The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano – a Review

The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano – a Review


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“It’s dark magic brings him back.” Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family—it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” As the suspicious looks and muttered accusations of her neighbors build, so does the pressure inside her, and Tori returns to the pattern of self-harm that landed her in a hospital back in D.C. It all comes to a head one night when, to Tori’s shock, she witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard. Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events—including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin—that seem to point back to Nathaniel. As Tori digs for the truth—and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel—she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried… at any cost.


The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano is a Young Adult suspense romance novel.  Tori Burns has recently lost her father, so when they receive notice that they have inherited land and property in Chaptico, Maryland, her family jumps at the chance to move.  Although the reasons why the house has come to them is mysterious and sketchy, they move from the D.C. area – making Chaptico their new home.  But the locals aren’t nearly as welcoming as they would like them to be.  Especially the Slaughter family who up until a week ago owned the house and land they now occupy!  The Slaughter roots run deep in Chaptico, and the Burns family are considered transplants, and not well liked by any means, in fact some are saying they stole the house from the Slaughters. 

With all the chaos and turmoil the new move has brought – it brings Tori back to self-harm, something that has previously put her in the hospital.  From the moment they arrived Tori started having bad, vivid dreams.  On one particularly bad night a dream awakens her with a startle.  She dresses and runs outside to the little cemetery and large oak tree on her property, that she is always mysteriously drawn to.  With everything building, the townspeople, the Slaughters –  Tori does the one thing she knows will release her and ease her misery.  She cuts herself.   And in that moment, below the oak tree, the ground moved.  The earth erupted and from below that oak tree, aged, withered and worn – a young man emerged. Clawing his way out of his earthly grave. And in that moment, Tori could not believe her eyes.  Surely they have betrayed her.  But when the young man, covered in mud and dirt touches her, she lost consciousness.

Nathaniel Bishop does not know why he has returned.  Only that he has.  And one thing is clear, his hate for what the Slaughter’s have done to him many years ago runs as deep as the roots of this old oak tree.  Once Tori realizes that Nathaniel isn’t here to hurt her, she comes to befriend him, but little does she know that her life and that of Nathaniel’s are intertwined. As she dissects and investigates the mysterious reason that has brought her here, she soon comes to realize that the Slaughter’s secrets run deep and that they would stop at nothing to keep those secrets in the family.  But at what price, and what will the end results be for not only Tori but for Nathaniel as well? 

I enjoyed Tori from page one, and I completely understand from which the self-harm has come from.  I don’t believe this story will be everyone’s cup of tea, as self-harm is quite taboo  but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and completely understood the correlation of Tori’s self harm and Nathaniel’s resurrection.  The interweaving of the story of what has brought Tori to Slaughter Farm and the telling of the past of how Nathaniel came to Chaptico –  and how he ended up buried under the oak tree was fascinating to me.

 Nathaniel’s story dates back to slave times, and how the Slaughter’s were slave owners.  It tells of Nathaniel and his best friend Emmeline, and how they were kidnapped and brought to the United States and sold into slavery.   The story contains dark magic and spells of what has brought Nathaniel back. Essentially telling of two stories at once and weaving them into a wonderful web of loyalty, friendship, love and the ties that bind.  It also shows just how family secrets can ruin lives and take them all at the same time.  And what one will do to get to the bottom of those secrets and what another will do to cover them up. 

Nathaniel Bishop was a good man; bound by loyalty and friendship.  He has tried to remain true to his word and promises.  But some promises go unfulfilled.  That is until the time is right to rewrite the wrongs.  His loyalty to Emmeline and to Tori made him quite likeable.  The life that he had previously endured as a slave was horrific and you want for nothing more than to allow him some time of happiness and freedom.  But with the end eminent – you want him to fulfill the promises he has made and you want him to finally have peace.  But is that all possible?  Can that come to pass and allow Tori to finally have the answers she so desperately needs?

