A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Wild Wild Hex (Hexworld #3.5) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A wild, wild, wonderful short story in the Hexmaker series, this one features Rafael, a hawk shifter, who is also a wanted criminal. He’s somewhat of a Robin Hood among the poor in the Southwest and when Hexas Ranger, Enoch Bright catches up to him, he also stumbles upon the location of the Bone Gang, a group of robbers and murderers that are much worse than Rafael can ever be.

They decide to team up to pursue the gang and will do this by creating a partial bond. Yes, Rafael is witch Enoch’s familiar, but neither of them really want to bond permanently. By creating the partial bond, they can work together without getting too involved. Or so they think…

This is a wonderful addition to the series, bringing a whole new dimension to the world of the Hexmakers. Instead of only having access to the witches and familiars in New York, we now have the Hexas Rangers (I LOVE this name!) who cover the Southwest, and I sincerely hope we will see more of them in the near future. I wouldn’t mind more of Rafael and Enoch either, since we didn’t really have the time for their attraction and their story to fully develop within this short.

I highly recommend this series to all lovers of any form of paranormal adventure, but if you have a soft spot for cowboys, this one is for you. Plus, it’s a good place to jump in if you haven’t read other books in the series. It can easily be read as a standalone since there’s no mention of the previous books or characters.

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Cover art by Jordan L. Hawk is in the same style as others in this series and features both MCs in the top panel—the dark-skinned Hexas Ranger and the Hawk flying in the background. The middle panel features the title and the lower panel depicts a desert sunset. It’s very attractive, gives information about the story, and ties to the theme of the series—all the things that give it appeal and let readers know this is something to read.

Sales Links Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | Smashwords|Nook | iBooks

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 77 pages
Published October 27th 2017 by Jordan L. Hawk
ASINB076WVTXZ1
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL http://jordanlhawk.com/books/hexworld-series/
SeriesHexworld #3.5

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Hexslayer (Hexworld #3) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

As exceptional as others in this series, Hexslayer is the tale of Nick, a horse familiar who has no love lost for any witch and snubs his nose at the MWP—Ministry of Witch Police—even though one of the familiars who found his witch and works there is his brother, Rook (The 13th Hex).

For years, Nick has housed feral familiars in the tenement apartments above his bar, Caballus.  He’s made it his personal business to assist any and all familiars who do not want to be tied down to a witch and has even been operating an underground escape route for those who need to get out of the city.  No one knows of that except his employee Kyle, however.  He’d certainly never let on to Rook, who is now a “goody two shoes” in Nick’s book.

But when Nick meets Jamie MacDougal, MWP witch and former war hero, something clicks and he’s shocked to realize he may be looking at his own witch.  Refusing to believe it, and definitely not willing to act on it, he’s surprised to find that Jamie came back from the war with an artificial leg and that Jamie is not typical of any witch he’s ever met before.  In fact, the man is so sexy and so sweet that Nick decides to propose that he and Jamie form a temporary bond, to be separated by a hexbreaker after one month.  They will work together to solve the mystery of who is killing feral familiars in a ritualistic way and leaving the bodies surrounded by blood and symbols for all to see. 

What he doesn’t count on is falling in love.  And what Jamie doesn’t count on is finding out that someone close to him is involved in the nefarious plot to do away with familiars altogether. 

There’s mystery and intrigue, action and adventure, fighting and loving, and very definitely a happily ever after in store for these two men who seemed to be mismatched from the start, but in reality, they form the other half of each other’s soul. 

I highly recommend this story, and in fact this entire series, to lovers of mystery and romance.  If you love the author’s Whyborne & Griffin series, you are sure to love this one too.  This can be read as a standalone; however, there are repeating characters from previous books so reading the first ones in the series is recommended.   In any event, don’t hesitate to pick this story up. 

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Cover art by Jordan L. Hawk features two men in the upper frame of the cover, the smaller one representing Jamie in the background, the larger, darker-skinned man in the forefront representing Nick, Jamie’s familiar and horse shifter.  The lower frame shows the shadow of a horse superimposed on a Hexworld map and linking this cover to others in the series.  Though somewhat dark, it is very attention-getting and perfectly portrays the theme of the story.

Sales Links:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | Smashwords|Nook | iBooks

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 344 pages
Published October 6th 2017 by Jordan L. Hawk
ASINB075J6XQXR
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHexworld #3

An Ali Audiobook Review: Draakenwood (Whyborne & Griffin #9) by Jordan L. Hawk and Julian G. Simmons (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Someone is killing members of the old families…and the evidence points to Whyborne.

