Blog Tour & Review: Of Claws and Fangs by Faith Hunter

Stay tuned below for a review, contest information, and an excerpt from Of Claws and Fangs!

Series: Jane Yellowrock
Author: Faith Hunter
Publisher: ACE
Released: May 3, 2022
Received: Blog Tour
Warning: Abuse, violence

Yes, a million times yes! Fans of Faith Hunter absolutely need to make time on their calendars to read Of Claws and Fangs. This anthology collects over a dozen stories from all over the Jane Yellowrock Universe, and it was such a delight to read.

Included in this anthology, readers will find: Candy from a Vampire, Make It Snappy, It’s Just a Date, Life’s a Bitch and Then You Die, Black Friday Shopping, How Occam Got His Name, Shiloh and the Brick, Beast Hunts Vampire with Jane, Of Cats and Cars: A Story of Beast and Cows with Trees on Heads, Beast Hunts Pie-Bald Deer, Jane Tracks Down Miz A, Anzu, Duba, Beast, Eighteen Sixty, Wolves Howling in the Night, Death and Fashionista, My Dark Knight, Bound in Darkness, and The Ties that Bind. See below for individual reviews on each.

“Of Claws and Fangs is a fun hodgepodge of stories from many characters within non-linear timelines of the Yellowrock world, and the Soulwood world.”

Candy from a Vampire

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

It’s a Halloween story from Leo! Essentially, this is a story about Leo and Del trying to work out their well, working relationship. It’s nice to see Jane’s words having an effect on Leo.

“Halloween in the French Quarter of New Orleans had been changed forever when Marilyn Monroe had attempted to turn John Kennedy in the Oval Office and been staked for her trouble.”

Make It Snappy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Okay, this one is going to hit readers hard. It’s a Leo-centric story, showing both the best and the worst that this vampire has to offer – hence why it’s going to hit hard. Yet it does a fantastic job of reminding readers about just how dimensional this character is.

“I shall do more than remember. I shall accomplish your request before the sun, ma cherie. Marcoise will no longer have the power to cause pain.”

It’s Just a Date

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I love it. Jane, Bruiser, Jodi, Wrassler, Eli, and Sylvia walk into a restaurant – and no, this isn’t the beginning of some joke. Though it is the beginning of another witchy adventure, one that Jane has a talent for finding herself in the middle of. It starts off sweet and funny but quickly turns tense.

“Jane Yellowrock, I swear by all I hold holy that I will shoot you if you say another word.”

Life’s a Bitch and Then You Die

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

If you love Beast, then you’re going to have to read this one! It features her perspective heavily, as this story is set during the time that Jane is sick and seeking a way to recover. But that’s really only the foundation for this story, as it causes Beast to remember back to the early days of her and Jane.

“Would be better to hunt bison with Ed, in Ed car.”

Black Friday Shopping

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Nell! I love, love, love that Nell’s stories made it into the mix! This one is set in a Walmart of all places, as she and Occam try to get to the bottom of some weird curses that keep cropping up. I adored the twist and conclusion – it is very in keeping with this world.

“Nell, sugar. You never been in a Walmart?”

How Occam Got His Name

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

This is probably one of the harder to read stories in the collection, and not because it’s poorly written or anything like it. It’s Occam’s origin story, of a sort, and it weighs heavy on the hearts. Yet it is brilliantly done, making readers feel for this beloved character.

“I think this bobcat would eat us for dinner and still be hongry.”

Shiloh and the Brick

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I wish I could rate this story higher than five stars because it is freaking brilliant. I have always loved the vamp politics (and all other forms of politics) in this series, and I feel like this short captures the nature of it perfectly. More, please!

“The Charlotte coven accepted you as a student for six weeks and assured us of your safety. You. Need. Training.”

Beast Hunts Vampire with Jane

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Another short story from Beast’s point of view. The title says a lot for this one, but it is still a lot of fun to read – with a few surprises along the way, of course.

“Nope. This is a false hunt. Like leading predators away from your den to protect your kits. Acting weak.”

Of Cats and Cars: A Story of Beast and Cows with Trees on Heads

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I distinctly remember when this short came out – and just how excitedly the fandom had waited for it. It lived up to the expectation then, and it did so again now. Definitely worth the re-read.

“There is no way beneath heaven’s sun that I will allow…that…cat creature to hunt from my car.”

Beast Hunts Pie-Bald Deer

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

The sense of humor in this one is absolutely precious! It’s another Beast-centric story, but it is also pretty tongue-in-cheek at times. I love it.

“Beast chuffed quietly, thinking of picture of Reader Humans rolling down long hill. Is funny.”

Jane Tracks Down Miz A

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Ow. My heart. Readers beware, this one is going to hit you right in the feels – much like it did for Jane, come to think of it.

