The Curse of Crow Hollow | A Review

The Curse of Crow Hollow

By Billy Coffey

Published in 2015

Thomas Nelson Publishing

Summary:

With the “profound sense of Southern spirituality” he is known for (Publishers Weekly), Billy Coffey draws us into a town where good and evil—and myth and reality—intertwine in unexpected ways.

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.

“Coffey spins a wicked tale . . . [The Curse of Crow Hollow] blends folklore, superstition, and subconscious dread in the vein of Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery.’”

—Kirkus Reviews

 

Review:

I picked this up on Christmas Day, when I was in the mood for a thriller that would sweep me through the story and send tingles up and down my spine. Unfortunately, this was not that type of book. The narrator’s voice was confusing and wandered back and forth in time on a few occasions. The story meandered and took until 3/4 of the way through to really pick up and get exciting. I did, however, enjoy the look at small town beliefs and the type of people who inhabit such places and beliefs.

While the story is slow and slightly confusing at times, I did enjoy the journey and give this an overall rating of 3.25 dragons. If you like books dealing with secrets, lies, and demons…this is something you might want to pick  up!

Besties: Leah Reena Goren

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Ladies, have you ever wanted to try to explain your relationship with that Best Friend you’ve had forever? Well this adorable, bright, and fun picture book does it for you! Or, at least, for me. While I have more than one bestie, and some of them weren’t around for the elementary school snack time, there is a page in this book for every one of them (well…except for my brother. But who needs to count him anyway?)

There are so many important and special things in our relationships with our BFFLs (Best Friends for Life) and this book portrays those for us beautifully. If you’re looking for a heartfelt and quirky gift to hand over to your own BFF, look no further!

 

*I was sent this book free in exchange for an honest review, the opinions stated within this blog are my own*

Color Your own Tattoo…

Megan Massacre, a tattoo artist and reality tv star, designs and creates gorgeous artwork for her customer’s bodies. Marketing those skills outside of television and tattooing, Ms. Massacre has created a coloring book of her designs entitle Marked in Ink and published by Crown Publishing. Guys…this book is gorgeous! Even if you never ever plan on getting a tattoo, this book is a beautiful and well made testament to art of many kinds.

The paper is heavy duty, the pages are printed on one side for easy display, and the artwork is amazing. I high suggest you go and check this out. 618ksslhCaL._SX372_BO1,204,203,200_

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review | Shylock is My Name

I was supremely disappointed by this book. I couldn’t get into most of the storyline because it was two middle aged Jewish men spouting cranky rhetoric…which I knew would happen to an extent because it is a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. But the way this is written was too much for me and I have DNFed this book after the first 100 pages.

For a full(er) review see:

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall

By: Mary Downing Hahn

  • Age Range:10 – 12 years
  • Grade Level:5 – 7
  • Paperback:160 pages
  • Publisher:HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 6, 2011)

 
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Amazon Book Summary:

When twelve-year-old Florence boards the crowded horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life with her great uncle and aunt at Crutchfield Hall, an old manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, she thinks, than the grim London orphanage where she has lived since her parents’ death.
But Florence doesn’t expect the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who haunts the cavernous rooms and dimly lit hallways of Crutchfield and concocts a plan to use Florence to help her achieve her murderous goals. Will Florence be able to convince the others in the household of the imminent danger and stop Sophia before it’s too late?

Character Believability:

The characters in this book are for the most part, fiercely one dimensional. While some of their traits come across smoothly and with incredible believability, the flat stubbornness of the characters brought the believability down to a 3 out of 5 for me.

Flow and Pace:

The flow was choppy in several places, but the pace was well set. While it could have been smoothed out a little more, I felt this book had a good set up and movement for its intended middle grade audience. I gave this category a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Reader Engagement:

The storyline and plot twists kept me engaged, despite the predictable events and flat character personas.

I enjoyed the glimmers of a great story that shone through and even had a couple of moments in which my spine was tingled. I gave this category a 4 out of 5 possible stars.

Reader Enrichment:

I walked away without feeling enriched at all. I honestly have nothing that I felt boosted my mind in any way and give this category 2 out of the possible 5 stars.

Reader Enjoyment:

This was a quick, decent, and fairly enjoyment read for me. I believe that the intended audience of middle grade students will have a great enjoyment in this book. I am giving this category 3.5 out of possible 5 stars.

Back Copy:

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The back cover copy, which is almost identical to the summary listed above, feels choppy and not very intriguing. 3 out of 5 stars for the Back Copy.

Front Cover:

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The picture on the front cover works well. It goes with the story, is intriguing and a little creepy, and would work even better as the first thing to pull in a reader if there wasn’t a large red splotch over the female character’s head. I understand that this story is about a ghost and the way she died would lend itself to this macabre addition to the image. However, the red blot actually takes away from the creep factor of the book. 3 out of 5 stars for this image as well.

Overall Rating: 3.14 Stars.

Fallen in Review

Fallen

By: Lauren Kate

Published By: Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books,

a Division of Random House, Inc., New York.

Copyright 2009

Age level: Young Adult/Teen (Reviewer suggests upper teen – 14-18)

About the Author: Lauren Kate grew up in Dallas, went to school in Atlanta, and started writing in New York. She is the internationally number one bestselling author of Teardrop, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove, and the Fallen novels: Fallen, Torment, Passion, Fallen in Love, and Rapture. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages. She lives in Los Angeles.

Fallen Back Cover Synopsis: There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. 

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at Sword & Cross boarding school in Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are screwups, and security cameras watch every move.

Except Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Danial is so desperate to keep secret…even if it kills her.

