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Lena #1

Between the Sea and Stars

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A Legend, 
A Magical Shell 
A Girl Who Dreamed Of Something More... 

Lena, a Merrow girl, lives in the Skagerrak sea with her father, Carrick and her brother, Javelin who tells her of the legend of the Merrow Queen murdered by her human lover when greed takes over. But what’s worth spilling the queen’s blood? Gifted from Poseidon, himself, a magic shell gives any human the ability to control both land and sea. 

When Javelin is called to join a clan of Merrow soldiers bent on protecting their waters from human invasion, Lena resists Merrow law and ventures to the shore with no choice but to swim to land. 

With newfound legs, Lena is whisked away on a new adventure with new friends and new trouble. Everyone seems to want something from her as intrigue lurks around every corner. 

Trying her best to hide who she is and remain safe from the dangers of the human world, will Lena finally find where she belongs, or will she be swept into a strong and stormy current by lust, greed, and jealousy?

266 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 27, 2018

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About the author

Chantal Gadoury

12 books388 followers
Chantal Gadoury is an Amazon Best Selling Author who is originally from the countryside of Muncy, PA. Chantal likes anything Disney, plays a mean game of Disney trivia, enjoys painting and has a interest in British History. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues that love of writing today. As a recent college graduate from Susquehanna University, with a degree in Creative Writing, writing novels is a dream come true.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 131 reviews
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
516 reviews34.4k followers
September 12, 2018
** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Chantal! I really enjoyed it!! =)**

”She was a fool,” he said.
“She was in love,” Lena amended.

I don’t know why but I absolutely love and adore this quote! I guess it’s because it resonates so much with me. We all do foolish things when we’re in love and the Merrow Queen that is mentioned in the book certainly was in love with her human lover. Unfortunately the story didn’t end all too well for her and even though it’s a sad legend, I still loved it. XD Well, Lena loved it too until she had to go to the shore and discovered the truth behind it all. This is an entirely different kind of story though. Or not? ;-P

Anyway, it’s been a while I last read a mermaid story but I really enjoyed this one. There was something about Chantal’s writing that drew me right into the book and it all felt so magical and dreamlike. You get those fairy tale vibes the moment you start to read and it was fun to allow myself to experience them without thinking all too much about it. This is definitely a book you have to feel and as long as you float with the current (pun totally intended ;-P) you’ll be more than just fine! =)

”This is only the beginning, it seems,” Edwin murmured. “Your journey will lead you somewhere between the sea and stars. Somewhere unknown, even to me.”

And as it seems Lena’s journey truly has only just begun! I didn’t know there would be a second book when I started to read this and damn do I hope that it will get out soon! I really need to know how it continues and I can’t wait to read what’s going to happen next. I mean the ending was very suspenseful and I just can’t accept that the book ended like this!!! >_<

”This inn is always filled with people,” Edwin was saying. “It’s strange, how rooms full of laughter can feel silent. How a hearth full of fire can feel cold. How conversations drifting through the walls can make a man feel… alone. You’ve brought warmth to my bones, Lena. You’ve filled this dark, empty room with your light. Fate brought you here for a reason. I believe that.”

As to the characters: I loved Lena and Mrs. Wyatt! They were both strong women and they stood up for themselves even though the men in their lives were trying their best to oppress them. Well, at least Lord Jarl and Asger tried. Which reminds me of the fact that there was actually a time I didn’t know who would turn out to be the main love interest. *lol* I kind of loved that though. I mean it doesn’t happen all too often that you wonder who might be the heroine’s lover and this only made the story even more intriguing.

”I don’t want to settle for what’s easy, Lena. I won’t. I’m better than that.”

I really hated Lord Jarl, but I actually liked Jace and Soren Emil. Asger… well I guess I always knew he’d never end up being Lena’s love interest. By the end of the book Jace and Soren both showed their true colours though and I guess from there on it’s pretty obvious who’s going to win Lena’s heart. Still, it was nice to wonder about it for a while and I have to give Chantal kudos for making it exciting. ;-P

Considering it all I really enjoyed “Between the Sea and Stars” and I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next! I’m almost sure we can expect another surprising turn of events and I’m definitely more than just ready for it! XD Chantal, please give us book two soon!
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews579 followers
May 29, 2018
Lena grew up on the tales of the Merrow Queen, the human lover who killed her and the magical shell that could give any human control over both the land and the seas. When her underwater world becomes too constricting, Lena is determined to walk among the humans, but what she finds is so foreign, learning to use her new legs is the least of her worries.

Everyone wants something from her, but who can she trust and who will do anything to gain the power she holds in the shell around her neck? A kindred spirit is closer than she knows, but evil is lurking in the shadows, only one step behind her.

Follow Lena as she learns the ways of man, affairs of the heart and fear of an evil she has never known. Has Lena given up everything she held dear beneath the sea for a foolish dream that has become a terrifying nightmare?

BENEATH THE SEA AND STARS by Chantal Gadoury is a simply delightful fantasy that whisks readers away into another time and place. With all the magic of fantasy and fairytale stories, the sweet innocence of Lena, the darkness of the dastardly villain and the simple goodness of so many characters makes this a memorable journey for all ages!

Ms. Gadoury brings back that feeling of tales from long ago with a spellbinding heroine who clearly is completely out of her depth on land, from human customs to the use of her new legs. Even if you don’t believe in mermaids, you will believe in Lena! This one is a true gem of a read!

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Chantal Gadoury!

Series: The Lena Series - Book 1
Publisher: The Parliament House (March 1, 2018)
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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Profile Image for ☾.
211 reviews1 follower
November 7, 2022
DNF at 24%. someone HAD to have paid off the 200 reviewers. the main character is a legitimate idiot, and this book objectively reads like someone who wanted to write a little mermaid fanfiction on wattpad. i don’t have the will to push through.
recommend: do i even need to answer this…
side note: you know when characters go into that self-absorbing pity where something happens and they have the “it’s all my fault, i should have…” paragraph? but it really wasn’t their fault and you, as a reader, know that and feel bad for them? yeah… it was always her fault this time. never not her fault. i nodded my head to every self-criticism because she SUCKED.
Profile Image for Minxy Melissa.
1,740 reviews66 followers
June 27, 2018
There are many of you out there who are fans of The Little Mermaid retellings and there are those of you who aren’t but are a fan of mermaid tales, well this story will appeal to everyone despite which side of the fence you fall on. I found Between the Sea and Stars to be a beautiful story that explores a darker side of when wishes do come true. Not what I was expecting truly but by the time I was finished reading, it was everything I desired. There is so much to love about this story and it will leave you wanting to know more.

