The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey

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Title: The Curse of Crow Hollow
Author: Billy Coffey
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 414 pages
Publication Details: August 4th 2015 by Thomas Nelson
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse.

Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.

Review

I finished this book last week and I’m still not quite sure what I think about it. What I am sure about though, is that Billy Coffey is a talented writer.

Crow Hollow is a small southern town with a secretive, tumultuous past. When a group of teenagers celebrate a birthday in the mountain’s mines, they disturb the equilibrium between the town and the resident weirdo, old Alvaretta Graves.

The younger generation in Crow Hollow grew up swapping fanciful stories about Alvaretta ‘the witch’, but most of them think it’s just small-town superstition… little do they know that their parents know a lot more about the mysterious Alvaretta than they could ever imagine.

I can’t even go into what I liked and disliked about this book without first saying just how much Coffey’s style reminded me of Stephen King. It was uncanny, and actually really distracting because that’s all I could think about the whole way through!

The Curse of Crow Hollow is narrated by a local who is introducing an out-of-towner to Crow Hollow and the events that recently occurred – it was very Needful Things, but worked well.

I loved how a very simple plot of ‘teens partying goes wrong’ becomes something much more complex. There’s superstition, politics, secrets and confessions, and Coffey brings it all together with some great scary moments and well executed spooky atmosphere throughout.

I also really liked the mystery surrounding the parents and what they ‘did’ to Alvaretta in the past. It was interesting to see their reactions when you find out that their children are basically being punished (in some pretty horrible ways) for something they did – it reminded me of A Nightmare on Elm Street a little bit.

The other King-esque trait was the abundance of characters, but unfortunately this is what let it down for me. I didn’t feel the vast amount of characters were developed enough, and I never really cared about any of them individually, which considering what happens to them, is pretty bad, and my interest really waned because of that.

Despite not loving the characterisation (or the whole Christianity thang going on), I really enjoyed Coffey’s style. It made for a really intriguing, atmospheric read, and I’d certainly like to see more from him.

unicorn rating 3

Virtual Book Tour (& Review): Invoking Nonna by Sage Adderley

I’m delighted to host one of the first stops on Sage’s tour for her brilliant YA book Invoking Nonna!

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Title: Invoking Nonna
Author: Sage Adderley
Series: Triple Goddess Series (Book 1)
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Paperback: 186 pages
Publisher: Sweet Candy Press; 1ST edition (December 20, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0989709825
ISBN-13: 978-0989709828

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Maggie Sloan is a free-spirited teenager growing up in rural Georgia. Unlike her peers, Maggie is a witch and so is her mother. In addition to normal teenager rites of passage, she must learn about her family lineage and witchcraft. Her mother, Laura, keeps a tight lid on their family secrets – like the mysterious life and death of her grandmother who passed away before Maggie was born.

Practicing the craft will test solid friendships and introduce Maggie to new realms. While seeking the truth about herself and her family, Maggie is faced with danger from churchgoing classmates who will stop at nothing to make sure she is found out. Laura and Maggie strengthen their bond through witchcraft and work together to overcome their enemies. Are their magical gifts enough to keep them safe?

Book Trailer:

 

My Review:

It’s been a while since I’ve read a good ‘Witch’ book and Invoking Nonna didn’t disappoint. I was seriously hooked from the beginning as protagonist Maggie starts to tell us about how she discovered witchcraft via her secretive mum, Laura.

It’s clear from the off that the star of this show is going to be Adderley’s characterisation skills. Take maggie’s frenemy, Gillian for example:

She had thin brown hair that hung around her face. Sadly, she battled with acne and would try to cover the many bumps on her face with make-up, way too much make-up. Every time I got near her mug, I would envision someone scraping off a layer or two of her foundation with their fingernail,’

…Eugh, we all knew a Gillian in high school, right?

I was a little worried when I realised that Invoking Nonna had two of my book turn-offs – multiple narrative, and a jumping timeline, but it actually really worked. I liked that we learned about Maggie’s family in the past, it created an even richer foundation for her.

I found this book so easy to read, the pages just flew by. In essence, it’s part family saga, high school drama, and a great coming of age tale.

And how refreshing to have a YA book which actually centers around a girl’s relationship with her mother, and how the unlikeliest of things can bring them together.

unicorn rating 4

Meet the Author:

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Sage Adderley is a single (and very busy) mom of three humans and one cat. She is passionate about kindness, coffee, mental health, fat activism, and the DIY lifestyle. Sage is the owner of Sweet Candy Distro & Press, Sage’s Blog Tours, and writes the zines Tattooed Memoirs and Marked For Life. She is also the creator of FAT-TASTIC! Sage currently resides in the magical land of Olympia, Wa.

