The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton


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Title: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton (ARC originally named The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle)
Author: Stuart Turton
Rating: 5/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads:

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.



First off, let’s get one thing clear: this review isn’t fair. It’s not fair because I feel that the only way to properly review this book is to do so only after a second, if not a third, close read.

The 7 1/2 Deaths is Evelyn Hardcastle is a complex murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very last few pages. There’s just enough foreshadowing that you can see the ending coming, but at the same time, I doubt I could have guessed it correctly, which makes this book so valuable in my eyes.

I won’t lie, it’s hard to keep track of this story. It took me a long time to read it (I usually put a book away per week, but this one took me almost two months – and it wasn’t exceptionally long either) because I had to start it over at about the 20% mark just to make sure I had grasped what had happened in the first few chapters. I wish I had the time to read through this book again just so I can pick up on everything I’ve missed, as I did with my favourite book from Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a complex “Who Dun It” type of mystery with a bit of a supernatural twist. It was really good, although it took me forever to go through it. Some reviewers said they couldn’t put it down, but I find its the type of book that you have to enjoy slowly to pick up on the nuances that made it such a deliciously elegant mystery.

I’d like to thank Sourcebooks Lanark, as well as Netgalley, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


The Now or Never Moment: Omnibus, by Katie Kaleski


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Title: The Now or Never Moment: Omnibus
Author: Katie Kaleski
Rating: 3/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

By the time she realizes she loves him, he’s already gone.

Shelby and Tanner have been inseparable ever since freshman year when she intervened to save him from a bully’s beating. Fast forward four intense years–Shelby is leaving for college. Without Tanner. Three days before she’s set to move, he hands her a thick envelope with explicit instructions:

In no way shape or form is she to open the envelope until she is perfectly settled in at school. She is not to even think of it until then.

No one has seen Tanner since that moment.

She opens the envelope to find a letter of epic proportions inside that spans their years in high school together. When she reads it out loud to almost her entire dorm, Shelby relives the good and all of the bad, and together they learn details that Tanner held back, the things he never told her. How much he really loves her.

Sometimes, all it takes is walking in someone else’s shoes to realize what you’ve known all along. Sometimes, that realization comes too late.

*this book deals with suicidal ideation, depression, and bullying*



If I could resume this book in just a few words, it would probably be: almost five hundred page long comedic tragedy. Because this book is sad, and because it’s so long, it feels like the sadness will never end… and then you get to the ending, which I personally didn’t expect after the drawn-out dramatic storyline I had just read. This book will make you laugh and it will make you tear up. Tragedies generally end with death, but comedies end with love… I’ll let you guess which one it will be.

Warning: a lot of this book broke my heart. I wouldn’t recommend reading this if you aren’t in a good place emotionally, as it does deal with suicidal ideation, depression, and bullying… as well as unrequited love, PTSD, near-death experiences.

I would recommend to not let the beginning throw you off about the pacing of the book. The first few chapters are unsettling because they are so fast-paced, and there could be so much more context to this story. Then, once it gets into Tanner’s letter, the pacing stabilizes and everything reads smoothly… and then the ending is as quickly paced as the beginning. I think this is a collection of four novellas (one per school year), so perhaps the structure of it made more sense as such.

I’d like to thank Katie Kaleski, as well as Netgalley, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Night Music, by Deanna Lynn Sletten


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Title: Night Music: A Novel
Author: Deanna Lynn Sletten
Rating: 4/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

1968 – 1971

Charlotte Parsons is devastated over losing her brother in the Vietnam War. Desperate to learn more about the war, she joins a group of college women who send letters to soldiers and befriends Joseph Russo, a young soldier. But a few months after they begin corresponding, his letters stop coming, and Char moves on, still confused as to why so many young lives are being lost so far away from home.

Two years later, Char begins college in her small Illinois town of Grand Falls. She’s been dating her brother’s long-time best friend, Deke Masterson, who is a senior in college and is deep into the anti-war movement. Char isn’t sure how she feels about the war. Then a stranger comes to town and changes everything.

Joseph Russo served in the Vietnam War, earning a Purple Heart for his injury as well as a life-long limp. He’s ready to put the war behind him. While in Vietnam, he’d corresponded with a girl from Grand Falls and he enjoyed reading about her idyllic life. When he’s discharged, he moves there to attend college. And when he meets Charlotte in person, he’s taken with her sweetness, intelligence, and beauty.

