of them are tragically short. Even Veritas makes an appearance. Surprisingly, it was Mencheres and Kira who provided one of my LOL moments in this book. In general, though, the tone of this book was more somber than many of the other entries in the series. Of course, Bones is still a smart aleck, and Vlad is, well, Vlad. He was another bright spot. He really elevated his friendship with Cat to a new level in this book, and it made him even more likable than before (if possible). And, of course, Ms. Frost managed to steam up my glasses a few times in that way she does. Nobody does the smexy quite like her!

Another definite positive about This Side of the Grave was the way it ended. Although there are several plot threads left unresolved, and the situation isn’t exactly what I’d call stable, Ms. Frost bucks the general trend and does not end the book on a horrible cliffhanger. Whew. So, those of you that worry about such things can go ahead and read with confidence. You won’t be letting yourself in for months of unbearable torture. Instead, it would be a real shame to deprive yourself of reading this thoroughly enjoyable installment.

*Mona Leigh’s 2 cents*
Have Cat and Bones finally met their match? Does someone exist in their supernatural world capable of kicking their butts? You’ll find the answers to those questions between the covers of the latest Cat and Bones offering, This Side of the Grave.

A war is brewing between the ghouls and vampires. Without giving any spoilers, suffice it to say there are unfortunate and unpleasant surprises and sadness in store for Cat and she’s totally unprepared for them.
True to form, This Side of the Grave has plenty of action, both in the boudoir and in the field. We get a peek at a softer side of Cat kept hidden until now, and it’s nice to see her willingly expose it. Even Vlad displays a nicer side to his personality.

With war looming on the horizon, Ms. Frost brings new vampire Kira and new demon Denise in on the action alongside the other kickass vamps. Marie Laveau makes an unforgettable appearance showing us some serious power heretofore unknown in Cat’s world.

As a Cat and Bones fan, I liked this addition to their saga. I especially liked the interactions among the new wives as they met and learned to work together. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I read one chapter with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. All in all, I loved it.

Night Huntress
Halfway to the Grave-2007
One Foot in the Grave-2008
At Grave’s End-2009
Destined for an Early Grave-2009
This Side of the Grave-February 22, 2010
One Grave at a Time-August 30, 2010

Find Jeaniene Frost:
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Book provided by author.
(Then passed around)


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