The Deep ARC Review

The Deep

The Deep is a fantasy novel about the descendants of African slave women thrown overboard into the sea by slave owners. Pregnant women were thrown overboard for being “sick and disruptive cargo,” but what would have happened if their babies adapted to the new environment and survived anyways? The zoti are the answer to this “what if.” They are born from the bodies of women thrown overboard, but rather than having legs they have tails and can breathe underwater. They do not remember where they came from, as it is too painful for them to remember. Only Yetu is cursed with being the Historian. She is overcome by the pain of the History, of all the horrific memories of the first zoti and of the women thrown overboard. She barely remembers who she is, and she cannot rid herself of the History lest the rest of her people suffer as she does with the memories. But one day, she can’t take it anymore, and flees to the surface. She leaves the rest of her people in the process of the Remembering, the yearly pain of the memories coming to the surface again, and she flees to discover herself outside of the painful memories of the ancestors.

I came into this novel expecting a hard-hitting dark fantasy book that mixed history with the secrets of the ocean in a beautiful way. WHat I read was a confusing story that jumped around in time, where I was never sure of who was speaking. Sometimes the POV only referred to the main character as “We”, sometimes the POV was clearly from Yetu, and sometimes I could never tell who was speaking at all. I kept reading hoping that things would clear themselves up by the end of the story, but they didn’t. The book was so short that I never truly felt any connection to Yetu or her people, and I couldn’t figure out how the side characters were even important to the story at all.

One thing that confused me the most in this story was Yetu’s multiple (?) love interests? I could not tell whose POV the story was supposed to be being told from at the time, but Yetu was with a male side character, and then she was talking to and seemed to be romantically interested in a female character Oori. I am not completely sure if it was even Yetu with the male character, as that occurred during a POV switch where the only pronoun being used was “we.” But it made the story confusing to read as it seemed like Yetu was with both this male character and the female character at the same time, just going back and forth between the two. This is simply one example of something that didn’t add up within the story.

I also couldn’t understand why the other zoti didn’t understand why Yetu was in such pain being the Historian. She was cursed with the Rememberings constantly, and she had to lead them through their own Rememberings as well, so why didn’t they understand her pain. They were clearly in pain during the Rememberings, so why was it so difficult for them to understand that this was how she felt all the time?

The only part that I did like about this book was the dark fantasy aspect. I was horrified by the description of the zoti helping the newborn zoti out of the bodies of their dead mothers, but I loved how it was described and how the instant connection was made from this horrific real world to the underwater fantasy one. I also did enjoy reading some of the flashbacks of history, even though I felt like they could have been expanded on.

If this book had been longer and focused on Yetu’s story alone, I believe I would have really enjoyed it. If the book had been this length and been a collection of short stories from the Rememberings without trying to connect the main plot of Yetu, I believe I would have enjoyed that as well. But as this story was written, it feels more like a hodge-podge of information than a coherent tale, and I could not recommend it.

I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books.

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Freya Snow #13: Pandora Review

Pandora (Freya Snow Book 13)

Freya knew she was going to be the Queen of the Underworld because her father was the king, but she knew she had time until her father would die and she would have to take that position. When her father gets sick and reveals that he is dying, Freya is distraught. Not only does she have to deal with her father being gone, she has to deal with maintaining order in the Underworld as she transitions from Princess to Queen. On top of all that, Freya’s mother is back in her life and Pandora’s Box has to be closed, and Alex is back in her life after several years of being with the Enhanced.

This book truly shows how Freya has grown throughout the series. At first she was a teenaged foster child, unsure of herself but eventually sure that she had a crush on her friend Damon. Then, she was in her late teens and gaining her powers as an Angel, and falling for an Enhanced human named Alex. Now she is in her 20s, happily married to Damon, and preparing to name her fiancée Alex as her heartbond. She thought that everything was going well with her life, but now her father dies and her mother is back as a ghost. When she was a teenager, she hated her mother for leaving her on Earth as a baby and not helping bring her back to her father, the King. Now, she is a Queen, older than her mother who is frozen as a 19 y/o ghost, and she has lost both of her parents. I am unsure of how close we are to the end of the Freya Snow series, but this book seems like a perfect setup for the end. Freya is finally reaching the peak of her powers, and she even has all of her true loves by her side. It is truly a beautiful thing to read.

I also enjoyed how Alex was woven into the story. Damon and Freya are both autistic, but Alex is not. There are some things that Alex picks up on that Damon and Freya would not. There are some connections that Damon and Freya have that Alex is not a part of, whether it be magical or just emotional. But she still manages to fit into their dynamic. I’m unsure if Damon and Alex are ever going to have a romantic relationship or if they will always just be connected through Freya, but I am happy either way. The only thing I was confused about was how Jan would weave into this story. She is technically still with Alex, but Alex is living with Freya in the Demon World. I hope this is cleared up in the next few Freya Snow or Engineered Rebel books!

I finished this book quickly as I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next with some of my favorite characters. This book didn’t end off on the best note though, and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Freya and her friends/family/lovers in the next installment of this series. Everything is at the point where all the side series are crossing over with the main Freya Snow novels, and it is really unique to be able to see what the side characters are also doing while Freya is going through this time in her life. I would definitely suggest to check out the Engineered Rebel and Royal Cleaners series if you are enjoying this series!

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an adult LGBT+ romance novel.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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The Royal Cleaner #7: Torn Review

Torn: A F/F/F Snowverse Novel (The Royal Cleaner, #7)

Caroline, Seph, and Mina have finally started to accept their feelings for one another, and have begun to live as a polyamorous couple. Nothing can ever go perfectly for this group though, and Seph has to get used to being diagnosed as Litcorde and to her new powers as an Oracle while still being in the honeymoon stage of her new relationships. Also, Gregor and Mina’s ex-husband are getting along quite well, but Gregor is struggling with dating someone so new to discovering himself.

