books

Jordan L. Hawk

Books

Whyborne & Griffin: Widdershins (2012), Threshold (2013)

Hexbreaker (2016)

Anthologies: Charmed and Dangerous (2015), Another Place in Time (2014)


Whyborne & Griffin


Widdershins (2012)

Set in Boston in the late 1800s.

This is an historical supernatural M/M romance. One of the characters is neuroatypical, and the other is suffering from PTSD, so they both have issues to deal with, but I very much like the spin that puts on the story. (Damaged or atypical characters seem to be my catnip.)

All of the elements of the story were fine. There was nothing either outstanding or terrible. It was more horror than I generally prefer, pulling from the Cthulhu mythos, but the main characters were sweet, and I was rooting for them to beat the bad guys and work out their troubles.

Couple things I did particularly like: there were female characters who were more than furniture. Whybourne’s coworker Dr Putnam was competent and likable and a good friend to Whybourne. His mother, although ill and trapped in the house was a sensible woman who he was able to talk to.

Christine’s voice, strengthened from bellowing orders to workers at dig sites, echoed down the hall. “I will not surrender my profession simply because men throughout history have been unduly enamored of their penises!”

I had gotten the fish sandwich again, and proceeded to cut it up into neat squares, a practice of which Christine heartily disapproved.

For once, she didn’t accuse me of misunderstanding the entire purpose of a sandwich.

The other thing I especially liked was that most of the “bad guys” had understandable reasons for behaving as they did: raising a loved on from the dead, curing a loved one of an illness. The author very much remembered that everyone is the hero of their own story.

“And Blackbyrne’s methods?” I asked, not quite able to resist. I had to know if (character) truly approved of the horrors he’d helped create, even if indirectly.

“Aren’t ones I would have chosen. But everything has a cost. (Character) wants his (loved one) back. I want my (loved one) back. By tomorrow morning, we’ll both have our wish.”

Those characters may not have behaved well in our eyes, but they were doing what was important to them, and for those they cared for.

It was a fun read, and since it was an inexpensive book, I was more than willing to forgive the weaknesses. The following books are more expensive, and I’m not sure I’ll be quite as forgiving at a higher price point.
Rating: 7/10

Reread: December 2021
Rating: 7/10

Threshold (2013)

ThresholdSet in Boston and WV in the late 1800s.

This wasn’t bad, but Lovecraftian monsters just aren’t my thing. So why did I keep reading? Because it was set in WV, and it featured mining and was actually accurate for those things!

I mean, this:

By the time the train began to brake, the green peaks loomed to either side like old men, peering down at the tiny creatures which had dared wake them from their sleep. Only a narrow strip of blue sky remained visible; the hours of direct sunlight must be short indeed.

I mean, this description of a coal town:

(T)he town proper, which mainly consisted of row upon row of identical houses, all of which appeared to have been built in great haste using the shoddiest materials available.

Foul smoke, reeking of sulfur, boiled from the beehive-shaped coke ovens. The sides of the gorge blocked the wind, and the smoke was thick as fog in some places.

I’ve seen places like that, from the gorge to the coke ovens.

Anyway, they go to southern WV to look into a coal mine that might be haunted by monsters. (It is haunted by monsters.)

What was difficult for me (beside the monsters themselves) was that a lot of characters we were introduced to, and whom the characters had conversations with, were killed by said monsters. That’s just not something I’m up for dealing with right now.

On the other hand, Whyborne really is adorable.

Griffin turned to me with a twinkle in his eye. “Would you care to accompany me to the hotel bar?”

“Why on earth would I do such a thing?” I asked.

I mean:

“What a horrid place,” I said, aghast. “How do people stand to live here?”

Griffin’s mouth twitched. “Because this is where the work is. Coal mining doesn’t pay much, but for a man with no other skills, looking to feed his family, it’s better than nothing.”

“I suppose, but surely the houses could be improved, or the streets paved.”

“All of which would cost the company money.” Griffin gave me a half-smile, but his eyes were sad. “I almost envy your shock.”

Me too Griffin. Me too.

So despite not liking the monsters killing everyone, I really loved how he portrayed the mining town and the people in it.

Rating: 7/10


Hexbreaker (2016)

Tom Halloran is a cop hiding a past that would get him thrown in jail–if not executed. Cicero is a familiar without a witch, and his time to remain in that state with the MWP is growing short, which means he may need to accept any witch or find his way on his own.