In Lena’s world there is a legend regarding the Merrow Queen’s demise by her lover and it had become a warning that humans and merrows do not mix, except to Lena. Lena adored the story and wanted with all her heart to walk on the shore and mingle with the humans. Of course, this was only a desire that she shared with her brother, otherwise she would have been in deep, deep trouble. I loved the sibling relationship between Lena and her brother, it was superb. Despite the warnings, Lena wanted to see humans, just one time, so much so that when her future reached a fork in the road she followed her desires which ended with devastating consequences. She may have ended up where she had always wanted to be, on land, but it came with a price that she wished she did not have to pay.

Despite wanting to see humans and walk among them, Lena still remembered the warnings among the Merrows and she was quite wary of the first humans that she came upon. Luckily for Lena, the first people she met were decent people who begrudgingly took her in, not because she was a stranger but because they had very little to spare. Lena was not able to do much but she was able to help take care of the grandfather and what a blessing that was. The grandfather was considered a strange man to the locals but to Lena he was a wonderful person who made her time on land bearable and introduced her to a quirky but intriguing man.

Despite the few rays on sunshine in Lena’s life there was an oppressive presence that threatened her in many ways down to her very soul. With danger on the horizon, Lena did not know whom to trust and had little in the way of protection. When a shocking and destructive secret was revealed, Lena knew that she had to run, to run far and fast from the danger but she had nowhere to go. She could not return to the sea and she could not stay where she was. For a sweet and innocent merrow, Lena was quickly learning that not all wishes end with a happily ever after and that sometimes you should be careful of what you wish for.

Between the Sea and Stars was simply a wonderfully written story that was perfectly descriptive. I enjoyed reading this story with scenes that were so beautiful that I almost forgot that I was reading a story. I felt drawn to Lena and her plight. I wanted so much for her and was a part of the her struggles. There was some love interests going on in this story, not a triangle so much but more than one person was interested in Lena. I liked though that Lena didn’t “struggle” with these attentions, she had feelings about what was taking place but in the end she knew who she was and what she wanted for herself. I liked that about her character. Between the Sea and Stars was an excellent read and I can not wait to read the continuation of the Lena series!

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Chantal Gadoury. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

Find this review and more at The Genre Minx Book Reviews
Profile Image for Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows).
1,530 reviews316 followers
May 25, 2018
There is no doubt that Chantal is a wonderful story teller. This is my second book by her and I've been sucked right in from page one each time.

We have The Little Mermaid feel with Lena, who just wants to see what it's like on land... to be human. She feels stifled under the sea and doesn't want to just be another wife. She's a merrow who wants more. Stubborn to get her way, she's not prepared for what she actually gets.

There's a lot of things in this book that are easily predictable. You can never run away from your problems and Lena finds herself basically in the same predicament on land as she did in the sea. What's great about this book is the author's way of pulling you right in. It reads fast and had me swiping pages with a fury to see where it would head. I didn't even care that I pretty much knew what was coming.

The ending is SUCH a cliffhanger! Normally this irritates me, but I found myself still trying to swipe left hoping that somehow I would will more pages to appear. Alas, this did NOT work (but I still encourage you to try this - maybe you'll have more luck 😉).

As with most of these types of reads, the women are put in a secondary role and we see a lot of male characters in this story. The women are there to take care of them and play their roles. Remember, this is almost like a Disney story and that's to be expected. It's how we get characters such as Lena, who rebel against this stereotype. A fairy tale where Lena is there to save herself, not to have a man do that for her.

I absolutely adore books about mermaids and this one delivers. Engaging, fantastical and whimsical. Chantal brings us a rich fairy tale where sometimes getting what you want comes at a cost you can never run from. I need book two, NOW!

Thank you so much to the author for this copy!
May 12, 2018
It's a "Little Mermaid" retelling that I've been searching for ages. A little dark, definitely reminiscent more of the original Andersen rather than Disney. Set in a Danish-inspired world (it might actually be Denmark from a century or two ago, I'm not sure), full of memorable characters and with an enchanting atmosphere that I came to associate with Gadoury's retellings. Somehow, she's even managed to make the Danish language sound beautiful which is nothing short of magic (no offence, Danes, I'm just too Swedified, take it as a friendly neighbourly tease).

What I like most about this story is that Chantal Gadoury is a master of writing stories with heroines who are strong in a relatable, not kick-ass way. Girls who run away from toxic or abusive relationships. Girls who deal with trauma. The YA genre is full to bursting with controversial-to-downright-not-right romance so it's always a nice relief to get some positivity in this aspect.

Overall, if you haven't read anything by Chandal Gadoury, what are you waiting for? (Hint: she's releasing a Hades and Persephone retelling later this year, which might be my most anticipated release at this stage) Now I can't wait for "Between the Sea and Stars" sequel!
Profile Image for Maria Elena | _mkarys.
437 reviews175 followers
May 15, 2018
*I was sent an advanced copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.*

"Your journey will lead you somewhere between the sea and stars. Somewhere unknown, even to me."

Enchanting and so much more. I couldn't put it down. Between the Sea and Stars is one of my favorite reads of the year!

The story follows Lena, a merrow who dreams of discovering the secrets of the human world, convinced that it must not be all terrible as her fellow merrow believe. But her curiosity has a terrible cost. Suddenly forced on land, Lena must face the consequences of her actions and live amongst the humans, keeping the truth of her nature a secret. But doing so might prove to be harder than she anticipated.