The battle lines are drawn as Deke resents Joe’s presence around Char. What started out as a well-deserved escape to a small town for Joe soon turns into a battle of wills between him and the idealistic Deke. And there stands Charlotte, right in the middle.

Night Music is a story about a moment in time when the world was chaotic and nothing was completely clear. In the midst of all the chaos, can Char and Joe find enough middle ground to fall in love?



One of my favourite books of 2017 was Atonement by Ian McEwan, so when I read the synopsis for this one, I couldn’t help but to draw a few resemblances and hit the request button. I was in the mood for a love story set in the past, and this book didn’t disappoint.

It’s definitely a slow burn type of book, and although it does deal with topics of veteran PTSD and of war opposition, it overall is a light, innocent book. I would even go as far as to qualify it as a “cute” story even though it does get quite intense at times.

I loved the characters, though. From protagonist Char all the way to secondary characters, they were all quite complex and I got attached to most, if not all, of them.

I’d like to thank Deanna Lynn Sletten, as well as Netgalley, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. #NightMusic #NetGalley

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, by Kim Fu


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Title: The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
Author: Kim Fu
Rating: 4.5/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

A group of young girls descend on Camp Forevermore, a sleepaway camp in the Pacific Northwest, where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and camp songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls—Nita, Kayla, Isabel, Dina, and Siobhan—through and beyond this fateful trip. We see them through successes and failures, loving relationships and heartbreaks; we see what it means to find, and define, oneself, and the ways in which the same experience is refracted through different people. In diamond-sharp prose, Kim Fu gives us a portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves—and the pasts we can’t escape.



This was my first venture into the “New Adult” genre, and I’m so glad that I decided to give it a try. I suppose that New Adult explores themes that Young Adult books will shy away from, although I have to admit that I’ve read some YA that leaned quite heavily into mature subject matter. In The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, we read about five young girls go through a traumatizing event during a summer camp, interspersed with snippets about their adolescent and grown-up lives. Most of these girls carried issues with them throughout adulthood, and it was interesting to see how one event could be experienced so differently by all of them.

It’s definitely more psychological than a YA novel would be. There’s very little of the novel that explores what happened at Camp Forevermore — the bulk of the book is reserved for these character stories. Still, it’s honestly a page-turner, and Kim Fu doesn’t paint these girls through rose-coloured glasses. It almost, at times, reads like a memoir of these characters, and I really enjoyed it.
I have only two complaints about this book. The first complaint would have to be about the ending. It was rushed, and I believe that there could have been a full chapter more, at the very least. The entire story just feels like a big buildup with little satisfaction at the end. My second complaint is about the choice of one specific “present-day” stories – one chapter explores the life of the sister of one of the girls who went to Camp Forevermore, which means that we only got a little bit of insight on how the camp sister’s life went after the event. However, the rest of the book is so well crafted that those two complaints don’t really change my overall perception of the book.

I’d like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as well as Netgalley, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed it, and I encourage you to pick up a copy when it’ll hit the shelves next month!

*Note to Netgalley reviewers: this is e-pub format only and thus will not load on your Kindle.

Wolves of Winter, by Tyrell Johnson



Title: Wolves of Winter
Author: Tyrell Johnson
Rating: 4/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive.

Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As memories of her old life haunt her, she has been forced to forge ahead in the snow-covered Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap to survive.

But her fragile existence is about to be shattered. Shadows of the world before have found her tiny community—most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who sets in motion a chain of events that will force Lynn to fulfill a destiny she never imagined.



I closed my 2017 reading challenge with this book, and there couldn’t be a more perfect one for the subzero temperatures we’ve been seeing here. The atmosphere in the book is glacial and miserable, so I highly recommend this book during the dead of winter, or when it’s so hot outside that only imagination can cool you down!

In all honesty, however, it was refreshing (is this a pun?) to read a dystopian where the weather turns snowy as opposed to hot, dry, deserted wastelands. The author doesn’t gloss over glamourized details of a winter apocalypse – we see the characters suffer from the cold, the blandness of the food, the loneliness that can only be caused by strictly living with family members. We also get to read about the nostalgia caused by losing almost everything one had taken for granted, both through the character’s present-time and through flashbacks. There’s a grim reality in these pages that some dystopian books lack, so I truly appreciated reading about Lynn and her family’s struggles.

