Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard by Lars Guignard is a super fun audiobook that I listened to over the course of about two weeks. It is about two kids who go to school together who happen to run into each other in India while traveling with their parents. They weren't really friends at the start of the novel, but we see the progression of their relationship. (Not THAT kind of relationship - they're eleven.) It reminds me of The 39 Clues series mixed with magical realism.
>Zoe is a very sweet character that I think a lot of girls will relate to. She's the kind of kid that doesn't get into trouble, has a great relationship with her mom, and tries to do the right thing. Zoe knows that she was adopted, but she's not quite ready to talk to her mom about that yet. Zak, on the other hand, is a little troublemaker who may or may not be acting out because of his parents' recent separation. He's not a bad kid, but he is most definitely the reason that the two of them end up in the situation that they find themselves in - at every point in the novel. Together they are like yin and yang and make a nice team. The baddie characters - namely Monkey Man and Rhino Butt (hilarious!) - are not terribly developed, but I don't think they're supposed to be too terrifying. Mukta and Amala were the other main side characters who led Zoe and Zak and gave them all of the background information they needed for their impromptu quest.
The world-building in Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard was a lot of fun to read. I've never been to India, but with the descriptions that were provided in the novel, I could almost see it in my mind, and it was done in a way that wouldn't be over the heads of Guignard's intended audience. In addition to the beautiful scenery of the book, the magic and mythology used in the novel was explained well. The integration of the Indian gods was interesting, and I think kids might be interested enough by them to go seek more information. I had no trouble understanding why certain events were happening or why characters were acting in a particular way. I didn't like that Zoe's background was never elaborated on, but I think that is because Guignard is trying to lure us into reading the next book in the series. (I will.)
Bailey Carlson's narration of Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard is easily one of the best parts of the novel. It was very easy to distinguish which characters were speaking, and the various accents that she used for different characters was very well done. I loved to hear her speak Amala's parts because her Indian accent was lovely.
Overall, I think Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard is a great addition to the world of middle grade novels that young readers and adults alike will love. It is neither a "girl book" or "boy book", so all kids will potentially enjoy reading it. I recommend this to lovers of adventure novels and readers of The 39 Clues.
- 3.5/5 Stars -
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher or author through CBB Book Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me. (less)
This is a really good spin on Ancient Irish mythology and what *could* have happened back in the days before Stonehenge if there were centaurs, shaman...moreThis is a really good spin on Ancient Irish mythology and what *could* have happened back in the days before Stonehenge if there were centaurs, shaman, demons, and other strange things. I enjoyed it immensely.(less)
I could use this "Review" field as a letter to Kevin Hearne to let him know how awesome Hounded is. Since I already did that on Twitter, I'm going to...moreI could use this "Review" field as a letter to Kevin Hearne to let him know how awesome Hounded is. Since I already did that on Twitter, I'm going to let YOU know how awesome Hounded is.
I read quite a few reviews of this book, and I will honestly say my expectations were VERY high. That is never a good thing for me to carry into a book with me. I must say that I still managed to be impressed with Mr. Hearne's debut novel. Here are a few things that stood out for me:
1) His characters are well-researched. Mr. Hearne knows his business, which is good since he's using "real" deities in his books (yes, there will be more!). It also gives the mortal characters a certain relatability because he has taken time to make a backstory for them. Well, except for the witches perhaps, but I'll forgive him for that since there are two more books coming out this summer.
2) There are an abundance of pop culture references! There is a little bit thrown in for everyone. By everyone, I mean people like me because the rest of you do not matter. Just kidding. Kinda. Anyway, his characters fit into the modern world because they like MODERN things. And Atticus is a bit of a sexy dork, not unlike myself.
3)The plot is woven intelligently well. By this I mean that everything ties together so far. One thing leads to another without being too predictable. Mr. Hearne wrapped up Hounded quite well, but left a nice lead-in for Hexed.
