Book Review: Jeaniene Frost’s Once Burned

Posted September 7, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jeaniene Frost’s Once Burned

Once Burned


Jeaniene Frost

urban fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by Avon Publications on June 26, 2012 and has 346 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Halfway to the Grave, First Drop of Crimson, Death's Excellent Vacation, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave's End, Jeaniene Frost, Destined for an Early Grave, Unbound, This Side of the Grave, One Grave at a Time, Eternal Kiss of Darkness, Twice Tempted, The Beautiful Ashes, Bound by Flames, Into the Fire

First in the Night Prince urban fantasy series that is a spin-off from Frost’s Night Huntress series (Bones and Cat).

In 2012, Once Burned won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Vampire Romance and was nominated for the Goodreads Choice for Romance.

My Take

Yes, it is a spin-off based on a minor character in the Night Huntress series, and that’s as close as it gets to resembling it. I suspect that Vlad and Leila will progress into the sort of “law-enforcement” partnership that Bones and Cat have if only to maximize their combined powers. Characters from Night Huntress do make an appearance. It would be silly for them not to since they do know Vlad. But it’s only an appearance.

Frost is setting us up with the series in this book. Building the background of both protagonists and having quite an adventure along the way.

I do like Leila. She’s feisty and doesn’t hang about waiting to see what happens. Oh no, our girl is making use of her gymnastic skills and is on the run. Her and Vlad’s first meeting is too funny because, naturally, she thinks he’s just using the name Vlad. It’s a snark-fest with Leila hurling ’em at Vlad like there’s no tomorrow. And there might not be at the rate she’s going.

Part of her reaction is his statement that she will be in his bed sooner or later. Frost certainly does provide a twist on “courtship”.

It’s kidnappings and rescues, family reunions and the forming of new ones. I do like how she left it. As much as I enjoy the happy-ever-afters, I also enjoy the cliffhangers. Even tiny ones like this.

The Story

A freak accident has left “Frankie” feeling freakish. Enough so that she’s joined a carnival. And one night, her life turns even stranger when she saves a woman’s life in front of too many strangers.

They’ve found her and they won’t stop coming. Luckily, Frankie’s first “client” is seeking the man who can save her.

The Characters

Her real name is Leila Dalton, Frankie is simply short for Frankenstein, and her accident has left her alone. So very alone. She can’t even consider casually touching someone let alone taking someone into her bed. They’ll die. She also is a touch-sensitive, psychometric, and vampires everywhere are coming after her. If kids were going to call her one, she’d be one. Her father is Hugh Dalton, a retired lieutenant colonel, and her sister Gretchen and she are on the outs. Aunt Brenda is the woman who raised Leila and Gretchen after their mother died.

Marty is a dwarf, a vampire, and her partner in their circus sideshow act. It’s perfect since he can withstand her touch. And she reminds him of his dead daughter, Vera. Turns out he’s been keeping a very important secret from her.

Vladislav “Vlad” Basarab Dracul is known in popular fiction as Dracula or Vlad the Impaler. Yup, that one. He’s a vampire, a firestarter, and a mind reader with an interest in Leila. Maximus and Shrapnel are some of Vlad’s vampires. His live-in donors include Ben, Joe, Damon, Tom, Angie, Sandra, and Kate. Hunter is one of the staff.

The Night Huntress Characters include:
Mencheres and Kira and Bones and Cat — Bones teaches Leila a useful trick as part of his war against Tepesh.

Jillian is a sketch artist who contrives a portrait from Leila’s images in the bones. Gabriel Tolvai is one of Vlad’s allies and provides an important clue.

Jackal, Twitchy, Pervert, Rend, and Psycho work for Mihaly Szilagyi, a vampire whom Vlad killed centuries ago.

The Cover and Title

The cover is menacing with a bare-chested Vlad — he obviously hasn’t let himself go over the centuries — looming out of a purple mist.

I can’t help it, every time I read the title I want to finish Once Burned with “twice shy”.