Tag: Jordan L. Hawk

Review – Hoarfrost

Posted September 7, 2021 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Hoarfrost by Jordan L. HawkHoarfrost, Jordan L. Hawk

Hoarfrost could be a bit of a disappointment, coming after the crescendo that is Whyborne’s confrontation with the Endicotts in the previous book, his discovery of his heritage, and all that came with it. And it does start a little slower, since (once again) they have to journey to actually confront the issue at hand… but in some ways, this is just as climactic for Griffin as the previous book was for Whyborne, giving him a chance to face his fears and reconnect with his family.

I actually ended up reading this in pretty much one sitting (minus the time spent getting out of the bath before I turned into a prune). It has a lot of the features that are great about these books — Christine, archaeology, Whyborne being a secret badass, Griffin and Whyborne learning to darn well communicate — and it combines them into a story that rapidly picks up pace. Almost like an avalanche, you might say.

I fear to say too much, since this book makes things really fall into place for some of our beloved characters. I wonder where it’ll go next — and these days I’m securely along for the ride, given that Whyborne and Griffin generally talk now instead of just making assumptions. (Okay, mostly Whyborne did that.) So yeah, very enjoyable!

Rating: 4/5

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WWW Wednesday

Posted August 18, 2021 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

What, me, doing my weekly update in a timely fashion?! Surely you jest.

Cover of The Jasmine Throne by Tasha SuriWhat are you currently reading?

Just two books! I know, it’s a shock — I didn’t intentionally cut down, really, I was just feeling pretty stressed and it happened by itself. So I’m halfway through Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, for a book club read. It’s a bit chunky-looking on the shelf, but I’ve been speeding through it when I sit myself down and focus.

I’m also now rereading The Fellowship of the Ring. I had a bit of an urge to read it, and I decided to just go with it — whims are good!

Cover of The Bone Wars by Erin EvanWhat have you recently finished reading?

The Hobbit, which is for me always the right place to start a Tolkien reread. It’s as cosy as ever (despite going some very un-cosy places), and I still love the narrative voice.

Before that, I DNF’ed The Bone Wars (Erin S. Evan) too soon to even review it (which I normally would) for being a bit too young-feeling and infodumpy.

Cover of Slippery Creatures by K.J. CharlesWhat will you be reading next?

That’s a bit of a mystery, as usual, but maybe not quite so much as usual. I’m really really hoping to get started on Scoff: a History of Food and Class in Britain by Pen Vogler, from my non-fiction pile, and Slippery Creatures by K.J. Charles from the fiction pile. However, I also want to reread the fourth Kate Daniels book soon, and the next Whyborne and Griffin book, and I’ve so far had 10 new books for my birthday, and(!) I want to work on reading more of the ARCs I’ve neglected.

So, um, probably still plenty of mystery.

Okay, now it’s your turn. What’re you reading?

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Review – Necropolis

Posted July 29, 2021 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Necropolis by Jordan L HawkNecropolis, Jordan L. Hawk

I took a bit of a break from the Whyborne and Griffin books, not entirely intentionally (I have a problem with things being out of sight, out of mind) — so it was nice to come back with a bang into a book that goes some different places (literally, geographically) and involves some significant development for Christine, my favourite character. We learn a little more about her, and more about the work she does. I’m a big fan of archaeology, fiction or non-fiction, so I was allll on board for this.

So okay, there wasn’t a lot of digging, because there wasn’t much time — it was all action. Which is not a bad thing. I read this in just a few chunks, tearing through it, and it was great fun.

I had issues before with Whyborne’s low self-esteem, because I just didn’t enjoy the same conflict happening every book with him deciding he’s not good enough for Griffin. It does feel like there’s some progress there, and that both of them are learning, so that kind of puts my worries to rest — though I hope that development continues happening. Slow is fine, as long as it’s happening.

So yeah, really enjoyable, and it’s nice to see Whyborne stepping up and figuring out some important stuff, too.

Rating: 4/5

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WWW Wednesday

Posted June 23, 2021 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Greetings! How’s everyone doing? I ran out of scheduled posts and have been too busy/tired this week to get the queue set up again (there’s plenty more reviews written and ready, fear not!) but that’ll be back soon, I promise. In the meantime, here’s the usual Wednesday post!