 I would recommend this to any mature teen and up.   The story is timeless, beautiful and a great opportunity to discuss self-harm.  The story wouldn’t have come to pass if Tori didn’t have a past history of self-harm and in that self-harm she finds life and hope.   I am looking forward to continuing this story and hope that there is a future for Nathaniel and Tori.  

Reviewed by Erin

Copy provided by Publisher



Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley – a Review

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley – a Review


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Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough




Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley is a YA novel.  There is no dystopian story, no adventure, no exciting mystery or even a teen runaway story.  Words of Deep Blue is a contemporary novel of a teen age girl who tries to overcome her grief over the death of her brother, and learn to carry on with her life; it is also a story of how words and books can play a large part of lives.   

Rachel Sweetie returns to the town she left 3 years before, where her friends Lola and Henry still live.  Rachel left town with her family, having left a love letter in a book for Henry to find; but he never saw the letter and Rachel assumed he wasn’t interested.  So when she returns home, she hides her grief over the drowning death of her brother Cal, and tells no one of his death.

She takes a job working at the Howling Book store, where Henry helps his father run the story.  Henry always considered Rachel his best friend, but could never understand why she stopped writing to him during those three years.  I enjoyed Rachel’s character; her grief and pain made her a better and stronger person, and in time she accepts what happened and opens up to her friends.  Rachel also knows that Henry will never get over his spoiled self centered girlfriend, Amy.   I did not like Henry, as he was so blind as to always thinking Amy cares about him, even when she dumps him, and does not even see that Rachel is not only his friend, but someone who truly loves him.  

What follows is a slow built rekindling of a friendship that was lost.  It was nice that Henry and Rachel would spend so much time together in the book store, many times spending the night reading and looking at letters left behind by others.  The words spoken were what slowly brings them together, at first as friends, and later when Henry finally realizes that everything he always wanted was right in front him.  As the story unfolds, Rachel comes to terms with Cal’s death, shares her grief with her friends and family, which also brings her closer to Henry.   There were some other background stories, especially Henry’s sister, George, who leaves letters to an unknown suitor; which later is a surprise. 

Words in Deep Blue was a different type of read for a YA novel, but it is truly is for everyone.  This book was emotional, uplifting, touching  and at times humorous. Rachel, and even Henry were well developed characters, as well as many of the secondary characters.  This was a nice story well written by Cath Crowley.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder – a Review

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder – a Review


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On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?



Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder is a middle-grade stand alone novel that can be read very well by adults.

Orphan Island  takes place on an unknown island, where there are children who live alone.  The island itself is kind of perfect; beautiful landscape, skies, cabins to live in, and plenty of food to gather.  Each child will have their chores to help each other; such as cleaning, hunting for clams or fishing, cooking, teaching the younger children, as well as having fun.  Every year, a boat comes bringing in a young child, and at the same time the Elder (oldest ) leaves on the boat, always keeping the count at 9.  This is a rule that must be followed, or the perfect protected island could fall apart.  

We meet Jinny, who has to say goodbye to her friend Deen, her best friend and the current Elder who must leave.  Jinny is sad, but she is now the Elder, and it becomes her responsibility to take “Care” of the child who has arrived, Ess.  We get to meet the other children, and watch how they learn to live very well on the island, including the differences of each, as well as their learned specialties.  Jinny keeps Ess close to her at all times, taking her on trips to see the wonders and to teach her to swim.  Because of her worry about Ess, she begins to wonder what happens to those who leave, and when the boat arrives again, Jinny refuses to leave.  She feels it is her place to stay and watch over Ess, as well as the new child who comes.

When normal things such as the beautiful sky, controlled winds change, sparseness of food, and an accident occurs, Jinny must question her decision and the consequences she has caused. 

