Tag: Jordan L. Hawk

Review – Hexbreaker

Posted January 24, 2023 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of Hexbreaker by Jordan L. HawkHexbreaker, Jordan L. Hawk

Tom is a copper, a decent one who doesn’t take bribes and keeps his neighbourhood safe. He’s hiding a past of violence and betrayal, something he walked away from for everyone’s safety. Cicero is a familiar, a shapeshifter, who works with the local magical police for protection, but hasn’t yet agreed to bond with a witch. They’re thrown together to solve two murders — which stir up horrifying echoes for both of them, of pasts they’ve tried to put behind them — and at first it seems like they’re oil and water. Cicero constantly makes assumptions about Tom based on his job and appearance, but slowly, of course, sparks start to fly.

There is of course a wrenching part of the romance (as so often) where the secrets Tom is keeping come back to haunt him, leaving Cicero feeling lied to and abandoned. Obviously there were so many opportunities to do better and to communicate with Cicero — but at least it seems to make sense that he doesn’t. He doesn’t realise his past is relevant to the case, and he’s committed to a better future, one with Cicero in it; the smart thing would be to ‘fess up, of course, but… that’s difficult, and didn’t seem important. It makes sense.

A lot of people mention not loving this book as much as the Widdershins books, but I disagree. That’s partly down to my pet peeves: Whyborne’s obsessive lack of self-esteem over the course of several books drives me nuts, and the lack of communication between him and Griffin comes back again and again and again. For that reason, this clicked better for me (which is not to say that I find nothing to enjoy in the Widdershins books).

There are some gruesome bits of this story, just as a warning. There’s also some period typical homophobia, though not amongst the main characters or anyone who matters. I’m looking forward to glimpsing Cicero and Tom in the stories of the others…

Rating: 4/5

Tags: , , , , , ,


Review – Blind Tiger

Posted January 15, 2023 by Nicky in Reviews / 1 Comment

Cover of Blind Tiger by Jordan L. HawkBlind Tiger, Jordan L. Hawk

Mild, naive Sam comes from a repressive family in the country. Hardened, hermit-like Alistair is hiding away from life after being very badly hurt by his time as a soldier and its aftermath. They’re brought together because Sam’s cousin — who took him in when he fled his family — has been murdered, and Sam needs help in navigating the gangs and other dangers of Prohibition Chicago.

Plus, Alistair is a familiar, a shapeshifter, and he’s realised that Sam is his witch, the one person in the world whose magic best works with Alistair’s — but he has his own reasons for refusing to bond.

Sam is a lovely character, well-meaning and brave, despite the emotional damage from his family who belittled him constantly. He’s naive, but not as judgemental as he could be: he accepts the Gattis and what they do, even as he steers his own path (not drinking, for example, and not being terribly willing to work with a gang boss). He seems a dangerous big cat shifter and thinks, “Hey, can I pet him?”

He’s the ideal person to bring Alistair back out of his shell, and we see that happening in and amongst the actual action of the book. The pace of their relationship worked quite well for me, and it was really sweet… though I’m sure they have a ways to go to a proper happy ending.

I haven’t actually read the other books in this world, but that was okay; this worked well for me as an introduction, it was very clear what the basics were. I’m sure there’s more to understand in the other books — and I’m eager to read those too — but it works perfectly well on its own.

Rating: 4/5

Tags: , , , , , ,


Review – Guardian Spirits

Posted May 30, 2022 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Guardian Spirits by Jordan L. HawkGuardian Spirits, Jordan L. Hawk

Guardian Spirits wraps up the plot arc from the first two books beautifully, answering questions from both books and bringing our protagonists to a good place in the process. Of course, given the context, it involves dragging them through a bad place first — though this is primarily due to the outside circumstances, rather than the relationship between them. After finally communicating with each other in the second book, Henry and Vincent are ready to be supportive of each other, and to face pressure without crumbling.

We get a couple of new characters, including a love interest for Lizzie, which is cool. I find myself longing for more of Jo, though!

While I figured things out before the characters did, their blindnesses made sense and didn’t feel frustrating… and like Jordan L. Hawk often has characters communicating badly, with crises leaning on misunderstandings, that was much less the case here. (It’s a pet dislike of mine.) So that was nice too.

