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review 2019-01-21 02:58
Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin #1)
Widdershins - Jordan L. Hawk

Reread review 1/20/19:

 

No wonder I couldn't remember some of this. I read it three and-a-half years ago! ;) Time flies.

 

Whyborne and Griffin are the best. <3 I really enjoyed revisiting them at the start of their relationship, and seeing how much they've both changed and grown in confidence and strength since this first outing. Whyborne's so used to abuse and bullying that just Griffin being nice to him is enough to endear Griffin to him. And Griffin is so used to being abandoned that Whyborne sticking by him in times of trouble is enough to make its own impression. They're exactly what the other needed. <3

 

Christine's as great as ever. I still think making Ms. Parkhurst

fall for Persephone is a retcon. She's clearly crushing on Whyborne this whole time, but suddenly she's into a squid monster. Ooookay. Sure.

(spoiler show)

I'm going to try to be more open-minded about Niles, since as of book 10 I still have reservations about him. He was somewhat less awful here than I remembered him being - though he's still plenty awful, no question.

 

Original review 6/7/15:

 

I held out on delving into this series for the longest time, because historicals, especially in M/M are almost never done to my liking. They're too contemporary, or they're costume dramas, or they've got the sickly waif, or what have you. I've really only enjoyed Tamara Allen's works because she gets into the mindset of the time and doesn't try to modernize them. Ms. Hawk doesn't quite come up to that standard, but she comes incredibly close. The characters sound like they're from the turn of the century, more or less. They don't go gaga over the dress of the times; there is no more attention paid to anyone's garb than there would be in a contemporary fiction. So I liked this book just for that right from the start.

 

Then the plot starting picking up. Historical AND paranormal? Two genres I'm usually picky about. I'm trying to get into shifters, but so far I've only read THIRDS and that fell flat. Vampires? Even if I hadn't had my fill with Anne Rice in high school and with Buffy/Angel right after that, I do believe Edward Cullen has ruined the genre for the rest of humanity and all of time. Harry Dresden works for me because it's from the POV of someone working to oppose those forces and it doesn't get overly angsty, and that's more or less what Ms. Hawk does here as well. There is some angst, thanks to that Big Misunderstanding, but I wasn't bothered by it because of the way it was resolved. The paranormal element takes front and center, and I liked seeing Whyborne struggle to understand it and resist its lure. I thought the family conflict was resolved a bit too neatly, but I'm willing to see if it's resolved for good or just put on hold due to traumatic circumstances. 

 

I really enjoyed Whyborne and Griffin. They're not as cut and dry as they appear to be. They both have past struggles to contend with and past regrets that haunt them, but they're a good match for each other. You could see Whyborne slowly growing more confident in himself as the book progressed. Griffin too gets some development, but as the story is told through Whyborne's POV, we only get to see it secondhand, but we do get to see it and experience it. Then there's Christine, who in my mind looks and acts much like Marvel's Agent Carter. She's the perfect woman and I hope she becomes a regular character and a part of their team. 

 

There were a few typos, words repeating where they should have been edited out (no, not the stutters), and a couple of other minor instances but nothing overly glaring. There was just the right amount of sex, at least for me. And while this isn't quite instalove, they do fall for each other fairly quickly if you pay attention to the timeline. Still, with the focus being primarily on the investigation, that didn't bother me all that much. I'm much more forgiving of that trope when the characters are able to get over themselves and focus on the actual plot instead of getting sidetracked constantly by feels and horniness. Not that there isn't some sidetracking, but it's not on every single page and they're able to act like mature adults.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I can see myself becoming a fan of this series if they continue to hold up to the standard set by this one. Plus, Widdershins sounds like a place that can get Hellmouthy, so I'm looking forward to what their future adventures might entail. 

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review 2018-11-18 19:19
Dangerous Spirits (Spirits #2)
Dangerous Spirits - Jordan L. Hawk

I don't have much to say about this one. It was fun, and the ghost story was less obvious than in the first book, but I still figured it out way before the characters did and it still follows all the usual tropes. Henry does a stupid thing at the beginning of the book and then lies about it for the next 75% of it. Vincent is also holding things back, so all the relationship angst is based on them not talking or trusting each other. I did like the background that we get about Vincent and Lizzie and their mentor Dunne, and the climax was sufficiently tense. Overall though, this is pretty average.

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review 2018-06-13 04:06
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) (Audiobook)
Drums of Autumn - Geraldine James,Diana Gabaldon

As I mentioned in my review for Outlander, I started this series with the fourth book by accident. I was just out of high school, my mom was having health issues and I was the one who was driving her around to her various appointments and spending a lot of time in waiting rooms. So when I saw this book sitting on the new releases shelf in the bookstore, the only thing I cared about what that it looked interesting and it was thick. It would give me hours and hours and hours of reading time. So I got it, started reading, and got to around a quarter of the way through when I realized this was part of an ongoing series. I kept reading though and enjoyed it. It provided exactly what I needed at the time and even got me to go back and read the first three books.

