Tag Archives: Dark Fantasy

Mona Lisa Three by Sunny

Overview

Title: Mona Lisa Three
Author: Sunny
Series: Monere: Children of the Moon #1.5
In: Over the Moon (Angela Knight, MaryJanice Davidson, Virginia Kantra & Sunny)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Erotica, Paranormal romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novella
Year: 2011

Thoughts

I’ve yet to read my first full-length Mona Lisa book, although it is sitting in my shelf ready to go. And this novella honestly reminded me of why I’ve had it in my shelf ready to go for so long. This is a bit smuttier than most of the romances that I read, but also so damn delicious.

I love that this takes place after Mona Lisa’s adventures in the first book. It did give me a lot for spoilers but considering this is probably a bit more emotionally and exotically intense than I’m used to, it’s not a bad thing. I love how Mona Lisa is constantly thankful for the two men that she’s in love with and wanting.

This novella takes place in a transitional phase on Mona Lisa’s life. One that highlights how drastically her life changes in such a short period of time. That it uses her very special healing gifts and highlights the complexities in her many relationships just makes me love it even more. In fact, I got so involved in the storyline that I read this beginning to end in one sitting. And managed to walk into a wall while doing it.

I really loved this novella and now look forward to, more than ever reading Mona Lisa Awakening. I should probably finish the books that I’m currently halfway through first though…

<- DriftwoodOver the Moon ->

Image source: Penguin Random House

Transition by Melissa Marr

Overview
Faery Tales and Nightmares

Title: Transition
Author: Melissa Marr
In: Faery Tales & Nightmares (Melissa Marr) & Teeth (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal fantasy, Vampires
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 2012

Thoughts

This was a wonderful short story, but not featuring the paranormal creatures I was expecting. Rather than being about the fae, this was a story of vampires. And it was brilliant. Nothing sexy and desirable about it, all blood and revenge. My kind of vampire tale.

This story had a very vampire noir feel to it. It was a totally different style to what I have been reading thus far from Marr, but I absolutely adored the dark and twisty nature of it. I’m not sure why, but as I read this, I was picturing the 20s flapper style clothing and hard-boiled detectivea running around in the background. Even though neither thing was even touched upon in this story.

This whole story featured a ridiculously vicious cycle. Honestly, it started out as filled with the potential for a semi-decent relationship, but that quickly went away. Ending in a fairly dark and twisty conclusion which starts the vicious circle all over again.

<- Winter’s KissLove Struck ->

Image source: HarperCollins Publishers

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Overview

Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Gothic, Magic, Young adult
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

I started trying to read this book last year at some point. And I remember liking it, but not really getting into it. Picking it up again… I’m REALLY not sure why I couldn’t get into it. I mean, this book is fantastic. I honestly couldn’t put it down. Again, not entirely sure what it was that made me put this aside last year. Because WOW.

To start off with, I loved the twist at the end of this. It was horrifying, and you thought that there might be something horrible. And then the horrible thing happens and you were just… gobsmacked. I mean, what a damn betrayal! And what a way to make me thirst for the next book in the series… like seriously, and desperately thirst for it. I just can’t even believe the power that this book holds over you, long after you turn that final page. Even now, when I’m finally getting to sit down and write a review of it… I’m still completely enthralled and gobsmacked.

I’ve read a lot of stories which are based on historical Europe, but not Slavic Europe. It did take me a little to get my head around the character names. And I am 100% certain that the way I say them in my head is completely incorrect. Which is fine, because no one else is inside my head. Partner that with the holy war that is going on… and although there was a slight sense of familiarity due to the European aspect to it, this felt like a whole new world. One that I seriously can’t wait to get back to… I mean, it is dark and twisted. And, for someone who is a little freaked out by anything with religious connotations, impossible to not want to dive straight back into.

