Authors you might have missed #1 – Robert J Crane

First off, to those who actually read my blog – apologies for the gap since my last post, I confess that I have been on my holidays with sporadic wifi… however,my Texan blogging sister Angie has made me feel bad, so i’m braving it!!!

Robert J Crane.  have you heard of him?  Well, up until a year or so ago, I hadnt.  That all changed when I bought my ereader and got the first book in his Girl in the Box series for free.  I have to say, I was instantly hooked.  The Girl in the Box series follows the story of Sienna Nealon, a 17 year old girl, struggling to deal with her relationship with her mother, and her mysterious powers.  Its a 10 book series (9 have been released) and I cannot wait for the final book in the series.  More twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing; and a heroine that you alternately want to slap or hug.  Seriously,the things that girl goes through!

BUT….. that’s not all! Do you prefer more of a sweeping LOTR/Game of Thrones type epic story with Elves and battles and dragons and…..Vaste? (read it, you’ll see why he gets his own mention)?  Then the Sanctuary Series may be more your speed.  Immerse yourself in Cyrus Davidon’s world, and get transported to a world where swords are sharp; death may or may not be the end of you, and quests are regular!

STILL not for you?  Prefer your stories to have a bit of demon action.  Then Southern Watch is for you.  Darker, and more adult than the other two, this series nevertheless incorporates Crane’s usual humour and well observed characters.  A word of warning however, the nervy or weak of stomach should be warned when it comes to Depths (Southern Watch #2).  Nevertheless, and despite the gross factor, I loved it!

Seriously, i’m sure that there’s something here for most people, though if you’re expecting Mills & Boon,this is definitely not for you. 

For me, one of the best things about Robert is that he interacts with his fans.  A lot.  Through that interaction, I have made a friend,  but that’s not why I’m recommending his books to you.  No, I’m recommending them because not one got lower than a 4* review from me (and you know how I feel about reviews!) and I think that good books deserve an audience.

Robert can be contacted via twitter (@RobertJCrane) or on his facebook page ( or on his fancy new website….

And the best thing is, you can get the first 3 books in the Girl in the Box Series for free on Amazon, as well as the first book in the Sanctuary series also for free.  Come on now…. I’ve led you to water….are you gonna take a free drink????

Review – Donners of the Dead – Karina Halle


The Blurb….

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.


The Review

Let me start off by saying that I am a massive fan of Halle’s other books, especially the Experiment in Terror series.  The woman can write a good horror story.  

Right, so now that’s out of the way, what about this book.  Well, it’s described as a horror romance novel, which is what she excels at.  The the issues raised in the pre-blurb explanation don’t detract from the story at all, and in my opinion, are necessary to add the element of realism to the situation Eve finds herself in, leaving aside the monsters, of course.

I don’t want to post any spoilers here.  However, I will say that Halle deftly builds the tension and the relationships and the story fairly scampers into the action, pulling the reader with it.  It was an enjoyable read.

BUT, in my opinion, this is not one of her best.  To me, the story feels a little restrained and under-explored.  Now that may be in part due to my lack of knowledge of the history of the Donner party, but it didn’t feel to me to be as well rounded or complete as the Experiment In Terror tales.  It felt…..muted, and if I’m honest, I was a little bit let down by the ending.  

What mark then, for my first book review on my blog.  I wanted to love this book, but I’m sorry to say that this one earns only a B- grade from me.


Book Reviews to follow…… no, really!!

For those of you who read my first blog, firstly, thanks!!  Secondly, you’ll know already that I don’t like posting reviews of 3* or less on sites where people might be buying the book from, e.g. Amazon. 

However, if I blog my reviews here, I’ll feel better about it if the review happens to be …. not so positive.  But, as I was lying awake at 4am this morning, as a fully paid up and card carrying member of the wide awake club, I realised that the 5* system doesn’t leave room for those books that just squeak into a category, or just fly under the radar of the next category up.  You know, not really very subtle.

So, with a nod to all those teachers out there, I’m going to award reviews in the same way as my work used to be marked at school.  You know what I mean, right?  A+; B; C-; that kind of thing.  I plan to use A-E with an F if it’s a totally pants book (in my opinion) and to be avoided! I hope I don’t read any of those!

I’m glad we got that sorted out.  My first review will follow shortly.  Watch this space! (But don’t hold your breath, cos you might pass out – I don’t want to be responsible for that!!) 

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