Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy

April 8th, 2014 Kimberly Guest Post, Review 84 Comments

8th Apr
Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy
Night Owls
by Lauren M. Roy
Series: Night Owls #1
Published by: Penguin
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchase
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Night Owls book store 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 from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren as possible. She’s lived that life, and the price she paid was far too high to ever want to return. Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural werewolf-like 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 safe keeping, 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.

I grabbed Night Owls the first book in the new urban fantasy series by Lauren M. Roy for the setting. The tale takes place in the college town of Edgewood at a bookstore called Night Owls. Roy offered an engaging tale with a motley crew of supernatural and human characters. Mini review: With a new supernatural creature and interesting characters, it holds the promise of an exciting new series.

Valerie McTeague is the proud owner of the Night Owls bookstore and a vampire. Her Renfield, Chaz, helps her by running the business during the day, along with Jason an undergrad student from the local college. Elly, is a young girl of sixteen who hunts Jackals or Creeps; flesh devouring creatures, with her guardian Father Value. When Value is killed after stealing a book, she takes matters into her own hands. The book causes Valerie and Elly to cross paths and team up to stop the Jackals. The tale that unfolds has us conjuring up spells, hang out with Succubus and learning more about this world.

Roy shared this tale using third person with multiple perspectives. It was a unique attempt and gave us insight into the characters.  There are five characters who work against the Jackals or Creeps. Why the two names? Elly Garrett was raised by the Brotherhood under the guidance of Father Value, and this little girl is one tough cookie. Roy showed us Elly’s bad-ass skills but also revealed the child beneath. Valerie our store owner and the local vampire has an interesting history. She is fearless, and for the most part avoids interaction with the supernatural world. When one her “own” is in danger she quickly steps into action. I liked Valerie, and her Renfield, Chaz (who clearly has a crush on her). The author skimmed the surface of how they came to be, and I am anxious to learn more. Justin Kennedy the undergrad who works for Val unwittingly gets himself in trouble and becomes a target. Cavale was a fascinating character. He does odd jobs like removing poltergeists and casting spells. He is also connected to Elly, and I found the thread interesting. The succubus; Lia and Sunny were funny, and could kick-butt.

Night Owls, was a fast read, and I quickly consumed it. The world-building was solid but not as in depth as first books in this genre typically are. Roy still managed to give us enough details to keep me engaged, and the shorter length will appeal to some readers. There isn’t a romance, although one character has hidden feelings for another. The perspective helped flesh out the characters, and they worked well together as a team. Each offers different strengths, and I am anxious to see how they develop. I loved the blending of spells, myth, secret societies and the paranormal creatures we encounter. The casting of circles, wards and secret archives gave the tale a vibe similar to the television show Supernatural.  The tale was not without flaws; there were a few minor inconsistencies but didn’t deter from my overall enjoyment and fascination with the story. Night Owls could have taken on a darker  tone with the Jackals and that element missed the mark. Whether by intent or not, it is one I would have preferred.  We aren’t given much of a history on these new supernatural creatures leaving them shrouded in mystery. I have it on good authority that the next book will provide some of those  answers. Intense moments where infused with humor making this a lighter tale.

Night Owls offered a solid start to this new urban fantasy series. Fans of old school urban fantasy will find this appealing. I look forward to reading the next book in the Night Owls series.


Notes obtained from a Brotherhood research file

Five Things to Remember When Hunting Jackals

1. Jackals like the taste of fear. They’ll snack on any kind of flesh available to them, living or dead, but if their victim’s terrified out of his mind first, all the better. Occasionally, this works in the Hunter’s favor, since a Jackal playing with its food means the victim might live long enough for help to arrive.

2. Jackals have two methods of procreation, both of which have been working less and less over the last few decades.

The old way, the easier way, is similar — but not identical — to the bite of a werewolf. It’s not a guaranteed resurrection, and it involves more than simply gnawing on the victim’s arm. How that particular transformation comes about is not entirely known, but it doesn’t seem to take much thought on the Jackals’ parts.

The other way is more obscure. Some Jackals are able to reanimate the bodies of the freshly dead. Where Jackals created by a bite retain some aspects of their original personalities, Jackals who spent some time pining for the fjords are entirely new entities in slightly used bodies. Where these minds come from is unknown. Jackals aren’t overly cooperative about being interviewed.

Rumors occasionally surface regarding a third method, one that relies heavily on sorcerous means, but if such a spell exists, it’s been lost to time.

3. Jackals can shift their forms any time they like. The phase of the moon has no bearing on this abilitiy. While they can appear mostly human, many Jackals prefer to hide their faces beneath hats and hoods, keeping potential victims from spotting their yellow eyes or their protruding snouts.

4. They have their own language and alphabet. Jackal script (or “Creepscrawl,” as certain branches of the Brotherhood refer to it) is not fit for human eyes. Those who attempt to learn it must do so slowly, in increments that span years. Some Brothers and Sisters dedicate their entire careers to becoming fluent in this language, so they might serve as translators for Hunters out in the field. However, most Hunters quickly come to recognize obscenities written in their twisty lettering.

