Reviewed by Tori
In this must-have collection of stories, experience nineteen thrilling adventures from the world of vampire-hunter Jane Yellowrock, including many fan favorites and two all-new novellas. Read about the first time Jane put the pedal to the metal in “The Early Years,” and the last thing a werewolf will ever see as Jane delivers justice in “Beneath a Bloody Moon.” Get a searing look into the pasts of some of the series’ best-loved characters: Beast in “WeSa and the Lumber King,” Rick LaFleur in “Cat Tats,” and Molly Everhart Trueblood in “Haints.”
In the brand-new “Cat Fight,” the witches and vampires of Bayou, Oiseau, are at war over a magical talisman—and Jane must figure out how to keep the mysterious artifact out of the covetous hands of the Master of New Orleans. And in the never-before-published “Bound No More,” Jane welcomes a visit from Molly and her daughter, Angie, who is about to prove she’s the most powerful witch in Everhart history….
From the Big Easy to the bad bayou, from the open road to a vampire’s lair—with Jane Yellowrock, it’s always a given: have stakes, will travel. (Goodreads)
No Jane Yellowrock fan’s library will be complete without this collection added to it. Nineteen stories, some previously published in novellas and some never seen in print before, all bound together in one book and each telling a small scene or moment in time from Jane Yellowrock’s world beginning well before Skinwalker (book one) and ending right after Dark Heir (Book nine). We hear POVs from some of the secondary characters in the series. From Beast to Bruiser, each giving us a rare and intriguing look at Jane through the eyes of those most important to her. Hunter also gives some interesting clues as what is in store for Jane.
Takes place before Skinwalker
We Sa and the Lumber King: This small story takes place when Jane is a small child and in hiding. Beast is the narrator and tells of the white man who has come and raped the land, cutting down all the trees. It’s a very short that gives us a clue to just how old Jane is and how independent Beast has always been.
The Early Years: Who hasn’t been curious about what Jane was like as a teenager or what her first shift was like? In this story, 18-year-old Jane leaves the orphanage and decides to take a detour on her way to her internship; heading to the place where she was discovered as a child. She shifts for the first time and gets a small piece of herself back.
Snafu: A very short and humorous look into Jane’s interview for her PI internship and just how much of a bad arse she was even back then.
Cat Tats: Told from Rick Lefleur’s POV, we learn some of his back story and how he ended up with his cat tattoos. This is where he began to walk down the path to no return. It’s not a pleasant story but it does offer some insight into his behavior later in the series. Though this is set before he “officially” meets Jane, it is actually the first time Jane learns of him.
Kits: This is one of my favorites of the collection. Through Jane’s eyes we see how dearly she regards her burgeoning friendship Molly Everhart Trueblood. When Molly doesn’t show up for work, Jane goes to her house and ends up saving Angie Baby and forging an almost unbreakable bond with the whole family. Very sweet and prophetic in that it shows us how much of herself Jane will give for those she cares for.
Haints: Told from Molly’s POV, she discovers that time can sometimes stand still in the most horrifying of ways when she is hired to discover what or who is haunting an old house. One of the more action packed stories. Jane, Evan, and even Angie Baby make an appearance.
Signature of the Dead: This story is where Jane garners the reputation she now carries as a rogue vampire killer. It is also where Molly begins to realize that being friends with Jane can be potentially hazardous. A group of bloodthirsty rogue vampires are making their way towards Molly and her family. Jane, Molly, and a detective named Brax (who we met in Haints) all have to work together to stop this murderous group before they strike again. I loved this one because we get to see exactly what Jane and Molly are capable of power wise.
Takes place between Skinwalker and Mercy Blade
First Sight: Told from Bruiser’s POV, this the first time he meets Jane. A very short moment in time, hearing how he saw her from the very beginning was quite poignant.
Takes place between Mercy Blade and Raven’s Cursed
Blood Fangs and Going Furry: Told in Rick’s POV, this one takes place after his traumatic experience in Mercy Blade. Kidnapped, tortured, and abused, we hear from Rick’s voice all the emotions he is dealing with due to everything that happened. Even though this is pretty much where I decided that “Ricky Bo” needed to disappear and never return, it does answer some questions I had concerning his attitude and behavior afterward.
Dance Master: This one is simply delicious and it pretty much solidified me as #TeamBruiser. Told in the 3rd person from Bruiser’s perspective, his narrative shows us that he is one of the few who truly see Jane as she really is and wouldn’t change a thing about her. He sees her through the eyes of a fellow predator and respects her. He also voices his opinions on Rick and the fact that no matter how Rick may feel about Jane, he’ll never commit to her because it’s not in his nature.
Golden Delicious: An inside look at Rick’s training at the PsyLED Academy after his ‘change.’ We watch as Rick solves a mystery while trying to find a healthy balance with his partner Brute and his conscience Pea with help from his mentor, the Soul.
