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The Journals of Octavia Hollows: Books 1-6

Written by: Stacey Rourke
Narrated by: Brenda Scott Wlazlo
Length: 14 hrs and 22 mins

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Publisher's Summary

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
Caught Dead
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Dead Ringer
Dead as a Doornail

"This is Rourke at her finest: sassy and completely unapologetic. Proving again why she's a powerhouse in this industry." (USA Today best-selling author Rue Volley) 

"This book has it all: a kickass heroine, loads of action...and a pig named Bacon." (New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Karen Lynch)

©2019 Stacey Rourke (P)2019 The Audio Flow, LLC

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Carole Wooten
  • 2019-12-26

Octavia and Bacon make a great pair!

I liked this one! I am always on the lookout for new Urban Fantasy series to try and I just couldn't resist a story about a necromancer with a resurrected pet pig named Bacon! This book is a collection of 6 different novella-length stories that all tie into a larger story. I did like some of the stories much more than others but I had a good time with the collection overall.

I loved Octavia! She had a lot of spunk and was just a lot of fun. Every time she put her pet pig, Bacon in a baby carrier under her shirt and pretended to be pregnant, I couldn't help the smile that would work its way onto my face. She was tough and rather resourceful. I liked seeing her handle herself in such a wide variety of settings.

In this collection, we see Octavia encounter a lot of different challenges. Each story was different but sometimes things from a previous story would carry over. I liked some of the stories a lot more than others which is normal for a collection of shorter pieces. I liked the stories at the beginning and the end of the collection the best and found that the middle stories dragged a bit. This audiobook did keep the beginning and ending credits for each of the six shorter works which I found somewhat unexpected.

This was the first time that I have listened to Brenda Scott Wlazlo narrate a book. I thought that she did a marvelous job with this one. I probably enjoyed this book a bit more because of her narration. She made the story come alive and everything flowed beautifully. I loved that when Octavia sang, we got to hear it. I hope to listen to more of her narration work.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a very well done collection of stories with great characters and just the right amount of humor. I would love to see what comes next for Octavia, Bacon, and friends!

I received a review copy of this audiobook from the author via Caffeinated Services.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa Helmick
  • 2019-12-24

I want my own Bacon!!

I LAUGHED my way through this book! Like Laugh out loud laughing. That doesn’t happen very often. Octavia is smart and she doesn’t mind showing it. She is also a bit clumsy...that is how she got Bacon...her pig. So she now is also cautious.

This is a collection of six stories. Each one is kind of a stand alone with a main storyline running through the whole set. I loved the beginning couple but the last two are my fav! Again so many Pig-isms and Magic flusters that I couldn’t help but laugh and smile.

All of the character she meets or comes in contact with are so full of life....or should I say reanimated life. Hahaha! We really meet so many fun and characters I wish could stay but I can see why they can’t as the stories went on.

I listened to this on audio. Brenda Scott Wlazlo is a voice genius! I can’t even say the number of characters she had to voice but she nailed them all! Some went from story to story and I could tell who they were by her voice. Old, young or child it didn’t matter she nailed it!

I can’t wait for more of Octavia and her crew! This will be on my re-read list until then.

Ps. I want my own Bacon!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-12-20

Very Detailed but very good

I wanted to read and review the book because the main female character has a paranormal ability.
Whenever Octavia used her ability, seemingly nothing but trouble followed.
There were a few graphic details, that I could have done without, which stopped me from giving a rating of five.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-11-26

adorable

Octavia, a very special necromancer, learns who and what she is in these adorable journal entries. she's not alone but has her best friend Bacon at her side.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darla McCollim
  • 2019-11-19

Good fun

Books 1-6. Thank goodness you get them all as it's basically one story. Well narrated and written. Sea monsters, reanimated pig, sirens and a plethora of other folk make this a charming treat. Looking forward to more journals of Octavia.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sophia Rose
  • 2019-11-16

Quirky and Sassy Necromancer and Her Swinekick

I originally grabbed the first book separately, but I knew within minutes of listening that I definitely was going to love it. At the end, which left thing open for the series arc after closing out the specific suspense plot for that story, I was eager for the next installment. Easy decision to go for the complete series of six books and still enjoy the wonderful audio work of Brenda Scott Wlazlo.

Wake the Dead
The character, the world, and the series arc was introduced while giving the reader an exciting first supernatural mystery to see Octavia in action.
Octavia is a necromancer and through the gift of a mysterious burner phone learns of a family's plight as their son dies of a curse and of the curious death of the baby's nurse. Octavia was in Seattle looking for clues to her boyfriend, Elba's missing body. and about herself, but her generous, if very snarky spirit, chooses to help the family. One thing leads to another and Octavia learns there is more to her than she thought before she and her pet resurrected pig bacon zoom out of town on her bike for the next leg of her journey to find out more about the love of her life.

Dead Man's Hand
Octavia has come to Las Vegas to visit her old construction job boss for clues about her boyfriend, Elba. Instead, she lands another after life mystery when people are dying of immolation. A dead gambling addict resurrected helps Octavia discover what is going on. Meanwhile, she learns she is being followed by a mysterious man in a cap asking about her and she has made the witch coven watch list because of her illegal activities of raising the dead.

Caught Dead
Hiding out from her stalker and still looking for clues about Elba, Octavia finds herself with a new supernatural mystery that leads to reveals about her family. This one ends on a cliffhanger. I think these just keep getting better.

Drop Dead Gorgeous
Octavia ends up at a Siren beauty pageant camp where she's herded in with other half-sirens. Not wanting to get involved in siren politics. She's pulled in when a death occurs. Then things got fun and zany. Another cliffhanger. Must keep going.