Widdershins has been unusually quiet for months. But now a mysterious creature from the Outside is on the loose, assassinating members of the town’s old families by draining their blood. Whyborne and Griffin set out to solve the mystery—but as the evidence piles up, the police begin to suspect Whyborne himself is the murderer.

Now Whyborne must both clear his name and stop the horrors the monster threatens to unleash. His only hope: an alliance with his old enemies the Endicotts.

Because something terrible lurks in the Draakenwood, and it will stop at nothing to seize control of the maelstrom itself.

Draakenwood is the ninth book in the Whyborne & Griffin series, where magic, mystery, and m/m romance collide with Victorian era America.
Every time I read a book in this series I wonder how the author keeps coming up with such unique plots that keep me entertained from the first page until the end.  This book was no exception.  Whyborne and Griffin are drawn in to another mystery when members of the town’s old families begin to die in mysterious ways.  They are still trying to figure out the Fideles and Whyborne is worrying about his role in things.  He is a bit overwhelmed in some ways and he misses the easier times he and Griffin had in the past. 
The plot itself is fast paced and full of adventure.  It’s also pretty creepy in places.  In addition to a constant supply of new plots, the author manages to give us a constant supply of new kinds of monsters.  The ones in this book were some of the scariest we’ve seen. There are a lot of the side characters we’ve grown to love in the course of the series such as Christine (who I want to be when I grow up) and Persephone, as well as others we may not care for so much, such as Whyborne’s father.
This audio book was narrated by Julian G. Simmons and I thought he did a very good job. I felt like he did both Whyborne and Griffin in distinctive manners that made each other them stand out.  He also did a good job on the side characters and there were quite a few for this audio.  I have not listened to this narrator before but will definitely try him again.
Overall, I really enjoyed this.  I thought it was a very fun installation in this series.  I had read all of the previous books and this was my first audio version.  I enjoyed it a lot though and may do the next on audio also.  
Cover Art by Lou Harper:  Unfortunately I really dislike the cover.  I am not at all a fan of the cover re-dos for this series.  I wish the author had left them like they were.  I was so bummed the day I turned on my Kindle to discover my old covered books had automatically turned over to these new ones. 

Sales Links

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Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published July 24th 2017 by Widdershins Press LLC (first published June 2nd 2017)
ASINB0743M4SWD
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWhyborne & Griffin #9 settingWiddershins, Massashusetts (United States)
Massachusetts (United States)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Draakenwood (Whyborne & Griffin #9) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

It’s difficult to imagine that a person can have such a fertile imagination that she can create characters and situations, not only set historically in the turn of the twentieth century, but also consisting of unfailingly original paranormal beings and activity, but Jordan Hawk pulls it off every single time. This is no exception. To top it off, running through these stories is a love that grows stronger with each installment—Griffin Flaherty and Percival Whyborne—two men who hold a very special place in my heart.

In this installment, someone is killing off members of the founding families of Widdershins, sucking the blood from their bodies until only the husk is left, and it looks like Whyborne is the murderer. Now, he’s going to have to get involved in finding the culprit before the monster gets to his father. Griffin, of course, is by his side and they’re joined in the adventure by two new members of the Endicott family—Whyborne’s distant, and estranged, relatives.

Whyborne’s twin sister, Persiphone, and their mother, Heliabel, both of whom are now ketoids who live in the sea also join in. And one of the funniest, laugh-out-loud moments of the story occurs when Percival comes upon Persiphone and her lover—his secretary, Miss Parkhurst—engaged in a sexual act on his desk in his office. The scene is priceless and I’m laughing even now as I write this review. Poor, unsuspecting, naïve Whyborne had no idea up to the moment he opened his office door. Hilarious!

In the usual way the author builds these stories, there’s plenty of background information and the suspense continues to build as the story unfolds—to the point where I was madly and avidly reading every word as quickly as I could devour them. This was quite an adventure as the maelstrom fought to take care of those whom it had collected for Widdershins, including Griffin, whose life is in deadly peril when he’s taken by the monster into the Draakenwood. The only available person to lead the battle to save his family and friends is Percival and he rises to the task, most ably assisted by both the police force and the gang of librarians who’d helped him in the past.

Honestly, there are barely words to describe how ably the author weaves the tale and instills it with both humor and terror alike. There are definitely more adventures awaiting our guys in the future, however, as the setup toward the end of this one indicates. Have no fear—Whyborne and Griffin are together again at the end of this book—along with a new piece of office furniture for Whyborne. (That original desk had to go!)

