Book Review: Well Matched by Jen DeLuca

Well Matched Book photo - picture of the book surrounded by princess bride funko pops, yellow flowers, and a yellow book

cover222764-mediumTitle: Well Matched
Author: Jen DeLuca
Series: Well Met #3
Genre: Romance, Chick Lit
Date of Publication: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group


Synopsis

An accidentally in-love rom-com filled with Renaissance Faire flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.

Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell.

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire–a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship.

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…something that doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans–and open her heart–for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

This book is marketed as a rom com, but it’s much closer to women’s fiction, (but with that expected Happy Ever After that we expect in romance novels). While the book is broadly about April finding love, she’s also finding a renewed purpose in life and figuring out who she really is in the process. While the pacing of this book is quite slow, the introspection gives us the opportunity to really get into April’s head and dive into the life she’s built for herself in Willow Creek. Her daughter is graduating from high school, and then she’ll be going off to university. April should be ecstatic–she’s wanted nothing more than to sell her house and leave this town behind. But this summer, she’s forced to confront what she really wants, and the true reason why Willow Creek has never truly felt like home, which has nothing to do with the town or its residents and everything to do with her and her outlook on life. 

The atmosphere of this book is tinged with melancholy. April is a forty-year-old divorcee. She broke up with her husband shortly after her eighteen-year-old daughter, Caitlin, was born, and she hasn’t had any serious relationships since. They moved to Willow Creek, but April resisted setting down roots. She has her book club, and her sister recently moved to town (Read Well Met for that epic tale!), but she doesn’t have much else tying her to this location. Even Mitch, who was delightful and cheery in the previous two books, seems a lot more subdued in this novel. He’s still got charisma, but it isn’t enough to make the contents of the book match its cheery blue cover.

Like the previous two books in this series, DeLuca has taken a common trope as the basis for this story. Mitch Malone asks April to be his fake girlfriend for a family gathering, and a lot of the expected clichés come out of it (sharing a bedroom–and a bed, etc.). My favourite part of the previous two books in this series–and subsequently this book–is the parts set at the Renaissance Faire. Unfortunately, the first half of this book is set before the faire rolls into town, and those chapters lacked the colour and flavour that I have come to love–and expect–in this series. Once the Faire does start, it’s still not quite the same, because the book is from April’s point of view, and she’s never been a huge fan of the Faire (or anything requiring any kind of participation or fun). DeLuca does make up for this later on in the book, but I was hoping for more than a few chapters set at the Renaissance Faire. It’s what makes this series truly unique, and it otherwise is just a rehashing of old tropes without a fresh new take on them.  Honestly, the scenes with Captain Blackthorne (the first book’s hero’s alter ego), made me nostalgic for the fun and renaissance faire-filled goodness from the first instalment in the series.

All in all, this is a quick read for fans of the fake girlfriend trope, but don’t go into it expecting the usual Willow Creek Renaissance Faire shenanigans.

Well Matched Book photo - picture of the book surrounded by princess bride funko pops, yellow flowers, and a yellow book

*Thank you to the publisher, Netgalley, and the author for the ebook to review*

Three stars

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Book Review: The Last Legacy by Adrienne Young

The Last Legacy book surrounded by quills, books, and flowers

The Last Legacy webTitle: The Last Legacy
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Date of Publication: September 7, 2021
Publisher: Wednesday Books


Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with The Last Legacy, a captivating standalone about family and blood ties, reinventing yourself, and controlling your own destiny.

When a letter from her uncle Henrik arrives on Bryn Roth’s eighteenth birthday, summoning her back to Bastian, Bryn is eager to prove herself and finally take her place in her long-lost family.

Henrik has plans for Bryn, but she must win everyone’s trust if she wants to hold any power in the delicate architecture of the family. It doesn’t take long for her to see that the Roths are entangled in shadows. Despite their growing influence in upscale Bastian, their hands are still in the kind of dirty business that got Bryn’s parents killed years ago. With a forbidden romance to contend with and dangerous work ahead, the cost of being accepted into the Roths may be more than Bryn can pay. 

Goodreads

My Thoughts

In The Last Legacy we’re whisked back to the imaginative and fantastical world of Fable and Namesake

Readers don’t need to have read the Fable duology in order to enjoy this book. Yes, some characters cross over, but Young has done a wonderful job of making this book stand on its own. The worldbuilding is far from skeletal, and if I hadn’t immediately recognized the names of cities and some of the peripheral characters from Fable, I wouldn’t have realized that this book was written after that duology.

