A Song Below Water Review

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Nevermind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

I liked Tavia’s character. Having to constantly be on guard and quelling her powers so often would definitely have an effect on anyone and I thought she did a pretty good job of it for the majority of the storyline. I think having to overcome her father’s fears and constraints was her main obstacle throughout the course of the book. She is wanting to know more about her siren power’s and to connect with her grandmother but he is so against anything happening to her that she has to resort to sneaking and lying.

Effie’s storyline was definitely more intriguing. Originally thinking she wasn’t anything special and then to find out what happened in the park with the other kids and then eventually seeing her morph into who she truly is was quite a remarkable storyline. It’s frustrating knowing that the adults know what Effie is and just won’t tell her. Just locking her away without an explanation and being outed at the prom after being pushed to her limits.

However, I just feel like their whole magic system and the different beings in this world just wasn’t fleshed out enough for me. There was a lot of talk about myths and ethos but we really don’t get to dive right in and get a thorough explanation. I was left with more questions than answers and would of appreciated the book more had I maybe had more of a history of the siren’s and the network and how that was established.

This just isn’t my kind of fantasy I guess. I’m not even sure if this is labelled as a fantasy or whether it’s just a contemporary with some magical realism thrown in. I was just not all that invested and felt like the book dragged. The pacing might have been a little off for me and made the book seem longer than what it actually was.

⭐️2/5 stars Just wasn’t for me!

Big Little Lies Review

*A Bit Spoilery*

Big Little Lies is about a group of mums with kids starting kindergarten together and the dangerous little lies they tell themselves every day and what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.

I really enjoyed Madeline’s character probably the most out of all of them. She is just so relatable and is fiercely loyal to her friends and demonstrates that continually throughout the book. She knows she is rocking the boat most of the time and isn’t sticking to the status quo which makes her a very entertaining and unpredictable character. We get to know a lot about her relationship with her husband and kids and her ex-husband and his new family. I think she definitely had a right to her feelings and it was fun to see her get petty and hate on Bonny.

I knew that there was more to Jane’s story about Ziggy that we weren’t told, especially the reason behind the move to Perriwillee. She chose the town for a reason and that was always at the back of my mind when we are given more information about who the father of Ziggy is and what he did to her, I just didn’t quite connect the dots. I just wish we would of had a chance to delve more into the ramifications of what happened to her that night and how it has developed into her personality. Like Madeleine confides in her friends about what is happening with her and has her husband to vent to and Celeste goes to therapy but Jane gets a haircut and suddenly she’s fine??

I really feel for Celeste throughout the course of the book and what she has to endure. I can’t fathom how hard being in that kind of relationship would be and how she has to reason with herself as to why it’s happening and what she could of done to prevent it. I liked that she made the conscientious decision to go to therapy and try to gain that confidence to leave Perry and when it was revealed that it was affecting her kids she immediately made up her mind to go.

I really enjoyed the format of the book with the countdown to the trivia night. Knowing that one of these characters is now dead and trying to figure out who did it and who died really built up the anticipation. The mystery behind who was the school bully was intriguing and it was entertaining to see these mothers going around gossiping about their lives. This was definitely better than what I was expecting and it was nice to read a book with the setting here in Australia, I don’t get many of those.

⭐️4/5 stars Captivating and unexpected!

All the Tides of Fate Review

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses. No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.

I honestly didn’t think Amora really went through any growth from the first book to now. Sure she is now the Queen of Visidia but other than that title she now holds she is pretty much the same. She still comes across as unrelatable and naïve and won’t let anyone in her crew in on what’s going on with her and has way to many secrets. She will play the friendship card with them but as soon as they have an opinion or idea that contradicts with her plans she will order them to submit. She’s a tad too reckless and just overall not likeable to me.

Bastian remains one of my favourites out of all the characters. He will challenge Amara regularly and the banter between them is still so entertaining to read. I like that his communication with her is always open and honest and he will express how he is feeling to her consistently. Amara was blinded by what effects the curse had on him because she was so concerned about herself and he exposed that to her which I appreciated.