This was a different type of story line.  There are no paranormal or dystopian elements, no excitement, but a simple well written story revolving around children learning to live together on an abandoned island.  Though it is a good story, I did not really like the ending, which left you to your imagination on what happens.  I would have wanted to learn more about why the children are sent to the island, what was the purpose of this, and what happens to those who leave?  I do recommend Orphan Island for Young Adults, as well as adults who enjoy a story line about children surviving on their own.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Locked Tight (Mindjack #4) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

LOCKED TIGHT (Mindjack#4) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

Locked Tight

ebook only 99¢ / / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 17, 2017

In a world filled with mindreaders, being a mindjacker is a good way to end up dead.

And Zeph is no ordinary jacker.

He can break open the toughest minds—or lock the weakest ones—but that just makes him a weapon every jacker Clan wants to control. To keep his family of mindreaders safe, Zeph does what his Clan leader says and tries to shut out the screams—but when jackers are revealed to the world, he has no choice but to hug his kid sister goodbye and leave home.

Passing for a reader is something Zeph does well, but when readers start changing into jackers and his family disappears, Zeph must return to a city filled with jackers who hate him, trick a mindware CEO into helping him, avoid a girl who knows him too well, and spy on the most powerful jacker in the state.

All without dying or revealing his abilities—or being caught in the firestorm of hate between jackers and readers that’s threatening to pull the world apart.

The bestselling Mindjack Series continues with an all new character and a world of mindreaders and mindjackers as you’ve never seen it before. LOCKED TIGHT is the first of three Mindjack novels from Zeph’s perspective. (See The Locksmith for Zeph’s origin story.)



REVIEW: LOCKED TIGHT is the fourth full –length installment in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult (YA) Mindjack urban fantasy, dystopian series. LOCKED TIGHT and the prequel novella The Locksmith are the beginning of a new arc in the Mindjack series. No longer focusing on jacker Kira Moore, the series shifts focus to eighteen year old mindjacker Zephyr MacCay who has the ability to lock down or unlock the human mind.

SOME BACKGROUND: In a world where mindreading is the norm (due to decades of contaminated or purposely poisoned water) there are those with more powerful abilities than most. These are their stories of discrimination, betrayal, retribution and control. The human population developed various forms of mind-reading, mind altering and mind controlling abilities. And to complicate matters those without the ability to mindjack are purposely setting out to bring war between the have and the have-nots.

Told from first person point of view (Zeph) LOCKED TIGHT follows eighteen year old mindjacker Zephyr MacCay as he searches for his family (and thirteen year old sister) he hasn’t seen in years-a family of mindreaders whose lives were threatened by the existence of their eldest son. Zephyr has the ability to hide his abilities but a threat of another nature finds our hero caught between three potential enemies never knowing who is telling the truth or out right lies. What ensues are Zeph’s attempts to locate his sister as several warring factions battle for control of Zephyr himself.

LOCKED TIGHT is an infinitely detailed, brilliant and remarkable look at a world struggling with the fall out of chemical contamination of the human population. From mindreaders to mindjackers Susan Kaye Quinn’s MINDJACKER series looks at the dysfunctional relationship between a hierarchy of mental and physical powers, and the breakdown of society between the ‘have and have nots’. The Mindjacker series focuses on betrayal, revenge, discrimination, specieism, and the battle for control, and the potential to create a weapon of unimaginable strengths. The premise is unparalleled with a profound and innovative message as well as a frighteningly realistic look at the future where fear and anarchy reign.

Reading Order and previous reviews
Mind Games (Mindjack Origins 1)
Open Minds
Closed Hearts
Free Souls
The Locksmith
The Handler/ The Scribe (Mindjack Origins 2 & 3)
Keeper (Mindjack Origins 4)
Locked Tight

Reviewed by Sandy

Copy supplied for review.


Mindjack Origins #5-a novella
by Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: YA, dystopian, UF

FREE ebook at Amazon / / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 9, 2015

SHORT NOVELLA (STANDALONE) in the Mindjack universe

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

In a world filled with mindreaders, Zeph is a mindjacker who wants to stay hidden—even if it means the cute mindreader in his Latin class is forever out of his reach. He locks and unlocks minds for a ruthless mindjacker Clan in exchange for protection and the chance to have a normal life with his parents and little sister. But when a girl he doesn’t know reveals the existence of mindjackers to the world, Zeph is forced to make a choice: unlock—and ultimately destroy—the mind of a young jacker changeling… or turn his back on everyone he loves.

