Book Review (SERIES): The Great Cities

If you haven’t read something by N.K. Jemisin, you need to. She is one of the best fantasy writers of now, and you will be hearing her name for years to come.

The Great Cities Series by N.K. Jemisin

  1. The City We Became
  2. The World We Made

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for THE CITY WE BECAME

In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn’t remember who he is, where he’s from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power.

In the Bronx, a Lenape gallery director discovers strange graffiti scattered throughout the city, so beautiful and powerful it’s as if the paint is literally calling to her.

In Brooklyn, a politician and mother finds she can hear the songs of her city, pulsing to the beat of her Louboutin heels.

And they’re not the only ones.

Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York? She’s got six.

MY REVIEW for THE CITY WE BECAME

It’s books like this which make me glad I am part of a book club. I would have never stumbled across this incredible book otherwise. A mix of multi-dimensional physics; a love/hate/extreme emotion relationship with New York; differences in personalities based on age, upbringing, culture; with a solid narrative which will keep you turning pages.

Amazing characters, powers, and physics.

 

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for THE WORLD WE MAKE

All is not well in the city that never sleeps. Even though the avatars of New York City have temporarily managed to stop the Woman in White from invading—and destroying the entire universe in the process—the mysterious capital “E” Enemy has more subtle powers at her disposal. A new candidate for mayor wielding the populist rhetoric of gentrification, xenophobia, and “law and order” may have what it takes to change the very nature of New York itself and take it down from the inside.

In order to defeat him, and the Enemy who holds his purse strings, the avatars will have to join together with the other Great Cities of the world in order to bring her down for good and protect their world from complete destruction.

MY REVIEW for THE WORLD WE MAKE

In “The World We Make”, readers return to the Great Cities universe where a Sword of Damocles, in the form of the Woman in White hovers over New York.

But the world has changed, not the written world of the Great Cities, but our world with COVID – which drastically changed the book and series. The author originally planned a trilogy, but *hand waving at the world* things changed making it a duology. Entire sections of the multiverse died stillborn as real world overtook planned plot.

Reading the first book, and having it be so relevant to life, one forgets what a March 2020 publication date means. The book likely was in the editing phases in June 2019, and the original concept came from “The City Born Great” way back in 2016. But March 2020 … that is when America acknowledged Covid was really, really a thing.

Jemisin wrote and edited the second book of the series as the world stumbled.

As a result two books got trimmed into one – excess story plot lines, deviations, and character development got slashed. The rambling 481 page first book is followed by a trim, fast read in a 369 page second book. I found the first book a slow read – pushing through it in a week, but finished the second book in less that 24 hours.

Is there more I want to know about this universe? Heck yes. Would I have liked a longer second book as much as the one this universe of the multiverse got? I don’t know.

A much faster, more traditional read than the first book, but still true to the universe.

Flash: Song for Rosalynn

Image from Habitat for Humanity

I hate my life.

Waking in the middle of the night humming means someone is going to die. The worst thing is they aren’t dying right now, which means the song is stuck in my head and it is the worst. I mean the song itself isn’t bad, majestic yet homey and full of laughter and loyalty, but it has this annoying jingle theme mixed in that is just addictive. It’s not time to sing it yet, but it’s eating at me and I didn’t get a lick more sleep after it woke me at two am.

I made my way to the office coffee for the third time this morning.

“Hey Sullivan, you are a banshee, who’s dying?”

“Huh?” I grunt setting back the coffee pot onto the counter after pouring out the little skim at the bottom. Someone before me had made very sure to leave just enough in the pot they weren’t the ones needing to make the next one.

Rude.

I slug back the charred liquid in the hopes it would wake me up enough to make more.

“Dying … as in about to end?” Chad Parfait from claims leans against the counter. “Who is about to go to the big party in the sky?”

“Wouldn’t know.” I mumble after dumping out the filter and spent grounds. Looking inside the holder for the filter, I see spludge clinging to the sides but don’t have the energy to walk all the way to the bathroom to rinse it out. I drop the next filter in the basket and pull the coffee canister to me.

“Oh, come on.” He pours on the charm. Really, he should be in sales instead of claims the way he can just turn it on. “It’s not like it is a big secret. It’s all over the news, banshees everywhere are humming. Something big is about to go down.”

“Not my Composer, not my song.” I lpull the canister lid off.

Fuck, just enough inside to not quite fill the scoop.

