Saturday, June 23, 2012

Early Review and Giveaway - Once Burned (Night Prince # 1) by Jeaniene Frost

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.

We are all more than the sum of our sins.

Review:  Vlad, you've stolen my Bones-loving heart.  Really, you did.  With your arrogance, your confidence and your ability to ignite any situation, I find myself smitten with you.  You have it all - devastatingly handsome features, a rock-solid body toned by centuries of fighting and ruling, a sharp mind full of darkness, flowing dark hair and the uncanny ability to set anything on fire while simultaneously reading any human's mind.  You're the whole package!

This story, be forewarned, is not told from Vlad's perspective, but from Leila's.  We meet Leila, a mid-twenty-something girl who is hiding from her own dark and destructive past.  She is a circus performer and has an act with her friend and father-figure, a vampire dwarf named Marty.  Leila also has an uncanny ability - she can shock people with electricity if she touches them with her right hand, and she can catch glimpses of their past, present and future by touching people or objects with the same hand.  Leila is kidnapped early on by a couple of vampires, and is able to channel Vlad to rescue her by holding a silver knife he had once used to kill a rival vampire.

His high cheekbones were accented by stubble somewhere between five o'clock shadow and a beard, yet instead of coming across as unkempt, it was rugged and enticing.  I hadn't seen a man pull off that look so well since Aragorn in Lord of the Rings.
While linking up to Vlad, she informs him that vampires have kidnapped her and that she needs help.  Vlad is immediately interested in Leila because of her abilities.  Once Vlad determines that Leila is not lying to him, he flies to Florida to save her and to capture the kidnapping vampires.  These vampires kidnapped Leila in the hopes of her using her abilities to locate Vlad, so Vlad takes Leila to his castle in Romania to protect her.  

Leila is shocked to find that she is unable to hurt Vlad with the electricity running through her body.  She is also annoyed that Vlad can read her mind.  Vlad begins his pursuit of Leila in earnest once they are at his castle.  Vlad is immediately intrigued by Leila, a dark-haired beauty with a toned gymnast's body, and is in awe of her power - her ability to see the present, past and future.  His arrogance is palpable and he is confident that he will eventually call Leila his own.

"If your goal is to dissuade me from seducing you, taunting me with promises of failure won't work."  He settled himself into his chair with an easy, arrogant elegance.  "I enjoy challenges, but I don't think it will be long until you are in my bed."
Vlad is every bit the arrogant, powerful vampire we have grown to know from The Night Huntress series.  What we see more of in this book is his underlying pain and vulnerability.  He makes it very clear to Leila that he is not playing games with her and that he wants her as his lover.  He promises her protection, monogamy and companionship, yet tells her up front that he can never love her.  Vlad is plagued by the sorrows in his past, and his inability to protect his wife that ended up dead in his arms.  

"Because at this point in my life, I've lost everything.  This house, my other homes, the cars, planes...they're my possessions, but anyone could own them.  My body is the only thing that's truly mine, so I don't give it away as if it's worthless."

 We see some familiar faces briefly in this book.  Cat, Bones, Mencheres and Kira are all present.  It is interesting to see Bones through Leila's eyes.  Cat comes across as sweet and kind.  Bones as a too-handsome Ken doll.  We also see Vlad's true distaste for Bones in one scene.  Bones goes as far as taunting Vlad during a scene were Leila puts the Romanian prince in his place.  

The first was a short-haired brunet whose grin made me assume he was the one who'd greeted Vlad with the taunt.  He was also handsome in a too-pretty way that made me think with less muscles, a wig and some make-up, he'd look great in a dress.

Leila is one of my favorite new heroines.  She carries around her own baggage and has a fair bit of darkness inside of her.  The girl has some spunk, though.  She is not scared of Vlad, and is perfectly capable of taking care of herself.  She doesn't let Vlad push her around, and oftentimes tells Vlad the way that things are going to be.  She is strong and stubborn with an unbreakable will of her own.  When she is in a critical situation in this book, she doesn't run to Vlad for protection.  Instead, she purposely doesn't involve Vlad in order to protect him, and finds a way out of trouble all on her own.  Leila also has a wonderful sense of humor that is evident throughout this book, that kept me laughing.

I was getting drunk.  Rip-roaring, stinking, worshiping-at-the-porcelain alter drunk. 

The relationship between Vlad and Leila is the highlight of this book for me.  Neither is dependent on the other.  They immediately agree to no game-playing, and they are honest with one another.   Vlad quickly decides that Leila is the right woman for him.  In his six centuries of life, Vlad has rarely taken on a lover and he is ready to share himself with Leila.  There are a couple of steamy scenes, and one very hot shower scene.  Vlad begins to care more for Leila than he is willing to admit, although the subject never comes up in conversation.  Leila has the hots for the dark and sexy vampire who has changed her entire world.

"This is our true tie," he whispered, his breath falling hotly on my lips.  "You're meant for me, and I will have you."

The question remains at the end of this book - Who is Vlad Tepesh?  Leila learns throughout this book that Vlad is a series of contradictions.  Something happens towards the end of this book that leaves Leila feeling a bit insecure.  However, her determination to live with and help Vlad in any way she can is evident.

Which was the real Vlad?  The one whose heart was forever out of reach, or the man who seemed to prize my safety more than the quickest path to vengeance?" 

I honestly must say that I was less than thrilled with the last Cat and Bones book,  One Grave at a Time.  However, this book made me fall in love with Jeaniene Frost's writing all over again.  The only criticism I have, which isn't even a criticism, is that the book was left open-ended and there is a long wait until the continuation of the series.  I loved this book about Vlad, and he has me begging impatiently for the next Night Prince book due in Spring of 2013.

