Tag Archives: Paranormal Fantasy

Spark of Shadows by Rachel Madbury

Overview
Spark of Shadows by Rachel Madbury

Title: Spark of Shadows
Author: Rachel Madbury
Series: The Sevens #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Paranormal romanceWitches
Dates read: 6th – 13th April 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: ARC, eBook, Novella
Publisher: Rachel Madbury
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: I have to meet with the man on watch.

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

Synopsis

True love never forgets.

Demons are coming for Cora Gardner. A witch like her sisters, and all the women of her line before her, her existence is threatened not only by mortals who fear what they don’t understand, but by those who live in the shadows and thrive on the darkness.

But when a warrior is summoned to be her guard she’d almost prefer to meet her fate.

Liam Wolfe is not just any warrior, he’s a Seven, created by the covens to protect the most powerful among them. He and his team are the hard edge that keep the violence at bay, so the witches of the world can hold the earth in her balance.

But demons aren’t the only ones drawn to Cora. Despite an animosity from her he cannot comprehend, Liam finds his oath as a Seven tested in the face of temptation. And as evil approaches, secrets are revealed – a truth which threatens everything he’s ever known.

Their past holds the power to reshape his world, but only if he can protect the woman who holds the key.

Thoughts

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest and fair review.

It took me a little bit more to get into this than Splintered Stars. Probably because I had this horrible feeling all throughout the novella that Liam and Cora’s story was going to end in tragedy. After all, their love isn’t mentioned in Splintered Stars, so I felt it was an apt assumption. And whilst I like suspense, I don’t love that constant feeling of tragedy.

Yet, without any spoilers, I did actually love this romance. Its definitely about long lost lovers being reunited. Finding your way back to the one you love and want and just… being with one another. I can’t imagine spending eleven years without the one that I love, but I like the idea that we’d find our way back to one another eventually.

Although I didn’t like this novella prequel quite as much as the first novel in this series, I still seriously enjoyed it. And it just makes me itch all that much more for the second book, which I believe is due to come out soon… now I just have to exercise patience and maturity… two things which aren’t quite my strengths.

<- More Rachel MadburySplintered Stars ->

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

Gap Year by Christopher Barzak

Overview
Image result for teeth ellen datlow terri windling book cover

Title: Gap Year
Author: Christopher Barzak
In: Teeth: Vampire Tales (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Vampires
Dates read: 30th March 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Harper
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Sometimes Retta just wanted more more.

Synopsis

There’s a vampire at the school assembly. And something about him makes Retta want to break the chains of her life and live… more. Maybe she should just join the vampires on her own Gap Year.

Thoughts

This was a wonderfully different premise for a vampire story – vampires that consume feelings instead of blood. I’ve kind of thought something similar in the past, but actually reading a story about it… well, I seriously enjoyed this.

I thought that Gap Year was a brilliant Coming of Age story. One that highlights the need to grow into your own skin and find your own future and reality – it’s also a great beginning of a Gap Year. I didn’t take one myself, but I know a lot of people who did, and I thought that this was the best beginning for one ever.

The aspect of this story that I loved the most, unique vampires, etc. aside – was the fact that Retta is able to leave behind a toxic situation. There can be that moment with childhood friends when you kind of have to break free because it’s just not quite healthy for you anymore. And Retta most certainly does this. But in the most calm and respectful manner possible.

<- All SmilesBloody Sunrise ->

Image source: HarperCollins

Splintered Stars by Rachel Madbury

Overview
Splintered Stars by Rachel Madbury

Title: Splintered Stars
Author: Rachel Madbury
Series: The Sevens #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Paranormal romanceWitches
Dates read: 28th February – 7th March 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: ARC, eBook, Novel
Publisher: Rachel Madbury
Year: 2021
5th sentence, 74th page: Her eyes went wide, the surprise and curiosity clear as she looked past him up the steps.

Synopsis

The greatest witch ever born doesn’t know she is one.