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. I've loved it so much that I stayed up until 1 AM to read and only put the book away because I had to, not because I wanted to. This is not the first story I read by Chantal Gadoury, so I was already aware of her beautiful writing, but she has truly surpassed herself with this one. The chapters that took place underwater were so brilliantly executed that I truly believed I was there, beneath the sea, swimming with Lena and her brother Javelin. The descriptions of the merrow--from the way their hair moved to the color of their tails, their movements as they swam and even the struggle of Lena once she has to walk on her legs--was so realistic that one could hardly believe it was fiction. And that same magic was repeated once the setting switched from sea to shore.

I also loved the characters. Lena is an amazing female lead, both strong and fragile, afraid and brave, curious, smart, kind, relatable despite the fact she is what every girl has dreamt of being at least once: a mermaid. The supporting characters were just as great to read, may they be good, shady or just downright evil. I particularly loved Javelin, Lena's brother, with whom she shares an amazing bond (and I am always a fan of beautiful sibling relationships in books, having one just as beautiful with my own siblings); Edwin Wyatt, the old man that Lena befriends on land; and Soren Emil, book keeper, gentleman and the definition of cinnamon roll. (I think I am in love!)

When this book was over, I almost cried. What happens next? When will the next book be published? When will I see Soren Emil again? While I wait for these questions to be answered and for the sequel to magically drop in my lap, I'll shove the book in everyone's faces so they can read it. Hello, new obsession? Indeed.
Profile Image for Abbas Fardil.
47 reviews31 followers
August 13, 2019
What an amazing fairytale this is!! It’s a mermaid themed story. All of the characters have their own role. Besides, some conversations or dialogues touched me a lot.
Profile Image for Shatarupa  Dhar.
601 reviews74 followers
July 21, 2020
First of all, there's a Phonetics Glossary at the end, which you would want to consult before you start reading this book.

Book One of The Lena Series, Between the Sea and Stars, is a magical tale about Lena the mermaid who spends her days hunting small crabs and fishes. Inhabitants of the Skagerrak Sea, the merrows live a peaceful life beneath the water. Lena's brother Javelin's life is more adventurous than hers. Scavenging is his passion and he is a hit in the market where he trades the trinkets he finds in lost ships. But Lena has a secret adventurous wish of her own, she wants to explore the world above the water, something that is forbidden by their King.

But when an incident forces Lena to join the human world, she realises she's all alone now. And there's danger lurking in the form of a very nasty human who is after the shell she possesses, the Magiske Skal that gives her the power to transform into a human.

It reads like a beautiful fairy tale, only that it is so much more than that. This is my first read by Chantal Gadoury and I'd be going back to her works again and again. There is a legend which involves humans and merrows. And a tragedy which is whispered through the sea. A reality that led to the merrows killing humans who ventured too close to the fact of their existence.
Sorrow drops anchor in the eve, but it often sails away with the dawn.

I was surprised to find throughout the text so many hidden layers to the story. It is like a secret which is revealed slowly, and yet it is a tightly knit tale. Also, the ending isn't a cliff hanger. It rather makes us eager as to what would happen next.

At first, I was a bit miffed at the character revelations which seemed to me to be arriving a little too late in the story. But then, I started looking at everything from Lena's point of view and it started to make sense. It is, after all, her story. Her path of discovery from leading a merrow's life to a human's and occupying the liminal space between them. Psst... There's a secret about her long-dead mother too.
There’s nothing quite so pleasant, lass,” he murmured, “as spending a sunny day, lost beside the sea.

The author built such beautiful relations, especially between Lena and Edwin. Javelin and Edwin (he's a grandfatherly character, so don't get any ideas) are the only two characters I will name in this review because otherwise I will start babbling and as good as give away the plot! Plus there are some wonderful sea references.
Evening poured over the ocean like an octopus’s ink.

There's a slow burn romance too. But that is between Lena and ... a name I wouldn't give out now because this is the first book of the series and the build-up is something you wouldn't enjoy otherwise. Aptly titled, this was a treat to read.

P.S. Special mention to the beautiful cover and the artwork at the end.

Thank you to The Parliament House for an e-copy of the book.

The other books by the author that I have read and also recommend are:
The Shrike and the Shadows
Blinding Night

Originally posted on:
Shaina's Musings
Profile Image for Chiara | _ckarys.
380 reviews264 followers
June 1, 2018
*I was sent an ebook ARC by the author in exchange of an honest review*
Having read Chantal Gadoury's Allerleirauh , I went into Between the Sea and Stars with high expectations, especially because it is also a Little Mermaid retelling and that happens to be my favorite Disney movie of all time. My expectations were met! Chantal Gadoury was able to take something so familiar, and spin in into something absolutely recognazable but also completely original and magical.
However, I have some minor issues and I'll mention them as I go.
As far as the world building goes, I was very surprised especially by the underwater world. The merrow society isn't much different from our own: there is a market, there are poor merrow (something that for some reason had never occured to me when thinking of merpeople), money and children taking care of elderly parents! Another thing I found very interesting was that, while the idea of merrows hunting human sailors remains, in this book it is the men who are chosen for this role. This subversion of the image I have in my mind of the beautiful, deadly women hunting sailors was something I really liked....but that I had a problem with at the same time. The idea of female merrows I got from this book is one of women who stay home, take care of the family and are very much submitted to the males they marry. That was one aspect of the world I did not much enjoy, even if in Lena we do see signs of rebellion when she refuses a limitating marriage proposal. Overall though, it was an interesting world, although I would have enjoyed seeing more of the other merrows outside of the main characters.
As for the humans, we get a very stereotypical small town society: most of the life revolves around an inn, there is an old man who is considered crazy, a young man who does not fit in, an evil landlord and lots of creepy crawly men who naturally give the beautiful main character lots of dirty looks. All this, despite being a stereotype, works well with the story.
Another thing I would have liked to see more of is women. Apart from Lena, the only other women in this story are an old merrow woman we only see for a few pages, a merrow queen that is only mentioned as a myth and Jace's mother. Lena does not have a female friend, nor are other young women mentioned in this town.
The true power of this book, in my opinion, are the characters, beautifully complex in pure Chantal Gadoury fashion.
Lena, our protagonist, is a young merrow who hunts crabs to sustain her family (aka her father and her brother). Despite loving the ocean, Lena's favorite stories are of humans, especially the story of the merrow queen who fell in love with a human (Lena likes to pretend the unhappily ever after in that story doesn't exist though). I loved her enthusiasm and curiosity BUT my one issue with her was how submissive to men she was. When Asger (a merrow) kisses her, she lets him even though she doesn't like that he hunts humans. When Lord Jarl (the evil landowner) touches her, it unsettles her but she doesn't pull away. When Jace kisses her, she doesn't want it and when she tries to tell him off, he doesn't listen and insists that they are more than friends and she stays silent. Knowing that Chantal Gadoury does not shy away from mature content, the behavior of the men and Lena's submissiveness worried me in more than one chapter.
From this, I suppose you'll have understood that I'm not a big fan of the men in this book. I don't have much of an opinion on Asger. He's a character that fascinates me, but his possessiveness puts me off. I don't like Jace, the young man who saves Lena, because of the way he feels entitled to Lena's affections. To be honest, Jace is the character I like least. He does have some redeeming qualities, but he comes across to me like an ill tempered, selfish young man. I don't like Lord Jarl, who is EVIL. Literally. Who do I like? Soren Emil and Edwyn Wyatt.
Edwyn Wyatt is Jace's grandfather. As a human, Lena takes care of him. Despite his blindness, Edwyn sees more than most characters, and he protects Lena from the narrow-minded people around her. Thanks to Edwyn, Lena's path crosses that of Soren Emil, the young owner of a bookshop, thought to be crazy because of his beliefs about merrows. Soren Emil is also the only man who sees Lena as more than just a beautiful girl. On the contrary, he never oversteps boundaries of politeness and, unlike Jace, actually lets Lena speak. He might be the only man in the village with some common sense!

