Review: Ravensong by TJ Klune

Ravensong

by TJ Klune
Series: Green Creek #2
Pub: July 31, 2018
Genre(s): fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, lgbt/queer, m/m romance, shapeshifters/werewolves, adult fiction
4.5 stars



The Bennett family has a secret: They're not just a family, they're a pack. Ravensong is Gordo Livingstone's story.

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack that left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

It was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. And when his town is caught in the jaws of a beast, Gordo is summoned back into the life that left him.

“Gordo, you must rise. For your pack. For us. I must ask you to become the witch to the wolves.”

Now, a year later, Gordo has once again found himself the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s coming from within.


The Green Creek Series is for adult readers.

________________________________________________________________


Wolfsong, the first book in the Green Creek series, was an unforgettable reading experience. Because of that, I went into Ravensong with such high expectations, but most of all I was just happy to be returning to the Bennett pack (packpackpack). It felt like coming home (homehomehome). #IYKYK

 

Gordo was still a child when his father began adding the tattooed runes to his arms and teaching him what it meant to be the witch for a powerful werewolf pack. His mother told him things, too – you can’t trust a wolf, they don’t love you, they need you, they use you. But the Bennett pack was like family – especially Mark. While he may have once been strange and annoying, shadowing Gordo everywhere he went, they became friends – with the promise of more.

 

“I’m making sure you’re safe.”

I took a step back. “From what?”

He shrugged, looking more awkward than I’d ever seen him. “From… like. You know. Bad guys. And stuff.”

 

Tragedy struck, leaving Gordo without both mother and father, but the Bennett’s were there. Taking him in, providing home and family, love and support. But even that did not last. The Bennett’s left Green Creek, and Gordo. There were promises that they would come back for him, that he was loved, that he was still theirs. But all Gordo knew was that he was being left, he wasn’t enough, and he was being betrayed by the one person he never thought was capable of such a thing.

 

“They don’t trust me. And since they don’t trust me, you are leaving me here. You chose them over me.”

“No, Gordo. Never that. I would never –“

“Then stay here.”

 

Over the years, Gordo’s hurt and feelings of betrayal turned to anger. It was easier to be angry than deal with the pain of abandonment. And when the Bennett pack finally returned to Green Creek, he kept his distance, his anger creating a wall between them. When circumstances pulled him back into the Bennett pack, he had to question what he knew of the past and how it had shaped his life. And when danger encroached the bounds of Green Creek, Gordo was tested in ways he could never have imagined.

 

Ravensong delved deep into Gordo’s past and covered the years during the pack’s absence, especially his complicated relationship with Mark Bennett. Gordo, a man who begged to be chosen, wanted (“Right now. Here. Choose me. Mark, I’m asking you, for once in your life, to choose me.”) and Mark, a man who had to make an impossible choice that had lasting consequences. Gordo and Mark were characters who both made great sacrifices for those they loved and those sacrifices changed them. But despite time and distance and anger and hurt, their bond was always there.

 

I thought of a boy with eyes of ice telling me that he loved me, that he didn’t want to leave again but he had to, his Alpha was demanding it, and he would come back for me, Gordo, you have to believe I’ll come back for you. You are my mate, I love you, I love you, I love you.

 

As compelling as the plot was (intrigue, adventure, betrayal, suspense), it was the characters that kept me turning the pages. This cast of characters embodied the spirit of family and friendship and loyalty, even when tested under the most extreme circumstances. When war was brought to their doorstep, all differences were set aside and they came together as a united front.

 

“You are not alone, Gordo. And I promise you that you never will be.”

 

It is impossible for me not to compare Ravensong and Wolfsong. And while Gordo’s stranglehold on his anger over the years sometimes made me yearn for the sweetness and softness of Joe and Ox (from Wolfsong), I understood it came from a place of hurt. And let’s not forget that Gordo was also a total badass (“You done f*cked up. You would do well to start running now. Because the last time someone came for our pack, he ended up getting his head torn off.”). All in all, Ravensong delivered an incredible tale of family in all its forms, the lengths some will go to to protect them, and a love that can overcome it all. I will return to the Bennett family again and again. 4.5 stars

Art credit: unknown

Have you read Ravensong?

