Blog Tour: Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Fear the Drowning DeepFear the Drowning Deep
by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical Fiction

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SYNOPSIS: 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.

REVIEW: First off, that cover is absolutely GORGEOUS. I thought this book had a really promising premise, but then I just had such a hard time getting into it and I couldn’t really figure out why. There were so many names and it was difficult for me to keep people straight, especially the main character’s sisters.

I liked the setting of this small island surrounded by the ocean–which was really a character by itself–and I thought all of the place descriptions were really beautiful. Even when Bridey was looking out at the waves frightened, they were frightening in this beautiful, beautiful way.

That being said, I did have some issues with the plot and the pacing of the story. Like I mentioned at the beginning of my review, I had a really hard time getting into it. The story just started so SLOW in my opinion. It took me over a week just to get halfway through it. I mean, stuff was happening and sure it was exciting stuff, but I just didn’t find myself turning the pages faster and faster to find out what would happen next. I felt like maybe we were in Bridey’s head too much. While I think this was true to her character, I just felt tired by all of the uncertainty and by her dwelling so much on her grandfather and Lugh and Fynn.

The plot itself had a lot going on with sea monsters and magic as well as Bridey’s relationships with some of the islanders. It seemed almost like the drama amongst the characters was fighting with the drama created by the actual plot. Morag was an interesting character, but perhaps a little cliche. There’s a rumored witch that nobody on the island likes…original. Then there’s the mini-love triangle/insta-love situation that occurs (blech).

Overall, I don’t think this book is bad, by any means. I definitely think it has it’s audience, but I don’t think I’m necessarily a part of it. I have a hard time when I feel like books are paced too slow. There were definitely parts I really liked and parts that I didn’t. In the end, I would give this one a 3/5.

Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult novels and children’s picture books. An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she’s been making up words and worlds ever since.

When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watercolor painting, ghost hunting, and pursuits of the nerd variety, from video games to tabletop adventures. She’s never met an animal or a doughnut she didn’t like.

Sarah lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and their tiny zoo of four rescued greyhounds, a bird, and many fish. She is the author of Fear the Drowning Deep, the Reign of the Fallenduology, and several picture books.


Fantastic Flying Book Club

Note: I received this book free from the author/blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Four Teens, One Lightning Bolt | The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davies [ARC]

The Odds of LightningTiny, Lu, Nathaniel, and Will all used to be friends–they called themselves the “Science Club”–but everything changed for them the summer before they started high school. Now, they barely even speak or acknowledge each other .Tiny and Lu say that they’re “best friends” but they don’t really act like it. Will calls Nathaniel whenever he needs someone to study with and no one else is around. The night before the SATs they all happen to be at the same party celebrating the “Stormpocalypse”. They find themselves on the roof where they are inevitably struck by lightning and something about each of them changes. As they travel across New York City in a quest to change themselves back to normal, they’ll learn some things about friendship and what it truly means to be yourself.

First of all, I appreciate that each of the characters are individuals. The narrative alternates between each of the four main characters and between the present and the summer before high school started. They each had distinctive voices which made the book more interesting to read. With that being said, I do think that the characters seemed a little immature for how old they were supposed to be. Or…maybe not too immature, but there wasn’t much of a difference between the characters in the “Then” sections versus the “Now” sections. They’ve been separated for three years and the author doesn’t really show the reader how those years have changed each of the characters. Sure, we’re told that Nathaniel is now super studious and Will is a stud when he used to be a chub, but we’re only told these things. We’re not really shown in the narrative how these changes have effected them. Perhaps this is why I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I didn’t not enjoy the book, but I had a hard time bringing myself back to it after I’d put it down for the day.