Overall, despite my minor issues, I really loved this book, and since it's a trilogy I'm sure there is more of the world and of the characters that we have not yet seen. I'm excited for book two!
And for more Soren.
Profile Image for Laura ( Latteandbookz ).
1,020 reviews8 followers
May 27, 2018
I’m a huge Disnerd and when I first heard about this book by Chantal I knew I had to get my hands on it when I found out it was The Little Mermaid retelling. This is also the first mermaid book that I have read and I loved it. Chantal just as a way with words, she grips you in to the story within a matter of pages and you don’t want to leave.

This story follows a Merrow named Lena who dreams of becoming human. She’s convinced that it can’t be that bad as fellow Merrow tell her Right?

Lena is a wonderful leading lady. She’s brave yet afraid and I absolutely loved that about her.

This book had me reading till the wee hours of the morning because I needed to know how it ended. I can’t wait to have the next book.

**i was sent and Arc copy from the author in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Emmi Rose  (emmirosereads).
239 reviews36 followers
February 27, 2019
Another beautiful masterpiece by Chantal Gadoury! I've pretty much fallen in love with every one of Chantal Gadoury's book and this was no exception. If you're looking for a good Mermaid adventure, look no further.

I was immediately drawn into the world of the Merrow. It was so beautifully crafted and unique and I could easily envision the life that these characters lived. The story definitely kept me hooked and interested the whole way through and I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I'll definitely be anxiously awaiting the sequel after that ending!

Chantal Gadoury always does such an excellent job of writing realistic and lovable characters. Strong heroines, but not always in the way you might think (which is refreshing) and swoon worthy love interests. I definitely found that in the pages of Between the Sea and Stars and loved it! Also, I am ALWAYS here for good sibling relationships in books, especially brother and sister relationships and I loved seeing that between Javlin and Lena.

So yeah, in short I loved this book, you should read it and I cannot wait for the sequel! 😍😍😍
Profile Image for Aleksandra (drawingandreading).
213 reviews238 followers
June 15, 2018
*I was sent an ebook ARC by the author in exchange of an honest review*

Summer rings and this means, putting the blinds down, getting a drink and curling up in bed with a good mermaid book. And this is a good one, trust me.

As a child I loved to dream of becoming a mermaid one day. I honestly believed that my mother would turn up on my 16th birthday and tell me that I'm one of the merrow folk. Okay, but to admit, I also thought she would tell me I am a witch. She never did. But my love for mermaid tales and my longing to be part of the sea never stopped. It was always hard for me to find a good mermaid book, which leads to the fact that my expectations are never high. This is just a personal thing. However, I was pleased very much with Chantal Gadoury's Between The Sea and Stars. Now I can finally say I've got my love for mermaid books back (and trust me, the last time I was pleased with such stories was at the age of 11, so this is a big deal!).

This is my first book by Chantal Gadoury and as it always goes with first times, you have a feeling of anxiety - will you like the book? will you like the writing? the plot? the worldbuilding? the characters? And then, it swept me away into a magicial underwater world of love, longing and danger. I did very much enjoy Chantal Gadoury's storytelling and this won't be the last book of hers I read. *pinky promise*

Let us start with the story. It is, in fact, a Little Mermaid retelling. The protagonist Lena is one of the merrows, however she feels that this is not where she belongs. She craves for the stories and relics from the human world and how wonderful would it be ... to dance, to walk, to feel the sun on one's skin? When her brother gets summond by a clan of Merrow soldiers, Lena takes a chance - to catch a glimpse of the lands and humans. But things go wrong, and Lena is forced to flee. As a human she has to deal with the loss of her family, the sea, her life. Fortunately she meets people who take care of her and starts to learn what the human world really means. But danger does not only lurk in the depths of the ocean, it can be found close to one on the human lands.