Review: Wolfsong by TJ Klune

 

Wolfsong

by TJ Klune
Series: Green Creek #1
Pub: June 20, 2016
Genre(s): fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, lgbt/queer, m/m romance, shapeshifters/werewolves, adult fiction
5 stars



The Bennett family has a secret: They're not just a family, they're a pack. Wolfsong is Ox Matheson's story.

Oxnard Matheson was twelve when his father taught him that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then his father left.

Ox was sixteen when the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harboring a secret that would change him forever. The Bennetts are shapeshifters. They can transform into wolves at will. Drawn to their magic, loyalty, and enduring friendships, Ox feels a gulf between this extraordinary new world and the quiet life he’s known, but he finds an ally in Joe, the youngest Bennett boy.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his heart. Violence flared, tragedy split the pack, and Joe left town, leaving Ox behind. Three years later, the boy is back. Except now he’s a man – charming, handsome, but haunted – and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

The beloved fantasy romance sensation by New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune, about love, loyalty, betrayal, and family.

The Green Creek Series is for adult readers.

________________________________________________________________


Wolfsong languished on my Kindle for years before I finally read it. Big mistake. Because by page three I knew I had just been introduced to a special snowflake of a character (and I mean that in the very best way) that would be unforgettable.


Ox was only twelve when his father left, leaving him and his mother to fend for themselves. When he started working at the nearby garage, he found friendship among the other mechanics, and a steady and supportive figure in Gordo, the owner of the garage. But it wasn’t until he met the Bennett family that he found true acceptance and a feeling of belonging. Ox was sixteen when he met Joe Bennett on the dirt road that led to his small house. And that’s when everything changed.

 

“Mom! Mom. You have to smell him! It’s like… I don’t even know what it’s like! You gotta smell him and then tell me why it’s all candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome.” – Joe Bennett

 

As the years passed, Ox was drawn more and more into the lives of the Bennett family. Or rather, as he came to learn, the Bennett pack. Because his new-found friends could shift into wolves and their pack was strong, with deep ties to the town of Green Creek and the land around them. Despite their strength, the pack was devastated by loss when they were betrayed by a friend and former pack member. Then Joe was gone, overwhelmed with grief, but hell bent on vengeance. In Joe’s absence, Ox becomes more than he ever thought possible, his ties with the Bennett pack strengthened in ways that defy logic and reason. Joe returns to find much has changes, himself included. Ox and Joe must find their way back to one another – and face an enemy from the past that threatens them all.

 

“Am I part of your pack?”

He said, “What do you think pack means?”

“Family,” I said promptly.

Thomas smiled. “Yes, Ox. You are part of my pack.”

 

There wasn’t a single thing that I did not love about Wolfsong. I loved Ox, who was so precious and so pure, and made my heart hurt every time he was misunderstood and simply not seen. But he also filled my heart with joy for the sweet soul that he was. Then there was Joe, whose joyful exuberance as a child was tempered by loss, but his unwavering love for Ox never diminished. The Bennett family were so loving and devoted – Thomas and Elizabeth, Carter and Kelly, and Mark – and I wished I could be invited to Sunday dinner (“because it’s tradition”). There was Gordo and the guys at the garage – Rico and Chris and Tanner – who provided so much comic relief and had me giggling at their banter.

 

“I’m a witch,” he said.

And I said, “You’re a wizard, Harry,” because I thought there was a very real chance I was caught in a dream.

 

The relationships in Wolfsong captured my heart. The friendships, the family, the love… each felt so genuine and so multi-layered and complex. Klune has a gift at creating such special characters and weaving their bonds together to create a sense of family, whether that be biological or chosen. The entire book had a strong underlying theme of family and loyalty, and I loved the way Klune portrayed that in every interaction and conversation. Wolfsong was also a love story and oh what a love story! From the early bonds of friendship, to the slow awakening of more, to the pining – the evolution of Ox and Joe’s relationship had epic love story written all over it.

 

“I knew the day I met you that I would do anything for you. I would do anything to make you happy because no one had ever smelled like you did. It was candy canes and pinecones. It was epic and awesome. And it was home. You smelled like my home, Ox.”