The Locksmith is a short novella (standalone) in the Mindjack universe. It can be read independently of the other Mindjack stories, in any order. It is 11,000 words (or 44 pages) long.


REVIEW: THE LOCKSMITH is the latest novella in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult Mindjack urban fantasy dystopian series.

In a world where mindreading is the norm (due to decades of contaminated water) there are those with more powerful abilities than most. These are their stories of discrimination, betrayal, retribution and control. The human population developed various forms of mind-reading, mind altering and mind controlling abilities. And to complicate matters, those without any special ability declare everyone with altered minds as an enemy of the state.

The novella focuses on Zeph, a young seventeen year old mindjacker who has the ability to lock down or unlock the human mind. As a mindjacker, Zeph has become part of a Clan and has been commanded to lock down the minds of potential Clan workers. When something goes horribly wrong, and Zeph is unable to stop the carnage, he runs-he has no plans to become the next victim of society’s ills.

Susan Kaye Quinn adds another dimension to her young adult Mindjack series. THE LOCKSMITH is a fast paced, quick read that will tease a new reader into wanting more. For fans of Susan’s Mindjack series, we are hoping that Zeph survives the upcoming fallout of the impending war.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy


Letters To The Lost by Brigid Kemmerer-Review and Giveaway

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer-Review and Giveaway

Letters to the Lost Banner

by Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: YA, dark romance

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 4, 2017

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.


REVIEW: Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother, a world-renowned photojournalist. When her mom was away on assignment they would always write to each other.
So even in her mothers death she has continued to write to her. Leaving her handwritten letters to her mother at the cemetery. They are private and personal and just between
her and her mother. Its her way of staying connected to her mother. That is until someone reads one – and has the audacity to respond.

Declan Murphy is full on juvenile delinquent – at least that’s what everyone thinks of him. While doing his court appointed community service, he spends his time mowing the lawn
at the local cemetery. Part of the job he must do is pick up everyone’s personal belongings from the graves before he mows the lawn. There he finds a letter that
so entirely speaks to him, he has no choice but to respond. How could another person feel exactly the way he does. How can they know what it feels like to be him.
But, when Juliet realizes that someone has read her personal letter to her mother, and not only that but responded to it, to say she was quite upset is an understatement. When she writes back to let the person know that she feels that they have violated her privacy she has no idea what this will begin. And so begins a series of letters that help to heal both Juliet and Declan. But nothing comes easy. To find their way they must first find themselves.

Juliet is undoubtedly broken – she has been since the death of her mother. She has no one she can turn to or even begin to explain how she feels responsible for her mothers death.

She is the one that begged her mother to come home early from her trip. She is the one responsible for her being in the cab when she was. She knows had she not begged her mother to come home she would be here today. Declan has had a life just a rough. His father killed his sister and he too feels that he bears the blame of that. If he had just driven them that evening instead of telling his dad to drive himself. His sister would still be alive. He lives with that burden every day. He hasn’t dealt with any of this the way he should have. Instead he has broken the law and further feeds into what everyone thinks of him. His pain was absolutely real and my heart broke for him. Several times I was brought to tears with his words and how broken he was.

What an amazing, turbulent, truthful and powerful story. This story follows two teenagers through some stuff that no teenager should ever have to face. But through their letters – they realize that they are not alone in this. That someone is willing to listen and perhaps see beyond what’s masked on the outside. I enjoyed both characters of Juliet and Declan. Both tormented and tragic in their own lives. But when they begin to open up to one another – something magical happens. And it happens without judgment. When we can truly see the person for who they are not what their outward appearance seems to say. I loved how they interacted with each other at school – not knowing who the other was. Not knowing that they have a connection with each other and just don’t know it yet.

