Jude Crow is the Native American gamer girl version of the Iron Druid from the first Hearne book. The differences are mostly window dressing but for the power type and source. Jude is a sorceress hiding her powers from her evil ex in a comics and game shop rather than a bookstore. She has a group of gamer friends, a leprechaun pawn shop owner next door, and a crowd of shapeshifters who believe in her. With all the were-animals about, there is no need for a talking dog. The comic relief is shared among the sidekick friends and the Russian weretiger she starts dating.
This was a fun set of stories. The plots aren't hard and the characters are easy to like or not. The scenes and stories were almost at minstrel theater levels of shallow, but that was what I enjoyed about them. Plots. Yes, there are four in this omnibus. Bad evil thing shows up and kills someone who was important to someone else. Bad evil thing must be stopped and likely destroyed. Neighbors start hating on Jude for her powers. Friends start believing she can do miracles. She and Russian boyfriend don't communicate. Magic slags her cell phone, or she drops it, or it gets shot. Then she gets shot or stabbed or burned or exploded on. She has to kill someone. Someone important makes a cutting personal commentary that causes her to hate herself. Her friends badger her into moving again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Sprinkle in some D&D references or movie lines. Happily for me, Phenomenal cosmic power, itty bitty living space was one of them. And yes, In Soviet Russia, references get you!
I picked Level Grind up because it was a part of a Barns and Noble blog post about 12 Highly Binge-able Urban Fantasy Series. This was the only book/series that I hadn't already read that looked interesting. There are blood, guts, and gore, but this still felt like a summer beach book for me. However, I do not recommend it to FireAndEarth because the heavy scattering of pop culture references and D&D spells would eventually get old.
Books for 2017