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Carousel Tides (Archers Beach #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  847 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
Carousel Tides pulls you into the chill foggy reality of peeling-paint sand-grit coastal Maine outside of tourist season and then hands you something else -- the hidden world lurking in shadows or under the land's surface or just offshore, where black dogs hunt the night and selkies toss unpleasant truths over their shoulders before diving into the next wave. In the center ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published November 15th 2010 by Baen Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Nov 02, 2010 Estara rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Charles de Lint and War for the Oaks
Recommended to Estara by: It's Sharon Lee!
This is Sharon Lee doing urban fantasy in the style of Charles de Lint or early Emma Bull. I loved the seamless integration of the concept of Faerie (and the explanation for their existence), the magic system and the connection to the magic of this world, personified in nature spirits at this Maine coast amusement park town.

But as always with Lee, the characters shine the most, from the human people who welcome the powerful, honourable but a bit too earnest heroine back after ten years. To the v
Anzu The Great Destroyer
Mar 14, 2013 Anzu The Great Destroyer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who want something different from the Urban Fantasy genre
Recommended to Anzu by: Kagama-the Literaturevixen
I really loved it but the ending was too sudden. Will it have a sequel or am I supposed to imagine what happened with the rest of the characters?

Either way you guys should give this a try. Good stuff.

Song/video of choice: Nightwish - The Siren (Live End Of An Era 2005)
Katharine Kimbriel
Nov 03, 2010 Katharine Kimbriel rated it it was amazing
Finally! The book I have been waiting for since...whoa, since War for the Oaks or the last Charles de Lint I got my hands on (Someplace to Be, I think.) Come with me to Archers Beach, a tiny Maine coastal village which has barely hung on during the tourist season the past ten years or so. It’s an old place, full of fog and three-story, peeling tupelo wood cottages that once held large families and now are partitioned for multiple renters and small stores. There’s a pier that seasonally runs ride ...more
TW's: memories of child abuse

Carousel Tides started out great. Extremely atmospheric, it caught my interest from page one.
However there were some things that prevented me from fully appreciating this:
_ The writing style
I wasn't crazy about it. The abundance of what I presume are Maine colloquial expressions made it impossible for me to sometimes understand what I was reading. Then the descriptions weren't that good: most of the times I couldn't see what I was reading.
_ The abundance of strange w
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
Makes me think of:
Dar Williamson-The ocean
Marit Bergman-Out on the piers

Kate Archer is returning to her seaside hometown after her grandmother fails to return her calls and no one seems to know where she went. This would have anyone worried but the implications of her being missing are far more difficult since she is also the Guardian of Archers Beach.

Archers beach is a seaside resort but its also place where the mundane meet the magical and both sides manage to come together and live more or le
Dec 29, 2010 Li rated it really liked it
I found this slightly reminiscent of Tanya Huff’s equally-enjoyable “The Enchantment Emporium” because of the way the fantastic is seamlessly blended with the real. “Carousel Tides” is not the all-guns-blazing type of urban fantasy; in fact it takes you quite a while to realise that this book is not a straight contemporary. I loved how this played out and also the unusual setting (a Maine amusement-park coastal town), which is so clearly portrayed that it is almost a character in its own right.
Feb 12, 2013 Kathleen marked it as to-read
The series is complete now. Three books, written in 1st person POV — the heroine's perspective. Paranormal woo-woo at the old amusement park, set in a small seaside town in Maine (the author's home state). Friends say this series portrays a sense of community via rich primary and secondary characters. This fantasy is of the faerie variety -- and not your sweet fairy godmother. Not even the scavenging tooth fairy. Someday I plan to read it (or maybe listen to it).

