Category Archives: Urban Fantasy

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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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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Cold Reign by Faith Hunter

Yellowrock Clan is back to battle revanants, European Vampires, traitors, spies and conspirators.  Another day in the life of Leo’s NoLA Enforcer and her people.

Title:  Cold Reign
Author: Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #11
Publish Date:  May 2, 2017
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Source:  Reviewer purchased book and audio

Publisher’s Description:

Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker…and the woman rogue vampires fear most. Jane walks softly and carries a big stake to keep the peace in New Orleans, all part of her job as official enforcer to Leo Pellisier, Master of the City. But Leo’s reign is being threatened by a visit from a delegation of ancient European vampires seeking to expand their dominions.

But there’s another danger to the city. When she hears reports of revenant vampires, loose in NOLA and out for blood, Jane goes to put them down—and discovers there’s something unusual about these revenants. They never should have risen.

Jane must test her strength against a deadly, unnatural magic beyond human understanding, and a ruthless cadre of near-immortals whose thirst for power knows no bounds… 

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


 

Nervous Nellie says…

Dang ninja vamp.

This is an urban fantasy with hints of sex – nothing descriptive, lots of blood and gore.  Plenty of scheming and manipulation – vamps are good at that and magic.  The ending isn’t a cliffhanger but the game has changed dramatically so it will be impossible to stay away from the next installment. There is only one word for this book and it has to be “EXCELLENT” or how about two words..”Solid Gold”.

I have loved this series since it began.  Jane Yellowrock has grown and grown into a force that no one can deny.  Even the fangheads have to respect her because she CAN and much to her independent nature WILL take them out.

This story threw me into the action right away with Jane and Eli fighting a revenant.  There are NCIS investigations into dead sailors and since the dead sailors were drunk dry, Yellowrock Securities or rather Leo Pellissier’s Enforcer were called.  That had me hooked from the get-go.  Seriously? NCIS and Jane Yellowrock in the same paragraph? I am SO in.

The action doesn’t stop there.  Nope.  Not even close.  The revenants are the main story line and why they are all of a sudden digging themselves out of their graves 200 years after they were put there is the million dollar question.  And then comes the riots.  And then the storms.  And then the attacks on Leo and his HQ.  The suspense and treachery reach a friendzied pitch and then back down just as I was on the edge of my seat.  When I finally relax a bit, here goes the action and mayhem all over again.  Jane and her team get thrown in head first time and time again while Leo sits back with his drink and his toys just waiting for Jane to fix things.  He’s such a jerk.

Leo doesn’t come out of this adventure unscathed, however.  He suffers some loss although the loss isn’t as great to a vamp as to normal people. They have games not relationships.  Now, I may be a bit biased because I don’t like Leo much.  I will concede that he does seem to treat his people well and he pays Jane well.  I hate the vamp politics and the long game they play to one up each other.  He’s just too devious for his own good.  And pretty.  And a schmoozer.  And a liar.  And just plain fangy.

Relationships expand in Jane’s household in this book.  She gets herself a Primo, a Secundo and to top it all off – an Enforcer.  Jane has worked dang hard for her place in vamp hierarchy and she deserves happiness.  Enter Bruiser.  *Swoon*  Yes, he is pretty and romantic as ever.  I think they make a super pair.  It makes me all warm and melty.  Of course I couldn’t get comfortable with that because THEN things so a bit sideways because Ricky Bo makes an appearance.  He makes it known that he wants Jane back and (this is the part that is cool) Jane is the one that tells him to…um…go jump in a lake.  Bruiser is not the one flexing muscles here and going all alpha protective over Jane because Jane can take care of herself.  Go Jane!

I cannot rate this any higher than 5 stars though I’d want to give it 20.  Faith Hunter’s writing is out of this world and her story line is one that is original and engaging.  Go Faith!

 

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Soulwood series by Faith Hunter

 

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A Dream of Ashes by Orlando A. Sanchez

Ava James has been framed for murder – and the real culprit behind the Mystic deaths is drawing closer to home with every kill.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

TitleA Dream of Ashes 
Author: Orlando A. Sanchez
Series: Chronicles of the Modern Mystics 
Publish Date: April 27, 2016
Publisher: OM Publishing
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Provided by the author & Wordslinger.

Publisher’s Description:

Mystics. Magic. Murder.

A Rogue Mystic. A Ruthless Killer. A Dark Secret.

Ava James is a fire mystic with the Mystic Investigative Division. As a branch of the Enclave, a worldwide mystic organization, the MID is feared, respected and reviled. When the half-charred body of a Mystic is found, the Enclave sends her to investigate the strange death. Ava finds that all the clues point to the killer being a fire mystic, one of her own. Accused by the Enclave of working with the killer she must solve the case before a secret buried in her past is revealed and destroys her world.

Can she save herself? Will she find the murderer?

If you like hardcore, fast-moving action, complex mystical powers and an unstoppable heroine, then you’ll love Orlando A. Sanchez’ thrilling new series: Chronicles of the Modern Mystics. Buy A Dream of Ashes and join Ava on her adventure today!


