📚 Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

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Night Huntress, Book 1

Description⎮Reviewed Feb. 2018

Narrators: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 11 hours 17 minutes
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.⎮2010

Synopsis: Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unlikely partnership.

In exchange for help finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner…are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon, Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side…and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

Jeaniene Frost lives with her husband and their very spoiled dog in Florida. Although not a vampire herself, she confesses to having pale skin, wearing a lot of black, and sleeping in late whenever possible. And while she can’t see ghosts, she loves to walk through old cemeteries. Jeaniene also loves poetry and animals but fears children and hates to cook. She is currently at work on the next novel in her best-selling Night Huntress series.

4★ AudiobookHalfway to the Grave was one of three paranormal/vampire titles I picked up in a recent Audible sale. I started it first, because it sounded like it had the most promise. About a fourth of the way in, I switched over to Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs because the main character and her love interest were already grinding my nerves.

As a protagonist, Catherine Crawfield showed a lot of potential. She was presented as a badass vampire slayer, à la Buffy, who happened to be half vampire herself. That last part was what really intrigued me. It’s a new twist on an old favorite. The special abilities Catherine boasts from her vampire lineage and her quest to find her father kept me listening, even through the obnoxious romance subplot. Warning: There’s some Twilight-esque shit going down in this book. You’ve been warned.

Everything I disliked about Halfway to the Grave can be attributed to one character: Bones (what a sexy name for a Vampire boyfriend, right?). It turns out that Vampire romances can still be creepy and problematic in Adult fiction, not just YA. Around Bones, our badass heroine was reduced to a weakling in love. Everything to do with Bones was my least favorite part of the story. I think it would have been so much stronger without his character entirely.

Aside from that, the overall plot was very well done. Halfway to the Grave didn’t have the humor element that Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs did, but it had a much better plot. There was a ton of action, from beginning to end. At times, Catherine was terribly naïve, which seemed inconsistent with her “Vampire slayer” side, but I got over it. I think I would continue on with this series before Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangsbut I’m not immediately reaching for the sequel to either of them.

Narration review: As much as I have enjoyed Tavia Gilbert’s previous work, a big part of her performance in Halfway to the Grave missed the mark for me. Overall, it was very well done, with one major exception. I hated her voicing of Bones. Even just reflecting on it makes my skin crawl. He sounded like someone’s grandpa, not their lover, which was really offputting considering the amount of sexual dialogue he had… I’m positive that the way she voiced him was the main reason I couldn’t connect with the character. The accent was like nails on a chalkboard to me. Not sexy at all.

I hate saying that, because I really do like Gilbert’s other work. And even her other characterizations in this title were admirable. She did a lovely job of providing adequate distinction between characters and imbuing them with personality. ♣︎

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