I kneel down and open the cabinet under the coffee station.

“Fine, be that way.” He huffs, waving his fingers around. “You banshees always got to be all spooky mysterious.”

When we aren’t wailing on walls at the top of our lung, sure.

Coffee! I pull the new yellow plastic jug out and hug it to me, standing.

I empty the old container, then dumped that betrayer in the trash can on top of the grounds, and then add the prescribed additional scoops from the new one and set the brew going. I ignore everyone else approaching, staring at the whining machine like a kid focused on an ice cream cone. They, unlike Chad, respect the space of an addict and her addiction. As soon as the wake-up nectar starts flowing, I pull out the pot and place my mug underneath.

Once full, I switch the two containers back judiciously so none of the go-juice splashes out.

On normal days I would add enough sugar to qualify for diabetes, but this Friday is a black-black-black Anish-Kapoor-isn’t-allowed-to-buy-it-black day. No additives needed.

***

The Underwriting vice president pulls me into her office after lunch, officially checking to see how I’m doing now that I just passed my three-month probationary mark. A banshee herself, she was touching base with all the wailers in the department. I had noticed her asking each of us to report to the office. I’m number three and the last one.

Don’t ask me why insurance companies like us banshees in the life insurance underwriting business. It’s not like we know a person’s death date unless they are in our Composer line. Yes, meeting a person who will die within the day usually sets off a tune, but that isn’t useful in modern insurance with computers creating a barrier between us and the person we are evaluating. Still, somehow, we have the reputation of precognitive ability outside of our very limited real abilities. (If we actually had solid precog, do you think any of us would be working with the lottery available?)

Admittedly, the actuaries have run the numbers and we are 2% more accurate than average humans, enough to be statistically significant, but not really a big thing. But when one talks about insurance companies, 2% adds up over time and they snap us up like candy.

I’m not going to turn down a guaranteed job and went the easy route in community college, picking the courses needed to land me an insurance career.

Dr. Foster is humming that dang jingle theme under her breath when I enter. I still haven’t placed it, though it seems familiar.

“I give up, what is that song?” I say after closing the door, hoping I’m not out-of-line with my guess that this is an older banshee checking in on a young one, not a VP touching base with a recent hire.

The manager waves to the chairs in front of her desk. “Oh, an old commercial. Kids back in the day would make fun of presidents, back before … sorry, no politics. Anyway, all fun and games. How are you holding up?”

“Not my first rodeo.” I shift, getting comfortable in the chair.

Her face firms, slightly sour and in control. I imagine it is how my grandmother would have looked if she had been able to keep ahold of her sanity as long as Dr. Foster has. Late fifties is an accomplishment and I really would like to learn how she did it. I should be listening to her instead of acting strong. “But waking up in the middle of the night is rough.”

“Isn’t it though?” Her black eyes soften, lines crinkling at the edges. “I’m used to it as an old woman. The bladder doesn’t hold it well anymore, but a midnight song is never easy. Did you talk to anyone about it?”

“Umm, no.” My fingers twist in my lap. “I know that the counselors recommend talking it out, but I don’t have any roommates. I just moved here for the job.”

“No boyfriends, girlfriends?”

I shake my head.

“Could you call your parents? Your mom likely would have been up with this one.”

“Dad is the line and so it skipped a generation.” I shrug. “And it was 2 am.”

She didn’t ask about the previous generation, grandma. Banshees rarely live long.

The VP taps a beautiful blue and white decorated almond shaped nail against her wooden desk. “You need to get someone. A banshee buddy or other supernatural, even a human … boyfriend?” The last word raising in a question.

I nod. “Guilty, straight as an arrow.”

“No shame in that.” Dr. Foster smiles at me. “We got enough to deal with, adding anything out of the ordinary just makes life exhausting.” She should know, being the only black VP in the company, and the only woman VP, though the female thing is fairly common in life insurance underwriting departments. Banshees getting special attention and all that.

I mean, look at me, three months in and getting a one-on-one with the Vice President of my department, skipping right over my supervisor. I know Kelly is Dr. Foster’s special choice to replace her when she retires, but if I do things right, and don’t go mad before Kelly takes the seat, I could be Kelly’s protegee.

“I’ll think about it. Do you think one of the other banshees here could buddy with me?”

