Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper


Release Date: November 25, 2011
Publisher: Rhemalda
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 328
ISBN:
9781936850433
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary (taken from Goodreads):

Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.

When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious.

Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people—until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman who has her heart. She could lose her soul in the process—or she might open the gateway to a love that’s deeper than the oceans.

Young Adult fans of Mermaids, Selkies, Sirens and Gorgons will love this tale of the sacrifice one makes for genuine love. Love that could be lost at any moment to the ever-changing tides.

Review:

What an amazing debut by Karen Amanda Hooper! I was captivated by this story from the very beginning, and believe me when I say that Tangled Tides is definitely one of the best mermaid stories out there.

Hooper has certainly weaved quite a story. This book is so much more than a simple mermaid tale. Sirens, gorgons, and selkies all make an appearance, and the mythical world that Hooper creates for them is well-detailed and breathtaking. It was so easy to envision the underwater realm that Yara, Treygan, and their many companions live in. Another thing I loved was the elements of Greek mythology that were present. These elements give background to the merfolk and sea creatures, explaining how they came into being. I feel like with most mermaid stories, there is no mention of how or why mermaids exist, but instead, the reader just has to accept that they do. The fact that Hooper offers explanation to the history surrounding these sea creatures really sets her story apart from others and gives a fresh, new take to the classical mermaid tale.

The characters are also wonderful. Each one has their own, definitive voice, making it really easy to connect to them. Yara is faced with a tough decision that not only affects her, but hundreds of others, yet she is resolute and strong, and I really liked that about her. There are moments when she feels fear, but never once does she back down. All of her emotions come across really well, and I think she was an excellent main character. (I have to say I was a little surprised by her reaction to becoming a mermaid. She was angry, yes, but what about the freak out?? If you just got turned into a mermaid, you are entitled to freak out a little!) And then there is Treygan. Oh my, where do I even begin with him? He is strong, confident, smart, and the list goes on and on. He is just a great guy who really cares for Yara, and I love their relationship and chemistry. There were even a few instances where Treygan had to stop himself from having some inappropriate thoughts about Yara, which made him seem more ‘real’ and really fleshed out his character. There are also the minor characters, such as Pango, Rownan, and others, and I liked every one of them. It is very rare that side characters have their own voice (or personality, for that matter), and I applaud Hooper for creating such excellent characters.

Hooper’s awesome writing style coupled with great characters and an intriguing plot make Tangled Tides a must read for all. This is one of the best books published in 2011, and also one of the best mermaid stories available. I cannot for the sequel, which is still untitled. There is no release date set, but I hope it is soon! I cannot wait to see what Yara and Treygan’s next underwater adventure will be!

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Forgive My Fins (Fins, #1) by Tera Lynn Childs

Release Date: May 19, 2010
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover (also available in paperback and eBook formats)
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 293
ISBN: 0061914665
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

Review:

Forgive My Fins is a cute, quick read about a half-human, half-mermaid named Lily. She goes ashore to learn more about her mother and human family, and also to try and find love and ‘bond’ to that one person for life. She thinks she has found her optimal mate in a fellow water lover named Brody, a guy she has loved from afar for over 3 years. She is ready to tell him her feelings and make her move, but her annoying, biker boy of a neighbor, Quince, will not give her the chance. He is constantly ruining her attempts to ask Brody to the big dance of the year, not to mention that he cannot help but constantly make fun of her. When Quince unintentionally bonds himself to Lily, her life becomes a turbulent whirlpool as she tries to deal with a range of emotions and problems brought on by the bonding. Will she get her fairy tale ending? (I should have said fairy ‘tail’ ending, no? Hehe.)

As mentioned earlier, this book is a romantic, rather quick read. The plot is very simple and rather predictable, but the story is cute nonetheless, and I really enjoyed it. I actually find it refreshing to read a short, noncomplex book every now and then, and forgive My Fins was exactly what I needed!