What are you currently reading?

Cover of Seashaken Houses by Tom NancollasA whole bunch of things at once, of course! Most notably, I’m most of the way through Thomas Morris’ The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth and other Curiosities from the History of Medicine, which is okay but in the end fairly meh. Nothing too surprising, and most of it is about hoaxes or obvious misunderstandings.

I got a new book last week, totally on a whim, about lighthouses: Seashaken Houses, by Tom Nancollas. I picked it up briefly and just felt kinda drawn to it, and I do like indulging my random curiosities, so I went ahead. I started it right away to catch that feeling, and am enjoying it — some of the daydreams about the inhabitants of the lighthouses and the descriptions of things get a bit purple prosey, but I’m enjoying some of the local history and the overaching development of lighthouses. I especially enjoyed the chapter about Haulbowline, which had to be consecrated by priests in 1958 because the keepers were convinced the place was haunted.

What have you recently finished reading?

Bloodline, by Jordan L. Hawk. Once I got past the part where Whyborne was lying to Griffin, I flew through the rest of the book. I wasn’t too shocked by any of the shocking revelations, but it’s an enjoyable addition to the series, and it’ll be interesting to see what comes of it in future — and how it crosses over with K.J. Charles’ Green Men world.

What will you be reading next?

Beats me! There are a ton of books all stacked up waiting for me. I really, really should work on reading What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky, though: it’s this month’s book club read in my capricious book club where all the choices are made by me, so it’d be bad form not to keep up!

What are you currently reading?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted June 17, 2021 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

A quick update this week — or hopefully so — since Wednesday snuck riiiight up on me.

What are you currently reading?

Cover of Gastrophysics by Charles SpenceA lot of books at once, as ever. Two that jump out at me as worth an update: Bloodline, by Jordan L. Hawk, has unfortunately bogged down for me on the quicksands of I hate it when people in a close relationship lie to each other instead of talking through their problems. Argh, it’s just totally bogged down the story for me; I don’t even want to read it right now, because Whyborne is being a dick to Griffin (and Griffin is being reasonable but without sitting down and talking it out with Whyborne).

On the non-fiction side, I’m greatly enjoying Gastrophysics, by Charles Spence. It’s impossible to trust a scrap of the science, because he says things like he’s heard that certain genes cluster in certain geographical locations and that explains cultural food choices. You’ve heard that? Great, now try sourcing it from an actual reputable, peer-reviewed source before you write about it blithely in your book that’s allegedly popular science. Jesus Christ, how hard can it be?

(And then sometimes he just fails to research. He reckons that sharp, angular foods are more acidic than soft round ones, and wonders whether cheese is the answer. The answer is, at the very least, “not straightforwardly so” — highly acidic cheeses are often very crumbly, which doesn’t entirely fit with his theory. Sounds nice, ten minutes with Google are enough to prove that you can’t just say that. This is not how science works and I have serious doubts about this guy’s ability to understand how to design a proper experiment or do proper literature searches, Professor or not.)

But… it’s really fun to read, somehow — the writing itself is lively, and just… sucks you in.

What have you recently finished reading?

I think the last thing was Food: The History of Taste by Paul Freedman, which didn’t really work for me. It’s too academic and dry. Some of the essays are better than others, but one or two basically regurgitate huge quotations as if that constitutes engaging with the material.

What will you be reading next?

I don’t know, though The Jasmine Throne (Tasha Suri) arrived today, and from everything folks are saying, it’s pretty tempting.

Other than that, I’m vaguely planning on picking up a couple of particular books after I finish books that are already on the go, to fill the same niche in my reading material… but I’m not sure if that will be anytime soon.

How about you?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted June 10, 2021 by Nicky in General / 3 Comments

Oof, getting too warm to think in my little office in Yorkshire. Gah, summer is here again, apparently.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading a lot all at once at the moment. This is normally something I’d feel weird and guilty about because I should be finishing books, right? But I’ve given up on that kind of guilting myself, and this is much closer to the joyful, voracious and random reading I did as a child — which is the kind of reading which made me really happy. So I’m sticking with it.