I loved the secondary character of Rev, Declan’s best friend. His story was just a complicated and complex as any I have ever read. I want to know so much more though. His ending in this book was perfect and left me teary eyed and smiling. I can’t wait to share this story with my teen daughter – she is going to absolutely love it as much as I did. Highly recommend.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Erin


About The Author

Brigid KemmererFollow: Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

BRIGID KEMMERER is author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas. She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.


Brigid Kemmer’s publiscist is offering a finished copy of LETTERS TO THE LOST to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Awakening (Stories of Singularity 5) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

AWAKENING (Stories of Singularity 5) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

Awakening / /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 2, 2017

Sister Amara prays she won’t be the last of the twelve sisters to reach her awakening—after all, the salvation of their Masters depends on them. But with the interrogations growing more deadly, being last may be best… especially when you’ve been created to touch the face of God.

Awakening is a standalone novella that provides a glimpse into a dark corner of the Singularity novel series.

The Stories of Singularity can be read independently from the Singularity novel series.

Singularity Series
The Legacy Human (Book 1)
The Duality Bridge (Book 2)
The Stories of Singularity #1-4 (Novella Box Set)
The Illusory Prophet (Book 3)

Stories of Singularity
Restore (Story 1)
Containment (Story 2)
Defiance (Story 3)
Augment (Story 4)
Awakening (Story 5)


REVIEW: AWAKENING is the fifth novella in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult Stories of Singularity dystopian, sci-fic series- a companion series to Quinn’s Singularity Series. AWAKENING can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

BACKGROUND: The ‘Singularity’ resulted in most of the world’s population transforming themselves into a hybrid known as the Ascended-part man/part machine but the few remaining humans become what is known as the Legacy-the true descendants of humankind. The Singularity series looks at the struggle between the Ascended and everyone else.

Told from first person point of view (Sister Amara) AWAKENING follows Sister Amara as she ‘awakens’ to the world around her. A combination of artificial intelligence and cloistered humanoids ‘created to touch the face of God’, Sister Amara and eleven other ‘clones’ just like her are in a constant state of hyper vigilance as each approaches the famed ‘awakening’. But as the ‘experiment’s continue each sister will inevitably fail to reach her potential, and the people in charge will do anything to avoid an experimental disaster. Sister Amara is one of the few who will reach her potential (and beyond), and with it will gain her freedom from the onslaught of constant pain and strive for perfection.

AWAKENING is an intriguing look at the world of Singularity. An interesting and powerful concept born of the mind of Susan Kaye Quinn that focuses on humanity’s desire to live forever.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy


Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill – a Review

Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill – a Review


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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.



Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill is the first book in her new Clash of Kingdoms series.  This is a fantasy novel with wonderful world-building by Summerill.  In this world there are two factions that are at war with each other.  The story revolves around our heroine, Britta, whom we meet at the start.  She lives alone after the death of her father, who was murdered.  He was an elite bounty hunter for the King of Malam. Britta knows that soon her home will be confiscated, and she will have nowhere to go.  Desperate for food, she enters the Ever Woods to hunt prey, and after she succeeds, she is captured by the Kings guards.  To save her own life, she makes a deal with the King’s Regent to help three guards track down the murderer of her father.  The problem…..the man they say who killed her father was his former apprentice and her childhood crushe…Cohen McKay.

In any new fantasy world, things do start off slow, as the author will show us the world we are now in.  The two factions are Malem, which is governed by the King and the Channelers,  who have magic and powers, but are prosecuted by those from Malem. Summerill does a good job creating a nice flow, as we learn about the two kingdoms, but the storyline is still very much centered on Britta.  

