Guest Post: Gray Wolf Island

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Hello everyone! Today I am participating with the Sunday Street Team and Tracey Neithercott to bring you a guest post! Below is the Tracey’s answer to my question. 

Guest Post:

What’s you’re writing process as an author?

I love reading about other authors’ writing processes because in the back of my mind I think, “That’s how
I’m going to do things from now on!”

I’m going to write 5,000 words a day.

I’m going to ignore my inner editor.

I’m going to do it all with shiny, Pantene-perfect hair.

Let’s face it: I never, ever have shiny, Pantene-perfect hair. And my process is much less glamorous. It starts with a lot of staring miserably at a blank screen and gradually progresses to grumblings about the pure pain of writing a first draft.

I’ll begin with a disclaimer: I’m not the sort of writer who sees double rainbows and snuggly puppy dogs while drafting. Actually, that’s a lie. I do see those things, but only because I’m procrastinating by scrolling through Tumblr.

So I do everything I can to get myself into the writing headspace. I make a latte or three meant to energize me and/or allow me to procrastinate writing for two more minutes. I put on a sheet mask, because if I can’t have bouncy, shampoo-commercial hair, I can at least try for glowing skin.

As you can see, much writing is happening. To make it go faster, I’ll turn on my Brainwaves app, plug in my earbuds, and let the sound induce the right Brainwaves for a creative state of mind. This is something I used to roll my eyes at before returning to my hard work of staring at the blank screen. Now, though, I’m pretty convinced it helps me get into the writing mode.

I let my brain waves do their syncing thing, pull off the sheet mask, and marvel at my glowy skin. Then I take a sip of latte and start writing.

I do a lot of preplanning, mostly because I enjoy outlining but also because I’m a type A writer who needs to be in control. By the time I start writing, I have a roadmap for the story, including major story points—the inciting incident, midpoint, plot points, climax, and so on—plus the main scenes that connect them.

But sometimes it’s hard (or always it’s hard), so I’ll make another latte and stare at the screen and wonder whether I can shake the story from my brain like water from my ear. (I can’t.)

When the words really won’t come, I create a scene sketch: major events, character arc, setting, and bits of dialogue. It’s enough direction to get me going.

It goes on and on like that for weeks and months and what feels like centuries until, blessedly, I peel off a sheet mask and get to revise.

Now I really do see double rainbows and snuggly puppy dogs.

I don’t need sheet masks or glowing skin because I am on fire. And people on fire don’t waste time lining up mask eye holes.

Instead, I sit down at my computer and make a list of everything wrong with my book. This isn’t hard to do. I’ve been keeping the list in my head since page one.

And that’s how it goes: Working from biggest changes to sentence-level edits, I move through the manuscript until it’s polished. This is fueled by lattes, yes, but also decaf green tea because it’s less expensive and also more practical for nighttime writing.

Sometimes, I’m happy for my process. Like during revisions, when I’m tidying things up and finally seeing the book I imagined in the beginning. Other times I hate it—during those days words won’t come or when they’re the wrong words, or when I feel like the vision in my head doesn’t match the story on the page. But it’s like my critique partner jokes: “Get used to it. We can’t change our process.”

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Review: These Ruthless Deeds

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These Ruthless Deeds by: Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

England, 1883. Still recovering from a devastating loss, Evelyn is determined to use her powers to save other gifted people from those who would harm them. But when her rescue of a young telekinetic girl goes terribly wrong, Evelyn finds herself indebted to a secret society devoted to recruiting and protecting people like Evelyn and her friends.

As she follows the Society’s orders, healing the sick and embarking on perilous recruitment missions, Evelyn sees her problems disappear. Her reputation is repaired, her friends are provided for, and her parents are newly wealthy. She reunites with the dashing Mr. Kent and recovers the reclusive Mr. Braddock (who has much less to brood over now that the Society can help him to control his dangerous power). But Evelyn can’t help fearing the Society is more sinister than it appears…

Beware spoilers ahead!