The characters were all wonderful with the exception perhaps of Conrad – I’m still not sure what was the purpose of adding a perverted, violent man for only a handful of pages? The book could have lived quite wonderfully without the Conrad-related arcs, but I suppose it would be important to show that survival can turn a person into something this nasty.

I’d like to thank Simon & Schuster as well as Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I would recommend picking it up!

ReWired, by S. R. Johannes


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Title: ReWired
Author: S. R. Johannes
Rating: 3/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

YA cyber thriller, ReWired, by Shelli Johannes-Wells (writing as S.R. Johannes), which offers a fresh and exciting new take on the genre, and could be described as Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY meets THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO for teens.

Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s hacking into a “secure” network as her alter ego, the Dark Angel. In the real world, Ada is broken, reeling from her best friend Simone’s recent suicide. But online, the reclusive daughter of Senator Lovelace (champion of the new Online Privacy Bill) is a daring white hat hacker and the only female member of the Orwellians, an elite group responsible for a string of high-profile hacks against major corporations, with a mission to protect the little guy. Ada is swiftly proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, when a fellow Orwellian betrays her to the FBI. To protect her father’s career, Ada is sent to ReBoot, a technology rehab facility for teens…the same rehab Simone attended right before killing herself.

It’s bad enough that the ReBoot facility is creepy in an Overlook-Hotel-meets-Winchester-Mansion way, but when Ada realizes Simone’s suicide is just one in an increasingly suspicious string of “accidental” deaths and “suicides” occurring just after kids leave ReBoot, Ada knows she can’t leave without figuring out what really happened to her best friend. The massive cyber conspiracy she uncovers will threaten everything she cares about–her dad’s career, her new relationship with a wry, handsome, reformed hacker who gets under her skin, and most of all–the version of herself Ada likes best–the Dark Angel.

With a deliciously twisty plot, the topical bite of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, ReWired delves into technology addiction, internet privacy, and corporate/government collection of data, as it vividly illuminates the universally human questions about ethics, privacy, and self-definition that both underpin these socio-political issues and dovetail with classic coming-of-age themes. Ultimately, ReWired is about the daily choices we all make about who we want to be, how much of ourselves we choose to share with others, and the terrifying risks and exhilarating rewards of being ourselves, online and off.



This is a strange book to review, because there’s so much contained between those few hundred pages. Where to start? The characters? The intrigue? The clash between the cyber world and the natural world? The romance or the friendship? There is just so much crammed in there that it’s hard to focus my review on a particular aspect, so I will simply resume what I liked and didn’t like.

What I enjoyed: this book reads like a Nancy Drew novel aimed at an older (see: teenager) audience. You know the tropes: witty young girl becomes involved in a mystery that she has to solve, gets herself in these terribly dangerous situations, always comes back relatively unscathed, etc. One moment, she is safe, and then the next she’s falling through the floor or being shot with strange objects… All to solve the mystery along with her sidekicks, but definitely always working better on her own. Luckily, I absolutely adored the Nancy Drew books as a tween, and therefore, I did really enjoy the intrigue behind ReWired.

I also loved how funny this book was; I genuinely laughed out loud a few times! There is a really good balance between serious topics and light-hearted intercessions, and the book never felt overwhelming in a specific kind of tropes.

Which brings me to what I liked a little less: the pacing – that was overwhelming. I love past-paced books as much as any other reader, but I honestly think this novel could have been a trilogy. It goes from everyone hating themselves to being super close all at once, which left me feeling rather indifferent about anyone but the protagonist.

Also, I think I received an ARC; I hope the cut-off sentences and missing words and grammatical errors were fixed before the release, because it sucks when you get to the end of the paragraph and your sentence doesn’t end.

Still, it wasn’t a bad book; I’d be curious to see what the final version looks like. I’d like to thank Coleman and Stott for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Immortal Creators, by Jill Bowers


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Title: Immortal Creators
Author: Jill Bowers
Rating: 4.5/5, rounded up

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old author Scott Beck never wanted to be an Immortal Writer—not after his father was killed on a mission attempting to dispatch his own villain. Scott blames Shakespeare and the Writers for his father’s untimely demise, but no amount of hatred will prevent the oncoming alien attack, which has come over to reality straight from Scott’s book.

