Delilah Green Doesn't Care, Briar Girls, and The Magic Fish (TBR.co Review)
WHAT IS TBR.co (TAILORED BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS)?/HOW I FOUND IT
I was introduced to this service by one of my favorite Youtubers, Kayla from BooksandLala. Essentially, you fill out a survey about your favorite books and what you like/look for in books, etc. They then match you with a bibliologist who recommends you three or four books to read. I want to stress that I am a paying customer just like everyone else, so you can be assured that my reviews of the books I was recommended are not at all biased.
1. Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake
WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT:
This adult romance follows photographer Delilah who is hired to film her estranged stepsister Astrid’s wedding. While back in her hometown for the wedding events Delilah develops a covert relationship with Astrid’s best friend, single mother Claire. MY REVIEW:
This romance was quite refreshing in that it didn’t seem to fall neatly into a trope. Claire and Delilah were very well matched and their relationship was quite cute. Claire provided the stability that Delilah needed and Delilah bonded with Claire’s daughter. I was just as, if not even more, invested in the relationship between Delilah and Astrid. I was relieved that Astrid didn’t fall into the evil stepsister trope but instead the deep hurt between the girls was from childhood misunderstandings. This was smart on Herring Blake’s part and especially because Astrid is the main character in the upcoming companion novel. I’d argue this is just as much a novel about family (sisterhood and the complicated dance of co-parenting with Claire and her ex) as it is a romance. The romance itself gave the book a more cute, lighthearted side that balanced out the heavier emotions of other parts of the story.
My one critique of the novel was that I didn’t always love Delilah’s character. I liked how driven and creative she was and how good she was with Claire’s daughter. I just didn’t like how she had a tendency to be somewhat immature and petty at times.
FINAL RATING: 4.5⭐️
2. Briar Girls by Rebecca Kim Wells
WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT:
This YA fantasy is about Lena, a girl with a poisonous touch. She travels into the deadly forest known as the Silence where she hopes to find a cure.
I’d compare this book to Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust as both feature protagonists with poisonous touches who are on a mission to cure their curses. If you liked that book then you’d probably enjoy this one as well. I am a fairy tale girl but I liked how this wasn’t a true retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It more so takes loose inspiration from it. I also am obsessed with a good forest fantasy/enchanted forest (which my bibliologist knows) and that’s exactly what this novel has. The Silence is so ominous and mysterious. Also, even though I didn’t gel with Lena’s character I think she was well written.
In terms of negatives, there is a love triangle which is pretty tired, and both corners of said triangle were underdeveloped. I was also pretty ambivalent about the ending.
FINAL RATING: 3.75⭐️
3. The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT:
This YA graphic novel features Tiến who is the son of Vietnamese immigrants. He and his mother connect over reading fairy tales together. He uses these stories as a way to come out to her.
I generally don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but I think the illustrated format works well for capturing the magic of the fairy tales. The story itself of family connecting over stories is so beautiful and touching. The author mentioned it was inspired by his own life and has a writer myself I relate to that deeply. I also really liked Tiến’s friends. Friends are so often overshadowed by love interests so it’s nice to see the opposite happening here. His friends are so sweet and supportive!
I do think I might have preferred this story to be more of a traditional novel or a mixture of the two somehow because I feel like I finished this novel still wanting more development and story.
FINAL RATING: 4⭐️
FINAL THOUGHTS ON MY RECOMMENDATIONS/MY NEW RECOMMENDATIONS
I can definitely tell that my bibliologist was taking a lot of things into account when choosing these books. They picked an adult romance that was LGBT+, a magical forest book, and a book with fairy tales featuring another culture. These are all things that you can find on my profile on the TBR.co website as topics/aspects of/in books that I look for. Obviously, the clear winner here is Delilah Green Doesn’t Care, but I had a good time with all of them.
My next set includes two fantasies and a mystery. I’d heard of one of them (Wintersong) before but am not really familiar with it other than the vague memories of hearing a Booktuber mention the title. The other books, Daughtres of Nri and Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder, I hadn’t heard of before but they sound promising. I specifically asked for a mystery (given it’s the spooky season and I don’t read horror) and a wintry book (since the Christmas season is fast approaching) so I’m pleased to have had those requests fulfilled!