The plot was a tad unbelievable, but perhaps that was the point. I couldn’t help but think things like “Okay, it’s like two in the morning and there’s still a Sweet Sixteen party going on? In the middle of an epic storm?” Stuff like that just kind of took me out of the story. I understand why the book was set in the middle of the night in the middle of an epic storm, but it made some other elements of the story hard for me to buy. I also could have done without the science-y element of the story. Again, I understand why it was included, but every time the characters tried to explain something about it I just found myself scratching my head. It honestly didn’t make very much sense to me and I would have had an easier time buying a magical explanation than the scientific one given.

One thing I really liked about the book was the setting. I feel that the author was able to really capture New York City in the middle of a massive storm. This book made me want to fly over there and start exploring the city right away. I liked that we got to see a lot of different parts of the city through the eyes of these characters who have lived there their whole lives and the entire storm made everything feel very atmospheric.

Overall, I thought this book had a really promising premise, but the execution was lacking in some ways. While it has a strong conclusion, everything before that was a little jumbled like perhaps the author was trying to do too much.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Moderate
Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

HW Assignment: Book Blog Entry 2 – Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell [ARC]

Loving vs. VirginiaTitle: Loving vs. Virginia
Author: Patricia Hruby Powell; illustrated by Shadra Strickland
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: January 1st, 2017
Age Range: 14-18

Loving vs. Viriginia was the hallmark case that overturned years of laws that made interracial marriage illegal. The story of Milly Jeter and Richard Loving is told in verse from alternating perspectives and readers will be inspired by the courage and love shown by both narrators. Milly and Richard didn’t mean to change any laws, they just wanted to live as a married couple near their families in Virginia. Unfortunately, Milly was black and Richard was white and interracial marriages were illegal in the state of Virginia. They were forced to start their young family while living in D.C., but both were miserable there. Luckily, a young lawyer believed in their case and ended up taking it all the way to the Supreme Court where they won.

This book details a case from our not too distant history as Americans. Laws banning interracial marriage existed as late as 2000 in some places. While both Milly and Richard had passed away before the author had the chance to interview them, Powell was able to speak with several people who knew them personally. She takes their stories and creates beautiful poems out of them. At the same time, Powell also incorporates documents and quotes from the time scattered throughout the book that help the reader to establish where the Lovings fit in with the overall Civil Rights Movement. While readers may pick this book up because of the underlying “love story”, they may find themselves interested in learning more about the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation in general. While this book deals with some heavier themes, the free verse narrative is accessible to younger readers as well.

As a reader, I really loved this book. I loved the way the author made such an impactful topic accessible and interesting to younger readers. My husband and I are a third generation interracial couple in my family. After reading this book, I found out that my grandparents (a white man and a Hispanic woman with dark skin) got married in the 60s and actually lived in the Virginia/D.C. area at the same time that the Lovings did (before the ban on interracial marriage was overturned). I’m grateful that this book prompted me to learn a little more about my own family history and I believe that it might make other readers, teens especially, interested in learning more as well.

This book is especially timely with the new movie Loving coming out on November 4th. Teens who watch the movie may be interested in learning more about the people and the case of Loving vs. Virginia specifically. This book would be perfect for those who aren’t especially strong readers or who simply want to read a little bit more about the case without getting in too deep.

September Reading Update

The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull – Read, review coming
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige – DNF 25%
The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davies
Brightwood by Tania Unsworth
When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch
Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell
Fear the Drowning Deep (Blog Tour 9/27) – Currently Reading

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge – Read, review coming
Beastly Bones by William Ritter
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Emeralds and Espionage by Lynn Gardner (Book Club)
The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming (for school) – Finished

So far this month I’ve finished 3 books with 1 DNF. Things are not going well reading-wise this month. I just started a full-time job plus I’m still taking three classes to finish my Masters…on second thought I might have bit off a little more than I could chew for this semester and that means that my blogging and reading are suffering. But it’ll be over soon!

