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Jeaniene Frost

REVIEW:  Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost

REVIEW: Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost

Dear Ms. Frost:

I think I received this book in paper format, but I actually bought the digital copy when it was released on Tuesday because that is my preferred way of reading. I bought the book for three reasons. First, I had read the first one and it ended in somewhat of a cliffhanger and I was told by another reader that this provides some closure. Second, we have had a paucity of PNR reviews here at Dear Author. Third, I’ve had some complaints that I haven’t been reviewing enough mainstream books.

Jeaniene Frost Twice TemptedI haven’t kept up with the Cat and Bones series but apparently Vlad was introduced in those books. He’s a powerful and old vampire who has taken a human for a lover. Leila was once able to read people and link to them through objects but in the last book, Vlad had essentially fireproofed her and the end result was that she no longer had the psychic power.

Leila begins Twice Tempted more in love with Vlad than ever but she’s insecure about her place in his life. Leila wonders if he simply wanted her because of the power her abilities brought to him. The two suffer a falling out and Leila runs off to her old carnival pal, Marty. Unfortunately, once there, Leila is the subject of multiple assassination attempts. Her abilities and her bodyguard keep her alive but she wonders if Vlad is behind the attacks.

Ultimately, because this is a romance, Vlad and Leila are brought back together and they must learn to negotiate the new feelings and power balance.

Leila, for all her power, comes off as a little pretty princess for me. She spends a lot of time agonizing over the feelings that she has for Vlad and the lack of feelings she perceives he has for her. She does try to move on with her life, but I was a bit confused as to why she would think Vlad would be out to kill her and why she would think he would fail so miserably at the multiple attempts.

The suspense element depended primarily on Leila’s psychic hunting powers rather than any other kind of detective work. Even Vlad’s torturing never gained much traction. Probably the least successful for me were whe “scenes” Leila views psychically when she touches an object. Some are her in a omniscient point of view and some were more like diary entries of the people she was spying on. The lack of consistency and more formalistic tone was jarring.

Here is an example of a psychic vision. This time, she’s narrating it for us.

Adrian minimized the screen before he opened the door. The woman walked in, wearing dark glasses and a scarf around her head. To make matters worse, what I could see of her face seemed blurry. What a time for my psychic vision to need a tune-up.

Later, the person she is spying on narrates it:

I was Vladislav Basarab Dracul, bartered by my father into hellish political imprisonment as a boy, then as a young man, fighting war after war to keep my country free, only to be betrayed by my nobles, the church, and even my own brother.

I felt the psychic scenes needed to be consistently framed, either she narrates them or the individual she is spying on narrates them. Further, I wish that there had been more internal debate about an offer to be turned. Leila lived years with the vampire, Marty, and never once agreed to be turned. Did she want to remain human? Did she long to be a vampire? I didn’t really know and that was an important issue in the book that didn’t receive enough attention.

The pace of the story moved quickly and while I wasn’t fully on board with all the decisions Leila made, the story was entertaining enough. I’m not sure I’d buy a third volume in this series but I was entertained. C

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

REVIEW: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Dear Ms. Frost:

I haven’t read you in a quite a while but many readers, including those in my “trust” circle thought this was a great story. Given that it was the start of a new series, I felt like I could safely enter the world without being too confused. I was able to rustle up a free copy that Avon had sent to my house for a no risk read.

Once Burned (Night Prince Series #1) by Jeaniene FrostThe story is narrated in the first person by the female protagonist Leila. As a teenager, she was electrocuted when she touched a downed power line. This event transformed her instead of killing her. Now her right hand sends bolts of electricity into whomever she touches and she can read the greatest sin of a person or their thoughts before dying. She may even have a little foresight gift.

Because of her gifts, she is targeted by vampires who wish to take down Vlad, the Impaler, a centuries old vampire. Vlad comes to her rescue and offers her a bargain – protection in exchange for her services. Leila has little choice. If she doesn’t go with Vlad, she’ll be targeted by more vampires. If she goes with Vlad, she becomes somewhat of an indentured servant, albeit a cosseted, protected one.

I was taken aback by how easily Leila assimilated to her new world, being Vlad’s business partner aka prisoner, drinking blood from the source, using her powers regularly to see people’s worst sin and gain insight to be used for Vlad’s furtherance, and giving up her virginity. She easily accepts that he is a “good” guy and I really didn’t understand why. Perhaps she was clued in that he was the main male character in the book and thus must be good like we readers.

It was told in the first person and thus Vlad’s obsession toward her seemed sudden and out of place. This centuries old vampire is calling her “mine” just after a short acquaintance. She’s the only one who has slept in his bed or shared the room adjoining his. Why her? I wondered if I had missed out on Vlad’s character. As I read other reviews, many of them referred to Vlad’s appearances in previous Frost series. Perhaps if I had met him before, I would have understood his character better. I think the first person narration really affected my enjoyment of the story. I wished I had known more about Vlad but not simply through Leila’s eyes.

About the midway point, the story picked up speed when Vlad and Leila try to discover who is the source of danger to them. Leila’s abilities ease the way.

I felt like this was a safe story. It was apparent from the beginning that Vlad and Leila would be lovers when her electrical bolts appeared like foreplay for Vlad instead of painful punishment; when Vlad’s feelings for Leila are intensely returned. Even when Leila was in danger, I never had any moments of uncertainty. One scene has both Leila’s legs broken and the next scene Vlad’s blood has healed her and they are passionately kissing and fondling each other. Possibly the biggest uncertainty came at the end of the story which ends, not quite in a cliffhanger, but unresolved. But because of its safe nature, it’s a bit of a comfort read. It’s a sexy story with a hot billionaire vampire who dotes upon his mortal but powerful girlfriend. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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