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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two really good novellas from two of my favorite authors
The Gift by Lynsay Sands

Teddy Brunswick is snowed in at his holiday rental cabin and things start to appear bleak until he meets his beautiful, and too young for him, neighbor. Katricia Argeneau has lived a long time and is thrilled to finally have found her life mate in Teddy. Now she'll just need to convince the weary Teddy that what's happening between...
Published on October 25, 2011 by Stephanie G (Reviewer for Para...

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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bite Before Christmas
The Bite Before Christmas features The Gift by Lynsay Sands set in her Argeneau world and Home For the Holidays by Jeaniene Frost, a Night Huntress story.

The Gift by Lynsay Sands

Two days before Christmas, Teddy Brunswick finds himself in a cottage, away from his home town of Port Henry where he is a police chief because he has no family to spend...
Published on October 25, 2011 by A. Schreiner


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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two really good novellas from two of my favorite authors, October 25, 2011
This review is from: The Bite Before Christmas (Hardcover)
The Gift by Lynsay Sands

Teddy Brunswick is snowed in at his holiday rental cabin and things start to appear bleak until he meets his beautiful, and too young for him, neighbor. Katricia Argeneau has lived a long time and is thrilled to finally have found her life mate in Teddy. Now she'll just need to convince the weary Teddy that what's happening between them is real and worth holding on to.

The Gift has a much slower pace compared to the other Argeneau books but it manages to capture everything I like about this series and has a cute story. Teddy is the police chief of the small town of Port Henry, a town that has several immortal (vampire) residents. Instead of feeling like an outcast at some holiday dinner one of his friends will invite him to, Teddy decides to head out of town to a rental cabin. After finding himself snowed in, he meets Katricia and despite feeling guilty for having sexual feelings for a woman who appears to be half his age, he and Katricia hit it off from the start. Katricia knows right away that Teddy is her life mate but needs to take it slow so she doesn't scare him off, which proves to be easier said than done.

I thought Katricia and Teddy made a solid couple and even though their relationship moves quickly, their emotions for each other still felt genuine. I think those who will enjoy The Gift are those who are already fans of the Argeneau series because Teddy is a reoccurring character and one you really want to see get his happily ever after.
My Rating: 3.5 stars

Home For The Holidays by Jeaniene Frost

Vampires Cat and Bones are enjoying a party when it comes to an abrupt end after receiving word of an attack against one their friends. Before their investigation begins, they learn surprising news that quickly turns the powerful pair against each other and threatens their unbreakable relationship.

As usual, Jeaniene Frosts packs a lot of story in just 100+ pages which is why I always look forward to reading her novellas. Home For The Holidays takes place a few weeks after the events in One Grave At A Time. Cat and Bones are celebrating his birthday with a few friends when they receive a phone call of an attack against Annette, friend and Bones' former bed mate. Well, one of them anyways. Before their investigation into the attack really starts, the couple meet another vampire who has an unexpected connection to Bones. It's not long before we learn that the mystery man has an ulterior motive that threatens Bones, Cat and the people they care about.

This was my favorite of the two stories. It was great seeing all my favorite characters again and as you'd expect to find in any Night Huntress story, action and creatures acting up. The best part about this short was Ian. He's in a lot of the scenes and shows, despite having their problems in the past, how much he cares for Bones and the lengths he's willing to go through to help his old friend while still being the sexual deviant we've all come to know and love. I really liked the story and was so interested in it, that I wouldn't have mind it being a full length book.
My Rating: 4 Stars
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bite Before Christmas, October 25, 2011
The Bite Before Christmas features The Gift by Lynsay Sands set in her Argeneau world and Home For the Holidays by Jeaniene Frost, a Night Huntress story.

The Gift by Lynsay Sands

Two days before Christmas, Teddy Brunswick finds himself in a cottage, away from his home town of Port Henry where he is a police chief because he has no family to spend the holidays with. But it has snowed a lot and his cabin has lost power. He also doesn't have much food stocked up, but after looking at the snow covered roads, he is not sure when he will be able to make it to a store. Luckily, he meets the person staying at the neighboring cabin, Katricia Argeneau. Katricia has food, but no heat. Since Teddy has a fireplace in his cabin, they decide, Katricia will bring food over to his place, and they can stay warm by the fire.

What Teddy doesn't realize is that Katricia is a vampire, who has just realized much to her surprise she has found her life mate.

