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review 2018-07-22 08:03
Hunted by Meagan Spooner audiobook
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

I originally received a copy of this book for review from Edelweiss, but I have listened to the audiobook for the purposes of this review.

 

Marketed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is only my favourite fairytale, no big deal, starring a girl in a cloak on the cover and with a title like that? I am SO in.

And as fairytale retellings go, it was really decent. We had a really long set up detailing our Beauty’s backstory and she didn’t even meet the Beast til at least 20% through, possibly longer. The third arm of this quasi-love triangle (Yeva is so NOT in love with him) is Solmir, a really nice, rich guy who genuinely wants a wife he can hunt with, and Yeva’s two sisters adore her, even if they are pretty useless at surviving on their own.

 

I felt like the book took a couple of things from the Disney adaptations, like Yeva’s father going crazy (everyone thinks Maurice is crazy in the Disney versions), and the castle being stuck in permanent winter, but it also introduced a couple of twists: Yeva’s goal is to kill the Beast, the Beast doesn’t know he needs to fall in love to break the curse, Yeva’s family lost everything and had to move away from their town (I kinda sorta think this might be part of the original story?) and there were a couple of other Russian-inspired things twisted into this like a story of Ivan and the Wolf (NOT Peter and the Wolf, that’s completely different).

 

I liked this retelling because of its twist on the original tale, and because of the general Slavik inspiration and mish-mash of cultures and traditions that made it something a little bit different to the more European-styled medieval fantasies I’m generally more used to. (similar to Moana, this retelling is not taking just one culture or people as its base, but rather selecting bits and pieces to suit.)

 

I did have some issues with it though, so here we go:

 

Look, I don’t know much about snow. It snows in my city maybe every 10 years or so, and we mostly get it every year on the top of a local mountain you can pretty easily access if you really want to, but I did live in England for 2 years, one of which had 4 months straight of snowfall, so I know it gets bloody cold when it’s snowing, and especially at night time… and yet Yeva camps outside, in nothing but regular wintertime wool and leather Medieval-style peasant-clothes, and is totally fine! I don’t even know if she had a blanket or a tent. I needed a bit more information than telling me in one sentence she made camp then moved on the next day. How did she not get frostbite or freeze to death?

 

It was set in real-world Russia, or at least somewhere Slavik, because some of the characters mention Kiev, the Mongols, and Constantinople. Yet about halfway through this novel Yeva can suddenly see all of these magical things with no real explanation. It’s not explained (I don’t think, I was listening to the audiobook but I did drift a few times) if it’s ONLY the Beast’s forest which is magic, but even if it is, it doesn’t explain all of the other fairy tales that it faintly suggests are based in the real world. Yeva’s village, for example, has no magic in it whatsoever, even when Yeva returns suddenly able to see magic. So I don’t know if it’s meant to be this almost Narnia portal-like fantasy where she steps into a magical world no one else can access, or more Harry Potter like where there is magic everywhere but muggles aren’t magic so they can’t see it (or it’s hidden from them).

 

Yeva is very clearly a special snowflake who is so perfect because she’s so beautiful AND self-sufficient, she hunts food for her sisters who are more traditionally domesticated than her, AND she’s really good at it, AND she doesn’t care about her looks (literally, I don’t think it’s ever mentioned how she feels about being beautiful or nicknamed Beauty), and she refuses a perfectly good marriage proposal from a handsome, kind suitor who will literally let her do anything she wants, for no real good reason except that she wants ‘more’. It’s not even a real sense of entitlement, it’s just a general longing, confirmed at the end of the book when it is revealed she’s just a restless soul. But my point is, her modern-day feminism is kind of thrown in your face. She doesn’t cook very well, but that doesn’t matter because that’s women’s work and she can do the important hunting part while her sisters can’t.

 

Overall it was a decent retelling, with enough original content to make it interesting, and just a couple of things I found a little frustrating.

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review 2018-06-25 00:00
Hunted
Hunted - L.J. Swallow Hunted - L.J. Swallow Hmmm I felt this was a bit anti climatic as well. You get some info on the people Vee used to 'know' from her message boards but I am still not sure what that has to do with the dead Fae. And Vee is kind of a let down. She does more freaking out and over analyzing things than actually DOING something useful.
The romance certainly takes a step up, but again, I am not sure I like the direction. Its more like a paranormal NEED to sleep with them than actual love.
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review 2018-04-25 21:06
Book Review of Vicious Rumer: Haunted. Hunted. Cursed. You've Never Met Anybody Like Rumer Cross by Joshua Winning
Vicious Rumer: Haunted. Hunted. Cursed. You've Never Met Anybody Like Rumer Cross - Joshua Winning

‘A gripping and moody psychological thriller. It'll keep you up all night’ – Closer Magazine

 

Rumer Cross is cursed.

 

Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, she lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’ whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.

 

Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid.

 

Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming.

 

Review 4.5 rounded up to 5*

 

This is an intriguing crime thriller set in London, England. I loved it!