The Last Legacy has an intriguing plot that’s not at all predictable. I jumped into this book without reading the description, since Young has quickly become a “read without questioning anything” author for me. As usual, Young has made good use of her lyrical writing style, immediately capturing my attention. That said, the plot isn’t quite as gripping as the plot in her other books, and it took me a little while to get into the swing of what was going on. The atmosphere  is foreboding and mysterious, and for the first forty percent of the story, I wasn’t sure where the story was going, or even what type of story it was going to be.

Young has created characters that are incredibly compelling. I love the protagonist, Bryn. She’s a strong–albeit quite ordinary–young woman. I absolutely love books set in magical settings where the protagonist is seemingly ordinary, and she has to use her wits and other strengths to persevere against whatever life or the book’s antagonist throws in her direction. Bryn seems to be the picture of etiquette and what a proper young lady should be–which she should, since she was brought up to be that way. But it quickly becomes obvious that there’s much more to Bryn than meets the eye. Other characters are just as interesting, especially her family members and the mysterious Ezra.

I recommend this book to those who love a mystical young adult mystery set in a dynamic fantasy world. 

The Last Legacy book surrounded by quills, books, and flowers

*Thank you to the publisher, Netgalley, and the author for the ebook to review*

Five stars

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Book Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

The Last House on Needless Street book surrounded by black leaves, a black skull, and a little black raven

cover218770-mediumTitle: The Last House on Needless Street
Author: Catriona Ward
Genre: Horror
Date of Publication: September 28, 2021
Publisher: Tor Nightfire


Synopsis

Catriona Ward’s The Last House on Needless Street is a shocking and immersive read perfect for fans of Gone Girl and The Haunting of Hill House.

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.

A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.
A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.
And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.

An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

This book is a literary masterpiece. The writing is quite phenomenal. First, we’re introduced to Tim, a strange man who lives in a strange house. It’s almost immediately apparent that he’s not quite right in the head. The way that he describes people and the world around him and what he’s doing seems a little… off. And then he refers to his “mommy”, and that seals the deal. There’s something quite odd about this man–but is he dangerous? Is he a killer? 

The other characters in this book are just as fascinating, but I fell in love with Olivia, the cat, almost instantaneously. Having the point of view of a cat is so unique, and I loved her attitude and the way that she, too, saw the world in a unique perspective that is reflected in her language and the way that she communicates to the reader.

The author is the master of the show-don’t-tell plot device. We’re shown how odd Ted is, rather than told it. We experience the same disorientation that he feels at certain parts in the story. 

Continue reading “Book Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward”

Book Review: Strange Gods by Alison Kimble

Strange Gods book cover with blanket, book, candle, and black rose

strange godsTitle: Strange Gods 
Author: Alison Kimble
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Date of Publication: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Immortal Works


Synopsis

Spooky arrives at a wilderness boot camp for troubled teens with two suitcases and an ultimatum: either she keeps her head down over the summer or she won’t be allowed home at the end of it. All she wants to do is survive the pyros, bullies, and power-tripping counselors, get through senior year, and start her life somewhere new. She’ll do just about anything to protect that future.

But when an encounter with another camper goes awry and ends with Spooky hiding in the woods, something else finds her. Something ancient and powerful has sent out feelers, hoping to catch a human alone. For its purposes, one human is as good as any other. Even a delinquent teen will do.

If Spooky wants to survive to see any kind of future, she will have to figure out how to gain leverage over a god. And as if the one wasn’t bad enough, a pantheon of dark entities are lining up between her and the life she’s always wanted…

For fantasy fans, comes one girl’s journey through dark worlds of magic, gods, and monsters.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Allison Kimble has an effortlessly descriptive and humorous writing style. The plot of Strange Gods is delightfully peculiar. It’s original, unpredictable, and engaging. It reminded me a little of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with some of the outlandish things that happen, the odd things characters will say, and the offbeat twists and turns in the plot. Kimble takes the simple “Hero’s journey” plot template and makes it fresh.