5. Jackals aren’t above a bit of sorcery, even if it takes some arm-twisting to obtain. It’s rare for a Jackal to have supernatural talents beyond the ones they gain with their transformation. However, if a human had abilities before they were turned, a small percentage of them might retain those powers in some form. More often, however, the Jackals will hire or coerce a witch or warlock to perform spells for them: scrying, healing, warding. Some whisper of Jackals using magic to be able to walk in the sunlight, but our research finds no evidence such a thing would even be possible without a human partner willing to take on the sun’s damage in their stead. The agony that would cause is unthinkable.

A special thank you to author Lauren M. Roy for granting Caffeinated access to her file on Jackals

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly

Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She’s a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat…

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84 Responses to “Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy”

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I loved the setting and the motley crew, plus the new supernatural creature was interesting..enjoy Judy!

  1. Amy

    I haven’t explored Urban Fantasy novels that much, so the fact that it’s quite short does appeal to me. With these kinds of stories the world building is extremely important, especially if your like me and are not very familiar with the creatures and the rules about the world they live ine. Those Jackal facts where very helpful! 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This is a perfect introduction to UF, the world is fairly straightforward and the characters interesting. Enjoy Amy!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Despite issues I really enjoyed this, and look forward to book two. You and I are UF fans and have read the legends of the genre so naturally we demand, want and need more. I think this is a good intro and will appeal to YA and NA readers as well as adults. I loved the bookstore setting too. To me a 3.5 is a solid read and one I would recommend.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Exactly my thoughts Mary..I am hoping we see more depth going forward.

  2. Nick

    I like how this features two ladies who fight together. That is just awesome. We need more books like this in every genre where women are teaming up instead of being jealous of each other. Girl power FTW!

    It’s a shame about the history not being as detailed as you would expect, but maybe the next books will elaborate more on these.

    Great review, Kim!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      The author did say the next book would have more details and I am looking forward to it.

  3. Jenea

    I saw this one, but didn’t pick grab it. I kinda kicking myself now, it sounds like something I would like. Hunting Jackals sounds interesting for sure. Great review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Maybe it will go on sale before the next release. Thanks Jenea 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It offered a terrific setting, a new creature and an interesting and diverse set of characters, and was an enjoyable read. I think most wanted more details and for secondary characters like the succubus to be given more substance.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Maybe Library book? I am excited for book two.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It is Urban Fantasy with characters of all ages and there are none of the tropes of NA involved. It will appeal to YA to Adult. Most of the characters are adult.

  4. Lorna

    I’ve seen this a couple of times and wondered about it. Sounds pretty good. Great Review-Thanks!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Lauren I am not going to lie..that bookstore setting made me totally one click

    • kimbacaffeinate

      thanks Kim, hope you are having a terrific day 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      There were some similarities with the hunts, circles and spells.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I am excited about it and anxious to see how book two develops 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed and I was delighted that Roy shared details about the Jackals 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I love mixing UF into the my monthly reads and oh yeah I love the setting. 🙂

  5. Christy

    It’s weird, like a week or so ago I got a noticed saying I was denied access to this on NG, but I never even requested it. Plus, it’s already been out for awhile. Anyway, I do want to read it, but not until there is at least a release date for the 2nd book. It sounds very promising though.

    Christy recently posted: Tangled by Emma Chase
    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo I so need to read that *le sigh* This would make a cool audio

  6. Melliane

    I’m glad you enjoyed more than me. I confess I was a little behind when I was reading it and not really interesting in all these characters or the story. Maybe it was my mood, will try book 2 when it will be out and we’ll see.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Bummer, I loved the setting, spells etc. I am hoping book two has more depth

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I am so glad you loved this Candace! it was a fun read 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I really enjoyed it, and love the bookstore setting!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      *shivers* no thank you..I will hunt them instead 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Jessica, I was delighted Roy shared them with us 🙂

  7. Kimberly

    This one sounds AWESOME! I wish I had requested it on NetGalley especially since everyone seems to really enjoy this one. The Jackals sound neat too, I guess its a good thing that I already have it on hold at the library. Love the review! Glad you enjoyed this one, I know the first book in a new series by an author you aren’t familiar with can be tricky.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Sounds like a plan, I enjoyed it and look forward to book two:)

  8. Angel (Spare Reads)

    I like the sound of this! Feels like a book with lots of actions and less drama, which is totally cool to see in the paranormal genre. I will definitely follow up this series. Thanks for the review Kimba!

    Angel (Spare Reads) recently posted: Review: Splintered (Splintered, #1)
  9. Michelle

    This is a new one to me but it sounds pretty awesome. It sounds like you are a little iffy on the series though. Maybe the second book will help you decide if it is going to be a great one or not. I have noticed that with myself lately- that sometimes while I enjoy a first book, I am holding off with my real thoughts until I see where the second book goes. It can go either way.

    Great review.

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

    • kimbacaffeinate

      No I am not at all iffy, what I want are more details but as a whole this was a solid start and I recommend it 🙂

  10. Lindy

    This sounds like an interesting paranormal read! World building is so essential when you’re starting a series in this genre. I’m glad that it was solid, and hopefully you get more in the next segment. The blending of spells, myths, and secret societies sounds great! Wonderful Review Kim 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed they were entertaining and I am excited for the next book 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This will appeal to you then, we got just enough to understand and it was fast paced. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I enjoyed it, and plan to continue so you can check mine then 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      These are new creatures, who have a snout but aren’t werewolves…it was clever and I loved the setting.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Nothing wrong with that, maybe after book two you will figure it out