Fallow (Whyborne & Griffin #8)

Fallow (Whyborne & Griffin, #8)Fallow by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is on the top of my list for this series (and once again this is an audible book).

I very much enjoyed the crew going back to Fallow, the place where Griffin was raised. You get to meet his mother again, other family members, townsfolk and an evil that seems to have befallen it.

I suspect part of the reason I loved this book is that all the characters have developed in each book. While sometimes Whyborne’s tendancy to whine does grate, even that changes in each book. I love a world that evolves.

I also love that the main couple has stayed a couple and have developed the relationship more fully. This is probably because I am also in a M/M couple, but you don’t get to see that very often and when it happens it is wonderful.

Now, I also want to address the narrator Julian Simmons. In the beginning I wasn’t too sure about him, but I found out recently that Whyborne & Griffin Book 1 was his first narration for an audible book. With that being the case I have to say he has done pretty good and he is only getting better.

Overall, I can’t recommend enough that everyone read this. I love the romance, horror, urban fantasy and lovecraftian feel of it!

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Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin #7)

Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin, #7)Maelstrom by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every book gets better.

I keep thinking that Ms. Hawk has hit the ceiling on her writing, but she makes sure there is always more to enjoy. This time it involves preparations of the wedding of Christine and Kander, an arrival of a codex that Whybone must investigate and the theft of a map.

We get to see what makes Whyborne tick more this book. He is suspicious of his father’s generosity to his friend Christine and husband Griffen. He hates his husband’s new fangled car, and is more paranoid then ever. This gives the reader some insight of how Whyborne’s mental state works, and his insecurity when dealing with his father.

The audible reading of the book has improved greatly over the last seven books. The only time I find myself cringing is when accents are being used now. This is a huge improvement, one that makes it much easier to listen to.

The ending of the book is especially satisfying for me, by allowing Whyborne to keep growing as a person, as he comes to terms with some of his own foibles, and a realization that he needs to work on them.

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Bloodline (Whyborne & Griffin #5)

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Audiobook only!

This is the fifth installment of the series I have read, and the fifth time the story has just gotten better. Ms. Hawk’s writing has gotten tighter, and the reader has gotten much better with intonation and cadence with the book.

The story itself is very interesting, you get to meet additional members of Whyborne’s family, including some unexpected members. The struggle against a new threat from a couple of unexpected directions.

Where the last book had a lot to do with Christine and some additional items on Griffin, this focused mostly on Whyborne. I enjoyed every page of it, but I do have to say the series as a whole will do better overall if Ms. Hawk focuses on the the group as the whole. I can’t talk about specifics due to spoilers, but I love his mom and I do like how Ms. Hawk has made Whyborne’s father more and more three dimensional.

Overall, I definitely recommend it as a read!
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Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin #4)

Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin)Necropolis by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is for the Audio Book only!

As I started the fourth book in the series I had pretty high hopes, and Jordan Hawk cleared that goal with some room to spare.

In order to avoid spoilers all I will say is you get a glimpse of the dirty, dusty and rough desert. You see Whyborne grapple with the “horrors” of living in a tent. You get a bit more background on Griffon (there can never be enough background). You get some good sex scenes. Finally you get a lot more background on Christine.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Christine when this all started. I wasn’t sure if she was going to fit into the stereotypical woman with gay guy best friends. However she has been flushed out and given a pretty cool backstory. I look forward to more about her now as well.

Oh, on a down note, Christine sounds like a catty gay guy sometimes when the narrator reads her part. I am not sure if its on purpose or maybe just something I am hearing, but that was the only negative.

If you liked the first three, definitely you want to read this.

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The Taken

The Taken (Celestial Blues, #1)The Taken by Vicki Pettersson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am not impressed with the story, the writing or the setting. It wasn’t the worst book I have consumed, but it isn’t even in the average. I will avoid spoilers.

1. The writing style: This by far was the worst part of the whole thing. The way Vicki Pettersson wrote the book was the single hardest thing to get used to. It is a “noir” story, meaning it falls back on the old gumshoe type of writing such as “the dame walked into the door and had looks that could kill”.

Now, that can be interesting to a point, but the entire book was written using very halting language, terms and frankly an incredibly sexist viewpoint. I hadn’t expected it to be like that at all. I specifically chose it because the author was a woman and at no point would I have imagined that someone who is on the other side of misogyny would write like that. Now, as a side note, I realize that I had a gender bias going in, thinking a woman wouldn’t do it, and I was proven wrong as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy supernatural noir/urban fantasy settings. Take Jim Butcher and the Dresden Files. That is a supernatural noire novel without relying on the trapings and clichés of the old novels. I just couldn’t get into the ham fisted writing style of the book itself, this probably influenced my other two issues.

2. The story: Sadly, the story isn’t imaginative at all, especially for a noire setting. The fact that Griff is a “centurion” doesn’t change it. The main female character is only a two dimensional attractive woman who is always the scrappy investigative reporter. The villians all are “evil” to be evil and there is no shades of grey.

Worst of all the book is over 400 pages and has too many plots that try and interweave. Maybe if the author had focused on a single plot it would have felt like a story, as it was none of the character changed over the book (if they did, it was a decline of detail and character drive and not any actual change). It wasn’t even a good romance story (and I love me some good romance).

3. The Setting: This is probably the area I have the least problem with. The story of a human elevated to a “centurion” to help lead people from violent death to the afterlife isn’t a bad setting. Las Vegas is never a bad place to be, and the “alien” of the Pure is something I haven’t seen before in this type of writing.

The part I don’t like is that it is purely a Christian angel/afterlife sort of thing. With other supernatural/urban fantasy noire like Dresden you get a taste of other cultures and other people. It isn’t centered as a white world. This is just a recent discovery of mine as I am white and male and before a few years ago I didn’t realize that everything was aimed at my demographic. It would be nice to see more cultural influences in this world. I probably would have like the setting more if the storyline and the writing style weren’t so difficult.

Overall I would recommend that you only take the time for this if you are stuck at an airport, or in a place where there aren’t other options. I don’t think Ms. Pettersson is a bad author herself, but this foray needed more editing, more focus and a lot more time to cook before it was released.

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