Scott is forced to collect his characters—an Air Force colonel, two of the best pilots on Earth, and an alien enthusiast from the year 2134—and defeat the alien king before Earth is obliterated by his ships. But an odd sickness Scott calls his Writing Fever might just kill him before the aliens have the chance.

Will Scott be able to defeat the monsters he created, or will the world end in flames?


(Warning: this review may contain spoiler-y content for the first book in this series.)

Sequels should be about coming home, and this book really hits the mark. While readers get to enjoy a fresh new author protagonist and wonderful supporting characters, they are also treated with a glimpse into everything that made the first book so wonderful: the Writer’s Castle and its colourful quirks, a few memorable appearances by Liz and Curtis, and, of course, Shakespeare and other well-known authors. Bowers writes so well that readers will end up with a series containing entertaining books that are both familiar and fresh – I already can’t wait to read the third one.

Back to the book itself: this time around, we are dealing with a science fiction book and not a fantasy one, so instead of dragons, we get aliens as antagonists. I actually thought it was pretty cool, and I look forward to seeing what other genres will be explored in the next book, as the author really seems to be nailing each one so far.

I suppose that if I had to choose something to complain about, it would be the lack of chemistry between the author (the in-book author, Scott, and not Jill Bowers – she has excellent chemistry with her characters!) and his characters. I suppose that this might have been intended, since Scott is a lot more reluctant to follow the Immortal Writer lifestyle than Liz was in the first book; however, I wish there would have been more delving into the characters’ lives and personalities. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the book, however, so it was more of a disappointment than a deal breaker… I guess it’s not a flaw when your only complaint is “I wish I knew more about the characters”!

Still, I really loved Scott. I was disappointed at first that Liz wasn’t the protagonist, but Scott was such a well-rounded character that I quickly got over it. He feels so real. He is an angry teenage boy who gets embarrassed when he’s not as mighty as the others, who eats strange food combinations and who bickers with his brother. Also, he transforms throughout the book, and last-chapter Scott is so different than first-chapter Scott. You’ll love it, trust me.

And the ending… don’t get me started on that cliff-hanger. I can’t believe this book is only going to be published in 2018, which means I’ll have to wait for a long time before the third book.

I’d like to thank Blue Moon Publishers for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I would recommend this book, and I really look forward to reading what else Jill Bowers comes up with!

Autonomous, by Andy Marino

Title: Autonomous
Author: Andy Marino
Rating: 3.5/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

William Mackler is about to go on a road trip of a lifetime. After winning a contest—and nearly dying in the process—he becomes the proud owner of Autonomous, a driverless car that knows where you want to go before you do. #Worthit! To sweeten the deal he gets to pick three friends to go with him on a cross-country trip to see their favorite band. For William, a reckless adrenaline junkie, this is the perfect last hurrah before he and his friends go their separate ways after graduation. But Autonomous is more than just a car without a steering wheel. It’s capable of downloading all of the passengers’ digital history—from the good, to the bad, to the humiliating. The information is customized into an itinerary that will expose a few well-kept secrets, but it will also force William to face some inner demons of his own. Think you know Autonomous? The real question is, how much does Autonomous know about you?


Now here’s the thing about getting an advanced reader’s copy. Sometimes, the reviews are not good, such as the reviews for this novel, and now this book is being reworked as it was meant to be published this month, but is now aiming for 2018. Therefore, my review reflects the unrevised book, not the copy that will hit the shelves in a few months.

First things first, I need to explain something about Autonomous. It was marketed as a 14+ book and as a funny story. Also, when a book comes from Disney, you most likely will expect the book will be appropriate for teenagers to read, even if it says 14+ on the cover – it’s Disney, for goodness’ sake. Autonomous was absolutely not appropriate for youth. There were themes in there that twisted my stomach and that made my heart plummet, and I think I perhaps laughed once in the entire book.

However, if I had picked up this book elsewhere, I would have thought that it was freaking amazing. If the audience had been adults and the book’s teen-targeted content had been edited out, I could see how this would have been a horror/thriller that would have kept me up at night. I assume that the edits will remove all the adult content from the book, which is quite necessary for this to be published by Disney Book Group, but… I keep wondering “what if” this story is edited differently. I loved the car, I loved the social media content, I loved the psychology behind putting four very different people in a car that reads your mind and adapts a road trip to fit the occupant’s needs… and then this car turning dark and reflecting each individual’s darkest secrets… It was a really good ARC. Again, I’m just sad that this manuscript didn’t make it to a different audience.