We can read the first 10 chapter
Ruby Hollyberry
Aug 15, 2015 Ruby Hollyberry rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Very disappointed. Very bad writing. So many things wrong with this book I am too weary to tabulate them all. First of all it should have been in third person, not first. Second, the entire magical system makes no goddamn sense and is not coherent. This author makes terrible sentences. The characterization of NONE of the characters is consistent or convincing. It is literally impossible to visualize any of the fight scenes. Really, I'm too tired to go on. It's sad because it is an interesting th ...more
Doranna Durgin
Dec 16, 2010 Doranna Durgin rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The approach to magic is unique and utterly believable, and so are the characters. The plot got a little wobbly, and the first person POV does nothing to enhance the book (although it's done well enough so it's rarely annoyingly intrusive), but it shines beyond those bits. This is for now one of my rare keepers.
Jan 21, 2011 Sho rated it really liked it
Loved the premise of the story and the characters of this book, very unique and interesting. I really loved that Maine was chosen to be the land where the story happens. Since I lived there I could imagine the coast lines and the people... Even though it has a great ending, it still feels undone in the sense I would like to read more about this world.
SJ Higbee
Oct 18, 2011 SJ Higbee rated it it was amazing
I’ve been increasingly impressed at the quality of writing coming out of Baen – so when I noticed this book on the library shelves, I immediately picked it up.

Whether this is magic realism, or contemporary fantasy is a call for someone else – what it definitely isn’t, is a crime/thriller set in a modern city where the protagonist is ranged against vamps/weres while fighting an undeniable physical attraction with said supernatural beasties… In other words – it is different from the general run of
Mar 01, 2010 Marlene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook
I've been a fan of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller ever since I picked up my first Liaden novel, fifteen years ago. So I was happy to see Sharon Lee's solo novel, Carousel Tides.

Sharon Lee is deft at giving us lively, enjoyable characters, and this novel is no exception. From the first page, the cynical, self-deprecating heroine is a treat to read. She's funny, astute, torn, and full of foibles, just the way a good protagonist should be. Oh, and quite capable of kicking ass. Having a dose of fey bl
Dec 17, 2014 Dlora rated it liked it
I think the denseness of this setting, postulating parallel worlds that spill into ours, kept me from enjoying the story as much as I might have. I suspect I will like the next two books in the series more since I won't have to spend as much time figuring out the various fantasy creatures with their powers and responsibilities and relationships. Selkies and Black Dogs, ozali and trenvay, jikinap and land powers, and I never quite figured out what voysin was...Lots of new things to put all togeth ...more
Jan 06, 2011 Dee rated it really liked it
Shelves: space-opera
Grade: A
Why I read it:
Carousel Tides piqued my interest when I read the first 10 chapters for free at
I have read nearly all the Sharon Lee and Miller books before, and enjoyed them immensely. Being eager for any more Liaden stories, I explored Webscriptions on Baen (this lets you buy the ebooks and packaged bundles of stories directly from Baen) - and signed up for an account.

Plus: I loved the heroine, Kate, and her changing attitude to her obligations at home. She is a magical pow
I started this when I was sick and as I got better and my mind got less foggy I began to read it with a more critical eye.

Carousel (MAGICAL, slightly EVIL carousel)
protag who has to figure shit out
interesting magical child abuse plotline
that cover!

still trying to figure out why anyone would use an apostrophe in front of "way" as in "that was 'way too loud". I get damn' is short for damned, but...
protag's stream of consciousness is cute/annoying in the way of Soo
Feb 19, 2011 Aviva rated it really liked it
I have some little nitpicky gripes about the book's overuse of apostrophes, and I'm not a big fan of dialect, and those reasons are why I'd consider this book a 4.5 on my personal scale. Sharon Lee created a fascinating world populated by wonderful personalities, as she often does. One book is not even remotely long enough to satisfy my desire to know all about the inhabitants, and I truly hope another book or ten is in the works.

I highly recommend to fans of the Liaden series as well as those
I really liked this book. I'm not a fantasy fan, and decided to read this only because it's by one of my favorite authors, and I'm very happy I did. I loved this book, and I hope Sharon Lee finds time in her busy writing schedule to pen more in this universe.
Rosalind M
Dec 01, 2010 Rosalind M rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A very quiet book, but worth the read. Although the story progressed a little too slowly for my taste at time, by the end I was wishing for more.
Paula Luna
Jan 17, 2016 Paula Luna rated it really liked it
I liked it a lot! I like the characters and the story line. I thought the heroine suffered frequently, but I guess that's life as a guardian.
Jun 05, 2014 Debrac2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved it! It's an eerie modern day fantasy! There's also the mystery of the missing Grandmother. I can't wait to read Carousel Sun!
Nov 14, 2010 LadyTechie rated it really liked it
Good read with different spin on supernatural and fae.
Aug 28, 2012 Carol rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie Dacyczyn
Mar 27, 2013 Jamie Dacyczyn rated it it was ok
Did not finish...