“I was feeling guilty enough to go into a grocery store and buy flowers, which I had never done before, but there was a first time for everything.”

Anzu, Duba, Beast

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Ever wanted to read a story of Jane and DiMercy (aka the Mercy Blade) going hunting? If so, look no further. This story is everything we could have hoped for, and arguably a little bit more.

“Bad place, Beast thought at me. Do not go in.”

Eighteen Sixty

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I was not expecting to see a story from Ayatas’ perspective in this collection, though I should have! It’s more backstory for Ayatas, which is going a long way in explaining his perspective within this world.

“Jaguar claws were better for what he had planned this night.”

Wolves Howling in the Night

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is the second Ayatas story in this anthology, and I really loved it. It’s set long before Ayatas and Jane are reunited, though there will be a familiar name thrown into the mix. Worth the read.

“Son of a witch on a switch.”

Death and Fashionista

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Time for Molly to take the lead! This one is all about Molly and her death magics – reminding us just how much of a struggle it was for her to cope with all of that.

“But I was paying attention to one thing only – the forest I had killed.”

My Dark Knight

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Aww, Angie baby is the sweetest. This story is from her perspective, mostly. Her family is under attack, and the first person she thinks to call is Edmund. Sweet, but with a heavy dose of danger for good measure.

“It sings like a wolfie and a bird and the bells in the church.”

Bound in Darkness

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This short is set sometime between Shattered Bonds and True Dead and focuses on Eli and Liz Everhart. This one was included in another anthology recently, but I still loved reading it again. It’s one of my favorites.

“He’d been there for her while she recuperated, then he’d pulled back.”

The Ties that Bind

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Last, but not least, we have The Ties that Bind. An appropriate conclusion to this anthology. This time Bedelia Everhart takes centerstage, and boy does this story have interesting implications for some of the Everhart sisters. I love it.

“A frisson of danger climbed up her spine on hooked spider feet.”

Thanks to ACE and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About Of Claws and Fangs

New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter presents a stunning collection of stories from the world of shape-shifting vampire hunter Jane Yellowrock and beyond.

Collected together for the first time, this volume contains shorter works featuring heroines Jane Yellowrock and Nell Ingram, as well as a host of other characters from the Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series. Faith Hunter is “an expert at creating worlds filled with intriguing supernatural elements and exciting scenarios”* and her skills are on full display in this collection. From a vampire-filled Halloween evening in New Orleans to the searing tale of how a certain were-leopard first got his spots, this collection has something for everyone, and each story is sure to put the super in supernatural.

With eighteen stories in all, Of Claws and Fangs will enrich and entertain—it’s a must-have for Faith Hunter’s readers and all lovers of fantasy.

Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | The Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books | Apple Books

Contest Info

Tour-wide Giveaway!

There’s a tour-wide giveaway open to US residents!

  • 2 winners will receive a limited-edition leather Soulwood bracelet
  • 1 winner will receive their choice of a $50 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Click HERE to enter the contest!

Excerpt:

Wolves Howling in the Night

A Story of Ayatas FireWind

First published in Lawless Lands: Tales from the Weird Frontier an anthology from Falstaff Books (2017). Time: 1879.

Ayatas touched his horse’s flank with a heel and guided him closer to the mount ridden by Etsi, his Everhart woman. They had been on the trail for days in the summer heat, with limited water, only enough for them and their mounts to drink sparingly. They had run out of even that twelve miles on the south side of Eagle Tail Mount and Dry Wash, which lived up to its name. The summer sun had baked the land dry. If they did not reach the town of Agua Caliente by nightfall, their plight would become desperate, yet Etsi still laughed, saying she smelled ripe, her scent as strong on the air as his own.

The town they hoped to reach had abundant water, enough to have a bakery, saloons, a laundry, a livery, a feed and seed shop, a half-dozen seamstresses, a school run by a woman from back east, and two dry-goods stores. The newsletter they had read when they shared a campfire with a wagon train said that an inn was being built in Agua Caliente, “with a bathhouse,” as Etsi kept reminding him, a bathhouse with hot water that rose from the ground, from hot springs. Etsi would get a hot tub-bath with soap, as her own people, the yunega, the white men, bathed.

He would wash out back with the other people of color—the Mexicans, Africans, and Indians—though Ayatas might prefer to bathe in the Gila River, near the town, if Indian meant Apache or Pah-Ute. The Tsalagi and Western tribes did not make peace together, and fighting would anger Etsi. His red-headed woman’s temper was hot like fire, and his heart had ached the few times she had turned her anger toward him.

Tonight, Etsi would sleep in a real bed, and Ayatas would bed down with the horses or out in the night, under the stars, knowing that if she called him with her magic, he would hear the sound of her summons on the wind.

Beneath him, the horse stepped higher and his head came up, moving better than the tired beast had all day. “I smell smoke,” Ayatas said. “And water.”