I must admit, I am always hesitant with starting fairytale retellings. Those are stories we love, we know from childhood and you don't want to read just a copy of something if you can actually pick up the original. Well, let me assure you. This book took the original concept of The Little Mermaid and brought a wholy new story to us. I loved the plot, actually. I always think it's easier to know what will happen, when it's a retell, but Chantal Gadoury definitely has a way of twisting plot lines, bringing new life to such an old, beloved story. And bringing so many new characters! This has been probably my favorite part of this book. The characters! Chantal Gadoury brought complex, wonderfully written characters to this story. There is Lena, the protagonist, who struggles with longing, loss and her past. Still, she fights. She keeps doing, keeps seeing the good in people, is being kind. Then there's Lena's merrow family - Javelin and Carrick, her brother and father. I loved the relationship of Javelin and Lena, and the dynamic of the family. They keep together, fight together for survival and still are filled with joy and kindness. Asger, one of the Merrow soldiers, brings the complex social structure into the story. In the sea, there are soldiers, too. Asger being one of them. (And I loved the nordic vibes I got from that part!!) As we follow the story, we meet Jace, his mother, his grandfather Edwin, Soren Emil, and more. And I'd very much like to shout which characters has stolen my heart, but I'd let you guess when you pick up this book. I loved that we got a variety of characters on Lena's journey on land. I wasn't expecting to meet a complicated life on land and the more I was pleased that it was filled with such a background story.

As much as I would love to keep rambling about the characters, I do very much like to explain my rating and list some of the minor issues I had. While I love fast-paced stories as much as slow-paced, I did had a feeling some scenes were too rushed where I wished to get more details out of it. Those moments luckily didn't happen a lot, the pace was fast and overall quite fitting to the story. What did confuse me a bit was how well Lena adjusted to the human world. Gadoury did try to state differences like humans do dress, are able of reading, and yes Jam exists. And I loved that, but sometimes I had a feeling Lena knew way too much for someone who was never allowed to reach the surface of the ocean. To begin with, how is she able to know what a wolf is? While I really loved how similiar the merrow society is compared to the human one, I felt those differences could've been depicted better. Those however, are things that still can be worked on on the next books. That's why I definitely see them as minor issues, and don't held it against the book. For the first in a series, it was a great start!

Overall, I enjoyed this story very much! I can recommend it to anyone who is a mermaid-loving-dreamer. And to anyone who needs to experience a world of new sorts - maybe one between the sea and stars! The question of belonging and believing will not let go of you easily!!! So put on your mermaid blankets, hide away from the heat, and jump into an adventure magicial, unique and still reminiscent with characters who will steal your heart and make you crave for more.
Profile Image for Cecily Wolfe.
Author 14 books492 followers
June 19, 2018
Another lovely and captivating fantasy from this talented writer, who has yet to disappoint me in any way with her fantastic storytelling. This is more than a fairy tale, more than a love story - it is about trust, self-confidence, and perseverance. Truly compelling.
Profile Image for Fen'Harel.
210 reviews45 followers
May 25, 2018
This was amazing and I had so many feels. Let me gather myself and write a proper review for an AMAZING book!!
Profile Image for Marina :).
55 reviews7 followers
June 16, 2018
*I have been sent an eARC of this book by the publisher in exchange of an honest review *

I had already heard about this author but this is the first book I read by her and, I have to say, people were not exaggerating when they said she is such a good writer!

Between the Sea and Stars is the story of Lena, a merrow who is curious about the human world despite her people are forbidden to venture too close to the shore after their Queen was killed by her power-hungry human lover. But an unfortunate turn of events forces Lena to go on land and hide amongst the humans, keeping her nature a secret. But this will prove to be more difficult than she imagined.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Even though she is a fantastical creature, Lena's curiosity, kindness and lack of kick-butt abilities make her a very relatable character which is why I liked her starting from page one! What I especially loved was the creative way in which the merrow world was described. It was my first time reading a mermaid book and it felt so magical! I absolutely recommend this book to people who enjoy reading fantasy, who are looking for good mermaid stories and if you love The Little Mermaid, then it's definitely the perfect story for you!
Profile Image for Jennia.
247 reviews7 followers
May 27, 2018
This is a beautifully written, more adult version of The Little Mermaid that reads more like folklore than something based off of a Disney story. I could clearly envision every scene depicted and almost physically feel the tension during the story's most climatic moments. While there are moments that may feel similar to the well known story, Chantal has woven in her own creativity to make it new. The only downfall to this story will be the wait for the next book in the series.
Profile Image for J.
672 reviews66 followers
June 9, 2018
Actual rating: 3.75 stars

First of all, thank you so much to Chantal Gadoury for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

"We're a sorrowful species. Worse still, when we let ourselves believe we are suffering alone."

I'm the type of reviewer who avoids comparing books as much as possible because there are different kinds of good books. However, it would be remiss of me if I don't point out the improvement of Chantal's writing since "Allerleirauh". I enjoyed that book too, but I found the characters in "Between the Sea and Stars" more intriguing and lovable. The storytelling also flowed more smoothly for me. Combined with the enchanting imagery, it's no wonder I had a hard time putting the book down once I started it.

Lena's an adorable, sweet, and feisty character with an insatiable curiosity and a never-ending sense of wonder. Even better, she's not a special snowflake. She also messed up big time. She didn't always stand up to her bullies. When she turned into a human, she even took a while to get used to moving around with her legs. It took even longer for her to trust her human allies. See, that's another reason why I enjoyed this novel. Even though there were romantic elements, this book's main focus was Lena's journey as a character and her relationships with the people around her. The
way siblings Lena and Javelin teased, encouraged, and protected each other warmed my heart. Lena's father-daughter bond with Edwin Wyatt was also one of the highlights of this book for me, because there was nothing contrived about it and their scenes together were pure joy.

One of the things I hate seeing the most in fiction is loss for the sake of shock factor and/or plot advancement, and this novel had no loss like that, which earned plus points in my book. Chantal's an author who NEVER glosses over emotional trauma. For most of the book, Lena was trying her best to be brave, strong, and smart as she tried to recover from the heartbreaking losses she suffered. She had trust issues. She had trouble acknowledging her worth and getting past her feelings of guilt, so even though she's a fighter, there were times she didn't fight back. The point I'm getting at is this - by NOT glossing over the emotional trauma Lenna suffered, the author got me to sympathize with Lena more during her weaker moments. More plus points from me.