All of that being said, I will HAVEHexed the day it comes out, even if I have to go to Barnes & Noble's storage room myself to find it. This is coming from the lady who waits until either the library has it or can get it for 50¢ at a garage sale. I expect Mr. Hearne will be around quite a while. And his little dog, too.(less)
Sins of the Angels by Linda Poitevin is a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf since its release day, but for some reason I never got around to reading it. I met Linda on Twitter back in 2011 sometime, so I ordered Sins of the Angels as soon as it was released. I started reading the book - and was enjoying it! - but I somehow lost my copy. When I found it again, Life had taken hold, and it fell by the wayside. Fortunately, this blog tour gave me the opportunity to pick this book back up and finish it. I'm damn glad that I did, too.
Before I became a blogger and librarian, the majority of what I read was Urban Fantasy, so any time I get to read it, it's a treat. However, Poitevin's venture into angel mythology pleased both my fascination with religious mythology and my UF addiction. The world-building was fascinating and the story itself was hard to step away from once I got into it. How did I ever manage to lose the book?!
Alexandra Jarvis is the main character in the novel. She's a homicide detective who is working on a massive serial killer case and is lucky enough to be saddled with a new partner, Jacob Trent, that no one seems to know much about. And she's the only one asking questions. To make things even worse, he gets her hormones churning. Now before you start rolling your eyes and writing this off as a paranormal romance, it is NOT. It's not quite a mystery (we know who our culprit is), but a romance it is not. It has aspects of a police procedural, and the research put into Sins of the Angels really shows. But back to Alex, she's a great character who sticks to her guns, even if she thinks she's going crazy. Trent, on the other hand, has been assigned to protect Alex, very much against his will, and he doesn't appreciate those raging hormones either. (Trust me, the slow burn works. Whew.) I liked their interaction, but I groaned and wanted to slap him every time Alex was described as "fragile". Do we really have to go there? Just let her be a hard cop. *sigh*
Sins of the Angels is an interesting addition to the Urban Fantasy genre that had a lot of interesting mythology and a fresh take on angels. I look forward to reading the next two books in the series, Sins of the Son and the newly released Sins of the Lost. If you like UF, religious mythology, or just a damn good book, you should check out Sins of the Angels.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that the copy I reviewed of this novel for Rockstar Book Tours is from my personal collection. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.(less)
Through Everneath, Brodi Ashton reminds me why I love and read books. Some authors and books can take you into another reality and set you down in the...moreThrough Everneath, Brodi Ashton reminds me why I love and read books. Some authors and books can take you into another reality and set you down in the middle of that alternate world. I have been to Narnia, Middle Earth, and many other literary realms thanks to magical books and their word-spinning writers. Now I have been to Park City and the Everneath through Ashton’s masterful storytelling.
Nikki Beckett only wanted to say goodbye. Instead of instantly choosing eternity with Cole, she buys six months on the Surface to be paid off by eternity in the Tunnels – a version of Hell. What she did not expect was to return was a mess that she left behind after her century of the Feed in the Everneath, which was only six months at home. Nikki’s father thinks that she has been on a drug binge, her ten-year-old brother is starving for normalcy, her best friend is distant, and her estranged boyfriend is the biggest mystery to her at all. To complicate her brief return further is Cole, who she gave her life up for initially to receive the numbness he offered.
It is hard for me to explain how I feel about this book. I understood and liked every one of the characters. They were fully formed, believable, well realized, and each of them flawed in some form or another. The story itself was like a vortex, sucking me in and stealing my entire day. It incorporated Greek and Egyptian mythology seamlessly into the story. It holds the perfect formula for escape into this beautiful and heartbreaking literary world. It is a story worth experiencing, but be sure that you have a time block to set aside for it, as it is impossible to put down.
Destined by Jessie Harrell is a historical/mythological romance with a modern twist based on the story of Eros (aka Cupid in Roman mythology) and Psyc...moreDestined by Jessie Harrell is a historical/mythological romance with a modern twist based on the story of Eros (aka Cupid in Roman mythology) and Psyche. The characters speak and behave in a way to which young adults will find easy to absorb and relate. It is a fast-paced, easy read that will interest the female readers of Percy Jackson who are looking for that extra dash of romance.