I highly recommend this book and this whole series to all lovers of MM romance and paranormal adventure. It’s simply wonderful.

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This cover by Lou Harper, though done in a similar style to the others in the series, is much more colorfully attractive than the ones previously done and features two characters from the story. To be honest, though I know one is Whyborne, I’m not sure who the other is since the features don’t look the same as past covers featuring Griffin. So overall, it’s attractive, but leaves me wondering who it represents.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 246 pages
Published June 2nd 2017 by Widdershins Press
ISBN139781941230251
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWhyborne & Griffin #9

A Caryn Review: Drinker of Blood (SPECTR Series 2, #3) by Jordan L Hawk

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is the 9th book in this series (technically it’s the 3rd of SPECTR 2, but since you can’t really read SPECTR 2 without SPECTR 1, I think of it as a continuation), and the best thing about it was knowing there will be more coming!  This book concludes with more loose ends than most of the others, but it is by no means a cliffhanger.  A new character is introduced (no spoilers, but it’s gonna be good!) that I am pretty sure will be featured strongly in the upcoming installments.

For those who have not been reading this series, this review may not make much sense.  I highly recommend the entire series, and the books are all quite short – less than 100 pages – so they are quick reads.  What keeps me coming back is the uniqueness of the paranormal aspect of the main love relationship.  John is an agent for SPECTR – the government agency responsible for eliminating non-human entities, AKA demons, from our world.  His lover Caleb is possessed by a powerful vampire spirit, Grey, but the two share the body equally.  It makes for a fascinating 3 way relationship (and sex!)  I love how Grey maintains his non-human perspective, even as he learns about human emotions and society, and Drinker of Blood highlights that “otherness” even more.

This book builds upon the tensions introduced in the last two books – their boss at SPECTR, Barillo, is increasingly antagonistic and his fear and hatred of Grey/Caleb (and not a little homophobia) are becoming too much for even John to smooth over.  Caleb has joined the Paranormally Abled Support System, but has to hide Grey from them, so John and Zahira are truly the only people who know and support Caleb/Grey.  Although the love between John, Caleb, and Grey remains strong, outside influences are becoming intolerable.  Defeating the monster du jour is almost a side plot to the building strain, and inevitable crisis.  Maybe in the next book?

Finally, I love how this author incorporates some excellent secondary characters.  Zahira continues to shine in this book, and I can’t wait to see more of the new character.  Who, by the way, is going to put even more stress upon the John/Caleb/Grey relationship in the next book, I can see it coming *wink*

Cover art by the author is consistent with the rest of the series, but I still think Grey would look more menacing in his kevlar-lined elk hide coat instead of a tee shirt 🙂

Sales Links

Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | Smashwords

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 84 pages
Expected publication: March 17th 2017 by Widdershins Press LLC
ASINB06X942Q64
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series SPECTR:

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Undertow (Whyborne & Griffin #8.5) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

undertowIn an era of very non-equal rights for women, Miss Maggie Parkhurst (Whyborne’s secretary) is given a voice and the fortitude to seek and to follow through on her desires. She’s also extremely clever and has the strength of conviction when it comes to her belief in assisting the woman she’s come to love: Persephone, twin to our favorite hero, Percival Whyborne. This clever installment in the Whyborne & Griffin series takes place concurrently with Whyborne’s visit to Kansas where he and Flaherty have gone in the story, Fallow.

Maggie is attracted to Persephone but hasn’t had the courage to let her know, and indeed, Maggie is struggling with that attraction as the story opens. But as the menace comes to a head, and Persephone is endangered, Maggie’s strength and persistence are what saves the day.

With this novella, Ms. Hawke shows her versatility by creating a strong FF couple and seamlessly weaving their story into what is already a memorable and highly enjoyable series. There’s nothing even mildly disruptive here, and in fact, I enjoyed Maggie’s musings on why Dr. Whyborne seems to always need his friend, the detective Griffin Flaherty, with him on all his trips. Later in the story, the pensive Maggie thinks it odd that the handsome Mr. Flaherty never seems to be in the company of a woman, rather he seeks to visit Dr. Whyborne at the museum, and at times, he even eats lunch with him there. These little sidebar thoughts added just the right tone of whimsy and speculation, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

There was some semi-explicit lady loving later in the story, easily skimmed for those who aren’t into girly bits, but the story was principally about the mystery of who is killing ketoi. We also get a revisit from the Fideles group and an opportunity to see the defensive powers of the “librarians” led by Mr. Quinn—another highly enjoyable segment of the story.