Dead Ringer
Worried about the disappearance of the coven who fostered her and knowing they were last known to be with the mysterious man who was stalking her, Octavia shows up in Belle Chasse outside New Orleans at the boxing studio she worked at for a time. Her plan to work while hunt down clues to the witches is sidetracked by her old boss and a ferocious fighter in trouble with an underground fighting ring.
This one was exciting for the boxing and gang scenes, but also because her latest rescue mission leaves her with an attraction sparked and a few emotional epiphanies about her past. But, then yes, cliffhanger with her mysterious stalking throwing down a gauntlet and pointing her back to Florida where her run across the country began.

Dead as a Doornail
Octavia has learned a great deal about herself as she slowly backtracks her way across country over the ground she had once been fleeing out of guilt and sorrow. She's coming into her own and making amends with her past even as she starts to look up and take a look to the future.
However, a malicious enemy has been stalking her and now has her coven. He's leading her right back to the place where her running began- the place Elba died. Can she make peace with that death and find the strength and cunning to deal with the new threat all with Reed her new werewolf pal and Bacon her swine-kick at her side?

Brenda Scott Wlazlo was a brilliant narrator match for this series of books. She captured a young, snarky and trash-talking yet vulnerable and hurting Octavia so well even as all her other voices were distinct so that each character was easy to pick out. She puts a heavier nudge of acting in now and then, but I didn't mind.

It ended with a smash finish that was emotional and complete as well as exciting as all came to fulmination. It left things with a promise of more seasons of Octavia Hollows' adventures. Those who enjoy entertaining urban fantasy involving supernaturals from necromancer to siren and even a mythological beast now and then in a colorful variety of settings should give these a go.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Blackeagle
  • 2019-11-11

Amazing stories

The Journals of Octavia Hollows books are full of action, amazement, magic, supernatural beings, quirky characters and most of all a snarky heroine. The storyline are well developed and funny as hell. I love Octavia's snarky comments and comebacks. Bacon is simply one smart adorable little pig that is slightly mischievous.
The narration is phenomenal with Brenda Scott Wlazlo at the helm with her many voices she brings the book to life. I can't wait to read Octavia's and Bacon's next adventures. I received this audio book at my request. I am leaving my honest review here voluntarily of my own volition.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Erica K.
  • 2020-03-03

I’m in love with this series!!!

Okay, I’m four books in and I’m already looking for more books by Stacy Rourke or more in the series. I feel like I’m already having withdrawals at the thought of these being done. I totally dig Octavia and her smart mouth. I love Bacon, her little porky sidekick, and all of the friends she makes along the way. I’ve also started looking for more books narrated by Brenda Scott Wlazlo because I really enjoyed her performance. She has a fun voice and has a lot of different tones for different characters. Five stars on all counts!!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Aquatic Kumquat
  • 2019-11-13

Fun, but Not for Serious Fantasy/UF Readers

This book is a light take on urban fantasy that, while entertaining, may not be to the taste of some. The pacing of the stories is good, but the author tries way too hard to be funny. It got to the point where the characters couldn’t even have a normal conversation without someone trying to crack wise or an animal farting. This was the most troubling for me because I prefer a serious world that I can imagine visiting, with characters behaving realistically. As it is, I was continually caught in moments of, “Really? Who says that? Who does that?” For example, There are situations where people are dying, or in threat of death, and for some reason that’s the moment when characters feel the need to make a joke. It became tiring after a while. It reminded me of people playing Dungeons and Dragons where characters entered dangerous situations acting as they had no real threat of personal loss or injury.

This book also lacks explanations for how powers work. Complex magical feats performed with little to no effort “Oops, I tripped, fell, and brought someone/something back from the dead.” (as much as I hate to say it, this actually happens), chant a sing song nursery rhyme banish undead etc. I didn’t get the feeling that the magic abilities and/or powers in this book took any effort.

Again, the book is entertaining, but not for serious fantasy fans that wants complete world building with realistic emotions.

Finally - I’d likely give this collection a higher rating if not for the author’s lack of sensitivity and poor research on a number of issues.

#1 – Real world religions. Wiccans are portrayed as experts on satanic monsters, and people who practice necromancy. I’m not Wiccan, but even I know that the Christian devil isn’t in the same cosmology, and know that the Wiccan rede wouldn’t condone necromancy. It would have been very easy to just call the characters witches (a generic term) rather than referring to them as Wiccans. It’s like… why include a religion if you don’t know anything about it?

#2 – People with disabilities. Speaking as someone who is very close to someone who has albinism in real life, it was really bothersome to hear a guy with albinism called “The Albino” and “Powder” both of which are the disability specific equivalent to dropping an N bomb in the USA (which is where the story takes place). This scene didn’t even do anything to advance the plot it was like “Hey let’s make fun of the really white guy and move on.”

15-20 minutes of internet research on both of these topics (Wicca and albinism) would have educated the author, but instead it was full steam ahead and who cares if people are demeaned if it can sell some books, right? It was just a very insensitive, lazy, and ignorant approach to storytelling. If you’re writing a book that you expect people to pay money for, take the time to know stuff you are writing about before publishing. If the author didn't want to take the time to research, it would have been so easy to just call the characters witches without pinning them to (and thereby misrepresenting) a specific real world faith.

Finally, there are times when the book strays into territory that is very close to political preaching which is not what I look for in a UF novel. Topics that are mocked include the Me Too movement, sexual harassment, addiction, etc.

Actual rating: 3.5 (Would have been 4-4.5 if not for the last few things mentioned above.)