For me, it was a nice bite of cotton candy after some really intense reading that I've been doing lately. The only problem that I had with the story was a few uses of the Roman names when the book is supposed to be about the Greek myth (and uses mostly Greek names). Sure, it also strayed from the original story a bit, but reinventing an old tale can be fun and not many Greek love stories are set up for Happily Ever After.
Despite being a history major with a sometime mythology obsession, I was able to really let go and have fun with the book. The characters were too adorable to give me a chance to be nit-picky, and Harrell's writing really flowed across the page. I also appreciate the research that the author did on the various aspects of this legend and others related to it. It was a cute story that I am glad to have read.(less)
Dust Girl is the first young adult novel written by Sarah Zettel, who is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author. It is a fantasy and the...moreDust Girl is the first young adult novel written by Sarah Zettel, who is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author. It is a fantasy and the first planned in The American Fairy Trilogy. Dust Girl focuses on a girl was raised by her mother in Kansas during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
Callie LeRoux always had to lie about her heritage. It was not just her blue-gray eyes and freckled, creamy skin that made it necessary for her to cover herself, wear a hat, and wear gloves when she went outside. It is after her mother goes missing that she discovers that her father’s dark skin may not be the family secret that is most dangerous to her. As Callie searches for her parents, she is thrown in the middle of the on-going war between the two fae kingdoms. Luckily, she finds an ally in Jack – a young man with his own secrets.
This is one of the rare books that I was able to read in less than twenty-four hours. With my work schedule and kindergartner, it has been uncommon for me to get a book read at all that does not have short words and bright illustrations. Happily though, I was sucked into the strange, changing world of Callie LeRoux and Jack Holland. It is probably due to the magnificent storytelling ability of the author, Sarah Zettel. The story is like a trail of breadcrumbs – no, Hershey kisses – that keeps you following along, starving for more.
Dust Girl is the perfect blend of history, folk lore, and individuality in the face of prejudice. It reminded me of American Gods by Neil Gaiman with its fantastical spin on mythology set in the “real” world. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys new takes on American folklore or is in the mood for a beautifully written historical, rural (as opposed to urban) fantasy. I enjoyed ti beyond words, and I cannot wait to read it again once it is released.
*To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome.(less)
The Book of Lost Fragrances is the latest release in M. J. Rose's long, successful career, a...moreReview originally posted on my blog, Bibliophilia, Please
The Book of Lost Fragrances is the latest release in M. J. Rose's long, successful career, and the fourth installment in her Reincarnationist series. It is full of intrigue, mystery, a race for a historical artifact, family, and timeless romance. Although it is a part of a series, the book is a standalone novel.
The story contains a host of minor characters from ancient Egypt, 18th century France, and modern day, but focuses mostly on Jacinthe L'Etoile and, to an extent, Xie Ping. Xie is an artist living in China who has a secret, and is trying to survive under the watchful eye and heavy hand of the Chinese government. Jac is a mythologist television personality whose family perfume business is on the verge of collapse. When her father's declining mental facilities forces him to retire and her brother goes missing, Jac's life begins to spin out of control. She only has days to find her brother and his mysterious, ancient Egyptian pottery shards that hold the potential to save the family business from financial ruin. Xie and Jac are on opposite sides of the world, but are thrust into the midst of intrigue, murder, and the age-old question of whether or not the possibility of reincarnation truly exists.
I found The Book of Lost Fragrances to be a beautiful and well-written novel. The story flowed seamlessly across time and continents to tell a story of the search for the scent of memory. I was never bored by the flashbacks of the past or by the steady change in character focus. I would be reading what is going on in modern day Paris, then suddenly find the book describing events in ancient Egypt. The only problem that I had with the book was something that slightly offended my old-fashioned sensibilities. It was not a huge deal, but it made me a bit uncomfortable. However, it served a purpose at the end of the novel. The ending would not have been as powerful if not for that particular plot point.
