Review: Shadowland by Karen Chance

ShadowlandPublisher: Smashwords
Author: Karen Chance
Released: November 28th, 2012
Received: Own
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

Shadowland is one of the many novellas in the Cassandra Palmer World – and it is absolutely worth reading! It’s the fourth novella in the series with Pritkin being the main perspective. It’s set between A Family Affair (one of the Pritkin novellas) and Hunt the Moon. But seriously, make sure you don’t skip A Family Affair, because it adds much needed context.

Shadowland directly follows the events in A Family Affair. Which means that once again the trouble in this novella is sort of Pritkin’s fault. Okay, only some of it is actually his fault. But it’s a refreshing change, isn’t it?

The novellas in this series do a great job of fleshing out the world of Cassandra Palmer. Plus they allow for some unique perspectives. I regret not having read everything in order the first time around! So I would strongly advise that fans read all of the novellas available – but in order whenever possible.

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Review: A Family Affair by Karen Chance

A Family AffairPublisher: Smashwords
Author: Karen Chance
Released: August 6th 2011
Received: Own
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

A Family Affair by Karen Chance is another one of the short stories that fits into the Cassandra Palmer World. In this instance, it’s another one from the perspective of Pritkin! So fans of his should be thrilled about this one.

Unlike the House at Cobb End, A Family Affair is set in the present. Well, the present for the main series, that is. Which means that Cassie and all of the others have a presence in this plot. It fits in after Curse the Dawn, but before Shadowland (another short story).

A Family Affair brings a problem straight to Pritkin’s feet – in the form of his father. He’s got a deal to offer, but naturally, there are risks involved. And one of those risks should probably be whether or not the demon can be trusted…

Side note before we begin: I’ve actually read this whole series multiple times (it’s one of my favorites), but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I’ve never reviewed the older books in the series. So here I am, reading them all again, and loving every minute of it.

Because I’m doing a reread with a group of people (the Karen Chance Street Team – message me if you want to know more about it) I’m also going to include the discussion prompts we’ve been using. That will be at the end of the review, so if you’re curious, check it out.

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Review: The Toll by Cherie Priest

The Toll by Cherie PriestPublisher: Tor Books
Author: Cherie Priest
Released: July 9th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Drownings, Missing persons, Suicide, Animal death
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of The Toll through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Toll is a dark new fantasy by Cherie Priest. And it truly is a deliciously dark tale. It blends modern horror with more traditional elements, creating something new and horrifying.

Set in Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, this novel follows a trail of missing persons. And people do go missing in this town. Every thirteen years – you can count on it. The town may not be a famous one – but if it was, it’d be known for this mystery.

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Review: The House at Cobb End by Karen Chance

The House at Cobb EndAuthor: Karen Chance
Released: November 14th 2011
Received: Own
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

The House at Cobb End is another one of Karen Chance’s short stories. This one, like many of her other works, fits perfectly into the world of Cassie Palmer. In fact, this short story probably won’t make a whole lot of sense if you haven’t read any of the series up until now.

The House at Cobb End, like I said above, fits into the Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance. It also fits into the larger world as a whole. Therefore it can either be considered Cassie Palmer #5.1, or Cassie Palmer World #5.2. Either way, I’d suggest waiting under after Curse the Dawn to read this short story, as it’ll add a lot of context to the situation.

This short story follows Pritkin, though it isn’t set in the same timeline as the rest of the series. Instead, it’s back before Pritkin met Cassie (well, sort of – timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly and all that). The whole focus of the short story is Pritkin’s quest for a new home. And there’s a very specific reason he wants one.

Of course, this is Pritkin we’re talking about, so nothing is easy and certainly it won’t go smoothly for him. Thus we have the tale of The House at Cobb End.

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Review: Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre

Heartwood BoxPublisher: Tor Teen
Author: Ann Aguirre
Released: July 9th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Missing persons, racism
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Heartwood Box through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Heartwood Box is the newest novel by Ann Aguirre, and it is an amazing blend of different genres. It’s young adult, and has romance, supernatural, and science fiction elements as well. It’s a time travel tale, but also a tale of a teenage girl trying to do what is right. And it’s so amazingly dark and brilliant.

It’s also a very introspective novel, in its own way. It makes you think. About assumptions. About what we can do to change our presents, and how that’ll affect the future. About a lot of things, really.

This tale follows Araceli Flores Harper. A teenage girl dropped off in a very remote town. Supposedly it was for her own safety, but she ends up in more danger than she could have ever expected. But her presence may be exactly what this town needed – because there is something dark going on, and nobody but Araceli seems inclined to do anything about it.

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Review and Q&A: The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

Review: The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

There will be a Q&A from the author, Craig Davidson included below, check it out!

The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig DavidsonPublisher: Knopf Canada
Author: Craig Davidson
Released: August 14th, 2018
Received: Review Request
Warnings: Graphic deaths/torture
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of The Saturday Night Ghost Club in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Saturday Night Ghost Club is a unique blending of genres, perfect for fans of the supernatural and coming of age themes. It doesn’t fit perfectly into either category, though it pulls elements from both. The end result is something heartwarming, bone-chilling, and everything in between.

The story follows Jake Baker – a kid who lives in a small town who is willing to believe in anything. Which is great, because his uncle has a series of adventures that he needs company for. But the adventures have an unexpectedly dark tone, and it’s only over time that the truth behind it all is revealed.

The description of The Saturday Night Ghost Club says that this novel is perfect for fans of Stranger Things and Stand By Me. Having read it? I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment.

