“The Curse of Crow Hollow” Billy Coffey

Rated 3 stars *** 2015. Thomas Nelson. 406 pp. (Includes “Discussion Questions.”)

TheCurseOfCrowHollowSomething strange is going on in Crow Hollow. People say a witch on the mountain cursed the town many years ago, so have stayed away from her mountain out of fear. The day Cordelia and her friends decided to trespass on the witch’s mountain was the day something caused the girls in town to be stricken with a mysterious illness. As town residents try to find out why the witch has stricken them and how to rid themselves of her reach, they end up turning against each other in ways no one had ever thought could be possible.

A mysterious narrator takes readers through chaos of their own making in a supposedly religious town. Once actually face-to-face with the “evil” they heard about every Sunday morning from their Reverend, they forget what they’ve been taught. Casting suspicious eyes outward rather than inward serves only to fuel the fires of distrust. While echoing some events from the Salem Witch Trials, “The Curse of Crow Hollow” works to show readers what can happen when religion combines with hysteria rather than common sense.

Recommended for Adult readers.

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“The Girl” Madhuri Blaylock

Rated 4 stars **** ebook. (Also available in paperback). 2014. The Sanctum, book #1. Lucy Publishing (Amazon Digital Services.)

TheGirlDev is half demon and half angel, and has been living in India while training to be a warrior. For years her parents have been in hiding from The Sanctum, a group of families called The Circle of Ten, who believe Dev will destroy their way of life. They have ordered Dev be killed on sight and, when they succeed in killing her family, Dev vows revenge on all Sanctum.

The Clayworth family is in charge of The Sanctum’s New York Academy where Wyatt, his sister Jools and his best friend Ryker learned their warrior skills. Wyatt and Ryker hold opposing views of the role The Sanctum plays in their lives. The gods created The Sanctum to protect humans and magicals (trolls, vampires, fairies, etc.), yet their original purpose is long gone because of one founding family’s lust for greed and power. Despite Wyatt’s and Ryker’s differences of opinion in what The Sanctum means to each other and to society, they are inseparable in their love and friendship for each other.

When Wyatt stumbles upon Dev after she escaped The Sanctum’s attack, their lives are forever changed. Little do they know the love they feel for each other, and the invisible bond that ties them together, will lead them onto paths neither had ever expected to travel. It is only a matter of time until they change the lives of all they hold dear.

I received this book to review from the Diverse Book Tours blog, and was a little leery since it was self-published. Readers of my blog know how squeamish I get around self-published books. However I am happy to report there were relatively few grammatical errors and, despite having many similarities to Cassandra Clare’s “Infernal Devices” series, the storyline was very interesting. I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next to Dev and Wyatt, as their star crossed lives seemed destined for heartache from the beginning.

In addition “The Girl” developed strong female characters through the persons of Dev, Jools and the vampire Darby showing them as well trained fighters who remained one hundred percent female and were not dependent on a man to complete their lives.

I was not happy with the title of the book, as Dev is not a girl. She is a strong, independent woman and I wanted a title which reflected that image. I also didn’t like the cover, as I would have preferred to see a photo of Dev, Jools and Darby in action ready to show readers all that a woman can be. I look forward to reading part 2 of the series “The Boy.” 

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

“Unmarked” Kami Garcia

Rated 5 stars ***** ebook. ARC. Published September 30, 2014. The Legion, Book #2. Little Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group.)

UnmarkedAfter recovering from injuries sustained in “Unbreakable,” Kennedy has been sent to live in a boarding school but can’t stop thinking about Jared and wondering who is the fifth member of the Legion. Nightmares keep her awake at night while Andras, the demon she loosed upon the world, is trying to get to her through them. Rescued from the school by Jared, Priest, Lukas, Alara and her best friend Elle they begin scrambling to find her missing Aunt who may hold the key to containing Andras.

Murder of innocent people and chaos seems to have become the new world order with Andras leading the way. Before they know it, Kennedy’s aunt has been murdered and Andras is hot on their trail. Rescued by members of the Illuminati, they are unsure if they should believe what they have to say but are united in their attempts to rid the world of Andras.

Unfortunately Andras has no desire to leave, and will soon set into play a chain of events which will leave Kennedy’s heart broken. It is only a matter of time before the life she had known after meeting Jared will be forever changed.

The second book in the Legion series is just as exciting as part one. I was unable to put it down, continually turning pages to see what would happen next to Kennedy, Jared and the rest of the group. The cliffhanger ending made me chomp at the bit to read part 3 but, as of this writing, no one seems to know when it will be released. ARGH!

Recommended for readers aged 14 and older.

“Unbreakable” Kami Garcia

Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. ebook. 2013. The Legion, book #1. Little, Brown and Company (Hatchette Book Group).

KennUnbreakableedy had a normal life, until the night she returned home and found her murdered mother’s body. Since her father left when she was a little girl, Kennedy was alone in the world except for an aunt she’d never known. On the eve of departing for boarding school her world is, again, turned upside down when a strange, malevolent spirit tries to kill her.

Twins Lukas and Jared Lockhart come to her rescue tasked with killing the demon Andras, accidentally set free by their ancestors. With nowhere to turn Kennedy joins Lukas and Jared, along with their friends Priest and Alara to find this demon. They tell her Andras has been sending avenging spirits to attack living members of the legion, and has already killed all of their parents and guardians – including her mother.

