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review 2018-08-02 18:25
Review: To Kill a Kingdom
To Kill a Kingdom - Alexandra Christo

I  received a copy from Netgalley.


I honestly don't quite know what to make of this book. Initially I was absolutely blown away with it, I have a weakness for mermaid themed stories and anti-heroines. Don't recall seeing the two combined before.  Even better when it twigged this was dark Little Mermaid retelling. 


I loved Lira right from the start - not a mermaid, but a siren. Deadly, fascinating and a total unapologetic bad ass. What's not to love? Known as The Prince's Bane Lira uses her siren gifts to lure unsuspecting Princes on ships to their death - where she rips out and collects their hearts. Her mother is the ruthless and unforgiving Sea Queen. The Sea Queen is a cold nightmare and nothing Lira ever does is good enough, no matter what.


Though despite her front of emotionless bad-assery, Lira has one weakness. Her beloved cousin Kahlia. Which comes in to play several times early on in the novel in Lira's battles with her awful mother. All Lira strives for is to be good enough to be named her mother's Heir. So far...not happening. Despite all the drama and attitude, there's an impression given that there's a lot more to Lira under the surface. 


On the other hand, we have Elian, a Prince who has no interest in being a prince, he's an infamous siren hunter/pirate who would rather sail round the oceans with his crew ridding his world of the siren threat. After his first encounter with Lira, something of a disaster for both...it's completely obvious where the romance is going. Problem for me was on reflection, I really just don't like Elian at all. I found him flat and annoying. One thing I really liked was Elian's crew, tie deep camaraderie and friendship, their banter and absolute loyalty.  


Elian learns of a mysterious crystal that will give him the power to rid the sea of the Sea Queen, there's a prophecy/curse to defeat. Problem is - the crystal is damn near impossible to find. Lira finds her path crossing with Elian, and when she finds out about the crystal, she wants it for her own purposes. They rub each other the wrong way - they are antagonistic as hell and bitching at each other for the first moment they meet. Lira is not happy finding herself with legs surrounded by humans. Who are naturally very suspicious of her - she has retained a few of her Siren talents - and uses them to her own advantage. 


It's still obvious where the romance is going, but its so so slow while Elian and Lira figure each other out. Their characters both develop as the plot does, the search for the crystal and the means to find it. There's deals to be made with dangerous kingdoms, several unseemly and villainous characters come in with a role to play. There's twists and turns.


The world building is fascinating and very well written. The problem I found was after half way through I was getting more and more bored and it was taking longer and longer to get around to finishing it. 


I'm not sure what to make of the end either. It concludes pretty well, though before then it got a bit messy in my opinion. I liked it, and would definitely read something by this author again, but I'm not as blown away by this book as I initially thought I was.


Thank you to Netgalley and Hot Key Books for approving my request to view the title. 

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review 2018-03-06 15:34
Queens of the Sea
Daughter of the Siren Queen - Tricia Levenseller

I loved this series! It was so much fun to read! It's the first time I've read a book starring Sirens so that was all new and exciting for me. I love books with pirates and ships anyways so adding the Siren spin on it along with a whole, very likeable, crew of female pirates was icing on the cake. 

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review 2017-01-04 11:40
Review: Fear the Drowning Deep
Fear the Drowning Deep - Sarah Glenn Marsh

I received a copy from Edelweiss


I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this one, it was a bit of coverlust more than anything about it that caught my attention and I snagged it as soon as I saw it on Edelweiss as a read it now. I’d forgotten what it was about by the time I finally got around to read it. Pleasantly surprised to find how unique this novel was and how much I enjoyed and how unexpected the plot was. It’s a turn of the century historical set in the Isle of Man.


The main character lives in small island village steeped mythology regarding the sea and the creatures within and the strange fairy folk (think more traditional type fairies, Little Folk, mysterious and hardly ever seen but a somewhat worrying presence).


Bridey, the main character, just wants to escape from the island and go experience London and the mainland. She has a close tightknit family of a number of siblings, a couple of best friends, though her male friend Lugh’s attention seem to be changing slightly towards her. The town even has a creepy old lady who lives, Morag, alone with a mysterious past known as the local witch.


Bridey is haunted by the mysterious death of her grandfather. She was there when it happened, the official cause is drowning, but she knows there’s more to it. Problem is no one believes her. Not helped when Bridey is looking for work and her mother sends her to go apprentice to Morag. Then girls start disappearing and turning up dead.


Along with the arrival of a strange boy washed up on the beach. The boy has horrible wounds and no memory of who he is. Bridey takes him home to help nurse him back to health, as he has no name, she names him Fynn.


