Wednesday, August 6, 2014

First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World #1) [Spade & Denise] by Jeaniene Frost

I loved this book SO MUCH! I dare say I loved it more that I do Cat and Bones, mostly because Denise is much more "likable" than Cat it, not because she is "just a human" but because she is, well, human. Everything about her felt so real, I could relate to right about anything she went through, her emotions, her behavior, what she felt toward the past, and how beautifully she dealt with everything she was dealt, in this book and in the previous ones. Spade / Charles is SUCH a gentlemen it was impossible not to fall in love with him myself even though that's not my usual "thing", I'm not saying I love myself (only) a beast :P but I am saying there is something really sweet in a Vampire, being a beast when "needed" be but also can be the most loving and caring person. I"m not saying Bones isn't like that, but I think that Bones is more "feral" in a way. I love Bones to pieces, I DO! but I think that Denise and Charles just make the most beautiful couple. 

So lets go back a few steps here, returning to the past, before I go into this book's plot. As you remember Charles and Denise met for the first time when Cat and Bones invited them to the most unfortunate Christmas EVER when they were attacked by "The Grave" (sent with gracious regards from Petra, Mencheres not so loving wife) [At Grave's End, Night Huntress #3]. Denise lost her husband back then and has been grieving for his death ever since, but not only that, she has been struggling with PTSD and therefore staying away even from her best friend Cat. She was basically trying to get her life sort together when strange deaths in her family started to occur, her young relatives started to die of heart attacks for no reason AT ALL. Having drinks with a family member after a funeral she finds out there is a Demon intended on wiping out her entire family until he find the SOB who tricked him into giving him his power than disappearing while sending him to Hell. Coming back now, years and years later he is intent on revenge! 

Denise tries to get a hold of Cat but she can't find any phone number that works, they are all disconnected (due to Cat's disappearance act while trying to hide from Gregor in the previous book - Destined for an Early Grave - Night Huntress #4). The only phone she has is of Spade who gave her a ride to Cat a few months before. Well, the second time she met HIM she saw him take the head of someone who wanted to rape and kill her and Cat (unsuccessfully needless to say). She was shocked of the violence that only reminded her once more of her last visit with Cat's friends and "relatives". But she had no choice, she wasn't sure what she was up against and she needed to get a hold of Cat so she could help her. 

Spade, hearing her tale, though not really believing her at first realizes the gravity of it all and tells Denise it's wiser not to involve Cat and Bones (considering what they have been dealing with not long ago with Gregor.. they guys need a break! Seriously!). He decides to help Denise in every way her can even though he is not THAT enthusiastic about it. Spending time together, they find out two things - this mission is a LOT more complicated and dangerous then they considered and the second, not less dangerous, is the both of them are starting to have feeling for one another. For Spade it means falling for a human AGAIN, not the brightest idea considering his past, and for Denise it means considering staying in the Vampire world with all it's violence and death also not very appealing. 

Spade can charm anyone to death or maybe I should say, to life, and Denise is the sweetest woman. She might have been dealt wild cards in her past, but she is a strong woman in mind and she is willing to be even stronger now, doing the right thing for herself and for the ones around her. I think they are the most compatible couple. There is no man alive like Spade, and there isn't a woman who can makes Spade forget his past and plan for a future like Denise who has been through (in a way) a similar past as he and yet she stands and kicks without even wanting to. 

If I would have READ this book I would have said it's a brilliant page turner, but since I LISTENED to it, I say it was impossible to stop listening! I usually listen to books when I'm not home since when I am home I want to read on my Kindle, with this one I just came home and put another chapter and another before holding myself and saying - stop! I loved the pace of the book, loved the romance between the two of them. I think it had a different feel than the Night Huntress in a sense that there was less action (but still there was!) since Denise is not the fighting type like Cat is and it was mostly an investigation finding her relative and all the interesting information to where he is and why. 
It was also fun having a visit from Cat, Bones, Mencheres and Ian. When those four are around, well, mostly when Ian is around, it's impossible not getting in trouble in the most entertaining way, for example, Ian being "pissed" (translation from British - being DRUNK) was a hell of a good one! I love his character so much I can't wait for Jeaniene to write a book about him. I keep wondering what kind of a woman could capture this one's heart. Tricky! 