“Sadly, all of them are in committed relationships and depend on that person for their support system. Besides, it’s usually better when it is someone other than another banshee, that is only a last resort.” She rotates her chair sideways and stands. I stand with her. “When it is two banshees, they end up talking over each other when they get the same song, instead of listening.” Dr. Foster places her hand on the doorknob of her office door. “Better to find someone else, but if you can’t link up with the Banshee Wall. A great community, you can get some really helpful hints there.”

She opens the door. “Keep up the good work and welcome to the team.”

“Thank you, I really am enjoying working for Jackson and Prior.”

***

Mr. Lincoln, my direct supervisor, gave me a delivery to take up to the fifth floor soon after my meeting with the VP. Nothing really out of the ordinary. The owners of the company are vampires and prefer to do things the paper way. Usually Mr. Lincoln delivers the end-of-week report for our group upstairs after emailing Dr. Foster her copy, but he wanted to serendipitously find out what happened behind closed doors.

I lied, saying she was just welcoming me to the team, and he lied saying how he loved how our department is a family and Dr. Foster inspires him with her teambuilding. He really is a good manager, but the glass ceiling in underwriting clearly makes him bitter. Mr. Lincoln should transfer to a different department if he couldn’t handle banshees jumping past him in the hierarchy.

Women have to deal with it everywhere else. Suffer.

The Chorus hit while I was upstairs.

Normally I already be in the bathroom hoping no one needed a big shit until the song completed, but company policy allowed us to take over any conference room, as they all had soundproofing, even shutting down a meeting if needed and kicking everyone out when a wail takes over. I manage to shove open the door to the executive meeting room, Crone-blessed empty at fifteen of five on a Friday, before the opening notes hit.

The room is amazing. As an insurance company we have pretty nice things, but top floor rooms take it to the next level. Brown carpet soft under the feet, unmarred wood table with an audio call-station in the center and room for eight large ergonomic chairs around it. Wood paneling instead of obvious acoustic tiles. No beat-up chairs line the wall, like they do in underwriting for when we had to get everyone in the room. I cross to the window overlooking the city as the evening lights start to flicker on under the setting November sun. Lugh was showing off with a display of red, orange, and yellow.

Tapping the glass, I confirmed the sound of shatterproof, bulletproof material. I can blow out my lungs, and the glass wouldn’t end up on the street five stories below.

Music flows, filling the large space. I can hear my sisters sing of hope and love. Determination. The woman we sing of isn’t dead yet, but her final coda has started. Two days and our predictions will become reality and the rest of America will mourn with us.

May your melody be heard and your memory bless those that know you Rosalynn Carter. You did amazing things.

Sometimes I love my life.

(words 1,818; first published 11/26/2023)

Ymir’s Songs series

  1. Fifteen Minutes (10/09/2022)
  2. Song for Rosalyn (11/26/2023)

Flash: Pixie Power 3 – I am just boring

Photo 51869959 | Black Man Chest © Angelo Cordeschi | Dreamstime.com

He pushed her gently aside to stand and held out a hand. “The police will be able to follow the dust back to you. You should hide out in my place between concerts until the statue of limitations kicks in on Tuesday.” Innate gifts had three days to bring complaints about, making fairy justice move swift in the mortal world. This way pixies, who pixie dust falls off of, wouldn’t clog up the system constantly with issues. Just like controlling a siren humming, or a sheepish eating their way through a salad bar. Things happen, and humans had decided it is easier to quickly forgive them for the things they couldn’t stop any more than a tree giving oxygen. But if the problems were constant in the normie world, because someone took advantage of the normies, the Queen’s Guards would come knocking. And being fairies themselves, there is no limitations, either on how long since the crimes occurred, or the punishment inflicted.

The redhead pulled herself up with his hand then slapped both hands against his chest. “I will get your secret.”

Bowser leaned in closer, each word leaving a breath against her lips. “You can try.” Then he stood straight, his shoulders straining his leather jacket. “Come on. You got two concerts tomorrow, time to pour you into bed.”

“You got only one bed in your coffin-sized apartment.” They started walking to the Fairy Land sector. “You know that right?”

“So I sleep on the sofa.” Bowser sent a smirk her way.

Amie laughed aloud, shoving him on the arm. “You got a sleeper-sofa; your sofa is your bed. And … AND!” she repeated for emphasis, “It is a two-seater bed that opens out into a thin lumpy full-size mattress barely wide enough for your shoulders. You’ve complained about it enough.”