Just Another Magic Boarding School | Miss Mabel’s School for Girls by Katie Cross [ARC]

Miss Mabel's School for GirlsBianca needs to get into Miss Mabel’s school and once she does, she also must win the yearly competition to study directly by Miss Mabel’s side. Usually only third years are allowed to compete, but a loophole allows Bianca and another underclassman to compete as well. A lot of Bianca’s classmates thinks she’s just competing to show off, but they don’t know that for Bianca this is a matter of life and death. Literally. Her grandmother was cursed when she was Bianca’s age and Bianca has inherited it. Winning the competition doesn’t guarantee Bianca’s survival, but losing would mean certain death.

I really thought this book was going to be a great cross between Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series and Kathleen Baldwin’s Stranje House series and I was really looking forward to it (love both those series’). Unfortunately this book read more like a (rough) rough draft of Harry Potter with only girls. There were so many things that were reminiscent of Harry Potter. The forbidden woods, the dining hall, the competition…just too much and not done nearly as well as Harry Potter (obviously).

That being said, I thought that the characters were alright. There were a couple that I found particularly interesting, but the requisite “mean girl” was flat, boring, and not compelling. Bianca herself also rubbed me the wrong way a few times. The main character that I felt was more than just a piece of cardboard was Miss Mabel. She was SO evil. Delightfully evil. I was kept wondering what foul thing she would do or have Bianca do next. At the same time, she had like…no purpose.  Her motivations were not made clear at all so she’s basically just being evil for no reason the whole time. Towards the end of the book we get some sense of her motivations, but it doesn’t feel like they come from the person, more like they come from the situation… Does that even make sense?

The plot itself was also pretty weak. I understand Bianca’s overall plotline, but the competition feels kind of pointless and all the pages about Bianca’s struggles studying really weighed the book down. One thing it did have going for it is that there was no romance. I mean, I love romance in books (especially YA books) but it’s just so rare to read a book without even a hint of romance. Overall, I thought this book was just okay. I’m mostly just disappointed because I had such high hopes in the first place.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: None
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: None

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


New Semester Mini-Reviews

Okay, so I’m really trying to get caught up on all of my reviews. I read a lot in August, but did not do so great on writing my reviews. So here goes:

One of the GuysOne of the Guys by Lisa Aldin
Honestly…I don’t even remember TOO much from this book. There’s a tomboy girl who goes to an all-girl prep school. She’s got four best friends and she starts this rent-a-date service? Anyway. It was all very predictable and I honestly didn’t really like how the friendships between the four friends resolved. I mean, I know that friends grow apart and all that, but if you’re really so tight, then I don’t think that just falls apart over one event? The conflict between the main character and her parents was interesting, but didn’t really add too much to the story, in my opinion. There were a few secondary characters that I really couldn’t stand, but other than that I think the characters were okay. The romance was alright and maybe this is a spoiler, but I appreciated that there wasn’t a love triangle. Overall, not an entirely realistic plotline, but the story was easy to read and had a nicely predictable ending. 3/5

99 Days99 Days by Katie Cotugno
So…I did not find the main character in this book particularly likable. She just kept making these decisions that had me face-palming THE WHOLE TIME. I’ll be honest, I have never been in the position where I have feelings for two brothers and have to decide which one I’m going to date. That being said, is it really that hard to have a little self-control? I mean, like I said, I don’t really know and I don’t want to come across as judgey, or preachy, or holier than thou or anything like that but…COME ON. I understand that one of the brothers is her ex and she has some unresolved feelings but is it really that hard to not make bad decisions? On another note, I thought it was interesting that each chapter was another day, but that also created some weird breaks and a lot of “Oh, let’s hang out tomorrow” so that a new chapter could start with the characters hanging out. I liked the ending because it just seemed more realistic instead of the typical ending for books like this. Overall, there were some good things, but there wasn’t too much about this book that I liked. I will never be behind the whole “brothers fighting over one girl” trope. 2/5