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Review: Curse the Dawn (Cassandra Palmer #4) by Karen Chance

Curse the Dawn (Cassandra Palmer #4) by Karen ChanceAuthor: Karen Chance
Released: March 1st 2009
Received: Own
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

Curse the Dawn is the fourth novel in the Cassandra Palmer series. Though if you want to get technical, it’s the fifth novel in the world of Cassie Palmer (counting Dory’s first novel). Like the other novels before it, this one follows Cassie and her whirlwind journey as Pythia. There’s plenty of chaos, humor, and tension to be found in this series.

I know I’ve said it before, and I’m probably getting a bit repetitive by now. But I absolutely love this series. It’s so much fun and just has so much personality. Cassie is one of those characters with a special talent for getting herself into trouble. Meanwhile many of the secondary characters are exceptionally talented at expressing their frustration at the situations she finds herself in. It makes for a great read, to put it mildly.

In Curse the Dawn, Cassie still finds herself on the outside looking in. She’s got the power of the Pythia, but not the respect or support of it. So things are a bit…difficult for her. To make matters worse, the war is looming closer than ever, and their side can’t afford to lose any people. Unfortunately some of those people she needs to help protect also want to kill her…so there’s a bit of a conflict of interest here.

Side note before we begin: I’ve actually read this whole series multiple times (it’s one of my favorites), but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I’ve never reviewed the older books in the series. So here I am, reading them all again, and loving every minute of it.

Because I’m doing a reread with a group of people (the Karen Chance Street Team – message me if you want to know more about it) I’m also going to include the discussion prompts we’ve been using. That will be at the end of the review, so if you’re curious, check it out.

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Review: Kill the Farm Boy (The Tales of Pell #1) by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

Kill the Farm Boy

Publisher: Del Ray
Authors: Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne
Released: July 17th 2018
Received: Own
Rating: 4 kitties

 

Kill the Farm Boy is a hilarious and irreverent beginning to an all new series called the Tales of Pell. If the first novel is anything to go by, the entire series is bound to be wholly unique. The novel is a play on the classic chosen one quest, only with a whole lot of twists thrown in. If you’re looking for a fairy tale that’ll make you snort with laughter, then this is the series for you.

The series is actually written by a pair of authors – something you don’t see every day. Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne teamed up to bring us this utterly capricious and comical world. I’ll confess that I’m quite the fan of Delilah Dawson’s works, which is what tempted me with this series to begin with.

If I was giving out awards, I would give Kill the Farm Boy the award for funniest novel. Seriously, I could not stop laughing while reading this one. I ended up highlighting more sections than I ever have in any other novel, simply because I enjoyed them so much.

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Review: Midnight’s Daughter (Dorina Basarab #1) by Karen Chance

Midnight's Daughter

Author: Karen Chance
Released: August 26th, 2008
Received: Own
Rating: Kitty Rating

Midnight’s Daughter is the first novel in the Dorina Basarab series. The whole series fits into the Cassandra Chance world, so if you’re a fan of one, I strongly urge you to read the other. Both series bounce around each other in the timeline, so it’s really quite fun to read them all.

Dorina, better known as Dory (seriously, don’t call her Dorina), is a dhampir. As in, half-human and half-vampire. She’s tough, sassy, and really isn’t in the mood to put up with anyone’s messes.

I’ll confess that I don’t normally like it when series use dhampirs. But there are some notable exceptions. Dory and Blade being the most notable ones. Karen Chance did an excellent job portraying dhampirs. And better yet (in my mind), she gives them consequences. They aren’t just magical beings that have all the benefits of vampires, while none of their faults. It keeps them from feeling overpowered, in my opinion. And honestly it makes them more interesting as well.

I love Dory’s series, and not just because she provides a totally different perspective for what is happening in Cassie’s events. Dory comes with baggage, both the good and the bad. But it never slows her down, if anything it inspires her to fight even harder. Because of that, her plots tend to be full of sass, determination, and amazing fight scenes. Who could ask for more?

I’d suggest reading Cassie Palmer one through three before picking up this book. Actually, you should probably read everything in publishing order. As I said, the two series intertwine a lot. Some people actually consider them to really be of the same series. So timing matters. I’d also suggest reading the short story Buying Trouble before this. It isn’t required, but it’ll explain some of the secondary characters and what they’ve been doing (it is relevant, I promise).

Side note before we begin: I’ve actually read this whole series multiple times (it’s one of my favorites), but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I’ve never reviewed the older books in the series. So here I am, reading them all again, and loving every minute of it.
Because I’m doing a reread with a group of people (the Karen Chance Street Team – message me if you want to know more about it) I’m also going to include the discussions prompts we’ve been using. That will be at the end of the review, so if you’re curious, check it out.

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Review: Buying Trouble (Dorina Basarab #0.5) by Karen Chance

Buying Trouble

Publisher: Berkley
Author: Karen Chance
Released: October 14th 2008
Received: Own
Warnings: Slavery/ownership
Rating: 4 kitties

Buying Trouble is technically the first bit of writing for the Dorina Basarab series. It counts as #0.5 in the series though, and it doesn’t actually introduce Dory into the mix. Instead it talks about her best friend, Claire, and the mess she manages to get herself into.

As mentioned, this novel introduces Claire. She’s a null with a complicated backstory, but that just means she’s perfectly suited for this world. Like our other female leads, she doesn’t let that hold her back. If anything, it just drives her to work harder for a better life for herself.

This novella holds a special place in my heart for a very specific reason. It’s the first thing I ever read by Karen Chance, and I was immediately sucked into the world. From here I went on to read everything available from both the Dorina series as well as the Cassie series. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

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