Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerhill

One thing I need to learn to stop doing is jumping at a book because it has a gorgeous cover. Take, for instance, Ever the Hunted. Look at this cover and tell me it isn’t pretty:

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I saw this cover and immediately wanted to read it. It promised to be an interesting story. It was not.


Summary (Goodreads): Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.


Review: Everything you expect to find in a stereotypical YA fantasy novel is in this book. And that’s why it didn’t work for me. I like to see variation, something unique … and there was none of that.

In the beginning, the story showed some promise. There was a bit of excitement as the story started off with a bang. I could sense the desperation of Britta as she found herself in a dangerous situation.

But this excitement didn’t last too long.

I quickly grew tired of Britta’s character. For one thing, she repeats the same thing over and over again. Another thing is that she is seriously not smart. I hate when the author makes the main character unable to figure out even the most basic clues. Strong and intelligent protagonists are not a bad thing! In any case, Britta was unable to put anything together. She also seems incapable of thinking about anything other than romance because every other sentence was about how she had feelings for Cohen and whether he reciprocated. I mean, considering the seriousness of her situation, this may not have been the perfect time to wonder if he liked you.

And then came the special snowflake effect. Britta is a special snowflake. So, not only is she unintelligent and ridiculously infatuated, she is also special. And that’s supposed to make the readers connect with her.

I also thought the romance angle was nothing great. I know I’m someone who generally doesn’t like romance, but the last few books that I’ve read in the fantasy genre have had great romances. This book was not one of them. It was generic, featuring your stereotypical hot guy friend who the protagonist has a crush on. It didn’t do anything for me.

But the other major problem with this book is that there was barely any world-building. There is a war between two countries. But there is no detail into how this came to be, what the conflict is about, the political climate and the differences. The world in this novel was described with the bare minimum needed for the story to move along. And this is such a shame because fantasy novels really need to have great world-building for the story to shine.

Needless to say, I was not impressed with Ever the Hunted. It didn’t give me anything new and it was disappointing to see all of this potential go to waste. I’m giving this a 1/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

 

 

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Although I’ve heard of Laini Taylor, I’ve never read anything by her. I’ve seen loads of posts about her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, and while I’ve been intrigued, I just haven’t found the time to get into it. However, I couldn’t resist this novel. The cover was gorgeous and the synopsis was too good to pass up. So, here is my review:

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Synopsis (Goodreads): The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.


Review: THIS. BOOK. BLEW. MY. MIND.

I’m trying to figure out how to put my thoughts into words and I’m struggling so much because all I can thinks is woah. It was that good of a read! I know that this book has been hyped up a lot, and I’m usually someone who finds that hyped reads aren’t as great as they are made out to be. BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE HERE. This book lives up to the hype and then some!

This book is so beautifully written. It is poetic, and magical, and everything you imagine when you think of fantasy. Regardless of whose perspective we read, the writing is haunting and emotional; there were so many instances where the words and the emotions they evoked tore at my heart. I was spellbound and couldn’t stop myself from reading this book.

The characters are fantastic in this book. They are unique and whimsical, yet easy to connect with. The relationships between everyone and the conversations were so believable and natural that it felt as if I was right there listening to it. I loved Lazlo and his goodness, his research skills, and his love of Weep. His simplicity made me smile and he quickly became a favourite character.

The plot for this novel is just so good. There is depth, there is complexity, and there is the right balance of action and world-building. I was able to predict the revelation that occurred in the end of this book, but that just made me even happier with the story; I don’t always need shocking twists and turns to keep me happy, just a well-developed story.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my experience of this book. It was fantastic and I am so glad I gave in and read it. I cannot wait for the next book in the series! I would recommend this novel for anyone who loves fantasy, and I’m giving this a 5/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

 

 

 

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

I absolutely adored the cover of this book, and combined with all the hype surrounding this book, I borrowed a copy from my library right away. My mood these days is making me lean towards thrillers, so I thought this would be a great fit for me.

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Synopsis (Goodreads): Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.


Review: This book is uncannily similar to The Wife Between Us… but it’s not as good. If you haven’t seen my review of The Wife Between Us, check it out because I was raving about that one! It’s hard for me not to compare these two thrillers when they are so similar, but I will try to limit my comments to just my impressions of this novel.

The story is told in 3 parts. Part 1 is completely from Amber’s perspective, Part 2 is from Daphne’s point of view, and Part 3 is a combination of the two. I wasn’t expecting that the story would be split in this way in the beginning, but it soon became clear why. After just halfway through Part 1, I had already figured out the way the story was going to go. It was just too easy for me to put the pieces together. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even if it is relatively simple, if the story is written well it can hold my attention.