As I stated in my summary, the book contains a multitude of characters. I think in this instance they were beneficial to the pacing and wove the story together more completely. Each was necessary to develop a major character or better explain a scene. Jac may have been the diamond, but she would not have shown without the never-seen little girl, Elsie. The assassin for the Chinese mafia added another dimension to Xie, in my opinion. The relationships between the characters were also stunningly lovely threads that wove this engrossing story together. To say more than that could potentially ruin the surprise of how everything was tied.
In the end, The Book of Lost Fragrances is a story about love. It is about the love between strangers, the love between family, and that intense love of a sweetheart (for lack of a better word). Anyone who enjoys a love story without a lot of romantic elements, a murder mystery without the gore, and a treasure hunt without an insane amount of twists and turns will enjoy this book. I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to review it, and I look forward to starting the series at the beginning. This is a book that I will definitely read again.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome.(less)
Tricked by Kevin Hearne is the fourth installment in his urban fantasy series, The Iron Druid Chronicles. In this book, our hero (and my book boyfriend), Atticus O'Sullivan; his dog, Oberon; and his apprentice, Granuaile face the repercussions of Atticus' trip to Asgard, as well as a few new issues thanks to the Navajo trickster god, Coyote.
The Writing of Tricked reminded me of precisely why I love to read. It's easy for me to lose interest in books because I'm such a picky reader. (Yes, I am an avid reader, but I'm not an easy one to please. I try to tone that down here on the blog.) Kevin Hearne's quirky humor and heavy use of both nerdy pop culture and literary references lovingly caresses the inner dweeb in me. Tricked is also obviously heavily researched. The book (and series) is loaded with facts about various mythologies and poisons, as well many other trivial knowledge that went over my head (such as mining equipment) - not that it was boring. I just used that time to pretended that I could beat up Granuaile and take her place roaming the world with Atticus and Oberon. Anywho, research is always appreciated, even if it's something I do not exactly understand. At least someone does, right?
As far as character development goes, it was not quite as deep as Hammered (where we were offered an EPIC male-bonding/past history scene), but it was well done as far as Atticus goes. A deeper glance is given into Atticus' time in Africa with his wife, what brought him to the New World, and we learned a bit more about his archdruid master/trainer. (I'd bet money that this guy comes up in the next book or two.) However, there is still much more that I'd like to learn about Granuaile since she's becoming such a major character in the series. Oberon, on the other paw (see what I did there?), requires no development as he sprang from Hearne's brain fully equipped with all of the awesomeness allowed in a literary character without the world imploding. He has easily become my favorite character in the series, despite my very creepily real crush on Atticus. 4.5/5 Stars
Kevin Hearne's created reality in Tricked is one that I often fantasize about being the one we actually live in, so the World-Weaving is successful for me. Everything exists as it is in our own world except that all the gods of all religions are real and able to walk among us, along with other paranormal and supernatural creatures. All of the creatures and myths are used successfully in the world-building and execution of the story and are never too much. Again, it is his research that makes this aspect of the story shine. 5/5 Stars
The Pacing of the story was a little off compared to the other novels in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and never lost interest, but the ride was a little bit bumpier than the first three novels. If you want me to be honest, I was somewhat disappointed in the outcome of Mrs. MacDonagh, who was one of my favorite characters. I've been waiting a year to find out what happened to her since the end of Hammered, and the letdown made me grip the book slightly less tightly throughout the rest of it. 4/5 Stars
As always, the Extra Magic in Hearne's novels are the unapologetic nerdiness found within the pages. The first Star Wars reference is made on page two, and the hilarity continues throughout the book, even when things get serious. Two of my favorite quotations happen very early on in Tricked.
As I shampooed Oberon's coat, I explained how to craft hypotheses and test them empirically using a control. And then I stressed safety while I rinsed him off.