This is a M/M romance, and the second book I’ve read set in this world.

Not for me. The characters are pretty good, however, the story and “mystery” (for what it was worth) wandered all over the place and definitely took second (or even third) place to the boinking.

A lot of it just fell flat.

“I’m told the corned beef is good,” Cicero said with a delicate shudder.

Tom settled into the seat across from him. “What, you think I like corned beef just because I’m Irish?”

“Don’t you?”

“Aye,” he admitted. “Still.”

The world is interesting, but the story just didn’t love up to the characters or the ideas of the world.

It was just a letdown.

Publisher: Widdershins Press LLC
Rating: 5/10

Reread: December 2021
Rating: 6/10


Anthologies


Another Place in Time (2014) by Tamara Allen, Joanna Chambers, K.J. Charles, Kaje Harper, Jordan L. Hawk, Aleksandr Voinov

This is an anthology of historical M/M romances.

“Office Romance” by Tamara Allen
“Introducing Mr. Winterbourne” by Joanna Chambers
“The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh” by K.J. Charles
“Unfair in Love and War” by Kaje Harper
“Carousel” by Jordan L. Hawk
“Deliverance” by Aleksandr Voinov

“Office Romance” by Tamara Allen is set in NYC in 1920.

Both characters had fought in Europe during the war, but their injuries were quite different–Casey Gladwin was wounded in action, while Foster Weatherly barely survived the flu. The two were the last hired in their office, and are pitted against one another when an efficiency expert decides that only one of their jobs is needed.

The world was changing so quickly in the 1920s, it’s little wonder that everyone went a little bit mad after the end of the war.

I quite liked this story.

“The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh” by K.J. Charles

I’d read this previously, as part of another series.

“Unfair in Love and War” by Kaje Harper is set after D-Day but before Germany has surrendered.

Warren Burch has finally returned home, having stayed away after the death of his younger brother in the war. Polio killed his sister and left him with a shortened leg, but he wants to move home and do something for war effort, rather than just having a job. He discovers that a handsome young Swiss emigre has moved next door to his mother, and that the youths who haven’t gone off to war are convinced the man is a German spy.

I also liked this story, with the war looming in the background as it was, and mistrust rampant throughout the country (and world).

This was another period of tremendous change, and although this story doesn’t address most of those changes, the feel of the time is there.

“Carousel” by Jordan L. Hawk is a short story featuring her characters from here Widdershins series and is an historical supernatural fantasy.

This story rather aggravated me, because the boinking was literally tacked onto the end of the story. The mystery of the missing boy was resolved, and then the two went home and boinked. It aggravated me because it didn’t need the boinking at all, and would have been a stronger story without that bit tacked onto the end.

“Deliverance” by Aleksandr Voinov is an historical about a knight Templar.

This story was not for me.

Published by the authors
Rating: 7/10


Anthologies


Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy (2015) edited by Jordan Castillo Price

“Dim Sum Asylum” (2015) by Rhys Ford
“Swift and the Black Dog” (2015) by Ginn Hale
“A Queer Trade” (2015) by KJ Charles
“Magically Delicious” (2015) by Nicole Kimberling
“Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns” (2015) by Jordan Castillo Price
“The Thirteenth Hex” (2015) by Jordan L Hawk
“The Soldati Prince” (2015) by Charlie Cochet
“One Hex Too Many” (2015) by Lou Harper
“Josh of the Damned vs. The Bathroom of Doom” (2015) by Andrea Speed
“The Trouble With Hexes” (2015) by Astrid Amara

This is, like all anthologies, a variety of stories, some of which I enjoyed, one of which I utterly despised, and some of which were MEH. In other words, a good selection and variety.

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“The Thirteenth Hex” (2015) by Jordan L Hawk

I’ve read Jordan Hawk’s stories set in this world before and although they are interesting, they just aren’t really my thing.

They’re Gaslamp historicals, where it’s mostly our past, just with magic and witches and their familiars.

I think what I don’t like about these stories / this world is the sense of unavoidable fate where witches and their familiars are concerned.

I won’t avoid another of the stories set in their world if I come across one, but I also won’t seek them out.

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Publisher: JCP Books LLC
Rating: 8.5/10