REVIEW by Jena: First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World #1) by Jeaniene Frost (@Jeaniene_Frost)

The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows—her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield—and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family’s past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness—and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who lusts for a taste of her.
He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human—even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the nightmare together . . .
Because once the first crimson drop falls, they will both be lost.

I was duped.  Tricked.  Swindled.  Bamboozled.  Fooled.  Pick one.  Any of them fits.  I’ll be honest, I feel just a little bit violated……but I’m kind of glad I did it.
At the end of last week, I purchased a handful of audio books from Audible.  I cruised around until I found titles that were appealing.  One of those titles was First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost.  I have never heard read anything by Jeaniene Frost but I was relatively familiar with the name and I had heard of The Night Huntress series.  Well, this book is book one of The Night Huntress World series – a different series by her.  So I grabbed it.  The synopsis sounded interesting and it was labeled as urban fantasy so I was game.
Well, I think the label ‘urban fantasy’ is a bit misleading.  This book was most definitely a romance wearing urban fantasy clothes!  A romance with urban fantasy themes would have been a much more appropriate categorization for this book.  Now, with that being said, I am incredibly happy that I picked it up.  Had I known that this book was traditionally labeled as romance, I probably never would have picked it up.  I have only read one read bodice ripper in my life and it was awful.  It put a bit of a sour taste in my mouth for the genre as a whole.  I have had sex.  Things just don’t happen the way they describe in bodice rippers. 
The only issue that I found with this book was a stumbled a little bit at the beginning because I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on.  As I said, this is a bit of a “spin-off” series so the beginning of it sort of throws you into a situation.  There’s not much introduction for the characters and what they do or have been through.  However, that feeling quickly passes as the story line picks up pace. 
About 2 hours into the audio book, I decided to pause and do a little research.  Although this book is labeled as Book 1 of The Night Huntress World series, it really isn’t where you should start.  If you pop on over to the authors website, she has compiled a wonderful list giving you the optimal order in which to read the books so that you are not missing any pieces of the plot.  Although I normally refuse to read books out of order, I was already hooked on the story and decided to keep going. 
Our main characters do not fit the norm for what you think of in traditional romance novels.  This book takes place in a dark world with all the little nasties that go bump in the night.  Due to this, the characters are much harder than what you would think of in romance.  They’re fighters.  Denise survived a rather traumatic event in her life concerning the supernatural and when we are first introduced to her in this book, she’s still kind of rattled from that experience.  She doesn’t want much to do with the supes and would rather just hide in a whole.  Unfortunately, the situation that she is thrust into does not allow her that freedom.  Forced to get the help of an old vamp acquaintance (Spade), they set off in search of the answer to the big mystery to save the day.  In the meantime, there’s a little boning.
Here’s the funny part:  When you don’t know you’re reading a romance novel and everything is trucking along in the story and them BAM there’s groping and grinding and moaning and sweating and pulling and…..well, you get the picture…..  When you’re not expecting that, it comes as a rather startling surprise.  So be warned, all of the previously listed actions appear in this book….and then some. 
To this book’s credit, there’s more action of the supernatural kind than the bedroom kind.  If you’re into romance, it’s a good story.  If you’re into urban fantasy, it’s a great story.  There are two rather graphic sex scenes and a little case of the Peeping Tom’s but other than that, this is just a very well written mystery with a supernatural twist.
Aside from the main characters, there is a whole cast of fantastic personalities in this book.  Most of them would be great subjects for their own novel.  I was particularly fond of Bones.  He made me laugh pretty good on a few occasions. 
The biggest thing that stood out to me was the ending.  Recently, I have been incredibly disappointed with the end of quite a few books.  Some are rushed.  Some wrap things up but not in a way that makes sense.  Some don’t wrap things up at all – they just abruptly end.  The ending of this book was perfectly orchestrated.  It didn’t feel rushed.  It didn’t feel like there were any issues left unresolved.  It was a wonderfully written ending!  I was very impressed. 
Another note – as audio books go, this one was great.  The narrator, Tavia Gilbert, is awesome for this genre.  The cast of this book is at least 10 recurring characters, some of which are from other countries and she does an amazing job with creating an individual voice for each one.  I didn’t have to stop the audio book at all to escape the narrator (something that I have had to do a LOT of lately).  She was a great choice and a perfect fit for this book!
Overall, I give First Drop of Crimson 4 stars.  A good solid urban fantasy novel with a few lemons thrown in.  If you can get over the fact that you’re going to be a spectator to two rather hot and steamy love scenes, I think you’d love this book! 
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