"It's best not to experiment on yourself. Bacon practically froze himself to death in one of his experiements and died of pneumonia."
Right! Bacon must be heated. Knew that already, but thanks for the reminder.
I love my hound. — Tricked, Page 16
That, my friends, is what a book needs to make me giggle and love it. And I loved Tricked. Even if Fragarach was not the main sword, and I did not get to sing the Fraggle Rock theme song in my head every time Atticus drew it. Maybe I should refer to the first three books in the series as the "Fraggle Rock Trilogy" from now on. *grins* 5/5 Stars
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I have not received any sort of compensation for my review. The book was purchased by me with money that I made from my jobs that do not pay me nearly enough. All opinions expressed are fangirly, honest, and completely my own. (less)
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers is a historical romance novel that is aimed at the young adult audience. It has a small mix of the paranormal and mythol...moreGrave Mercy by Robin LaFevers is a historical romance novel that is aimed at the young adult audience. It has a small mix of the paranormal and mythology that lends to its story about Ismae Rienne, Death's handmaiden.
Life was hard in the 15th century. Surviving an attempted abortion and being raised by a hateful father had to make it even harder. Throw in an abusive husband, and that describes the life of Ismae Rienne. That is, until she is rescued by the followers of the Old Ways in the countryside, who recognize her for what she is. Her life changes for the better when she is taken in by the convent of Saint Mortain, the pre-Christianity god of death. Ismae finds her calling in the walls of the convent - she is an assassin, a genius with poisons, and an adept student. However, all of that may prove to not be enough when she faces an assignment that places her in a dangerous political struggle and in a partnership with the equally dangerous Gavriel Duval.
I love historical fantasy novels (okay, and some historical romance), so I was more than excited to get my hands on Grave Mercy. Reading about imaginary assassin nuns in the 15th century was a huge factor in my starting the book ahead of others on my review pile. Unfortunately, I overheard talk of a romance that played a pretty major role in the book. I was almost turned off and nearly put it down.
I have never been happier to stick with a book.
Grave Mercy is a beautiful story of a young girl who tries to serve her god and country, but must question whether her orders from the convent are right or best. Watching this low-born peasant try to navigate the intrigues of court was never dull. (Who wants to be trained as a courtier anyway?) Ismae was brave, loyal, and she is probably one of the most endearing young adult characters I've ever read.
The only thing better than Ismae's colorful character in Grave Mercy would have to be Gavriel Duval. While I am a bitter old toad when it comes to romance, I found myself swooning at every long look, brush of skin, and witty retort. Robin LaFevers wrote Duval to be so incredibly realistic that I am currently nesting and fantasizing about having little Duval babies. That is no small feat.
I enjoyed Grave Mercy very much and had it read in nearly no time at all. While it was a historical romance, it had enough of a fantasy aspect to keep me interested. I will happily recommend it to most teens and any adult. I would hesitate in giving it to a younger teenager due to the violence and some sexual situations (though nothing compared to adult historical romance).
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome.(less)
Me: Well, well, well, you FINALLY read Stormdancer.
Myself: You knew that I would! I just had to get around to it.
Me: Oh, please, you're the biggest procrastinator ever!
Myself: Whatever, I read the book, marveled at the epic world-building, basked in my crush on Yukiko, and cried like a bitch at the end.
Me: I hate that you use such a cliche word like "epic" to describe the novel. Why not use the less tired word "magnificent"? I mean, this man created this whole other world (yet similar to ours) that is undergoing the effects of horrible pollution and heinous government that we can all likely look forward to if we don't straighten up.
Myself: I'm going to stop you before you go too far on that. You know we get tired if we start thinking too hard about such things as environmentalism in fantasy and science fiction. And then you'll start making Dune references, and people will get bored...
Me: Okay, I'll leave Dune out of it, but the perfect balance of politics, environmentalism, and writing is pretty damn close to Frank Herbert. We'll see how the world history does in the next books.