You can stalk Sage here:
Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

Buy Invoking Nonna:
From Amazon
From Etsy (print & digital available)

A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy #1) by Alyxandra Harvey

18633458In 1814, three cousins-Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope-discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft. Beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring new underworld visible only to those with power is now open to the cousins.
But unbeknownst to them, by claiming their power, the three cousins have inadvertently opened the gates to the Underworld.
Now the dead, ghouls, hellhounds-and the most terrifying of all: the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters-are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers.
And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.
Can the cousins unravel the clues and mystery behind their heritage and power before their gifts are stripped away …or even worse, another witch is killed?

I really wanted to love this. I’d heard good things about Harvey even though I never got round to her other series, The Drake Chronicles. The cover drew me to it (so pretty) and I loved the synopsis, but unfortunately I just couldn’t get into it.

That being said, I’m not entirely sure if the book is to blame or if it was a timing issue. I was so busy I was trying to snatch 15 minutes here and there to get through it but every time I picked it up my heart wasn’t in it and I found it hard to follow, which probably wouldn’t have been an issue if I had time to sit down and read it for longer periods of time.

The book started promising enough. It was action-packed from the off and I really loved the humorous tone of the narration.

In a nutshell, A Breath of Frost is about three cousins who discover they are witches, just at the same time that they have more important things to worry about such as debutante balls and finding husbands. When their powers are awakened, an ancient evil known as the Greymalkin is too and we follow the cousins through the discovery of their ancestry, their powers and responsibility, and generally just trying to stay alive. Oh and throw in a bit of Romance too, of course. (I liked Cormac a lot!)

Breaking into a dead woman’s house was easy work since she rarely complained. Breaking into a dead witch’s house was a different matter entriely.

We come across vampire pigeons, goblin markets, LADIES WITH UNICORNS…As I’m writing this really starting to wonder how I didn’t ADORE this book. I even found the writing beautiful and inventive at times:

“The others looked at her as if she were made of spiders and thorns”

A girl meandered out of the shrubbery, her long, pale hair, falling like shining swan feathers to her waist. She was all moon-beams and mist, delicate pearls and orchids, apart from the wickedly jagged knife at her belt.”

So why did I find it so hard to read? Answers on a postcard please.

I found a lot of similarities to The Worst Witch too, (with Daphne being the mean one but most talented, and Emma being rubbish and getting up to all kinds of things) albeit a more grown up, Regency Era Worst Witch.

What’s not to like? I might have to give it another go at some point!

unicorn rating 3

Disclosure?: Yep, I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review.
Title: A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy #1)
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Details: Paperback, 496 pages
Publication Date: January 2nd 2014 by Bloomsbury Children’s
My Rating: 3/5
If you like this try: Nightworld by L.J Smith

Bloody Good Fun (pun intended): The Eye of the Moon (Bourbon Kid #2) by Anonymous – A Mini-Review.

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Following a massive rampage that left the streets of Santa Mondega soaked with blood, the elusive supernatural serial killer known only as the Bourbon Kid is now himself being haunted. Hot on his heels are several vampire gangs, the Secret Service, a couple of werewolves, corrupt cops, and the Dark Lord himself, and none will rest until he is dead. But the Kid has a vengeance of his own to wreak, and young lovers Dante and Kacy, hapless bartender Sanchez, Peto the Hubal monk, and the mysterious Jessica will each be drawn into the escalating vortex of violence.

Let me start by saying that this book is not for everyone.

  • If gory, mindless violence offends you, you shouldn’t read this book.
  • If colourful, constant swearing offends you, you shouldn’t read this book.
  • If laughing at religion and sexism offends you, you shouldn’t read this book.

And most importantly, if you only like your vampires to be the sparkly kind, you really shouldn’t read this book.

However….

If the idea of Elvis as a Hitman, a vampire clan of corrupt cops called the Filthy Pigs, a useless rap-star werewolf and a cowardly bartender who serves his own piss instead of whisky sounds like your idea of a party, then you are going to LOVE this series.

If you’ve seen any of the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse films or trailers, imagine the most ridiculous and gory one, convert it to a novel and BAM – there it is. If you have no idea what I’m referring to then this quote from the back of the book also sums it up pretty well:

Possibly drug-induced lunacy of a book – 4 stars” [Zoo Magazine]

With all of these ridiculous, mainly evil characters trying to get their hands on the Eye of the Moon and avoid The Bourbon Kid at all costs, this sequel to The Book With No Name is a fast-paced blackest-of-black comedy that is a whole lot of fun. I felt that the plot wasn’t quite as strong as the first book but I enjoyed finding out more about The Bourbon Kid and where he came from and I hope I can get my hands on the next one in series soon.

Details: Paperback, 384 pages. Published April 1st 2009 by Michael O’Mara (first published 2008)
Unicorn Rating: 4/5
Is it a keeper? Yes!
Start With: The Book With No Name.