Laurel, who prefers to go by “Spooky”, is your typical teenager, despite being sent to a camp for delinquents. She’s an ordinary girl. She’s a little self-centred, but not overly selfish. She’s self-conscious, as demonstrated by how she brings up her over-sized ears frequently in her inner dialogue. She’s desperate for friends and longs for her parents’ acceptance. Oh, and she’s also humanity’s only chance to save Earth from certain doom.

Continue reading “Book Review: Strange Gods by Alison Kimble”

Book Review: Gold Spun by Brandie June

Gold Spun Book photo

Gold Spun book coverTitle: Gold Spun
Author: Brandie June 
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Date of Publication: June 8, 2021
Publisher: CamCat Books


Synopsis

If Nor can’t spin gold, she can always spin lies.

When seventeen-year-old Nor rescues a captured faerie in the woods, he gifts her with a magical golden thread she can use to summon him for a favor. Instead, Nor uses it for a con—to convince villagers to buy straw that can be transformed into gold. Her trick works a little too well, attracting the suspicion of Prince Casper, who hates nobody more than a liar. Intent on punishing Nor, he demands that she spin a room of straw into gold and as her reward, he will marry her. Should she refuse or fail, the consequences will be dire.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Gold Spun is a bewitching and fast-paced young adult, fantasy retelling of the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin.

The worldbuilding in this book is phenomenal. It’s a sign of a truly talented writer when the reader doesn’t even realize that worldbuilding is happening. There are no information dumps, and all the details of the world and how it works, from the geography of the kingdoms and the powers of the faerie are revealed to the readers as they need to know them. In the prologue, Prince Casper is casually thinking about his preference in teas, all the while the reader is subtly learning about the different kingdoms and the fact that Prince Casper is a freaking war hostage held by the King of Faradisia.

Continue reading “Book Review: Gold Spun by Brandie June”

Book Review: Namesake by Adrienne Young

Namesake book photo

Book coverTitle: Namesake
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Fable #2
Date of Publication: March 16, 2021
Publisher: Wednesday Books


Synopsis

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

Filled with action, emotion, and lyrical writing, New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with Namesake, the final book in the captivating Fable duology. Goodreads

My Thoughts

Namesake picks up right where Fable left off. If you haven’t read Fable yet, you can still read this review! I tried my best not to include any spoilers from the first book in this duology.

Adrienne Young has once again captivated me with her incredible writing style and the magical world that she has created. I fell in love with the Narrows, Ceros, and the ship, the Marigold, when I first read Fable last year. I reread it just before reading this book, and it was just as much of a transcendent experience as it was the first time. (Nope I’m not exaggerating when I say “transcendent”.)  All the little seeds that were planted in the first book blossomed into a complex and engaging plot in this final instalment in the series. Because these plot twists were so well-established early on, some of them were somewhat predictable, but that in no way affected my enjoyment of them. Enough of the story was a delightful surprise that I didn’t mind the expected elements that cropped up from time to time. These just served to make the world and characters that Young has created feel more credible, as everything that happened was logical and made perfect sense given what was going on.

For a book that’s so action-packed, there is quite a bit of character development, not just for Fable, but for everyone else in the story.  Quite a few of the secondary characters have their own arcs in this book.  We also get to know some characters who were only briefly mentioned or who didn’t have a major role in the first book. Many friends and foes aren’t quite what they initially appeared to be.  We follow Fable as she grows and develops into a young woman, and we realize alongside her that there is so much motivating people and shaping them into who they are. We get to experience the revelation of secret pasts and the discovery of some characters’ ulterior motives. Loyalties are tested and tensions rise high among the crew of the Marigold as drama unfolds. We get to see even more of West as Fable gets to know him even better. Their romance is sweet and powerful, and I’m impressed that Young was able to skirt around their physical relationship to make older readers happy, while keeping the heat rating below a PG-13. 

The reason why this book was called “Namesake” isn’t immediately apparent, not like with Young’s other three published books to date. I won’t spoil the reason why the book is called this, but once it becomes clear, it’s a real “Aha!” moment that gave me chills in how beautifully it played out. 

Namesake book photo

I recommend this book to those who love a whimsical, dark but never too dark, young adult epic-fantasy with just a little magic, some romance, and plenty of adventure.

*Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for the e-arc to review!*

starstarstarstarstar

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Book Review: A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

Book photo

cover smallTitle: A Pho Love Story
Author: Loan Le
Genre: Romance, Young Adult
Date of Publication: February 9, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada


Synopsis

If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal.

