Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog Tour: Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle - Review and Giveaway!!

Today on my blog, I am so excited to be a part of the Donners of the Dead Blog Tour!! The lovely Xpresso Book Tours organized this event and if you would like to see the full schedule, just click on the banner above. I have my review for you and the tour giveaway. Guys! This book rocked so if it's your type of read you should definitely pick it up!

  • Publisher: Self Published
  • Publish Date: February 24th, 2014
  • Source: eARC provided by the tour host for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N (at the time the B&N link is not working, but I will update as soon as it is)

***A Standalone Horror Romance coming February 2014***

A note about this book: Donners of the Dead is set in 1851 – couples were often thrust into marriage together with short courtships, racism was widespread and not overly frowned upon, and women had little to no rights. What wouldn't fly in today's day and age was unfortunately the norm back then - it is worth keeping that in mind when reading this book.

Jake McGraw was unlike anyone I’d ever known. He was brash, rude, unapologetic and arrogant; chauvinistic, close-minded, and terribly stubborn. He was built like a tree, tall with a hard chest and wide shoulders and hands that looked like they could wrestle a bear. He was a cigar-chomping, scruffy-faced, beast of a man. I was pretty sure I hated him. And I know he hated me. But among the flesh-eating monsters in these snow-capped mountains, he was the only thing keeping me alive

The year is 1851 and pioneers in search of California gold are still afraid to travel on the same route as the tragic Donner party did years before. When the last wagon train to go into the Sierra Nevada mountains fails to arrive at their destination, Eve Smith, an 18-year old half-native girl with immense tracking skills is brought along with the search party, headed by an enigmatic former Texas Ranger, Jake McGraw.

What they find deep in the dangerous snow-covered terrain is a terrifying consequence of cannibalism, giving new meaning to the term “monster.” While the search party is slowly picked off, one by one, Eve must learn to trust Jake, who harbors more than a few secrets of his own, in order to survive and prevent the monstrosities from reaching civilization.

***This is NOT New Adult***

My Thoughts

This book rocked!! I loved the creepiness, the goriness, and the romance. It was a fantastic, edge of your seat story. It had me so tense wondering if they would survive and what the future would hold. It was one of those books that once you start, you just don't want to put it down. It's not for the faint of heart. It is full of death and doom. Yes, there is a romance, but that is like the bright light at the end of the tunnel. With so much horror and suffering it's just one little part of the overall story.

Eve is a half-native girl, and back in that time they were not thought highly of. She does have the special ability to be good at tracking, which is of use to the men who come searching for her for that very reason. She is smart, strong, and also very innocent. She lost her father and her mother isn't in good shape. Her Uncle who is taking care of her isn't a nice guy at all. She is lonely with the exception of her one friend Avery. She sets out with the search party in hopes to find the what they are looking for and when terror strikes, she really holds up pretty well considering. She watches in horror as people are after the wanting to consume their flesh. She tries to fight to be seen as a strong person rather than a useless woman, as well as one of the "savages" as they think of Native Americans. As she fights for her life and tries to understand what is going on she becomes a much stronger person and also refuses to give up. I loved her character and I thought that she was so believable.

Jake is one of the men from the search party. He is more than rough around the edges. He is every bit the manly man, and treats Eve like a dirty savage from the start. Even though he has an instant dislike for her because of what she is, he still is protective of her and slowly opens up to her. He has some secrets that hold him back, but he realizes that she is not like the natives he had encountered in his past, and that not all of them should be seen as bad. He is stubborn and rude, but he is also sweet and caring once his outer layers are broken down. He was so complex and I loved the development and unraveling of him that we got to see in this book.

There is romance, but it doesn't take over the story. It weaves in perfectly and it makes the story better. It makes the intensity and the urgency of things hit so much more than if it hadn't been there. It is a bit of a quick romance, but given the circumstances, it makes sense. I never felt like it was rushed even though things progressed quickly, if that makes any sense. It was a natural thing to me. I can't imagine being followed by cannibals and fighting for my life, but I imagine if I had someone there who was like him, I might fall quickly too. 

This moved at a good pace. It wasn't fast paced, but it never dragged on either. Everything that they went though and all the lulls were there for a reason. I didn't feel like this had any wasted space or filler material. I loved how it made me want to read to the very end almost from the start. It was quite a chilling story and gave me the goosebumps more than a few times. It has some pretty disturbing parts as you can guess since it is about cannibals. I am always up for a good horror book and this was just what I needed. This author is fabulous with the creep factor, but keeps the believability there too. This was excellent. It's also a standalone, so it's not another series to invest in. I highly recommend this for fans of this genre!!

*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the author/tour host in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.

The daughter of a Norwegian Viking and a Finnish Moomin, Karina Halle grew up in Vancouver, Canada with trolls and eternal darkness on the brain. This soon turned into a love of all things that go bump in the night and a rather sadistic appreciation for freaking people out. Like many of the flawed characters she writes, Karina never knew where to find herself and has dabbled in acting, make-up artistry, film production, screenwriting, photography, travel writing and music journalism. She eventually found herself in the pages of the very novels she wrote (if only she had looked there to begin with).

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup.

Author Links:

Tour Giveaway

Signed paperbacks of Donners of the Dead, The Devil's Metal and The Devil's Reprise plus a tote bag AND a one-page handwritten story about the winner in a fight with a zombie!
Open to US and CAN

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours


  1. WOOT! So excited that you liked this one because we love the same kind of horror books so I know I'll enjoy this one, too! And you know me and zombie books! I love that the romance fits in perfectly, too, it was one thing I was wondering how it would blend in - horror and romance is not always the best combination. Great review, hun!

  2. I'm not really a horror book person but I'm very curious about horror romance? How does that work? Hmmmm Thanks for the review.

  3. Yay, I'm glad that the romance in this book never managed to completely overpower the storyline, and that the pacing was well-done. I feel like it's so hard to perfectly balance all the elements of a story in a book correctly without the book feeling too slow at times. I really love the sound of Eve, empowered protagonists are some of my faves! Fantastic review, Amy! <33

  4. This one sounds pretty cool! I like the historical aspect and also the inclusion of Native culture. I know some of my ancestors were is a similar spot of being half-native and they lied about their heritage to avoid prejudice. Crazy times.


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