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review 2018-05-05 06:16
Ocean of Secrets Volume 2
The Ocean of Secrets Volume 2 Manga - Sophie-chan

It had been a while since I read the first volume of Ocean of Secrets but the story came back to me rather quickly once I started the second volume. The art is quite nice, but some of the characters really look alike which makes it difficult to tell them apart.

The story however, goes so fast that many details are lost. Characters don't get the time to develop because they have to jump from event to event. The premise is very interesting, but the story would benefit from slowing down and taking the time to be told. I understand this might be difficult in the scope of a manga volume, but this should be taken in consideration when developing a story.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2017-08-02 00:00
Ocean of Secrets Volume 1 Manga
Ocean of Secrets Volume 1 Manga - Sophie-chan Book – Ocean of Secrets, Vol 1
Author – Sophie-Chan
Star rating - ★★☆☆☆
No. of Pages – 160
Cover – Gorgeous!
Genre – Comic, Manga, Teen, Graphic Novel, Fantasy


To be honest, this one had so much promise but it just didn't work for me.

The story is full of gorgeous illustrations, but sadly they're completely ruined by the huge watermark stamp plastered across the page. If it was a little more faded or discrete, it would have let me see the images better, but it felt really intrusive.

As for the story, I found myself unable to get into it, with the incredulous and obvious plot, along with the additional small graphics at the top of certain pages that had nothing to do with the story and didn't make sense (such as page 62/63). Pages 50-51 also didn't make sense, since the characters were in two different places, but having a conversation; an ability that wasn't apparently allowed within the plot arc.

The illustrations also varied a bit too much between scenes, sometimes being shown in great detail and at others appearing more Chibi/cartoonish.

Overall, the story had hints of steampunk/fantasy, with magic, mentioned and links to the Bermuda Triangle, was just a little too contrived and obvious. The whole framed for murder and long lost princess concept was simple and didn't feel well explored for the amount of pages.
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review 2016-07-02 13:22
Ocean of Secrets - Jerry Sacher

This was a boat wreck and I’m not talking about the Titanic.

I haven’t seen the Titanic movie. Ever. I can’t explain why, I guess because all that swooning and crying of my friends at school didn’t exactly invite me join to the gang. I guess because it’s so long that every time it was on TV I never arrived soon enough to watch it since the very beginning and simply gave up. I guess because I had more interesting movies to see.

So I don’t know if this is the gay version of Titanic. I’m sorry I cannot help here.

I’ve been to Southampton, though, and I was at the Titanic exhibition (where I of course played with the kids’ devices and touched every button available). I walked along the docks and ate fish&chips. So it’s not as if I were an ignorant.

I’m talking about the fish&chips. Obviously.

If I have to begin with something, I’d say insta-love is not my thing. But still, the problem here was more profound than that. The characters are bidimensional and their evolution is in fits and starts, if not totally absent. They both had affairs in the near past, then suddenly they leave or are forced to leave them, and they turn the page very easily at that! Ugh? Why? Weren’t they so comfortable, so invested, so in love? They overcome it with no effort and no second thoughts. Bombproof emotions, maybe? Or none at all?

There is no real depth in them, one second they are thinking about their future and the next they see a pair of green eyes and fall in love without even speaking with each other. And they basically don’t speak with each other, only daydream about how handsome that guy is and how is it possible that such a handsome man had looked at me twice! I’m so flattered!

But there is no chemistry, no thrill. I can compare them with bad actors who have forgotten the script.

There is a HEA but I wouldn’t have minded if there wasn’t one. Because I simply didn’t care for the characters. That is self-explanatory.

The MCs are apparently so different. Andrew in first class with his fiancée and her brother, Matthew working in third class in order to pay his trip towards his dream of becoming a Texan cowboy. Still, they are so full of emptiness they are automatic robots. There is no real life in them. No fire. Nada.

The chain of scenes is confusing. Their separate paths are a series of unfortunate events, some of them really serious, and still they seem unaffected. WTH? When they meet it keeps being that way. Andrew slips into the third class deck to be with Matthew, then he comes back to the first class quarters, then he changes his mind in the process before reaching his destination and talks to Matthew again, then he leaves until dinner, then he returns, then he goes to sleep, then he decides to go for a walk again. Every trip is so similar to the one before, and all the encounters are so alike I was never sure if Andrew ever left and did something apart from walking mindlessly back and forth. He was a yo-yo, no brain involved. Sometimes he reminded me of a stalker. He spends so much time with his changes of heart and walking that it was getting on my nerves. Above all because every conversation in between is so meaningless and nonsensical they don’t serve to develop their relationship further.

