Tag Archives: Lilith Saintcrow

The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women edited by Marie O’Regan

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women
Author: Marie O’Regan, Kim Lakin-Smith, Sarah Pinborough, Kelley Armstrong, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman, Sarah Langan, Elizabeth Massie, Alex Bell, Alison Littlewood, Nina Allan, Lisa Tuttle, Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, Mary Cholmondeley, Marion Arnott, Lilith Saintcrow, Nancy Kilpatrick, Muriel Gray, Cynthia Asquith, Amelia B. Edwards, Elizabeth Gaskell, Gail Z. Martin, Edith Wharton & Gaie Sebold
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror, Short story collections
Dates read: 29th June – 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: She was a sickly child, prone to unaccountable fits and agues, and her parents were convinced on more than one night that she would not live to see the dawn.

Synopsis

25 chilling short stories by outstanding female writers

Women have always written exceptional stories of horror and the supernatural. This anthology aims to showcase the very best of these, from Amelia B. Edwards’s ‘The Phantom Coach’, published in 1864, through past luminaries such as Edith Wharton and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, to modern talents including Muriel Gray, Sarah Pinborough and Lilith Saintcrow.

From tales of ghostly children to visitations by departed loved ones, and from heart-rending stories to the profoundly unsettling depiction of extreme malevolence, what each of these stories has in common is the effect of a slight chilling of the skin, a feeling of something not quite present, but nevertheless there.

If anything, this showcase anthology proves that sometimes the female of the species can also be the most terrifying…

Thoughts

This is a fantastic collection. One which I thoroughly enjoyed but learnt fairly quickly that I shouldn’t be reading this late at night… after all, some of these ghost stories are actually kind of scary. And reading them late at night with the wind blowing through the house while you’re home alone… not the best decision making of my life. To be fair, it’s also not the worst…. But that’s a whole other story.

I love that all of these ghost stories are written by women. I definitely believe that we need a collection of women-only writers more often. Or at least, I need to buy more to put on my shelves… although not all of these stories had strong women as the voice, they still felt more relatable than many of the stories that I read by men. I suppose shared experience and all that nonsense.

As a kid, I was never into ghost stories or tales of things that go bump in the night. Although I’ve gotten more into the genre over the past few years, it’s still sometimes not the most powerful driver for me. This collection though is swaying me more and more towards those horror stories.

<- The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories 2Field of the Dead ->

Image source: Goodreads

Death’s Excellent Vacation edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for death's excellent vacation book cover

Title: Death’s Excellent Vacation
Author: Charlaine Harris, Sarah Smith, Jeaniene Frost, Daniel Stashower, A. Lee Martinez, Jeff Abott, L.A. Banks, Katie MacAlister, Christopher Golden, Lilith Saintcrow, Chris Grabenstein, Sharan Newman & Toni L.P. Kelner
In: Death’s Excellent Vacation (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 4th June – 26th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Still, appearances were deceiving.

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Synopsis

An all-new anthology of vampire stories edited and with an introduction by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner.

Thoughts

I absolutely loved this collection. I normally love anything to do with paranormal fantasy anyway. But this is a particularly good one. After all, it’s all paranormal fantasy and urban fantasy stories that feature vacations.

It’s coming to that kind of year that I wish I got vacation time in y job. That I wish I could just take some time off and do whatever it is that people do on vacation. Which meant that it was really lovely to read a collection of short stories that feature vacations. All of which made me a little more thankful that I haven’t been going on vacation.

This is a collection that has a little bit of romance, a lot of humour, and generally anything that could possibly go wrong when you have vacation time does. It had me smiling and laughing throughout. I will most definitely be reading this one again.

<- Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement ParkTwo Blondes ->

Image source: Amazon

The Heart is Always Right by Lilith Saintcrow

Overview
Image result for death's excellent vacation book cover

Title: The Heart is Always Right
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
In: Death’s Excellent Vacation (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Gargoyles, Paranormal fantasy, Romance
Dates read: 19th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: EvilMart probably didn’t prepare her for this.

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Synopsis

A gargoyle with a crush realises that the woman he’s been crushing on might just be his ticket to looking… well, less gargoyle-like. But he has to sacrifice his Heart first.