Overall, enjoyable end to a trilogy, or a stepping-off point for a longer series. I don’t know if Hawk is planning to write more or not, but if not, I’m okay with that.

Rating: 4/5

Tags: , , , , ,


Review – Dangerous Spirits

Posted May 27, 2022 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Dangerous Spirits by Jordan L. HawkDangerous Spirits, Jordan L. Hawk

Unfortunately for me, Dangerous Spirits features one of my least favourite tropes: the spur of the moment lie that brings all communication into a logjam and eventually splits people apart. I joke about being the relationship advice Dalek (COMM-UN-I-CATE! COMM-UN-I-CATE!) but really, it’s important, and while it’s often interesting to watch how characters and relationships break under the pressure of a lack of communication… it’s difficult for me to read.

That said, I still enjoyed many other things about this book: Henry does take some lessons to heart and grows up a little (in the end), Jo’s still amazing, Lizzie’s still amazing, and we learn more about Lizzie and Vincent’s lives, and see the arc of the trilogy bending along…

It sets things up for a better relationship in the next book, and for the third book to wrap up some of the mysteries and fears that surround the group.

Rating: 3/5

Tags: , , , , ,


Review – Restless Spirits

Posted May 24, 2022 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Restless Spirits by Jordan L. HawkRestless Spirits, Jordan L. Hawk

In Restless Spirits, there’s an appealing cast of main characters: Henry, an inventor, and his assistant and ward, Jo, and then Vincent, a medium, and his friend, Lizzie, also a psychic. They’re all assembled at the site of a haunting as a contest between the mediums and the inventors, to prove who can best dispel a haunting, with money at stake for the winners — which each group badly needs. Needless to say, Henry and Vincent are powerfully attracted to each other, though the humiliations of Henry’s past risk coming between them.

This is very much a first book, with the ending only a “happy for now” — there’s a lot that the characters have to work out. I’m looking forward to reading more, because I completely tore through this. I was worrying that it would feel a bit too much like Whyborne and Griffin’s adventures, but no: there are some similarities, but the characters’ hangups are very different, and the relationship doesn’t have (so far, at least) the desperate insecurity that is the initial cause of rifts between Whyborne and Griffin. Henry and Vincent are made of different stuff.

On a slightly spoilery note, I did see another review complaining about Henry, and I get it, but at the same time… as a boy, he was taken advantage of by someone his family trusted, including sexually. His life was taken apart by the guy, leaving him with deep-seated trust issues. Sure, he doesn’t behave the best (and he’s incredibly naive about what his revelation to the group will do to Lizzie), but it’s partly ignorance, partly because he has a good heart and fails to see the worst of others, and partly due to the betrayal he’s felt.

Rating: 4/5

Tags: , , , , ,


Review – Maelstrom

Posted March 22, 2022 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Maelstrom by Jordan L. HawkMaelstrom, Jordan L. Hawk

Maelstrom cranks things up another notch for Whyborne and Griffin. It’s difficult to review without spoilering either this book or at least its predecessors, but let’s see what I can do. First, I’d highly recommend against trying to start here if you haven’t read the others. Details from the other books are important here, particularly the first book and Bloodline, and a bunch of things come together.

What’s nice is that, if nothing else, at this point Whyborne and Griffin rely on each other instead of letting tension crack them apart (and we’re starting to see Christine and Iskander have the same kind of bond). I also really liked the careful tightrope-walking of Niles Whyborne’s increased part in the story: he was still an asshole and a terrible father, but in losing almost all his family, he’s begun to see that he was wrong and that he misjudged Whyborne completely.

That said, I thought people were a little unfair in pushing Whyborne toward that insight, because they’re basically asking him to reconcile with an abuser. Griffin’s wistfulness about his own family is getting in the way of him seeing that clearly, of course — but others don’t have the excuse.

Anyway, all in all an exciting book, and a pretty awesome development. I’m guessing a gathering together of allies must come next…

Rating: 4/5

Tags: , , , , , ,


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

Tags: , , , , ,


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?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


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

Tags: , , , , ,


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?

Tags: , , , , ,