Some secrets aren’t best kept. Some powers can’t be contained. And for Haley Quinlan, when her sister is kidnapped she’ll learn that the life she’s built is a pale shadow to the one she’s meant for.

If she lives long enough.

He’s been watching her for three years but for the first time Lucas Turner sees the truth of who Haley is. It’s nothing he ever imagined. And it’s nothing he’s allowed to have. He’ll usher her into a world she’d been kept from and protect her life with his own, but when their connection sets them on a course filled with darkness and lies, will their greatest risk be each other?

When the world learns who she is, he’ll die for her without question, but what if she lives? What if he does?

Thoughts

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

I’m slowly getting used to reading books on my Kobo. And it’s stories like this that help draw me in and make me want to read ebooks. They may never be my favourite form of literary enjoyment, but they are definitely growing very happily on me. There was something amazing and wonderful about Madbury’s story and I can’t wait to read more tales of The Sevens!

I love that one of the drivers for Haley throughout this story is her love for her sister. Although they are somewhat estranged, she is still trying to find her and putting everything at risk just to save her baby sister. As an older sister, this was such a beautiful and realistic portrayal of what it is like to have a younger sibling. Even in the moments when I have felt distanced from my sister (which all siblings go through), just like Haley, I still would have moved heaven and earth to find her. And the fact that within the epilogue, it is clear that Penny also feels the same about her big sister… it’s just beautiful.

The immediate reaction between Haley and Lucas was nice. But what I liked the most was the way that they both got to know each other and worked towards each other in their acceptance of their attraction. Sometimes it can be a bit on the nose having a story in which immediate attraction means immediate love. In the case of this story, the immediate attraction was tempered by their willingness to get to know each other. It’s incredibly fun and beautiful.

At first I thought that this was a witch – vampire kind of story. The fact that it’s not, and the Seven find other ways to prolong their life was intriguing. I loved how Madbury built this amazing world and lore in such a subtle and unique way. It helps to draw you further and further into her world. I can’t believe that I didn’t get the chance to read the prologue before this novel though, I’d be interested to see how the world was built from the very first.

Splintered Stars is a fantastic paranormal fantasy story. it is filled with magic, mayhem and conspiracies. There is also that wonderful dose of lust and love throughout the story. this may be a paranormal romance story, but it was the conspiracy and sibling relationship that I loved the most… and I can’t wait to read the next story and find out what happens to Penny! And which Seven she falls for…

<- Spark of ShadowsUntitled ->

Image source: Goodreads

Things to Know About Being Dead by Genevieve Valentine

Overview
Image result for teeth ellen datlow terri windling book cover

Title: Things to Know about Being Dead
Author: Genevieve Valentine
In: Teeth: Vampire Tales (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasyVampires
Dates read: 7th February 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Harper
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: I tried to speak, but my throat was too dry; I lay quietly as she smoothed her fingers over my shoulders, my neck, the backs of my arms.

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

Synopsis

It’s not so fun being dead. But there are certain things that you should know…

Thoughts

There is something about Genevieve Valentine’s short stories that always make me smile. And this was no exception. Starting with a death, and then including anecdotes, lists and all sorts of other fun nonsense. I just smiled all the way throughout this short story. The fact that it is the opening story in a collection of vampire stories… well, that made it all that much better!

In all of the vampire books and stories that I’ve read, there hasn’t been much of a humorous aside in what it means to get used to being dead. A few have touched upon the adjustments that the characters have to make. And they’ve even sometimes touched upon the negatives, but mostly, it’s a “look at all the things I’ve gained” approach. This didn’t really do it. It didn’t place becoming dead as a negative endeavour either, just one with a steep learning curve.

There seem to be a lot of teenage vampire stories in the literature. It’s a bit of a trope that sometimes irritates me. But, the way that Valentine deals with this in her story was… not irritating. It was funny and light. And almost felt like it was pulling fun at the trope that can be a little bit overdone…

<- TeethAll Smiles ->

Image source: HarperCollins

The Bite Before Christmas by Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost

Overview
The Bite Before Christmas Large Print :HarperCollins Australia

Title: The Bite Before Christmas
Author: Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost
In: The Bite Before Christmas (Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Paranormal fantasy, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 20th – 26th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: He’d worked with Mabel to try to find Elvi a mate, had planned and arranged local fairs with Elvi.