This book was such a disappointment. I really enjoyed the first book in this series. It was fun, exciting, and entertaining. I was looking forward to finding out more about this world and the characters. Unfortunately this book surfers middle book syndrome.

Evelyn and crew end up joining the society of aberrations. They discover more secrets and such. First of I honestly don’t understand why Evelyn joined the society in the first place?! I understood everybody else’s reasoning but not Evelyn. It didn’t even feel believable when she did end up joining them.

Evelyn felt completely different from the first book. She was extremely selfish throughout the entire book. She didn’t stand up for herself around her parents. And she bossed everyone around like she actually knew what she was doing. I also did not like how she kept so many secrets under the guise of protecting everyone.

To a certain degree I understand why she acted the way she did. The authors just didn’t make it believable or foreshadow it in the previous book. Yes she went through a lot in the previous book, but nobody becomes a whole other person just like that.

Just like the previous book this was very fast paced. But not a whole lot happened. You are introduced to new characters and some of the things we learned were quite interesting. There was a lot of finding out running around and getting caught.

The romance was very annoying in this book. Evelyn’s parents are even more awful in this book then they were in the previous book. And it’s just to move the plot along. The first thing Evelyn’s parents do after not seeing her in months is get her into society and hopefully engaged. Like seriously?! How about a ‘How have you been?’ or a heart-to-heart! But no they care far too much about their reputation then their own children.

I skimmed most of this book. I just couldn’t bring myself to read it and I also wanted to figure out when things would start actually happening. It wasn’t until towards the end of this book that there was a plot. By that point I stopped caring.

The only thing I liked in this book was the banter. At least that didn’t change. I did laugh out loud a few times as well. Unfortunately that was not enough to save the book.

Overall I did not enjoy this book. I will not be continuing the series. I don’t recommend this series. 

Guest Post: Danika Stone

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Guest post

Hello everyone! How are you all doing? Today I am participating in the Sunday Street Team to promote Danika’s lastest book Internet Famous. Below is the guest post, info about the book, and some info about the author!

Guest Post: 

 

  • Playlist for the book:

 

  1. “First”, Cold War Kids
  2. “Gold Guns Girls”, Metric
  3. “Here”, Alessia Cara
  4. “Settle Down”, Kimbra
  5. “Goodnight and Go”, Imogen Heap
  6. “Feel Good Inc.”, Gorrillaz
  7. “Dreams”, Beck
  8. “Spirits”, The Strumbellas
  9. “Genghis Khan”, Miike Snow
  10. “How Do You Feel Now”, Joywave

 

About the book:

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High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

About the author:

Danika Stone

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens (All the Feels and Internet Famous) adults (Edge of Wild and Intaglio). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.
Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

Review: Girl Out of Water

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Girl Out of Water by: Laura Silverman

Rating: 4 Stars

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating with the Sunday Street Team to help promote this book. I had heard about this book through GR. I liked the synopsis (mostly because of her cousins mentioned) and when I saw it on Netgalley I immediately requested it. I am happy to say that I quite liked this book!

The book begins with Anise surfing and generally enjoying her summer. Anise and her friends are looking forward to this surfing competition (I think). Anise also has a possible romance blooming with a friend of hers.

This all changes when she goes home. Her dad informs her that Aunt Jackie got into a car accident and broke her legs. Anise is in shock and concerned about her young cousins. Anise asks her father whether or not they (cousins and aunt) will be visiting this summer considering the accident. Her father then informs her that they (Anise and him) will be staying with them for the whole summer. This doesn’t sit well with Anise as she had plans this summer and doesn’t like the idea of traveling. 

Anise then informs her friends about this development via text. All of her friends spend the night together celebrating. As Anise is leaving tomorrow and she likely won’t see all of them when she comes back (some of her friends have graduated and are going to university). Anise and her father fly the next day to take care of her cousins.

Wow this book took me by surprise! I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. This book is written is first person in Anise’s point of view. There are some flashbacks here and there as well as text messages.

