The best not-your-usual vampire, werewolf, and witch books

Julie Embleton Author Of Bound (Turning Moon)
By Julie Embleton

The Books I Picked & Why

Kiss Me Deadly (Nickel City Necromancer)

By Jessie Thomas

Book cover of Kiss Me Deadly (Nickel City Necromancer)

Why this book?

"A necromancer and a vampire walk into a cemetery…and if you’re wondering how this joke ends, that makes two of us." Nickel City ticks all the boxes for reasons why I’ll deprive myself of sleep for a book. The cast leaps out of the pages; Sera the witty, brave, but soft-hearted heroine, her friend/ex-girlfriend, Dev, a feisty, sharp-tongued vampire hunter, and then Nate, the brooding vampire who Sera just can’t ignore. Three deadly enemies forced to work together against evil; what can go wrong, eh? Thomas slays with this enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance. With delicious simmering tension and laugh-aloud moments, it’s a clever, gripping read that now has me addicted to visiting cemeteries in the hopes of bumping into a certain vampire.


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Alchemy of Chaos

By Ruth Miranda

Book cover of Alchemy of Chaos

Why this book?

Miranda is one of my favourite authors when it comes to dark, gritty characters. Her study on a side of human nature from which most authors would recoil in Alchemy of Chaos is intelligent yet unnerving. There’s no romantic fluff here whatsoever. It’s harsh, violent, yet painfully beautiful. A shifter who changes gender, and sexual tension between a vampire professor and his student, all tangled up with chaotic witchcraft in a dark academia setting. Miranda delivers a violent, passionate, and sublimely clever tale for readers who aren’t sensitive to adult themes. A refreshing change from paranormal fantasy with HEAs, this one haunted me long after I turned the final page. 


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The Arrival Reawakened (Children of the Morning Star)

By Kastie Pavlik

Book cover of The Arrival Reawakened (Children of the Morning Star)

Why this book?

A happy ever after is nice ‘n all, but sometimes I want angst and torture blocking the path of true love. The Children of The Morning Star series delivers that, plus more. Pavlik has crafted a complex, layered world, woven with religious dogma, which I could have taken at face value, but once I dwelt on the motives, beliefs, and loyalties of the characters (both good and bad) it left me contemplating the age-old battle between good and evil until the wee small hours. Lucifer’s vampires, created to aid the war effort between heaven and hell, strike a deal with God, and with this metaphorical handshake, chaos is unleashed. Way beyond the usual vampire trope, for me, this series has a whiff of the classical rising from its pages. 


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Dark (Blood Moon, Texas Shifters Book 1)

By Kat Kinney

Book cover of Dark  (Blood Moon, Texas Shifters Book 1)

Why this book?

Ever wonder what would happen if paranormal beings were ousted on social media? Kinney explores this enticing idea in her Texas Shifter series, where she’s created a gritty new existence for vamps and wolves. With one of the MCs a freshly-bitten hot mess, and desperate to avoid eating her family, she seeks help from her equally troubled (and broody) ex. Cue the drama, sass, chemistry, and steam. What I enjoyed most is how the more hard-hitting, sobering themes of this book are balanced out by the spice and sarcasm. But best of all? No damsel in distress! 


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White Wolf (Sons of Rome)

By Lauren Gilley

Book cover of White Wolf (Sons of Rome)

Why this book?

My best/worst book hangovers are thanks to Lauren Gilley. She can wring every emotion out of me, but I’ll come back for more every time. As a massive fan of her outlaw bikers Dartmoor MC series, I wasn’t sure how she’d translate to fantasy, but shame on me for doubting. Gilley doesn’t half-ass things, so Sons of Rome with its Russian history, Roman legends, incredible character building, diverse, engaging casts, and meaty plotlines comes together in four big books (with a 5th on the way). Be warned; you don’t emerge from a Gilley book the same person you went in.


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