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

Synopsis

This holiday season, two of today’s most popular paranormal authors invite you into their worlds—where creatures are always stirring . . . and no one sleeps through the night.

Thoughts

I was surprised that this “collection” only contained two novellas. I had half expected it to have more like most of the other collections of this varietal. But somehow it just worked perfectly. I love that both stories are Christmas vampire stories. That they feature long nights and a whole lot of love. And lust. Because there should always be some lust involved…

Both of these stories are so different from one another. The Gift is a beautiful, slow burn romance that leaves you feeling very happy, and just a little bit tingly. Home for the Holidays on the other hand is a little bit more of an action-packed story. One that constantly gets your heart racing and leaves you turning the pages at record speed.

These two novellas were wonderful Christmas stories. They were fun and intriguing. Engaging and definitely a collection that I will be reading again and again in the future.

<- Home for the HolidaysThe Gift ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Home for the Holidays by Jeaniene Frost

Overview
The Bite Before Christmas Large Print :HarperCollins Australia

Title: Home for the Holidays
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Huntress #6.5, Night Huntress Universe #8.5
In: The Bite Before Christmas (Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy, Vampires
Dates read: 26th December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: By the time he’d crossed the room to Denise, her eyes were wide and staring into nothing, all without Ian even needing to speak.

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

Synopsis

Cat and Bones were looking forward to a normal holiday – at least as “normal” as it gets for vampires and their otherworldly friends and family. But their yuletide plans are shattered when a mysterious stranger shows up and reveals long-buried secrets that threaten to take a bite out of their holiday cheer – and lives.

Thoughts

I felt seriously, truly and deeply bad for Bones in this novella. After all, finding family after 200 years and then losing them would be incredibly difficult. Around the holidays and when you just don’t expect it… yeah, that would be seriously difficult and heart wrenching.

Cat and Bones may be two of my favourite urban fantasy characters. They are an amazing couple. One that is quirky and fun. And most definitely loyal. The crap that Cat goes through throughout this story to make sure that Bones is safe is extraordinary. I was both incredibly proud of, and kind of scared for Cat throughout this. Although, as with every Night Huntress story I’ve read so far, it did all end with a happy ending.

Every time I read a Night Huntress story; I want to read more. But I always seem to do it when I’m halfway through a whole other pile of books. So, I never quite get around to it. Maybe this time I will get to sink my teeth into another amazing tale before I get too distracted by another story…

<- The GiftThe Bite Before Christmas ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Overview
A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski - Penguin Books  Australia

Title: A Kiss Before the Apocalypse
Author: Thomas E. Sniegoski
Series: Remy Chandler #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: AngelsParanormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 8th – 16th December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Roc
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: There was a leash law in Boston, but as long as it wasn’t crowded and the dog didn’t bother anybody, Remy didn’t see the harm in letting him run a bit.

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

Synopsis

Boston PI Remy Chandler has a life any man would envy, with friendship, a job he’s good at – and love. But Remy is no ordinary man. He’s an angel who chose to renounce heaven and live on Earth. So he’s able to will himself invisible, hear thoughts, and speak and understand any language – of man or beast. Talents that will become invaluable to him when his angelic past returns to haunt him…

The Angel of Death has gone missing, and Remy’s former colleagues have come to him for help. But what at first seems to be about tracing a missing person turns out to involve much more – a conspiracy that has as its goal the destruction of the human race.

And only Remy Chandler can stop it…

Thoughts

Whilst I enjoyed this novel, I didn’t fall madly in love with it. Mostly I think that it was the style of writing. I actually thought that the storyline was brilliant. Even if it was quite religious (I have a tendency to freak a little bit over religious things). But, overall, I found this really enjoyable, with a few aspects I would love to improve upon.