Ferrick was always a stable and consistent character throughout the course of the series. He was a great friend and advisor to Amara and would give her sound advice often that she continually chose to ignore. I didn’t appreciate how he ultimately chose Amara over himself and made that sacrifice. I think his character’s arc deserved a better ending, even just being remembered would be better than what we got. I liked the fact that Vataea stood up for herself and had that blow up with Amara. She didn’t just accept the apology and continued on being one of her crew mates. I didn’t think it was the right decision for Amara to keep that secret from Vataea and I felt justified when she left.

Overall this was a highly entertaining and thrilling read. There were several plot twists that kept me wanting to read more and had me guessing what was going to happen next. I like how Amara decided to end the reign of the Montara’s and allow everyone to learn soul magic. I think it was the right decision and gave her the freedom she was yearning for.

⭐️3/5 stars A few things I didn’t like, overall a good duology!!

Namesake Review

*SPOILER ALERT*

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and the rest of the crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when Fable 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.

Fable in this book just goes from one predicament to the next. I feel as though she is very much in over her head for the majority of the storyline, but she does manage to pull it together and ultimately get everything she wants, albeit at the expense of the other crew members of the Marigold. I appreciate that they called her out for her selfishness and she does acknowledge that.

We get to learn a lot more about the dredging in this book which I appreciated. Seeing the whole process of the diving and all the variables that go with it. I liked seeing how Fay and Koy establish a bit of a mutual respect as Jevalis even though they had their differences in the past. With that connection coming fill circle when they create a trade port in Jevali.

West really goes above and beyond the protective and loving boyfriend trope. He made some decisions in this book that were just too full on and should have been discussed with everyone beforehand. Especially when he wouldn’t let the crew vote on whether or not to join Fay to find Midnight and then signing Holland’s contract on Fay’s behalf. His heart is in the right place but he just keeps alienating everyone in an attempt to protect/save them which wasn’t really necessary.

The relationship between Fable and Saint is what bumped up my rating for sure! We are never really know what Saint’s motivations are throughout the course of the duology, does he actually love Fay or does he scorn her for being alive when Isolde perished? We are finally given all the answers to the questions that kept building up in the plot as to why he did what he did. Clove was a great source of information and made us realise that Saint was actually in the midst of running more schemes than what we initially thought. When everything came to a head at the meeting and he finally stood up and acknowledged Fable as his daughter was a beautiful moment that had me glassy eyed for sure!

⭐️ 3/5 stars Daring, adventurous and swashbuckling!

Fable Review

For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she 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.

I really like Fable’s character, though I feel she does need that little bit more growth and development. When we learn about her story and how she has had to stay alive for so long I definitely feel sympathy for her yet she does all the things she knows she shouldn’t do any has to flee from Jeval for her life. I am very curious about her powers and how her mother taught her, I wish we would have found out a bit more about that but hopefully in the next book all is revealed.

West is one of those broody male love interests in YA books that I just happen to love. He is rude and standoffish and lays down the law with Fable right from the start and yet he has a softer side that we learn about throughout the course of the plot that just makes you fall for him. He is very secretive and I am curious as to how he brokered the deal with Saint in the first place and what he will do next! The relationship did kind of feel a little rushed even though not a lot happens. There was a bit of tension between the two of them but not enough for me to quite believe the depth of their feelings.

I am very intrigued by the crew of the Marigold and how they all came together. West really seems to trust each of them with their lives and it is really shown in the plot. They were all so wary and untrusting of Fable at the start that I wonder how what happened with their previous dredger. I feel like they are so much more I want to learn about each of them and I really hope we delve more into their characters in the next book.

Overall I love the premise and tone of the story, it’s very cutthroat and unyielding. The stakes are continually raised and I was definitely reading with anticipation about what was going to happen next! There are still so many questions I have in regards to the world, the magic system and these characters and I am hopeful that the next book delivers!

⭐️4/5 stars I was taken on a journey and enjoyed every minute!