Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review: Halfway To The Grave by Jeaniene Frost

*This is not YA

For years I've kept hearing about this guy named Bones, and I sat there thinking, "Who the heck names their romance hero Bones?". I knew the series was about vampires, and later learned that it was urban fantasy, but that (at the time...) silly, silly name kept making me decide to stay away.

Plus, I was relatively committed to keeping this (mostly) a YA blog. I wasn't sure back then if I really wanted to dive into an adult paranormal romance or urban fantasy series, even though that's what my main background as a reader was before I started blogging. After all, I'd read Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon. I'd seen it all, right?

Um, no. Nothing against either of those ladies--they've both written books I love immensely--but there is much more out there. These two sister genres are both totally alive and kicking.

It was actually seeing Marie over at Ramblings of a Daydreamer review a few of the books, and receiving First Drop of Crimson at this year's Ontario Blogger Meetup that made me decide to give the series a go. I wanted to at least read the first book before I looked at that one, since it's a spin-off.

So, curious to see what I thought of Bones and Cat? (Whose middle name is Kathleen. You're killin' me here.) Read on and find out.
(Summary from GoodReads)
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, aiming for the father who ruined her mother. Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, captures Cat, and agrees to train her until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. But a group of killers pursue them. Bones is as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.
Don't let the rather short summary fool you: this book totally kicked ass.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened it. I've been in a reading slump and I was dealing with some seasonal moodiness that tends to hit me this time of year when I started reading. Yet despite having odds against it, Halfway To The Grave drew me away from everything going on with me and totally sucked me into Cat and Bones world. Which is exactly what a good book should do.

Jeaniene Frost did an excellent job of combining great characters, awesome fight scenes and page scorching chemistry. The more I read, the more I rooted for Cat--in her situation with her mom, her quest to help Bones take out 'bad' vampires, and her growing attraction to Bones. As for Bones--OMG, people, this is a man (well, Vampire...) I totally loved. He's the exact type of guy I like in paranormal / urban fantasy: a total badass who can be utterly ruthless and totally devious when dealing with the villains, yet who develops a fiercely loyal heart of gold toward the heroine. Yes, Yes, Yes! Bones may very well be my favorite "new" (to me at least) male character I've read this year.

I also like how Jeaniene Frost set up her world building. She didn't drop twenty tons of info dump on her readers. Instead, she gives the reader what they need as they need it. She seems to have an almost chess-like process in choosing when to share something, and does so in a way that allows the reader to 'play along' and be able to think about things, while not getting so bogged down that they fall asleep. I sincerely look forward to learning more about vampire lore, ghoul lore and whatever else she decides to throw at me.
Halfway to the Grave grabbed me from word go and didn't let go until the last page. I zipped through it in two days and was so freaked over the ending that I immediately downloaded--and read--the second book as well. So I think it's pretty safe to say my verdict is obvious. Buy it! Buy it now! This is totally fabulous!


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