I was very disappointed in The Gift. I will say, this is the first I've read of Lynsay Sands so I am not familiar with her Argeneau world. But this one reads very well as a stand alone. I understand the world, or at least the small glimpse we see in this book. Basically this book is Katricia meets Teddy and realizes she can't read his mind, which is a big signal that he might be her life mate. Teddy knows the existence of vampires, so her coming clean with who she is is not a big shock to him. I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen. Something, anything! But these two just hang out in the cabin. To me, they don't have a spark of attraction between them at all. Their chemistry totally falls flat. It is very much a case of telling us, rather than showing us:

***
The woman was just...Well, she was sassy as hell, smart as a whip, and had a killer sense of humor. He'd laughed more today during their snowball fight, card games, and talks than he'd laughed with any woman ever.
***

Really? Because we never see this fun, crazy side to these two characters.

And then when the big moment comes where Katricia admits to Teddy he is her life mate, it is very anti-climatic. All in all, a disappointing read.

Rating: 2/5

Home for the Holidays by Jeaniene Frost

It's Bones's birthday, and to surprise him, Cat has invited their close friends and family to their home for a party and to stick around for the holidays. Cat wants to have an old-fashioned Christmas. But trouble never stays away long from these two. As Bones opens his presents, they realize Annette, who has flown in from London is not present at the party. Ian offers to go back to the hotel to see what is holding her up, and what he finds isn't good. There is blood all over the hotel room, and Annette is all out of sorts - definitely acting strange. She also refuses to give up the name of the person that hurt her. Frustrated, they take her back to their home, where they have another surprise. But I'm not going to tell you who or what because that will ruin the surprise for you!

I enjoyed this short story - we meet a new character, like I just said, I'm not going to tell you who, but this person holds many secrets about Bones. And, as a result, we learn a lot about Bones's past. I was actually surprised by the depth of what we learn, especially something at the end of this story.

In true Night Huntress fashion, there is a big conflict with lots of violence, one liners from Cat, and the very sexy (and I admit sleazy) Ian has lots of page time. And to pique your curiosity even more, at one point Ian says this to Cat:

***
"That's right, you nasty little vixen, bite me harder." Ian urged.
***

Oh yes - there are some crazy things that happen in this book - but it all works out in the end. Fans of this series are going to want to read this one for some details we learn about Bones.

Rating: 4/5

Overall rating: 3/5
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In these vampy 'holiday' tales it's not "Jack Frost nipping at your" ...um, neck, October 26, 2011
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An odd pairing of holiday vampire novellas served up with a fangy twist - from Sand's light humorous Argeneau vampire romances and Frost's sexy wise cracking Night Huntress urban fantasy series.

(5 stars = I really really liked it) "Home for the Holidays" by Jeaniene Frost - A Night Huntress novella - Looks like Annette has totally one upped Cat's birthday present to Bones but the surprise guest has almost every one in Bone's 'family' acting really wierd - Frost had released the first few chapter of this as a sneak preview a while back but even having read the beginning before, this Cat and Bones short was really excellent. If the anthology had been a mass market release, I'd have almost said that this story was worth the price of the whole book, since "Home for the Holidays" is a pretty substantial novella length short story, with a really great conflict, with a touching moment near the end, and with lots of cameos, plus a decent sized supporting role for Ian - he's so unabashedly bad but with a redeeming touch of loyalty that makes him a standout character.

(3 stars = ok) "The Gift" by Lynsay Sands - an Argeneau connected novella, starring Teddy the Port Henry Chief of Police who has appeared in quite a few of the books (Accidental Vampire for one). Teddy's attempt to avoid a 'charity' invite to one of his paired off friends' holiday celebrations, ends up with him snowed in and with no power, but with a very interesting neighbor to make the experience more interesting. - I was happy that Teddy got his HEA, but there were places where I was borderline squicked with the 60 something Teddy thinking 'gramppa thoughts' while lusting after the 20's looking Katricia. Katricia is around 1600 years old or something like that and Teddy feels bad about scoping her out before he learns her age, and Katricia is on the make from the start but ... I'd have been happier if the lustiness had waited until after the 'turning'. And I have had this pet peeve in the last five or so books, I wish Sands would stop using Little 'fill-in-heroes-name-here' for a significant male body part, it was cute the first time in Thomas' book but needs to be retired.

