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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Review: Grave Matters by Lauren M. Roy


Grave Matters
Author:  Lauren M. Roy
Series:  Night Owls 2
Publisher:  Ace, February 24, 2015
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425272497 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: Grave Matters by Lauren M. Roy
Night Owls bookstore always keeps a light on and evil creatures out. But, as Lauren M. Roy’s thrilling sequel continues, even its supernatural staff isn’t prepared for the dead to come back to life…

Elly grew up training to kill things that go bump in the night, so she’s still getting used to working alongside them. While she’s learned to trust the eclectic group of vampires, Renfields, and succubi at Night Owls bookstore, her new job guarding Boston’s most powerful vampire has her on edge—especially when she realizes something strange is going on with her employer, something even deadlier than usual…

Cavale isn’t thrilled that his sister works for vampires, but he’s determined to repair their relationship, and that means trusting her choices—until Elly’s job lands all of the Night Owls in deep trouble with a vengeful necromancer. And even their collective paranormal skills might not be enough to keep them from becoming part of the necromancer’s undead army…



Trinitytwo's Point of View

Grave Matters by Lauren M. Roy is the second in the Night Owl series which features a sensational array of supernatural characters. Book two picks up about a month after the events of its predecessor and although Roy fills in all the blanks to allow this installment to stand alone, I think the reader would get a much better flavor for the world of Night Owls if they start with book one, Night Owls. (Click here for review.)

Vampire Valerie McTeague owns Night Owls, a bookstore that caters to the nocturnal crowd. Staffed by Chaz, Val’s Renfield, and Justin, a newly turned vampire, the bookstore and its surrounding area are a hub of paranormal activities. Val and her crew have joined forces with Elly and her brother Cavale, both former members of the mysterious Brotherhood. Elly and Cavale are well-versed in the all things mystical and especially the laying to rest of a variety of monsters, either by magical means or lethal force. In Grave Matters, a renegade necromancer is raising the dead and causing havoc within the circles of their small community. To further complicate matters, Elly’s new boss, the powerful leader of a nearby vampire coven, is keeping her busy dealing with a rival group of vamps who are trying to edge into his territory.

I like this series. It’s entertaining and dark at the same time. Roy does a great job of fleshing out her characters while dealing with the emotional complexities and conflicts that come with such a diverse group of supernaturals. Physically badass but emotionally vulnerable Elly continues to be my favorite character. Elly is now living with her brother Cavale, which alternates from being awkward to endearing. Elly is new to the concept of friendships and it’s interesting to see how she handles the relationships she is beginning to forge with the Night Owls crew. I find Cavale fascinating and liked discovering more about his talents and flaws. I really enjoy his interactions with his sister as well as his occult work at Hecate’s Cabinet as a Tarot reader. Chaz, realizing he is now physically the weakest link, begins self defense training with succubi Lia and Sunny. His attempts to keep up with the other members of the group are admirable; I respect his motives, but he somehow rubs me the wrong way and I’m not really sure why. Grave Matters is at its best for me when our heroes are kicking supernatural ass and taking names, but I’m also happy with the way they support one another in the face of the unspeakable and always have each other’s backs. Grave Matters is an enjoyable read and if the pace lags a tiny bit from time to time, the satisfying climax more than makes up for it. I would definitely recommend this book and the series to lovers of paranormal adventures.

Interview with Lauren M. Roy, author of Night Owls - February 26, 2014


Please welcome Lauren M. Roy to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Night Owls was published on February 25, 2014 by Ace.


Interview with Lauren M. Roy, author of Night Owls - February 26, 2014



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Lauren:  Thank you for having me! I'm not sure I could put a finger on when I first put pen to paper to tell a story. Some parents store up embarrassing baby photos to show to their kids' friends. I suspect mine have a box of really terrible third-grade story attempts somewhere, laying in wait. I've never NOT been writing. As for why I started -- I love reading stories, hearing them, watching them play out. At some point I realized I wanted to tell stories of my own.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Lauren:  I'm a weird hybrid of both. I'm a linear writer, so writing scenes out of order is very hard for me to do. I tend to plan two or three chapters ahead, then when my draft catches up to my outline, I look ahead another few chapters.

However, when I'm not in front of the keyboard working on a project, I do have a habit of emailing snippets to myself to keep in mind for later. Those range from bits of dialogue to character descriptions to plot reminders: "Character A is lying and gets caught out."



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing? Where do you write?

Lauren:  Making the time for it. I work full-time, so most of my writing gets done at night and on weekends. I've sacrificed many a sunny summer Sunday to wordcount.