My favourite part about the book was without a doubt how family had such a big role in this book. There aren’t a lot of contemporaries where family is a major focus. And I really appreciated that! I felt that Aunt Jackie’s accident was handled well. Everyone’s reactions was realistic and I really felt for all of them.

I really liked Anise’s relationship with her father. They were really close. And both supported each other while Jackie was in the hospital. Anise’s mom also played a huge part of the book. Even though she didn’t actually come in. Her mom really shaped Anise as did her father.

I really enjoyed reading about her cousins! Parker and Nash were adorable as was Emily. I liked reading about their interactions with one-another. And how much they looked up to Anise and her father. Especially Emily. I liked how despite Anise struggling to comfort them and give advice, that she didn’t give up.

The romance between Anise and Lincoln was sweet. I especially loved how it didn’t take over the plot. And for once the male lead didn’t have some horrible dark past. I liked how Lincoln encouraged Anise and helped her with her cousins. I also felt that Lincoln having one arm was handled well. And it was interesting to read about.

Anise’s relationship with her friends was also fun to read about! I especially loved the best friend (whose name I’ve forgotten).  The almost romance was also sweet and sad to read about. 

I liked how the internet played a big part of the book. As the was Anise’s way of contacting her friends. It was also fun to read about surfing and skateboarding. Anise is really competitive and I liked that about her.

I really enjoyed Anise’s character. I liked how she subtlety grew throughout the book. It was really heartbreaking to read about her mother and just how much it shaped her as a person. When she moved she lost contact with her friends in fear that they were moving on without her. It was done well and realistic. I liked how throughout the course of the book that Anise found a way to balance her friends and family. The ending really proves it to you. It was sweet to read about.

 I only had a few problems with this book. I did not like Anise’s reaction to moving at first. After reading more I came to understand her reaction because had it been me I think I would’ve had a similar reaction. I especially did not like her friends contacting her and trying to convince her to come back. Her aunt could’ve died and Anise’s friends know this. There were times that the dialogue was off and left the book feeling slightly dramatic. Nonetheless I slight enjoyed this book!

Overall I really liked this book! I highly recommend this book to contemporary fans. 

Review: Freeks

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Freeks by: Amanda Hocking

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via St. Martin’s Griffin and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the blog tour. I had heard about this book through Netgalley. I was scrolling one day and came across this book. It sounded good and some of my friends were reading it. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book!

The book is written in first person all in Mara’s point of view. Before every chapter there is a picture of a tarot card with the date and the year. This book does take place in the eighties.

The book begins with Mara and the circus traveling to their newest location. Mara’s mother and her boyfriend Gideon have a bad feeling about this location but they need the money. One of their former members lives in said town and promised them a good deal.

Mara would love the idea of living a normal life. While she likes her family on the circus, she would like to stay in one place and maybe start a family of her own. Whenever Mara reaches a new town she explores it the night before any of their performances.

While exploring the town and taking in all the houses Mara runs into this girl dragging her drunk boyfriend. Mara offers to help said girl. Later the girl invites Mara into the party where Mara meets the girl’s brother Gabe. She is instantly attracted to Gabe and spends the night with him.

The next day Mara’s mother is asking her whether she has seen one of their members and her roommate Blossom (I think that’s her name). Mara has not. This is actually quiet normal for Blossom to disappear and come back again. Which is why Mara doesn’t worry about her. On the other hand Mara’s mother has weird vibes about the town and sends Mara and Gideon to inform the police. Informing the police doesn’t really go anywhere but at least Mara’s mother is appeased.

As the book continues weird things start to happen to the circus crew. A majority of their powers aren’t working properly. More people have gone missing. Something seems to be only targeting and killing the circus crew, specifically those who are the most powerful. Mara actually starts having these nightmares about a woman screaming something at her in another language. And the town is just giving off weird vibes. The town thus far has do nothing to help. It’s up to Mara, the circus crew, and Gabe to figure out what’s going on.

To be honest I wasn’t sure what to except about this book. I had heard about Amanda Hocking before but have never actually read any of her other books. I was kind of surprised that I enjoyed this!