Take place between Raven’s Cursed and Death’s Rival
Cajun With Fangs: This story comes out of nowhere though I did enjoy it. Jane’s reputation as Lep Pellister’s Enforcer seems to have reached even the most obscure of places when her bike breaks down in a small town and she finds herself involuntarily embroiled in a supernatural war that involves two love struck people and a town willing to destroy itself to keep them apart. A bit more humorous than what we’ve seen so far in this collection.
Takes place after Blood Trade
The Devil’s Left Foot: Molly’s twin sisters take a case from their high school nemesis whose mother has gone missing. Using their talent, they discover the darker side of their magic when a presumed kidnapping ends up involving blood magic and an insane rogue vampire. They are forced to call in Jane who is not on the Everharts fangirl list due to events in Raven’s Cursed. Some humor injected keeps this story from becoming too dark. I also enjoyed the fact that the events in here show some of the Everharts the injustice of what they have done to Jane.
Takes place between Blood Trade and Black Arts
Beneath a Bloody Moon: Rick calls Jane asking for her help with a werewolf problem in his hometown. This is a prime example of the risks Jane takes for her friends and the lack of respect she receives in return. Rick is there, along with Eli and Alex Younger (Jane’s employees in her PI business) as Jane is forced to place herself in mortal danger to hunt a trio of werewolves who are killing humans for food. Rick is still harping about Jane being his kinda sorta girlfriend and shows some jealousy towards Eli. The story is fast paced with some intense action, interesting details concerning Jane, and a few new characters.
Black Water: This story is the sequel to Beneath a Bloody Moon. Jane is heading home when she receives a call that the werewolf she displaced earlier had an older brother who now wants revenge. He has escaped prison and kidnapped two women. He is now heading back to Rick’s hometown to take his anger out on Rick’s family. Jane arrives and meets up with an older man, Serge, who isn’t at all what he seems, in order to take the escaped convict down. This one mimics the series as a whole the most. Jane is at her best as we watch her interact with Beast, the strengthening of her ties with Eli and Alex, and of course, her ever-present confusion over Ricky Bo and his hot/cold attitude towards her and their relationship. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her rigid morals relax a bit as she realizes that sometimes the only way to defeat a monster is to be a deadlier one.
Also, am I the only one who is more than ready for Jane to tell some people no, that they need to handle their own problems? She’s a vamp killer, not the supe police.
Takes place between Black Arts and Broken Soul
Off The Grid: Jane is headed to North Carolina at Leo Pellister’s request to help a vampire clan find a missing member. This is good because Jane has some anger issues to work out. A sick religious cult has kidnapped her and the clan needs Jane to help get her back. It’s in here we meet Nell Ingram, the star of a new series Hunter is releasing later this year. Nell is a former member of the cult and her knowledge of its inner workings is what Jane needs to help complete her mission. An interesting story that is used to provide us with an introduction to this new series-Soulwood. I hear Rick will also feature prominently in it. Hopefully this will be what pushes him out of Jane’s life for good. *crosses fingers* NOTE: There is an excerpt of the first book in the Soulwood series-Blood of the Earth-at the end of Dark Heir.
Takes place between Broken Soul and Dark Heir
Not All Is As It Seems: A story from Molly’s world. A teakettle seems to be attached to her daughter, Angie Baby. It’s not until a group of vampires come and demand its return does Molly realise the teakettle is not only magical but sentient. A short but sweet story about the strength of unconditional love.
Takes place after Dark Heir
Cat Fight: Jane is one again having to deal with the town and residents we first met in Cajun With Fangs. Why? Because as with almost everyone in Jane’s life, no one seems to be able to or want to clean up their messes. Leo sends Jane back to the bayou when tales of valuable artifact has surfaced. Jane soon discovers that jealousy, miscommunication, spoiled children, and plain stupidity has the town once again on the verge of war. With the help of the Younger brothers and Edward Hartley (vampire servant), Jane has to lay down some hard truths while performing a little marital counseling. Interesting and engaging (I love anytime Edward shows up) though the cajun accents were even more grating this second time around.
Bound No More: Molly and Angie Baby have come to New Orleans for business and to visit Jane. When the house falls under attack by one of the light dragons, Jane discovers some of the secrets both Molly and Angie Baby are keeping. Heavy secrets that could cause danger in the future. Jam packed with action and intrigue, this story sets up some new storylines for the series.
Overall, this collection is the perfect complement to the series with more than enough content to easily hold readers attentions. Even if you have read a majority of the stories, there is still a few surprises to be found in here. If I had one issue, it’s that I would have loved to have gotten THE scene in Black Arts from Rick’s POV. What was he thinking when he did it and does he realize or even care of the possible reckoning that’s coming his way? Because while Jane was hurt, Beast was/is furious and he will be held accountable for it. And in a one on one? Jane/Beast would decimate him.
**Click on the SERIES LIST link if you’d like to see where each of previously published stories originated from**