If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant.

For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.

But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember.

Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious in this funny, smart romantic comedy, in which two Vietnamese-American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

A Pho Love Story is the epitome of sweet young adult romance. A modern-day, diverse Romeo and Juliet, but without the tragic demises of the titular characters (Hope a spoiler alert wasn’t needed there!). Bao has a dry, sarcastic wit that comes out particularly when dealing with his parents and the rumor-mill surrounding the restaurants, and the narrative made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. 

One of the major draws for this book (for me, anyway) is the Vietnamese characters. I love when books like these share foreign-language expressions, little pieces of culture peppered throughout, and this book doesn’t disappoint.  It gives the novel and the world that Le has created an authentic and three-dimensional feel to it.

Bao and Linh both come from similar backgrounds. Their parents are immigrants from Vietnam, and they own restaurants across the street from one another. Oh, and they’re arch-nemeses. At times their rivalry is humorous, but it’s also serious, hinting at a mysterious history between the families that neither Bao nor Linh are privy to. All they know is that their families hate each other, and that they’re not to engage with each other. Ever. 

Continue reading “Book Review: A Pho Love Story by Loan Le”

Book Review: Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards

Five Total Strangers

51BedWD7g7L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Five Total Strangers
Author: Natalie D. Richards
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Date of Publication: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


Synopsis

A hitched ride home in a snow storm turns sinister when one of the passengers is plotting for the ride to end in disaster.

When Mira flies home to spend Christmas with her mother in Pittsburgh, a record-breaking blizzard results in a cancelled layover. Desperate to get to her grief-ridden mother in the wake of a family death, Mira hitches a ride with a group of friendly college kids who were on her initial flight.

As the drive progresses and weather conditions become more treacherous, Mira realizes that the four other passengers she’s stuck in the car with don’t actually know one another.

Soon, they’re not just dealing with heavy snowfall and ice-slick roads, but the fact that somebody will stop at nothing to ensure their trip ends in a deadly disaster.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

This is a slow-burn psychological thriller that kept me enraptured from cover to cover. There is no prologue with a gritty murder to open this book. In fact, it all starts out fairly normal, yet the words and events still carry a sharp edge to them. We first meet Mira when she’s on a plane on Christmas Eve during a blizzard. The plane hits turbulence, and the stress that Mira feels about this, despite being a frequent flyer, nearly oozes off the pages. 

A lot of the creepy things that happen in the early pages of this book are easily explained away. I love how Mira questions her paranoia and isn’t sure if anything malicious is actually going on.  The four strangers that she’s traveling with are all “normal” at a surface level, but there are little unsettling quirks and unlikeable personality characteristics that make themselves known the longer they travel together.  Harper seems to have two different personalities that don’t quite mesh.  Brecken seems like a nice pre-med student, yet he says several misogynistic things that bring his “niceness” into question.  Josh also comes across as kind, but he can be condescending and pushy.  Kayla is the quiet one in the group, and she is sleeping far too much.  They all have their secrets, even Mira, who’s pretending to be a college student out of fear that they wouldn’t let her tag along if she told them she was still in high school. 

Throughout the novel, we’re made privy to the content of letters to Mira that were mailed to her over the last year.  Last year Mira’s Aunt Phoebe died after a long battle with cancer, and when she was in the hospital, a kind stranger bought her a coffee. While it’s obvious that Mira doesn’t remember this stranger, the stranger remembers her. These letters detail this stranger’s growing obsession with her, and it quickly becomes clear that they’ve found her. They’re one of the four strangers she’s travelling with–but which one? 

While the events escalate quite gradually, the book is far from boring. Every little possibly innocuous thing that goes wrong seems suspicious.  Not only is one of the strangers potentially dangerous, but they’re also battling the elements and other unpredictable obstacles in their journey home.  I did notice that the group tended to have long, drawn out conversations while outside the car a few too many times. Maybe blizzards are different in the US than in Canada (I mean, I’m sure they are), but I was expecting the snow and ice that was causing thirty-car pileups on the highway to be a deterrent for standing outside and chatting. That said, emotions were running high, and if they’re afraid to get back into the car with strangers, maybe a little frostbite is preferrable to being shanked by a new “friend”. Aside from this little criticism, the events of this book are quite plausible, making this into one of the more realistic psychological thrillers that I’ve read in a while.

