Review: Dirty Deeds: An Urban Fantasy Collection

Authors: Devon Monk, Faith Hunter, Diana Pharaoh Francis, R.J. Blain
Series: Jane Yellowrock, Ordinary Magic, Magical Romantic Comedies
Publisher: Pen & Page Publishing
Released: January 12th, 2021
Received: Own

4 1/2 kitties

Guys, I have been so anxiously waiting for Dirty Deeds to release, and now it’s finally here! This book collects several novellas and shorts from some of my favorite authors, and naturally totals about six hundred and forty pages. I read all of it in one night. It’s that good. Go get it, and read it. ASAP.

Included within this anthology you’ll find works by Devon Monk (a novella and a short story, both set in her Ordinary Magic world), Faith Hunter (again, a novella and short story, both set in the world of Jane Yellowrock – but following different characters!), Diana Pharaoh Francis, and R.J. Blain (Magical Romantic Comedy series). All of which I’ve reviewed in further detail down below!

Sealed with a Tryst by Devon Monk

★ ★ ★ ★

It’s time to head back to Ordinary in Sealed with a Tryst! Delaney is in desperate need of a vacation – yet she’s concerned (and rightly so) about leaving the town of Ordinary behind. Even for just a few days. Given the events that she’s had to get involved with over the past couple of years…nobody is going to blame her there.

The latest set of circumstances are going to increase Delaney’s desire for a vacation, while also succeeding in increasing her concern about leaving. Once again. It’s almost as if somebody had found a way to cause more mayhem in a town full of supernaturals and gods.

“I think this is Crow thing. Which means it’s nothing but trouble.”

I’ll admit it, I really do enjoy Devon Monk’s Ordinary Magic series, yet I never seem to get caught up in it. Still, I happily dove into this novella, even despite that fault. I had zero problems keeping up, though I did spoil a few details for myself along the way (worth it).

This was a fun and chaotic story, as one might expect. I love the Reed family, and the disasters they are constantly working so hard to avoid. There is just so much charm and personality here, which really did shine quite nicely in such a short period of time. Bonus points for all of the humor woven into the plot and world as a whole.

At Death’s Door by Devon Monk

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

At Death’s Door is a short story directly tied into the novella mentioned above. Only, this time the perspective is from Than! That was a bit of a surprise for me (again, I’m behind on the series, so maybe this isn’t the first time that happened).

Than has agreed to take on…guard duty while Delaney is out of town. That in itself is about to bring a fair share of chaos to this vacationing god. All the better for us readers.

“Being a part of constructive change, instead of his rather natural state of chaotic change, pleased him.”

This was such a fun and quirky read! I’m finding myself growing really fond of Than (and again, I haven’t even seen all of the adventures he’s been up to lately!), so that made this short so much fun for me. As did the other two characters, for obvious reasons. My only regret is that this wasn’t longer.

Bound into Darkness by Faith Hunter

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Who doesn’t love a spinoff? Bound into Darkness spins off from the beloved Jane Yellowrock series, following Liz Everhart – one of the Everhart twins, and sibling to Molly. Having survived a horrible bout of pneumonia, Liz is trying to get her life back in order.

That may or may not include a certain stubborn man, whom she had been doing the dance with. Right up until he saw her sick, that is. Perhaps she could use her latest job as an excuse to bring them both together, and just see where things go.

In a world of supernaturals and vampires, that sort of planning is just asking for trouble. As Liz Everhart is literally about to find out. For the Jane Yellowrock fans out there, Bound into Darkness is set sometime between Shattered Bonds and True Dead.

“He thought she was weak which might be worse. Stupid man.

It’s thanks to Bound into Darkness that I heard about this anthology in the first place – as I am a massive Faith Hunter fan. Naturally, that meant that while I enjoyed this whole collection, it was this novella that I was most looking forward to.

It lived up to those hopes and expectations, and then some. This was a dark and brilliant story, in all the ways I’ve come to expect from Jane Yellowrock’s world. It was fascinating to see the world from a different character’s point of view – one who knew of Jane and had opinions on everything that had gone down so far (well, what she knew of, anyway).

Plus, the Evenharts are amazing, so getting the chance to read about any of them is pretty amazing. This novella gave her (and some of her family) a chance to shine, while also fleshing out the world even further.

Obviously, major bonus points for the secondary character and perspective for this novella (whom you can probably guess, but I don’t want to risk spoiling. Just in case). 10/10 would read more about these two.

The Ties That Bind by Faith Hunter

★ ★ ★ ★

The Ties That Bind is Faith Hunter’s short story addition to this collection, and it also ties directly into what happened in Bound into Darkness. Gotta love it when that happens! Once again we’re provided insight into one of the Everhart’s, this time of the mama bear variety. I’m not saying more, because it might spoil the fun.

“As she waited, she added honey to the chamomile infusion. Stirred. Sipped. Patient.”

I knew that there was going to be a novella from a new perspective in Dirty Deeds. What I did not know is that there would also be a short story! Finding this made my day, and I’m sincerely not exaggerating there!

This was a quick read, yet was still full of action, adventure, and plenty of drama. Oh! And don’t forget the supernatural, which includes tons of magic (given who it’s about, or connected to, that shouldn’t be a surprise in the least!).

The Pixie Job by Diana Pharaoh Francis

★ ★ ★ ★

The Pixie Job is part of a series written by Diana Pharaoh Francis. Sticking with the ‘I need a vacation’ theme, Mal has taken a much deserved break. Though admittedly the length of the vacation was not entirely her idea.

Naturally, that means that something is going to pop up to ruin, alter, or otherwise infuse chaos into her time off. That is the way things go in the urban fantasy world, right? Especially for somebody who has been through as much as her.

“I told you. I’m on vacation. I promised Law, and the other ghosts, and So’la. I’m not supposed to do anything but relax for an entire month.”

Out of all the stories in this anthology, The Pixie Job is the one I had the least background on. Still, I didn’t have much trouble following along, or finding enjoyment in the chaos and mess that Mal had to dig her way through.

All of that being said, I’m positive that a longer running fan of Diana Pharaoh Francis would enjoy this story so much more than I would, so please make sure to check it out if that applies to you!

Doggone Mess by R.J. Blaine

★ ★ ★ ★

Last, but not least, there’s Doggone Mess, a novella that ties into her Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series. I’ve never read any of that series, but after having read Doggone Mess – I want to!

Joyce is an unmated female lycanthrope, one who has exactly zero interest in joining a pack, thanks to the method used to induct her into the world of the supernatural. Thus, she spends most of her time working minimum wage jobs, and hiding her identity.

So of course she finds herself in a situation where has to deal with one on a regular basis. On the bright side, the job will pay well, and it comes with some perks. Like the access to Pixie Dust. That’ll make things more worthwhile.

“I bet my terrorist virus just wanted me to settle down and used pixie dust to its advantage, although I’d resisted its wicked ways thus far.”

Doggone Mess is my first introduction to Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count), and I have to admit, that is a very accurate description of what I just read! It was fun and entertaining, with romantic threads throughout.

It’s enough to get me interested in reading the rest of the series, whenever I can free up some time and space on my TBR shelf. The balance of themes and elements made this a quick and unique read, one that thoroughly invaded my brain.


About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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