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Tab Bennett and the Inbetween (Princess of…
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Tab Bennett and the Inbetween (Princess of Twilight and Dawn, #1)

by Jes Young

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I first heard about this book a little while ago on another blog (I can't remember which so I can't pass credit where credit is due -- sorry!) and so I was quite happy when I saw TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN up on NetGalley.

TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN is an enjoyable read. It has a great cold opening, where Tab experiences her sister River's death. (This isn't a spoiler -- it's the first line of the book.) I was immediately drawn into Tab's life and world, which is what I hope for when I pick up a book. And it seems like this is characteristic of Jes Young's writing since I found myself engrossed in the plot, eager to find out what would happen next, especially since I'm a sucker for stories that involve the main character learning that s/he has a fated destiny that s/he never knew about. Some of the best stories involve this particular trope and I really don't get tired of it. IN TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN, you get to see Tab go through all of the denial, confusion, and acceptance as some of her past is revealed to be lies. At times, I felt like she took to her fated destiny a bit too quickly but I generally found her reactions and responses authentic.

I also liked a lot of the world building that the author has used. In short, there's an uneasy peace between the Inbetween and the Underneath. Tab's mother was the queen of the Inbetween. While Tab was growing up in our world, the Inbetween has been weakening since it and its people gain strength from their leader. Meanwhile, the Underneath has been getting stronger since their king has been around. As a result, Tab needs to learn to master her gifts (which are different for everyone so no one knows what they are) and get accustomed to the fact that she's a royal and will be sitting on the Inbetween throne just as soon as she gets her fae-legs underneath her, if you will. The mythology isn't exceptionally original but it is well done, and there's definitely something to be said for a well executed if familiar concept. This isn't the only part of the story that feels predictable but I didn't mind since the story moves along at a nice pace and there are some lovely moments between some of the characters.

The one part where the book felt forced was with the romance. Tab's been in love with Robbin, her fiance, for ages but he breaks it off when he's forced to reveal that he's one of her guards and that their romance was contrived at the start. He does have feelings for her now but he's forced to step aside so that Alexander can step in since there's an enchantment that basically makes Tab and Alexander extremely horny for each other. I can get behind all of this but I didn't really like how quickly Tab stopped fighting the enchantment and how much she waffled between the men. It seemed like the enchantment was a convenient way to add some steamy scenes and to create a love triangle without the love part (at least at the start), since Tab and Alexander had never met. Tab's narration suggests that she's experiencing a lot of conflict but I didn't buy into this aspect of the story as much as others.

That being said, I did enjoy reading TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN and I'm looking forward to TAB BENNETT AND THE UNDERNEATH. I hope that the author has some surprises in store for her readers as we get to see a whole new side of the magical world that Tab's a part of.

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  jthorburn | Feb 20, 2013 |
I really enjoyed getting to know Tab and her friends. Its going to be kinda hard to write this review without giving away spoilers but bear with me.

Tab starts out as a normal everyday girl and then finds out that she is anything but and that her family really isn't family but her protectors. The characters are all great. Most of the people we meet are "family" members but they all are very well developed and we get to see different sides of each of them. The different characters that were introduced throughout the book fit in the book perfectly. Tab goes from being engaged to Robbin to finding out that she was meant to live her life with someone else. The love triangle was kind of crazy but I understood it and it played out well. I really liked both Robbin and Alexander so I was not rooting for one or the other but I do feel like Tab was meant to be with Alexander and that she wouldn't be her if she hadn't loved Robbin. The sexual tension between Tab and the two men is absolutely high. There were many times where I just wanted her to do one of them already and get it over with lol. There wasn't a ton of action but the action scenes that were there were fun to witness. I didn't have any issues with the flow of the book and felt everything happened at an easy pace.

Can''t wait to see what happens next and I really cant wait to finally visit the place where she was born and see how Jes Young does with the world building while there. The reviews for TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN seem to be all over the place but I enjoyed it and will read more books in the series. ( )
  STACYatUFI | Aug 28, 2012 |
This romantic fantasy has some beautiful writing and some really impressive plot twists. It has a flavor of YA to it, but gets sexier than a pure YA book would. It has some standard romance themes, but there is also a stunning visualization of a boring person who is violently ejected from her boring life, and challenged to enter into adult independence, power, privileges, and (eventually) responsibilities. The heroine does show some unattractive behavior, but some of this is rationalized by plot mechanisms, and some is shown as being grown out of. There are some weak points in the plotting, but some of these are corollaries of the general theme of sudden unveiling. This is an amazing debut, and reminds me of (for example) my first discovery of Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander, or J.R. Rowling.
  Patentnonsense | Aug 19, 2012 |
This book has a gripping open. I dare you to read the first paragraph and NOT be pulled in by it:

"While my sister Rivers was dying, I was planting crocus bulbs in my front yard.

While she was fighting for her life, I was thinking about how pretty the purple and yellow flowers would look poking up through the snow when the spring came. While she was gasping for air I was singing along with the radio to some stupid top 40 song I’d be embarrassed to admit I know. I was tired and achy. I saw the dirt under my nails and then I knew. There was dirt under her nails too."