And it was written well. By this, I mean that the story was easy to read and flowed well. However, the story wasn’t interesting. It got tiring to listen to all the different ways that Amber infiltrated Daphne’s life. I get that the author (or rather, authors) was trying to set the scene, but it didn’t need to be this long.

When Part 2 began, I was excited to read from Daphne’s perspective. But I quickly became disinterested. Why? Well, I had the same dilemma of being told everything and shown nothing. I don’t know why this is suddenly a trend with novels, but I don’t like it. It gives the story less depth and keeps me less interested because I just can’t connect with the characters.

Now, I gave this novel a trigger warning because it has a lot of instances of abuse that might disturb readers. These instances are described quite vividly, which I didn’t mind because it actually made me feel some emotion. However, there was a big problem that I had with this novel, and I’ve been shifting between saying it and potentially spoiling part of the story or just keeping it to myself. I decided to go with the former option. NO ONE DESERVES ABUSE. Regardless of how bad a person is or how cruel, nobody deserves to be abused. It really bothered me that this novel tried to justify this and I just couldn’t get over that.

So my overall thoughts about this book? The Wife Between Us was better. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to give this a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis (Goodreads): Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.


Review:  This is a story that could literally be about some of the scandalous news items we hear about everyday: a married politician or man in power who has an affair, and is then accused of rape. The story revolves around Kate, the prosecutor who is convinced that James is guilty of this crime, and Sophie, the wife who refuses to believe that her loving husband could do something like this.

This is not really a thriller, in terms of pacing or plot. There is no real thrill. Yes, the reader wants to know if James was actually guilty or not. But the story is about more than just that. It is about the abuse of power that we see happening around us all the time. It is about privilege and whether that allows someone to be exempt from facing the consequences of their transgressions. And it is about the people who are affected by one person’s selfishness.

I’m really glad that the story did not focus on James’s character. Apart from a few excerpts that are flashbacks to another incident in the past, James doesn’t really get a voice. Kate and Sophie are the alternating narrators of this story, and they each have their unique struggles with this case. I really liked that the author used this method to tell the story because it shifted the focus to the people that mattered most; usually in stories like this, the novel is focused on the accused and tries to make the reader feel sympathy for them. The author does not do that here, and does not excuse James for his alleged behaviour at all. There was a lot of complexity behind the emotions that both of the women felt and I really connected with them. I could understand why they reacted the way they did. I preferred Kate’s character to Sophie’s because I generally like stronger, more powerful female roles, but both women were well developed.

The pacing of this novel is slow, and that is something that readers should be aware of. In trying to explore these different issues, there is less time for a fast-paced story. There was also more of a focus on the British law and government, so if you are not familiar with the way things work there, this might be a bit confusing to read. While the pacing made sense in terms of helping the author achieve her goals with this story, I would have preferred a more high-intensity story.

To sum it all up, this was a very close examination of the effects that a high-profile affair and rape charge can have on people. I thought the author did a really great job of considering factors like preferential treatment, justice, consent, and privilege – all of which are factors in real-life cases like these. I thought that the pacing was a bit slow and perhaps, not all of the details were needed. But it was a good read and I am happy to give it a 3.5/5 stars! I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this author!

Happy reading ~

The Magician and The Maid and other stories by Christie Yant

I received this short story in my first PageHabit subscription box and I was super excited to read it. As you may know, I don’t read a lot of short stories. But I’m trying to change that where possible, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity!

Synopsis (back of the book): Emil was a shepherd who had a power for charms and spells. But he must go in search of true power, in order to some day be king, leaving his love, Aurora to go searching. Meanwhile, Audra is trying desperately to get home, and Miles holds the story book she needs.

Review: I think the premise of this story was really interesting. There was a vagueness to the story that made me want to read more in order to understand what was going on. However, I thought that there could have been more detail. It may be a short story but that doesn’t mean that it should be lacking in terms of cohesiveness. I also found that the characters were hard to connect to and care for. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Himself by Jess Kidd

Synopsis (Goodreads): When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the village’s lies.

His arrival causes cheeks to flush and arms to fold in disapproval. No one in the village – living or dead – will tell what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite Mahony’s certainty that more than one of them has answers.

Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, its pitiless nurse and the caustic elderly actress throwing herself into her final village play, this beautiful and darkly comic debut novel creates an unforgettable world of mystery, bloody violence and buried secrets.


This novel was such a fantastic read, with its dark story and simple but beautiful prose. Almost everything about this novel worked for me!

The premise of this novel was absolutely incredible. Mahony has come to Mulderrig to find out about his mother, a woman he has never known, who he has presumed abandoned him when he was a baby in an orphanage. Just recently, he received a letter telling him that there is more to the tale than that, and the answers are in Mulderrig. If that wasn’t enough of an attention-grabber, the quirky antics of the townspeople and the numerous ghostly encounters certainly are! I loved the elements of magical realism in the story. To be fair, I love magical realism in general. But it was incorporated so well here and it added this interesting mix to an already intriguing tale.