I’d like to thank Disney Book Group for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I look forward to picking up a copy of the re-edited product, because despite all the bad stuff in the book, I actually enjoyed it.

The Innocence Treatment, by Ari Geolman


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Title: The Innocence Treatment
Author: Ari Geolman
Rating: 5/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

You may believe the government protects you, but only one girl knows how they use you.

Lauren has a disorder that makes her believe everything her friends tell her–and she believes everyone is her friend. Her innocence puts her at constant risk, so when she gets the opportunity to have an operation to correct her condition, she seizes it. But after the surgery, Lauren is changed. Is she a paranoid lunatic with violent tendencies? Or a clear-eyed observer of the world who does what needs to be done?

Told in journal entries and therapy session transcripts, The Innocence Treatment is a collection of Lauren’s papers, annotated by her sister long after the events of the novel. A compelling YA debut thriller that is part speculative fiction and part shocking tell-all of genetic engineering and government secrets, Lauren’s story is ultimately an electrifying, propulsive, and spine-tingling read.



The beauty of the epistolary novel is that it allows you to dig into the private thoughts of a character, and makes the book feel more real. The Innocence Treatment handles this so well that I sometimes felt like I was reading a nonfiction book, but set in an alternate universe. It is extremely well-structured, alternating between diary entries from a younger Lauren, to the present-day Lauren as she discusses these entries with a therapist. Geolman managed to give each character their unique voice, but also to keep the different formats from blending into one another.

For instance, Lauren’s diary entries are annotated by her sister, and readers can clearly see the different writing styles between the two sisters. The therapy sessions are written down as a conversation between the two characters, and you can recognize (especially further in the book) that Lauren’s voice is her own, recognizable from her diary entries, while the therapist’s is his. It’s also interesting to see the point of views from different characters, and how they think of one another.

The content itself grabbed my attention early on and held onto it throughout the entire story. With the formatting of the novel, we get many unreliable narrators, and this keeps you guessing until the very end about how the book will be wrapped up. It is also a dystopia, but the story revolves more around Lauren’s life within this world, and doesn’t only revolve around her fighting this dystopia. It contains a story about a family affected by constraints of this supervised world, without necessarily revolving around how they are all working to suppress the regime. It was refreshing to read!

Honestly, though, this book makes me wish I was still in university so I could dissect it through an essay on the difficulty of mastering the epistolary style and its strength if done correctly. Geolman wrote what became one of my favourite books of 2017 and I highly recommend it.

I’d like to thank Roaring Brook Press and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Zero Repeat Forever, by Gabrielle Prendergast


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Title: Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions #1)
Author: Gabrielle Prendergast
Rating: 5/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…



How do you choose a book? Is it for the cover? The synopsis? If the title catches your eye? Or are you like one of my high school teachers, who insisted that you must read a book up to the 10th percent before you can tell if it will hook you in or not?

Isn’t it fun when a book catches your interest in all four ways?

This is definitely the case with Zero Repeat Forever. The cover is absolutely beautiful, the synopsis catchy, and the title intriguing (I could go on and on about how this is a perfect book title, but alas, spoilers). Also, everyone can forget about the 10% rule – this book had me wrapped around its little finger after the first five chapters. The beginning gripped me in so quickly and the story just kept on getting better and better until I reached the amazing ending. There isn’t a dull moment throughout.

This is a slow burn novel of the best kind; I could call it the sci-fi Romeo and Juliet you didn’t even know you wanted to read. It’s well-paced and doesn’t rush from one scene to another, and instead develops gradually into a complete story. It is the first book in the series, so the reader won’t finish it with all the answers they are looking for, but with enough answers to feel satisfied with the end.

The format of the book is also quite interesting – the point of view flips between Raven, a spitfire heroine that reminded me a little bit of Tris from Divergent, but with a meaner streak; and Eighth, a low-ranked Nahx who is part of the destruction of the human race. Therefore, readers will not only be able to read the point of view of a human throughout an apocalypse, but also about a conflicted soldier who has been drilled to follow orders. The Nahx are very complex beings, and I know that book one only explored the surface of that race. I look forward to finding more about the Nahx and their motives through the next installments!

Go pick it up! It’s a great book from a Canadian author who wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo – read the north, everyone!

I’d like to thank Simon & Schuster Canada for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.