Book Review: An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the City #2) by K. J. Charles

An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities, #2)An Unnatural Vice by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First review of 2018 and I have to say, I really enjoyed this second installation of the Sins of the Cities series!

In the same story from the first in the series, this installation follows Nathanial Roy, friend of the protagonist of the first int he series, as he seeks to write an expose about spiritualists in London and instead finds himself once again entangled in the drama of the Missing Earl from an entirely different angle.

I have to say, I really liked the way that this second book had far more detail in the plot. There was more story going on than in the first, and though I liked the first, this was definitely a step up. The author took the intriguing story and made it something the reader can really delve into and get lost in. I was so caught up in ‘what happens next?!?!’ that I didn’t even realize how close to the end I was until I got there.

Oh yeah, and the romance in this one was equally as endearing and steamy as the first.

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Book Review: An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities #1) by K.J. Charles

An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities, #1)An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve had this one on my list for a while, and I decided to take a break in my reading of another fairly long historical queer fiction series to try this one, and I was not disappointed!

Following the story of Clem, the bastard son of an Earl, and Rowley, a taxidermist who lodges at the house Clem runs, An Unseen Attraction is a story of mystery, murder, and romance set in the dingy, foggy city of London. When one of Clem’s lodgers is murdered and Rowley’s shop is broken into, the question of what the killer is after turns right back around on Clem in the most unexpected way.

To start with, Clem is a very interesting character. Written in a way that makes it clear he is what we today would call autistic in a time where nobody knew that was a thing, he’s easily one of the most intricately detailed characters I’ve read in a book in quite a while. I really, really like him. I also really enjoy his romance with Rowley. Rowley is such a strange person in his combination of traits and interests, but he weirdly fits perfectly with Clem. Their romance is quite enjoyable to read. The story is very interesting as well, though it has a little less substance than I think it leads the reader to expect. I’m a big fan of mystery and historical fiction so this is generally just my kind of book.

Don’t let the 3* rating throw you off. I’m just really harsh on rating books. A 5* rating from me is really hard to come by (… even though I’ve had like 5 this year, okay, it was just a REALLY GOOD YEAR!!!) and I’ve already got the second one, so it’s definitely good enough for me to read on.

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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: 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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