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Review: The Bite Before Christmas anthology by Jeaniene Frost & Lynsay Sands
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Review: The Bite Before Christmas anthology by Jeaniene Frost & Lynsay Sands

by davincikittieDecember 17, 2011

 

TLDR recap:

This collection of two short stories, by paranormal romance favorites Jeaniene Frost and Lynsay Sands, takes back into the worlds of Night Huntress (Cat & Bones) and the Argeneau vampires.  In Home for the Holidays, Cat & Bones are all set for a comfy, uneventful holiday with their closest friends when trouble finds them at their Blue Ridge mountains home.  New revelations about Bones’ past and an attitude you’ve never seen from him before will keep you glued to the pages, wanting more!  In Lynsay Sands’ The Gift, Teddy finally meets his match and gets to experience the life-mate phenomenon he’s seen happen to so many others around him. The Bite Before Christmas is a GraveTells Recommended Read!

  • Title: The Bite Before Christmas
  • Series: Anthology, Night Huntress #6.5, Argeneau Vampires #15.5
  • Author: Jeaniene Frost, Lynsay Sands
  • Prominent Characters: Cat & Bones, Ian; Katricia & Teddy
  • Recommended reader age: 16+
  • Sexual content level: light-to-moderate

 

*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***


Home for the Holidays by Jeaniene Frost

Thoughts:

Oh Ian how you need your own story.  Be a good little promiscuous narcissistic vampire and maybe Ms. Frost will give you your own uniquely collectible woman to drool over.  Then *we* can drool over *you* and everyone’s happy!  On second thought, don’t be good.  Being bad is what we love so so much about you.  *grin*

Ian has a larger part in this story than in others, and it really fuels the “please give Ian his own book” outcry.  Sexy, witty, powerful, vain, cool under pressure, with a killer accent… that’s Bones’ famous sire.  What kind of woman would it take to keep Ian happy?  That would be a real challenge to write and I don’t envy Ms. Frost for the task!  I digress…

I don’t know why I thought “oh not demons again”, especially since I actually enjoyed Raun’s attitude when he wasn’t being sadistic, but Belchezek was quite the enjoyable supporting character in this story.  I love his droll personality and the way he is almost childlike in enjoying “the show” (you’ll know what I mean when you read it).

One if the things I like about the night huntress novels is that, after book 4 (Destined for an Early Grave, where Cat & Bones finally learn their painful lesson), the characters seem to learn from their past mistakes and remember to put their accumulated powers to good use instead of just stockpiling them. One of the things that frustrates me about the Anita Blake series is that Anita tends to forget that she has this huge toolbox of abilities and usually just falls back on her old standards instead of mixing it up and really kicking ass.  It’s refreshing to see the Night Huntress crew being on the distribution end of said ass-kicking, rather than mucking it up out of forgetfulness and neglect.  This cast of characters is one of my favorite in paranormal romance.  They all have such magnetic, engaging personalities, that you just want to move in with them and experience the show first hand.  Anyone attempting that should probably bring along a healthy supply of silver knives and ghost-repellent though.  Just sayin’.

 

Memorable quotes:

Fashionistas.  Vampires are SO obviously not it.

“Are you serious?”  I couldn’t help but blurt.  “Because RuPaul would think twice before wearing that in public.”

 

You can say that again…

Bones wasn’t the type of person who’d appreciate being Punk’d.

 

What’s a little weed and garlic between friends?

Wraith was in one of our guest rooms below, but I wasn’t worried about being overheard.   Due to recent events, we’d modified our bedroom.  It was now soundproofed as well as ghost-proofed, thanks to copious amounts of weed and garlic between the thick insulation of the walls.

 

Beware horny vampires and their “special junk”.  Ok, just beware Ian…

He unzipped his pants and tugged them down.  I whirled just in time, barking, “I don’t care what you think, your junk does not have special abilities.  And I already heard about the piercing,” over my shoulder.

“That’s not what I wanted to show you,” he replied in an implacable voice.  “Now stop being such a twit and look.”

My gaze narrowed and I did something I would’ve sworn was impossible not five minutes before – I came closer and knelt down so Ian’s groin was in better view.

“Wow,” I whispered.

He grunted.  “If I had a pound for every time a girl said that while in your position.”

 

The Gift by Lynsay Sands

Thoughts:

I’m not a big fan of the “Mayberry” storyline, as I like to call it, and I knew Teddy’s story would be one of those (hopefully the last).  I’m just not into tiny towns and I find the country bumpkin accent grating.  But those are personal preferences and I was pleasantly surprised that Teddy’s speech and age didn’t bother me.  It was actually nice getting to learn more about him aside from his Andy Griffith role in the Port Henry community.  I think this might be the first book in the Argeneau series (or one of the few anyway) where the mortal knows about life mates before the story begins, and it made the dynamic feel fresh and new in a series where pretty much everything has already been done.

There was a steamy scene in A Bite To Remember (Argeneau book #5) that found pretty amusing and was glad to see a similar happening in the gift.  It didn’t feel recycled or like a carbon-copy and was fitting for the situation, infusing a little humor.  Teddy and Katricia are, of course, perfect partners and bring out the best in each others’ personalities.

Fans of the Argeneau series will definitely want to check this one out, and readers who may have become a little jaded by the lengthy series, with its sometimes cliché storylines will be pleasantly surprised with The Gift.  There’s not a “peer” in sight, and we get just enough Argeneau cameos to enjoy without taking over the story or becoming overwhelming for new readers.  The Gift is a quick, fun, festive read with passion and heart.