 

Wolfsong was filled with heart aching sweetness, heartbreaking sadness, and laughter. With its truly unforgettable characters, Wolfsong delivered an extraordinary story that became an instant favorite. 5 stars

Art credit: unknown

Have you read Wolfsong?

Top Ten Tuesday: Hurry Up and Wait | Books I was Excited For, But Still Haven't Read

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Books I Was Excited For... But Still Haven't Read
 
When it comes to attributes from the Bookworm Hall of Shame, this is probably my #1 offense. I have a long history of eagerly awaiting a new release, getting excited for the day it goes live and then... nothing. Maybe I pre-ordered it, maybe I ran out on release day and bought a copy, or maybe I just got hyped up by the author's social media posts counting down the days, but chances are if you checked with me weeks (or months *cringe*) later, that book is still unread. 

As for the why: Partly it's the 'too many books too little time' thing. It's clichΓ© but it's true. And partly it's my own personal quirk of waiting to read books I am truly excited to read. The ones that I am sure I will love. Call it delayed gratification, or prolonging the anticipation, but I do it all the time.

So here are some of the books that I eagerly anticipated, but still have not read.😏


Have you read any of these books?

Short Take Reviews: Coach and Blitz by Devney Perry

 



Coach
by Devney Perry
Series: Treasure State Wildcats #1
Pub: 4/6/2023
4 stars

After a successful career as a professional football player, Ford is returning to his alma mater as a coach. Excited to settle into his new job and new home, along with his daughter Joey, Ford shows up on his first day shocked to find that Millie (the one that got away) also works in the athletic department. Best friends in college, Ford was ready to move things out of the friend zone with Millie when life dealt him a curveball that changed everything. Now, after ten years apart, Millie is suddenly back in his life.

I love a second chance romance and this one delivered. Ford and Millie had great chemistry and I enjoyed their journey as they made peace with the past and worked toward a future together. Millie understandably had some trust issues and wasn’t always the best communicator. Luckily, Ford excelled at being up front, stating how he felt, and what he wanted. Ford’s relationship with his daughter was a highlight and I loved his dedication to putting her first, even when it meant making concessions for Joey’s selfish, flighty mother. While no new ground was broken here, I enjoyed the low-stakes, low-drama romance with a couple that was easy to pull for.


Blitz
by Devney Perry
Series: Treasure State Wildcats #2
Pub: 3/7/2024
3 stars

Toren is immediately taken with Jennsyn the first night he lays eyes on her. They have a hot and heavy one night stand and, despite having her number, he doesn't call her in the ensuing weeks. (His reasoning: he was totally thrown by their connection and the insanely good sex. Um, okay?) Imagine his surprise when he learns she is a 21 year old college student. The problem with that is him being a 32 year old assistant football coach at said college. Oops. 

What follows is many chapters of Toren and Jennsyn being all emo and angsty while trying to keep their distance - but then caving and having more hot and heavy sex when she sneaks over to his house late every night. (Did I mention that college girl lives right next door to college coach?) Separately I really liked Toren and Jennsyn. He was a decent guy, still feeling the loss of both his parents and a beloved uncle, and he took an active role in the lives of his young cousins. I sympathized with Jennsyn's struggle to forge her own path and extricate herself from her mother's overbearing plans and demands. But as a couple I just wasn't feeling it. Out of the bedroom there was a severe lack of communication which meant their relationship felt very surface-level. I was told they had a great connection but there was nothing to back that up. For the first time, a Devney Perry romance missed the mark for me because where was the romance?


Have you read these books?

Top Ten Tuesday: Dear Author, I Need More

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Dear Author, I Need More...
Authors I Wish Could Write as Fast as I Read
 
We all have those favorite authors... the ones where we'll read whatever they write. But the problem is that, obviously, we read so much faster than they write. If it's a self-published author you can probably count on a book every few months, or least several times a year. But if it's a traditionally published author... well, sit back and get comfy because you'll likely get just one book a year (if that). That's a lot of waiting between books! 😩

Here's a list of the authors I wish could write new books as fast as I can read them.

  

Kristin Hannah - Waiting three years between books is a looong time.
Emily Rath - I have a few backlist books to read but I will quickly need more.
Kennedy Ryan - I inhale this queen's books, so a year or more in between feels like forever.