“The floor then?” They turned at Thirteen and Green, and suddenly the trees planted along the street became massive oaks and elms, turning sidewalks into rippling nightmares for pedestrians, or biking bonanzas for the youths, instead of stunted plants held in by pavement to politely reside in small litter-filled dirt squares.

“Where?” Amie started walking backward now they were in safe territory, easily navigating along the broken cement, the trees sleeping under the fairy lights, the snores giving away their locations so she wouldn’t walk into them. “I know I’ve only been to your place twice, but that is because it is so small. There isn’t room to walk, let alone lay down.”

“We’ll figure it out. As small as my room is, it is still larger than a cell.”

“Debatable,” she danced up the steps to his brownhouse. Hand-in-hand they walked through the shields, then he used his key on the door.  Amie laid a hand on his arm as he opened the door. “And thank you. The third-chair is getting tired of bailing me out.”

“You are just lucky she hates the second-chair with a passion, and after your night off, Phrued always wants to get back at Bresserexel.” They quieted entering the stairwell, not wanting to wake anyone at the late-night hour. Five flights later, they entered the topmost floor. Bowser snapped up his lease because he had access to the sod roof. A sheepish will forgive even the tiniest stall for access to a pasture. “Home sweet home,” he said, opening the door until it knocked against one of his overloaded bookcases.

She squeezed by him into the one-room apartment. Ten by eight, barely affordable on his two retail jobs, city rents being what they are. A sharp contrast to her shared apartment with two other concert pixies and their rotating boytoy patrons a quick ten-minute walk to the orchestra hall, their contract allowing them to live in the human sector.

Bowser’s bed was folded out, smelling of sweat and lanolin, unmade and covered in piles of colorful woven wool blankets from home. The kitchen had only a single mug in the sink from his morning coffee before his big store job where he unloaded the trucks. Inhaling deeply, a smile controlled the pixie’s face. “Smells like home.”

“You spent way too much time at my place growing up.” Chuckling, Browser unzipped his jacket. He took hers as she shrugged out of it and hung them both by the door on the hook there. Hers first then his.

Amie rolled her eyes. Sheepish oils would transfer between the leathers, and she would smell him for weeks. But one hook, what could you do?

Like one bed.

She stared at it. They hadn’t slept together since primary school, not really. A couple times they passed out drunk since moving to the city, but they never intentionally started out seeking Morpheus’ domain together since becoming adults.

A finger snapped in front of her a couple times. “Am I losing you? Haven’t fallen asleep standing, have you, my pixie power lady?”

“Nope, still on this side of the dreamworld.” She looked over at him, and caught an eyeful of him unbuttoning his shirt. Between unloading trucks in the early morning hours and stocking shelves throughout the day at a different store, his light white wool sprinkled across a very firm humanoid chest and a scratchable set of abs. “Um … you still got my jump case?”

“Sure, all cleaned and restocked from the last time you were in jail. It’s been a year, but I do look it over before every Fourth Friday.”

“Wise man,” she smiled. “You got an extra shirt for me to sleep in?”

“None clean, tomorrow is laundry day,” he tossed her the button-down pink shirt he had been wearing. “I only had this on since I met you for dinner. It may be a little smoky for the bars, but it’s the cleanest thing I got.”

She shook her head, turning her back on him, stuffing the shirt between the top of books on his shelves and the next shelf. “I can’t believe you only own two weeks of clothes exactly.” Amie lifted her left arm to unzip her club gown and then pulled the tight outfit down with a shimmy. “I got more than that just in formal gowns.”

“Where would I put more?” his voice rumbled behind her, sounding gruffier than normal.

She glanced over her shoulder, her red hair sliding across her naked back and bum. “I guess.”

Bowser wore a short wrap of plaid wool, not a kilt exactly, but not a skirt either. The rest of him was bare. He stepped closer. “Let me get that dress hung, so it doesn’t wrinkle.”

“Oh, yeah, thanks.” She bent over, picked it up, and turned around to hand it to him.

He froze looking down at the dress in her hand and the area just beyond it.

“Oops.” A grin flashed, complete with iridescent teeth. “Sorry, forgot I was naked.” Amie bounced, sending her chest jiggling. “You like?”

Bowser’s black eyes narrowed, his lips creased into a flat line, and he grunted before he snatched her dress. Turning his back to her, he pulled a hanger from the pile beside his hamper, put her dress on it, and hung it from the sprinkler system next to the stove.

