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text 2017-10-08 23:47
Reading progress update: I've read 7% - A Mermaid's Kiss
A Mermaid's Kiss - Joey W. Hill

Is that what rainbows were, the consummations of angels?  Or perhaps it was the flashes of heat lightning, the cleansing touch of fresh rain in the spring.  Who knew how the love of angels would manifest itself?  She was dazzled by the possibilities.

I'm not entirely certain I knew what I expected or hoped for when I began reading this.  I've not read much erotica over the years, supernatural or otherwise.  It's a nice surprise to have a some poetic ideas to chew on though.

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review 2017-09-20 19:33
The Mermaid's Tale by D.G. Valdron
The Mermaid's Tale - D.G. Valdron

Okay, first of all who the heck is D.G. Valdron?!

 

About the Author

Den Valdron, is a reclusive writer, originally from New Brunswick, currently living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Over the years, he has published in print and online a variety of short stories of speculative fiction, and articles on obscure pop culture topics. Like many writers, his previous occupations have included mechanic, carpenter, schoolteacher, journalist and ditch-digger. He is currently an aboriginal rights lawyer. He loves B-movies and tries to be nice to people. The Mermaid’s Tale is his first published novel.

 

I know we usually see the “About the Author” bit at the end of a book and/or review but I wanted to put it first in my review today.  Why?  Because I want to hear more from this author soon! 

 

D.G. Valdron’s The Mermaid’s Tale feels like a new and fresh experience in the fantasy genre.  It features all the species that fantasy lovers are used to and some we don’t get to see often; vampires, orcs, giants, trolls, hobgoblins, goblins, dwarves, selkies, mermaids…  But these species are not cut from the same cloth we are used to and this time we are reading it from the POV of a female “arukh.”  How frickin’ fantastic is that?!

 

What is an “arukh” you ask?  Well, it’s another word for orc, defined here as a mixed breed, a cross between a vampire and a goblin, and these arukh do not have names.  Arukh is what they are!  The different species fall into levels in society and the arukh are at the bottom of the totem pole, known as soulless abominations.  The arukh life is one of brutality, often at its own hands.  They are a very violent species, full of anger and hatred at all things, which can come in very useful.  The dominant species see them as tools for the dirty work.  After all, they aren’t afraid of anything, they are mad, bad and dangerous to be around. 

 

The female arukh in question has been summoned to the waterside where the mermaids reside.  One of the mermaids has been butchered in a brutal fashion and this particular arukh is known for her smarts in these matters.  As the arukh works to unravel this murder mystery, we follow along with her and learn more about this crazy world of hers. 

 

Make no mistake; The Mermaid’s Tale does contain violence and graphic sexual situations.   This is a dark world, one of danger on all sides, teetering on the brink of a war between the species.  It’s also balanced with some hilarious banter with mermaids regarding sex and general playfulness.  The arukh’s interactions are captivating and her journey of self-discovery makes this one of the best books I’ve read this year.  So yes, I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author! 

 

I want to thank the publisher (Five Rivers Publishing) for providing me with the ARC through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program for an honest review.

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review 2017-09-06 16:37
Giveaway & Review – The Dark Mermaid by Christine L Barr @ninjadustpub @XpressoReads
The Dark Mermaid (Cursed Water) (Volume 1) - Christina L Barr

 

The Dark Mermaid
Christina L. Barr
Publication date: September 5th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

 

MY REVIEW

 

I like mean, vicious mers, but I also like the ones that fall in love with humans. Here, we have both, and because of the title I am curious where Christina L Barr will take me.

 

The Bermuda Triangle and Atlantis. Splash…in a dark way.

 

Her father has six girls, but has chosen her to train as a warrior. She has no idea what his real motivation is. Her father had declared war on all humans. When they attacked the ship and she met her first human, her life was changed forever.

 

Would her father kill her for saving one?

 

Her fathers order…kill him before she turned seventeen or he would kill them both.

 

We meet the Sea Witch, where she learns more about her heritage than she ever learned from her father. And Napa. He is an interesting character, a shapeshifter and I wonder what part he will play.