Myself: *rolls eyes* No one reads Dune anymore. Can we please talk about the state of things in Shima and Yukiko?
Me: I tell you what, I wouldn't be booking any vacations there. It's a scary thought that the primary fuel source can also be used as a drug, and 99% of the population is addicted to it. Think of the situation that we'd be in if we could smoke gasoline.
Myself: Well, there are people who huff it, but thankfully folks tend to outgrow that after they turn twelve.
Me: Don't bring your pets with you to Shima, either.
Myself: Can we talk about Yukiko now, please?
Me: Buruu was cooler.
Myself: I liked Yukiko, and he wouldn't have been what he was without her. She had this feisty, rebellious personality, and she did not take shit off of anyone.
Me: She was harsh and close-minded. If you had even the smallest fault, she wrote you off and was cold.
Myself: Yes, but she was loyal to her loved ones and friends. She was also very trusting once she let a person in.
Me: She also let her panties be her guide in the middle of a revolution like the silly teenage girl that she was.
Myself: Please, that was barely referred to, and you should be the last person making disparaging remarks about where panties have been followed.
Me: Buruu felt the same as I did. Go to page 216:
Yukiko could barely hear his voice over the sound of her heart pounding in her chest. RAIJIN, TAKE ME NOW. She shot Buruu a withering glance as he rolled over on his back and pawed at the sky. HAVE MERCY ON ME, FATHER. TAKE MY WINGS. CHAIN ME TO STINKING EARTH. BUT THIS TORTURE I CANNOT ENDURE.
Myself: That took up maybe 1/90th of the story.
Me: No, Buruu being awesome took up all of the story.
Myself: Pssh, you loved Yukiko, too.
Me: I loved what she did in one of the last fight scenes.
Myself: *sniggers* I figured that you would like that.
Me: She and I are of one brain when it comes to that. Do you remember what I did to —
Myself: I have a little bit of a crush on Kin.
Me: You would. Sprinkle a little nerd powder on the man, and your heart is pounding like Yukiko's.
Me: I wonder if the title of book two is prophetic at all...
Myself: Can we just talk about the fight scenes in the book?
Me: What?! Everything was vital to the story, and it wasn't overdone. It was just beautiful destruction that gave Yukiko the opportunity to grow. You're just saying I'm impossible because you sobbed in the break room at work as you finished the book.
Myself: You cried, too! We're the same person, genius.
Me: Yes, but you're the crazy one.
Myself: I'm not the one that started talking to Myself. *smirks*
It only seems fitting that the Greek gods are dying in today's world, and Kendare Blake takes that idea and runs with it in Antigoddess. Hermes' body is consuming itself, Athena is growing feathers internally, and the other gods are in equal decline. Even the Greek heroes of old have been reborn, but they have no memories of their past lives or knowledge of their identities. As a mythology nerd and a huge fan of Anna Dressed in Blood, I was immediately drawn to the novel.
The concept of Antigoddess was intriguing, but it was the execution of it is what made it shine. Every time Athena pulled a feather through the skin in her mouth or Hermes was even described, I would cringe. Blake was able to open my imagination, and I could almost feel the feathers and emaciation. The pacing did drag some through the middle, but the ending was glorious. Blake does not hesitate in killing her characters off most gruesomely, and that is exciting in itself. There was also the mirroring of the events regarding the Trojan War that rocked my socks.
Antigoddess' characters were just as interesting as the concept. Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare, had not been worshipped in years and looked very like the typical teenage girl, right down to the purple streaks in her hair. She knew that she was dying, but was not willing to die - or even allow her brothers to, for that matter - without a fight. Watching her step minisculely away from her hardened virginal stance to open her heart was sweet to watch. Hermes was a good balance to his sister Athena's hardened nature and was much more human. Cassandra and Aiden were an abnormally well adjusted couple who were happily in love on the other side of the country. He was fully aware of her psychic abilities and supportive of them, though he was a bit boring. When these characters were brought together, it did not seem forced, and the story-lines melted together nicely.