But what relationship, you moron?

They are infatuated with each other even before the relationship begins. They see each other casually, and they think, “you are so handsome I love you, I won’t leave you here because I love you, I only know you for 4 days but I want to be with you forever. Blablabla”.

The baddies are embarrassing. I have no idea how many “elbowings” and “grabbing arms” and “rubbing hands” there were but it’s irritating seeing how childish and obvious these characters were. It would take no effort to shrug them off, above all when everybody gets to see through them, their shady intentions and blatant lies. Yet they call the shots here. Bullshit! Claire, the fiancée, needs to be slapped on the face more than once. I volunteer. And William is the typical resentful man who wants the MC (Andrew) all for himself but when he refuses, he tries to hurt the MC’s loved one (Matthew) with his words or with his acts. It’s all so cartoonish I won’t even comment what I think of all of this.

The author even got confused with himself. In the beginning Andrew/Matthew think they haven’t had the chance to said to the other one they love him, but they indeed did! They said their words and then they forget they have said them. WTF? You only have to look for “love” in the kindle to find it.

Also, we are talking about 1912. The society has changed but not that much. Andrew says several times they are in the second decade of the twentieth century, as if that meant people are so open-minded they wouldn’t make him harm because of his homosexuality. WTH? Have you heard about what had happened to Oscar Wilde barely 10 years before? And maybe this is too soon for you, but Alan Turing in the 50s wasn’t so lucky, you know? It’s ridiculous how all the MCs who get in their paths are so respectful and accepting. There are only two characters that don’t accept this reality, and that’s Andrew’s father and uncle. The rest of the family is ok with it. All the celebrities and important personalities in the Titanic (the author demonstrated he had indeed made a great research showing off name after name after name) who discover the truth are ok with it. Their saviors are ok with it. Really! Everybody is so perfect and happy with it. It’s absurd! Everybody in the Titanic is so gay-friendly, I expected some mention of the rainbow flag dancing in the wind next to the Union Jack and the American one. I can’t even!

There are only a few things I consider positive from this book. One of them is the cover. Not the best, but it’s what drew my attention at first. The second one is that I learnt about the Titanic disaster in real motion, every chapter displaying the date and hour. The third aspect is that it’s easy to read. I guess. Or maybe having a 8-hour drive car round trip kind of helped for me to concentrate.

I’m not sure anymore.


***Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.***

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review 2016-04-25 00:00
Ocean of Secrets
Ocean of Secrets - Jerry Sacher Book – Ocean of Secrets
Author – Jerry Sacher
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 200

Cover – Gorgeous!
POV – 3rd person, past tense, dual POV (with about one page of 3rd person, multi)
Would I read it again – Definitely!

Genre – Historical, LGBT, Romance

Reviewed for Divine Magazine

Wow! What can I say?

I've always had an interest in the Titanic. I've watched the movie (hating the historical inaccuracies), read the non-fiction books and watched the documentaries, so I had high expectations for this story. It's the first time I've ever been tempted to read a fictional account.

It didn't disappoint.

Yes, there are some plot similarities to the movie. Let me just get that out the way up front; an illicit love affair between upper and lower class, an upper class MC having to rescue the lower class as the ship is sinking. BUT – the similarities end there. The detail and level of sensory historical accuracy – down to every minor detail that may be important – was unparallelled.

I LOVED that Molly Brown made an appearance. (If you're not familiar with the name – in the book as Margaret Brown – then check out The Unsinkable Molly Brown movie, with Debbie Reynolds)

For me, the book was perfect. From the poignant and stirring Prologue, to the touching Epilogue that nearly had me in tears, it was a first class historical romance, with accuracy that even Hollywood didn't attain.

Not only covering the Titanic voyage and, of course, the sinking, I loved that we got a before and after for both main characters. It was important to see what brought Andrew and Matthew to the Titanic and why; to see what happened after the sinking and into the future. The story very skillfully covers the most important aspects of Titanic's history – from building, first voyage, sinking and rescue, right up to the inquest and after events.