 

Halfway in and I’m liking it. I am looking forward to what will become of Luna…Ian, her father, her family, and, of course, the Sea Witch. Will she find true love? Will the mers and humans go to war? What side will Luna be on? Who will she have at her side? So many questions.

 

The action is amping up. It’s getting exciting and I can’t help but smile at the turn the story takes. It is not like other mermaid stories. A pooling of all the other mer tales I have read, with a dash of something extra on the side. 

 

The battle between dark and light, good and evil…I am very suspicious, untrusting, some would say paranoid. I believe nothing is at it seems, and I am waiting for the lies, the betrayal.

 

Some parts were lacking detail and I would have liked them fleshed out, developed and drawn out, so I could enjoy them more. They felt a little rushed, glossed over. I wanted  the story to unfold in full detail, slowly, and this would be a WOW. Or maybe it’s just me and I wanted more. (?)

 

Still, The Dark Mermaid by Christina L Barr is one that stands out from the crowd.

The end…and it does end…was great.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Dark Mermaid by Christina L Barr.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

 

Enter the giveaway and read more here.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/giveaway-review-the-dark-mermaid-by-christine-l-barr-ninjadustpub-xpressoreads
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text 2017-08-30 16:36
REVIEW BY ANGI - Alabaster Island: The Mermaid Curse Prequel by M.S. Kaminsky
Alabaster Island: The Mermaid Curse Prequel - M.S. Kaminsky

Seventeen-year-old Marei lives on Alabaster Island, a remote tropical isle inhabited by twenty-one families. Nobody under the age of eighteen has ever left to visit the mainland. The island and its strange customs are all that Marei and her friends know.

For years, Marei dreaded The Binding. On that day, each teen must write his or her choice of life mate. But with childhood sweetheart drowned long ago, Marei has no boy in mind. And so she leaves her paper blank. This sets off a chain of events that ruptures the bedrock of her life and leads her to question the only home she’s ever had. 

She encounters a mermaid, beings thought to have gone extinct. The mermaid tells Marei to leave the island and offers to help. When a handsome teen from the mainland becomes stranded after a supply drop, Marei falls in love. Her secret plan to flee becomes an obsession. 

But the mermaid has a hidden agenda of her own. Now Marei must confront the shocking reality that lies beneath island life. The choices she makes threaten to upend her fate and that of her island community forever…but only if she can escape alive

 

@mskauthor, @Angi_Plant, #Young_Adult, #Fantasy, #Mystery, 3 out of 5 (good)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/angi/alabasterislandthemermaidcurseprequelbymskaminsky
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review 2017-07-24 00:01
Visual novel review - Mermaid Splash! Passion Festival

 

Mermaid Splash! Passion Festival (MSPF) is a “pay what you want” f/f visual novel.

CiCi the mermaid has decided that she’s going to finally take part in the Passion Festival. There’s only one problem: although CiCi has many interests, she’s never really focused on one particular hobby. In order to make a good showing at the festival, she’ll need to pick an interest (martial arts, gardening, dance, or painting) and stick to it. Will she be able to hone her skills in time, and maybe even find love along the way?

When I first heard about this, it sounded like it could be my next Robo-Tea, cute, sweet, and relaxing. While I did end up liking the game overall, it didn’t quite turn out to be what I’d expected. Almost all of the character routes involved jealousy of some sort, usually creative jealousy. As a result, MSPF wasn’t quite as fluffy and relaxing as I’d hoped.

When I first started playing, I was worried that this would be a stat-building game like Roommates and similar visual novels. It wasn’t, despite the “plan out CiCi’s week” screen. Gameplay was pretty simple. The entire thing took place in the space of four weeks, and each week you could choose which hobby CiCi spent time working on and who she’d spend time with on the weekend. After you made your choice, it was time to sit back and read as CiCi interacted with one of her four friends - there were absolutely no decision points or conversation choices.