Beautifully written, almost lyrical, and completely captivating, the mythology of the sea beasts and magic of the isle is woven in and it’s absolutely fascinating. The cast of characters is pretty incredible, from the stubborn townsfolk who can be at once giving and incredibly small minded, and of course there’s much more to local witch Morag than anyone thought to look at.


And the slow build of trust and friendship between Bridey and Fynn is very well done and believable. It’s not insta-love, it takes time and work. Coupled with the mystery of the disappearing girls it all mixes together and works incredibly well. It’s not just focused on Bridey and Fynn, I really liked the inclusion of Bridey’s family and her friends and how they all cope differently with the events in the novel as they unfold.


The plot has a few surprising twists and turns and it’s impossible to guess, and the end really threw me and was completely unexpected. Some of the ending was a little hard to follow, I had to go back and read some of the scenes twice to make sure I was following the plot correctly, but the initial twist at the end was still a big surprise.


All in all a fantastic read and definitely an author I look forward to reading more of.

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review 2015-12-02 18:43
Review: Darkest Dawn
Darkest Dawn (Willows Lake, Book 1) - Katlyn Duncan

I received a copy from Netgalley.

The mystery aspect of this book was what initially appealed to me. Though I did feel it got rather silly towards the end once the paranormal element came fully into play and was finally explained. For the most part it was a pretty good book, intruiging premise....on a mysterious note Sloane goes to the town of Willow Falls to seek answers about the car accident at killed her mother when she was a child. She eventually meets Bri, who looks indentical to her. Both girls are confused and there is also the hint of a strange and powerful connection between the two of them.

One thing I did particularly like was the style of the writing, which I noticed has been pointed out in several of the goodreads reviews I've read. Rather straightforward and almost blunt. Likeabke characters who when faced with a mystery dealt with the twisty turns without being idiotic about it. Along with the are the two identical girls actually twins plot there was a strange older guy, a rich guy with a dark past who was a friend of Bri's, and a mean girl Chloe who shows up every now and then saying bitchy things. Chloe turned out to be pretty awesome towards the end of the book and I would love to see her have her own novel.

Things get petty complex pretty fast made worse by secrets up on secrets, dead bodies, a disturbing animal death and the disappearance of Bri's mom. All pretty good stuff. Until it got to the answers and the paranormal part, which for me turned pretty silly. It was fairly creative it its world building, I will give it that, but the dialogue from the bad guy once it was revealed who the killer was was laughable and knocked it down a star for me.

Open ended, with a lot of possibilities for a conintuing series. Even though I found it a little silly, this is probably a series I will be looking to continue.

Thank you to Netgalley and Carina UK for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2015-05-18 11:31
Review: Tempest Rising
Tempest Rising - Tracy Deebs

I found a YA mermaid book I didn't hate!


This is one of those books I've had on my kindle for a few years now and never got around to reading. Something I picked at random on a slow afternoon. My policy with stuff I've had for ages on my kindle is if I get past the first 10% without wanting to throw something the book is a keeper. I haven't had a lot of luck with YA books with underwater themes. But this one got my attention right off.


While the California surfer lingo was more than a little irritating, the story got my attention pretty quickly. The mythology was pretty unique as well. There were certain times particularly when the under water world was introduced that things turned pretty ludicrous, but I was actually able to over look it and enjoy the story (even if it was absurd). 


I think it partly helped a great deal that I really liked the main character, Tempest. (Despite her having a rather silly and irritating name). She was spunky and attitudey without being over the top about it. Moody at times, but also quite logical and smart at times as well. The mythology was rather unique as well. In this case, the girl is well aware of her mermaid heritage through her absentee mother's side and has a choice at 17 to either give into the call of the sea or remain human. She handles the onset of new powers surprisingly well. She does have her freakouts and moments where she has a temper tantrum, but for a sixteen/seventeen year old it was pretty well done. I didn't get too annoyed with her. 


She has a pretty great family dynamic, Dad and two younger brothers. Absentee mother, (this is explained and plays a rather important part in the whole mermaid mythology thing). She's an accomplished surfer, has a steady boyfriend (who's a bit of an over possessive ass). Until a mysterious sexy new comer comes along. It was a tad bit insta-lovey when the new guy shows up. She has one chance meeting with him under odd circumstances in a rainstorm and then suddenly he's everywhere and her feelings are changing towards the boyfriend. 


This is one of those rare cases (for this reader at least) where I was able to overlook the insta love because the story was so well written. Its got some great action scenes, some romance. And as I mentioned, once the underwater world comes into play it does get a little silly in parts. Again, I could over look it. I still wanted to know where the story was going. 


All in all, a fun read with unique mythology and great characters. A series I am definitely looking forward to continue. 


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