I really liked basically all of the characters! Mara’s voice felt real to me and I understood her longing to live a normal life. I have actually forgotten all but three characters names, so I don’t remember Mara’s friend’s names. Which sucks but is also not surprising seeing as I read this back in October 2016 and didn’t take any notes. I apologize in advance for any confusions.

I liked the relationship Mara had with her mother. It wasn’t complicated but instead the pair were quiet close. Mara and Gideon had a good relationship as well. Now you would think that they’d have an awkward relationship seeing as he is dating her mom, but surprisingly they were close as well. Gideon genuinely cared for Mara and all of the other performers.

The powers were really cool to read about! I actually didn’t hear about some of the powers so that was nice. Mara’s mother could predict the future using tarot cards and allowing the spirits to speak to her. This did have a negative affect on her physically and mentally. This was the same with all of their powers. I found this to be very original as I have never read about paranormal powers having negative effects on the people themselves.

Mara’s friends were nice and they all had a good relationship with one-another. Mara also becomes friends with Gabe’s sister whom I loved. As for Mara and Gabe’s romance it was very quick. It wasn’t insta-love so much as insta-attraction. Normally I don’t like reading about rushed romances, but I didn’t mind it in this book. I really liked Gabe so maybe that’s why I let it slide. There is an LGBTQIA romance as well. Both the characters are already dating before the book takes place so you didn’t get to see their romance develop.

The setting was fantastic! This was my first eighties book and it certainly won’t be my last. I also felt I was walking right next to Mara as she took in the town and described the circus and some of the places she went to.

I did not see any of the plot points coming! I found it very original and entertaining to read about. Note this book is more focused on the characters and the setting. It’s a decent pace but not a whole lot happens right away.

I only had one problem with this. In the beginning I found that not much happened in the book (which I mentioned above). It took awhile for some of the characters to go missing and for the circus to realize that there was something up with the town. After some time I got used to it. I started to get sucked in because I really enjoyed reading about the characters.

Overall this was a good standalone! I recommend this to anyone looking for a character driven standalone. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this author.  

Review: Bound by Blood and Sand

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Bound by Blood and Sand by: Becky Allen

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.

Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free.

Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.

But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.

Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the realm’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this Arc in participation of the blog tour and the Sunday street team. When I saw this book amongst the October SST I immediately signed up. I liked the synopsis and I thought that this book would be very interesting. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

I was not sure whether or not I would like this book. Considering that the main character is a slave I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to take. I was actually quite surprised that this book wasn’t graphic! Yes there were some scenes that were quite horrible but it didn’t bother me.

The book is written in third person alternating between Jae and Elan’s point of views. There are also some flashbacks that prove to be very important to the plot.

The book begins with Jae as she is tending to the garden. Unfortunately she cannot do that good of a job because Aredann (the estate where she lives) is lacking water. Her guardian Lady Shirrad allows Jae to use the water carefully as she is expecting a very important guest. 

Once her work is over Jae makes her way to her quarters and talks with her twin brother Tal. Their conversation is interrupted by another slave who mentions he has information on the guest that arrived. Said guest is Lord Elan who is a prince. The reason for the visit is to determine whether Aredann is worth saving. The Highest (Elan’s people) can only give so much water to the estates. According to said Closest (the slave) the Highest are planning on moving Lady Shirrad and her servants to another location so that they can pass the water along more easily. But the Closest will not be coming.

This is literally the most powerful book I have read to this day! It really makes you think about everything differently. Especially water and how there are so many people in this world that don’t have access to it. And wow the writing style was so good!

The magic system in this book was very interesting! The author manages to make you feel like you are with the characters going through their journey and suffering. It honestly felt like I was in a desert even though I was in my bedroom.

I especially liked reading about the characters and their relationships with one another. All the characters are gray and very well done! I liked all of them (expect Elan’s father) even Lady Shirrad, who in the end earned my respect. 

