Book Review: Hoarfrost (Whyborne & Griffin #6) by Jordan L. Hawk

Hoarfrost (Whyborne & Griffin, #6)Hoarfrost by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a lot late to write this review, but here we go. The sixth installment of this wonderful series was, without a doubt, a very welcome addition!

In this adventure, we follow Whyborne and Griffin as they travel to the remote mining settlement of Hoarfrost to look into a discovery made by Griffin’s long-lost-but-recently-found brother in the deepest tundra of the north. What they find there is far beyond some archeological dig site, but something far bigger and far more sinister at work.

To start with, while this one wasn’t quite as engrossing as some of the others have been, this one had so much emotion! I have to be honest, the main reason I love this book is that we get such a different dynamic to work with here. They’ve been married for a while now and you really see that ‘married couple’ relationship dynamic shining through. I love the consistency this series has given to them as people and their progression as a couple has really, really worked. I also really loved Christine in this one, as I always do. I think the one negative I could have is how absolutely clueless Griffin’s brother is, but honestly, I guess if you WANT so hard to believe something, then you could actually be that clueless. It’s a small gripe, and definitely not enough to get me to knock off a star. This series is still the best series I’ve read in a very long time.

I didn’t rush straight on to the next book, choosing to read something else in the interim, but I have already bought the next one in the series, so I will be sure to read it in the new year!

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Book Review: Bloodline (Whyborne & Griffin #5) by Jordan L Hawke

Bloodline (Whyborne & Griffin #5)Bloodline by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What the last book lacked in personal feelings this one had in excess!

Bloodline has us joining Whyborne and Griffin on the eve of a horrible event that shakes the Whyborne family to the core. Little did I know that, as the book progressed, the horrific toll this entire ordeal would take on the Whyborne family as well.

This book had everything that I’ve come to love about these books, relationships of all sorts, mysterious plot twists you don’t see coming, ‘how will they survive this?!’ action sequences, and this one has those things all in a far larger scale than the previous ones have. I love how this brought back some of the threads that had been introduced all the way back as far as the beginning of the series and finally it all made sense. I confess, I realized what was coming when the poem was revealed, but it still was a shocker to actually see it all unfold. I genuinely didn’t expect the sweet ending of this one, but there were moments I nearly cried I was so sure all was lost, so that was a very nice touch.

Once again, this series is like someone took my wants and put them on pages for me. I cannot express enough how much I love this book, which was easily the best of the entire series so far.

Eagerly heading onto the next one RIGHT NOW!

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Book Review: Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk

Stormhaven (Whyborne & Griffin)Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Still As Wonderful As The Last

Every book further I read in that series I expect has to fall in quality, because I rarely give 5* reviews, but I really think the author just shares my tastes in literature.

In this installment’s adventure, Whyborne’s co-worker is accused of murdering his uncle in a fit of madness and is condemned to Stormhaven asylum. When Griffin takes the case, it quickly becomes apparent that nothing is what it seems.

I really felt for poor Griffin in this one. We got more of an insight into his past, his family, and the horrors of his time committed to an asylum, and all of it was so, utterly heartbreaking. This book leaves you so happy for him that he found Whyborne to care for him when he needs someone to make him feel whole.

Also, no spoilers, but that climax was incredibly dramatic and not at all what I expected (in the best way of course!)

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Book Review: Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk

Threshold (Whyborne & Griffin, #2)Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, I immediately bought the next book, just like I said!

After Whiddershins, I kind of wondered how the story could go on, what would happen, and if it would be nearly as good as the first… it was. It really was.

Threshold follows our favorite philologist, detective, and archeologist trio as they go to investigate the strange happenings at a mine Whyborne’s father has a stake in, a mine in a godforsaken gorge in the middle of the wilderness at the base of Threshold Mountain. With frightful stories of disappearances of anyone who goes into the woods – and some who didn’t – after the discovery of a cave in the forest, I knew that this was going to get creepy, but DANG it got dark!

I would say this reminds me of Hound of the Baskervilles meets At The Mountains of Madness. It gets very creepy and super dark. There’s some really frightening stuff in this book and I loved every second of it. Also, Christine is still my favorite person in the whole book.

I cannot WAIT to get to the next book.

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Book Review: Whiddershins by Jordan L. Hawk

Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin, #1)Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s like the author knows me!

What are my top 3 favorite genres?