The characters in this novel are definitely unique – and this stands for both the villains and the protagonists. Mahony is a handsome, charming man who also has a dark side that all women find attractive. I loved his charisma and the way he could get along with (almost) everybody. Another notable protagonist that I want to mention is Mrs. Cauley. To me, she was the real star of the show because she was quirky and wise and always ready to spring into action. The one character I didn’t really like is Shauna; while she was the tame element needed to ground the story, she really didn’t play a big part and didn’t have much of a personality. It made it hard for me to understand her subsequent relationship with another character in this story because it just felt underdeveloped. Apart from that, all other characterizations were fabulous!

The writing style was also amazing. The story is written in a simple way, with short chapters that are easy to get through. And yet, the writing expresses so much depth and so much beauty in its descriptions. There were a lot of layers to the story and these layers came together wonderfully through the simple yet complex writing style.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It had a great story, great characters, and a wonderful writing style. I cannot wait to read more from this author! 5/5 stars from me.

Happy reading ~

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

I read The Girl with All the Gifts when it first came out and absolutely loved it. I even watched the movie version of it, which was really well done. However, I took a long time to get to this book. I finally popped by my local library and picked it up. And I’m so glad I did!

Synopsis: This story takes places years before The Girl with All the Gifts. In this novel, a group of scientists and army personnel are on a mission to understand the hungries by collecting samples left behind by other scientific explorations. Accompanying them is Stephen Greaves, a teenage boy who is considered a child genius but who doesn’t display social skills – unless it is with scientist Samrina Khan. As they make their way through this dangerous expanse of land, Stephen discovers the existence of an anomaly amongst the hungries. Stephen thinks that this discovery is exactly what is needed to find a cure – but will this belief of his become a liability to all on board?


I really didn’t want to give anything away in my summary, but I also didn’t just want to post up what Goodreads did because it’s quite sparse. But I also don’t want to give too much away.

I highly recommend that you read The Girl with All the Gifts before reading this novel. You don’t need to have read it to understand The Boy on the Bridge but it makes the story more interesting and gives you a link between the two books. As it were, this novel is perfectly good all on its own and there are only a few things that will connect the two books.

As with the first book, I loved the violence of the hungries and the action in this story. The author knows how to pack the punches and ramp up the tension. I liked the characters in the novel but none of them really drew me the way Melanie from The Girl with All the Gifts did. Even though Stephen was this child prodigy, his voice was so mature that it was hard for me to remember that he was a teenager. All of the characters got a turn in the spotlight, but it wasn’t always in equal measure; this actually didn’t work as well for me because it meant that I didn’t really make any strong connections with anyone.

But the action! It was phenomenal! When things began to slide downwards, I felt like a helpless character in the book, unable to predict the repercussions of the actions and unable to pull away from it. I loved every part of the journey and the discovery that Stephen makes. The epilogue that the author put in this book was a great shocker and it promises (or atleast I hope it does!) for another book in this series.

My overall thoughts? This is a solid 4/5 with a great story line and tons of action. The only thing that could have made it more perfect would have been if there had been a better way for the reader to connect with the characters.

Happy reading ~

Red Rising: Sons of Ares #1 by Pierce Brown

Pierce Brown is the author of the Red Rising series, which consists of Red Rising, Golden SonMorning Star, and soon, Iron Gold. I actually read the first 3 books of the series and found them to be quite interesting, and I’m looking forward to reading the latest installment when it comes out. I had no idea that the author had decided to venture into the world of graphic novels, as well, but I thought it would be a great avenue for the story! Here is my review:

N.B: The story takes place before Red Rising. In the future, when mankind has spread across the stars, the hierarchy of man is dictated by the color of one’s caste. The Golds rule all, but what will happen when one falls for a lowly Red?


I would highly recommend reading this after you have read the Red Rising series. Although this is a prequel, it really expects you to know the Red Rising world in order to understand its implications. This is the story of how Ares becomes the face of the rebellion.

I really liked the art used here. It wasn’t as beautiful as some other graphic novels I’ve read, like Monstress by Marjorie Liu, but it was interesting and worked for the story being told. I loved how the text boxes were different colours depending on who was speaking: if it was a gold, the box would be gold, if it was a red or a green, it would be their affiliated colour. Not only did it serve as a reminder of the distinction between the different classes that are part of the world created in the series, it also helped the reader keep track of who was talking.

I really liked the backstory that was given for Ares. However, I don’t think this comic really added to the story. There was nothing really knew here that I wouldn’t have gotten from the story and the theme was the same one as in the series. I understand that the theme being the same was a unifying factor but there weren’t even subtle nuances to give it some depth. It was also too short to have the detailed back story to the rebellion that I was looking for.

