I picked up copies of Jeaniene Frost‘s Once Burned and Twice Tempted at the local secondhand shop.
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.
I’m really a little surprised at myself for reading this. The only other Jeaniene Frost books I’ve read were the first of the Night Huntress series, and I really didn’t care for them. But I found a paperback copy of this at the charity shop for pennies, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Surprisingly, I liked it. I especially appreciated Frankie’s strong personality. She stood up for herself again and again. Vlad lacked warmth of any sort, but he was supposed to, so it was pretty easy to overlook. Still, this made him a little hard to like. I managed it though. He made a good alpha male. Plus, it would be pretty much impossible to not love Marty and/or at least like Maximus.
I thought it was interesting that Cat and Bones showed up here. I haven’t read past book two of the Night Huntress series, but I get the distinct impression that there may be more overlap between these series than I know about. I think that’s cool and all, but it leaves me wondering if I’m missing out on something. Is this a spinoff series?
I read a lot and a lot of the books I read come from the Amazon free list. This means that many, if not most of them are from Indie houses or self published authors. When I review them I often feel compelled to mention the editing. Anyone who has read many such books knows that the editing can be hit or miss. Well, I find myself similarly inspired to mention editing here too. These books are published by HarperCollins, a fairly big name publisher. But I noticed a ton of editing mistakes in it. I can’t honestly say it was any better edited than some of the good Indie/self published books I’ve come across. Just one more example of the three publishing methods coming closer together, I suppose.
All in all, this book encouraged me to give the author more attention in the future. Many of the things I previously disliked in her writing (what of it I had read anyway) weren’t present here. So I can honestly call this a fun PNR that kept me interested enough to seek out the sequel.
Dating the Prince of Darkness has its challenges…
Leila’s psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn’t sure what the future holds. If that weren’t enough, her lover, Vlad, has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she’s also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won’t admit that he loves her.
Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity…
Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity.
While I didn’t dislike the book I can’t claim to have liked it as much as the first book. For one thing, I thought the characters started to drift a little. Leila went from a strong-willed, determined heroine to a whinny, clingy, girlfriend of the worst kind. Now, I still respected the fact that she was willing to walk away. That pretty much rocked, but that was only a small part of the book.
Then there was the whole pseudo-love triangle in the first half of the book. Nope, didn’t care for that much–both because I don’t care for love triangles and because I wanted to know more about Vlad, not Maximus. (Though I did like Maximus and would love to see him happy at some point.)
Then there was the whiplash worthy change of heart Vlad had toward the end that felt so very unnatural. It was, of course, necessary for the plot to progress, but if felt pretty darned sudden. (As did the wedding. Where did that come from?)
I did like Vlad’s super protectiveness. I do love seeing a strong man fighting to protect what he loves, but the reader saw so little emotion from him in general that his sudden effusiveness was almost painful. The book is still a fun little bit of fluff. I’m not wholly disparaging it. But it’s not as strong a book as Once Burned.
I also found the same editorial issues as in book one to be present in this one. It just wouldn’t be fair to skip mentioning it just because this is a big name publisher. I expect more.