ARC provided for review from the lovely people at Avon!

To enter the giveaway for a copy of Once Burned, you must be a follower of this blog via GFC, Linky or e-mail.  Please leave a comment telling me who your favorite Night Huntress "side character" is.  Leave me your e-mail address, too!  The giveaway will run until midnight on June 26, 2012.  Good luck!


Mariya said...

Between the quotes in yours and Miss Vain's review I am sooooo going crazy here! Thank god it's only a few more days, It's okay, Mariya...Just a few more days!

Brandy@After Dark said...

I really like the Goul that Cat's Mom fell for, was his name Rodney? He was a great side Character! Can't wait for Once Burned, Vlad is so sexy!

bluesun1218 said...

Forgot GFC follower, After Dark

molly.frenzel said...

Vlad has always been my favorite secondary "Night Huntress" character. I love that he's super fierce, yet he's friends with and cares about Cat.
GFC: Molly Frenzel

Chrystina Williams said...

Vlad is my favorite too :) I can't wait to find out more about him!
Thanks for the Great Giveaway!
GFC: Chrystina Williams

Andrea said...

Vlad has always been my favorite but Spade would be a close second.

I'm a GFC follow and email is andreagrendahl AT gmail DOT com

Katie said...

Wow this sounds like an amazing book and it is evident how much you love the series in your writing(:

Absolutely wonderful review!

Underworld Love Addiction said...

Vlad has always been my other favorite, along with Bones of course ;)

Lynn K. said...

Great review! I'm SO looking forward to this book!! Vlad was my favorite side character in the main series (but he's not that anymore is he? :P)followed by Ian.

GFC: Lynn
celeste_fiore at live dot com

Barbara E. said...

I love the Night Huntress series, and my favorite "side" character is Vlad. I've been waiting to hear a more in depth telling of his story, so I'm thrilled that Once Burned is coming out.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com
GFC/Linky: Barbara E.

fishgirl182 said...

ooh i can't wait to read this one. fave side character...that's tough but rodney off the top of my head. thanks for the giveaway!

twee66 at gmail dot com

Emmaleehelen said...

My favorite is Vlad, no question. I loved how close him and cat got I'm the book where Gregor breaks out. Thanks so much for the giveaway! I just finished home for the holidays, do this if my next one! :)
GFC: Emmalee Giantomasso

latishajean said...

I really loved reading about Vlad in the books can't wait to read his book! Thank you for the great giveaway!

June M. said...

Ummm, (shuffles feet) I actually have not read any of Ms. Frost's books. I have heard really great things about her books and have them on my to read list.
GFC follower: June M.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

sienny said...

Vlad!!! I can't wait for the 26!!!
He's my fave side-kick from the series and so happy that he get his own series *squeeeeee*

Email n gfc (sienny)

erin said...

Thanks for a great review! I'm like the only person who hasn't read this series yet. I just got them first couple of books from the bookstore the other day and I'm gonna get reading :)

gfc: erin

Melliane said...

I have this one on my TBR pile but haven't read it yet as so any books lol, but I'm glad you enjoyed it, I can wait to start it!

Gale Nelson said...

Vlad is my favorite
GFC Gale Nelson

Mariann at Belles Book Bag said...

Great review!!! Can't wait to read this book!! My fave side character is a tough one b/c there are lot of good ones in this series but aside from Vlad--I think my fave would be Mencheres--Love him!! I can't believe Vlad has won you over Bones!! LOL :) Thanks for the chance to win!!

Cassandra (The Book and Movie Dimension blogger) said...

Haven't heard of Jeanine's books until now and must say thanks your review have to read them.

Enter for the giveaway, please.

E-mail-bookandmoviedimensionblogger [at]yahoo[dot]com

Rebe said...

I can't wait to read this book! My favorite secondary character is definitely Rodney, although I'm fond of Spade as well. Thanks for the giveaway!


Natasha said...

My favorite secondary character is Spade. Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Julie Holmes said...

Vlad is my favorite side character besides maybe Denise since you never know what might pop out of her. Great review and awesome giveaway!

GFC: Julie Holmes

April Alvey said...

Leila is my fave. I Cant Wait To read This Book.

Bethany C. said...

I like Spade.


marybelle said...

It has to be Vlad.

GFC: Mary Preston


laceyblossom said...

Vlad is my favorite! Can't wait to read Once Burned :)
GFC: laceyblossom

books4me said...

In the Night Huntress series, I love Vlad...he is funny, serious, and a dear! Can't wait to read the book about him!!!

linky: books4me

books4me67 at ymail dot com

shravs said...

My favourite is Ian,he's just great and definately needs no intro! :)

Na said...

I like Spade! There are many great side characters in this series. Even Cat's mom is hilarious.


Shae Carcar said...

Grr... that's not a nice question... I'm gonna have to say... Spade? But Vlad... he's right there! So close... yet so far away . LOL! Thanks for the giveaway!

Shae @ Understanding Shae's Story

Shae Carcar said...

Whoops! I forgot my email and GFC... I'm not very bright -.-
Email: carmenshaw95(at)yahoo(dot)com
GFC: Shae Carcar

DANIELA said...

My favorite is Spade!

Eli Yanti said...

can't wait to read this book

my fave is Vlad :)

gfc : eli_y83
email :

Maria pronounced Mariah said...

Well since Bones is really a lead's Vlad all the way although Spade is a close second! I love how he is alway messing with Bones!

Thanks for the giveaway!
mmmafsmith at gmail dot com

Maria pronounced Mariah said...

forgot my GFC: Maria pronounced Mariah

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