“What? You don’t like?” Amie grabbed his pink shirt and put it on. Then she clapped her hands, “That’s it! That is your secret! You don’t like girls! Are you gay? By the berm, I can’t believe I never realized it.” She dashed over to hug him. “Don’t you worry, I got so many people I can introduce you to. Boyd, no, he is an ass. Galoway, oh, that queen is an absolute doll, you’ll love him. He is the stay-at-home type, kettle drums and general percussion, so you can lead him around by his nose. You should have told me. We could have been double-dating this whole time!”

“Amie, Amie, Amie.” Bowser grasped her shoulders, pulling her away from him, his shirt, unbuttoned, billowing around her as it came lose from his wooly chest hair before it settled either side of her breasts, skimming the top of her thighs. “I am not gay.”

“No?” Her heterochromatic eyes blinking. “Are you sure?”

He stood on his tiptoes and kissed her forehead. “Yes, I’m sure.”

“Asexual then? Aromantic?” Her proud flutist lips pouting. “Is that why you never had a girlfriend?”

“No, I am just boring cis-male,” Bowser said. “Just like I’m a boring small-town guy in a big town. Nothing special.”

Amie poked a finger to his chest. “Don’t you go doing that! I told you I will not stand you calling yourself boring! Not after all the adventures we have been on! Who went skydiving for their twenty-first birthday? You. Who snuck both of us backstage for the Troll Fang-static Tour all three nights they played the Garden? You.”

“Quiet down, pixie power. People are sleeping.” The sheepish reached up and encircled her hand where she was poking him. “I’m sorry. I’m exciting and adventurous. I made it to the big city and survived over four years. That has to be a record. Counting them out, one or two or maybe even three of them.” Bowser started backwalking her to the bed.

“Exactly.” Amie agreed. The back of her knees hitting the sofa-seat-bed, causing her to fall backwards, the pink shirt flying to either side of her torso, leaving her bare except where her red hair covered her left breast. Looking at him hovering above her, backlit by the kitchen recessed lighting, the cautious part of her sent a zing of fear through her. The pleasant kind.

Her present angle gave her a glimpse under the wool wrap, and the semi-erect not-so-little little-Bowser. Now, that was something very un-boring about her best friend.

His black eyes stroked down her red hair from the top of her head, passed her tingling lips, over tightening nipples, to her trimmed curly red hairs. Amie lifted her legs to wrap around the back of his knees to pull him closer, making him fall. He caught himself with his muscular arms either side of her. “You are amazing,” she whispered.

“You are drunk.”

“Nope. Not completely sober, but not drunk.” She bopped his black nose. “I’m a fairy and I say I’m sober enough to make contracts. And you are not gay.” She wiggled, sliding her legs up to press his ass, settling him against her properly, like he always was meant to be there. The wool plaid wrapping him created a delicious sensation to mix with being completely surrounded by his scent. Amie lifted her arms to pull him closer.

He didn’t move. The man became a rock. An immoveable object. She could pull herself up, but not him down, and she was too tired to pull up for long.

“Go to sleep Amie, you got to leave here by a flat hand on the horizon past dawn to make it to the Saturday matinee setup. And you don’t have money for a taxi. Four or five dollars in that teeny purse of yours.”

“I’m not tired,” she said, a yawn taking her at the last word. Stupid lanolin reminding her of the safety his home always provided. She had the best sleep there. “Okay, maybe a little.”

“Maybe a lot. You got, what, six, maybe seven hours sleep last night?” Bowser lowered himself to the side against his bookshelf, wrapping his warmth around her, his broad hand against her waist. He whispered in her ear. “We can pick this up tomorrow after work when neither of us have any alcohol in us. You are sleeping here for the next several nights, maybe even eight or nine.”

“No, no.” Her brain felt fuzzy, but not from the double handful of beers she banged back. “Wait, are you doing a sheep sleep thing? That spell you guys can do? I thought you had to count for that. Have you been counting? One … two …” she trailed off before she heard an answer.

(words 1998, first published 10/29/2023)

Pixie Power Series

  1. I feel a sneeze (10/15/23)
  2. I rather not (10/22/23)
  3. I am just boring (10/29/23)

Flash: Pixie Power 2 – I rather not

Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

They passed two pixie dream girls at the corner, dressed for tricks. Their phones were out taking pictures. “You got us?” Bowser asked, as he was hauled along.