I’m still reading several of the books from last week; I’ve also picked up The Queer Principles of Kit Webb, by Cat Sebastian, because it sounded like exactly the ticket right now. I’ve also started in on the fifth Whyborne & Griffin book by Jordan L. Hawk, which promises to be the same quick-paced fun as the others — and I’m somewhat reassured that while Whyborne is never going to be a confident man, he has developed somewhat and learned to trust Griffin.

Cover of Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha LeeWhat have you recently finished reading?

I think the last thing I finished was Phoenix Extravagant, which was very different to Yoon Ha Lee’s series, starting with Ninefox Gambit, which is what really drew my attention to his work. I enjoyed Phoenix Extravagant, but it’s less complex/mind-bending to follow. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing or a good thing; it’s a different thing, and I’m still kind of letting it sit to see what I think when the dust has settled.

I also finished Plain Bad Heroines, which I found to be very lacking in payoff for all those pages of vaguely creepy promises.

What are you going to read next?

As ever, I don’t really know. I have a strong suspicion I’ll be picking up the third Lady Emily book by Tasha Alexander, and I’m quite in the mood to reread some old favourites too — which might be Marie Brennan, Ann Leckie, Becky Chambers, or Vivian Shaw…

We’ll see, as ever. Only time will tell, with my mood-reading and my moods!

What are you reading at the moment?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted May 26, 2021 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Here we are again, it’s Wednesday already. I think it’s my fault: I have an exam coming, so time is doing weird things.

At least I’m close to being caught up on my backlog of reviews to write! 26/28 done… (I won’t be posting them all at once, don’t worry.) Anyway, for now let’s stick to the usual Wednesday update.

What are you currently reading?

Cover of Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha LeeFiction: Let’s see… quite a few things at once. I’m still reading Plain Bad Heroines (emily m. danforth), and I’m now onto the second Kate Daniels book, Magic Burns (Ilona Andrews). I’ve also picked up Phoenix Extravagant (Yoon Ha Lee), which I’ve been meaning to read forever — yes, okay, I even had the ARC, this is a peril of being a mood-reader — and am enjoying so far, though I’m not very far into it. I’m also reading The Cheltenham Square Murder (John Bude); I normally find Bude’s books solid but not remarkable, and so is proving to be the case with this — but a little Golden Age crime does hit the spot right now.

Non-fiction: I’ve started on Food: The History of Taste (ed. Paul Freedman), which… I have some mixed feelings about, given the first essay-writer got some stuff wrong (there is no area of your tongue dedicated to tasting sweet things), and just… made me worry about the quality of their other research and whether they leaned too much on received wisdom. I’m still reading Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, too, which has finally got round to some dinosaurs.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished a couple of the other books I’ve been talking about for a bit, like The Invention of Murder, but also went off-piste a bit and read the fourth Whyborne & Griffin book by Jordan L. Hawk. I’ve been meaning to for a while, and it was a very satisfying Saturday read — it was my day off, so I could start the book in the morning and polish it off by night.

Now to avoid waiting so long to read the fifth…

Cover of Behave by Robert M. SapolskyWhat will you be reading next?

I don’t know, as ever. However, I have been trying to line up some possibles and just keep them well in sight. So that list includes Tasha Alexander’s third Lady Emily book, A Fatal Waltz, and Robert Sapolsky’s Behave, which I’ve had for quite a while… though as always, I’ll let whimsy be my guide as well. Possibly even literally Wimsey, since I do need some beloved books to pamper my brain through this exam. Medical statistics, bleechhh.

What’re you currently reading?

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Review – Stormhaven

Posted November 1, 2020 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Stormhaven by Jordan L. HawkStormhaven, Jordan L. Hawk

The third Whyborne and Griffin book is rather fun! My main issue with the previous books was a sort of general squick about Whyborne’s total lack of self-worth, which translates into a lack of trust in Griffin. I’m pleased to note that that’s a bit better in this book, though I shan’t say too much about it because sssh! Spoilers!

