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on 30 December 2014
This is a review across all three books.

I am currently on the lookout for books with an interesting and imaginative premise which are well-executed. This one caught my eyes as it was being advertised on my Kindle home screen, and the author is apparently a New York Times best selling author.

It is not the first time I have wondered how someone became a best selling author. The premise may be OK, it's certainly different though I don't find it very compelling, but the writing is poor and Ellie is the Mary-Suest of Mary Sues I have ever come across, at least in published fiction. ( We are unreliably informed that she is 'smart' and 'funny' (claims more often refuted than supported), and as for 'beautiful'... well, it's writing: if someone says a character is physically attractive, they are. I don't think I've ever met someone her age in my life who is so difficult and quick-tempered. Worse, the author portrays it as justified and a sign of self-respect and independence (this happens a lot in similar fiction), rather than the immature foolishness it actually is. ('You can't tell me what to do, I'm not going to do it, just *because* you told me to, even though it's completely reasonable and sane and ADVISABLE, like jumping in the car and getting far far away from the mafia-guy whose creepy office we just left'.) And the love interest always secretly finds it attractive and appealing and refreshingly different even though it drives him crazy, whereas any normal person would be wishing for a screaming three-year-old instead, because at least a screaming three-year-old has an excuse.

Collin's personality and character just bend around her, way too quickly and for no convincing reason (ah, Mary Sue!) No guy like him would change so quickly, and he's somehow less likeable because he does. It's not convincing. I did like David's character (or supposed character), but the author knows neither how to write someone English nor how to write someone of professor-level intelligence. An English person who is living in the States but has hung on to English idiosyncrasies and expressions would not then use words like 'fall' (meaning 'autumn') and 'apartment'. David's English often sounds like it belongs to someone 40 years his senior. And intelligence manifests in ways further than simply using words like 'repugnant' (or is that meant to be a English thing?) and being a professor on sabbatical. Also, the blurb for book 2 describes him as someone whose 'skepticism is surpassed only by his attraction to Ellie' when in fact his skepticism is surpassed only by Ellie's reluctance to jump into bed. I read a review where the reviewer expressed appreciation for how the relationships were allowed to develop slowly and weren't rushed - seriously, people: a week between meeting and jumping into bed IS rushed, and I dread to think what kind of books you're comparing this with. Anyway, David also bends around Ellie's character far too quickly, there's no depth or 'realness' to the relationship and he comes across as a bit of a puppet character, there to admire her and prove her value and 'specialness'.

The one premise I did think was worthwhile was the image of love and relationship being a choice, and not just following your hormones. Choosing someone and choosing to stick with them. That is a message which could be heard more often.

This is just my opinion - clearly the books are popular in general. But seriously. WHY?!?
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on 9 April 2014
The Curse Keepers Denise Grover Swank.

Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews
well, I’ve read and loved a couple of Denise's books, and yet read another that didn't work for me so...this one...should I request it? Well, I did and it was a fun read.
It's based around the mysterious Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Virginia settlement that vanished without a trace around 1590. Denise has taken the legend and compiled this gripping tale from it. In her version it disappeared as a result of a curse, and the two families involved have a gate keeper in each generation, and must keep the artefacts needed for the future, and the story a secret. Ellie was brought up as a gatekeeper being the only child of her gatekeeper father but after a family tragedy in which her mum died when she was eight, she's given up on the whole story, nothing has happened in the past 400 years and she thinks its just one of those long held, but untrue tales. Then she meets Collin....and everything changes, literally with a bang.
So, I liked Ellie. She's a lovely lady, working hard to help her dad and step mother, a loving daughter and good friend. Who wouldn’t think this was just a family tale after so many years, and now her dad has Altzeimers just when she needs his help she's stuck. Luckily Collin, the other gatekeeper, knows what they need to do. He's a conundrum though, drop dead sexy and a self admitted man whore, he tells Ellie not to trust him, and its clear he skirts around the edges of the law. He takes his gatekeeper role very seriously though. He's a real jerk to Ellie, and to be honest even though she knows something extraordinary has happened it seemed to me incongruous that she'd say “ I'm on shift for another 20 mins” or “ I mustn't be late for work/have to visit dad, have to...” lots of mundane excuses, when priorities should have been clear to her that the end of the world as they know it could be coming within days. Dead birds? Nah, that was the storm, yes its a pretty pattern but co-incidence. Ghostly spirits figures threatening her? Well, she must be short on sleep. Though I understood at first she carried on with this far too long, and though Collin was a jerk ( a sexy jerk!) I could feel his frustration and agreed with it.
There was lost of action in the story, interesting additions to legends, some sensual and sexy interludes :-) and some side mysteries that I think might play out more. I wanted to know what Collin was hiding – it seemed clear he wasn't totally upfront about something, and the undercurrents from that rippled through each interaction they had, with me wondering “is this when we find out what he's hiding?” but that doesn't happen til the end – and what a big secret that was – really took me by surprise even though looking back there were strong hints. His name – another reviewer mentioned that and I agree, maybe its just us older generation, Collin is a name from our childhoods not from our kids, and it just doesn't conjure up sex on legs, smouldering, mysterious personalities – more a dull, boring, nitpicking office obsessed person. You know – the sort that live for their job, and think party conversation is the time to discuss how many paper-clips were missing at the annual stocktake, and who's go to chat line is “come up and see my filing”....It's priced at £3.99 for 314 pages.
Stars: Four, interesting read but with some reservations.
ARC received via Netgalley
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on 19 May 2014
I downloaded this book after it appeared on my Amazon recommendations list (I'd previously never heard of either the author or the series) and I'm glad I did.
Whilst I'd still classify it as being part of the Urban Fantasy genre that I usually read, it's certainly different. You won't find any vampires or werewolves here!