Duncan’s world building is insane and intense. She is able to construct a world that you can’t turn away from. And although a lot is revealed in this novel, there is a lot more to the world and the conspiracies than is imparted in one novel. Which, again, is what makes me want to dive into Ruthless Gods so badly. I mean, the world building and the politics are phenomenal. And even with the betrayal that I didn’t see coming, there is a whole slew of other aspects to this storyline that need answers. Relationships that may become more and more complex…

<- More Emily A. DuncanRuthless Gods ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu

Overview
The Iron Hunt (Hunter Kiss, #1) by Marjorie M. Liu

Title: The Iron Hunt
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Series: Hunter Kiss #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Demons, Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 22nd May – 19th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: For the first time in my life, I did not care.

Synopsis

Silver smoke winds around my torso, peeling away from my ribs and back, stealing the dark mist covering my hands and lower extremities…tattoos dissolving into demon flesh, coalescing into small dark bodies. My boys. The only friends I have in this world. Demons.

I am a demon hunter. I am a demon. I am Hunter Kiss.

By day, her tattoos are her armor. By night, they unwind from her body to take on forms of their own–demons of the flesh, turned into flesh. This is the only family demon hunter Maxine Kiss has ever known. It’s the only way to live, and the very way she’ll die. For one day her demons will abandon her for her daughter to assure their own survival–leaving Maxine helpless against her enemies.

But such is the way of Earth’s last protector–the only one standing between humanity and the demons breaking out from behind the prison veil. It is a life lacking in love, reveling in death, until one moment–and one man– changes everything…

Thoughts

I’ve been hanging to fully get into this series since I read the first Hunter Kiss novella. But, for whatever reasons I’ve been putting it off. But, now I’m definitely going to keep diving into this series. There’s the whole intrigue of the end of the world going on. And a question of heart. A question of loyalty. There’s just a whole lot of wow going on.

I like that Maxine is the first if the hunter women to actually stop and put down roots. They’re still unconventional. But they are roots, nonetheless. It creates a wonderful, sweet and nice world that she is able to rely on. And, since this whole series seems like its going to revolve around the idea that maxine is special and last… it just adds that extra layer of mystery.

I really loved the feeling of mystery and world building that Liu was able to create. I know from some of the other works I’ve read by her that she tends towards a darker style of story. I know that my heart strings are going to be plucked drastically throughout this series.

The boys that surround marine are also adorable. I’m sure that finding demons adorable is a bit odd… but nevertheless, I still find them wonderful. And im not sure if I’m excited for Darkness Calls for the continuation of the storyline… or getting to spend more time with Maxine’s “boys”

<- Hunter KissDarkness Calls ->

Image source: Goodreads

Where Nightmares Walk by Melissa Marr

Overview
Faery Tales and Nightmares

Title: Where Nightmares Walk
Author: Melissa Marr
In: Faery Tales & Nightmares (Melissa Marr)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: It doesn’t stop me as I try to heave myself higher.

Synopsis

We all have nightmares, but some of us need to run a little further than others…

Thoughts

This is a ridiculously short, short story. To the point that I wasn’t even sure whether to count it as a story read… but then I really enjoyed it and realised that I wanted to write about it. So I figured that that was fine. I mean, even the collection didn’t number the pages of this short story, but instead, had the roman numerals on all of the pages.

Having said all that, I absolutely adored this short story. It felt like a nightmare somehow. Just as reading nightmares should feel and sound. Or at least, that’s how I would explain it / how it felt to me. There was just a great surreal and abstract feel to this tale. One that perfectly sets up the writing by Melissa Marr that I’m sure is about to follow.

All in all, this short story was very haunting and beautiful. I loved the feeling that reading these few pages inspired in me and it made me want to pick up the Wicked Lovely books all over again and actually get to the end of the series for the first time!

