Ever the Hunted – Erin Summerill

28114396Title: Ever the Hunted
Author: Erin Summerill

Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Published Date: 12/27/2016

Blurb: 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.

My Review:
I’m not even sure what the allure of a book set in a place with no technology, bows and knives are hunting tools and trade is the best source of commodity is, but I am always drawn to them.  Throw in a strong female lead, and I’m usually game! Plus I really love that cover.

What I Loved:  This story unraveled at a very nice pace, and had the flavor of a fairy-tale, which falls right into my current Beauty and the Beast mode as it is.  I enjoyed that there were bits of magic interwoven throughout this story; you know that Britta is special, but it really isn’t fully unveiled until much later just how much, and then it maintains a bit of a ‘witch hunt’ atmosphere. I felt like the pace of this book moved along smoothly, yet didn’t skimp on the background either.  I honestly thought that I was reading a stand alone because of all the detail and the way the whole thing was unraveling.

I loved the relationship between Britta and Cohen’s friendship/relationship.  Of course there is the attraction between them which is kept at a sizzle most of the time, but they also bicker and get on each other’s nerves, just the way you would expect old friends to do.  They protect each other, even in moments when they don’t seem to be on the same side of the fence.

Britta’s captors were an interesting mix of people.  I did like that not all of them were mean/evil-natured, but that despite her circumstance, she had a friend as well.

Not So Much:  So the first, and probably most common mistake of any book relationship – the relationship between Britta and Cohen could have been set to rights by conversing. Even when there was this big secret being held, there was so much talking that could have been done, instead there were long pauses and assumptions the entire time…it got old very quickly.

Second, I thought I was reading a stand alone, even though I sort of knew I wasn’t at the same time.  This kind of book ALWAYS is part of a series.  But I’m very unpleased with the way this one ended, and I’m not even sure I want to continue.  It will take some good reviews and research on my part, because I’m not sure I can handle another book of no talking and secrets that are the biggest source of drama throughout the book.

The Verdict: I’m iffy on this.  I liked it a lot, but there were issues that make me hesitant to continue.  The book was clean and appropriate for YA.

Unhooked – Lisa Maxwell

Title: Unhooked
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Genre: YA – Fairytale Retell, Paranormal

Buy Link: http://amzn.com/1481432044

Blurb (From Goodreads):

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

My Review:

Ever the sucker for a fairy tale retelling, I grabbed up Unhook as soon as I knew about its existence. I truly did not know what I was in for when I picked up this book! I mean, from the blurb you can see this isn’t your typical Peter Pan story, but I am quite impressed with what it turned out to be. Unfortunately this review is finding itself to be vague in all ways. It’s very difficult to say much about it without spoiling the surprises in the book. Even the slightest discussion on the characters or events can reveal things that I feel are much better discovered by reading the book itself!

What I Loved: This book was quite a bit darker than any Peter Pan book I’ve read before. I think that is part of what really drew me in. This was only a skeleton of the story we know, in fact I’m pretty sure I can’t actually call this a ‘re-tell’ at all. The surprise of that kept me hooked, wanting to know what was going to happen next since I didn’t even have a baseline for the story.

Unhooked had so many twists and turns in it; I am usually pretty good with predicting what is going to happen, and I admit some predictions were easy, there were other moments, however, that surprised me! I love when a book does that. I find enjoyment at looking for foreshadowing and being right about the outcome, but I think I find even more when something (that makes sense) comes out of left field.

Not So Much: I have something I would put here…but it’s a spoiler, so I can’t. But it is not something that is a flaw in the story…just a preference of mine.

The Verdict:      

Hmm, well, I think that if you like fae (not the Tinker Bell kind) and familiar stories with a twist, you’ll like this book. It is quite clean, even from cussing – so approved for YA, and for those younger Pre-Teens who might like Goosebumps type books – they may enjoy this too!