Some of my recent reads...
The Unseelie Throne, Maze of Shadows Book Three by Kathryn Ann Kingsley
I don't even remember who recommended this series to me, but I adore it. It shows the dark, twisty side of the fae in all their glorious, wickedness while also showing that even the evil guys have hearts that can break. Oh, my. It has suspense to it as I'm dying to know what happens to Valroy and to see what our new Unseelie Queen will do to get him back. Queen Titiana just might have a fight on her hands. I'm anxiously waiting. I find myself in a season where the dark, gritty reality of love and life are intriguing and this book satisfies that completely while also achieving other markers such as slow-burn romance, magic, strange new world and creatures, devious characters and loveable ones, heartache, and enemies who just might not be enemies at all.
#kathrynannkingsley Check her out on Instagram. I found her books on Amazon. They're available on Kindle Unlimited, too.
Rise of the Death Fae series by Val Saintcrowe
This series by Val Saintcrowe is a little dark and does have some potential triggering events. Val Saintcrowe bills it as reminiscent of Ancient Roman battles, but I'd go as far as to peg it more along the lines of Ancient Sparta's culture/society. At any rate, this series drew me in from the beginning. It is tragic and appalling at times, but it is also so raw and touches on darker realities no one likes to acknowledge--about humanity and individuals. I truly loved it. I've only been able to read the first two books in the series, as book three won't come out until January of 2022. I'm anxiously waiting to see what Onivia manages, because I have a feeling she's going to grow a backbone and become even more amazing.
You can find Val's books on Amazon and these are available on Kindle Unlimited.
Demonbane: The Dark Talons Book One by Marie Robinson
Oooo. I found this on a recommendation from someone in the FB reader group, Romantic Fantasy Shelf. Demonbane The Dark Talons Book One by Marie Robinson is super good. Bane is a warrior of warriors, and I am pretty sure he's my newest book boyfriend. If you like kick a$$ warriors with some steamy scenes and treasure maps, magic, and treachery, you will like this book as much as I did.
You can check Marie out on Instagram #authormarierobinson and find her books on Amazon. As I'm partial to Kindle Unlimited, you won't be disappointed because the book is free to read for those of you who have KU.
Forgotten Scars: Scars of Days Forgotten Book 1 by Natalie J. Reddy
I ran into this author on Instagram, #nataliejreddy , and I wanted to give her book a go. I liked it. There is an air of mystery to it as Wren tries to understand the new people in her life--the ones who kidnapped her but also saved her when she needed it. If you get into the supernatural, modern-day people living amongst the average societal person, you won't be disappointed by this story. You can follow Natalie on Instagram and find her books on Amazon.
Kiss Me, If you Dare by Alyssa Clarke
Wow. I genre hop at times when I feel overrun by my genre of choice, romantic fantasy, so I grabbed a copy of Alyssa Clarke's Kiss Me, If You Dare. It is part of her series, Wagers and Wallflowers, available on Kindle Unlimited. I am a sucker for romances that grow between two people out of other types of relationships. In this instance, Percy Devereaux is the guardian of his best friend's little sister. His friend, Matthew, has been dead for two years now, and he's been watching over Frederica all this time. And somehow, he missed she was a woman, not a little girl. Yet, his honor insists he find her a respectable husband and see that she is happily settled. Frederica, on the other hand, has no misgivings--her heart belongs to the devilish marquess who has been her faithful guardian. Spurred on by a dare from her friends, she is determined to kiss Percy and show him that they should be together. But, what happens when she manages that kiss, and what happens when Matthew turns out to be alive...and he comes to find his sister? Well, if you're curious, you'll have to grab your own copy.
This is a series, and I ended up reading all of them through book 5 since books 6 thru 10 are not released yet. From there, I moved on to Alyssa's other series, Those Very Bad Fairbanks, and thoroughly enjoyed them as well. They're all short, quick reads you can find through Kindle Unlimited on Amazon.
Love Me, If you Dare by Alyssa Clarke
This is the first in the series I mentioned above (you can probably tell by the titles and similar book covers). I have to say, however, that this is my absolute favorite of all the books. Theo is spunky, direct, and determined. I love her so much when she knocks the duke on his backside and turns him from a rigidly determined man who believes in the roles society enforces upon women to a much more lively person who dares to look at the different from a woman's perspective. When Theo says she likes the idea of him chasing her and turns around to run, I died laughing. Book Two, "Marry Me, If You Dare," is equally hilarious. Perdie fends off highwaymen all on her own and Thaddeus tries to gallantly save her only to be shot at and have her hold a knife to his throat. He immediately proposes, but she's just broken off an engagement and wants nothing to do with his advances. I laughed out loud several times.
Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
I was in the mood for a standalone book and this caught my eye. There is supposed to be a second book coming out, but this one was great on its own. So many different feelings and situations were addressed in this book. Naomi is the 'perfect' sister and her twin, Tina, is the rebellious hellion who gets into trouble. Naomi leaves her man at the altar and hurries to Virginia where her sister says she needs help. Thinking she's there to help her sister, Naomi's life implodes in the worst day imaginable while Knox, a hard-headed, closed-off bachelor finds himself watching it happen one horrid moment after the other. Not even his cold heart was left unfeeling when he saw all Naomi went through. This book was so much about facing one's problems and picking oneself up after being knocked down, learning to trust in the goodness of others, finding love in the least likely places, and building a family from the broken pieces.
