Category Archives: Speculative Fiction

Doc Graystone – A Watery Grave by Nicholas Olivo

Murder, mayhem, and nefarious plots – all in a day’s work for gentleman necromancer Doc Graystone.

TitleA Watery Grave
Author: Nicholas Olivo
Series: Doc Graystone Adventures
Publish Date: April 10, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased by both reviewers.

Publisher’s Description:

Boston, 1932. Doc Graystone is contacted to evaluate security at a paranormal prison built by the U.S. Navy. Before he can begin, a hydromancer assassinates a naval officer to obtain information about the prison. Now Graystone has to track her down before she can break out a prisoner Graystone knows all too well…


Nervous Nellie says…

This is an urban fantasy with no romance, no graphic violence and no cliffhanger. There are five (5) shorts in this series and they are great for a quick evening read or a wait in some waiting room.

Dr. Graystone, or as he is nicknamed within the Boston PD- Doc Gravestone, is an alcoholic and a necromancer.  He’s a powerful necromancer with a guilt hanging with him about his fiancee’s murder.  He works with the police in Boston to solve murder cases.  That’s the premise overview.  This episode has to do with the Illuminati (oooooh) and Atlantean artifacts (ahhhhhh).  I love how this short incorporates both.  It’s fun and enjoyable.

I have only one complaint with this story.  If I have to read “gentleman necromancer” one more time…  It seems like that descriptor was over used – in my opinion.  Now, I’ve gotten the negative out of the way, I want to assure you that my complaint should in no way decide whether or not you should read this series. I enjoyed the introduction of a hydromancer in to my knowledge base of gifted individuals.  She was an incredible creature and if she’d only use her power for good instead of evil.  Doc took a lot of punishment this time around.  Grady didn’t do much investigating – it was all up to the good Doctor.  He was poisoned and electrocuted.  He was almost nearly drowned.  Poor old boy took justice seeking to a whole new level.

I am looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Kat Mandu says…

In the second installment of Doc Graystone’s adventure, the gentleman necromancer is pitted against a hydromancer (a being that can transform herself into water, not to mention control liquids in general) and an old “friend” who collects interesting artifacts he uses as weapons. Familiar characters from the first story, like Grady and his partner Parker, return; not to mention Joan, Graystone’s late wife.

There’s a lot of action in this, not to mention some magical fight scenes between two powerful beings – Doc being one of those. Plus, it’s got a few historical mentions – Prohibition, the USS Constitution, even hints at the later Nazi war. Oh, plus it delves into some conspiracy theories focused on the lost city of Atlantis and even the mysterious Illuminati.

I’m really drawn into this world of magical intrigue and Necromancy. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite shorts to read. I hope everyone else can enjoy it as much as I do!

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

If you like this book, try…

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The Whisper King: Reign Eternal by Wil Radcliffe

The Whisper King was the first of the horror genre I’ve ever read.  It opened up a whole new world.

Title:  The Whisper King: Reign Eternal
Author:  Wil Radcliffe
Series:  The Whisper King #3
Publish Date:  May 26, 2017
Genre:  Horror
Source:  Purchased by Reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  When David Kinder agreed to lead the Whisper King’s army into war, he was promised answers to all of his questions. That included “the knowledge that burns.” But this truth may even be too much for the Prince of the Shadow Mountains, for mortal and immortal alike have succumbed to the madness it ignites.

Even as David wrestles with matters of the mind and spirit, a physical threat looms in the form of the Amathair, a homicidal creature from the end of time. With thousands upon thousands of skeletal Dearmad troops at its command, the Amathair threatens to annihilate all of reality.

Only monsters stand against this threat. And only David Kinder, heir to the Whisper King, can lead them to victory… or damn them to ruin.

 

 

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

This is horror with suspense and fantasy mixed in.  There is a lot of violence and several graphic death descriptions.  If you don’t like the concept of children turned into other world warriors, turn away now.

I’m going to start this review with a little recap. In this series we see David ‘sort of’ kidnapped by the Whisper King.  I say ‘sort of’ because he was in an orphanage and he hated it.  Then again, he was a child.  He wished for good parents and never got any.  I did not expect to be reading horror when I started.  The kindly author left that part out.  Thanks, Wil.  It was a page turner and I loved it.  Incredibly written and vivid characters with imagery that was out of this world.

Daughter of Shadows, Book 2 leaned more heavily on the horror and The Whisper King: Reign Eternal was no different.  However much I might say I don’t like horror, I LOVED this book.  Again, the author shines with words that weave a fantasy world of monsters and evil that I shudder to think anyone could survive in.  I know I’d be dead. I think the story indicates strength of David’s character and his struggle is just starting.

Book 3, Eternal Reign, shows how strong David has become in his position within the Whisper King’s army and how smart and caring of his friends he is.  He is a protector and he takes his job to protect very seriously. He has typical problems of any leader except these problems are world crumbling – not just his world but the human world too- and war with an unknown enemy. Talk about stress, man.

