Okay, so to review. Book 1: I thought the first half was boring, and the second sucked me in. 4.5 stars Book 2: Totally got me with the side characters, the enemies-to-lovers romance, and the plot. 5 stars And now here we are at book 3.
So… I jumped right into this book from Book 2, excited and ready, and for about the first 30% I was riveted… and then we ran into some problems. First, the romance seemed to overwhelm the plot, which isn’t super problematic, but the MCs were square in the honeymoon phase for pretty much the whole book. Their relationship didn’t seem to grow, and the smut was honestly kind of repetitive. The inside jokes that were cute in book 1 and book 2 (Miss Willa’s diary and Poppy’s neverending questions) felt stale here, and the plot as a whole just seemed to stall with lots of talking and not much doing. There were also a few plot points (won’t give away without spoilers) that also didn’t really work for me.
I actually hesitated reading this book with #4 not out yet since I thought I would be dying to get my hands on it. As it is, I think I’ll read it once it comes to the library, but I’m really hoping it has more to it then this one.
Okay, so I had mixed thoughts on the first book (specifically I thought the first half was boring, and the second half was awesome), but it left off on a bit of cliff-hanger so I decided to give book two a try, and I was NOT disappointed.
I INHALED this book. Book two successfully intensified everything I enjoyed from book one. Although once again, I did think the start was a touch slow, I wasn’t bothered too much because I was already so invested in the characters. And the side characters really showed up here too in the best way. I absolutely loved Kieran. And this time, I loved learning about the world. The world-building definitely fleshed out and deepened here, but it was more seamlessly woven into book two.
It’s darker, it’s steamier (kind of veering into the weird, but this is a world of essentially vampires and werewolves so… you know), and in general, it’s just more awesome. Cas and Poppy are borderline dysfunctional and absolutely violent, but they seem so suited to each other, and their dynamic just totally works. If you’re unfazed by sex, violence, and language, and you enjoyed the second half of book one, then I wholeheartedly recommend. On to Book 3!
Darling there are Wolves in the Woods by LV Russell follows Teya as she enters an enchanted, dark wood to find her sister who was stolen by the fey ten years past. As she struggles to survive the horrors of the wood, the complex fey, Lathaniel, become inextricably entwined with her journey.
I really loved the writing style of this book. The descriptions were incredibly evocative and painted such a vivid picture of the darkly magical wood. I also super loved just how dark this fairytale-like story was. It was just the right amount of creepy and disturbing without feeling like anything was added for shock value or out of place. Even though the woods are obviously a death trap you wouldn’t want to find yourself in, they sounded so beautiful, I could see how they would draw someone in. And I loved all the interesting descriptions of the dark magic that exists in this world.
I found Lathaniel to be a very interesting, complicated character… which, after countless years as a fey, a cruel race, and with his a thorny past, makes a lot of sense. Even though he’s very forward about his flaws and is dangerous in so many ways, I can see how Teya would be drawn to him. Teya though, was a bit frustrating to me. Teya has definitely had it rough too in life, but I found her to be rather mercurial in her relationship with Lathaniel, and I had trouble understanding her motivation for some of her choices. But I was definitely still rooting for her, and since there are sequels there’s still a lot of room for growth.
Totally recommend to anyone looking for a unique, dark fairytale with complex characters and beautiful writing.
Let me start by saying, I’m not a mermaid person. When I originally saw this book described as a gender-swapped Little Mermaid retelling, I thought, “Eh, not for me.”
Then… when I saw it pitched as “Attack on Titan with mermaids,” I thought… Okay… well THAT I’ve got to see. And this book so totally pulled it off! The dual-POV plot follows a girl struggling with her deep-seated anger with the infestation of cannibalistic mermaids around her small island that threatens to cut them off from the rest of the world, and a merman struggling to escape slavery from the twisted, abusive mermaid queens.
Kenney does NOT hold back with the viciousness of the mermaids as she so vividly paints their world. Perfectly paced, I totally loved the brisk, rich writing style and the intricate and barbaric culture of the mermaids. I liked all the characters from the quietly raging Kestra, to intelligent Mai, and the charismatic ship captain, and the dialogue between them was sharp and fun.
The only thing that didn’t quite work for me was the glimpses of the love triangle that I feel would be further explored in future books. Without getting into spoilers, the chemistry between two points of the love triangle didn’t quite gel for me, and I was a little bit anxious about who the MC would end up.
I felt like the ending tied up the strands perfectly though, closing out the story while leaving room for future tales. As for a content warnings: there is definitely some intense, bloody violence, but language is mild, and romance scenes are fade-to-black, so I’d say PG-13. I would recommend this book to any fans of fantasy with an edge… and extra bonus points if you’re into mermaids!
Okay… so, I started out thinking I wouldn’t finish this book… but it won me over.
I put this book on hold from the library months ago after seeing it recommended on Twitter, and to be honest, I spent the first 40% wondering what on earth all the fuss was about. So, keep in mind, I like snappy, fast-paced books as a rule, but I’m not going to lie, this beginning is S.l.o.w. Although the MC is likeable, we are beset with world-building and an overdose of internal monologue (which stretches throughout the book.)
HOWEVER. I was glad I hung in there, because around 50% this book finally came alive. I really liked both Poppy and Hawke, their chemistry pops of the page, the steam is well done, and honestly, their relationship is one of the few I think I can honestly classify as “complicated.” I loved the idea of the ghastly Craven, although I wished we would’ve spent just a little more time with how horrifying this would be, and I really liked the gritty action scenes. With the ample foreshadowing, none of the plot twists were particularly surprising, but I enjoyed them none the less. The Maiden concept seems a bit contrived and cringey (by design) and Poppy’s emotions gave me a little whiplash at the end, but it didn’t seem terribly out of place considering what she goes through.
So, although I’m not exactly dying to read it, I’m definitely still interested to see how she and Hawke’s doomed romance turns out, and I have put it on hold from the library (#15 on 1 copy 😂) . A few caveats: Hawke definitely has the player badboy with a past thing going on, so if you don’t like that, this isn’t for you. There’s also a few F-bombs sprinkled in, so if you don’t like that—also not for you. That said, I’d totally recommend to anyone else looking for a steamy high fantasy that takes its time.