I bounce between the desktop in my study and the laptop in our living room. I also carry a hardcover notebook with me for longhand writing. Every now and then if I get stuck, the switch from screen to page is the change of brainspace I need to get the words flowing again.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Lauren:  Does everyone list Stephen King as an influence? Because, er, Stephen King. His books taught me so much about voice and pacing. Madeleine L'Engle's another. I'm pretty sure my name took up half the checkout card on the school library's copy of A SWIFTLY TILTING PLANET.

Pinning down my favorite authors gets harder: Robert R. McCammon, Christopher Moore, Seanan McGuire, Elizabeth Bear, Chuck Wendig, N.K. Jemisin, Scott Lynch. (Seriously we could be here for days.)



TQ:  Describe Night Owls in 140 characters or less.

Lauren:  Val tried leaving her monster-hunting days behind, but a girl named Elly comes to town with them on her heels and leads them to Val's door.



TQ:  Tell us something about Night Owls that is not in the book description.

Lauren:  There's a third POV character in the book, Val's Renfield Chaz (aka her human minion and bookstore manager). He thinks he's pretty savvy about how the vampires operate, but he's about to find out just how much he doesn't know.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Night Owls? Why did you choose to write Urban Fantasy? Do you want to write in any other genres or sub-genres?

LaurenNight Owls started as a bit of write-what-you-know. My first job was in a bookstore, so I was aiming for a funny supernatural spin on bookseller life. For a long time, I had the first chapter (which is actually the start of chapter two!) sitting on my hard drive in need of a plot. Later, I was writing what was supposed to be a short story about a girl running away from a Creep, and realized oh hey, maybe this is the same world. Everything clicked from there.

I usually begin stories with characters and situations, and the genre comes along as I figure them out. So I didn't set out with UF specifically in mind, but I'm a fan of the genre, so I hope NIGHT OWLS is a fun read for other fans!

I've written a YA fantasy and a MG fantasy-with-steampunk-elements, and am eyeballing some adult horror with my friend and writing partner Hillary Monahan (who, if shameless plugs are allowed, has a debut YA horror coming in September called MARY: THE SUMMONING.)



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Night Owls?

Lauren:  I didn't know it was research at the time, but the subject of my college thesis was the female vampire in literature. (The English department had no idea what to do with me...) A lot of what I learned for that came back around when I was thinking about how I wanted the vampires in my world to work.

I've also been delving into Russian history, since one of the groups of vampires Val deals with lived through great big swaths of it. Though I don't necessarily go into it in NIGHT OWLS, it informs their characters.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Who is your favorite good guy, bad guy or ethically ambiguous character?

Lauren:  Chaz was the easiest. He lets me channel my inner smartass and get back in touch with my bookseller side -- I worked in an independent bookstore through high school and college and miss it terribly. He was also the character who got to ask the neat questions and react as someone new to the world.

Elly could be tough to write sometimes. She's been through a lot, and she tends to play things close to the vest. Her unusual upbringing means she feels out of place in a lot of social situations, but when it comes to the supernatural she's nearly as confident as Val. Balancing those two aspects of her personality occasionally got challenging.

It's not easy to pick favorites with an ensemble cast, but because I've been in her headspace a little more recently, I'm going with Katya, the second-in-command of the South Boston vampires, as my favorite ethically ambiguous character. She revels in who and what she is, she's not a very nice person, but there's more to her than meets the eye.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite lines from Night Owls.

Lauren:  A smart vampire would have gone home and gone to bed.

No, a smart vampire would have built up her wealth over the years, amassed a small army of devoted minions, and built an impenetrable fortress-mansion somewhere exotic. I went with the “sink all your money into a bookstore and barely scrape by in a quaint college town.”

And she’d sent her one minion home



TQ:  What's next?

Lauren:  I'm putting the finishing touches on the first draft of the sequel to NIGHT OWLS (currently called GHOST TOWN). It should be on shelves in early 2015. After that, I'm poking at a straight-up fantasy involving faeries on the open sea.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Lauren:  Thank you for hosting me!





Night Owls

Night Owls
Night Owls 1
Ace, February 25, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with Lauren M. Roy, author of Night Owls - February 26, 2014
Night Owls bookstore is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perk…

Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away as possible from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren. She’s experienced that life, and the price she paid was far too high for her to ever want to return.

Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.

When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safekeeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors…





About Lauren

Interview with Lauren M. Roy, author of Night Owls - February 26, 2014
Lauren M. Roy has flexed her literary fantasy muscles over the past several years contributing to various role playing games, including Green Ronin's Dragon Age Set 3 sourcebook, Pelgrane Press' Mythos Expeditions anthology (part of the Trail of Cthulhu line), and Green Ronin's Song of Ice and Fire. NIGHT OWLS is her first novel.