As one of the best trackers, Britta and the three guards (Captain Omar, Leif and Tomas) follow the trail that she finds to bring them closer to Cohen.  In a short period, Britta will come face to face with Cohen, and realize that he is innocent of the murder charges.  Together they escape the guards and try to find the real murderer.  What follows is an exciting, action filled and intense story that will bring both heroes to the brink of death.  Along the way, there are many twists and turns, as well as betrayals that put them further in danger.  Britta will learn more about her life that her father hid from her, and meet someone who will tell her the truth of her past, and how to use her ability.  Most of all, this is a sweet romance between Britta and Cohen, that was wonderfully written by Summerill.  What starts out as a childhood friendship, family dynamics and hidden feelings becomes a love that was so nice to watch grow.

As I have noted in previous fantasy first books, the key to a successful start of a series is to have good characters that you care about.   In Ever the Hunted, we not only have Britta, a wonderful heroine, who has just begun to harness her powers; Cohen, a great hero, who loves Britta with all his heart; and some other truly great characters; Leif, one of the good guards; Enat, a Channeler, who is more than a teacher to Britta; and even Captain Omar, who was cold and unforgiving early on.  

This turned out to be a very nice fast paced story line, well written by Summerrill, with great characters and  many surprises along the way.  Ever the Hunted is wonderful start to a new series, which I recommend that you read. I look forward to the next book in the Clash of the Kingdoms series. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher



The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir – a Review

The Girl in the Picture  by Alexandra Monir – a Review


The Girl in the PictureAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Nicole Morgan has been labeled many things — the geeky music girl, the shy sidekick to Miss Popularity, and the girl with the scar. Now only one name haunts her through the halls of Oyster Bay Prep.

The Girl in the Picture.

After high school heartthrob Chace Porter is found dead in the woods near the school, the police are in search of the girl whose picture with Chace is the only clue found amongst his personal belongings. A girl who no one knew was even close to Chace–and whose dormmate, Lana Rivera, was Chace’s girlfriend.

Nicole is that girl and now she’s the primary suspect in his murder.

But what really happened that night? Were Nicole and Chace dating behind Lana’s back; were he and Lana over? Could either of them have killed him?

Told in alternating points of view, that of our suspect, Nicole Morgan, and her former best friend and roommate, Lana Rivera, readers will piece together the story of a starcrossed love, a fractured friendship–and what really happened the night Chace was killed.



The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir is a standalone YA mystery suspense novel.  This story is told in two pov’s, Nicole and Lana; with some from the boy in the middle, Chace, which will cover a year.  The story actually begins in current time, with the news of Chace’s murder. A picture is revealed, with Nicole and Chace together, and everyone is on Lana’s side as she was the one they felt was betrayed.  Hence the title, The Girl in the Picture.

In various snippets, where we go back and forth between the past and the present, we get to meet Nicole, the new girl at school, who is training to be an elite violinist and meets her roommate, Lana, who is Miss Popularity.  Nicole is quiet and sweet, while Lana is her opposite.  Lana, because of Nicole’s bright future, decides to accept her as a friend.

It is Lana, who will meet the new boy, Chace, and flirt with him to start a relationship. Nicole helps Lana, and is supportive of her dating Chace.  Along the way, Chace, who loves Nicole’s music, begins to fall hard for her.  Nicole, at first has no intention of getting in the middle, for fear of losing her friend.  Chace is persistent and Nicole finds herself falling for him.

In current time, Nicole is the main suspect, as everyone is willing to condemn her, including her now fierce enemy, Lana.  We also learn along the way, who was responsible for the terrible scar Nicole suffered.  This is a real murder mystery, which has us concentrating on any clues that will tell us who killed Chace.  We know Nicole is not the real culprit, but who is? I felt sorry for Nicole, as she truly did not want to fall for Chace, and wanted to tell Lana the truth.  In a major twist, the answers will be discovered that was a surprise, not to mention who was able to discover the truth.

To tell too much more would be spoilers.  What follows is a very nicely done mystery revolving around the two narrators of the story, with the unusual voice of Chace in the background.  Everything in the past, is laid out nicely, which leads to the present and the resolution.  It was very well written by Monir.  If you enjoy a YA themed background, with a murder mystery, you need to read this book.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher