Grim Nora and the Secret of the Skull REVIEW + Author Interview and Giveaway!

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Title: Grim Nora and The Secret of the Skull. 30297677

Author: A.M. Albaugh


When Nora Youngblood’s father dies on her sixteenth birthday, it’s the end of everything she ever knew. But a new journey begins with a skull-shaped pocket watch – the last gift from her father, a professor of archaeology. Where did this mysterious trinket come from, and why would a warlock named Kabos now be hunting her for it?

Nora, now an orphan, finds protection under a wizard named Malachi, his handsome apprentice, Aidan, and a brother she never knew she had. As she learns the truth about her family’s mysterious past, Nora seeks to uncover the secret of the skull, which leads to both a powerful and dangerous weapon. With the fate of the skull in her hands, she’s lured into the hidden world of Dubhgail to combat the treacherous Kabos – who has kidnapped her brother. Can she sacrifice herself to save her brother and her friends?

In this fantasy novel, a teenage girl discovers her magical heritage and soon finds herself facing the might of an evil warlock in another world.


What inspired you to become a writer? 

My grandmother was a teacher and her house was full of books. She lived in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, so whenever we visited, my sister and I entertained ourselves by reading her books. My mother read “The Hobbit” and the “Lord of the Rings” to us at night before falling asleep. I began writing my own stories and poems, and teachers and peers encouraged me to continue writing.

How did you come up with the idea of “Grim Nora and the Secret of the Skull”?

It took a long time to plan and develop, but I knew starting out that I wanted a strong female protagonist. I kept a journal where I jotted down various things that interested me, such as name meanings, quotes, and strange dreams that I remembered. Like Nora in the story, my father passed away, and writing about the loss of a parent was a way for me to express my own grief.

Have you experienced writers block? If you have, how do you get around it?

Yes! Absolutely, and it feels like the world is going to end. But it is good to step away and take a breather. For me, travel and exercise have helped out tremendously. Finding new music to listen to, or rediscovering old music that made me feel something when I was younger also helped.

How long does it take to write a book?

Factors such as free time and organization play a huge role. But even a carefully planned book that takes little time to write might need more time for polishing. I think it depends on how comfortable the author is with the product. If there is an editor or test readers involved, it will certainly take more time, but will also be worth it.

Who are some of your favourite authors?

Hermann Hesse, Dostoyevsky, J.R.R. Tolkien, Henry Miller, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Lao Tzu, Kurt Vonnegut, Knut Hamsun, Kahlil Gibran.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Never give up! Make time, even if it is only ten minutes a day. If you have an idea, but are not sure about it, do not think it is dumb or a waste – write it down and come back to it later. Write about what you’re interested in – not what you think will sell. Patience is also a good thing to have!

Are you writing any books at this current time?

I am currently writing the next book in the Grim Nora series. I can promise there will be plenty of action!


About Author:

A.M. Albaugh is an award-winning poet and photographer. She studied anthropology and communications with an emphasis in film and television at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also enjoys writing code.

Check out her blog and follow her on Tumblr too:


Going into this book, the book sounded wonderful. It sounded really intriguing and like something that I really would enjoy. However, as much as I wanted to enjoy the book, I couldn’t, or at least as much as I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good book but I just don’t think that this book is for me which was quite unfortunate.

The main reason that I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I was hoping was the pace of the book. Right from the first page, it was a constant whirlwind of events which I found at times difficult to keep up with. As the book went along the pace of the book did improve and the flow of events got smoother but I was still left confused at some points.

The characters were well-developed and I did enjoy following the characters throughout the story. I did however find it hard to connect with most of the characters, the only character I was kind of able to connect with was Nora. I would usually blame this fact on the book itself but I probably wasn’t in the right mindset to read it nor do I feel like I was the intended audience which was needed to enjoy the book. I will say that as the book went along, I did care for certain characters but overall, I found it quite difficult.

Overall, while I did enjoy the book, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was hoping to. The plot was too fast paced for my liking and I found it difficult to relate and connect to the characters. I don’t think this is a fault of the authors writing but instead of me not being the intended audience. I would recommend this book to a younger YA audience rather than an older YA or adult audience.


Rating: 3/5 stars


I am hosting a give away on my instagram account where you can win one of three copies of Grim Nora and The Secret of the Skull.

The Give-away is international and will end on the 10th of November!

Check out my instagram post HERE to find out more information on how to enter.

Thank you all so much for reading this post! It has taken a while to get this post up due to school and work but after months of planning, it’s finally up! A huge thank you to the author for sending me her book for review and allowing me to interview you and to host a give away for my followers.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I shall talk to you all on my next post.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s