Book Review: Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle


Genres: Romance, Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal, Adult

Publication date: February 23, 2014

Find on: Amazon Barnes & Nobles Goodreads

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.


“Sometimes the truth is more gruesome than fiction.”


Karina Halle has a knack for knowing how to creep me the hell out when reading one of her books. The foreshadowing had me on edge, the romance squealing and it made for a unputdownable read!

♦︎ The Story ♦︎ 

Donners of the Dead is set in 1851 and Eve, an 18 year-old half native girl known for her tracking skills, is asked to join a search party lead by Jake McGraw. They’re to journey into the Sierra Nevada mountains where the Donner party once traveled years before, never to be seen again.
Ignoring all the troubling signs, they forge ahead and come face to face with the frightening results of cannibalism. 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.

It’s amazing how quickly you’re pulled into to story. There was no slow decent into the story, you’re thrown right into the action. The foreboding and tension that surrounds this story is gripping and all you can think about is how the story is going to unfold.


♦︎ Characters ♦︎ 


“I’m not a savage.” He smiled handsomely and with a shake of his head said, “No, you aren’t. And you’re not a lady either. I recon you just might be perfect.”


Eve was an innocent but strong heroine, especially for her time. I loved how sassy and brave she was. I know I definitely wouldn’t have survived everything she went through… or even gone through with most of it. At the first sign of trouble I would’ve said hasta la vista, chicos, I’m out of here.



“Call it a hunch, but I’m starting to think you might even like me.”

Jake can come off as a little curt in the beginning but compared to the other guys, Jake was the least of Eve’s problems. However, underneath that tough exterior he was kind and, dare I sayplayful. He also had his head on straight. And trust me, that’s noteworthy. You don’t see a lot of those in this book.

∙Everyone else∙

We have an… interesting selection of side characters, to say the least. There are a few who are clearly crazy and some who know who to hide it better. They all had me on my toes and kept me guessing.

♦︎ Overall ♦︎


“Love is a wolf,” he said, the fire dancing in his eyes. “Perhaps that’s why they howl in the dark of the night. Love drives them mad like it does to everyone. Fast or slow, whatever way it hits you, love will drive you mad.”

There was enough romance to keep any addict like me satisfied but not so much that it smothers the story. It was a nice side to the book and lightened the mood of the story, so you don’t feel like you’re constantly bombarded with all this creepy stuff.

Donners of the Dead was a quick, thrilling read with awesome characters, a steamy romance and a creepy storyline!


“Men are the real monsters here. They often are.”


Buddy read with: MK~ Picky Girl ♦︎ Brandi ♦︎ Erin ♦︎ MOLLIE ♥ Take me to a stripclub, DEX!♥ ♦︎ Olga ♦︎ Kim B

**ARC generously provided by Rock Star PR in exchange for an honest review**



Find Karina Halle on: Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads

With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term “Hybrid Author.” Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she’s a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA…whenever possible.

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.

Karina is represented by Scott Waxman of the Waxman Leavell Literary Agency.


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