Monday, February 24, 2014

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle

I'm a huge fan of Karina Halle's writing so I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Donners of the Dead. I loved it and it spooked the heck out of me! This tour is hosted by Xpresso Book Tours and you can find a complete tour schedule by clicking HERE. Thanks for including us!  I have a review and an amazing giveaway (SIGNED Karina Halle books!) as part of my tour stop, so don't forget to scroll down to the bottom and enter.

Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle
Publication Date: February 24th 2014 by Metal Blond Books
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the book:

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

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:
Donners of the Dead was an exciting spin off of the horror that happened to The Donner Party back in the 1800s.  Most people know of that horrific chapter in American history, but leave it to Karina Halle to use it for a sinister tale sure to spook and frighten.  Add in an unlikely romance and I’m one happy girl.  I was glued to the pages!  This is one of those read-in-one-sitting books. 

Eve Smith is a young woman considered a “half-breed” born to Native American father and a white woman, in a small settlement below the Sierra Nevada Mountains back in the 1800s.  Her father has gone missing so she and her mother live at her aunt and uncle’s, but Eve is not treated as a complete equal. Instead of going to school like her cousin, Rose, she works on the ranch with Avery, a ranch hand and her best friend.  Avery doesn’t treat Eve like an unequal; rather he helps her, tutoring her after their chores are done. 

When a rough bunch of men ride through looking for a tracker, all the town people point them into the direction of Eve, since her father is no longer around, she’s the next best thing in their minds. These men are looking for another search party sent after the Donner Party who disappeared a year back.  Eve’s uncle practically shoves her out the door when he hears the large payment offered for her service.

This is where the excitement begins. The group of men is a motley crew, but “Mr. Snarly” as Eve first thinks of Jake, seems to stand out as the most interesting of the group, and he is all big burly man! He’s hostile to Eve at first, but he’s smart, good with a gun, and also strangely protective of her. These two verbally snipe at each other, stirring up all kinds of sexual tension. 

I suddenly became acutely aware that he had ever so subtly pressed himself up against me until we were almost in an embrace. I didn’t want to say anything—and I didn’t want him to move. There was something about the way his rock hard, strong body was encompassing mine that made me feel more combustible than the rifle in my hands.*

More than romance sent my heart racing as the situation turns from a simple search into a nightmare of danger and horrors, when we get a glimpse of what “really” happened to the Donner Party.  Eeeek! As a reader, you wonder if Eve and the others will come out alive.

Eve was a mixture of innocence and bravery; a character I immediately bonded with and felt protective over.  She never quite fit in because of her mixed heritage, but wasn’t bitter or whiny about it.  Jake was a bit of a jerk at first, but the sort of scoundrel to leave you weak in the knees!  As his story is revealed, you can understand his early hostility.  Eve and Jake’s romance is developed in amongst danger and death, but I felt it was weaved in perfectly, and was enough to satisfy this romance junkie!  This is an action packed read, but I felt the characterization was well balanced, not sacrificing one over the other. 

Karina Halle’s writing is captivating, and Donners of the Dead was riveting from the first page. And I’ll tell you one thing, I’ll be thinking of a few scenes the next time I go camping! *shivers*

4 Suns

*Quote take from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.

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.

Connect with Karina Halle

(All to 1 winner): 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!  This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only. 

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Xpresso Book Tours


  1. Woot so happy you liked it! I'm excited to get started on this one myself! Karina Halle and zombies? Yes please! Plus the romance sounds awesome - she has a great knack for chemistry and sexual tension for sure! Great review, Rachel!

    1. Thank you, Giselle! I loved this. Karina Halle is amazing! :)

  2. This is such an amazing giveaway! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the giveaway. I love the cover! I'm really looking forward to reading this between the zombies, the wild west and the fact that it's historical fiction. Count me in!

    1. This was a perfect mix of all of the above with a lovely romance to boot. Good luck, Amy! :)

  4. I really, really want to read this book :) I love the idea of how it's based on a real historical event but making it sooo different! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I love that the premise was rooted in actual history. Made it even more creepy! Hope you love it as much as I did, erin. :)

  5. love Karina Halle cannot wait to read Donners of the Dead:) thanks for the giveaway!

  6. I'm glad you enjoyed this so much, Rachel. I got freaked out just reading the review!

    1. It's hard to go wrong with Karina Halle, and it was a creepy read for sure! Loved it! :)