<- Faery Tales & NightmaresWinter’s Kiss ->

Image source: HarperCollins Publishers

Thin Walls by Christopher Golden

Overview
Image result for death's excellent vacation book cover

Title: Thin Walls
Author: Christopher Golden
In: Death’s Excellent Vacation (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Lust, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 15th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘I can sense those things,’ Diana said.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Tim is on a farewell tour to remember his late wife. When he overhears people in the room next door to him, he realises how thin the walls truly are. And his wish to honour his wife is truly tested.

Thoughts

I figured that this short story would have something to do with succubus, or some paranormal element of that character. After all, it starts with a man alone in a hotel room, with a woody, listening to others have sex. And it’s in a collection of paranormal fantasy stories. It wasn’t exactly a big leap. But, it did end in a way that I wasn’t completely expecting. And I did appreciate quite a bit.

I really don’t love the idea of people ever being able to overhear me and my SO in a hotel room. It’s pretty ick. And I really don’t like the idea of overhearing somebody else. Luckily, at this point in life, it hasn’t actually happened to me. But this storyline… and what happens when Tim overhears certain things… yeah, it added an extra layer of ick to the whole storyline.

Aside from the many ick factors throughout this story, I did love that ultimately, the “vacation” is a farewell tour for a lost wife. It was incredibly sweet and cute. Something that I can imagine doing if I lost my SO… touring all of the places that were important to us and just… remembering.

<- The Perils of EffrijimThe Heart is Always Right ->

Image source: Amazon

Bamboozled by Kelley Armstrong

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: Bamboozled
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #0
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal fantasy, Strong women
Dates read: 23rd October 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: She raised her voice a little, knowing Nate’s ace hearing would pick it up.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Lily has loved Nate for a long time, and they make a great team. Particularly when they’re in the Wild West.

Thoughts

I love reading a paranormal fantasy story and spending it trying to guess what “being” the lead characters are. In the case of this story, I spent my whole time trying to figure out what Nate and Lily’s paranormal species was. I didn’t get it. And now, knowing what I know… I feel like it should have been WAY obvious… but oh well.

The word “bamboozle” has got to be one of my favourites. There is just something… fun about it. So reading a story that features this word as the title was immediately going to draw me in (let alone the fact that it is by a well-loved author and series). But it was the activity of “bamboozling” people throughout this that really had me smiling. And I’m now just going to sit in my little book lair and keep saying the word. Because, seriously, who wouldn’t? It’s a pretty awesome word…

What was I saying?

Oh yeah. This is an awesome short story. You should read it.

Bamboozled.

<- Red DreamsSundown ->

Image source: Amazon

Claimed by Shadow by Karen Chance

Overview
Claimed by Shadow (Cassandra Palmer, #2) by Karen Chance

Title: Claimed by Shadow
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #2, Cassandra Palmer World #4
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal fantasy, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 28th – 31st July 2020
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Roc
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: I wasn’t sure why – obviously she could see without the eye, or come to some approximation of it – but she seemed very depressed about missing her turn.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

A recent legacy made Cassandra Palmer heir to the title of Pythia, the world’s chief clairvoyant. It’s a position that usually comes with years of training, but Cassie’s circumstances are a little… unusual. And now she’s stuck with a whopping amount of power that every vamp, Fey, and mage in town wants to either monopolize or eradicate – and that she herself doesn’t dare use.

What’s more, she’s just discovered that a certain arrogant master vampire has put a geis on her – a magical claim that warns off any would-be suitors, and might also explain the rather… intense attraction between them. But Cassie’s had it with being jerked around, and anyone who tries it from now on is going to find out that she makes a very bad enemy…

Thoughts

This is a great second book to this series. I always find second books are the true hint to as to whether or not the series is worth continuing on. The first book is all about setting up the world 9and sometimes, they were originally supposed to be a standalone). But the second book is a hint as to the pace and style with which the rest of the series is going to set forth. Which made this a fantastic indication that I need to continue reading this series. Because. Wow. What a second book.