As for Lena's friendship/budding romance with Soren Emil, I thought it was sweet and lovely, but I hope that the friendship between them would be developed more in the next book. I think they're a great match, but I need to see more layers in their relationship. I'd also like to see more flaws in Soren Emil because even though I liked him at first meeting, he'd be even more likable if he had character flaws to struggle with just like Lena. (After all, a tragic past doesn't count as a character flaw.) With all that said, I am still eyeing Soren Emil as a potential favorite character in this series. I'm expecting great things from you, man. Please don't disappoint me.

I also wish to see more well-written females in the next installments. We have too many males in this book. Check out this annoying trifecta: Asger's an interesting character, but too much of an
overbearing alpha. Jace was an overgrown brat with a giant sense of self-entitlement. Jarl's just...Ugh. Don't even get me started on that sick, perverted creep. Anyway, I would really love to see an awesome female friendship - even an awesome female villain - in the next books. Better yet, give that old merrow woman and Mrs. Wyatt bigger roles to play, because God knows we don't have enough major older female characters in fiction.

I wouldn't be surprised if you finish this book in one sitting. As I already mentioned at the beginning of this review, the settings of the book were really captivating, so that's the first thing that drew me in. And then there's just something magical about Chantal's writing that made me turn page after page before finally snapping out of my trance and then going: "Oh, wow, it's over already?!" Now that I think about it, perhaps a big part of the reason why the storytelling flowed so smoothly was because I never felt the author tried too hard to impress her readers. She did not try to overwhelm us with info dump, foreign terms, and whatnot. She kept things simple, and that made it easier to get absorbed in her tale.

To conclude, I really liked this book and I'm already looking forward to the next installment of this series.

Profile Image for Review by the Page.
38 reviews3 followers
May 14, 2018
Lena would sacrifice anything to see the human world, but after the Skagerrak Queen is betrayed by her human lover, merrow are forbidden to breach the water- all but the Fosse-Sǿfolk who lead sailors to a watery death. When tragedy forces Lena to the land as a human, she realizes that not all dreams are worth their sacrifice. The world of the merrow is well researched and blends the mermaid lore into a story that grips you and makes you wish you lived in under the sea in Sogen Hav where Lena, her brother Javelin and the merrow that would have her heart, Asger, live.

“We’re a sorrowful species, Lena,” Edwin sighed. “Worse still, when we let ourselves believe we are suffering alone.” He patted her arm. “Fortunately, he said, “We live beside the sea.”

Once on land Gadoury’s writing weaves into existence a village with such wonderfully descriptive prose that, similar to how I felt reading “The Night Circus,” I felt like I had been there before in another life. I could tell you how many of the cobblestones holding together The Lundby Wyatt Inn are covered in moss, and what the wood grove that leads to the beach smells like- and yet the world building didn’t overwhelm me or take me away from the story.

The characters in the story all have their own unique tone, and Lena’s character arc is well done and not too pushy. I would have loved additional female characters, as there are SO many male characters in the story but this book was about Lena and I feel like Gadoury has a lot of room to bring in other characters in the next book. In the end I love that Chantal writes female characters who are strong without being kick ass. It’s nice to have heroines who any of us could be- not assassins, or girl’s with superpowers, but just standing up for yourself and what you want in life.

“When a ship goes down, when you can feel the whole world sinking around you…all you can do is try to save yourself.”

From the cover to the last page “Between the Sea and Stars” offers both nostalgia and new adventure wrapped in whimsical story telling. It’s a story that brings to life the regret of getting what you want and realizing it’s not worth the sacrifice, bringing together the magic of our childhoods and the realization that growing up sometimes means accepting loss and becoming stronger for it. And sometimes- sometimes, there are people out there that will believe with you.

I highly recommend this story to those who love rich fairy tales and adventures like, Christo’s “To Kill a Kingdom,” Shannon Hales’ “Goose Girl,” or Disney’s “Treasure Planet.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Chantal Gadoury through Parliament House Press. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. More reviews like this one can be found on reviewbythepage.com
Profile Image for queen0f_hearts.
123 reviews19 followers
May 30, 2018
** Firstly, I received this book for free, provided by Parliament House Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. **

In summary, I really enjoyed to read this book which is the first installment of a series called the "Lena series", a title which definitely could be more outstanding. To be honest here, I was quite disappointed in the name Lena chosen for the main character while there were others, especially the mer people with so, to my mind, extraordinary names. Anyways, it's Lena.

Talking about the characters, they were the reasons which kept me kind of glued to the book. I think, the plot itself, though it started very captivating (maybe it was just my admiration for the mer world), after Lena had become a human, I felt calm down and instead of having much action, there's a real ton of feelings and developments among the humans in the center of the plot. Actually, I had hoped for more thrill. Luckily, I at least got it in the end when I literally raced through the pages! And then it was over! I was pretty shocked because this cannot just end in such a moment, when there are so many questions on my mind, and a few worries left behind!

The plot, well, I wouldn't say it's necessarily predictable, though being sort of a retelling of The Little Mermaid. Unfortunately, there was no single moment which caught me off guard or blew me away. No moment which made me grin or laugh, or that superior feeling when my favorite rocks the scene. It was a comfortable read, that's it. Some scenes, additionally, were a bit off. For example, how could lord Jarl simply sneak into Edwin's chamber in the middle of the night and why did no one hear Lena scream? Also, I found the change of Jace's behavior kind of odd, though lord Jarl could be the reason... Hm.

The protagonists were real gems to the story. Each of them was unique and I didn't dislike a single one of them. Even rhe bad guy. I hope in book 2, he'll turn out to not be simply evil because this would be a disappointment to me. My favorit character was Javelin. Seriously, I fell for him on first and actually, his fate touched me the most, in comparison to all other happenings. Between Jace and Soren, I can't really choose. I'm actually most worried about Jace because it is not like him not to keep in touch with his family...

But I can tell, needing to know what becomes of them, is why I will definitely read book 2 when it's available.
Profile Image for Jenny (Bookbookowl).
559 reviews232 followers
June 13, 2018
Thank you to the author for sending me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Between the Sea and Stars is based on a Little Mermaid retelling, with Lena as our main character. Lena is a Merrow (mermaid) who dreams of taking a glimpse of the human world. She gets her chance when her brother joins a clan of mermen, called Fosse-Søfolk, who lure shipwrecked humans to their death. At her insistence, he takes her to the surface, but an unexpected turn of events forces Lena to leave the sea and enter the human world. Once ashore, Lena must try and navigate the strange land (literally, with her new legs) and human customs. Taken in by an inkeeper’s son, she soon meets his grandfather and friend, Soren – two people who believe the legend of the Merrow’s may not be the myth everyone else assumes it to be.