Overall, this was an interesting medium to portray the series, but it wasn’t unique enough for me. I’m giving it a 3/5 for creativity and artwork.

Thank you to Edelweiss for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. 

Happy reading ~

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

I recently decided to try out a subscription book box called Page Habit. It is based in America but ships internationally. What drew me to this subscription company was the fact that they give subscribers new releases that have annotated notes from the author plus all sorts of bookish goodies to enjoy. I also love that they donate part of their proceeds to support literacy initiatives in African countries. I was super stoked to receive this beautiful fantasy novel, especially after hearing lots of positive reviews about it on Goodreads. Here is my review:

Nahri has never believed in magic. She knows she is an unusual woman; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, Nahri is a remarkably good con artist. But she knows that it’s all a matter of learning the tricks of the trade – nothing magical about it. But when Nahri accidentally summons a dark and mysterious djinn warrior to her side, she is forced to accept the existence of a world she thought only existed in fairy tales. For the warrior tells her a new story: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. But the city is not the beautiful paradise it appears to be. The six djinn tribes that reside behind the brass walls are not content with each other. As old resentments begin to surface, Nahri finds herself caught in the dangerous web of court politics. And no amount of scheming will protect her from the deadly consequences.  After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

This was a beautifully written story with wonderful descriptions of Muslim culture and history. I loved how thorough the author was in researching and incorporating all of the different religious, historical, and mystical elements that are a part of Muslim culture because it really made the story come alive. The novel is told from the very different perspectives of two people: Nahri, the con artist; and Alizayd, Prince of Daevabad. While Nahri’s chapters are all about her journey to this new place and her reluctance in believing in djinn (and herself), Ali’s chapters are about his torn loyalties between his family and his country as he tries to do the moral thing at all times. Of course, we also get a glimpse of the djinn warrior Nahri summoned, who goes by the name Dara. I found his character to be very mysterious and I loved any opportunity where we got to know more about his past. Out of these 3 characters, the one that I felt developed the most in the story was Ali. He really changed as a person through his experiences in the novel, which I really loved – I only wish Nahri had developed, too. Her character remained pretty much the same from the beginning to the end, and while I understand that certain aspects about her needed to stay that way, I wish she had gotten smarter and more aware of what was at stake. I also thought that the novel was extremely slow in pacing. Even though Nahri was being transported from Cairo to Daevabad, the journey itself was not too memorable (save for the sparse moments where there was some action). The events in Ali’s life, while having a bit more action than Nahri’s, were also more muted than I had hoped, filled more with his indecision than any decisive behaviour. It took a long time before these two characters met and while the author did a decent job of showing their friendship develop, it didn’t help the story move along any faster. The last 50 pages of the novel were action-packed and full of intrigue, and as is the trend these days, ended on a cliffhanger. It had all the hype that I was hoping to find in the entire novel – but that I didn’t actually get. To be frank, the entire novel, while beautiful in description, just felt like a lot of world-building. There was a lot of heavy content and politics and terminology that could sometimes be hard to keep track of, and that made it hard to keep track of the plot. Overall, this novel had beautiful descriptions and interesting characters but a slow pace that dragged the plot. The first 50 pages and the last 50 pages really redeemed this book for me, and that is why I’m giving it a 3/5 stars. I am intrigued enough to give the next book in this series a try – but hopefully it will be a lot more action-packed and a lot less heavy on the details!

Happy reading ~

The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford

I was feeling in the mood for a horror story and this short novel, with its creepy cover and even creepier premise, seemed like the right fit. I grabbed it from the library and read it in just over 2 hours. Here is my review:

Maggie, Russell, and Henry have been friends for a long time. For their last college vacation together, they decide to play archaeologist in an old abandoned house in the woods outside of town. But as they excavate the outhouse, they find way more than what they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child. But disturbing the skeleton comes with a price. The trio find themselves being followed by an unknown intruder, and the people they care about are brutally murdered. Something has been awakened, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.

This novel wasn’t a horror story as much as it was a horror-comedy. The tone of the story is very jovial, and it is told from Henry’s perspective. There’s a fair amount of cussing and joking around even in the midst of danger. I didn’t actually mind the humor because it made for a fun ride. However, the thrill I was looking for was never there. Since this was a short book, everything happened too quickly for me and there was no time for that creepy chill to set in. The humor, while fun, also impeded the ability of the story to amp up the tension. Even though there was murder and a scary creature thrown into the mix, nothing was actually scary. This was an interesting story that had a good overall plot. But the novel suffered because it was just too quick and funny to be chilling. I would recommend this to someone looking for a quick and interesting read, but horror enthusiasts might find themselves disappointed with this one. I’m giving it a 2/5 stars; while it was an interesting read, it wasn’t the horror it was made out to be.

Happy reading ~