Thoughts

This was such a cute and sweet short story. I love that there are so many different meanings to the title, depending on what point of the story you are at. The different meanings drew me in completely and left me feeling very happy and content.

I don’t get the privilege of reading many stories about gargoyles. But, ever since watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I’ve been fascinated with gargoyles. Happily looking forward to any of the stories I can find that feature these creatures.

The lore and the worldbuilding in this short story are intense. I honestly can’t believe that there aren’t more books set in this world. It is just so damn textured and detailed. I want more!

<- Thin WallsThe Demon in the Dunes ->

Image source: Amazon

My Moira by Lilith Saintcrow

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: My Moira
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 17th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “He’s temporary.”

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Synopsis

Georgia hasn’t seen her college roommate, Georgia in a long time. But out of the blue, she shows up and gives her a pendant. Then the ghosts start to appear and things start to get… bloody.

Thoughts

I really liked this story. After all, it featured two friends getting revenge on an evil ex-husband. Alright, the friendship is a bit damaged and horrible. But it’s still about a friendship and people who care about one another. I also like that Georgia accepts that the past was not all lovely, but still recognises it as her own. Her own memories and her own desires.

Moira is that friend that I think everyone has at one point in life. The friend that is glamorous and the centre of attention, but isn’t able to stop and think about how her actions actually affect anyone else. That takes advantage of you, but, for some reason you still want in your life. I honestly think that everyone has had that experience. And it’s a difficult one that you don’t know to keep or walk away from. I like that Georgia also felt this way about Moira.

The open-ended, full of possibilities nature of the end of this story was wonderful. It was fun and I really enjoyed reading this. It was definitely the kind of short story that I would enjoy reading again.

<- Another One in from the ColdForget Us Not ->

Image source: Goodreads

Urban Enemies edited by Joseph Nassise

Overview
Image result for urban enemies book cover

Title: Urban Enemies
Author: Joseph Nassise, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Jeff Somers, Craig Schaefer, Lilith Saintcrow, Kevin Hearne, Caitlin Kittredge, Carrie Vaughn, Jonathan Maberry, Faith Hunter, Jon F. Merz, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Steven Savile, Domino Finn, Seanan McGuire & Sam Witt
In: Urban Enemies (Joseph Nassise)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Short story collections, Urban fantasy, Villains
Dates read: 31st July – 30th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Gallery Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: He’d sent her out of the morgue just long enough to make a quick phone call in private.

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Synopsis

Villains have all the fun

For every hero trying to save the world, there’s a villain trying to tear it all down – and in this star-studded urban fantasy anthology, the villains get their say. Told from antagonists’ points of view, this is a rare glimpse into the dark side of your favorite series.

John Marcone decides to battle a cantrev lord instead of going after Harry Dresden in Jim Butcher’s “Even Hand” (Dresden Files). Loki traverses Hell to ahve a sit-down with Lucifer in Kevin Hearn’es “The Naughtiest Cherub” (Iron Druid Chronicles). Kelley Armstrong’s “Hounded” (Cainsville) tells the tale of the Huntsman’s plot to replace his missing hound in a most surprising fashion. The cuckoos are powerful telepathic predators, but one finds herself with difficult decisions to make in Seanan McGuire’s “Balance” (InCryptid). In Jonathan Maberry’s “Altar Boy” (Joe Ledger), the man called Toys is no saint, and certainly isn’t playing around…

Includes other stories by Domino Finn (Black Magic Outlaw), Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Steven Savile (Glass Town), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jeff Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), and Sam Witt (Pitchfork County).

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this collection, but it was a little more difficult to get through. Unlike a lot of anthologies, every single one of these stories was placed in an already established world and series. However, unlike the few other books that I’ve read which have the same setup, these shorts didn’t stand by themselves very well. Actually, some were just downright confusing because I had no idea what was happening.

What I did love about this collection is that even though I wasn’t 100% about what was happening… there was a little introduction at the beginning of each story. It just explained the worlds and series in a brief manner. Not excellently because I still didn’t actually get what was happening in a number of stories, but enough that it helped me to place the stories a little.