I have to admit that I really liked Quince (and not just because he is a biker boy, which is incredibly alluring ><). It was pretty obvious that he is one of those guys who loves to annoy and make fun of the girl he likes in order to get their attention. (Oh, boys and their ways. Do they ever grow up? XD) I felt bad for him in the beginning, since his feelings for Lily were fairly blatant and she hardly looked his way. Even though he likes to irritate her, he really cares for Lily and just wants to see her happy, and I really like that about him. I also liked Lily’s character. She is strong and resilient, and I love how she is willing to stand up for herself and those she loves. There were times when I got frustrated with her brooding for Brody and blaming her developing feelings for Quince on the inadvertent ‘bond’ that formed between them. (In my opinion, Lily blamed the ‘bond’ for her feelings a little too much, and it got to be slightly annoying.) However, I understood her concerns about the bond and Quince. She always thought she hated Quince and vice versa since he seems to get lots of pleasure from making her angry, so when she starts feeling drawn towards him, she is left pretty confused. But to be honest, I think their slow developing love is the best aspect of their relationship. Lily has known Quince for years and she has never been attracted to him. But as she starts to learn more about him, she finds herself slowly falling for him. It is not instant attraction, which is very common in most YA books today, but rather an attraction that slowly develops over time as they discover more about one another. It makes their relationship and feelings for one another seem more real, and I really respect Childs for that.

The second book in the series is Fins are Forever. I am a little wary of reading it since the synopsis mentions a possible love triangle with Brody involved (I HATE LOVE TRAINGLES WITH A FIERY PASSION, especially when one of the people should already be out of the picture), but I will give it a try. It should be another quick read for a rainy day, and I looking forward to seeing how the relationship between Quince and Lily develops further! 🙂

Tempest Rising (Tempest #1) by Tracy Deebs


Release Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0802722318
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):
Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water’s temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her-and that the entire ocean’s future hangs in the balance.

Review:

Tempest Rising tells the story of Tempest, a girl with unparalleled skills on a surfboard and a strong love for the water. But Tempest knows that the pull the sea has on her is not normal, even for surfers. Her mother was a mermaid, and after her seventeenth birthday, she could become one, too. As her birthday approaches, she has a decision to make: to remain on land as a human with her family, boyfriend, and friends, or answer the call of the ocean and become a mermaid. Her mother left her father and brothers behind to return to the water, something that Tempest resents greatly. She does not want to be like her mother; she does not want to abandon her family. Add to the fact that a sea witch would like nothing more than for Tempest to either succumb to her power or die by her hand, Tempest has plenty of reasons for staying human. But when she meets Kona, a fellow sexy surfer, she notices that he is not all that normal himself. Kona shows her the beauty in being a creature of the sea, and the want to become a mermaid is stronger than ever. But will Tempest leave behind all she knows to stay with Kona and the new underwater world she discovered, or will she stay on land with her family, forever longing to be one with the sea?

Ah…mermaids. I cannot remember the last time I read a book about mermaids. I also forgot how much I love stories about them, and boy, oh boy, did I enjoy Tempest Rising.

The story and descriptions are just beautiful. Deebs creates a stunning and picturesque underwater world that really draws the reader in. The storyline was well thought out and developed, and while the plot may seem simple to some, it was actually pretty complex at times. There were some slow moments in the middle, but overall, the book was well-paced. I really enjoyed the plot twists, and with action scenes and some intense emotional moments, it was a great read that was impossible to put down!

I really liked the characters. I connected with Tempest pretty easily and I could not help but feel for her. She had such a wide range of emotions throughout the book, from sheer happiness to despairing to the point of feeling numb inside. It was truly an emotional rollercoaster ride! And now on to Kona (originally called Kai in the book summary and ARCs, but later changed). [sigh] I feel that no matter what book I read, I am always enamored with one (if not more than one) male character. Well, I love Kona. In the beginning, he is super mysterious and unknown (and he grabs my attention), then he becomes sexy and secretive (and then I start to fall in love with him), and then he becomes passionate and even more sexy (and then I am A LOST CAUSE). It happens with some character in every book, guaranteed. I do not even know why I am surprised anymore. But anyway, Kona is an amazing character and even though he is secretive and mysterious, he is a good guy. But the best thing about the whole book (and this is very biased) was…..my name got dropped! YAY! The character Bri may have only been present in the story all of ten pages, but they were an AWESOME ten pages. J

Something that I think deserves its own paragraph was the chemistry between Kona and Tempest. Did you know that Tracy Deebs is actually a pseudonym for romance novelist Tracy Wolff? Trust me when I say that she is the master of sexual tension/chemistry. She owns it like no one’s business. The attraction Tempest feels for Kona is immediate, and usually something like that in the story makes me groan. But Deebs/Wolff is so good that it was not over the top, and I found it pretty believable! And when things got physical….wow. WOW. It was just kissing scenes, not even any heavy petting, and I was speechless. The descriptions Deebs/Wolff uses were lyrical and breathtaking (literally) and the emotions were just crazy intense. I ate up every word! ><

The sequel to Tempest Rising is due out June 5, 2012, and it is entitled Tempest Unleashed. I am super excited to get my hands on it! I cannot wait for some more Kona/Tempest action! 

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