Unable to believe she is really a member of the legion, Kennedy tags along with the group as they seek to recover parts of an ancient cylinder which, when put together, will cause Andras to lose his power. As the two boys vie for her attention, Kennedy’s confusion over what is real and not real in the spirit world war with her feelings for them. As they get closer to solving the cylinder’s mystery, avenging spirits become more determined to intervene. The cliffhanger ending will leave readers clamoring for the next book in the series “Unmarked.”

After the success of “The Caster Chronicles” series written with Margaret Stohl, Garcia decided to experiment as a solo author with “Unbreakable.” I can honestly say her experiment was a success, and look forward to reading the rest of her books.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

“Clockwork Princess” Cassandra Clare

Rated 5 stars ***** 2013. The Infernal Devices, book #3. Margaret K. McElderry Books.

ClockworkPrincessIt is with mixed feelings I write about the last book in “The Infernal Devices” series. I deliberately set out to reread the series after rereading “The Mortal Instruments.” In the latter I was severely disappointed, but with the former hope has sprung anew that Clare can write a great series without dragging it on ad nauseam as she did with “The Mortal Instruments.” Without spoiling the plot revealed in “Clockwork Princess,” I would like to advise readers to have a box of tissues ready while reading, as they’ll be needed. Now, on with my review.

Tessa is preparing to marry Jem, leaving Will’s heart broken into a million pieces, while Mortmain continues his bloodthirsty path of vengeance against all Shadowhunters.

The Consul is not happy with Charlotte, and has enlisted the help of spies to rid her as Head of the London Institute. Despite the clues she finds pointing to Mortmain’s whereabouts, he refuses to send her aid leaving them all at Mortmain’s mercy.

Meanwhile Mortmain has bought up the entire supply of yin fen needed to keep Jem alive, leaving him to die, and kidnapping Tessa. She holds the key to his plans, and he will stop at nothing to get it from her.

As Jem lies dying his final wish is for Will to find Tessa, so Will rushes off to Wales to rescue her. Despite knowing all this, the Consul will not be moved leaving Charlotte to make a decision that may cause all the Shadowhunters left in her care to die.

Clare leads her readers on another wild adventure through the streets of London and Wales as the Shadowhunters seek Mortmain and his army of evil automatons. Betrayal, tears, loss, sadness and death along with laughter, love and happiness are all bound into the pages of this final book of the series as it reaches its satisfying conclusion.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

“Clockwork Prince” Cassandra Clare

Rated 4 stars **** 2011. The Infernal Devices, book #2. Margaret K. McElderry Books.

ClockworkPrinceThe Clave is not happy with Charlotte. With a challenge lodged against her leadership, she has two weeks to find Mortmain or will lose the Institute.

Thus begins a desperate search for the man who wants all Shadowhunters dead and Tessa for his bride. As clues about his whereabouts begin to appear, Charlotte, Jem, Tessa and Will encounter roadblock after roadblock. Unbeknownst to them a spy has revealed their plans, the Magister has been alerted to their search, and they have reached a dead end with time running out.

While trying to figure out what the Magister wants, and whether or not she’s a warlock, Tessa struggles with her feelings for Jem and Will. Her heart and soul belong to Will but he has turned her away repeatedly and made her feel as if he didn’t care for her. As Jem’s gentleness draws her closer, she begins to feel a different type of love for him.

Meanwhile Will is secretly working with Magnus trying to find the demon who cursed him, hoping for a reprieve so he can reveal his love for Tessa, Jessamine and Jem are hiding some of their own secrets, while Nate makes a surprise appearance.

Betrayal, love, confusion and lots of unexpected surprises reign supreme in “Clockwork Prince” as the clock ticks down to a thrilling conclusion which will leave readers rushing to get book #3 “Clockwork Princess” for the answers.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

I found my original review from December 27, 2011 so decided to add it here:

The Team Jem versus Team Will saga continues as Tessa struggles to figure out who to love. Amidst their three way triangles of love, adventures abound as the Council brings pressure on Charlotte to find Mortmain – who is determined to rid the world of Shadowhunters through his vast Clockwork Army. Treachery, jealousy, betrayal, hope, and more are just some of the emotions evoked as our favorite Shadowhunters set out to save themselves from one who is determined to destroy them.

“Clockwork Angel” Cassandra Clare

Rated 4 stars **** 2010. The Infernal Devices, book #1. Margaret K. McElderry Books.

ClockworkAngelOrphaned Tessa, all alone in New York in 1878 when her aunt died, jumped at the chance to join her brother Nate in London. After arriving she was taken in by the Dark Sisters, and imprisoned in their home. With no place to go, and Nate’s whereabouts unknown, Tessa was at their mercy. Forced into exploring her “gift,” Tessa learned that when it was perfected she would be given in marriage to the Dark Sisters boss, the Magister.

Meanwhile, Shadowhunters Will Herondale and James Carstairs began an investigation into a series of mundane murders, which led Will to discover Tessa in her prison. Sent to live at the London Institute, Tessa, Will and Jem are soon involved in the mysterious Pandemonium Club in their quest to find the Magister. With an army of clockwork automatons out to kill all Shadowhunters and kidnap Tessa, the Shadowhunters have their work cut out for them.

I read this series several years ago, and decided to give it another whirl. It was as enjoyable as the first time, and will also be enjoyed by old and new fans of Clare.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.