  

Jennifer Hartmann - Hartmann publishes one or two a year, but I could definitely read more.
Carian Cole - Cole's releases aren't really consistent so the wait can be long.
Lisa Jewell - A book a year just isn't enough when I want a mystery-thriller.



J. Bengtsson - I adore her family sagas and always want more.
Catherine Cowles - I feel bad for including Cowles because she actually does publish often, but I inhale each one right away and instantly want the next. 
Taylor Jenkins Reid - It's at least a year in between TJR's books and that's way too long for me to wait.
Colleen Hoover - Hoover's books seem fewer and farther between these days. I miss the time when she published more frequently.


Which author do you wish would publish more frequently?

The Sunday Post #363 | May 19, 2024

 

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news: a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books, 
and share what's coming up on your blog in the week ahead.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

Happy Sunday, friends. How was your week? Things were busy at the office on my end with meetings and deadlines and I was so ready to see the week come to an end on Friday afternoon. I came home, had a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner, and was in bed by 8:45 pm. lol I was wiped out. Of course that also meant that I was wide awake and ready to start my day at 4:30 Saturday morning. Ha!

Last Monday started out in the Mondayest of ways: I was walking into the garage to get into the car and head to the office and managed to break my toe. I shared some choice words, got in the car, and went on my merry way. When I got home that evening The Husband buddy-taped it for me and I've been hobbling around since then. Even though it's a lot less painful than it was, it looks horrible. Ugh.

The Husband was at the commissary (the grocery store on the Navy Base) on Thursday and they were doing some kind of customer appreciation event. He answered a trivia question correctly and won a bag of chocolates and a commissary gift card. Not a bad haul for a random grocery trip! πŸ˜€


This week's throwback song is Baker Street (1978) by Gerry Rafferty. It has a very late-70's soft rock vibe and is one of my favorites. Enjoy!

ON THE BLOG


Tuesday, May 14

Friday, May 17


WHAT I READ

   
   

Kindle: The Drawback of Single Dads by Piper Rayne - 4★
Audio: Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy - 5★
Kindle: Blitz by Devney Perry - 3-3.5★
Audio: This Could Be Us by Kennedy Ryan - 4.5★

CURRENTLY READING


Kindle: Ravensong (Green Creek #2) by TJ Klune

NEW ADDITIONS


Not a thing.


TOTALLY RANDOM




HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

Short Take Reviews: A Mystery, a Romance, and a Heartbreaker

 



No One Can Know
by Kate Alice Marshall
Pub: 1/23/2024
4.25 stars

When Emma’s husband loses his job, and she learns she is pregnant, she has no option other than return to her childhood home – the site of her parents’ grisly murder fourteen year ago. There Emma is confronted with her past: the cop who considered her the prime suspect, the locals who spread gossip and rumors, and her estranged sisters. As she beings to ask the questions she did not dare to ask all those years ago, she learns all what not as it seemed. And someone is willing to kill to keep their secrets.

With its slower pace and character-driven plot, No One Can Know is not what I would consider a typical mystery-thriller (not that I read an abundance of mystery-thrillers). Despite that, I was drawn into these strange characters and their even stranger circumstances from the very start. With past and present chapters from each of the three sisters, the truth of what happened the night of the murders slowly unravels. With plot twists, personal motivations, and an abundance of secrets, this one kept me guessing to the very end. An added bonus was Karissa Vacker’s narration which was top notch. 


The Drawback of Single Dads
by Piper Rayne
Series: Lake Starlight #4
Pub: 3/26/2024
4 stars

Palmer and Hudson were best friends who crossed the line one night. The result: their daughter Adley who they successfully co-parent. Palmer returned home to Lake Starlight, Alaska, knowing she would need the love and support of her family and Hudson followed her there. Now, living next door to one another, and raising three-year-old Adley together, their friendship has endured. Any feelings they had for one another were ignored for fear of upsetting the family dynamic they had created for their daughter. One of them just had to be brave enough to take the plunge and admit they wanted more.

Both Palmer and Hudson were likable characters and I loved how they were so dedicated to Adley. They started as friends and that bond remained, even when they both (privately) wished for more. I appreciated the representation of Palmer as a deaf heroine and that aspect was integrated smoothly and respectfully. As much as I enjoyed both main characters, I never truly felt their chemistry or was overly invested in their romance. Much of that is likely due to that fact that Hudson was involved in a relationship for much of the story, something I wasn’t a fan of. While this entry wasn’t my favorite of the series, there was still a lot to enjoy, and I always love returning to Lake Starlight.