-Mystery
-Historical Fiction
-Queer Fiction

WHIDDERSHINS tells the intriguing story of Percival Whyborne, a philologist at the Ladysmith museum, who gets dragged into a world of mystery, supernatural, and even love upon the arrival of Griffin Flaherty, a private investigator looking into the murder of one of the museum’s board members’ son. Along with his very interesting and amusing friend, Christine, a woman archeologist who doesn’t let anybody tell her how to live her life, Whyborne must help his handsome detective discover the truth before it’s too late.

Basically this book is all my favorite things wrapped into one thing. If you like mystery, this has a very intriguing one! If you like historical fiction, this one is an interesting setting! If you like queer fiction, this is a lovely romance that’s very believably done, not rushed-feeling or anything! Add the lady archeologist who is independent and badass, and it’s basically the perfect book for me. After a few real stinkers in queer romance there I’ve read this year, the standouts have all been historical romances.

I’m definitely going to go instantly buy the next book in this series right away!

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Book Review: The Morning Star: Shadow of the Templar by M. Chandler

The Morning Star: Shadow of the TemplarThe Morning Star: Shadow of the Templar by M. Chandler

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A book with a promising start and a somewhat entertaining ending, THE MORNING STAR: SHADOW OF THE TEMPLAR is a decent read about an FBI agent and his team who start out hunting an art thief and end up trying to stop a terrorist plot.

The opening heist is so fun and I was so into this book, ready for more intrigue… and then the entire middle is just very uninteresting characters complaining about their jobs. The end gets better, but the issue is that the main FBI dude and the art thief sexual tension is completely devoid of sexual tension. Honestly, the MC comes off as pretty close to homophobic for the whole first two-thirds of the book until suddenly he wants to make out with the art thief. It’s just not a well-developed shift in their characters. I don’t really understand why that happened and I really don’t buy the attraction.

The climax of the terrorist plot foiling is pretty cool, even though the terrorist dude is pretty vague in his purpose. There’s no real explanation for who he is or what his goal is. It’s like a cookie-cutter cartoon villain.

All in all, it’s not a BAD book, but I’m not sure I want to read the next one, especially not if I have to pay for it.

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Book Review: The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic

The King's Men (All for the Game, #3)The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you want a questionably written yet absolutely engrossing queer fiction series, this series is for you! The third and final book in its series, The King’s Men is just as dark and twisted as the previous book, and yet somehow easier to handle. I think it’s because the second book had rape in it, however undescribed and not really ‘on screen’ it was, and this one doesn’t. Torture is hard to read, but it’s not as horrific as someone being RAPED, you know?

Anyways, while the book isn’t the best written thing ever (pretty sure at one point the author forgets which hand was originally dominant on the dude whose dominant hand was broken), it’s a serious page-turner. I read this last book in ONE day, 8 hours of which I was at work and 4 hours of which I was asleep…. because I stayed up until 3am reading it. I couldn’t put it down.

I really liked Andrew in this one. In the first book I was kinda ‘eh’ about him, and in the second book when I started to get the feeling Neil was gonna end up banging him (I didn’t know anything about this series before I read it) I was really put off by it, but I really like the way the author progressed him in this one. Honestly, the characters are all very well developed in this final book of the series. I think that that’s really why these books are so good. The characters are all very well fleshed out and developed. I can forgive kinda ‘meh’ writing style and such a far-fetched and over the top story when the characters are all so very real feeling.

I rate books harshly. For me 3/5 is a great rating for a book that isn’t absolutely ASTOUNDING. What I’m saying is I recommend this book and I think you should totally give it a shot!

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Book Review: The Raven King by Nora Sakavic

The Raven King (All for the Game, #2)The Raven King by Nora Sakavic

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Duuuude this book got DARK.

The sequel to The Foxhole Court, this book continues the story of Neil Josten (aka not really Neil Josten) from the first book in his journey to play the (I’m still assuming) fictional sport Exy for a team made up by of a rag-tag group of rejects. Formerly, Neil had been on the run from his father and the crime family his father associated with. However, in this one, all bets are off as his running has come to a screeching halt when faced with some of the very people Neil’s been running from all along.

First off, without spoilers I can’t say all the things I want to say, but I don’t do spoilers in reviews, so we’ll just go with this took a very dark turn. Whereas before we had memories of violence and death and torture and stuff like that, and the single, off-screen death at the end of the first book, this one has some really dark things. There’s violence, there’s terrible threats, there’s torture, there’s psychological torture, there’s death, and there’s even rape. I can’t say I ever saw any of those things coming. I mean I expected some violence and dark stuff, but I sure as hell never thought there would be someone getting raped in this book, and definitely not who got raped.