The last 14% of the book has sneak previews for Sand's next book Under a Vampire Moon (which if the rumors are true, will no longer be a hardback release) and for Frost's first Night Prince (Vlad's spinoff series) I am skipping both teasers - I will just wait for the real thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars short with someone elses book as half of it., March 3, 2013
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disappointed compared to the other Argeneau Family books she has written, especially since only the half of the book was hers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "must read" for Argeneau and Night Huntress fans, January 6, 2013
* Review based on ebook for different ereader

THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is a duology by well-known paranormal writers Lynsay Sands and Jeaniene Frost. I got this book right after it came out in 2011, so thought that I had already read it, especially since I've read and enjoyed some of the Argeneau series and most of the Night Huntress one. Rediscovered recently while searching for season-appropriate books, I thought to do a quick re-read of certain parts, only to realize that I never actually read it. *shakes head at self*

*cue drums of doom as TBR pile shifts yet again*

Yeah, I'll admit it... I got completely distracted and ended up reading this before some other "musts".

Lynsay Sands's "The Gift" was a quick read, but at this point, I may be a bit done with the whole "snowbound in a secluded cabin". Also, I think that I felt less connection to the characters because it's been several years since I last read an Argeneau book. Even though I didn't find "The Gift" particularly striking, it did re-ignite my desire to revisit the Argeneau series and catch up on the books already in my library.

I found Jeaniene Frost's "Home for the Holidays" more satisfying, probably because it's been over a year since the last Night Huntress book and #7 still has a TBA date. Cat and Bones were fine, but as usual, I was entertained more by my love/hate reaction to Annette and Ian.

Overall, both are solid stories and good companion novellas to their respective series. THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is a must for fans of Lynsay Sands and/or Jeaniene Frost.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 BONES & IAN STARS!!, September 19, 2012
This review is from: The Bite Before Christmas (Hardcover)
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS # 6.5

I am working my way through The Night Huntress novellas and outtakes, my little fixes before I get another book in the series to read.

Bones and Cat are that addictive!!

I loved this 153 page read. I could quite easily have seen this story as a full blown book.

A relative comes to visit and all is a bit squiffy. Ian is absolutely t-shirt worthy in this novella. Ian has slowly been creeping into my t-shirt hemisphere. He is so blunt and honest about how he feels about a situation. He is a real keeper..... such a smart pants, I have a big crush on him.

This is the second time Jeaniene has paired Ian and Cat up in a humorous and this time, a little lusty , scene. All in the name of good, although I can't help thinking Ian is enjoying himself a little too much.

This novella mixes, demons, lust, love, a birthday party, of course the uber smexi moments between Bones and Cat * fans one self* and a little mystery/puzzle that needs to be solved to save the ones they love.

The next spinoff is `Night Prince # 1' , Vlad and Leila's story, titled `Once Burned' , due for release 26th June 2012. Vlad is a fave of mine, so I am looking forward to his book.

FAVE QUOTES:

He unzipped his pants and tugged them down. I whirled just in time, barking, " I don't care what you think, your junk does not have special abilities. And I already heard about the piercing," over my shoulder.

" That's not what I wanted to show you," he replied in an implacable voice. "Now stop being a twit and look."

"This better not be one of your sick jokes," I muttered, turning around. Thankfully , the first thing I saw wasn't Ian waggling Mr One Eye at me, though he didn't seem concerned that his hand didn't totally conceal the flesh behind it.

"Wow," I whispered.

He grunted. "If I had a pound for every time a girl said that while in your position."

HA!

Michelle
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Festive and Paranormal at the same time., September 8, 2012
This review is from: The Bite Before Christmas (Hardcover)
There's nothing like a Christmas themed book to put me in the holiday spirit and this anthology is no exception. I'm a newcomer to Lynsay Sands' writing but a long-time fan of Jeaniene Frost's so this novel was a nice mix of new and old for me. I wasn't lost by starting at book 15.5 in the Argeneau series but I did find the storyline a little odd. On the other hand, I'm caught up in Frost' Night Huntress series and couldn't help but get a little giddy at the chance to check-in with Cat and Bones again.

The Gift by Lynsay Sands
This is a cute novella that introduced me to a few of the characters in the Argeneau series and also provided me with a bit of background information. Every author has their own take on vampires but I struggled with Sands' version. It's a little "out there". My understanding is that the undead are a result of some weird science project and they need blood to feed their "nanos". Also, they are originally from the lost city of Atlantis. Sounds more like the makings of a sci-fi novel than a paranormal one in my opinion.

I liked how she spun the mate concept. Vampires have soul mates but sometimes it can take them centuries to find theirs. Katricia is ancient and has spent so many years alone that she no longer craves food or sex but all of that changes when she meets Teddy. At first she's reluctant to inform him of the fact that they're mates for fear of him running for the hills. I don't want to go into too much detail because this is only a novella and I don't want to ruin it but a few unexpected things do happen to keep things interesting. It's a Christmas story though, so as expected, everyone lives happily ever after!

