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!

View all my reviews

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!

View all my reviews

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!)

View all my reviews

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!

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Call Me by Your NameCall Me by Your Name by André Aciman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Call Me By Your Name is a meandering, stream of conscious, babbling mess of purple prose that, on writing style alone, I absolutely do not like. It may work well for others, but for me, I was turned off within 20 pages by the writing style. I don’t like first person (with some exceptions), I don’t like rambling prose that includes an ENTIRE PAGE that is only one paragraph that jumps topics four times without changing paragraphs, and I do not like the overuse of flowery language. Throughout the book, the writing style drove me crazy, including the 40-page epilogue that has no reason to even exist. I wanted to like this book so much, so even though I didn’t like the writing style straight off, I stuck with it because of all the positive reviews on the content.

Turns out, the content is just as ill-suited for my tastes as the writing style.

However, while I have issues with these things, I was still sticking with the story, because no way could a story so highly praised not get better. The main character is clearly disturbed. I had some random person even argue with me that I ‘didn’t get it, all teens are this dramatic’, but this boy straight up contemplates how he kind of wishes the love interest would die so that he could no longer be obsessed, since death is final, and muses about how he could kill him or at least cripple him so he always knows where he’s at. Yes, he doesn’t intend to do those things, but I promise you, nobody thinks those things, even vaguely, unless they have some issues. Also, this kid has what seems like the makings of a rape fantasy. There are a few lines where he fantasizes about the love interest coming into his room while he’s sleeping and ‘taking him’ and the actual line was, “I’ll say ‘please don’t hurt me’, but I’ll mean ‘hurt me all you want'” which is pretty alarming to read.

I completely lost any faith in the reviews I read before this when it came to A) fucking a peach and saying it ‘looks like a rape victim’ and then someone EATING the goddamn peach, or B) couples shitting.

You heard me right. Couples shitting. Dude took a shit, said “Don’t flush, I want to see it” and then took his turn taking a shit while the love interest rubbed his belly…. I read a review of this book that talked about ‘the small intimacies will stick with me forever’ and all I can think is “NOTHING SAYS TRUE LOVE LIKE TAKING SHITS TOGETHER!!!”

I wanted to make this review professional and serious, but honestly, did I get trolled? Was this a troll copy of this book? They admired each other’s bowel movements. I just… What the actual fuck?

This book was just not good and I’m really disappointed. I got very excited about highly-praised queer content, and this was just the biggest letdown ever. I don’t like this book at all. It’s one of the worst books I’ve ever read, and I wanted SO BADLY to love it.

Put it this way: Before this, the worst books I’ve ever read without giving up were The Scarlett Letter and A Separate Peace, the most boring books I’ve read in my life. This now takes top spot for worst book I’ve ever read all the way to the end in my life, and the only reason I read it to the end was that it was like a car crash; I had to know what happened and how it could possibly get worse.

I’ve never once said, “Don’t bother reading this”… but seriously guys. Don’t bother reading this.

View all my reviews

Thoughts On Book Formatting

I had a curious incident today that brought about an interesting question that I posed to Twitter, which you can vote on below if you have Twitter:

The past few weeks, I’ve been trying to read the famous non-fiction novel In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. It’s always been touted as ‘the book that will get you into reading non-fiction’ and I finally got the kick to the ass to make time to read it from a coworker mentioning that exact statement. So, first thing I did after work was head to the local library and pick up the copy they had on the shelf…

And I’ve really been struggling to read it. It isn’t that the content isn’t interesting. It’s just that, as I read, I feel like I’m reading and reading and not getting anywhere. I find myself not wanting to pick the book up again and because of that, I’ve now had this book the two-week period and I’ve only read 32 pages of the copy I have. I’ve slogged through those pages and skipped reading on my lunch break, as I usually do, because I just don’t want to pick it up and read it. Naturally, this disappointed me, because I’ve really been looking forward to this book and I know it’s praised endlessly. However, something very interesting happened today.