As for the characters, I quickly fell in love with Andrew and Matthew. They were wonderful, well rounded characters, with enough history and back story slipped into conversations and some short descriptions that I got a real feel for who they were.
I loved the other passengers – Tom, Frank Millet, William Stead and Mr Gracie.
I hated Claire and William with a passion! And, although I guessed at the truth about them, I loved the way it was handled and revealed, a little at a time, letting us work it out on our own.
Andrew's mum and aunt were amazing. To be so supportive of him, at that time, just showed how much they loved him.

When it comes to the sinking, we get a very short deviation from the dual POV, to see how other characters are dealing with the events. There's about a page or two of 3-4 lines about how other people experience the sinking, which is a really good way to show the way different classes and different areas of the ship deals with the event.

In terms of heat, there's some incredible chemistry between Andrew and Matthew. Though everything happens very quickly, you can see what draws them to each other and why they feel the way they do. They've both come through unfulfilling relationships to get to each other, so I really like how it was handled. But, the explicit stuff is confined. For most of the book, their encounters are fade to black, until much later in the book than I expected. However, this really worked for me. It worked for the times, the situation and the characters.

Overall, a stunning presentation of a realistic snapshot into history. I believed every minute and would love to think there was a real Andrew and Matthew out there somewhere.


Favourite Quote

““Will I ever be able to forget, or will April 15 be a part of me forever?””
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review 2012-08-16 00:00
Ocean of Secrets - Aimee Friedman 3.5 starsOcean of Secrets has something magnetic and alluring about it; I’m a person who quickly gets weak at the knees for a gorgeous cover and Ocean of secrets in my opinion has one of the best around. Ever since I have received a copy I haven’t been able to stop staring at it. Everything just seems to fit together for the cover; the colour, the picture and the title; it just gives off a totally mesmeric feel. I was initially a little let down by the title change it was previously known as Sea Change. But once I finished the book, thinking it over this new title matched the book perfectly as the marine Miranda goes to is full with several secrets.Miranda is forced to spend time with her mother at the mysterious Selkie Island. After her grandmother passed away, she left her house to Miranda’s mother. Miranda’s felt that she has not seen much of her mother since her parent’s separation, so decides to spend the summer with her. Before she even reaches the Island, a strange man on her boat starts putting odd stories in her head; about the myths surrounding Selkie Island and how it’s supposed to have creatures that live in the waters. Miranda know he’s just pulling her leg, there’s a young boy on the boat too, so she thinks he’s making up this story for show. But when Miranda finally gets up on the Island, she starts to notice strange things; she stumbles across a book in the house which hints at exactly what that strange man on the boat was hinting at too. And then there’s the mysterious Leo, Miranda hasn’t had much luck with guys recently, so she’s not sure what Leo’s real intentions are, he seems too good to be true; tall, tanned with blonde hair, a smile that could make you melt and strong muscular arms. The thing is that he loves the water too; Miranda only ever seems to bump into him at the beach or in his grotto and always in the evening. Could these ideas that have been put in Miranda’s head actually be true? Could these creatures exist? Or is it part of her imagination?What I loved about Ocean of Secrets was that it was chocker block full of secrets and no-one really ever confirms or denies anything. Some people may find this hugely frustrating. But I had a lot of fun with this because you’re kind of led to make your own assumptions. Anything was possible as there wasn’t really ever hard evidence that these creatures ever existed (If you’re thinking what these creatures are I’m sure the title, colours of the cover and oh so subtle hints dropped by the strange man on the boat would give you the biggest clues).Miranda was an easy character to relate to, she’d not had the best time in New York and so wanted to break from it all. I liked how she was honest (most of the time) and up front with what she did and didn’t like, when Cee Cee, who I did find obnoxious at times and even her mum kept trying to force her to be with T.J. because he was totally the one for her. She put her foot down; she knew why they wanted her to be with him, because he was well off. Whereas Leo the genuine sweetheart they didn’t like which I really didn’t get. I found myself eagerly anticipating her scenes with Leo, as they were thoroughly swoon worthy! Also Leo definitely became my favourite when he admitted he enjoyed reading! (How can you resist a guy that loves reading too?)Neat endings seem to bore me as of late, so I like how things were left in Ocean of Secrets, with very little answered, there’s still so many things we’re unsure of; I’m hoping that this was left this way on purpose with the hope of a sequel.This review and more can be found on The Readers Den
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