The open was so strong I could not put the book down until long after. And the rest of the book did not disappoint.

Tab Bennett and the Inbetween is a fairytale of sorts. Tabitha Bennett starts the story as an ordinary 25-year old bank teller, working at her family’s bank, living in a small cottage on the grounds of Witchwood Manor, where she grew up, and engaged to her childhood sweetheart, Robbin Turnbough. Life would be good if someone would stop murdering her sisters. Tab’s life is suddenly turned upside down when the death of her last surviving sister brings to light revelations about her parents, who she is, and what she is destined become. And this is where the “fairy” part of that tale comes in. Not only must Tab deal with the loss of her sisters, but she must also come face-to-face with a world of magic, intrigue, and danger that she never knew existed.

What I enjoyed most about this story was Tab Bennett herself. I think Young created a wonderful heroine in Tab. She is smart and she is a smartass. I always love that combo. When faced with tough moments, Tab always has a great line:

"I’ve always found the custom of gathering for a starchy lunch after burying a loved one a little strange. I guess all the heavy food and whispery voices are supposed to be a comforting reminder that life goes on, but I find the way the death and burial become secondary to the potato salad deeply, deeply unsettling."

But she also shows some growth over the course of the story. From an innocent young woman who accepts the stories she has been fed about who she is, to a strong woman who not only faces the truth of her newfound situation, but eventually takes control of it.

There were also some wonderful structural aspects to the storytelling. Tab Bennett is written in the first person from Tab’s perspective. Peppered throughout are little asides that remind the reader of Tab’s narration, as if this tale has already happened and she is confiding in you. In a scene in which Robbin asks Tab to run away with him, she says:

"I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back on that moment wondering what would have happened if I’d let him take me away that night. Where would I be right now? Who would I be? So much pain could have been avoided."

And later, when she makes a bad decision that endangers her life, you know, like in a horror flick when the woman opens the basement door to check out a noise instead of running for her life, that kind of decision, Tab says,

"I know. I know. It’s hard to believe I’m that stupid."

These touches drew me closer to Tab. It added a level of intimacy with the reader, as if you are sitting there with Tab while she looks back on those moments that changed her life forever.

The secondary cast of characters is also good. It really is raining men in the world of Tab Bennett. There is Robbin, Tab’s fiancé, Alex, the man trying to steal her heart, and her cousins George, Matt and Francis. Each one has a role to play and those roles become clearer as the story unfolds. The love triangle is also well-done. I was hoping for a twist towards the end of the book that would put Tab in the arms of the guy I want for her. The romance kept me on my toes as I hoped for an outcome that didn’t happen. And then there is Pop, the patriarch of Witchwood Manor who parcels out bits of wisdom like this when Tabitha comes to him confused about her magically manipulated feelings for Alex:

"Allow me to unravel this riddle for you, Tabitha, my girl. Keep your pants on and act like a lady and I’m sure the enchantment will leave you alone."

Some minor quibbles…I’m not sure why but when I first started reading Tab Bennett, I thought it was a YA novel. And I can’t give specifics, it was just something I felt. When that first sex scene came along, I was slightly taken aback. Then I remembered how old Tab was and realized this is definitely not a YA novel. Nor did it feel like one by the end of the story.

Also, with the exception of a few scenes, the story almost entirely takes place at Witchwood Manor. As a reader, I was starting to get cabin fever. Tab is introduced to this magical elvish world but doesn’t actually go there. At least not in this book. I recognize this was purposefully done because Tab can’t leave the house for fear of being murdered, but by the end, I so desperately wanted to see this world that I was reminded of the first time I saw the film version of Fellowship of the Ring. I had not read the Tolkien books before seeing it so when the movie ended, I sat there for a few seconds, staring at the screen, and I turned to my husband and said, “Well, hold on, what about the ring?” His response, after laughter, was, “Wait for the next two movies.” That’s how I felt at the end of this story…well, what about the other worlds – the Inbetween and the Underneath? What about the magic? The answer: wait for book two.

And I will wait for book two. I’m looking forward to reading it. Tab Bennett and the Inbetween was a wonderful introduction to an engaging heroine. It will be nice to see what Young conjures up next for Tab as she seems destined to face some serious truths about her mother’s past as well as some serious magical elvish WTFery. ( )
  shewolfreads | Jul 18, 2012 |
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To Cassy: always my first reader and most dedicated fan.
To the Reader: How often do you get to hold a dream in your hand? Right now, dear reader, you are holding just that - a dream, a hope, and a promise fulfilled. Thank you for taking a chance on Tab Bennett and me. Please feel free to connect with me on Twitter @JesYoungWrites or visit my blog at www.JesYoung.com. I'd love to know what you think about the series. Happy Reading!
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While my sister Rivers was dying, I was planting crocus bulbs in my front yard.
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Tab Bennett went from bank teller to Elvish princess in the blink of an eye but a fairy tale life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Before she gets anywhere near “happily ever after” she’ll have to figure out who she can trust, who wants her dead, and why. The answers will change everything she knows about herself, the people she loves, and the place she calls home.
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