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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost: "The Bite Before Christmas"

Authors: Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost
Title: The Bite Before Christmas
Plot Type: SandsSMR;  FrostUF
Ratings: SandsV2; S4; H3;  FrostV4; S4; H2
Publisher: HarperCollins (2011)

     Sands and Frost give us two Christmas-themed novellas from the ARGENEAU series and the NIGHT HUNTRESS series, respectively.

Lynsay Sands: The Gift (113 pages)
     In this plain vanilla romance novella, Katricia Argeneau finds her life mate while marooned in a secluded cottage in the midst of a blizzard. Her romantic partner is Teddy Brunswick, the police chief of Port Henry, a town full of immortals (as vampires are called in this series). Katricia's Aunt Marguerite is responsible for making this match, as she has done so many times before. The story has no real conflict (except for Teddy's unfortunate run-in with a hungry bear). The plot consists entirely of the romantic process, from first sight to lust to turning. The romance runs smoothly from start to finish, with the tiny exception that Teddy must rethink his infatuation with Elvi, his childhood crush back in Port Henry. Both characters are portrayed as perfect individuals, with no flaws to add interest to the proceedings. But if you are following the ARGENEAU series, you'll probably enjoy this one.

     Here's Teddy, feeling some angst about his developing relationship with Katricia: "...for some reason, he felt incredibly guilty, as if his feelings for Elvi, feelings he'd had since he was a callow youth, were somehow betraying this new and very tentative friendship with Katricia...which was just stupid. He'd only met her today." (p. 60)

Jeaniene Frost: Home for the Holidays (150 pages)
     This story takes place immediately following One Grave at a Time. Cat and Bones have gathered their extended family for a holiday celebration when violence intrudes in the form of a demon possessing Bones's long-lost brother, Wraith. The plot follows Cat and Ian as these unlikely allies fight to save the rest of their family. The twist in this story is that Bones and the rest of the good guys turn against Cat and Ianto the point of severe physical violence. Watching the two of them figure out a way to save their friends with the assistance of their ghostly buddies and yet another demon is fascinating. By the end of the book, Bones learns that he has more blood relatives than he thought he did. Click HERE to read an excerpt (the first three chapters) of this lengthy novella. Click HERE to read my review of the NIGHT HUNTRESS series.

     Here's my favorite quotation from Home for the Holidays as Cat tries to rescue an unwilling Bones from demonic possession (You've gotta love their relationship!): "You're not going to die." I swore, then pressed my mouth to his for a kiss filled with all the love, pain, fear, and frustration of the past several days. I was still kissing him when I pulled out my other gun and shot him through the head." (p. 205)

     The book also contains excerpts from two new worksone from each author. Sands includes a piece from Under a Vampire Moon (release date 4/12), in which Carolyn (aka Caro), an unlucky-in-love human woman, finds a life mate in Christian, Marguerite's seemingly immortal son, who is a hard-rock violinist. (Apparently, there is such a thing.)

     Frost includes a selection from Once Burned (release date 6/12), which is the first book in her new NIGHT PRINCE series, in which the heroine, Leila, a psychometrist and channeler of electricity, teams up with the fire-manipulating vampire, Vlad Tepesh. 

1 comment:

  1. "The Bite Before Christmas" includes 2 novellas by fan favorites Jeaniene Frost and Lynsay Sands. The plots continue the series for which both writers are renowned.
    Cat and Bones are the usual hoot. I still think it is amazing that Ms. Frost keeps her readers interested in the couple. Each entry in the series shows how the different facets of these complex characters mesh as they actually grow in their relationship. Who would have thought that was possible in a paranormal romance?
    I have waited to read Teddy's story from Ms. Sands with trepidation as the last several entries in the Argeneau series have had a very "been there...done that" feel. This story was a much hoped for return to the heart of the series. Katricia and Teddy make a great couple but I felt short changed as the novella was not the right format for a story that had so many threads too neatly sewn together. The age thing (Teddy is at least 70 at the beginning of the story) alone needs a least 25 more pages. Katricia also needed quite a few more pages to explore the near "rogue" personality she supposedly was developing that lasted all of 1 page in the novella. I was left feeling like Oliver Twist asking for MORE PLEASE!
    As a fan of both series, I was happy to see new stories. I must say that the Cat and Bones novella was probably the stronger of the two simply because it builds on a relationship already fleshed out in other books. Sands' entry needed more back story and depth in comparison.