Home for the Holidays by Jeaniene Frost
Ian fans will love this short story because he gets lots of face-time. He's not on my list of favorite fictional characters but he does have a few personality traits that make his POV a fun read. A new persona is introduced in this novella that had my head buzzing with possibilities. Mainly I started speculating as to how Frost was going to incorporate this tidbit into her series. Things didn't work out as I expected but a brilliant author is always a step ahead of her readers!

As usual, Cat and Bones are spectacular together and I gobbled up the pages faster than I would have liked. The next full length novel isn't due out for a while so I try to savor my time with these two as much as possible. Unfortunately for me, that never works out as planned. I become so engulfed in Jeaniene's awesome world that I end up finishing the book in record time without even realizing it until it's too late. Ooh well, if I become desperate I can always re-read an installment or two! Home for the Holidays is a quick and spicy read that'll put you in the mood for more things than just Christmas (if you get my meaning!).

The two stories in The Bite Before Christmas are festive while managing to maintain their paranormal cores. A great read for those looking to read something holiday-themed without having to go overboard on the Xmas cheer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cat and Bones Novella, A Spectacular Treat!, February 28, 2012
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This review is from: The Bite Before Christmas (Hardcover)
Lynsay Sands "The Gift"
I don't believe I've read anything from this author before. I really did enjoy this novella. The plot was predictable, however, it was still enjoyable. I also really loved the twist on where and what the vampires were made of. I also love fun theories like those.

The characters are from the authors An Argeneau Novel series. If this novella is an accurate depictions of the series, than I would describe this as a paranormal romance fantasy. Even though I enjoyed this novella, I'm still on the fence as to whether I'd read the An Argeneau Novel series or not.
3/5 stars

Jeaniene Frost "Home for the Holidays"
This novella is part of the Night Huntress series and takes place after One Grave At A Time. If you have never read the Night Huntress series before, you can still enjoy this novella, as it feels like a standalone to me. However, I highly recommend the Night Huntress series in order (Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave's End, Destined for an Early Grave, This Side Of The Grave and One Grave At A Time

I downloaded this novella solely for the Cat and Bones short story, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I've missed Cat and Bones and it will be a while before the next Night Huntress novel comes out. This short story had a nice mystery feel, with tons of explosive action vampire fighting scenes, in addition to plenty of self-serving and cunning demons. Surprisingly, this had very little sex. This novella was exactly what I was looking for, tons of twisted-humor between Cat and Bones and plenty of high-energy.

I highly recommend this anthology, especially Jeaniene Frost's novella to fellow dark urban fantasy readers and look forward to reading Jeaniene Frost's new Night Prince series starring Vlad & Leila, first book in the series Once Burned due out June 26, 2012.
5/5 stars

I also recommend:
One Grave at a Time: A Night Huntress Novel
Eternal Rider (Lords of Deliverance, Book 1)
Once Bitten
Kissed by Fire (Sunwalker Saga)
Queen of Shadows (A Novel of the Shadow World)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two good stories begging for longer treatments!, October 27, 2011
This review is from: The Bite Before Christmas (Hardcover)
"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. Also, the two books may be about vampires but they don't share quite the same mindset. Bones is a lot more edgy than the more cuddly Teddy. I love both series but didn't like the emotional shift between the two stories in 1 book. I wouldn't recommend reading both in one sitting.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bite Before Christmas, October 26, 2011
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This review is from: The Bite Before Christmas (Hardcover)
This rating is just for the Cat and Bones story, since that's the reason I bought this and it's all I read in the book. LOVED it. I really felt for Bones and the family issues he had to deal with in this one. I enjoyed Cat and Ian teaming up to fight the bad guy...I love anything where Ian has a lot of page time.

Ian on bringing new people under his protection: "Because while I don't require morals from members of my line, I do expect loyalty."

That's Ian to a "T" - he might be the fun, or as Cat says, sleazy, guy you can't help but give a hard time too, however, no one can ever doubt his loyalty to his friends.

I started reading the Argeneau story, but didn't go beyond the first couple chapters. I've read a few books in the series, but this one just didn't grab me. The hero is an older man, probably in his 60s or 70s, and the heroine is 25. Eww. Granted, I'm sure something happens where he's turned and goes back to his "prime" age, but I didn't really care to read that far to find out.

But, if you're a fan of the Cat and Bones series, you won't be disappointed with their latest adventure. It comes in at around 150 pages, so it's a "long" short story, and J. Frost really packs a lot into all those pages. Great read.
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The Bite Before Christmas
The Bite Before Christmas by Lynsay Sands (Hardcover - October 25, 2011)
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