Most of the fantasy stories I read which feature an immortal being are ones that focus on the benefits. I loved the fact that Remy’s one true love in this collection is already aged. He’s had his benefits and all of the positives that come with falling in love. But, now, in this story, there is more of a focus on the negatives that come with falling in love when you’re immortal. I also loved the way in which Madeline is completely accepting of not only Remy, but her own demise. In fact, she actually, ultimately yearns for it.

Recently, I read Hounded by Kevin Hearne. I love that this year I’ve managed to read two books which feature a dog as a sidekick who is able to communicate with their master. And they are both done beautifully. Marlowe, in fact, reminds me a lot of one of my dogs. He’s a big goof ball, kind of useless and totally loveable. Plus, there is a simplicity and honesty to his interactions with Remy that is just so damn pure. I mean, there is a reason why dogs are seen as man’s best friend after all.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book and will most definitely buy more books in this series. But it will probably be one of those series that I pick up and put down a little more frequently. Thoroughly enjoyable, but not entirely powerful enough to draw me in and pull me out of daily life like some of the other books on my shelves.

<- More Thomas E. SniegoskiNoah’s Orphans ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison

Overview
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison

Title: The Good, the Bad, and hte Undead
Author: Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 4th October – 28th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Eos
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: Brow furrowing, I looked down at my red blouse, black skirt, nylons, and ankle-high boots.

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

Synopsis

It’s a tough life for witch Rachel Morgan, sexy, independent, bounty hunter, prowling the darkest shadows of downtown Cincinnati for criminal creatures of the night.

She can handle the leather-clad vamps and even tangle with a cunning demon or two. But a serial killer who feeds on the experts in the most dangerous kind of black magic is definitely pressing the limits.

Confronting an ancient, implacable evil is more than just child’s play – and this time, Rachel will be lucky to escape with her very soul.

Thoughts

Finishing this novel gave me a pretty major book hangover… there is just something about Harrison’s writing that has me absolutely, totally and utterly hooked. And in love. And just in my general, serious happy place. It took me a little longer than usual to read this, because I knew that once I allowed myself to sink into the story, I wouldn’t want to look away. Which is exactly what happened. And then, when I finished it… I didn’t really want to read any other stories…

Trent seems to me like he’s completely winning the battle of wits between Rachel and himself. It makes me wonder if he’s maybe not truly the evil, devil man that I originally thought. And, after reading The Turn, I have SOOOOO many questions about what happened to him between the two storylines… I mean, there are so many unanswered questions and… well, things to be answered! It gives me hope that maybe he’s not as truly, deeply evil as I thought, and just messed up and morally grey… although I can definitely attest to the fact that Piscary is most definitely evil. Which is nice. It’s always good to have at least one clear, cut, and dry villain.

Rachel is probably one of the most accident-prone characters that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time. Not accident prone in the sense of physically… but circumstantially? Yeah. She tends to find herself in one horrible situation after another. It serves to not only be an entertaining read, but draws you further and further into the storyline. Completely powerful, completely unforgettable and so much damn fun.

Ivy and Jenks kind of felt like they stole the show a little bit in Dead Witch Walking. They didn’t so much in this, they fell strongly into the secondary character role. That’s not to say that they didn’t still shine. Jenks is still funny, witty and fiercely loyal and independent. I absolutely adore him for that fact. And Ivy? Well, Ivy is one of the most complex and tragic secondary / supporting characters that I’ve had the pleasure of coming across in quite a while. She’s also a terrifying best friend. I mean, who doesn’t want a best friend who kind of wants to eat you all the time?

I seriously loved this novel, and I can’t wait to get through the TBR that is currently sitting next to me so that I can sink my teeth into Every Which Way But Dead. I just need to finish the monster TBR piled next to me first… otherwise, it could fall on my head while I sleep…

<- Dead Witch WalkingUndead in the Garden of Good and Evil ->

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.

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

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