I’d be keen to reread a number of these short stories. Particularly once I’ve actually read the series in which they are situated. At this point, they’re all on my wish list, so it’ll happen… eventually. I seriously need to stop starting a series and then starting a new one… should really finish a few before I get too hooked into a new series.

 <- Everywhere ReviewEven Hand Review ->
Image source: Simon & Schuster

Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow

Overview
Image result for book cover working for the devil

Title: Working for the Devil
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
Series: Dante Valentine #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Demons, Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 14th – 20th October 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: The Hall had been hell – a true hell, a human hell, withou the excuse of demons to make it terrifying.

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

Dante Valentine’s working relationship with the Devil wasn’t her choice – but you can’t turn down a contract with Lucifer and live. 88 Hired to kill fugitive Vardimal Santino, Dante can count as allies only a demon familiar she doesn’t trust and a small band of psychics. The thing is, Dante doesn’t need friends, she needs a miracle. Because the first time Dante Valentine met Santino, she almost died.

Thoughts

I’ve been meaning to get to the first Dante Valentine book for quite a while now… mostly because I’ve loved the short stories that I’ve read in this series and by Lilith Saintcrow in general. But it’s never seemed a good time to start a whole new series. But, I finally succumbed. And boy, am I glad that I did. Although now I have to wait until I have the money to buy the next books in the series… which is problematic because I want to know what happens next!!! The occurrences in this story are completely ground breaking, and normally happen about 3 books into an urban fantasy series like this… not at the very beginning!!!

Working for the Devil has kind of a tragic end. I’m hoping that things will turn out better in the next book. It was also nice to have a story that didn’t end with a happily ever after. For starters it makes me want to read the next book more than any other urban fantasy I’ve read recently. And it also is a reminder that life doesn’t exactly end up the way you want it too. I might get really mad if I find out that she’s pregnant in the next book though… that’s just not a good trope.

The amount of backstory and hints that Saintcrow manages to sneak into her storyline. She has a past lover, past injuries and a past enemy. All of which manage to jump out at her as she races to stop a demon at the bequest of the devil. It’s a pretty fast-paced storyline. Which is what I love – something that gets the heart racing, and makes it impossible to put down. I also loved that all of these past hurts aren’t fully described in the novel, but expanded on enough that you know parts of the story, and just want to know more. It also made one hell of a tough chick as the lead – someone who is totally damaged, and for me, incredibly easy to relate to.

Working for the Devil moves up my list for favourite urban fantasy stories. It has a kick arse chick with a penchant for death, a horrid history and a band of ragtag mates that are loyal to the core. Alright, it fits a lot of fairly typical themes and tropes for the books on my shelves, but there’s a reason why they fill my shelves. They’re fun, engaging and far more relatable than any of the male-driven storylines that also tend to sit on my shelves.

 <- Coming Home ReviewDead Man Rising Review ->

Image source: Fantastic Fiction

Kiss by Lilith Saintcrow

Overview
Image result for urban enemies book cover

Title: Kiss
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
Series: Jill Kismet #6.5
In: Urban Enemies (Joseph Nassise)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Demons, Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 22nd September 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gallery Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: You must agree that’s only fair.

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

Is it the kiss of steel or the kiss of death? What could this horrifying creature be planning for?

Thoughts

I’m still not entirely sure what the storyline in this tale was. I’m more than a little confused by it. But I liked the darkness. The idea of a villain plotting against her victims for decades… and there was a lot of information about kisses and debts to be paid… like I said, not entirely sure what I was actually reading about… but I know that I liked what I did understand.

Most of the short stories that I read are really good standalones. This is not really one of those stories. It’s kind of hard to follow, and the insidiousness of the villain seems to be highlighted better in the preceding stories. it made it a little hard to fear and question the villain than other stories in this collection. Because I just didn’t know how much of a villain she truly was…

This story was a lot about plotting. Every move is calculated and part of a much larger scheme. It reads like a set up for the next Jill Kismet novel. One that will pay dividends when you finally get up to that point in the series, but a short story that doesn’t necessarily draw me into the world and make me want to rush out and buy the first novel.