One last thing, unlike the Night Huntress series, where Cat is the main character as well as the only POV we hear, in this one we have both Spade and Denise's voices. I really liked that, besides giving us more angles to the story, I enjoyed reading both of them. 

So yeah, GREAT read, HIGHLY recommended. I say even if you haven't read the Night Huntress Series. Though you'll get spoilers to the first 4 books if you do, so keep that in mind! Also I think a lot of the lore won't be there since it was explained in the first 4 novels of Night Huntress main series. I say if you want to read an amazing PNR book without "string attached" as a stand alone novel, grab this one. But if you love funny, action pact Urban Fantasy books grab the first book in the Night Huntress series - "Halfway to the Grave"

Additional Details: Audiobook, 10:06 Hours, 5-6 August 2014 / On GoodReads
The Night Huntress is a great, action packed, funny and romantic Urban Fantasy Series by Jeaniene Frost. The Series follows Cat the half breed Vampire and Bones her Vampire lover. Together they fight humans as well as mythological creatures (like other Vampires, Ghouls, Ghosts and more). The Series contains a total of 7 full novels and one short novella finishing their story line. Besides these, there are also 2 more short novellas, one of Bones before he met Cat and another of the both of them with no real connection to the main plot line (published after the 4th novel). There is no significant to the series in reading these two. After the series was finished another book was published - Outtakes from the Grave containing a "Director's Cut" of deleted scenes and alternate versions. 

There are a few more outside novels listed as "Night Huntress World". Two short novellas of outside characters (Happily Ever After & Devil to Pay) with no significant or relevant to the Night Huntress series as well as two full length novels of Charles and Denise - First Drop of Crimson / Mencheres and Kira - Eternal Kiss of Darkness. I inserted those books in the right reading / publishing order in the list bellow. Even though you don't have to read them to understand Cat and Bones' series, the two full length novels explain how the two couples came together and mind you, both of them are GREAT! :) They have a different feel to them since they have alternation POV of the MC and also, naturally they are not Cat and Bones, yet it is in their world and there are "guest appearances" of our favorite characters. 

There are two spin-off series to the Night Huntress World. First "Night Princeof Vlad the Impaler finding his HEA with Kira which is currently my absolutely FAVORITE PNR / UF books! Second is "Night Rebel" of Ian and Veritas these are superb as well! While these two sub-series can totally be read as "stand alone" series, just bare in mind, characters from all over the Night Huntress World at times make an appearance. I don't think it's necessary to read them if you don't feel like it though.  

I really recommend this series to all PNR and UF lovers. Though Cat CAN be a overly stubborn and sometimes childish she is one hell of a Grim Reaper (with red hair :)). She kicks ass, and it's always fun reading of a strong woman who can handle her opponents as well as hold her liquor. I enjoyed the extra "Night Huntress World" novellas but mostly loved the two full length novels of Cat and Bone's friends as well as Ian and Veritas' spin-off. The absolute joy, the cream and the cherry as well as the chocolate cake and banana muffins are the Night Prince novels. MY GOD I don't know how I lived before reading them..
-- Reckoning (Short- Bones) (published 29 November 2011) ★★★½
1. Halfway to the Grave
(published 30 October 2007) ★★★★½
-- Happily Ever After (Short- Chance & Isa)
(published 19 July 2011) ★★★★★
2. One Foot in the Grave (published 29 April 2008) ★★★★½
3. At Grave's End
(published 1 January 2009) ★★★★★
-- Devil to Pay (Short- Mencheres, Elis & Blake)
(published 23 August 2011) ★★★★★
4. Destined for an Early Grave
 (+ deleted alternate sub plot August 2014) (published 28 July 2009) ★★★★½
4.5 Magic Graves: One for the Money (published 1 September 2011) ★★★
-- NH World 1. First Drop of Crimson (Charles & Denise) (published 9 February 2010) ★★★★★
-- NH World 2. Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Mencheres & Kira)
(published 27 July 2010) ★★★★★
5. This Side Of The Grave
(published 22 February 2011) ★★★½
6. One Grave at a Time
(published 30 August 2011) ★★ 
[ Night Prince 1 + 2 ]
6.5 Home for the Holidays
(published 5 November 2013) ★★★★★
7. Up From the Grave
(published 28 January 2014) ★★★½
7.5 Outtakes from the Grave (published 22 December 2015)
[ Night Prince 3 + 4-> Night Rebel Series ] 


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