Review:

Luce Price begins her journey as the victim of a mysterious fire that took the hair from her head and the life of her crush. Blaming the dark shadows that have been following her for her entire life, Luce is deemed an issue, a mental case, when she tries to tell her parents and the investigators what happened and so, this story follows her journey at a new boarding school Sword & Cross. Cell phones are not allowed, the school uniform is basically anything black, and the two hottest boys in school instantly take notice of the new scared girl. 

This book seems to promise readers a dark, gothic romance with supernatural elements and twists. Unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed. I do enjoy Lauren Kate’s voice and style of writing; however, this book did not showcase those in a manner I felt was well done or deserving of her talent.

While the few pieces of male perspective show their emotions quite well, the fast pace of Luce’s emotions and obsessions feels both forced and flat. Her new friends don’t seem to help much and the immediacy of those friendships also feels a bit forced.

The description of Sword & Cross Boarding School is interesting and drew me in with the peculiarity of her chosen arena. A cemetery as a picnic date backdrop, a hidden lake for a huge fight, and an old church building as the gymnasium add to the mysterious air of the story. However, the characters themselves seem to not be as developed as they should be and, quite frankly, the story feels as though it got 3/4 of the way through and then jumped ahead of itself. I preferred the last bit to be honest with you.

To be fair, these opinions are all my own and you may love this book. In fact, i would recommend the story to people who enjoy fallen angel tales. Especially those who love slowly paced plot lines that contain forced, holey, and underdeveloped characters and story lines.

While I give the front cover a 5 of 5 dragons, and the back cover/synopsis a 4 of 5 dragons, I am giving the pages between a soft 3 out of possible 5 dragons. I did enjoy several small parts of this book. However, the overall effect left much to be desired for me. If I stumble upon a library sale of the second book, I might pick it up and give it a go. I can only hope that the further the books progress, the more in depth the characters will become. However, that is about the only way I can see myself picking up the rest of this series.

You can find Fallen and the rest of Lauren Kate’s books on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and bookstores.

Lauren Kate herself can be found on Twitter and her website: http://www.laurenkatebooks.net

The Status of All Things – Review

The Status of All Things

By: Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Published by Washington Square Press

An imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Copyright, 2015

The uprising of social media has been much debated topic in recent years. Everyone from C.E.O’s all the way down to 8 year olds have their own pages and routinely update the world on what they’ve been up to…including exactly what they might be eating at any given time. But have you ever wondered if the updates you get via these outlets are true to life? In The Status of All Things friends and co-authors Fenton and Steinke explore the idea that sometimes statuses aren’t all you think they are. Using their unique take on friendships (the have been best friends for over a quarter of a century now!) and their quick humor, Liz and LIsa have created an alternate reality that will make you wish your social media worked the same way.

If you could literally rewrite your fate – would you?

From the back cover – Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiance, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner – to be with Kate’s close friend and co-worker, no less – she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something has changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history…

—–

Kate’s two best friends try to help guide and grieve with her, but she is stubborn and certain of her path. The story is full of relatable, real-life drama, best friends, what-ifs, whimsical twists, and a touch of crazy that hit me right in my funny bone. I enjoy the main character of Kate (and saw a bit too much of myself in her as well!) and her two best friends, Jules and Liam, are everything my friends are to me. I feel as though I know them all well.

While I don’t typically enjoy romances, this book provided just enough to be saucy and not pushy, while giving us humor, whit, sadness, and all sorts of other hard to explain emotions.

I give the cover a 5 of 5 dragons, the back synopsis a 4.5 of 5 dragons, and the overall story a 4.5 out of 5 dragons. This is a great read for anyone who has ever wondered about statuses and what-ifs in their own lives!

For more about The Status of All Things visit the Goodreads page: here

You can find Liz and Lisa on Facebook, Twitter, and their own website.

A Closer Look – FREE Book

Are you interested in learning more about the Bible? Do you enjoy hair splitting ideas and passages? Are you, in any way, striving to be more scholarly? More Spiritual? Better read? Then today is your lucky day, my friend!

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Dr. Tyree’s newest spiritual offering, a study on the Biblical book of James, is currently racing off the virtual shelves at the low low cost of…FREE. From now until Friday, October 9th (2015) you can download your own free e-copy of this new, in depth look at the Letter of James, the brother of Jesus, to the Jewish Christians he cared for.

This book is described as a discussion of James’ words and his call to both the ancient and modern Christian.

As Dr. Tyree says: Jacob Bar Joseph, known to the modern reader as James, the Lord’s brother, was an amazing leader and catalyst in the earliest days of the christian church at Jerusalem. Standing beside men like Peter and James and John Zebedee, he became one of the most influential figures in the growing movement. His letter to Jewish Christians -scattered by persecution and separated by countless miles – shows a man of dedication and strength. His words ring true across the ages and cultural divides and call the modern believer to faithfulness and action.

What are you waiting for? Go download your free copy today…I know he’s looking forward to your comments, questions, and debates!

Pre-Orders are OPEN!

Ladies and Gentlemen…the time has come! Little Monster is currently available for pre-order and goes LIVE on October the 5th.

Now, I know that I told you pre-orders would be available on September 20th, and I’m sorry for the delay, but there was a family emergency that involved going to my other hometown, which I haven’t visited in several years for many not-good-anymore reasons, and being without internet for 5 days. HOWEVER, he is here now!

I hope that you enjoy this simple story with gorgeous artwork. This was truly a labor of love.

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The Passing of the Sabbath

Are you a person who enjoys learning? Do you like Biblical subjects? Are you always on the alert for free books? Then have I got a deal for YOU!

Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree, Biblical scholar, Minister, and Professor of Biblical Studies, is hosting a free e-book giveaway of The Passing of the Sabbath through Wednesday of this week.

This book is a brief history of the observance of Sabbath and quite the interesting read.