The Portal Between (The Portal Series, #1) - Sarah Barnard This is another book that took me longer to read than it should have because I just wasn’t pulled through it. I picked it up, put it down…picked it up, put it down. I can’t really say “I liked it”. It was really just an “okay” read for me.My main issue with this story is that nothing exciting or portal-related happens for half the book. There is a short scene near the beginning when Sam comes back through the Portal, but after that there is really no portal or alternate realm action at all. It is referenced occasionally but the bulk of the first half of the book revolves around domestic life -- dealing with the kids, dealing with Sam’s injury and hospital stay, dealing with social workers, making soup, going shopping, the relationships between Kate, Sam, and Lily including intimate relationships (I’ll get to that in a minute), preparing for the holidays, etc…and a lot of tea making. I thought I was reading domestic-lit rather than a paranormal fantasy.This leads me to the next issue. There seemed to be a lot of information that is left out, left up to the reader to figure out, or lack of appropriate response. For example, Sam comes back through a magical portal after being gone for 2 years and nobody sits her down and asks her what happened? How did you disappear? Where did you go? What happened there? How did you get back? And then there is Lily. She is eventually revealed to be more than she appears to be and when she and Kate go through the portal to get her daughter (there’s another issue I’ll get to) when they get back nobody ever says, Who are you? What are you? Why are you here? Where did you come from? Some of this is explained near the end but not much and it should have been addressed earlier in the book. All the weird stuff going on just seems to be taken in stride with maybe a little “confusion” but otherwise no great concern.Back to Kate’s daughter -- if your little girl was just pulled into a portal to another world by a big, scaly, mean, demon thing, wouldn’t you be freaking out? I would! But Kate seems to be pretty controlled about it. Lily goes through the portal after Hayley so does she just assume Lily will take care of her until she finds a way to get through herself? Lily and Kate's trip through the portal is the first glimpse we get of the other side.Another thing that took me a little by surprise is the lesbian relationship between Sam and Kate and another two I can’t mention without a spoiler. It wasn't a problem but I could not find any description, tag, label, category, or review that even hints at this so it was an unexpected element. It is very low-key and I would call the heat level “sweet” as it was practically non-existent, but it was definitely there. This does not affect my rating but I thought it should be mentioned since it isn’t anywhere else.The second half of the book has more action involving the portal but still quite a bit of the “domestic-lit”. By the time Lily and Sam go back through the portal to face Ametsam I had lost a lot of interest in the story and Sam’s sudden magical abilities were another source of confusion. The book also seemed to end a bit abruptly, more like the end of a chapter than the end of a book.With all that said, I don’t think the writing was bad; it just didn't keep my interest. I needed more to happen in the first half of the story to pull me through and support what was going on in the second half of the book.If you like a paranormal story with a good dose of action at regular intervals throughout the story to keep you interested, then this book is probably not for you. However, if you like stories more about family and relationships and domestic life with some fantastical action thrown in eventually, then you might like this one. I tend to lean toward the former.