I was so so so so happy to see Seph happy (at least somewhat) with Mina and Caroline! I felt bad for her in the previous novel as she kept pining after the married couple while they were oblivious to her advances. She has put herself to the side for so many books, and now she gets the chance to work on herself. Even though Uther is still a threat, she has to work on her powers before she can take him on properly. I was happy to see the book focus on her and her own issues for a bit without having Caroline or Mina or Gregor to worry about. Seph was so used to putting on a brave face to protect her brother that she had suppressed her feelings and had ignored the signs of her being Litcorde.

Speaking of Gregor, I am also happy that he was able to find happiness in this book! He spent most of his time protecting Caroline in their fake marriage and hadn’t pursued any romantic interests of his own in many years, so to see him have an interest in someone was a pleasant change. I wasn’t expecting Arjun to be his love interest, but I am glad that Diya’s father is somehow included in this world of magic.

This book again focuses on the more domestic side of the characters, which I truly enjoy. Since the series is intertwined so closely with the Freya Snow books, most of the action ends up occurring in the main series. These characters of floating in the aftermath of those books, which is an interesting and unique way to tell the story. You can see how the Demon World is working behind the scenes, as Freya has larger issues to worry about than the somewhat smaller issues of the Royal Cleaners.

Overall this was another great installment in this novella series, and I can’t wait to see what happens to these characters next! I would recommend this series to anyone looking for an adult romance novel with a polyamorous and LGBT+ couples.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 books

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The Royal Cleaner #6: Exiled Review

Exiled (The Royal Cleaner, #6)

Seph, Gregor, and Caroline have been exiled from the Demon World. Persephone or Seph has to get used to life in the human world, where she doesn’t have the position of queen that she has prepared for since she was born. This gives her time to deal with feelings that she has been pushing away for years, and face the fact that she might have a crush on someone. Gregor and Caroline no longer have to be fake married, which gives Mina and Caroline the chance to marry one another. Gregor is also free to pursue his own romantic interests, and he might have his eyes on a certain man on Earth.

I am interested in the new couples that were introduced in this installment of the series. I knew that Mina and Caroline would always be together, but I was worried that Gregor would never get the chance to be happy as he didn’t have a secret boyfriend on the side of his political marriage to Caroline, but he had his chance in this book! I also thought that Seph would be important, but I just didn’t see how she fit into the Royal Cleaner series until this book. Without spoiling anything, I am happy with how her story turned out as well.

Honestly, this felt like the shortest Royal Cleaner book I have read so far. I loved it so much that I finished it all in one morning on my way to work and then switched directly to the next book in the series. I think that it was the lack of action that truly drew me into this book. I feel like I never got the chance to get close to the characters in the Royal Cleaner series in this way because the books were so packed with action. This slower-paced story focused more on the domestic side of the characters as Mina and Caroline are still spending time with their children including the young twins while Gregor and Seph have to get used to living like humans rather than Demon royalty.

I can’t wait to review the next book in this series to discuss more spoilers about these characters! Just know that things really start to heat up towards the end of this book.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an adult fantasy novel with LGBT+ and neurodiverse characters.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books.

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Royal Cleaner #5: Family Review

Family (The Royal Cleaner, #5)

Mina and Caroline have just given birth to their twins, and they are dealing with having new magical babies. While they are just starting to take time off, Demons get through the wards of their house. Mina also has to deal with her ex-husband Arjen coming back into the picture, claiming that Caroline’s presence has made Mina an unfit mother for Diya. Mina is trying to work with Caroline on her powers, but Caroline still hasn’t gotten over the death of her twin many years ago. In order to move forward, Caroline and Mina are going to have to face and reconcile with their pasts.

I was happy to see Caroline and Mina get somewhat of a break in this novel. I was so excited that they got to have twins, and they are such good parents. The Demons did come eventually, but you got to see the two also focus on rebuilding their family life after the crazy events of the past few books. I am also happy that Arjen is back into the picture even though he wasn’t there before, just so that Diya doesn’t feel abandoned. It also allowed Mina to see that she didn’t handle everything perfectly, which was an interesting twist on the way I thought the “deadbeat dad” route I thought the story would take.

The story moved smoothly and I immediately remembered who the characters were even though I haven’t read a book from this series since April. It was a little on the shorter side but that made it perfect to read while commuting. I was able to put the book down and pick it back up again at any time without feeling confused.

I can’t say much more about the story without spoiling anything, but I was absolutely hooked again by the time I finished reading this novel and immediately went to pick up the next book in this series. I honestly think that the Royal Cleaner arc might be my favorite Freya Snow spinoff. I can’t wait to talk about the next two in this series!

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new adult fantasy/romance novel with LGBT+ main characters.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

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The Sparrow Review

The Sparrow (Emaji Nation #1)

The Sparrow by Denna M. Davis is a novel about a 16-year-old girl named Amanda whose grandparents send her through a magic portal to the Emaji Kingdom for the summer. She is told by a boy named Solomon that she is the fated Sparrow, the hero that will save them from their evil king Zorn. Solomon also claims that he is her soulmate as well, and she meets many people along her journey.

I wanted to enjoy this book, but the storyline was so confusing that I couldn’t keep track of or differentiate between the characters. No one was unique enough for me to remember why they were important to the story. The only thing I enjoyed about this book were the addictive action scenes, the rest I could do without.

I won’t recommend this book but I won’t totally write off this author. I think that she could probably write well for different types of books, or maybe books with a smaller host of characters to keep track of. This was simply not the book for me.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books

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