 

Memorable quotes:

Katricia on shortening her name.  Ironic or intentional?  *wink*

“Well, I always thought Kat sounded kind of bitchy,” she answered absently as she worked.  “Besides, men tend to like to play with that name, adding cutesy things like Kitty to it, or switching it out altogether for Kitty or even Pussy.”

 

Right on Andy… er, Teddy!

“What’s a real woman to you?”

“Someone who fires your blood, challenges your mind, keeps you on your toes, and has your  back.  A partner in every sense of the word.”

 

 

If you liked The Bite Before Christmas anthology…

If you enjoyed Home for the Holidays and have never before read a Cat & Bones novel, check out the first book in the Night Huntress series (Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost) to experience the awesomeness of this powerhouse couple from the start.  You might also like Rosalie Lario’s Demons of Infernum series (starting with Blood of the Demon).  The Demons of Infernum series focuses on four half-demon brothers who are trying to overcome the sins of their father, and protect the mates they meet along the way.  It has humor, action, a tight-knit family, steamy romances, and enough urban fantasy to keep you coming back for more.

If you enjoyed The Gift by Lynsay Sands and haven’t read any of the other Argeneau Vampire books, the series starts with A Quick Bite but I recommend starting with some of the later novels to get a better, more true, feel for the series.  Try Single White Vampire or A Bite To Remember first, and if you like those, go back and read A Quick Bite.  Fans of the Argeneau series might also enjoy The Dark series by Christine Feehan, stories about the Carpathian vampires and their struggle against the darkness threatening to overtake the males of their race until they find their mates.  The Dark series starts with Dark Prince, but I recommend starting with Dark Gold or Dark Magic to get a more accurate modern feel for the story and setting.

Final thoughts:

As a whole, The Bite Before Christmas is a GraveTells Recommended Read.  Fans of the Night Huntress and Argeneau worlds will enjoy these extended peeks into the continuing storylines and will get to spend some quality time with characters they already know and love.

Home for the Holidays is a GraveTells “Must-Read” for Jeaniene Frost fans.  You’ll get your Ian fix and find out some titillating new information about Bones’s background and, of course, get some inventive new sexy time with our favorite PNR couple.

The Gift is, most likely, the conclusion to the Port Arthur story arc in the Argeneau series, and a deeper look into Teddy and his past with Elvi and is recommended for any existing fans of the series.  New readers may want to do a little catching up first.

 

Rating: The Bite Before Christmas anthology

Recommended

 

Rating: Home for the Holidays by Jeaniene Frost

Rating: The Gift by Lynsay Sands

Recommended Recommended

 

Did you enjoy this review?  Rate it up on Amazon and Barnes&Noble!

Amazon review link (coming soon)Barnes&Noble review link (coming soon)

 

Related links:

Buy The Bite Before Christmas on Amazon:  Hardcover / Ebook (Kindle)

Buy links for additional recommended reads:

More author links:

 

 

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About The Author
davincikittie
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2011 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.
9 Comments
  • December 17, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I’m in the middle of reading the Frost story. I’ve not read Sands stuff yet so I’m skipping it for now. I don’t want any spoilers from the series.

  • Anne
    December 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I really liked Frost’s story, it was almost as fulfilling as a whole book. Sands I’d just give2.5 out of 5. It was a very average romance, nothing new or exciting.

  • Criss
    December 17, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I have read some of Lynsay books and have found them to be action packed, emotional and exciting. I’ve never read any of Jeaniene books but i do plan to get around to it. So i think i have to do read those before i read this anthology.

  • The Captain
    December 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Grr at you for the tease about Ian!

    I’ve really got to get this one already. I’m just not interested in the Sands book though. That series just doesn’t do it for me.

  • December 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Ian’s book is next in the Night Huntress series… I can’t wait 😉

  • Sophia Rose
    December 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I have this book on my Christmas wish list and you are just one of the many making me squirm with anticipation. I am eager as a Night Huntress fan. I have never read Lyndsey Sands so I might save that story for later.

    Ian is a hoot so I’m glad that he has more face, or ah, let’s just say more time in the story.

    Thanks for the review!

  • December 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Great review! I LOVED Jeaniene’s story! I’ll never be able to get enough Cat & Bones action but was my first Lynsay Sands experience and I am not a fan. It’s was just plain weird. I’m glad that I never attempted one of her full length books…

  • December 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Holy awesome comments, Batman! You guys rock!

    Ian definitely has a prevalent part in this book and it’s making a lot of people ask Ms. Frost when his story is coming out. Last I heard, via an interview a few months ago, Ian isn’t in a place where she can viably write him yet without it all being “violent porn” (yeah, that’s what she said lol), but she did say that he’s coming around, so we can keep our fingers crossed! The next one is Layla and Vlad and they have a two-book arc. It’s written in first person from Layla’s perspective and I can’t wait. There was something lacking in the 3rd person POV Night Huntress World books – I think Ms. Frost just really excels at first person POV.

    The Argeneau book is FAR into the Argeneau series. If you didn’t like it, you probably won’t like the rest of the series. They all have a similar feel, except for a few in the middle of the series that has more tension and violence, with several books leading up to some shocking conclusions. Other than that, they generally follow the same formula, sort of like historical romances. Ok fun reads but nothing that will stick with you or make you race for the book store. I gave it a 4 because I surprisingly enjoyed this story (even though it was Teddy), but I really hope this is the last Port Arthur book. Ugh

    Thanks so much for all the comments!! I’ve been secluded for two days reading Joey Hill’s newest Vampire Queen book and I had to surface for air and a reality check. LOL Jacob, Lyssa, Gideon, Daegan, and Anwyn keep trying to drag be back in, especially now that I’ve found the extra vignettes Ms. Hill has written to support the published stories. ZOMG so addicting!!

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