Spoiler Free Review: Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno Garcia

Title: Certain Dark Things

Author: Silvia Moreno Garcia

Pub. Date: September 7th 2021

Genre: Paranormal/Horror Noir

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Tor

Pages: 272 pages

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Originally published in 2016, Certain Dark Things was given a new cover and re-released last month. There’s been a recent resurgence of Vampires across all media and I for one was excited to see a story set in a Dystopian Mexico City. We meet Atl who is a descendant of Aztec blood drinkers as she’s on the run from rival vampires. She meets Domingo, a young garbage collector who has been living in the city streets for years. He is instantly mesmerized by her beauty and willing to let her feed off him to survive. Atl never hides her true nature and makes sure Domingo knows what he’s getting himself into. What she doesn’t count on is actually getting attached to Domingo and developing feelings for him. This world is gritty and violent, the vampires all self preserve by any means necessary while living alongside mortals. This is a short quick read that is very atmospheric and will please readers who enjoy neo-noir. Our main character is on the run all throughout this story with other vampires, criminals and cops on her trail. The body count is high with very little focus on the romance and an emphasis on the chase itself. If you happen to be a fan of animal companions, Atl has a genetically modified dog who is super overprotective of Atl and is described as being large in size with tattoos on the side of its face. All in all giving Atl a bad a** look and swag!

I’ve honestly enjoyed seeing the growth in writing while reading Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s books, each story speaks to the talent and unwillingness by this author to be boxed into any one specific genre. This story was a 3.5 star read for me which is still a solid rating, it’s just not my favorite of what I’ve read so far. I’ve heard it said that noir fic is known to focus more on the setting and that’s definitely the case here. The plot is very straight forward (more telling/less showing) which I didn’t mind but personally would’ve loved to see a little more world building to compensate. I would’ve gladly read a 400 page book set in this world which already had me invested in its characters. I’ve been making way through all of SMG’s book, Certain Dark Things (being one of her earlier works) has left me in awe of how much growth we get to see in each of the books that follow. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a highly underrated author who will continue to break genre barriers! the one thing I can always count on is that I never know what to expect from this author but it’s guaranteed to be a solid read. 


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Spoiler Free Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

Title: The Beautiful

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Pub. Date: October 8th 2019

Genre: YA Paranormal/Historical Fiction

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 448 Pages

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 🖤ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤

At its core The Beautiful is a Paranormal murder mystery with a steaming romance in the mix. Set inNew Orleans (FAVE CITY) 1872, our heroine Celine has been shipped off with 7 other girls to live in a convent. The intention is to have the girls meet eligible suitors to marry since they’ve had no luck thus far. Celine & her friend Pipa however are ahead of their times, feminists through & through who have trouble conforming. One encounter with a member of La Cour des Lions leads to Celine discovering night life in New Orleans. Captivating & enticing, she quickly falls down the rabbit hole that leads her to meeting the Lions leader, Sébastien Saint Germain. Coincidentally, the city begins to see young women being murdered. The victims are said to have been savagely drained of their blood. The person of interest is the young Sébastien Saint Germain which Celine finds herself being pulled towards. She begins to investigate the murders & quickly realizes she may be next on the killers agenda. Could the man she finds so alluring also be the one murdering innocent young women? Celine knows he’s the leader of a crime ring with a reputation in the under belly of New Orleans. This man is shrouded in mystery and darkness, well protected by his organized crime family he almost seems untouchable. Celine sets out to discover the truth all the while trying to stay alive.

Celine A bi-racial fashionista who studied under the best seamstress in Paris before being shipped off to New Orleans. Our MC who is a Feminist way ahead of her time & I LOVED reading her commentary whenever faced with expectations she had no plans on meeting. Celine is torn between living up to societal expectations vs. running free and living life to the fullest. She feels most at home amongst the members of La Cour des Lions. She’s also SUPER curious and intuitive.

Sébastien Saint Germain Fits the standard mold of ridiculously beautiful brooding MC (also bi-racial) who can’t be bothered. He has lost his entire family & has been taken in by his uncle who is a well known crime leader himself. Having had no children himself, Sébastien is his only heir and is expected to follow in his footsteps with the family business. Sébastien has no shortage of admirers, Celine just happens to be the one he can’t get out of his head.

Michael Grimaldi The police chief in charge of solving the murders and who has an age old feud with Sébastien. Michael is a bit rigid and a by the book type of man. When he finds himself falling for Celine, it puts him once again up against Sébastien. Of course, as is the case with most of the characters you come across in this world there’s more than meets the eye with Michael.

Pippa The closest thing to a friend for Celine, Pippa is the only one who can understand Celines dark & salacious humor. Pippa also is a feminist in her own way but she is more willing to conform to the norms. Pippa is what one would call a ride or die 🙂

Odette is by far my FAVE character in this world! Odette may very well be non-binary but I’m not 100% certain. This character also loves fashion and you can find them wearing a pant suit or ball gown. Odette is attracted to women and similar to Celine is just trying to live their life on their own terms & I couldn’t love them more for it! ❤

Arjun Desai (described as being from the Far East; a person of color) A member of La Cour des Lions, Arjun stands close to Sébastien as wise council. Arjun has studied law however due to the color of his skin during these times he was not permitted to practice law. Arjun is one character I would love to get more of in the sequel.

Without it being very clearly stated on the page, it is known The Beautiful is a story with paranormal creatures. It takes a subtle approach when introducing the different types of mythological beings we all know and love.  I for one was very happy with the hints & descriptions the author leaves behind forming a picture of who & what inhabits this world. At the very end we’re left feeling that this will be an expansive world & I for one am READY for a paranormal series set in 1800’s New Orleans. I found myself effortlessly flipping the pages & getting invested in these characters one by one. This is one hell of an atmospheric read where New Orleans comes alive on the page. If you go in expecting less Fantasy & more Mystery/Paranormal Romance, then I think this will be one very satisfying read. The only reason I docked it 1 star is because if I’m being completely honest, it could’ve been cleaned up a tad bit & that would’ve helped with the inconsistent pacing. However, I truly enjoyed the chapter breaks where we get the POV of whatever thing or person is hunting & killing. This added all of the creepy vibes to this book & had me dying to know their true identity. I do believe this is laying down the groundwork for what I expect will be a world lush with Vampires, Lycans, Fae and possibly more. If you’re a lover of historical romance, mysteries, and the paranormal…The Beautiful will deliver with hints of more in the future.


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