All of the characters in this book made me feel something strongly about them, which I find so important in a book. Even if the characters make me want to strangle them, that keeps me engaged in the story!
If I could have reached through the book and punched the innkeeper’s son, Jace, right in the nose, I would have. He was immature, pompous and chauvinistic. Lord Jarl, the evil landlord, made my skin crawl and I could almost feel the tiredness coming through the page from the innkeeper herself, Mrs Wyatt.

Lena’s brother, Javelin, Soren Emil and grandfather Edwin were by far my favourite characters in the book. They were such three dimensional and complex characters and Lena’s different relationship with each of them was special. I really enjoyed them all and am particularly looking forward to seeing more of Soren in the next book.

I understand Lena’s submissiveness went towards showing her naivety, under the sea and about the human world, but I would have liked to see her with a bit more sass. I mean, she was constantly made to feel uncomfortable by many of the men in the story and she just stood back and let it happen. I am hoping in the next book she can start to stand up for herself a whole lot more.
Speaking of the second book, you know those books where you read the last page, turn for the next page and there just isn’t one? When you flick back and forwards saying “Wait, What? Its ending there?!” this book was one of those books! Not at all in a ‘left me disappointed’ way, but in an ‘I need the next book now!’ way.

Profile Image for Taylor Hartley.
Author 2 books24 followers
June 10, 2018
Gadoury's Between the Sea and Stars is a wonderful spin on a classic tale. For those who adore Disney's The Little Mermaid, it perfectly calls to mind Ariel and her adventures on land and sea. For those seeking something a bit darker, more tragic, this novel has something to offer them as well.

I will say that I'm not a fan of mermaid stories. The sea's never really spoken to me as an author. But Gadoury brings it incredibly to life in this novel, taking the time to describe the movements of animals and merrows in careful detail. I fell in love with Lena's brother Javelin immediately, and I even found myself sympathetic to the somewhat invasive Asgar.

But it's when we arrive on land that this novel really starts to come alive. Parts of the story left me longing for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, and I even saw some of Jim Hawkins in young Jace Wyatt. But my true love of the story is Soren, who respects Lena and her fierce spirit and truly sets the standard for love interests in fantasy novels.

I will say that of all the characters, Lena was my least favorite, not on any fault of the author, but simply because of her naivety born out of not knowing much about the world around her. She frustrated me at times, and I could often see the consequences of her mistakes long before they occurred. That said, it's the mark of any good writer...the ability to make their characters pay for actions in a realistic, tragic way.

Chantal Gadoury continues to enchant with Between the Sea and Stars, and I look forward to her next novels, WinterDream and Blinding Night!
Profile Image for P.S. Malcolm.
Author 9 books36 followers
August 3, 2018
This book was SO good! 

I have to say, there are so many aspects to this book that made it super incredible and fun to read. I personally loved all the details that went into it, and how unique and different it was to read. I truly felt like I'd been sucked into a completely new world, and the story hooked me from the first page.

What I Liked:
1) How there was so much culture in the underwater world, including the rules and socialism there that affected morals and choices, even with Lena's own thought process.

2) How there is a nice balance between happy and sad moments. 

3) How everything connected in the end--it was interesting to see things unfold and uncover secrets about certain characters. 

4) How the first guy Lena runs into as a human ISN'T her default love interest. I love how she found that perfect boi halfway through the book. They are MEANT TO BE! 

What I Disliked:
1) I'm pretty sad that certain characters died (I won't say which ones). It doesn't detract from the book but I'm still upset about it, I got really attached to them. 

2) I also dislike that book two isn't out like, right now. Because I need it. 

Final Thoughts:
I highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to settle in for an engaging, compelling, yet easy and fun read.
Profile Image for Endlessbibliophile.
1,015 reviews471 followers
July 26, 2018
I recieved this book from Parliament House Press in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't know what to expect going into this story, but I was absolutely blown away from the beginning! I fell in love with The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen when I was a small child and nothing has changed since then. That's why I tend to red a lot ofretellings and have high expectations. But Between the Sea and Stars has easily met those - I really loved the story and can't wait for it to continue!

However there were a few thisngs I disliked: for one, every boy who sees our protagonist twists their head andalmost falls in love ith her immediately, which really annoyed me. Also the fact that nobody wondered why she was so weird was kind of irritating.

But other than that, I really have nothing negative to say! If you're interested in sea stories, mermaids and original retellings, this is definitely a book for you!

Vůbec mě nebavily popisy a fakt, že za hlavní hrdinkou se otáčí každý kluk, kterého potká. Ale jinak mě to vtáhlo, prostředí jako vystřižené z Malé mořské víly jsem si zamilovala a vážně ráda si přečtu další díly.

// http://marky-books.blogspot.com/2018/...
Profile Image for jess  (bibliophilicjester).
809 reviews14 followers
June 13, 2021
2021 reread:

i've been meaning to reread this forever (seriously, i first read it in 2018?! that's an eternity ago), and i think it'll be easier to revisit it now that i'm the proud owner of a physical copy, haha. my memory is useless so i knew i'd need to reread this before book two (yes, i'm reading that immediately) and UGH it hurt just as much, even knowing what was coming. i'm not going to reread my og review yet... but i love lena so much. this is a retelling on the surface, but it's so so much more. i really noticed the contrast of lena and jace both wanting to sort of make their own way in the world, and going about it in such entirely different ways. i think this was my first by this author, but i've since come to appreciate how different her mcs are, yet they're all strong women trying to navigate the world. lena is so sweet and easy to root for, even though she seems like a bit of a pushover. she has a beautiful moment toward the end where she realizes the difference between belonging to someone and people belonging to each other. and soren...i need more love interests written like him. he is unapologetically himself, but in such a gentle and unassuming sort of way. they develop this sweet friendship in which he just shows her who he is, and if she likes him, that's great. any way he can support and uplift her, he does it. and she does the same for him. i think that's why i really enjoy gadoury's books even though i'm not really a fan of romance in general. she writes characters who often find each other when they're at their worst or lowest, and they just support the hell out of each other. and really, i like seeing that dynamic in any relationship, on page or in real life. i just...UGH. *clutches book fiercely* i really love this book. and i have a lot of trouble articulating why, but please read it. or i can just reread it for you? i like painful books, apparently. that make me smile. and now i want to go to the beach lol
did i only give this 4 stars?! not sure what's wrong with me. i'm going 4.5, but like 10 stars in my heart.
totally unrelated, but i named my car leena (yes, two e s) for the character leena from warehouse 13. i know they're spelled differently, but i DID also think of this lena when i named her. she's gray, but she's really sweet too. and i have a bag of shells in leena the car. this is irrelevant. please read this book lol


original review from 2018:

oh my goodness, I adored this book!!

this was my first ever e-arc - I saw a GR friend's review and marked it as to-read, and the author messaged me 😱 asking if I'd be interested in an e-arc and HELL YES I WAS. I was then slightly terrified because I'm an honest rater and Gadoury was so nice and what if I didn't like it?! I'm rambling. but anyway, it was awesome!!

I should definitely mention that this book comes out June 19th and is super affordable to preorder (I'm just saying). thank god it's a series because that ending was cruel, lol.

this is a little mermaid retelling, but it's written in a way that makes the story feel like it's more inspired by tlm than a straight up retelling. I thought I knew where it was going... but I didn't?! and I love that. I *love* being surprised by twists and not knowing who to trust.

also, I'm SO here for all of the ocean metaphors. delightful, haha. I'll take ten.

Lena is such a lovable character! her devotion to her family is so sweet, and I loved seeing her interact with Edwin later on. I've read way too many books lately with irritating female protagonists, and Lena was such a delight. she's flawed and definitely excuses people's bad behavior too much, but I think it's just because she's optimistic and wants to see the best in everyone. I'm a little worried for her because I've read the original fairytale of the little mermaid, and I know how it ends and ugh. I wouldn't dislike that sort of ending at all though. I love when books make me *feel* you know?!

I need the next book. right now. ugh.

this was a really short read, but I've had lots of bad headaches lately (thank you spring -____-) so I read it a bit slower than I normally would. I found myself thinking about these characters when I wasn't reading, wondering what would happen to them!

a few more random thoughts:

• this is a Danish inspired/set retelling, which I don't think I've ever read?! Danish words are used and mostly explained, or it's easy to tell what they mean in context. you know, if you're not crazy like me with Google translate open at all times, lol.
• there's a character named Jace (eye roll) but he's pretty interesting. even if I hated Jace of tmi so much that it's ruined the name for me... don't be put off by the name like I was at first. it's not so bad, haha.
• there is a bookstore!! and a general love of books. and tea. I'm here for it.
• although this is a bit of a quick/easy read, I don't think it's quite a "light" read. it deals with some heavy topics, and characters die! which I love. because I'm morbid and ridiculous and YES make me feel something.
• hooray for no awkward sex!!!! sjm has scarred me forever. my virgin eyes don't want to read any more smut masquerading as fantasy.
• I was worried at first when we were noticing male merrows' strong shoulders and all that...but they're bare chested. so. how could you not notice?! I forgive it.
• THIRD PERSON PAST. BLESS. I want to quit books written in first present ugh.
• the merrow are kind of like sirens, luring humans to watery graves. I like it.
• Lena snuggling her tail when her brother tells her stories is the sweetest, most pure thing ever <3

I think that's all I have to say in this poorly written/all over the place review. so fun! kind of dark. interesting characters, a world I want to revisit, and a Gemina-esque cliffhanger. and a gorgeous cover, if I'm being really shallow : )
Profile Image for Laid-Back Book Bitches.
344 reviews97 followers
May 15, 2018
Wow this was my very first mermaid adventure. I can honestly say I loved it. I could not put my down. I will honestly say I am usually not into YA genre, but Chantal has made me realize what I have been missing. If you are looking for a good mermaid adventure, look no further. I honestly could not put this book down. This book is way up there on my top reads of 2018. I am looking forward to reading more from Chantal, they are waiting on my kindle for when I get a chance. This story is so relatable! I would recommend this book to anyone that loves a good mermaid adventure. This is a must read.....
July 27, 2018
I enjoyed reading this book. Though I do feel it was a great set up for the next book, it was fun to read. It kept me wanting to see what was going to happen next. I love the Little Mermaid retelling from the original Danish texts, not the Disney version. I also enjoyed the twists that Chantal Gadoury took to make it her own as well as to encase more story line.

Although I thought Asger sounds more attractive than Soren, from the moment Soren came into the book I felt he was a good guy. Which to do that with writing is amazing to me. The writing made me cry and grin and feel giddily excited throughout the whole book. I am so thankful to Parliament for letting me review this book.
I love love love this cover and I cannot wait for the next book to see what happens!
Profile Image for Kayleigh.
309 reviews45 followers
November 16, 2018
I was sent a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I didn’t know much about it other than it was about mermaids and although it is about mermaids, it’s also a whole lot more.

I think it was written well, it kept me interested and I was invested in the main character, which is obviously what you want when reading a book!

I love the fact that it is essentially a retelling of The Little Mermaid and although it’s a completely new version of it, it still feels familiar in the way of the Disney version too.

If you enjoy stories about mermaids or fairytale retellings then I think you need to check this one out!
Profile Image for Anne Secher.
289 reviews30 followers
June 29, 2020
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.*

This felt like a variation of the original Little Mermaid.

There were simple side characters, the typical bad guy who convinced a weak boy to become his servant by offering riches and debt payments, events somehow forced to make everything fit, men who thought they could own a woman just by giving her pleasure or because they had power over her and a stubborn MC who always realised she had done wrong when it was too late.

I enjoyed the story, but the narrator sounded quite robotic on the actual narrated parts. She was however brilliant when making each character on their dialogues.
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