Kat Mandu says…

In A Dream of Ashes, readers are introduced to Ava, a mystic with the ability to create and manipulate fire. Right from the beginning of the book, she’s been framed for several vicious murders she didn’t commit, not to mention she’s being hunted by a group of obviously wicked mystics trying to kill her. As she tries to navigate her way through a unique New York City without getting caught or killed, she’s gotta figure out where her uncle is and just who he was taken by. But getting mixed up in the affairs of mystics much more powerful than her is not what she intended, so she’ll need every ally and skill she can get.

Likes: This really is full of action and cool visuals, so it reads like a fast-paced movie with lots of awesome graphics. Plus, you know, the majority of the characters are Japanese, so ninjas. Either way, I really loved the easy-to-read flow of the book and I was quite fond of the quirky one-liners Ava gets to dish out.

What didn’t grab me: Like my fellow reviewer, this book was lacking in that really strong world-building that really would have made this a five for me. I had the feeling that the more the author wrote, the more ideas he came up with, which is nice but makes the beginning lackluster compared to the final moments. I would get caught up in the action but was left wondering just what Enclaves were and what Enforcers did and how everything worked out. Even if the info isn’t dumped at the beginning and spread out in hints throughout the book, it would have improved that clear structure of Ava’s New York/Japan aka “Mystic world.” I just didn’t get much that would help me really understand how everything works.

The only other thing is that there is quite a few organizations that come into play, plus numerous allies. I wish I could have gotten some more details on them as well, so I didn’t have to go back and ask myself “Okay, what did these guys do again?”

I just think this needs a clearer focus, but overall, I was impressed and give this three stars.

Luna Lovebooks says… 

“Go lick your wounds. When I see you next I will erase your existence.’ He turned and walked away as the sphere turned opaque and shifted us away from Nezu. We are going to die.”

Likes: This book is fast paced and action packed! Much like poor Ava, the reader doesn’t get to stop and rest. The characters and world are interesting, if not fully developed. Ava was resilient, but still vulnerable and had moments of weakness.  I love the fact that she is strong but not super woman. The mysterious Ghost and his daughter are two characters I’d like to get to know better. I would also love to know more about warders and mystics in general. This may slow down the book a bit, but it would also back up the world building.

Dislikes: I feel there are too many unanswered questions, even if this is the first book in the series. The cover is part of what drew me to pick up this book. But when I received my copy the cover is very pixilated and loses some of its beauty. I’m am sure that as a writer Sanchez knows the world he is creating. It feels solid, but as a reader I was lost.  There isn’t much information given about enclaves, mystics, or those special sticks. I feel that the plot should have slowed down to give some more world building to the readers.

Over all I give this book 4 mystics. 

 

Other recommendations…

If you like magic with unique systems and spins, we’d recommend Brandon Sanderson, J. F. Lewis, and M.K. Hobson. 

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Elementally Priceless by Shannon Mayer

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, in which we review shorter works such as short stories, novellas, middle-grade books, and graphic novels.  You get a “two-for” when you read this novella.  The start of two series in one book. How much better can it get?

Title: Elementally Priceless
Author: Shannon Mayer
Series: Rylee Adamson #0.5    and   The Elemental #0.5
Publish Date: January 20, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description: “My Name is Rylee, and I am a Tracker”

This is the story of my first salvage, seeking out a missing child that my mentor has warned me away from.

What I find is more than one child: I find my destiny.

“They call me the Destroyer.”

I’ve been banished to the desert for years after saving a life I should have let the darkness take. But as an earth elemental, I couldn’t turn from the pleas for help any more than I can turn from them this time. Except that this time, I have a Tracker to deal with.

This is about to get interesting.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

This is an urban fantasy with some swearing.  There is no sex, no graphic violence, no romance. There is no cliffhanger, but there is an excellent hook at the end of the book. There is sword play, elementals, goblins, Minotaurs and a host of other creatures.  This is the kind of book I live for and it was excellent.

The book is divided chapter by chapter from each protagonist’s point of view.  So, you have Rylee in one chapter and the next will be Lark.  I could get a feel for both and decide if I like them well enough to proceed with the series.  I liked them.  A lot.

Rylee is what the supernatural world calls a “Tracker”. She can find anyone anywhere at any time as long as she has a picture and a name.  She uses her gift in finding the missing – mostly children – which is a noble calling.  Lark is an “Elemental”.  She has a reputation for not following the rules set in the Elemental’s world.  She has incredible power and a moral compass that will not be ignored.  She risks everything – and I mean not just her life, but risks being imprisoned for decades, maybe centuries for breaking the rules she feels need broken in order to save the world.  That’s pretty honorable too.

This novella will take a couple hours to read – it’s only 102 pages.  It’ll give you the taste and feel of Rylee and Lark’s lives.  I found their lives exceedingly worth reading, so I give this novella a 5.  I’ll be hot on the heels of book 1 in both series.  I gotta see what happens next.

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Immortal Vegas series by Jenn Stark, The Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep,  Harbinger P.I. Series by Adam J. Wright,  Prof Croft series by Brad Magnarella and I could go on and on and on…