However, despite all of these great things about Antigoddess, I never really got into it. I did not realize this until the end. The scenes at the end were well-written and exciting, but I found myself not caring about the outcome overmuch. I have been crying at the drop of a hat while reading lately, and I did not get emotional at all during the last battle in the book. This was surprising to me because I was one hundred percent into Anna Dressed in Blood.
Even though I was not caught up in the events and characters of Antigoddess, it was still an enjoyable read. I think fans of Blake's previous work and Greek mythology in general will eat up this novel. As for me, I am still interested in seeing what comes next in the Goddess War series.
- 3.5/5 Stars -
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.(less)
Lies Beneath is the debut novel of Anne Greenwood Brown. It is a young adult novel that is told from...moreReview originally posted at Bibliophilia, Please.
Lies Beneath is the debut novel of Anne Greenwood Brown. It is a young adult novel that is told from the viewpoint of a male mermaid and is set in and around Lake Superior.
When some people think about mermaids, Disney's The Little Mermaid comes to mind. However, the only similarity you will find between Calder White and Ariel are the fins.You see, he is a cold-blooded killer who hunts humans for sustenance and survival. Where reptiles need heat to moderate their body temperature, mermaids need positive emotions to maintain their mental stability. One of Calder's favorite places to hunt humans is in the Caribbean, where the story opens. Despite his urgent, ever-present need to feed, Calder is experimenting on how long he can keep that driving force at bay. Unfortunately, his sisters call him home before he can refuel his emotions. An even stronger force than hunger or family beckons him back to Lake Superior - revenge.
The writing of Lies Beneath has a very literary feel to it and is probably my favorite thing about the book. Not only is it very well-written, it pays homage to quite a few different poets and poems from the Victorian era. There may be a few more that were sneaked in there, but I will reread before I say for sure. I did not see it as a hard read, but I would be interested in seeing how teenagers react to literature being woven into the story. Additionally, I was reading the ARC and saw no glaring grammatical errors. (They usually have flashing lights on them.) 5/5
I had no problems with the world-building in this novel. Other than the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, this is the only mermaid story that I can remember reading. Due to that and my extensive reading of mythology, I did not have an Ariel-esque image planted in my head. I was able to take on Anne Greenwood Brown's unique creatures with a fairly clear mind. I am completely okay with merpeople being a little bit scary - I've always been afraid of what swims in the water. (If there's no cement in the bottom, you can count me out.) Therefore, murderous and vengeful creatures aren't really a stretch from what I already think "lies beneath". I would have liked the mermaids to be a little more fleshed out (and I don't mean under the seashells), but this was Brown's debut and the first in a trilogy. Hopefully the next two books will give me what I was wishing for in this one. 4/5
The pace of the book was average, as far as young adult novels are concerned. I wasn't clinging to the pages as I was whipped along a roller coaster story, but neither was I twiddling my thumbs in the park. It was a water book, and it flowed nicely. (Oh, come on! I had to say it.) I can't imagine teen readers getting bored. 3/5
Since this was a part of an ARC tour, my attention span could be interpreted as being skewed. I had two ARCs here at the same time, and both had to be read within a week. However, I think I would have read this book just as quickly if I was reading it at my own leisure. Calder was a fun character to live through, and I never lost interest in his metamorphosis. 4/5
The extra magic in this book was just how intelligent it is. I don't want to say too much that will give away the story, but there is more to it under the surface. (Alright, alright, I'll stop.) 4/5
Everything adds up to 4 Stars in my new system, which pretty fairly reflects where I would have put it without the math. Lies Beneath is a well-written, enjoyable book that I think will appeal to both male and female teenagers (and teens at heart). Anyone with a bit of an English or literary background will especially appreciate this book.
The Debut Author Challenge ARC Tours ladies were kind enough to allow me participate in the tour for this book. The book was likely provided to the tour either by the publisher or author, which has had no effect on the outcome of the review. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.(less)