I loved Tal and Jae’s relationship. Tal brought the good side in Jae out. Tal was also quite sweet himself. Jae is a very different character than I am used to reading. She is very bitter and angry. But there is goodness in her. Elan was somewhat annoying in the beginning. Throughout the book he grew. His character development was my favourite to read about!

There is literally zero romance in this book! Which is something very rare in fantasy. Jae and Elan’s relationship was definitely interesting to read about. Jae despised Elan at first as the book continued they have an almost friendship. They trust each other but they’re not necessarily friends. I have feeling that they will become something more in the next book.

I enjoyed reading about Jae’s powers and how they connected to the Well. And the Well’s history was very interesting as well. I did not see that plot twist that came in the end! It was beautiful and depressing at the same time. Come to think of it I didn’t see anything coming.

This book is quite slow but I found that it worked for the plot. As it is also focused on the characters. I found that the author did a good job of balancing the plot with the flashbacks. They were became overbearing. In fact I looked forward to reading the flashbacks.

I didn’t have any problems with this book. It just felt like a 3 star read.

Overall I enjoyed this book! I will definitely be reading the sequel and possibly anything this author writes. I highly recommend this series to everybody! I personally feel that this is an important book that everyone should read.

Giveaway for a preoder of Bound by Blood and Sand! 

Review: Fear the Drowning Deep

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Fear the Drowning Deep by: Sarah Glenn Marsh

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC from the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the Sunday Street Team. 

I had heard about this book through Twitter. Quite a few people were talking about it but at the time it didn’t catch my eye. It wasn’t until I got the sign up form for the street team that I considered reading it.

Now I suppose because I didn’t really care much for Fear the Drowning Deep I didn’t have any expectations. I was quite surprised that I enjoyed it! The book takes place sometime during the 1913. It is written in first person through Bridey’s point of view.

The minute you read the first page the book grabs you and it’s hard to stop. We are taken right when Bridey finds a dead girls body. Soon after that the town is in a frenzy as there hasn’t been a death since Bridey’s grandfather.

When Bridey was seven years old she and her grandfather were walking by the beach. She’s trying to have a conversation with him when suddenly he stops replying. He mentions whether Bridey can hear the singing to which she replies no. Her grandfather claims that the singing is coming from the water. He walks to the cliff and jumps off with a smile on his face.

Bridey told her townspeople about what happened but they all thought she was crazy. Add to the fact that she’s the only person in the town who doesn’t like the water. Throughout the book Bridey soon realizes that all these disappearances and murders are somehow linked to her grandfather’s death. She explains as much to her people but they don’t believe her. The only one who does is Fynn and the Witch she is apprenticed to. With their help she looks for a way to stop the monster from killing her townspeople.

I didn’t see any of the plot coming! This is a very original book. The book is fairly fast paced and I was never bored. It was interesting reading about the witch that Bridey was apprenticed to as well as the monsters. All of the monsters are from some mythology. Personally speaking I have never read about these monsters before.

The family relationship was absolutely amazing! Bridey has two sisters and adoring parents. Despite some of the sisters’ arguments they stood by each other. The same goes for Bridey’s parents. When Bridey found Fynn her parents took him in and treated them as their own. They stood up for him when the town started to get suspicious of Fynn.

I also loved Bridey’s friendship! I forgot her friends’ names but I loved reading about them! They were a tight group. Now one of her friends is a guy and there is a bit of a love triangle but it gets resolved fairly quickly.

I liked reading about Bridey and Fynn’s relationship. They were sweet together. Although I did feel that it was a bit rushed. There is a certain reveal that comes out about Fynn which ruined the romance for me. I still liked his character though.

I found the ending to be just right for the book. And in a sense it was beautiful. It gives Bridey and the readers hope.

I had two problems with Fear the Drowning Deep. I wished that we got to read more about Bridey’s friends. They didn’t really come in a lot. And that reveal about Fynn was shocking and a bit odd considering that Bridey and Fynn were dating.

Overall I enjoyed this book! I am definitely going to be checking out more from this author. I recommend it for anyone looking for a fantasy standalone.