I wouldn’t recommend reading this as a standalone, but it’s the perfect complement to the series and serves to enhance the overarching mystery surrounding the Widdershins paranormal activities. Plus, it’s nice to know that Whyborne’s sister is going to get her HEA with the indomitable Maggie Parkhurst. Highly recommended.

Cover art by Lou Harper is lovely and pertinent to the story.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 90 pages
Published January 20th 2017 by Jordan L. Hawk
ISBN13 9781941230237
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Christmas Hex (Hexworld #2.5) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

a-christmas-hexJordan Hawk’s series continues with a holiday short sure to please as much as a hand-crafted piece of chocolate. It’s just delightful!

Roland is a wolf shifter and a familiar who is also a mystery writer.  He’s happy his writing career is a success because he knew he’d be on his own with no partner for the rest of his life. After all, no one wants a wolf familiar. He learned that the hard way, when after the first time he shifted, his parents kicked him out in fear of their lives. On his own since those early years, he has no desire to seek a mate.  And yet, at a small restaurant one night, he meets a waiter whom he easily recognizes as his witch.

Augustus (Gus) Cao, is really only posing as a waiter when he spots the cute guy in the restaurant. Gus is actually undercover, trying to find out more about a scheme involving a hex that captivates the viewer’s attention. When he follows his targets out of the restaurant late one night and ends up trapped in an alley, he’s shocked when Roland shows up to rescue him.

Though the story is short, the author managed to develop their characters, give them a background, build a relationship, throw in an adventure and some angst, and at last, give Roland the happiness he deserves with the handsome investigator. 

Highly recommend to all, especially those already hooked on this series.   

The cover by Alli Smith features black-and-white headshots of both MCs with a lower border of sky blue.

Sales Links

Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | ARe | Smashwords | Nook | iBooks

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 56 pages
Published October 31st 2016 by Jordan L. Hawk
ASINB01M7X07GE
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHexworld #2.5

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk ~ Audiobook narrated by Tristan James

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

HexbreakerWill a dark history doom their future together?

New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.

Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.

Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.

But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.

Get ready for eight-and-a-half hours of entertainment from the talented mind of the highly creative paranormal author, Jordan L. Hawk, and the smooth, delicious, and melodic voice of Tristan James.  There would’ve had to have been a very big goof-up in this audiobook for me not to enjoy it with that talented combo involved.  And there wasn’t, so I did. A lot! 

This is book one in a new series, Hexworld, though there is a prequel, The 13th Hex, that can be read prior. It’s not necessary, but IMHO, it adds to the story since the characters from the prequel are featured as principal secondary characters in this one.

Tom Halloran has been living a lie for eight years, hiding from his past identity as Liam O’Connell of the notorious O’Connell Gang, who started the Cherry Street fires. Tom saw his father and brother go on a killing rampage, wiping out his whole family, and when Tom used his hexbreaking skills to remove the hex from his brother, the man immediately died.  Tom now carries the guilt of killing his brother, and the grisly memory of his father tearing his mother’s face half off, along with the guilt of not being able to stop any of it. He hides his hexbreaking abilities and is working as a regular cop in New York City, having assumed the identity of a man he found dead in an alley who was fresh off the ship from Ireland and on his way to take a job as a patrolman.

Though he wants nothing to do with the Metropolitan Witch Police, the other law enforcement agency in the city, his mission to find out who killed one of the shopkeepers on his patrol takes him there, and that’s when the adventure begins.  Because he meets Cicero, a cat familiar, unbonded, untamed, and the most beautiful man Tom has ever seen—though with the temperament of an aloof cat who got away with the cream.

This story sets the stage for this new world, the world of hexbreakers, witches, and familiars who work for the MWP, trying their best to maintain law and order in the turn of the (19th to 20th) century. There’s angst, heartache, and regret; but there’s also hope, bravery, love, and redemption.  The adventure is complex and interesting, and the world-building was outstanding. 

As Tom and Cicero, aided by Dominic and Rook, attempt to solve the mystery surrounding the murders that appear to be caused by the same hex that killed Tom’s family, they are joined by a host of secondary characters, some of whom turn out to work for “the bad guys” and some of whom I hope will return in future installments of this series.  Tristan James’s talent for speaking with authentic-sounding British and Irish accents enhances this already amazing story. 

The book is totally different from the Whyborne and Griffin series, and yet equally as intriguing and satisfying.  Don’t miss a chance to get into this series now.  It’s going to be a wonderful adventure.