At the conclusion to Touch the Dark, Cassie had this great, kind of insane power thrust upon her. And I love that all throughout this book, she is seriously fighting that power. Instead of wanting to be powerful and a major player in the political activities which are surrounding her, she just wants to live a nice, quiet and normal life. To a degree, I get that. I’ve had an extremely eventful life… and all I want is for things to be incredibly boring. These are the kind of characters that I like – those who are powerful in a begrudging, slightly annoyed manner. It also gives many moments of humour throughout the action where she’s just a little bit testy…

Now that the series is starting to truly develop, I can see a few potential love interests for Cassie… and I’m completely intrigued to see who and what will be the ultimate guy that she ends up with. She’s finally lost that pesky virginity (and this is the first time that I’ve enjoyed the virginity sub-plot). But the actual guy who is going to be her happily ever after… I can’t wait to see who that will be!!! Personally, I’m hoping that it’s Tomas. But I think that’s just because I have a very, very attractive man pictured in my mind’s eye…

This novel isn’t just a great story in which Cassie is trying to wrestle with ideas of her new power. It is also a great story in which time travel and dimensional travel occur. From going back to the past, to travelling to Faery there are so many brilliant settings. Then, there’s also the fact that the end of this story indicates that not only is a massive supernatural war about to start. But, there’s a fairly good chance that Dracula is now running free and wild…

<- Touch the DarkEmbrace the Night ->

Image source: Goodreads

Squatter’s Rights by Rochelle Krich

Overview
Image result for home improvement undead edition book cover

Title: Squatter’s Rights
Author: Rochelle Krich
In: Home Improvement (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Horror, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 29th June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Eve was sure.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Eve and Joe have just bought their dream house. But there is something knocking in the walls at night. Who will win this battle of wills?

Thoughts

The start of this story made me think that it was going to be kind of cute and super sweet. Turns out I was wrong. Fairly seriously wrong too to be honest. This is not a sweet short story. It does not have a happy ending. In fact, I don’t suggest reading it just before bed… there is just something goose bump creating about it that left me cringing and feeling very seriously uncomfortable.

I did guess that this story would be a little random due to the name – after all, Squatter’s Rights are based on the idea that whoever lives in a place owns the place. I didn’t realise how truly dark Krich would take the idea and the story though. How uncomfortable I would be at the end of this short story and how much I would enjoy that feeling of discomfort…

There are many things that this story touches upon. But one of the most poignant – the fact that it is seriously easy to lose trust and faith in another person. How easy it can be to manipulate someone into believing that things aren’t all as they seem and matters should possibly taken into their own hands…

<- GrayBlood on the Wall ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Wasted by Jennifer Estep

Overview
Wasted (Elemental Assassin, #2.7) by Jennifer Estep

Title: Wasted
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #2.5
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: AssassinsDark fantasy, Elements
Dates read: 30th June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Jennifer Estep
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: And from some things that Roslyn has said, I thought that Gin might be able to help.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

This short story takes place in between the events of Web of Lies and Venom. One day, a beau­ti­ful woman walks into the bank where Finn works, and trou­ble soon fol­lows.

Thoughts

This was a nice little short story from Finn’s point of view. It takes place not long after Web of Lies and I get the feeling that it also nicely sets the storyline up for Venom. I was also not quite ready to leave the world of Gin and Finn, so this was just a nice little time filler until Venom arrives on my doorstep.

I also seriously enjoyed the action in this story – a bank robbery, setting up another novel and Finn’s irrepressible desire to seduce and romance women. All in all, a great way to fill a short story with not only Finn’s life and the action in it, but his personality. Partner that with the fact that is all written in the first person point of view. Filled with Finn’s wit and style.

Throughout this story, I was laughing and smiling. But, it really wasn’t until the very end that I actually laughed out loud. Or more like, guffawed. It was a nice, poetic ending. And has me seriously jonesing for the next book in the series…

<- Web of LiesVenom ->

Image source: Goodreads