This is an incredible story.  David has a lot of hard choices in his world.  He has power above all others and he has to figure out how to use it.  He is an anomaly within the ranks of the other recruits.  He exceeds and he’s become the Prince of the Shadow Mountains-the Whisper King’s heir. He doesn’t get to live the life of royalty. He has to lead his soldiers and make all the right decisions or they will be lost and his world will be no more.  Love, loss, friendship and enemies.  It’s got everything and I recommend it highly.

 

Our reviews in this series…

The Whisper King
Daughter of Shadows
If you like this book…

…you might try Inquisitor Series by Lincoln Farish, The Hellequin Chronicles by Steve McHugh or Deacon Chalk by James Tuck.

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Purge City by Brad Magnarella

Watch out if you are a supernatural because the mayor of NYC wants to eradicate you with the help of his secret weapon, Prof Croft.

Title:  Purge City
Author:  Brad Magnarella
Series:  Prof Croft #3
Publish Date:  February 13, 2017
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Narrator:  James Patrick Cronin
Cover:  Damonza.com
Source:  Purchased by reviewer in print and audio

Publisher’s Description:

If you can’t stand the heat…

When New York City unveils a program to roast supernaturals, I wonder if I should be sweating.

The bloodthirsty Arnaud thinks so, and he’s insisting that our survival depends on a wizard-vampire alliance. Never mind his history of wanting me dead. Or undead.

Meanwhile, the mayor wants me on his team—an offer that’s only slightly less unnerving given our recent clash. So who’s really behind the purge? City Hall? The werewolves? Or is it the brainchild of the fae, whose newest advisor to the mayor slipped from my bed and life four months ago?

I’m getting the cold feeling someone’s trying to manipulate the program, and me, to set off a larger war, one that could explode through the city.

One thing’s for sure. If I don’t get my head straight and my magic on, it’s going to be a hell of a summer.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

This is an urban fantasy. No sex, plenty of magic, manipulation, and even what could be deemed a double agent or two…maybe more. There are creatures that are introduced that I’ve (veteran of reading Urban Fantasy) had never heard of –so that was fun. Everybody has an agenda. If you remember that, you’ll be ok.

I love Prof Croft. He’s not pretentious. He doesn’t know everything and is very willing to do the leg work to figure it out. His support staff is lacking, though…A LOT! The Order doesn’t help. His mentor is not exactly helpful and Vega? She’s got a stick up her butt and is still mad from last episode. Talk about a grudge holder concerning a grudge that doesn’t need to be held. Let it go already, woman!
Arnaud is back. What a slug. He may/may not cut a swarthy form in battle, but he’s a vampire. I knew that, I really did, but the sparkles got in the way and I nearly let him fool me. Seriously, I was nearly sucked in by his concern for Everson. Don’t. Just don’t.
Caroline is back. Still the wife of a fae, dang it. It’s rough to see Everson wade through whatever he may be feeling for her and while I have no inside information, I have to hope that this is not the last time we will see her. I’m looking for an HEA, though the Urban Fantasy genre doesn’t have requirements to give me one. Poop.

This story is mostly about a cat and mouse game where Everson is the mouse. There are adversaries where ever he looks. The police department. The stupid mayor whose idea to rid NYC of supers to get re-elected. The fae because he’s a threat to Caroline’s marriage. The werewolves because he put Penny into a bullet induced coma. Moronic Snodgrass because…well…because Snodgrass is an idiot. Every-freaking-body has it out for our wizard. Everson is chased across the city, threatened, imperiled and vulnerable. It’s like fate has it out for our dear Prof Croft or something. Or his author. That might be a more reliable theory. 😉

There are some surprises revealed, so hold on to your theories. There are motive reveals regarding a lot of things and while the ending helps put the puzzle together that doesn’t mean this is the end of the adventure or the grand scheme. While I LOVED the ending, I cannot wait for book #4 to be released because maybe just maybe Everson will finally get his closure. This epic tale was packed with action and was not a book I could put down.

One last thing. The narrator rocks. If you like audios, you’ll dig him.

Our reviews in this series…

  • Preq 0: Book of Souls (not reviewed yet)
    Book 1: Demon Moon
    Book 2: Blood Deal
    Book 3: Purge City
    Book 4: Death Mage (not read, reviewed or released yet)

Other recommendations…

If you like this book…
…you might try Boundary Magic by Melissa Olson , Hellequin Chronicles by Steve McHugh or Immortal Vegas by Jenn Stark

 

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Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

The second installment in the Malediction trilogy has more action, intrigue, and magic than its prequel. Will Tristan figure out how to play the political mind games within Trollus before it’s too late? And can Cecile hunt down an immortal witch with the power to break the curse on her true love?

Title: Hidden  Huntress
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Malediction Trilogy
Publish Date: June 2, 2015
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Source: Purchased.

Publisher’s Description:

Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…


Kat Mandu says…

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! Please do not read on if you haven’t read these books. You have been warned!!! 

This is one of those trilogies that once you read the second one or third one, questions readers may have had in the book before it seem to clear up and get answered. For me, sometimes when I was reading the first one, I was so distracted by all the action of a particular scene that I find I didn’t quite understand what was happening until it was either mentioned or “remembered” by a character in the next one. I think after reading Warrior Witch, I may understand more of the events that occurred in Hidden Huntress.