 

Rumer is a fascinating character. I found myself not only liking her, but also feeling sorry for her, though I also wanted to shake her at times too. She is nineteen years old, but seems more mature. This is due to her upbringing I think. She has grown up in foster care, knowing that her mother was a notorious assassin. Unfortunately, she believes herself to be cursed as everyone she comes to care for dies in the most terrible ways. Working for a private detective as a shadow (someone who follows, watches and listens to garner information), she is thrown into a life and death struggle when a mobster turns his attention in her direction seeking an occult relic last known to be in the possession of her mother, who died several years previously.

 

Although not YA like the author's previous works, this is an intriguing crime thriller that instantly caught my attention when I read the synopsis. Knowing that I would also be taken on an amazing journey was a bonus.

 

I started reading and didn't put the book down until I'd completed it. The story is told through Rumer's eyes and in first person. I found myself fascinated with Rumer and her life. I cannot imagine how knowing that you are the progeny of a criminal/assassin (even if deceased) would affect your life. Rumer emotionally distances herself from everyone in the hope that she will not 'kill' like her mother. She carries around a huge burden of guilt for things that she has no control over too. Understandable in some ways, annoying in others hence my desire to shake her at times.

 

There are several interesting characters introduced. Rumer's employer is Julian Hart and runs Hart Detective Agency, but he is only in a few scenes so didn't really get a feel for this character. Reverend Mara is the name of the mobster who is after Rumer and I found him to be a strange character. He is obsessed with locating an occult weapon called the Crook Spear. Then there is Bolt, an ex-policeman who befriends Rumer. I would have liked to have gotten to know him a lot more as there seems to be some chemistry between him and Rumer and would have liked for the author to have explored this a bit more. There are also a few other characters introduced, like George for instance and someone thought to be long dead.

 

Vicious Rumer is a pulse pounding read full of action, danger and violence. There are several twists and turns that surprised me and I found myself on an emotional roller coaster ride from beginning to end. I did find some scenes disturbing, particularly the one containing George and I shed a couple of tears for not only him, but Rumer too.

The occult weapon with the weird name is not what I thought it would be. However, so as not to spoil it, I will not say what kind of weapon it is. I will say that when it was disclosed I was completely thrown; I had a completely different weapon in mind. The end of the story sent chills up my spine. There could potentially be a sequel as it finishes ambiguously and ominously.

 

Joshua Winning has written an intriguing crime thriller with a kick-ass heroine. I love his fast paced writing style, and the story flowed beautifully. He is one of only a handful of male authors who I have added to my favourite authors list and I can't wait to see what he will come up with in the future.

 

Due to the nature of the story (danger, violence, bloodshed), I do not recommend this book to young readers or those of a nervous disposition. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love crime thrillers with kick-ass heroines. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-02-28 03:08
Ever the Hunted - Erin Summerill

This is a very solid book with above par writing, a decent plotline and characters you can get behind. My main gripe was the sloooow pacing at times (typical for a traveling yarn) and the confusing romance. "I love you but you don't love me but then you love me and now you don't again and in the end I'm not sure how I feel now GRRRRR!!!!! The few major plot twists were pretty easily sussed out and the ending was weird but still satisfying in its own way. I will most likely check out book #2 from the library but I'm not compelled to do so anytime soon.

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review 2017-12-12 18:55
Ughhhhh
Ever the Hunted - Erin Summerill

So this was my favourite cover design of the last couple years. Sadly, the story didn't live up to my admittedly high expectations. Wanted to quit by 1/3 of the way through and speed-read the last third. Gonna try to articulate just what didn't work for me because someone else might not have the same complaints.

 

Mostly, the use of language just rubbed me the wrong way. In the author notes, she talks about moving a lot, growing up overseas etc., so maybe she's using language in a way that's more appealing elsewhere? But to me, there just seemed to be a lot of awkward turns of phrases, so I couldn't stop editing it in my head...And her metaphors just annoyed me. So my sense was that this didn't get a good enough line edit/the author ignored her line edit and did a lot of idiosyncratic overwriting. But maybe that's just my take on it lol.

 

The fantasy world and premise wasn't bad, but it just didn't grip my attention the way it needed to. I didn't really feel the stakes - and there's some tough stuff that launches the adventure, so I should have been able to feel that emotional resonance. Nope. Left me cold. Ditto for the romance - lots of fawning descriptions of Male Love Interest's person. Seemed more icky than appealing. The main character shouldn't feel like a creeper for having a crush. Don't know what went wrong here, and again, maybe it's just me that feels that way.

 

Overall story was pretty low-impact. Medieval-fantasy type world you've seen before. Girl with archery skills sets out to hunt down her father's killer (who she has a crush on) while facing execution herself. Dystopian-type shenanigans occur after a long road trip which goes about how you'd expect. The final page twist is actually a relatively good one, if you care about the romance subplot, and MC is never more interesting than when she starts displaying some powers and getting a handle on those. 

 

Dunno, I usually don't pan a book this harshly, but for a trad pubbed major YA Fantasy release, this just didn't live up to my expectations. *HOWEVER* - it is a debut, and a duology, and I'm up for the sequel on NetGalley, so I'll give this author another shot, and maybe take a look at her next book/series to see if some of the kinks get ironed out...

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