The Journals of Octavia Hollows (Books 1-6) by Stacey Rourke
Narrated by Brenda Scott Wlazlo
Read: 14th – 23rd December 2019
Publication Date: 10th August 2019
Quote from Book 1: Wake The Dead
“I craned my neck to find Bacon’s curly little tail trotting down the sidewalk. Passersby responded with gasps of awe at the cute little pork belly just trotting along. I, however, was over his piggy antics”
My Overall Rating:4/5
Plot: 3/5 – Flow: 4/5 – Character Development: 3/5 – World Building: 4/5
The Journals of Octavia Hollows is the box set (approx. 460 pages) of six novellas that make up this series: Wake the Dead, Dead Man’s Hand, Caught Dead, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Dead Ringer and Dead as a Doornail. The books are set in America and each one sees our necromancing heroine, Octavia Hollows, in a different town faced with another supernatural mystery that only she and her piggy-companion, Bacon, can solve.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know that I write about how the story was told rather than the plot itself, which means that my reviews don’t contain spoilers of any kind or reveal any plot twists, so here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story:
With a touch of her hand, Octavia Hollows can restore life. Yet, she couldn’t save the man she loved from the horrific accident that stole him from her. Octavia thought she could outrun the pain, but ghosts from the past refuse to be silenced. Out of options, she chooses to retrace her wayward journey across the country in search of answers. Surrounded by baffling mysteries of the undead, what she learns about herself along the way might become her greatest weapon.
This six novella series chronicles Octavia’s adventures in:
Wake the Dead
Dead Man’s Hand
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Dead as a Doornail
So, before we get into what I thought about this book, I want you to know that I was given an audio version of this book for free from Caffeinated PR as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I would like to stress that this does not affect my review or influence my thoughts in any way: these are my words, I’m giving you my honest opinion here.
Stacey Rourke is a new-to-me author and I liked her writing style: I found these stories easy to read. The prose and pace used was good: the tales never feeling rushed and came without any dreaded information dumps or slumps.
I liked all the mysteries in this collection: there is an interesting mystery tying all six books together plus additional mini mysteries in each book. They were good and didn’t feel too convoluted but held enough mystery to hold my interest and keep me guessing.
I also downloaded this book for free using my Kindle Unlimited subscription because I enjoy reading along while listening to a story. Brenda Scott Wlazlo is a new-to-me voice actor and as a narrated book, I was impressed with her performance; loving the pace at which she read the story and her tonal adjustments for the dialogue. I think the narration encapsulated the character of Octavia Hollows and the feel of the story brilliantly. I would definitely buy books narrated by her in the future.
If you’ve read my reviews before, you’ll know that I enjoy a story more when our leading female character is intelligent, resilient, self-reliant and has plenty of gumption. I wasn’t disappointed here: Octavia, although only 23 has all of the traits I crave as well as a sarcastic snarky humour that made me smile throughout. While we’re on the subject of the characters, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to mention Bacon, Octavia’s sidekick the resurrected piglet: I loved his personality, quirks and Octavia’s relationship with him and the various references to her little piggy companion. I think it added a lovely charm to this urban fantasy box set.
I loved the fact that the adventure and mystery aspects of these story kept me guessing, the action kept me on the edge of my seat, the emotions and various relationships, both platonic and romantic, made me go all dewy eyed and the humour put a smile on my face.
As you can tell from my rating, I really liked this collection and there were only a few aspects that took the shine off my enjoyment.
Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it. I don’t like cliffhangers! Especially perilous life-or-death-leave-the-reader-hanging cliffhangers. Frustratingly, there more than a couple in this box set: if I’d bought these books separately, I’d be very miffed. Grrr! L
I also need to be honest and confess that, at times, Octavia’s actions annoyed me, and I think her snark crossed the line into rudeness. Maybe my niggles are a sign of my age, who knows, I just wish she’d been more open to listening (and taking) advice and had used her head rather than jumping in gung-ho.
I really enjoyed this urban fantasy box set. These stories had all aspects that I look for in a great read: intelligent writing style that’s easy to read, main characters with depth of personality that I can like and believe in, depth of character in the supporting cast, believable background story and setting and a balanced mix of relationship, tension, action and mystery.
I would recommend this book to fans of mystery stories who enjoy adventure within an urban fantasy setting and don’t mind a bit of romance thrown in. There are no explicit or graphic violent or sexual scenes and so I feel comfortable recommending this book to anyone who likes reading paranormal mysteries.
So, has my review of THE JOURNALS OF OCTAVIA HOLLOWS (BOOKS 1-6) encouraged you to find out more? I do hope so. Just click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself or to find out more about the author.
Buy THE JOURNALS OF OCTAVIA HOLLOWS in print, ebook and audio formats through the usual sources, including Amazon UK , Amazon US , The Book Depository , Audible or read for free using your Kindle Unlimited Subscription
(I am part of Amazon , The Book Depository, Foyles Book Shop, Audible and Waterstones affiliate programmes, which means when you use those links to buy a copy of this book, I will get a (very) small % from the sale.)
Stacey Rourke is the award winning author of works that span genres, but possess the same flare for action and snarky humor.
She lives in Florida with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs.
Stacey loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.
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Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to read my review. I hope that my thoughts have tempted you to add this book to your ever growing TBR pile. 😉
Bye for now. x