It’s a hard book to read, shit got very dark, and yet I couldn’t put it down. I read the whole second half today instead of working on NaNoWriMo. This is just a real page-turner. I still feel that some stuff is dragged along for too many pages, so I can’t quite give it a 4* review, but if you know me, 3* is nothing to sneeze at.

It’s good. I definitely recommend it if you can handle those dark themes. I’m off to buy the 3rd book on Kindle as we speak, that’s how intrigued I am.

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Book Review: The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

The Foxhole Court (All for the Game, #1)The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Honestly? I only started reading this because I heard it was ‘a mess, but fun’ so I expected it to be one of those ‘so bad its good’ books. Instead, it’s just actually really interesting.

The Foxhole Court tells the story of a teen boy, Neil, on the run from a dark past and his joining a ragtag group of misfits playing college Exy, a sport I presume is made up but wouldn’t actually know about since I know basically nothing about college sports.

While the start is just as ‘oh man this is so bad it’s good’ as I expected with this reaaaaallyyy over-dramatic first few pages, it actually gets pretty interesting. The characters are all pretty unlikable, but that’s kind of the point. Neil is way more interesting than I expected him to be. There’s a lot in here that’s pretty ‘wow this is over-dramatic’ but really, it gets good at some points. While it’s far from the best book I’ve ever read, I’ve already bought and started the second in the series, so it’s definitely worth a read!

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Book Review: In The Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

In the Valley of the Sun: A NovelIn the Valley of the Sun: A Novel by Andy Davidson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The best way to describe this book is a mixture of Thomas Harris and Stephen King. I think that if you’re a fan of those writers, you’ll love this book.

However, I am not the biggest fan of either writer, because I’m not a very big fan of the horror genre. I read this book for my book club, since the author is the husband of a former professor of mine and my book club is run by another former professor. So, while it isn’t a book I would have chosen for myself, I read it, and even though I do really think that fans of horror will love this book, I have to review it as it was for me.

To begin with, I will say, as far as positives go, being the kind of book that’s a fast read, never boring, and keeps you interested is definitely a plus. I had to slog my way through the last book I read, and this one was 100 pages longer and took me not even half the time to read. The writing style reminds me a lot of Thomas Harris, and while I wasn’t in love with either book, I did enjoy Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon. The content, however, feels very Stephen King. Very western meets horror.

The negatives are pretty straightforward: I just didn’t care. I didn’t really feel like any of the characters were real enough to care what happened to them. There’s so much backstory alluded to that is intended to give them dimensions, but I still just felt like it wasn’t enough. It kind of felt like how on scary movies, you find out the cop has just had a baby and then he dies. The information only exists to make us give half a crap about them, but it never works for me. We learn some stuff about Travis and his past, but not enough to really explain anything except why he’s killing women, and even that’s only stuff that’s really alluded to, not stuff that’s made a big deal of. Which I’m sure is the intention, not to drag us down with unnecessary backstory, but for me, it just means I don’t really care about him or why he kills women. The same goes for Rue. We have so little information on Rue and no reason to care one way or the other about her. Annabelle and Sandy have a bit more going for them, which again, I think is probably the intent, but even then, it’s one of those “I don’t want them to die because they’re good people” things, not because I CARE about them.

And when it comes to Reader, was he really necessary? I liked him, probably more than anybody else, but if he was removed entirely from the story, it would still work out the exact same way, which to me makes me wonder why he’s there other than to give someone else to kinda-sorta root for even though he has no point in being there. It kind of reminds me of the thing about the director’s wife in Silence of the Lambs. What even was that storyline supposed to do for us in regards to the rest of the story? So while I liked Reader and enjoyed his parts probably more than I did any others, I still just don’t really care about him in the grand scheme of things.

However, please do remember, as I said in the beginning of this review, I’m not a fan of the horror genre. These things probably all work if you are a fan of the genre, but I’m not. I like a good mystery, which this doesn’t really have. I love a good romance, which this definitely doesn’t have. I like a good suspense, which, still, this really doesn’t have since we saw what was coming each time it came. Basically, my point is, I think this works very well as a straight-up horror genre novel, which is exactly why it doesn’t work for me.

I give it 3*s because I liked the pacing and the writing style, and because I feel bad giving it a 2* when I know the only reason I didn’t like it is because I don’t like this genre. If you are a fan, by all means, read it! It’s probably one you’ll love, love, love.

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