 <- Sixty-Six Seconds ReviewThe Naughtiest Cherub Review ->
Image source: Simon & Schuster

The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance edited by Trisha Telep

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance

Title: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance
Author: Trisha Telep, Sherri Erwin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jenna Black, Jenna Maclaine, Raven Hart, Delilah Devlin, Keri Arthur, Kimberly Raye, Alexis Morgan, Lilith Saintcrow, C.T. Adams, Cathy Clamp, Susan Sizemore, Dina James, Colleen Gleason, Barbara Emrys, Savannah Russe, Shiloh Walker, Vicki Pettersson, Rebecca York, Rachel Vincent, Amanda Ashley, Karen Chance & Nancy Holder
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance, Short story collections, Vampires
Pace: Fast
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: I have travelled the world in search of knowledge, studied with every important intellectual from da Vinci to Hawking.

Synopsis

Love is a weapon in the face of evil.

From the biggest names in paranormal romance, here are over 25 tales of a hunger like no other…

Let Karen Chance, Keri Arthur, Lilith Saintcrow, C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, Amanda Ashley, Vicki Pettersson and Susan Sizemore and others take you hot-blooded on the trail of the sexiest creatures of the night.

In the world of the Undead there are strange codes of conduct, dark rituals and dating games, as they seduce the locals and engage in the most sensual encounters you’ll sink your teeth into this side of the grave.

These ain’t your mother’s vampires!

Thoughts

I kind of loved this collection. It definitely isn’t one that you can read cover to cover in one sitting – there’s only so many vampire romances that I can happily read before they start to blend into one. But as a slow read that I just picked up every now and again… it was really, really good.

The short stories in this collection ranged from the classical and predictable vampire stories to ones that took a whole new spin on the ideal. Some were just sweet and some just downright disturbing. And although they all follow a similar theme, not one is the same. I now have a very long list of new authors and series that I want to sink my teeth into…

<- Red Letter DayFade to Black ->

Image source: Goodreads

A Stand-up Dame by Lilith Saintcrow

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance

Title: A Stand-up Dame
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (Trisha Telep) & By Blood We Live (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance,  Vampires
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: I chopped the was we used to chop rattlers back on the farm and, when her body stopped flopping and the gouts and gouts of fresh streaming blood had soaked a wide swatch of rain-flattened grass, I dropped the shovel in too.

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Synopsis

Jack wakes up in a grave with a bullet hole in his head. All he can remember is the dame in the green dress. And then he realises that the most stand-up dame might be the one who has been right in front of him all along.

Thoughts

I liked the voice in this story. It was that very 20’s and had that kind of roughened P.I. tone to it that I have become used to in some of the more vampire noir stories. There was something about the language and storyline that just drew me in from the beginning. Mostly though it was just the fact that although this was a vampire romance, the vampire part was implied, and not outright explained.

One of my favourite things about this story was the very beautifully open-ended. I was disappointed in some ways, but I also liked the fact that it was up to my own imagination to understand what happened next. Actually… imagining multiple endings has both been incredibly fun and really frustrating.

 <- Vampire Unchained ReviewUntitled 12 Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Coming Home by Lilith Saintcrow

Overview

The Mammoth Book of Vampire RomanceTitle: Coming Home
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
Series: Dante Valentine #5.5
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: DemonsParanormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: I wonder if he’ll show up.

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

Synopsis

A past love shows up at Liana’s doorstep asking for help. Will she have the strength to say no? Or will it continue to drag up memories from her past?

Thoughts

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure of what was going on in a lot of this story. It takes place at the end of a series and it makes it incredibly hard to truly understand the tensions that are occurring throughout the story. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t go out and buy the first book in the series as soon as I was finished.

For me, this story opens up a whole new world in my mind’s eye. A world of vampires and demons and some kind of assassin. And I can’t wait to find out more about it. Even in this short story, there is this amazing world building, complex relationships and a past that is haunting the protagonist. All in all, a fantastic introduction into a new world that I now have to await to arrive at my doorstep.

 <- Brother’s Keeper Review Working for the Devil Review ->
Image source: Goodreads