The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

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The Red Hunter
By Lisa Unger
Publisher: Touchstone
ISBN13: 9781501101670
Pages: 359
Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Synopsis:

What is the difference between justice and revenge?

Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house–one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past–and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course–because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the terrifying monsters at the door.


(New) Thoughts

The Red Hunter is a tale of two female strangers whose paths have unknowingly been woven together by their own dark pasts. Claudia is a single mother working diligently to build a new life of happiness through the process of renovating an old house with her daughter. She longs to leave the brutal attack that flipped her life upside in the past and heal. Zoey is a fierce young woman who aims to confront the murder of her parents and her tragic history head on. Fate will weave a tangled web that eventually bring them and their demons together in a head on impact that will forever change their lives.

My initial reaction to The Red Hunter was to pick it up and devour it! I found myself instantly drawn to Unger’s fluid narration and writing style. Fortunately, I forced myself to settle into a slower pace and absorb this one over the span of a few days because this is a story that I feel is most rewarding when allowed to unfold slowly.

Character development was steady, offering substantial growth and establishing a solid connection with the reader. It was easy to identify with Claudia and Zoey. While each has chosen an entirely different course of action in life, there were constant factors in place that assured every decision and difference remained relatable and viable. Unger supplies a solid back story for our main protagonists while leaving the waters just muddied enough to fuel the mystery. They are credible and familiar, yet there is so much more to know.

Plot progression is well paced. The story starts out feeling a bit unhurried when compared to some thrillers, but I found this to be well warranted. The initially slower introduction allows the reader adequate time to familiarize themselves with not one but two protagonists.  Things soon pick up however, and a rapidly developing plotline draws the reader in as two separate lives begin to fall inline through the use of cleverly alternating timelines and point of views that come together seamlessly.

Lisa Unger’s writing is direct and smooth. She effectively creates an atmospheric experience that is as engaging as it is convincing while avoiding unnecessary and frivolous details. She sets a stage ripe with the air of mystery and no shortage of the unexpected. As a latecomer, I found The Red Hunter to be a terrific introduction to Lisa Unger’s writing.

Untitled designEnjoyed with a cup of red rooibos tea with a hint of almond and vanilla.

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Purchase Links: Amazon.com Book Depository

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*5 Fictional Books I am Thankful For*

Five Fictional BooksI Am Thankful For

I love that the approaching holidays provides a needed relief to my social media feeds as we are reminded to stop and reflect on that which we are thankful for. I relish in seeing the negative posts replaced with the daily “Today I am thankful for..” prompts. And while I may not be as public about it, I am certainly among those counting my blessings and feeling the gratitude. So keeping on the lighter side of matters but in spirit, today I want to share 5 fictional books that have made my life better and why I am thankful for them.

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The Hobbit (Or There and Back Again)
By JRR Tolkien

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“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” 

Why I am thankful for it:

Okay, so this one needs no introduction and is no stranger on my blog. The Hobbit entered my life at a very young age. To be honest, I am not sure most children my age at the time (7 or 8 I believe) got it. But things were hard and this introduction to fantasy came like a saving grace, transporting out of the turmoil I was forced to call life and into Middle Earth where I developed my own courage alongside Bilbo Baggins.  I attribute not only my love for fantasy but overall fondness of reading to Tolkien’s tale of one brave little hobbit that lived in a hole in the ground.

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A Wrinkle In Time 
By Madeleine L’engle

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“Believing takes practice.” 

Why I am thankful for it:

Much like The Hobbit, the adventures of Meg and Charles Wallace were a means of escapism during my childhood that only solidified my love for fantasy. The battle between good and evil captivated me while also assuring my young self that love can and does prevail. For that, I thank you Madeleine L’engle.

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The Alchemist 
By Paulo Coelho

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“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” 

Why I am thankful for it:

Recommended by a dear friend, I picked this small book up at a B&N one day not realizing that it would soon earn a permanent spot among my most cherished titles. While brief in pages there are no shortage of messages to be drawn from Coelho’s inspiring work. Packed among many, perhaps the most important lesson I drew from The Alchemist was the significance of my own dreams and journey. I cannot recommend this book enough, and always will.

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1984
By George Orwell

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“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

Why I am thankful for it:

Not all titles that impact our lives in a great way have to be pleasant ones. I feel Orwell’s 1984 is a prime example of this if ever there was. Being frank, this book bored me at times and was depressing at the best. But something more important began to happen as I proceeded with this ever relevant title; it challenged me. Still very applicable in today’s society, if forced me to take a strong look at totalitarian governments and our own state of affairs.

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Brave New World
By Aldous Huxley

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“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” 

Why I am thankful for it:

Following suit of 1984, Brave New World also manages to paint a grim picture that sheds light upon a very significant and also relevant problem. It paints a perfect tale of “ignorance is bliss” and the perils of a society that opts for the comforts of scientific advancements and technology over basic human nature. It serves as a terrifying warning to all.

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What books are you thankful for?

What titles have impacted your life? Do you have a favorite fictional (or maybe nonfictional) book that changed you as a reader or a person? Did any books challenge you to think more about difficult topics?

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

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Erin Summerill~An Interview & Ever the Brave

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Recently I was fortunate enough to receive the opportunity to interview Erin Summerill. I was instantly won over with her debut YA fantasy Ever the Hunted. You can read my thoughts here. In anticipation of the upcoming release of the sequel, Ever the Brave, I am excited to share my Q & A with Erin today.