“No way girl.” “Ain’t no spill.” The females shouted at their backs.

Amie dropped his hand, turned around, running backwards. “Pixie power!”

A high tweet sang back.

Browser grabbed her sideways to keep her from running into a tree. Not the easiest manhandling, since Amie was the same height as him but he was nearly twice as wide.

After four blocks away, they fell against some steps breathing heavy. “Woman, you will be the death of me.”

“I would never.” Amie slid from where she landed against his shoulder into his lap, to look up at him from under her red hair. “Admit it, you love it.”

He pursed his lips closed and dug his fingers into her hair, pulling it off her face and combing it into a silken fall over his jeans.

She finger-flicked his stomach. “Admit it. Without me, life would be boring.”

“Boring isn’t bad.”

“No, then shall we do a Netflix and chill like the normies?” She stuck out her tongue at him. “Stay at home with popcorn and do a puzzle?”

A side smile entered his face as he traced a finger over her eyebrows. “That sounds like fun.”

“Fun?” Amie shot up out of his lap to face him. “Fun? Staying home? Doing nothing?”

“I’m sheepish, not pixie.” He pulled her close to lean against him, her face naturally falling to look out at the street instead of his face. “I like my pasture.”

The adrenaline-driven fairy sighed. “I dragged you so far away from it.” Amie patted Boswer’s leg. “I’m sorry.”

He kissed her cheek. “We don’t have a choice. You have to play your flute, and a world-class orchestra is the only thing that can keep up with you. That means a big city. A really, really big city.”

“What about your pasture?” Amie turned her face to his. Bowser tried to turn away to study the street, but she pulled his face back. “Don’t you want to go back to the burrow? You can, you know.”

His oversized black-on-black eyes darted over her much more human-appearing face. He pressed his lips together.

“Come on.” Amie tweaked his black nose. “Talk to me, mutton-chops.”

“I rather not.”

The pixie shifted back, gaining some sobriety. “Why not?” This time her purple left eye and green right eye studied him, for the first time in a long time. Dark circles hid under his large black eyes. White wool stubble scrambled along an angular jawline. Curls from too long scalp-hair matted, and the center of his eyebrows hadn’t been plucked in weeks. “What don’t you want me to know? What can’t you tell the truth about?”

As fairies, there could be no lies between them, but omissions were a popular coin to protect secrets.

(words 488, first published 10/22/2023)

Pixie Power Series

  1. I feel a sneeze (10/15/23)
  2. I rather not (10/22/23)
  3. I am just boring (10/29/23)

Book Review (SERIES): Blood Moon Over Bourbon Street

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Blood Moon Over Bourbon Street series by Theresa Glover

  1. Caitlin Kelley, Monster Hunter
  2. A Touch Too Much
  3. Trouble In Mind

BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for BLOOD MOON OVER BOURBON STREET

All Caitlin Kelley wanted was a vacation in New Orleans. See the sights, check out the voodoo shops, drink a hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s, eat beignets at Cafe du Monde, the whole deal. Rest, relaxation, and…well, there isn’t a good word that starts with “R” that means getting her drink on, but that was in the plans, too.

Until she saw a monster at the airport and ended up smack dab in the middle of the New Orleans supernatural underworld. Now she’s dodging black dogs, hunting nightmares, dealing with confusing feelings about a nun and a cop at the same time, and killing demon spiders. All the demon spiders. Oh, and a giant panty-stealing ape swiped her underwear.

If her vacation doesn’t kill her, Caitlin Kelley is going to need a serious break when this is over!

MY REVIEW for LOOD MOON OVER BOURBON STREET

Blood Moon Over Bourbon Street collects the three Caitlin Kelley novellas (Caitlin Kelley, A Touch Too Much, and Trouble In Mind) into one volume.

The uneven energy of the three novellas doesn’t work as well in one volume as it did spaced over several years of the original releases. Novella 1 sets up a darker than normal Bubbaverse Monster Hunter, but still rife with the humor found in this shared universe with all the fantastic monsters. Novella 2 shows Ms. Glover is a much more complicated writer – stringing together multiple plotlines and character developments, with reoccurring villains – than is normal for the Bubbaverse – but the humor still is over the top even as the darker, more complicated situations are explored. Then Novella 3 takes everything on a trip sideways where the consequences of never getting a vacation, a break, or even a moment have finally piled up beyond what the very human Monster Hunter can handle.