The cover art, by the author, depicts two men holding hands and embracing—one behind the other—in the top pane; and a background map of NYC with the shape of a black cat superimposed over the map in the lower pane. The cover is attractive and perfectly conveys both the characters and setting of the story.

Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook
Published August 3rd 2016 by Widdershins Press LLC (first published May 6th 2016)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHexworld #1

A BJ Review: The 13th Hex (A Hexworld Short Story) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

The 13th HexThe 13th Hex is the prequel short story to the all-new Hexworld series. If you like shifters, magic, and romance, you’ll love Jordan L. Hawk’s world of witch policemen and the familiars they bond with.

Romance. Magic. Murder.

Dominic Kopecky is a Metropolitan Witch Police fanboy who failed the magic aptitude tests when he was young. He’d dreamed of working at MWP with witches and their familiars who take the form of birds, toads, and cats. But his lack of magic led him to become the next best thing—a hexman who does the grunt work of using ink, paper and gemstones to create spells that witches later activate with their magic. But hexes were an exact science and a badly done one could turn very deadly when activated.

When the beautiful unbonded crow familiar, Rook, seeks Dominic’s help investigating murder by patent hex, Dominic isn’t sure why. He’s not a witch, the case has already been closed, and someone seems willing to kill to keep it that way.

I loved this one right from the start. Well-written, well-paced, intriguing characters, and a very unusual world set up. I read it first in the Charmed and Dangerous anthology, and when I saw that it was going to me a series, I was totally jazzed!

Both characters are quirky and compelling, and the writing was excellent with danger, heat, and humor well-mixed. I found myself giggling that the familiar was a crow and Dominic’s last name was KoPECKy. As did some of lines like ‘keep your beak out of it’ and a bunch of others.

A lovely sweet romance, some nice heat, and a fun story. Overall, it just hit all the right notes for me.

Beautiful cover! I love the layout of it as well as the elements that speak of another time and paranormal together very well. I am eager to see a rendering of the other character on the cover for the next one if the author runs true to how she did the covers on previous series.

Sales Links:   Amazon


Book Details:  

ebook, 2nd edition
Published April 5th 2016 by Jordan L. Hawk
ISBN139781941230183
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHexworld 0.5

A BJ Review: Dancer of Death (SPECTR 2, #2) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating:  4.75 stars out of 5

Dancer of DeathRevenge. Murder. Ballet?

Vampire spirit Gray wants to hunt demons. Unfortunately, the foolish mortals at SPECTR have put his host, Caleb, their lover John, and their partner Zahira on desk duty. Gray longs to leave Charleston with John, but if they flee, SPECTR will make them the hunted.

A series of paranormal murders returns the team to the field, at least temporarily. Ballerinas are being murdered by a vila, a demon that kills with dance. If they can’t stop the deadly attacks in time, one of Zahira’s friends may become the next victim.

And while they track the demon, an unknown entity has begun to track Gray.

First, I hadn’t read the blurb before I read the story and that last line was interesting, as I guess I hadn’t realized that the scent Gray ran across for the second time in this book was tracking him. Interesting development for sure especially since Gray contends the thing he smells is not food… ie. not a demon.

High on the gore factor and we get some POV from the bad guy in this one. It reminds me a lot of book #4 from the first series, Eater of Lives, in both those factors. Excellent pacing that kept me on the edge of my set. Wonderful emotional parts as well as sizzling sexy bits.

Plenty twists and turns in the developing relationship between the threesome, that makes it ever more complex. I adored how this is being explored. Caleb has a bit of a problem with communication with John in this one, a fact that Gray rightly questions. I find myself wondering how Deacon will fit into this overall, as something about him tells me he’s more integral than the surface seems to show—of course, I could be wrong.

The more we get to know of Zahira, the more I’m loving her as a partner for these guys. One scene with her and Gray was so touching. Loved that to pieces. Karl the transman is also very intriguing, and I find myself hoping we will get to read more about him as well.

Overall, aside from a bit of the adverb usage that drew me out of the story somewhat, this was an excellent installment of the series that I enjoyed even more than I did Mocker of Ravens. I’m very eager for the next installment, and hope it comes out soon.

Beautiful cover but a bit surprised since for the first time in the series (1 or 2) it focuses on a representation of the baddie rather than showing Caleb/Gray or John.

Sales Links:  ARe | Amazon


Book Details:  

ebook
Expected publication: February 16th 2016 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN139781941230176
Series SPECTR 2 #2