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1.Britta is such a beautifully complex character. I was instantly drawn to her journey of self discovery and how well she overcame so many adversities. Was there a personal inspiration behind her character?
There is someone in my life who is a survivor. She has been through some of life’s most difficult challenges, and yet, she lives life to the fullest. When Britta’s character came to me, I wanted to work with someone that had this same strength. I think we don’t realize what we’re capable of until we must overcome adversity. I wanted to explore the idea that how we face adversity can vary by individuals. While no one is perfect, we have the ability to change our perspective about the world around us. My friend who was key in creating Britta’s character taught me that we can see light in the darkest times…if we choose to.  

2.There is a lot happening within Ever the Hunted. You deliver a tremendous amount of character development and world building that feels so complete and natural. What type of research or information did you gather while writing this series?

Because there was so much random information I needed to find, I’ll tell you one specific thing. I had to learn about HUNTING! Honestly, I’m not much of a meat eater. I’ve never hunted an animal. This part of the writing process was difficult. It made me squeamish at times. The big world of game hunters was mind boggling. Learning the terminology was like learning a new language.


3.Your writing reads with incredible ease. What have been some of the biggest challenges you have encountered as a writer?
Thank you, that is kind of you to say. I love fantasy, but when I was growing up, many of the fantasy worlds I encountered were hard to take in. Sometimes my dyslexia made the strange words jump around on the pages, and sometimes the formal writing style made me sleepy. I wanted to create a fantasy that had more of a modern, informal storytelling vibe.

The biggest challenge with this is there are many fantasy readers that crave more formalized text. Sometimes their responses can be harsh. But it comes with the territory, and I’m just grateful for anyone who reads my books!

4.Do you have a favorite secondary character in Ever the Hunted and if so, why? Yes! I love Enat. She is gruff and plucky just like my grandmother. I was close with my grandmother when I was growing up. After she passed away, I wanted to write a character like her. In a way, she came to life through Enat.  


5.Has Clash of Kingdoms been something you have known you would write for a while? Where did the idea stem from?
I wrote a book that I LOVED. I loved it so much I revised it for 2 years. But it still had problems. I had a genius critique partner that suggested I set the book aside and write something new. After a conversation with a co-worker, this idea about a hunter in the woods came to me. I am so glad I went with this idea.


6.I cannot wait to continue with this series. Will you possibly have future projects that explore genres outside of fantasy?
Yes!!! I love writing in different genres. I am hoping to delve into sci-fi and contemporary.


7.Reading and writing seem to be such an individualized process. Do you have any habits or rituals that are a part of your normal writing routine?
I drink a lot of Coke Zero and eat a lot of hot tamales. I wear stretchy pants and lounge around my house for days and days. And sometimes, I’m not great at getting into the shower…uh, maybe I shouldn’t share that bit.

8.Which authors or books have influenced you the greatest as a person and a writer?
There are so many! I love Sarah Maas, CJ Redwine, VE Schwab, Pierce Brown, Megan Whalen Turner, Kristen Cashore…I love the books they write and could live in their worlds forever.

9.I read that you also happen to be a professional photographer! Was photography something that captured your interest at an early age?
Yes! Actually, I started in high school, but not because I was interested in photography. I was mostly interested in this good-looking guy on the basketball team. I didn’t want to be obviously gawking at him, so I joined yearbook and volunteered to be the photographer. That way, I could go and take pictures of him.

Now that I retell the story, it seems a bit creepy.

But there you have it, that is where my photography career started.

10.Last but never least; do you drink tea and if so, what if your favorite blend?
Ah, I do! I love fruity herbal teas. I like meyer lemon herbal tea, or mango/passionfruit!

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etbraveEver the Brave (Clash of Kingdoms #2)
Release Date: 12/5/17
By Erin Summerill
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN13: 9780544664463

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Synopsis:

The second in the duology, EVER THE BRAVE is another romantic, page-turning fantasy in the vein of Sarah Maas and Susan Dennard.

 In the wake of saving King Aodren, and consequently creating a strong connection with Malam’s leader, Britta finds herself in the middle of noble circles and on the King’s arm as he fights to take back control of his country. But the uneasy alliance between the kingdoms of Malam and Shaerdan is questioned when Channeler girls start disappearing from their homes. Meanwhile, Cohen is determined to find the Spiriter Channeler responsible for almost killing the King even when Britta begs him to remain in Brentyn. After Cohen’s abrupt and heart-breaking departure, Britta and King Aodren are shocked when invaders storm the castle and seize Brentyn. With the war going on, troops have left the country’s stronghold weak, giving the invaders a chance to take over the castle. The enemy leader is someone from Britta’s past who has the same powers as her and who is out to use Britta’s power for evil designs.

Pre-order Information

Purchase Links: The King’s English Bookshop  Amazon.com  Book Depository

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With a B.A. in English, Erin Summerill aspired to be a writer, but first she grabbed a Nikon and became a professional wedding photographer. When she isn’t writing, she’s chasing her four kids, two dogs, one cat, and five chickens. Erin and her family live in Utah.

Follow Erin: Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

*I want to extend a special thank you to Erin for this wonderful interview and sharing so much about herself today. It has been a fantastic experience.

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

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