“Hallelujah and praise the Lord,” Etsi said, her voice hoarse. She tied the small pouch of dalonige’i into her skirt to hide it. White men traded for gold, gave news for gold, stole land for gold, killed for gold. She was wise to keep it out of sight.

Together, as the sun slid into the scarlet west, they studied the town from a small rise. Aqua Caliente was mostly low adobe houses and buildings, a few stone-built ones, and some dried-brick buildings, all flat-roofed and mud colored. Wood smoke billowed in low waves down the main street, curling and mixing with the dust clouds. Horses and mules, saddled or loaded with packs, stood, tied to hitching posts here and there. A scrawny, short-legged dog trotted down the street, her teats dragging on the dirt. A wagon rolled out of town. A Mexican woman with a white head scarf and dark skirts carried a heavy bundle into an alley and disappeared. The sound of a piano plinking and men singing echoed down the street.

They let the horses have their heads, and the tired animals moved down toward the town. The noise got louder. Dogs barked. Chickens ran across the main road and under a bakery. There was much shouting from laborers, still working in the town, using the last light in the cool of evening. He spotted stonemasons, bricklayers, adobe plasterers, and tile layers constructing the inn that would make the town great and bring in more white people. And drive out more tribal people and people of color. The walls were rising, arches appearing where windows and doors would go. Heavy beams were in place to hold the roof. The wind spun and changed direction, bringing the smell of the town to them.

The horses found a spill of water and a clay-lined pool outside the bathhouse. The puddle stank of soap, white men, and sulfur, but the mounts drank with desperation. “Son of a witch on a switch,” Etsi muttered. “I forgot how noisy and stinky towns are.” The stench of outhouses, saloons, fires burning, and food cooking was overpowering after so long in the wild.

“White men always stink,” he said, keeping his own thirst at bay until he could get Etsi and the horses to safety.

“Yes. Well. Don’t forget,” Etsi said, her tone telling him more than she realised, speaking of pain and long-held anger. “It’s only a game we play to keep you safe.”

Ayatas grunted. The game claimed that he was her servant instead of her man. That he worked for gold instead searching for his dreams. But Ayatas would pretend many things to keep Etsi, which meant My Love in the tongue of The People, safe. His red-haired woman, who had gone by many names as they traveled, was possessed of a fiery nature, changeable as the wind, and was constantly searching out danger. She had been born Salandre Everhart, but when she ran away with him, she had changed her name to Igohidv Adonvdo, or Forever Heart, in Tsalagi. Now, after many years of travel and adventures, his fire woman used a different name in each town, but she was always and forever his Everhart woman, and Etsi.

He pulled the horses away before they could take in enough to grow sick and jumped back into the sheepskin saddle. The mounts knew they would be fed now and trotted on into the town and up to the sheriff’s office. The man with the badge waited, his guns in clear view, an old hunting rifle in his arms, and a six-gun at his hip. They reined in the mounts in front of the man, and Etsi slid from the saddle to the ground. She groaned with pain on landing in the dusty street, knees stiff from all day in the heat, on horseback. Ayatas landed behind her, silent.

“Good evening, Sheriff,” she said, approaching him and smoothing her skirts. His Everhart woman did not offer her hand, but the sheriff looked pointedly at her left hand and the thin gold band that could be seen beneath her dirty gloves. “I’m Mrs. Everhart, reporter for the Arizona Daily Star, out of Tucson.”

“A woman reporter?” The sheriff spat, the stink of tobacco strong on the air. He transferred his sharp gaze to Ayatas. “Women can’t work for newspapers. That your young buck? He don’t look like Apache or Ute.”

“He is Cherokee, from back east,” Etsi said with asperity, “and he’s my guide. And women most certainly can be reporters. Watch your tongue, young man. You may be sheriff, but you are not above manners.”

Etsi was no longer a girl, but a woman now, sharp-tongued and stern, and she knew how to stop men from showing disrespect. They had been together since 1860, and she had grown more fiery with each passing year.

The sheriff laughed, the sound like sand scouring rock in a low wind, and when he spoke, it was with a tone of insult and amusement. “Manners. Yes, ma’am. I’ll mind my manners.” Before Etsi could respond he added, “You looking to take the baths and find a bed, Old Missus Smith can help you. Your guide’ll have to sleep in the stables with the other animals or outside the city. We don’t risk our scalps letting Injuns stay inside after sundown.”

“You have nothing to fear from my guide, Sheriff.”

“I ain’t a-feared a’ no redskin.”

“Hmmm.” Her tone suggested that he lied. The sheriff’s eyes narrowed. Etsi continued, “I’m sure he’d rather be as far from the white man as he can get. If you’ll direct me to the boardinghouse and the baths and point my guide to the livery?”

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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