Ms. Glover has brought her own unique stamp to the Bubbaverse with this collected works. Her psychological horror roots show strong, even through the humor.

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for CAITLIN KELLEY, MONSTER HUNTER

Who let the dogs out, indeed?!?

All Caitlin Kelley wanted was a chance to relax in New Orleans. Is that too much to ask?

Obviously so. Between the strange man/not man/something she chased through the airport and the monster terrorizing the French Quarter, this vacation is anything but Easy, Big or otherwise. Throw in her wisecracking companion Marty, a shadowy government agency that’s probably either in league with the bad guys or is even worse than the bad guys, and a creature roaming the streets of New Orleans that may or may not be straight out of the pages of Thor, and this novella is jam-packed with action, innuendo, and ass-kicking!

MY REVIEW for CAITLIN KELLEY, MONSTER HUNTER

Working my way through the Bubbaverse (somewhere over 60 short stories and novellas) and found this amazing New Templar.

A monster hunter going on vacation to New Orleans. Nope, nothing could possibly go wrong there. Except as soon as they land they run into a nightmare, and discover the monster hunter of the territory has been killed, and hired to track down a demon dog by a … old southern lady? Oh, and there may be a Collector out there too.

Much more complicated and interwoven than is typical of the Bubbaverse, Caitlin Kelley still has the humor and monsters signature of the world-universe.

Funny, action-packed, and well-written.

 

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for A TOUCH TOO MUCH

She’s crushing on a nun. There’s a hydra in the French Quarter. And a giant gorilla just stole her underwear.

This is not Caitlin Kelley’s best day. Much to her chagrin, it’s not her worst day, either. The newly-minted official Monster Hunter for New Orleans just wanted to drink a few (okay, many) hurricanes, eat more beignets than should be humanly possible, and otherwise enjoy her New Orleans vacation. Instead, she’s found herself relocating to The Big Easy, dealing with cops and federal agents, hunting down a walking nightmare, and representing all of humanity in a supernatural conference to determine the fate of the world. And did I mention she has the ultimate in unrequited crushes – a nun?

MY REVIEW for A TOUCH TOO MUCH

Ms. Glover continues to put her own unique spin on the Bubbaverse-NewTemplars, bringing her blend of humor and story-telling on the stage of Monster Hunting in New Orleans.

Come for the food – run from the monsters.

The nightmare of the first book revisits the second book. In a shared-universe where most of the writers write “the monster of the chapter” – resolved-and-move-on (except for the season’s big guy), Ms. Glover has created layers and interweaving while still throwing more monsters at a reader than a D&D game – hydras, nightmares, goddesses, locust, flying monkeys, and sentient gorillas with underwear fetishes (don’t ask, just read).

Read for the monster hunting, stay for the storytelling.

Amazon Cover

BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for 

There’s a dragon in the Crescent City, and that’s not a metaphor.

Caitlin Kelley has chased literal nightmares through the streets of New Orleans, had her underwear stolen by giant gorilla, and played politics with a bunch of supernats with enough power to snuff her out like a match in a hurricane. And none of that compares to the demons she carries around inside her every day.

Now her personal demons and the monsters outside herself are all crashing down around her as she tries to hold her team, her adopted city, and herself together against all odds and all reason. Maybe the dragon isn’t the real problem after all.

Can Caitlin pull herself together in time to save New Orleans from a dragon and the evil wizard that enslaved it (yeah, really)?

Can Caitlin drag herself out of her own head long enough to hold her team together in one of the toughest battles they’ll ever face?

Can Caitlin keep the Black Dog at bay for just one more day?

Yeah, dragons are easy. Living is hard.

MY REVIEW for 

Well, that went down a dark path I completely did not expect. Come for the monster hunter, stay for the psychological evaluation.

What is horror without a complete mind f-k? If you ever wonder why people with depression, who are being swallowed by the darkness, can’t reach out, no matter how many people love them and want to help, no matter how much they know they need help, this book will help fill in the gaps.

This one is not a comfortable read. It is still laced with the humor of the Bubbaverse, contains all the amazing monsters and magic and action you could ever want. But if you have ever dealt with friends struggling with depression or heard the siren call yourself of the rocks of “you will never succeed” to bash against, the read will not be comfortable. Considering how much monster hunters see and do, the physical damage, the soul damage, they take, seeing one struggle with the big semicolon may be unexpected, but it is very real.

Come for the fiction, stay for the reality.