This threw me off a bit, because almost every route had a tense moment that made me feel like I’d done something wrong, even though there were no conversation options and therefore nothing I could have done differently. Angie the anglerfish responded badly to gentle criticism of her habit of never finishing her comics writing/illustrating projects. Delora the sea slug was upset when CiCi told her she should quit her day job and pursue her true passion. Bea the cuttlefish didn’t take well to being defeated in a practice bout. The only one who never got upset with CiCi was Maka the shark, which was a large part of the reason why I liked her route the best. Although CiCi and her friends made up on the weekend or at the start of the next week (if you were focused on one particular hobby and friend), I still found myself wishing there were dialogue options that could allow me to handle those conversations differently.

Although a single playthrough didn’t really take that long, I’m the sort that likes to try to get all of a visual novel’s endings unless I get emotionally invested to the point that hunting down the “bad” endings becomes too painful. In this respect, the game turned out to have far more to it than I originally realized. I hadn’t bothered to reread the product page, so I missed that there were 23 endings, 8 unlockable outfits (which had no effect on the story, but were cute), and 52 random events. The unlockable outfits were easy enough to get, and I didn’t have the patience to try to get all 52 random events, but I really, really wanted to get all 23 endings. This wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

Each playthrough usually resulted in two endings: the Passion Festival ending (how CiCi did in a particular Passion Festival event) and the romance ending (whether CiCi ended up in a romantic relationship with someone). Each of the four romance options also included “friendship” endings, which, sadly, I disliked. It wouldn’t have been hard to write these endings as true close friendships, but instead every single one of them included CiCi feeling like she’d missed out on something and thinking she’d have preferred her Passion Festival outing with her friend to be a date. It was a little depressing.

The gardening route was probably the biggest stretch for me. I found it hard to believe that CiCi could produce a prize-worthy specimen in only four weeks, even considering that it was a transplanted plant. Still, since I loved Maka so much I was willing to ignore that. I initially found her multiple rows of teeth to be more than a bit off-putting, but she was so cheerful and awkward that I ended up loving her anyway. I also enjoyed her romance ending: her choice of date activity was wonderful and very fitting. My second favorite route was probably martial arts and Bea, my third was dancing and Delora, and my least favorite was painting and Angie.

Bea was a little too prone to bragging for my tastes, but her story was one of the more interesting ones. CiCi struck me as being way too immature for someone like Delora to be happy with for long, and Angie’s route reminded me that it is often a bad idea for friends to critique each other’s creative works. It bothered me that, after Angie got mad at CiCi the first time she attempted to voice a bit of criticism, CiCi censored herself during a later scene and said that she wouldn’t change a thing about Angie’s work. I also worried about CiCi’s repeated insistence that she and Angie collaborate on a project - Angie didn’t seem to be completely on board but at the same time appeared to be unwilling to say so and, plus, I felt the two of them would be better off doing their own thing, artistically.

Art-wise, MSPF was absolutely wonderful. All the sprites were cute and pretty (although, if the product page hadn’t said that the characters were 24, 26, 35, and 43, I’d likely never have guessed it, since the sprites usually made them look much younger). The event art was great too, although I could tell it had been done by a different person, and I loved the pretty backgrounds. A couple routes seemed to reuse artwork more often than the others, but there was so much artwork packed into this game in general that I didn’t mind.

It was clear that a lot of work had been put into this. There were a few spots where I felt the writing could have been tweaked and the jealousy moments bugged me a little, but it was generally a fun and slick visual novel with lots for “ending hunters” to dig into. I was so proud of tracking down those final three endings! (Hint: the last ending can only be achieved after finding the other 22.) It’s too bad that the only romantic option I 100% enjoyed was Maka, but the others weren’t necessarily bad, just not my cup of tea.

Additional Comments:

 

- This probably counts as a spoiler since it isn't mentioned on the product page and doesn't come up until several weeks into CiCi's interactions with the character, but I feel I should mention that one of the romantic options is a trans woman, since this will probably be an appeal factor for some players/readers.

 

- Each character had their own dialogue sound effect, which I usually thought was a nice touch. Unfortunately, something about Bea's sound effect grated on my ears.

 

- I wish that the text colors had occasionally been a bit darker - sometimes the text was a little harder to read than it should have been.

 

I'll close with a screenshot of Maka being sweet, friendly, and helpful. She's the best. ♥

 

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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