 

Now, twenty plus years later ... this got annoying. It starts off really slow and rambling. All the books in this series ramble, but it gets worse the longer the series goes on. The first three books at least have obvious plots right off the bat. This one takes over 500 pages to get around to it's main conflict, and up till then it's basically just the four main characters doing stuff. I still really enjoy Claire and Jamie's relationship, but I couldn't give two figs about Briana and Roger's courtship, especially when Roger gets all caveman about it. 

 

I was never a fan of Briana, but wow. For someone so smart, she can be really stupid. Roger's kind of a jerk but he's tolerable. Neither one is prepared for 18th century living, despite both of them being history majors. They not only lie to each other about crucial things, but they make one reckless decision after another. How in the world they survived is beyond me. 

 

Actually, the main conflict isn't exactly what I would call contrived. Considering what Bree's been through and that she just barely met her father, her decisions make sense, even if they're illogical. Given what Lizzy thinks she knows, and what she tells Ian and Jamie, their actions also make sense. What doesn't make sense is

Claire not telling Jamie what Briana told her. She could've done that and kept Bonnet's name out of it.

Also, if you're looking for someone, a physical description usually helps.

Also, both Claire and Briana went by different last names when they went through the stones, so it makes zero sense they wouldn't consider Roger doing the same.

Also, Jamie would've killed Roger based on the info Lizzy told him. But of course he couldn't because the reader - and Bree - wouldn't be able to forgive him if he had.

(spoiler show)

The Big Misunderstanding required these characters who are usually extremely good with communication to be really bad at it.  

 

And it's just a little ridiculous that these characters are all encountering the same villain no matter where they are in the world. 

 

But once I got through all that nonsense and the characters all started to act like their intelligent, rational selves again, it got way better. The last third of the book is definitely the strongest.

 

Not enough Lord John though. 

I hate that he sleeps with one of the slaves. It's not on page, but it's implied. I guess I can have a smidgeon of consolation that John wouldn't have forced himself on anyone unwilling, and he's a pretty perceptive fellow, so he could probably tell if someone was just pretending to be willing. But still. Don't sleep with slaves, John.

(spoiler show)

 

Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention the narration. Davina Porter does her usual stellar job, but she doesn't even attempt an American accent for Briana. I guess she's the UK's answer to Kevin Costner. ;) But since I'd rather listen to a pleasant British accent than a terrible American (much less Bostonian) one, I wasn't bothered by it too much.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-28 05:37
Running the Tides
Running the Tides - Amanda Kayhart

This started out so promising and then it just meandered around until I lost all interest and skimmed the last quarter just to get through it and see just how the inevitable Big Misunderstanding would shake out. On the good side, the Big Misunderstanding wasn't the one I was expecting it to be. On the bad side, the Big Misunderstanding was completely contrived and out of left field and was even more unnecessary than Big Misunderstandings tend to be.

 

I liked Avery and Olivia and they were pretty cute while they were crushing on each other. There's a nice slow burn to their relationship too, so they didn't just fall into lust and actually spent time with each other and got to know each other. The whole thing with Avery's grandmother was pretty predictable, but it didn't quite play out the way I expected (see above re: Big Misunderstanding). 

 

But...

 

The writing was wordy, and there were many incorrect word usages throughout. Most of them I was able to figure out, but I'm still trying to figure out what "edit my jeans" is supposed to mean. 

 

Avery drives from upstate New York to North Carolina without apparently taking a break, and she somehow manages to get to NC in time for Val to tell her that the owner will be back "in the afternoon". ... It's at least a twelve hour drive. Avery left after breakfast, and she's driving a pickup truck not a black '67 Chevy Impala, so I know her truck doesn't have wormhole technology. ;) There's no way she got there before nighttime.

 

Olivia asks Avery to stay on an extra month to fix the roof at the B&B. Permits and rental equipment are mentioned, but nothing at all is said about Avery not having a contractor's license in NC. Pretty sure a NY state contractor license isn't going to cut it in NC. Hell, you can't even cut hair in another state without a proper license.

 

Avery's about to fess up at one point about her grandma, but it starts raining so she's interrupted. (Timely interruptions happen a lot in this book.) Once inside, Olivia goes about getting them dried and settled and tells Avery she can continue with her confession. Then the chapter ends and the next chapter starts up three weeks later and we don't find out for another 150-something pages if she told Olivia anything or not, and if not, what she did tell Olivia instead. 

 

And there's more, but that's the point where my interest started to wane and by about 65% I just really couldn't take it anymore. By 75% I was skimming and looking for relevant parts. The Big Misunderstanding was shortly after that and so completely stupid that it was hardly worth the time it took to skim it.

 

*sigh* I want to find good F/F books to read but everyone I pick up is either just okay or less than stellar. Why is it so hard?

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review 2018-01-29 00:00
Mail Order Misunderstanding
Mail Order Misunderstanding - Kirsten Os... Mail Order Misunderstanding - Kirsten Osbourne Very short but still enjoyable. Ties directly into the next book in the series, Mail Order Misfortune.
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