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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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text 2019-01-21 02:48
The Monster Amongst Us
Attack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney Unabridged Playaway Audiobook (The Last Apprentice) - Joseph Delaney,Christopher Evan Welch

I finished writing this review and it got eaten by the computer gremlins. Oh well, here it goes again. I listened to this on audiobook while I was packing up the house this summer, and it greatly improved what was a tedious task. The narration is well done. This series is pretty darn spooky, no pun intended. It's downright scary at times. The narrator lends well to the atmosphere. There's a feeling of the monster lurking in the dark behind every closed door, a sense of paranoia and an urgency not to trust anyone. The storyline enhances that feeling because the monsters lurk in human form. More of the witches storyline in this one, and further development of the relationship between Tom and Alice. Definitely worth a read.

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text 2019-01-20 23:33
Reading progress update: I've read 25%.
A Map of Days - Ransom Riggs

I am just starting to dislike everyone in this series.

Jacob is being a jerk and so are most of the "children" in this installment. And honestly, I don't know if I have it in me to read about this group again. 


Riggs already missed the boat with me for not writing this to actually include Jacob's parents more. His family is written as awful to the point that even the Dursley's from Harry Potter are like, that's a bit much. 

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review 2019-01-20 20:00
A Memory of Light, Wheel of Time #14 by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan
A Memory of Light - Robert Jordan,Brandon Sanderson

This series was a long road, there's never going to be anything like it for me ever again. There are other epic fantasies out there and there is one, still on-going, that I began around the same time I started this one - but, I'll admit it, 'A Song of Ice and Fire' can't match this. The Evil Empire is developing a fauxevision series of the show as I write this. It will be interesting to see them attempt it, but it won't be pretty. Gray Men can't make, duh.

 

This was my first time reading the entire series over again. The early novels I've read 6, 7, 8 times at least, but around the time I hit 'Winter's Heart' I wasn't feeling the love as strongly anymore. This reread, prompted by the 'Great American Read' (was it supposed to make me read something I hadn't before?), has made me fall in love all over again. Even with the typos that riddle these trade paperback editions. I've come to terms with the errors, the books still look pretty anyway, even if they aren't on the inside.

 

I also have to give huge amounts of credit to Leigh Butler, whose 'Wheel of Time Reread' on Tor.com made an excellent companion during my reading, helping me clear up long-standing questions and allowing me to see connections I never would have made on my own. 

 

In my first review of the book I praised Sanderson, and my only real criticism was my feeling underwhelmed by the conclusion and having been bored during a lot of the endless battle scenes. Some of that still holds true, but reading the whole series so close together this past year makes me appreciate even more how cohesive the series was and, frankly, amazed that more threads weren't dropped. The ambition of this series still staggers me.

 

These books still made me laugh, shiver with anticipation, and gasp in surprise - Sanderson wasn't great on laughs, but he nailed other important aspects and nixed arms crossed over breasts, so - it is so nice to be able to say that this series has aged well. I'm going to read it again. There's a lot that could be said about the sequel series in Seanchan Jordan talked about writing, or the other prequel novels, but this is what we have and its enough.

 

Oh, and I've been reading the official companion now that I've read the whole series over. I have some thoughts.

 

The Wheel of Time

 

Next: 'The Wheel of Time Companion'

 

Previous: 'Towers of Midnight'

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review 2019-01-20 16:08
Audio Book Review: Fairytale Christmas by Merrie Destefano

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

We start with the banishing of the faery from Ireland by the Milesian. Then see through Eire's eyes and mind that the fair folk are dividing, and she's losing standing with her people. But, Eire will find another life years from now.

Sally has a slight accent that fits the tone and place of the story. It's not strong, but slight so to feel the story setting. The nice thing here is there are lyrics of songs for Eire to sing, and Sally does sing them. It's lovely to hear. I'm starting to think my iPod is acting up, but it sounds okay for other stories. At times it sounded as Sally was in a bucket and not near the microphone. Then the next chapter it's back to normal. There were a few small moments of mouth noise, closing or opening lips. There are moments that Sally sounded a different feel to her words than what felt to flow with words afterward or in the moment I would have thought would have fit. But these last two items were limited in listening. The lilt she uses to tell the story feels true to the characters and a lovely addition to the story.

This is a tale of the battle the faery folk have to fight, how it started. Not only do they have an enemy that comes to take their beloved land, but as they travel to exile their people start to divide between the queen who's lost her husband in battle and the man who's stepped up to control the army.

People, immortal and mortal, are not perfect but in terrible times what one experiences steers them to what they will do. Their actions then starts to drive who they are. We start to see this with the faery folk.

Eire is the Queen of Faery in Ireland, and who the story is focused on. When the faery are exiled and the betrayal of one of her own, it brings her to another life she'll live. Yet Eire still has some strong allies and carries a love for her people as she's on the run for her life and her twin boys.

I very much enjoyed the Celtic and faery feel to the story along with events that take place. It feels as the old stories were used to create this story and the world we find them in.

This is a short story but each chapter moves forward for Eire and tells how she comes to where she is in the end. And how she finds love. This story is not a light read. It's deeper with Eire's story and the events that come to pass. Each event important to move the story quickly along. There is also a dark blood magic that is present in the story as well.

The story does bring us to Christmas time, making it a very nice creation for a Christmas story. There's a blend of Christmas brought to an Irish Faery.

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