Boone
by Sawyer Bennett
Series: Pittsburgh Titans #11
Pub: 1/16/2024
4.5 stars

As a professional hockey player, Boone is lauded for his skills on the ice, but it’s off the ice and behind the scenes where his light truly shines. Volunteering his time at a children’s hospital, Boone develops a special bond with Aiden, a 12-year-old boy battling cancer for the second time. When Boone meets Aiden’s older sister, Lilly, it’s obvious she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Trying to keep the family business afloat and overseeing Aiden’s care, while their father increasingly finds escape at the bottom of a bottle, leaves Lilly completely overwhelmed. Boone uses his contacts and resources to help this struggling family, while growing even closer to both Lilly and Aiden.

Saying this was an emotional read is an understatement. I adored these characters - so much. But there came a point when I was cursing Sawyer Bennett and vowing I would not continue the series. And yet… at the same time I loved these people, their kindness, their strength and resiliency, their innate goodness. Boone certainly fell into the too-good-to-be-true category, but I didn’t even care. He was humble and genuine and quick to act when he saw a need he could fill. His selflessness was staggering. And then there was Aiden, a kid who was dealing with more at the age of twelve than most do in a lifetime. His bravery and his humor made me want to jump into the pages and hug him fiercely. This book gutted me (and I still don’t forgive Sawyer Bennett) but I also won’t forget it.


Have you read any of these books?

Top Ten Tuesday: You Can Quote Me On That | Favorite Book Quotes

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


This Week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Book Quotes
 
I do a lot of highlighting/annotating when I read Kindle or physical books (a little trickier on audio), so it was easy to find a slew of quotes I have highlighted and saved for one reason or another. While I wouldn't necessarily call these "favorite" quotes, they each struck a chord with me at the time I read them.


Thank God for girlfriends. In this crazy, chaotic, divided world that was run by men, you could count on the women.

- The Women, Kristin Hannah






When women banded together, they could make empires tremble.

- The Lily of Ludgate Hill, Mimi Matthews






A best friend will accept you in all the ways that you are you. They don’t judge you. They expect nothing from you. They don’t care about your looks, how much money you have, or how popular you are. They will laugh with you and cry with you. They will eat all the ice cream with you. They will look you in the eye and tell you you’re an idiot when you’re being an idiot, and you will love them for it. Unconditionally, you will mirror their love and loyalty.

- The Lovely Return, Carian Cole



Sometimes the songs are meant to sing a pack member home. It’s easy to get lost because the world is a wide and scary place. And every now and then, you just have to be reminded of the way home.

- Wolfsong, TJ Klune





My loyalty is to the people who bring positivity into my life. My loyalty is to the people who want to build me up and see me happy. Those are the people I’m going to make decisions about my life for.

- It Starts With Us, Colleen Hoover





I think I’m most grateful for time, which doesn’t always heal all wounds, but teaches us how to be happy again even with our scars.

- Before I Let Go, Kennedy Ryan






You stand resolutely at my side, unmoving. Babe, you are love in suspended motion. The calm in the storm of our lives. You’re where everything stops. You’re where I stop. You are…everything.”

- Pucking Wild, Emily Rath





A body was just a body, just a vessel for her soul, and she was under no obligation to keep her body looking any certain way, no more than she was obliged to do anything just because it was customary, or traditional, or expected of women in America. She didn’t have to get married, she didn’t have to have kids, and she didn’t have to be thin.

- Mrs. Everything, Jennifer Weiner




One of the great injustices of this rigged world we live in is that women are considered to be depleting with age and men are somehow deepening.

- Carrie Soto is Back, Taylor Jenkins Reid






That’s what love is. It’s finding that perfectly imperfect person that complements your heart, that brightens your shadows, that sees your broken, mismatched parts and wants to spend the rest of their life piecing them into place. And even if those pieces never fully fit, they love you anyway. They love you more.

- The Stars Are On Our Side, Jennifer Hartmann



Have you read any of these books?