The story revolves around its two central characters Ellie and Collin (and I have to admit my nose wrinkled, ever so slightly, at a "hero" named Collin) who, in the most basic of terms have to save the world from the denizens of hell from having free reign on earth. It's very cleverly written using a mixture of Native American folklore, actual places and the author's imagination. I would think Ms Swank put a lot of time and effort into researching much of the information that makes up the subplots of her story.
Don't go expecting a happy, clappy run of the mill novel though. There is plenty of death and mayhem and not much of a HEA for anyone yet, although I live in hope.

All in all I enjoyed it very much and will certainly be reading the next in the series as well as possibly purchasing books from her other works. On that basis, if you're looking for something a little different then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
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on 29 April 2015
This is the first book I have read by Denise Grover Swank, and what a fantastic read it turned out to be. I couldn't stop reading it, waiting to find out what happened next. The story line was brilliant, with no lull in the story from page to page. This is a must for anyone who enjoys mystery, action, paranormal and a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. I hope the second book in the series is as good. Would highly recommend this book to anyone. Fantastic!!
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on 21 December 2014
Ellie was told she was a curse keeper by her father but stopped believing in the curse at age 8. One day while doing her waitressing job she meets a stranger and everything changes and soon after she realises that the curse is true. The story follows Ellie and Collin as they try to do their jobs as curse keepers discovering their powers along the way. I enjoyed this book and after reading it went on to read the first two prequels and these were useful additions to the series. I've also just finished book two and it's even better than book one.
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on 16 April 2016
Simply put, its a good read, not excessively based on the 'spirit' world, or ghosts/ghouls, so the main story revolves around the two main characters. Its a problem to put it down, as I always want to turn the page...........moves along well, and is a nice easy read.
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on 12 October 2014
I enjoyed the world and characters so much that I ordered the next two books - and they were just as good. Not happy that I have to wait until the next book is written. It will be an autobuy in future.

What I really liked is the take on a mythology that I haven't read much about before. I love the idea of the witness to creation, the son of the earth and the daughter of the sea. And of course, we have a very complicated dynamic relationship between our two lead characters.

This is a well plotted, well written book. I read a lot in this genre and can honestly say that they are not often as well crafted as this.
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This book was fun, for me it was a nice easy read full of suspense, sexy time and scary gods. Set in a town located close to lost settlement of Roanoke on the east coast of America we meet Ellie Lancaster, a young woman who has lived her whole life here, barely exploring the world outside.

Well she cant, every time she tries to get further away something pulls her back, she works as a waitress and one day a customer comes in who leaves more than a tip, he leaves behind the knowledge that she has met her match.

Ellie has met Collin and he is a Curse Keeper, how does she know this, well she is one too and she was taught from an early age if she ever met another Curse Keeper that bad stuff will go down!

The bad stuff in question, oh nothing more serious than some scary spirits escaping their prison and creating merry havoc everywhere.....oh s***!! Together with Collin, Ellie discovers she has seven days to put the spirits back in their place unfortunately her and Collin have hate at first site plus those spirits are not going to go quietly.

Can Ellie and Collin get them back in their prison or is the world going to be over run with demonic spirits hell-bent on causing death and chaos?

Curse Keepers was a good quick read, however (and I don't usually do this) I have some pros and cons!


I love the setting around the lost colony, I didn't know much about it but it has been interesting doing a little research on it (in other words looking up Wikipedia).

This is not a serious book, it is a fun, light read with the appropriate scares and thrills where appropriate.

Nice supporting characters such as Ellie's best friend and Ellie's father and step mum.

Collin is hot but see below...


Instalove - I know they have a special connection but the sexy time (which is smoking BTW) appeared kinda quickly. maybe I am too much of a prude!

Ellie - God, that woman could be a total pain in the arse, she was told not to do something and you can guarantee she would not pay attention. There was times where she did my head in.

Collin's dodgy past - He may be hot but I possibly wouldn't touch him with a 20ft bargepole as he freely admits he has slept with a lot of women and there is a whole back story involving a pawn shop.

The Cliches - Ellie's mother is dead, Ellie is struggling to pay her bills......

If you are looking for a nice bit of romance mixed with a little bit of the supernatural then you will enjoy this. Happy Reading!!
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on 29 July 2015
Ellie and David are two curse breakers. Ellie seems to have forgotten her role as a curse breaker and knows very little of this role. While David has always known his role, but is he deceiving Ellie or is he truly helping her to remember her role?
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on 20 June 2015
I was expecting great things from this series, but I feel a little let down as it is very similar to Chosen, and I don't feel the same connection to the characters as I did there. I will try the second one, but I was disappointed by this.
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