Five Total Strangers

I recommend this book to anyone looking for an intense slow-burn thriller featuring suspicious characters, questionable choices, and unpredictable weather.

*Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for the ebook to review*

Five stars

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Book Review: Well Played by Jen DeLuca

Well Played

Well PlayedTitle: Well Played
Author: Jen DeLuca
Genre: Romance
Series: Well Met #2

Date of Publication: September 22, 2020
Publisher: Berkley


Synopsis

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

I was so excited to return to the Willow Creek’s Renaissance Faire! 

I adore Jen Deluca’s writing style.  Like Well Met, her voice shines through in the protagonist’s inner dialogue.  This is definitely a feel-good novel, and the book is chock full of humorous observations and witty banter.

Unfortunately, the romance was lacking for me in this book.  It seemed a little too easy, and, quite frankly, Daniel was bland.  I loved Simon Well Met. He was a strict rule follower, had a sense of obligation to continue on his brother’s legacy, but he gradually revealed a playful side when he played his part of pirate in the Renaissance Faire. But with Daniel? I really couldn’t tell you much about him, other than the fact that he feels like he’s trapped in his cousins’ shadow and he kind of likes cats. We only get Stacey’s point of view in this novel, and unfortunately we weren’t privy to any scenes where Daniel may or may not have talked about his likes and interests while they were falling in love.

That said, there are some sweet moments, particularly when they’re still in the long-distance, lies-riddled, texting/emails stage of their relationship.  

Stacey’s decisions were also a little foreign to me.  She is far too forgiving of Daniel’s lies, and to be honest, he didn’t even expect her to forgive him. He never really fights for their relationship, even in the climactic scene, when this burden lies on Stacey’s shoulders. The word that comes to mind when describing Daniel is “passive”.  He’s very nonconfrontational, dispassionate, and… boring. Sorry!

That said, Stacey is a compelling and three-dimensional protagonist, and I did love reading her perspective and revisiting this captivating world that DeLuca has created. I’m hoping that Emily’s sister will be the one to find love in the next book!  (Maybe with Mitch???)

Well Played

I recommend this book to those who want to return to the Willow Creek Renaissance Faire for another romantic getaway.

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc to review*

starstarstar

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Book Review: Fable by Adrienne Young

Fable

Fable

Title: Fable
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Fable #1
Date of Publication: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books


Synopsis

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Adrienne Young’s books keep getting better and better. I wish I’d known that this wasn’t a standalone like with the two instalments in her Sky in the Deep duology, because I have a serious book hangover. March 2021 and “Namesake”, the sequel to this book, can’t come fast enough.

Characters

Fable is an amazing protagonist.  The entire book is told from her perspective, which already sets it apart from Young’s other novels.  However, Young’s signature style is still there, and everything she writes is like poetry on the page. I feel like I wrote that same line in my review for The Girl the Sea Gave Back last month, but I don’t care. It’s true. Her writing is one of a kind, and I’m insanely excited that I don’t have to wait an entire year for another book by her.  

As with her other books, Fable has some romance, but it isn’t front and centre. It’s an important part of the story, sure, but Young’s protagonists always have a lot more going on in their lives than simply finding love.  

There are quite a few other fascinating characters, not the least of which is West, the helmsman of the Marigold, who agrees to give Fable passage to Ceros.  He’s an intriguing character, young for a helmsman, and clearly harboring quite a few secrets of his own. The other members of the crew are all just as young as Fable is (maybe a little older), and their dynamic and backstories gave me a definite Six of Crows vibe.  They’re a tight-knit group that would do anything for each other, and I’m already disappointed that this is only expected to be a series with two books.

Plot 

The story is gripping from the very first pages, and there are never any lulls in the plot, any opportunity to put it down for a quick bathroom break.  As with her other books, it’s a fantasy, but there’s only a hint of magic in the storyline, which makes for a magical, yet plausible, world. 

This novel wraps up quite nicely, however there is a huge cliffhanger that’s left me itching for more. I know I’m repeating myself, but I seriously cannot wait for the next book! 

I would give this novel more than 5 stars if I could.

Fable

Recommended to anyone who loves young adult fantasy with strong female protagonists and a beautiful, descriptive writing style that doesn’t negatively impact the fast-paced plot.

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-arc to review!*

starstarstarstarstar

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