I read several chapters into this, but was too distracted by the self-conscious writing style. By that, I mean that it felt like the author was working very hard to make the setting/tone of this book seem ethereal and intriguing...and it sort of showed in the overly mystical writing and excessive detail.

It also felt self-conscious because the author was working super hard to make sure everyone knew that THIS BOOK TAKES PLACE IN MAINE. MAINE! MAINE! MAINE! Did I mention that thi
Sharon Lee's venture into fantasy doesn't disappoint - this one has all the best elements I've come to love in her Liaden work (stubborn but lovable characters, strong family and community relationships), but with some new twists. Her descriptions of coastal Maine are beautiful and atmospheric all at once, and I love the idea of the (view spoiler) and our 'Changing World' as a place for reformation of the spirit.

Unfortunately, I don't think that either
Lis Carey
Jun 08, 2016 Lis Carey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, fiction, audiobooks
Kate Archer has, reluctantly, come home to Archer's Beach after ten years away because her grandmother is missing. Their family owns the carousel at the local seasonal amusement park, and if someone doesn't pay the rent soon, they risk losing everything.

When Kate returns to the town and the house, she finds her grandmother has left her a package. There's a letter to Kate, and papers deeding over the carousel, the house, and the land. "The land," in this case, means a great deal more than just th
Mar 26, 2012 WillowBe rated it liked it
Kind of a strange book. WEll written, and neatly tied with a bow ending. Suitable for teens,esp mid- teens. This book would be a good entree into discussing interpersonal violence andhow to deal with it. In some ways, the book is almost bland but the viciousness of the assasination attempts takes it out that catagory. And the sordidness of the abuse the protag suffered as a kid. I guess we needed the blandness before the book descended into Dark Rural Paranormal Romantic Fiction.

There is NO sex
Apr 24, 2015 Annette rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I read Carousel Tides after basically inhaling the "Liadan Universe" (First chronological book Crystal Soldier (The Great Migration Duology, #1)), co-written with her husband, over a period of 6 or so weeks.
While it is a definite departure from that series, I nevertheless quite enjoyed it. Unlike any of the Liad books, "Carousel" is written in first person. Like the Liad universe, it is highly character driven with a full cast of interesting players. Plot-wise I also felt that it was a little ti
Amy Keeley
Lots of annoying things about the prose style nearly brought this rating down to two stars (not to mention the stupid heroine), but the action, the concepts, and the nice, little plot twists, made me like this book by the end. Oh, and the heroine gets smart in the last several pages. So, that was nice.

Seriously, the world-building is nice and solid. Pretty amazing, actually. The concept of the Ozali was interesting, and the blending of the magical world with the "real" world was beautiful. The e
Apr 01, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I bought this book because I got the second book in the series from Edelweiss to review and I will not start a series with the second book. I've been hearing for years about Sharon Lee's work with her husband in the science fiction area, but this series is fantasy.

Let me say first I really enjoyed this book; it's a different take on urban fantasy. There is not one vampire or werewolf in it, for which I am truly grateful. The book is set in a small town in coastal Maine, and since the author live
Apr 22, 2015 mirba rated it it was amazing
Shelves: urban-fantasy, faires
This book is strange. The storyline is good, the world building is ok, the characters are good. Nothing is much different from all the other urban fantasy coming out lately.
What I think makes the difference here, changing this in a very good book, is the quality of the writing. It trasforms and takes you inside this small city. The beach is not only sketched, it is so well described that you smell the ocean, and hear the waves and the seagulls. You feel the cold air on your skin.
The people is
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Sequels for Carousel Tides :D 1 6 May 18, 2012 09:15AM  
The cover? 1 5 Dec 22, 2011 12:50PM  
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Sharon Lee has been married to her first husband for more than half her lifetime; she is a friend to cats, a member of the National Carousel Association, and oversees the dubious investment schemes of an improbable number of stuffed animals.

Despite having been born in a year of the dragon, Sharon is an introvert. She lives in Maine because she likes it there. In fact, she likes it so much that she
More about Sharon Lee...

Other Books in the Series

Archers Beach (5 books)
  • Carousel Sun (Archers Beach, #2)
  • Carousel Seas (Archers Beach, #3)
  • Surfside
  • The Gift of Magic (Archers Beach Book 5)

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