I live in a town that does not have a Barnes and Noble (or indeed any book store that isn’t a Christian bookseller) so I don’t often go to Barnes and Noble, but today I went to Macon to see a movie that is limited-release and therefore not available at the local 8-screen AMC. Afterwards, my family was driving up to eat at Chili’s, another establishment my town does not yet have that we all enjoy. Chili’s in Macon is located in an outdoor mall/shopping center/whatever you call it that is a block down from Barnes and Noble, so while my movie got out before 5 and my family wasn’t going to be there until about 7, I decided to go to Barnes and Noble, and after browsing a while, I decided to pick up a copy of In Cold Blood and sit and use my time to try and get through a bit more of it in hopes I can get to something that will keep me sucked in.

Imagine my surprise when the copy I picked up somehow magically kept me interested the entire time without a single moment of that feeling of ‘slogging through’ the book! The format was a more modern font and a smaller amount of text per page, and I really didn’t think it made THAT much of a difference when the content was good. I sat there on the floor in the travel section (the least frequented section) and read twenty pages without any hesitation. I didn’t even pick up my phone when it dinged a text message from my mom. When I got home tonight, I tried picking up the copy I have and, to my consternation, I found that I once again am struggling. I know I prefer certain formats, but this is kind of ridiculous, I would have thought, until it actually happened to me.

I don’t have a photo of the copy I had at the store, and I can’t remember what font it was, but this one I’m reading is very ‘news-print’ in that it’s Times New Roman that is Justified to the edges, which I feel isn’t as common in books anymore? Perhaps it is and I just haven’t paid attention, but it’s just a very interesting phenomenon. I’m now curious as to whether other books I’ve tried to read in the past suffered from the format when I wouldn’t expect it to.

So, yeah, that’s today’s interesting experience. How about you guys? Have you ever noticed this? I asked the question above regarding whether format matters much to you, so feel free to vote there and comment here with your opinions or experiences!


Book Review: Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C.

Wake Me Up Inside (Mates #1)Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another dip into the Kindle Basically Porn But With A Story pool, and I really liked this one! I loved the world building! The characters were good, the setting was somewhat interesting. I really enjoyed this as a light, easy read, even though it was like 50% erotica, so it wasn’t really as long of a story as it is a book.

I think that I will read the rest of the books in this collection because, even if it’s a shitload of unnecessary sex (again, I know that’s the genre, I’m just not INTO the genre) I’m very interested in this universe and I want to see more of it.

(Also, Kudos on the most emo title of all times. Bravo!)

View all my reviews

Book Review: Drawn IN by Sean Ashcroft

Drawn In (The Family Jules Book 1)Drawn In by Sean Ashcroft

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first foray into the “Random Gay Kindle Romance Novella” genre, and it was pretty much what I expected. I really did enjoy this adorable story and am glad I read it, however, I’m also glad I got it on Kindle Unlimited.

While I love the story and absolutely appreciate ‘incidental gay’ writing, as you would expect from ‘random kindle novella’, it’s pretty average quality. The beginning is very ‘the fuck, dude???’ because it’s entirely unbelievable. There is no way that neither of them heard about each other’s tragic lives if they’re from a small town where one of their moms runs a grocery store and they were childhood friends. I hear, “Hey, didn’t you go to school with a girl named X? Her dad died this week” about people I went to the same middle school of 15 years ago. It is kinda weird of Jude not hearing about one of his old friends dying, but it’s absolutely impossible that Owen didn’t hear about Jude’s parents.

Even if you account for Owen not communicating with his family very much, that’s not something that would escape being learned about at some point in a year.

However, the weird, out of place, thrown together beginning didn’t take too much away from a sweet, happy little story about pretty likable characters. All in all, it was a light, enjoyable read.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

Murder on Black Swan Lane (A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery, #1)Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Murder on Black Swan Lane is far from what I expected and I’m pretty glad about that. What I expected was a fun little mystery, and instead what I got was interesting characters that I got pretty attached to pretty quickly.

While the mystery was a little more abstract than what I wanted initially, I find that I don’t care at all. Wrexford was an interesting guy, but the real draw for this book was Charlotte and the two boys! I found myself growing more and more attached to her and, in particular, her relationship with Raven and Hawk. When I thought something bad was going to happen to them I was beside myself!

I see that this is a #1 so I have high hopes for more of the mystery of Charlotte’s past to be revealed in later books. I will absolutely be buying the next one whenever it may come out!

View all my reviews