Website   ~  Twitter @falconesse

Tumblr  ~  Goodreads





The View From Monday - February 24, 2014



Happy last Monday in February! I've really looking forward to the upcoming start of March and hopefully less snow.



The View From Monday - February 24, 2014


There are three debuts this week:

Three Souls by Janie Chang;

A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrianne Harun;

and

Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy.


And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Hammer of Angels (Shadowstorm 2) by G. T. Almasi;

Cold War: A Tor.Com Original (e) by Adam Christopher;

The Problem with Promises (Mystwalker 3) by Leigh Evans;

and

Tales From the Radiation Age by Jason Sheehan.



February 24, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Bittersweet Darkness (e) Nina Croft PNR - Order 3
Death Defying (e) Nina Croft SFR - Blood Hunter 3
Pan's Conquest (e) Aubrie Dionne PNR
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (e) Patricia Eimer PNR - Speak of the Devil 3
Star Trek: Titan: Absent Enemies (e) John Jackson Miller SF - Star Trek
Hot Rock (e) Annie Seaton PNR
Journey of the Wanderer (e) Shawna Thomas FR - Triune Stones 4
Witch Interrupted (e) Jody Wallace PNR



February 25, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Eldritch Conspiracy (tp2mm) Cat Adams UF - Blood Singer 5
Hammer of Angels G. T. Almasi SF / Adv - Shadowstorm 2
Circle of Death (ri) Keri Arthur UF - Damask Circle 2
Honor's Knight Rachel Bach SF - Paradox 2
The Gate Thief (h2mm) Orson Scott Card F - Mither Mages 2
Three Souls (D) Janie Chang HistFict/Gh
Cold War: A Tor.Com Original (e) Adam Christopher SF
London Falling (h2mm) Paul Cornell F - London Falling 1
Star Trek: The Original Series: No Time Like the Past Greg Cox SF - Star Trek
The Troop Nick Cutter H
The Problem with Promises Leigh Evans UF - Mystwalker 3
Fire with Fire (tp2mm) Charles E. Gannon SF/Adv - Caine Riordan 1
Impulse (h2mm) Steven Gould SF - Jumper 3
Let the Dead Sleep (h2mm) Heather Graham UFR - Caffery & Quinn 1
The Undead Pool Kim Harrison UF - The Hollows 12
A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain (D) Adrianne Harun Folklore/MR/Myth
The Bloody Cup M. K. Hume HistF / Arthurian - King Arthur Trilogy 3
Black Wings of Cthulhu S. T. Joshi (ed) H - Volume 2
Blades of the Old Empire Anna Kashina F - Majat Code 1
Alabaster: Pale Horse Caitlin R. Kiernan DF
Under the Dome: Part 1: A Novel Stephen King H/Su/Th
The Book of the Crowman Joseph D' Lacey F - The Crowman 2
Necessity's Child (h2mm) Sharon Lee
Steve Miller
SF - Liaden Universe  16
Labyrinth of Stars Marjorie M. Liu PNR - Hunter's Kiss 5
A Taste Fur Murder Dixie Lyle PCM - Whiskey, Tango & Foxtrot Mystery 1
The Rift Bob Mayer SF - Area 51: The Nightstalkers 3
Iced (h2mm) Karen Marie Moning UF - Dani O'Malley 1
Sun God Seeks...Surrogate? Mimi Jean Pamfiloff PNR - Accidentally Yours 3
Night Owls (D) Lauren M. Roy UF - Night Owls 1
Angel Seduced Jaime Rush PNR - Hidden 3
The Human Division (h2mm) John Scalzi SF
A Clockwork Heart (h2mm) Liesel Schwarz SP/F - Chronicles of Light and Shadow 2
Tales From the Radiation Age Jason Sheehan SF
To Do or Die Mike Shepherd SF - Jump Universe 1
Whisper of Sin (e) Nalini Singh PNR - A Psy Changeling Novella
The Happier Dead Ivo Stourton SF
Blood Kin Steve Rasnic Tem H
The Clockwork Wolf Lynn Viehl SP/M - Disenchanted & Co. 2



February 26, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Jubilee: A Tor.Com Original (e) Karl Schroeder SF



February 27, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Banished (e) Liz de Jager UF - Blackhart Legacy 1
Freaks in a Box: The Myths of Media Paul Di Filippo (ed) F/SF/H - Anthology



D - Debut
e - eBook
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback


Adv - Adventure
DF - Dark Fantasy
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
Gh - Ghosts
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistFict - Historical Fiction
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SP - Steampunk
Su - Supernatural
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy
UFR - Urban Fantasy Romance








Review: Grave Matters by Lauren M. RoyReview: Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy and GiveawayInterview with Lauren M. Roy, author of Night Owls - February 26, 2014The View From Monday - February 24, 2014

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