In any case, this book features Griffin facing a number of things about his past. One is his adoptive parents, who are coming on a visit and mustn’t know about his relationship with Whyborne. And another is a doctor at an asylum who has ruled that Griffin’s client’s brother, accused of murdering his uncle, is insane. He happened to do the same for Griffin at the end of his career with the Pinkertons, you see. So Griffin has all that on his plate — and Whyborne is hallucinating about a vast underwater city…

A couple of things didn’t turn out as expected, which is always nice, and Whyborne and Griffin move forward a bit with their relationship and find some more comfort and security with one another, which is lovely. I could always do with more communication (talk! about! your! problems!) — but it was a good step forward, and a believable step in them figuring out their relationship.

So I think my issues with the earlier books are, if not completely shelved, then partially assuaged. (I should emphasise that that’s a very personal nitpick, and not necessarily something that will bother other people.)

Oh, and Christine is still absolutely the best.

Rating: 4/5

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Readathon

Posted October 24, 2020 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

So it’s time for a readathon, and with a sick rabbit, I need the distraction. Let’s go!

13:00: 

I’ll be starting with Jordan L. Hawk’s Stormhaven on my ereader (the delightful Onyx Boox Poke2). Here’s the opening survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
South Yorkshire, UK, where we have just moved into tier 3 lockdown.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I haven’t thought about a stack for this one. I have a mini-shelf of next-up books which might qualify (The Angel of the Crows, by Katherine Addison; Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia; Phoenix Extravagant, by Yoon Ha Lee; Cemetery Boys, by Adrian Thomas), but I’m going to go by my whim.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
No specific snacks laid in! But I’m rather fancying a helping of peanuts or two.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I’m currently studying for a degree in Infectious Diseases, in this year of the plague, 2020. I believe in being curious about your fears and going toward them (safely) rather than away! Seriously, best tip anyone ever gave me about anxiety. Relatedly, one of the books I have on the go at the moment is about infectious diseases through history: Murderous Contagion, by Mary Dobson.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I used to be super hardcore and feel bad if I did anything but read and the bare necessities. That hasn’t suited me in a long time, so I’m planning to be relaxed, and also play my video game, watch the rugby and hope someone wipes the smug off Ntamack’s face, and maybe find an audiobook to do some cross-stitch. Don’t burn yourself out; if you need a break, take it.

14:24: 

Finished Stormhaven! My next pick will be Mexican Gothic, because why not? But first I need to warm up and find my Wales jersey ready for the game.

17:07: 

I’m about 100 pages into Mexican Gothic now, after I took a bit of a break to get warm and then play Hades. I think I’ll take a bit of a break now to do some more work, and then read more of Mexican Gothic until it’s time for the game!

23:23:

Had another pause to game a bit, then watched the game. Then I got back to it and finished reading Mexican Gothic! I think now I’ll go back to my reread of The Eagle of the Ninth.

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WWW Wednesday

Posted July 8, 2020 by Nicky in General / 7 Comments

It’s Wednesday again! So here’s the usual check-in. You can go to Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of Invasive Aliens by Dan EatherleyWhat are you currently reading? 

Actively, I think it’s pretty much just Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch — my loan got renewed from the library even though there were people in the queue, which is weird but I’m not arguing, because it lets me take my time and let it sink in a bit more — and Invasive Aliens, by Dan Eatherley, which I will probably sit down and finish as soon as I get done with this post.

Invasive Aliens is okay, but it feels a bit scattered; there are themes to the chapters, but it starts becoming a bit “and ANOTHER thing” after a while.

Cover of Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders by Aliette De BodardWhat have you recently finished reading?

I read Aliette de Bodard’s Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders yesterday in a hot bath, and narrowly resisted the urge to arise dripping and covered in bubbles to read bits to my wife, since Asmodeus is definitely her sort of thing. Instead I took photos of the relevant pages and sent them to her via chat, circling the good bits in red. It was rather nice.

(And yes, she’s convinced and plans to read it.)

Cover of Ninth House by Leigh BardugoWhat will you be reading next?

Book club reads this month are Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo and The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu, and I’ve been meaning to read both more or less since they came out, so that’s probably something I’ll do soon. I’m probably in the mood for a palate-cleansing murder mystery from the British Library Crime Classics series first, and maybe an installment of the Whyborne & Griffin series by Jordan L. Hawk as well. I also have a wicked bad urge to reread John Scalzi’s Lock In, and I might just listen to it.

So basically, as usual, it’s anyone’s guess.

What are you currently reading?

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