That being said, I wasn’t necessarily confused about anything. I really, really loved how much this book had in it – from Cecily learning blood magic and breaking Tristan from the curse, to Tristan making a play against his father that the practically psychic king didn’t see coming; and finally, to discovering the real identity of Genevieve – aka Anushka. There’s a lot going on here and despite the length of the book, it tends to move fast and keep you entertained.

Though I’m not dissing the romance genre here, I did like that romance wasn’t the main focus on this, mostly a side mission as both characters seemed to realize their greater purpose could be to work together, love together, win together. The characters aren’t so lovey-dovey, and at some points even question their purpose together. But for the most part, they have their own missions.

I wish the fight scene with the dragon had been longer. It seems strange to me that Tristan was able to take down an entire frost dragon without assistance, while everyone watched. Though I do picture him as a younger version of Luke Evans now. Mmm. Sexy. Anyway, I get that he’s powerful, I just find it strange that everyone kind of stood around. In a way, I suppose he might have been the only one to do any damage to it but when he was talking about preparing to fight the otherworldly creatures, that must mean humans stand some small chance? I don’t know. That whole scene kind of threw me for a loop.

I guess the thing that didn’t quite make this a five-star rating for me was the huge spoiler alert included near the very beginning. In it, readers are aware that Genevieve is drugging Cecile and questioning her about the trolls and this is just such a major hint that I knew who the bad guy was automatically. I know that some authors like readers to know ahead of time what their characters don’t but I wish the mystery would have remained in this particular book. It kind of just snuffed out that elegant mystery for me that I would have appreciated so much more.

Overall, my thoughts are kind of everywhere with this one, as it is fresh in my mind. But I really enjoyed reading this one more than the first one. 

Our reviews in this series…

  • Stolen Songbird
  • Hidden Huntress
  • Warrior Witch *coming soon*
  • The Broken Ones *coming soon*

Other recommendations…

If you enjoy young adult high fantasy with a little bit of romance and magic, I’d suggest other trilogies like Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha series, The Elemental trilogy by Sherry Thomas, and Rae Carson’s Girl of Fire & Thorns.

Red Runes by Nicholas Olivo

Doc Graystone and the Red Runes is a great escape for anyone looking for a short, unique fantasy story with hints of mystery and supernatural thrills!

Red Rune Nicholas OlivoTitle: Red Runes
Author: Nicholas Olivo
SeriesAdventures of Doc Graystone
Publish Date:  April 10, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source:  Provided by the author (and purchased)

Publisher’s DescriptionBoston, 1932. The police are baffled by a series of killings in which the victims have had mystical runes carved into their flesh. Enter Doc Graystone, gentleman necromancer. Adept at delivering two-fisted necromantic justice, Graystone battles demons, revenants, and ragmen in a race against the clock to stop a madman from destroying the world as we know it.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

Welcome to the world of necromancy. In the year 1932, in Boston, Massachusetts, there is a doctor who is very proficient at necromancy and solving crimes by asking the victim “who done it?”  I kind of feel like it’s cheating, but where killers are concerned, one must take whatever advantage one finds.  Doc Graystone is looney bin material according to his peers.  He is grieving over the loss of his fiance and I got the hint that he had something to do with it.  He has been perpetually drunk and disorderly since the “incident” and has become a recluse while wallowing in his guilt. Practicing necromancy cannot be good for the soul and with this first short story, little is revealed about how he came to practice or what kinds of cases he has solved.  Also, he portrays his peers as idiots, so I’m interested in discovering “the rest of the story.”

badge3v4This little novella (all 5 are on average 43 pages each) is a very good intro to this Indiana Jones type character.  He knows a lot about the big bad beasties living in the world and he’s nobody’s fool. He can reanimate corpse’s to get their last words and get to the bottom of suspicious deaths.

I have not started #2 in the series yet, but that’s only because I wanted to write this review and give ya’ll a heads up regarding this quick little escape.  It’s worth your time.  I enjoyed it!

Kat Mandu says… 

I loved this novella! I’ve always been fascinated by necromancy, despite its dark reputation. Olivo takes the idea of necromantic control, ennervation, and soul bargaining and plays with its potential. The focus isn’t necessarily on the magic so much as the intention behind it and I love its endless possibilities, not to mention all the hints the author throws out referring to various things about the gentleman necromancer. Grant Graystone seems to have all kinds of secrets, some involving his fiancee’s death and maybe some darker pacts of his own that may come to haunt him later.

I really enjoyed this particular adventure and I can’t wait to read the rest. I don’t really have any dislikes towards it, beyond wishing a couple things would have been explained more (like his relationship with Victor, the ghost in the theatre; or how Joan died and what role he had to play in it; or how he was able to summon a particular carriage driver from the Beyond and what happened with the girl – I mean, he probably fulfilled his promise, but it was never mentioned so there was no finality to it). But those are things that could possibly be answered in the next installments, so perhaps I’ll receive my answers when I read on.

Other reviews…

If you like this book, try…