License to Ensorcell—Good But Not Spellbinding

License to Ensorcell by Katharine Kerr book cover
License to Ensorcell by Katharine Kerr

License to Ensorcell, by Katharine Kerr, is an urban fantasy told from first person point of view. Set in modern day San Francisco, the story follows psychic agent Nola O’Grady as she seeks out a serial killer of werewolves.

1—Nola

Nola O’Grady works for an organization so secret even she won’t even tell the reader its name. She’s an agent of Harmony tasked with finding and stopping Chaos breaches. Serial killers aren’t usually in her bailiwick but this one is using silver bullets to kill his targets. And of course, it turns out that this same killer is the one who murdered her own brother a year ago. Continue reading “License to Ensorcell—Good But Not Spellbinding”

Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel—The Monster Doctor is In

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw book cover
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Strange Practice, by Vivian Shaw, follows Dr. Greta Helsing, Lord Edmund Ruthven, and Sir Francis Varney as they try to stay alive while being hunted through modern day London by mad medieval monks. It’s a lot of fun.

1—Mad Monks and Blue Light

There’s been a series of killings in London but what no one knows is that the killers aren’t just targeting humans but supernatural creatures as well. At least they don’t know until Varney turns up on Ruthven’s doorstep stabbed half to death and babbling about monks. Turns out there’s a new/ancient order running around “cleansing” the world of the wicked—and everyone is wicked. Continue reading “Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel—The Monster Doctor is In”

Whispers Under Ground—Trouble Under London

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch book cover
Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Under Ground, by Ben Aaronovitch, is the third in the Rivers of London series. This time wizard’s apprentice and police constable Peter Grant is investigating the stabbing death of an American art student who happens to be the son of a senator.

1— Mysterious Places

This book’s adventure sees Peter spending much of his time underground. The murder starts in a subway tunnel and leads Peter to an old ceramics company, and thus to a race of large-eyed pale people living in the sewers. There’s also an art galley and a Goblin Market, both of which places a River Goddess shows up. Continue reading “Whispers Under Ground—Trouble Under London”

Night Child—CSI With Mages

Night Child by Jes Battis book cover
Night Child by Jes Battis

Night Child, by Jes Battis, is an urban fantasy set in Vancouver. Tess Corday is an OSI, a member of the Mystical Crime Lab, which is secret from the normal world, even the rest of the police force.

1—Technical Magic

There’s a lot of technical terminology, with enough explanation that I didn’t get lost. Even Tess’s turns of phrase and metaphors tend toward the technical descriptions of the body—blood, flesh, heartbeats, etc. And that’s before you get into the technical terms for magic, like “materia” and “necroid”. I won’t try to remember how she put it, just that there was a sense of poetry to it. Tess is also given to flights of poetic imagination. Continue reading “Night Child—CSI With Mages”

Midnight, Texas Season One—Supernatural Fun

Midnight, Texas
Midnight, Texas

Midnight, Texas is a tv series based on a book series by Charlaine Harris. Psychic and conman Manfred is on the run and his dead Aunt suggests he hide out in the titular town.

1—Cast of Characters

Midnight is full of people with secrets and supernatural abilities. There’s vampire Lem and his human lover Olivia the assassin. There’s the Reverend Sheehan who runs the town’s chapel and pet cemetery, who’s a were-tiger. There’s husbands Joe and Chuy, a fallen angel and half-demon respectively. Bobo, another human who runs the pawnshop, and who’s missing fiancé turns up dead and kickstarts a bunch of trouble. And there’s Fiji, a powerful witch who’s in love with Bobo. And of course, now there’s Manfred, who has the lay of the town explained to him by local waitress and love interest Creek. Continue reading “Midnight, Texas Season One—Supernatural Fun”

American Gods—An Unusual Journey

American Gods by Neil Gaiman book cover
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, follows Shadow after he gets out of jail and comes to work for someone who calls himself Wednesday as he tries to rally the old gods for a war against the new.

1—The Gods

We meet gods from many pantheons during the course of Shadow’s journey with Wednesday. Wednesday himself is Odin, from the old Norse pantheon. There’s Mr. Nancy, Anansi, from Africa. And Kali from India. Some of my favorite are Mr Ibis and Mr Jaquel—Thoth and Anubis—and Bast and Horus from Egypt. Easter herself makes an appearance. Czernobog and the Zoryas. And then of course there’s the hall of forgotten gods that Shadow dreams about. Continue reading “American Gods—An Unusual Journey”

A Cast-Off Coven—Demons, Ghosts, and Art School

A Cast Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell book cover
A Cast Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell

A Cast-Off Coven, by Juliet Blackwell, is the second in the Witchcraft Mystery series (I’ve read but not reviewed the first in the series, Secondhand Spirits—I liked it). It’s a cozy mystery set in San Francisco starring Lilly Ivory, witch and vintage-clothing store owner.

1—Murder in the Bell Tower

Lilly is called in to kick the ghost out of the school’s haunted bell tower—at least that’s her job until finding rich scumbag and patron of the art school Jerry Becker dead at the base of said bell tower. Now in addition to the ghost, Lilly has to deal with a murder. And then she finds out there’s a demon in the third-floor closet. Continue reading “A Cast-Off Coven—Demons, Ghosts, and Art School”

Right Hand Magic—City of Wonders

Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins book cover
Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins

Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins is an urban fantasy told in the first person perspective of Tate, a human welder-artist.

1—Golgotham

After moving to New York’s magical district, Golgotham, Tate is immersed in the magical subculture. In Golgotham, there are no cars—centaurs pull carriages and satyrs pull rickshaws. Leprechauns have their own bars. And six-fingered, neon-haired Kymeran sorcerers work their magic, for a price. Continue reading “Right Hand Magic—City of Wonders”

Heroine Complex—Learning to Embrace Anger and Power

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn book cover
Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Complex is a hilarious and touching story by Sarah Kuhn. Told in first-person perspective, it’s the story of Evie Tanaka, personal assistant to San Francisco’s superhero, Aveda Jupiter. When Aveda gets injured, Evie has to pose as her boss/best friend and disasters ensue.

1—Demon Cupcakes

And kittens, and statues, and celebrities. Little is known about the demons that periodically invade San Francisco, and only San Francisco, except that they imprint on the first thing they see and that they love the taste of human blood. The portals appear at random and leave behind stones with strange writing on them. Nate, the demonologist in team Aveda, collects and tries to decipher them. Continue reading “Heroine Complex—Learning to Embrace Anger and Power”

Legend Has It—Reality Ain’t What It Used to Be

Legend Has It by Elliott James book cover
Legend Has It by Elliott James

Legend Has It is the fifth in the Pax Arcana series by Elliott James. This adventure sees John Charming, werewolf and semi-former Knight Templar, chasing after a madman with a reality-warping book.

1—Telling Stories

Despite his use of obfuscating stupidity John doesn’t solve his problems just through brute force. He thinks. And thanks to the use of what is technically one long epistolary to the reader, we get to see his thoughts. John is occasionally an unreliable narrator—true to his smartass nature, he likes to mess with his reader as well as everyone else.  Continue reading “Legend Has It—Reality Ain’t What It Used to Be”