This Side of the Grave by Jeanine Frost

(Night Huntress, #5)

Danger waits on both sides of the grave.
Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they've triumphed over the latest battle, Cat's new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance . . .
With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally"; the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war . . . to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

“Ask me if I sparkle and I’ll kill you where you stand.”

My favorite of the series - 'The Side of the Grave' holds the best qualities of the Night Huntress books while mainly leaving the small annoyances behind.

Cat has grown on me more since she's shed some of the annoying, in the face, immature attitude. Bones is still yummy and protective. Their relationship is in no way in the new stages anymore but they still keep it fresh. They work together as a tough team that - while some natural disagreements come up - have each others backs. There's some sex scenes but nothing too overbearing to where it ruins the plot. Most of the magic of that was lost on me after the first few books, but thankfully Frost mainly concentrates on story over steam.

Vlad is hilarious and steals any page he walks on - he's definitely my favorite character, will have to try his side book although I have a feeling that through his viewpoint he may lose some of the mysterious charm he has now. He has a tough side that works with the series but he also brings in needed humor. Bones and Cat have some humor as well but it works even better with ol' Drac around.

Marie as the voodoo queen is creepy and brings a dark grittiness to the series that it needed. Sure, it was dark before, but this brings in a different element when the actual dead become so heavily involved. It almost reminds me of old school Anita Blake black noir feel when that series was actually good.

Mancheres and his new lady love bring in the charm too as more sides of the ancient are seen when sparks fly. Cat adopts some new powers that make her stand out compared to other UF series characters, and I'm glad the author embraced the vulnerable feel with these powers instead of letting it go to the main character's head. The villain was interesting to fit with the story's flow, although not a particularly strong opponent in the end.

There's a truly sad occurrence with a family member, but there's a small cliffhanger on the last pages that holds a punch of humor and made me smile and feel better about that plot turn.

Cat will never be a favorite of mine, but she's more endurable - and when paired when some creative side characters who make it impossible to turn my eyes away, the story shines. Now officially a fan of the series.

   Book Quotes:

“Kitten, your hands are heaven and your eyes are my home.”

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