BlinkBlink by Malcolm Gladwell
I love this book! I’ve read it once before and just reread it for book club. I feel like this book is especially applicable now–even more so than when it was initially published. There’s a section on police work and it really helped me to understand what exactly goes on in a situation where a policeman needs to make the decision on whether or not to fire their weapon. I feel like with all of the police brutality situations and the Black Lives Matter movement going on, everyone needs to read this book in order to understand just what is going through a policeman’s mind. Obviously I’m not saying that it’s okay, but after reading this book I’m less inclined to put the policeman at fault. Does that make sense? Maybe not, but if you read the book I think it will. Anyway, Gladwell is such a good writer and all of his books are absolutely fascinating. I recommend them all! 5/5

The HuntThe Hunt by Megan Shepherd
Let me just start by saying that I am still weirded out by the whole inter-species romance! Like, come on Cora, the guy is NOT EVEN HUMAN. I though this book was a little more interesting than the first one, but I’m still a much bigger fan of Shepherd’s The Madman’s Daughter trilogy. This is like a sci-fi book but without a lot of the science-y stuff. Like, it’s almost to the point where I wish there was more science because some stuff just still doesn’t really make sense to me. Like how is time the same in space and on Earth? I would just assume that if Cora and the gang ever were able to make it back to Earth and Earth was still there, everyone they knew would be long dead by hundreds of years. Also, I’m not sure that I like the whole telepathy/mind powers bit it seems like a bit of a stretch. The plot itself was okay. There was this little twist that comes in near the end that I’m still confused about. Overall, that part of the story doesn’t really make sense and I’m not sure how it moved the plot forward. The characters are a lot more enjoyable than they were in the first book so there’s that. Honestly, I’m just waiting to see how this series ends. At this point, it doesn’t really seem like it’s going to end well. 3/5

Who’s more monstrous: the monsters or the humans? | This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

thissavagesongThe city of Verity is divided in half. The North half is run by Callum Harker who has a team of monsters working for him. If you’d like he’ll protect you, but it comes at a price. The South half is run by Flynn who has exactly three Sunai and an army of humans to help him keep the peace. August is one of those Sunai and all he wants is to be human. When the Flynns hear that Callum’s daughter, Kate, is coming back to town, they register August at her school to try to get close to her. Kate, meanwhile, is just trying to show her father that she can be valuable to him–that she’s more like him and nothing like her weak mother. The truce between the two halves of the city is crumbling and both August and Kate will need to decide which side they’re going to end up on.

I read a preview for this book and really enjoyed it, but then I read some less than favorable reviews on it and that made me a little hesitant to pick it up. Honestly? I shouldn’t have been. I really enjoyed this book and I thought that Schwab did such a great job creating this city. It’s a post-apocalyptic America. There’s an event that’s referenced a few times throughout the book, but I don’t think we’re every really told what that event is. Whatever it is, it created three different types of monsters. I thought the distinction between the three types of “monster” was very interesting. Honestly, it’s like…everything just kind of makes sense. This type of event creates this monster and so forth. Even though this is a world that doesn’t exist, I feel like the logic is still there and that made the book a lot easier for me to read.

As far as characters go, I thought August was a great character. I really enjoyed reading from his point of view and I felt like the reader was really supposed to sympathize with him. Even though he’s the “monster”, he still has these really human feelings and I was rooting for him the whole time. Kate, on the other hand, I could care less about. I didn’t like her very much as a character and even though she kind of redeemed herself in the end, she didn’t really. I liked that even though there was kind of a romance between these two characters, it was very subtle and definitely not at the forefront of either characters’ mind. That just seemed more realistic to me given the circumstances.

I thought the setting was really quite amazing. This world that Schwab has created is fascinating to me. She didn’t spend too much time describing setting details but she spent enough time that I really felt like I could see the city and buildings. More than that, I felt like she did a really good job creating an appropriate atmosphere that matched the story.

Overall, I thought this book was really quite good and I look forward to the rest of the series. I feel like there are some things that still need to be explained and I hope that the author is able to explain those things in a reasonable way. This was the first book that I’ve read from Schwab, but now I’m definitely looking forward to reading more.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Mild