December 2, 2022

REVIEW Fangs & Fennel (The Venom Trilogy Book 2) by Shannon Mayer

Fangs and Fennel (The Venom Trilogy Book 2) 
by Shannon Mayer
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Format: Audiobook (Borrowed through Kindle Unlimited)
Publisher: 47North

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The first book in Shannon Mayer’s The Venom Trilogy, Venom and Vanilla, focused on Alena’s transition into the world of being a “super-duper”, and what that meant for her future. She also faced one of her first major challenges in defeating Achilles, one of the heroes straight out of Greek legend. Now, in the second book Fangs and Fennel, another hero (this time a full-blown demigod) stands between Alena and her dreams of a happily ever after filled with her family, her friends, and her bakery. Will she be able to embrace who (and what) she has become, or will she lose everything she cares about in the process?

One of my favorite parts of this book is how much heart and personality it has. While Theseus and Hera are undoubtedly the main antagonists of the series, Roger (Alena’s ex-husband) is a secondary pain in the butt that you can’t help but hate (along with his gold-digging “girlfriend” Barbie). I cheered when things continually went wrong for him. Delivering villains you can get behind hating is just as important as delivering likable characters, and Ms. Mayer did all that and more. In addition to hating on Roger, I was also quite pleased by the other relationships that Alena developed throughout the series; from her budding romance with Remo to her deep friendship with Dahlia. There are also familial relationships with her brother and her badass grandma Ya-Ya (I love the badass grandma archetype). While Alena is certainly at the center of things, her bonds are what give her the strength to get through it and it was heartwarming to see and read about.  

In addition to the vibes the book gives off, I also love all the fantastical and mythological elements that the author incorporated. More Greek Gods are revealed in this book, and readers already met some of them in the first book (*hint hint*).  I’m quite happy that some of the more minor members of the Pantheon got their time to shine in Fangs and Fennel, and that Ms. Mayer didn’t fall prey to focusing solely on Zeus like many other books do. Don’t get me wrong, he still features quite prominently in this book but he is not the star of the show.  

Overall, Fangs and Fennel was a fun and entertaining urban fantasy read. Not quite a five-star read, but definitely enjoyable and good at filling time. Audiobook narrator Saskia Maaraveld did a great job with her performance. I’m looking forward to finishing the final book in the trilogy, Hisses and Honey soon so I can see how the story ends for Alena and her friends. 

About the Author

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was born into a family of Star Wars nuts. I have a lot of siblings (somewhere I lost count but I think there was more than could be numbered on one hand) and being one of the young padawans I was subjected to Star Wars marathons, on a regular basis. If you've read any of my books you'll see there is often a reference to said movies as a small homage to my upbringing. May the force be with you and all that jazz.

I started writing when I realized I didn't want to grow up not believing in magic, or not believing in creatures everyone else said didn't exist. That being said, I have never seen a fairy, unicorn or dragon. I had a neighbour who swore they fed the leprechauns in their garden, but I never caught the little buggers no matter how long I lay in wait. (And consequently had to help the neighbours plant new flowers to replace those I killed waiting for the leprechauns to show their faces.)

Along the way, I found my husband who is the rock that keeps me from floating away into my dreams, and we have a little boy who is the centre of our world. Living on a farm keeps us busy (as if the writing wasn't enough) and I have more than my share of stories about wrestling with cows, helping birth calves and ending up in the creek during the process, falling in the mud (we'll call it mud but we all know that on a farm, mud is rarely mud) and chasing escaped livestock in the hopes the four legged convicts don't make it to the highway.

I've taken up archery, and the goal is to move into horseback archery in time (you know, when I can hit the target on a consistent basis) and when no one is looking, I love to bake (this doesn't happen often as it's hard to keep the sweet treats in stock with two boys in the house.)

As to what's coming next for me? More stories (since those never stop inside my head, I might as well share them with all of you!) and more adventures. Pretty much, when the fancy strikes, I'll jump on it. Leap before you look I'm sure that motto was created for me.

Or was that . . . think big and dream bigger, ready, set, pull the trigger . . . yeah. That one is a good one too. But only if you have a gun. And are hunting elephants. Which is not cool because of so many reasons. Let's stick with the first one with an addendum.

Leap before you look and let your dreams carry you on their wings. And that, my friends, is me in a nutshell.

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