Tag Archives: Paranormal Fantasy

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Dead Man’s Hand by Christie Yant

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: Dead Man’s Hand
Author: Christie Yant
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Mr. Sutherland immediately turned his weapon over to Ed Durham, proprietor, and waited peacefully while a miners’ jury was assembled.

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Synopsis

Going through the different hands that were once called “Dead Man’s Hand” and regaling the dead men that held them…

Thoughts

I loved how each little tale of death in this story started off with a hand of cards. And they were the cards that each of the characters were holding. Not that I’ve ever gambled much or played many card games, but it was interesting to see what a Dead Man’s Hand actually was.

It’s also nice how a collection called Dead Man’s Hand ends with a story of that same name. Featuring the cards that originally coined that term. It was well done and rounded out this Weird western collection brilliantly.

All in all, this was a fun and engaging short story. It was well written and left me with a huge smile stretched across my face. As all final short stories in an anthology should be.

<- NeversleepsDead Man’s Hand Collection ->

Image source: Amazon

A Silver Music by Gaie Sebold

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

Title: A Silver Music
Author: Gaie Sebold
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 2 (Managed to read it… just)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: The lettering of a human hand, be it hasty scrawl or copperplate or the awkward, childlike printing of the barely literature, connected one to the writer.

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Synopsis

A ghost story that will draw you in and entrance you.

Thoughts

It took me a little while to get into this story and really figure out what was even going on. And even then, it was most certainly not my favourite short story in the whole collection.

I struggled with this. Actually, I thought it might be because I wasn’t really paying attention, but I tried rereading this about three times before I just pushed my way through.

Definitely not my favourite short story, but maybe I’ll have to give it another shot in the future.

<- AfterwardThe Mammoth Book of Golden Age Detective Stories ->

Image source: Goodreads

Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park by Toni L.P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for death's excellent vacation book cover

Title: Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park
Author: Toni L.P. Kelner
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: Paranormal fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves
Dates read: 26th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Isn’t there anything else I can do to help?’

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Synopsis

Joyce is a recently turned werewolf who just wants a nice quiet vacation. To the amusement park that she remembers from her childhood. But things have changed a little…

Thoughts

This was such a fun and cute short story. I can’t say that I have an amusement park that I’m nostalgic for, or even a pirate that I had a teenage crush on. But this certainly made me wish that I did. After all, Joyce manages to not only save the park of her childhood, but also hook up with her crush. I mean, what more could you want?

Alright, you could also want to add into that mix vampires and werewolves. Then it is really a great short story. After all, a bit of supernatural banter and lust to round out a fun story… I finished this tale with a huge grin across my face.

Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park was a fantastic way to finish off the Death’s Excellent Vacation. For starters, Joyce repeatedly states that she’s actually on vacation. But it’s also just really pleasant and fun. What a light, humorous and wonderful way to round out a seriously fun collection.

<- Home from AmericaDeath’s Excellent Vacation ->

Image source: Amazon

Prom Nights from Hell by Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle

Overview
Image result for prom nights from hell book cover

Title: Prom Nights from Hell
Author: Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle
In: Prom Nights from Hell (Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Young adult
Dates read: 4th – 24th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: We could have; my house was miles from town on an unmaintained dirt road, with no nearby neighbours to complain.

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Synopsis

Worried that prom is gonna bite?

In this collection, bestselling authors including Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) and Meg Cabot (How to be Popular and The Princess Diaries) take bad Prom nights to a whole new level – a paranormally bad level…

Wardrobe catastrophes and two left feet are nothing compared with discovering you’re dancing with the Grim Reaper – and he isn’t here to tell you how hot you look…

From vampire exterminations to angels fighting demons, these five stories will be more fun than any DJ in a bad dinner jacket. No corsage or limo rental necessary – just great, sexy, scary fun!

Thoughts

This wasn’t too bad a collection. It was a bit soured for me towards the end since I don’t really like Stephenie Meyer. And she was the author who rounded out the collection. But, the other four novellas were still great, so, ultimately I really enjoyed this collection.

I’ve always thought that prom was incredibly stupid. I wouldn’t have gone to my own formal, if it wasn’t for the fact that the school told us we wouldn’t graduate if we didn’t go. Luckily for me, this collection proved that prom is stupid. And at least these stories featured some really entertaining and interesting proms. Ones that I might have even been excited to go to.

I liked all of the stories in this collection. I didn’t necessarily jump head over heels for each of them (with Cabot and Harrison’s being exceptions to this). But I did enjoy the majority of the stories. They were fun and quirky and took me on an adventure that I really wasn’t expecting.

Even though this isn’t my favourite anthology on my shelves. I would most certainly read it again.

<- Hell on EarthThe Exterminator’s Daughter ->

Image source: Harper Collins

Afterward by Edith Wharton

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

Title: Afterward
Author: Edith Wharton
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 24th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 1910
5th sentence, 74th page: What was it?

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Synopsis

They wanted to move into a haunted house. But what they didn’t realise is that they wouldn’t realise that they had been haunted until Afterward. Long, long Afterward.

Thoughts

Afterward is all about the power of hindsight. Or at least, that’s what I noticed about this. Every moment is hindsight on the one before and focuses on the ways in which knowing something afterward can be wonderful. But in the moment, in kind of sucks.

This couple face a whole number of issues in their endeavor to live in a haunted house. And honestly… anyone who wants to live in a haunted house is, well, kind of an idiot. Why would you want to live in a haunted house? It seems horrifying and… just not a great idea…

This was a fun and intriguing story. I didn’t get entirely swept away by it, which is why it has a slightly lower rating than other stories, but I definitely had a good time reading it. And as the second to last story in the The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women collection, it has a great sense of winding down from all the horror of the other stories.

<- Among the Shoals ForeverA Silver Music ->

Image source: Goodreads