Little Fire by Hollee Mands
Oh so good. I have the next two books on my TBR list, however, they are a series of semi-standalone books so reading the entire series isn't necessary, I suppose. However, I loved Declan and Evangeline so much. They're not so much enemies to lovers as they are just completely unlikely to ever have met and come from such a huge social gap that it seems unlikely they'll ever make it as a couple. Yet, once the two are thrust unexpectedly into a deadly situation, Declan learns a lot about the people he's entrusted to care through the eyes of a woman he wouldn't have acknowledged were it not for a fateful meeting. Meanwhile Evangeline (aka Little Fire) begins to unlock the forgotten memories of her childhood...memories which could be deadly to them both.
Scarred by Emily McIntire
I was confused about this book before I read it. The author's write-up says it is not a retelling and that it is not a fantasy, but there are so many book reviews that cite it as a "great retelling of The Lion King" and others calling it a fantasy romance. So...I had to read it to decide for myself. After discussing it with another reader, I will agree that it is not a fantasy but a dark romance. However, in my opinion, it is a dark, twisty, and unusual retelling of The Lion King--I really liked the concept of how it was done, too. The scarred prince is someone I couldn't decide if I was appalled or impressed by. There were uncomfortable scenes with him, but I could understand some of the things he did even if they made me cringe as I read. If you can get into a darker read, you might like this. If it creeps you out, though, I already warned you...its a dark romance.
The Lochlann Feuds series by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison
I binged this series in two days. Yes, I was that girl who waited until all four books were out before I started reading them. Well, the first three, at least, and then I had to wait a week for the fourth. However...Oh my. I loved everything about it to the point that it's almost hard to talk about. Have you ever done that? Read a book that you love so much, but you can't bare to talk about it? Maybe its because then I have to share it and I don't really want to, or because if I talk about it, it is like acknowledging that the adventure is over when I don't want it to be. Let me just say this. Enemies to lovers with a few twists I didn't expect, and I had some serious feels in this one. No, it isn't steamy (which I am perfectly okay with) and it isn't some dark, twisty fantasy. It is snarky and fun and addictive, and I recommend it to anyone who knows how to read. Love, love, love. This author dynamic duo are some of my favorite authors you may have read about in my blog posts. So. Bottom line. Read this series then thank me after for telling you to do so.
Heart's Rescue by Meredith Hart
So, I first discovered Meredith Hart two years ago with her book The Flame and The Blade which turned out to be one of my all-time favorite romantic fantasy series. I've been a serious fan throughout that series and nearly cried when it came to an end this year, but did a literal happy dance when she published a little snippet of the main characters' wedding. Anyway...I recently joined an ARC group on Facebook and saw Meredith asking for an ARC reader for her new book, so, of course, I jumped on that...and loved it! Man, I am wondering if she writes anything I don't like. This, however, is in a divided world with one side living in the light while the other is barely surviving in the dark. Monsters lurk in the void between the two, and somehow the daring young Arryn who was raised to be prim and proper and to do as she was told, when she was told, how she was told, and with whom, managed to edge her way from the light into the dark...where she discovers she is much more than the societal and familial expectations she's been raised to be. Fun, intriguing, a little sexy, and not at all disappointing.
The Princess and the Spy trilogy by Lisette Marshall
Wow. Wow. Wow. Did I say wow? Okay. I've had the first book of this series, "Velvet," on my TBR list for a while. I kept going back and forth, not really sure if I'd like it. Well, I have no idea why I waited. No idea at all. It had so much good stuff in it: enemies to lovers, spies, lovers torn apart by duty, murder mysteries, a few good creepy characters you wanted to kill but knew there would be political backlash, and more. Viviette is so much more than a silly princess, but not everyone knows it. Jaghar is so much more than a cold-hearted spymaster...something Viviette slowly discovers. With that discovery, however, a forbidden romance is formed until LOVE is on the table. But, love cannot happen between a princess and her father's spymaster when her father's determined to wed her to a good man in a distant kingdom. Vowing to do their duty, both Vivi and Jaghar swear they're done with one another, but circumstances are cruel and thrust them together when they need each other most. And just when it seems like they're heading toward that happy ending, tragedies, one after another strike, and the world seems to conspire to keep them apart. Oh, how they both evolved in this story. I binge read the entire trilogy in ONE day!
Through Dark Storms by Clare Sager
This is one of my all-time favorite series. "Through Darks Storms" is the final installment of the adventure of Vee and Knigh on the high seas. I have to be honest with everyone and tell you that I put it off. And not why you think. I love this series; I said it's one of my faves. I screamed and yelled and squealed as Clare revealed the cover and gave snippets of info about the book. In fact, I scared my poor mutt who began barking thinking something was wrong because I screamed so loud. Then, when it was actually here, I downloaded the book, and I opened to the first page and...nothing. I couldn't read it. Because when I started reading it, it'd be almost over, and I wouldn't have any more adventures with Vee and Knigh to look forward to. So I closed it. And stared at the cover in my Kindle library for days and days, itching to read it but also refusing to admit this was it. So...if you like pirates, high seas adventures, sea creatures, a bit of fae magic, romance that will make you swoon, scream, and shout for joy...check out this entire series. I won't give you my full take on this book since its the fourth and final in the series, but I more than highly recommend it. Clare is a natural story weaver and this series blew my mind. And even if you don't love pirates, you would probably still enjoy this because it is so well-written, you'll find yourself immersed in the world Clare has created and all the vibrant characters. I'm sad its over, but these characters will live on in my mind for eternity.