Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Shining Sea

Rate this book
Falling in love shouldn’t feel like drowning.

Seventeen-year-old Arion Rush has always played the obedient sidekick to her older sister’s flashy femme fatale—until a mysterious boating accident leaves Lilah a silent, traumatized stranger. As her sister awaits medical treatment with her mother, Arion and her father head to his hometown in Maine to prepare a new life for them all. Surrounded by the vast Atlantic, she finds solace in songwriting, her only solid ground.

Unexpectedly, Arion blossoms in the tiny coastal town. Friends flock to her, and Logan Delaine, a volatile heartthrob, seems downright smitten. But it’s Bo Summers—a solitary surfer, as alluring as he is aloof—that Arion can’t shake. Meanwhile, Lilah’s worsening condition, a string of local fatalities, and Arion’s own recent brushes with death seem ominously linked…to Bo’s otherworldly family. As Arion’s feelings for Bo intensify and his affections turn possessive, she must make a choice. How will Arion learn to listen to her own voice when Bo’s siren song won’t stop ringing in her ears?

432 pages, Paperback

First published May 24, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Mimi Cross

2 books93 followers

Born in Toronto, Canada, Mimi Cross is an author, singer, and songwriter who grew up by the beach in New Jersey. She received a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College and an MA from NYU with an emphasis on vocal jazz. She worked briefly in the music industry and has shared the bill with many outstanding musicians including Sting and Bruce Springsteen. Her songs have been used in independent films, and TV shows.

Mimi lives with her son and a Siberian cat nicknamed The Dark Knight. Her first two novels are Before Goodbye, which became an RWA Rita Award finalist for Best First Book, and Shining Sea.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
37 (22%)
4 stars
39 (23%)
3 stars
48 (28%)
2 stars
28 (16%)
1 star
15 (8%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 52 reviews
Profile Image for Laurie.
Author 19 books3,395 followers
July 13, 2020
I have been in the captivating Siren thrall of this book for several decadent, glorious days. This, my friends, is the perfect ocean fantasy escape - and, hands down, one of the sexiest, dark fantasies I've ever read. Shining Sea is so gorgeously written I fell completely under its tidal, musical spell. The supernatural Siren in this book is an alluring teenaged guy, and our human protagonist, Arion, the daughter of a coast guard father who lives in a lighthouse (how's that for atmosphere). Mimi Cross's sirens are the most dangerous, alluring, SEXIEST thing since vampires (they may actually best vampires in that regard - really). The author is a musician and lyricist, and she brings that sensibility stunningly to the page as she writes about these supernatural creatures that seduce you with their Song so they can the steal breath from your body. But what happens when a dangerous, predatory Siren falls in love with a human girl? Oh, and there's a love triangle - dangerous Siren Bo vs. hot human boy Logan (hilarious, sexy dialogue with this one) who knows something is just not right about Bo Summers. Do not miss this stand-out fantasy. You will feel like you are at the Maine ocean side surrounded by the Siren's irresistible, frightening, intoxicating call. Please, Mimi Cross, hurry up with the next book - I am willing to bribe you to get more of this story (give me more and I'll write you into my next book as an Asrai Water Fae with an ocean kindred and an army of kelpies, lol). Bravo, Mimi Cross. Standing ovation. #TeamLogan
Profile Image for Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.).
401 reviews429 followers
May 23, 2016

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.

the cover of this book is very beautiful and successful without doubt :)

I really enjoyed this reading, the story is very original and very well written, I think it's maybe something personal that has failed to reach both me, as I thought would happen, I struggled in some parts keep pace reading, but I liked especially the end of the book that has been very good, and clearly leaves open end for the sequel, which I will wait to learn more :)
Profile Image for Bonnie.
445 reviews8 followers
October 14, 2016
I was gifted an ebook copy of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I am far from being a Twilight fan. The only way you can consider me to be in anyway involved in the franchise is that I absolutely adore the Rifftrax version of the movie. I have never touched a copy of the book, let alone read it. But even with my lack of knowledge, the parallels between the two are pretty obvious.

Arion is a teenage girl dealing with the aftermath of an accident that caused her older sister to become catatonic. Her father wants to make a new start so he finds a job as a lighthouse keeper back home in Maine and the two leave her mother behind in San Francisco to take care of her sister until she has an experimental surgery later in the year.

Immediately, this story falls into a ton of YA tropes. All the kids act like grown-ass adults. They don’t have any of the normal teenage awkwardness. They openly talk about drinking and partying at clubs and raves and don’t have any hang-ups about sex. Parents are doormats; not speaking up when they see their kids drunk or being seemingly promiscuous. This may make sense if they were all going to a community college (I’ll bet that’s what it was in the first draft of this story) but some of these kids aren’t even seniors.

BellaArion falls for two guys right at the start (of course). JacobLogan, the dark and brooding classmate who recently lost his brother is quickly friend-zoned when she spots mysterious hot and cold surfer dude EdwardBo.

I can’t talk more about this book without spoilers so you’ve been warned.

I originally liked this story, despite it feeling so much like Twilight. Oh, this is neat, I thought to myself, it’s interesting to see how the whole Edward/Bella thing would go down if he wasn’t conflicted about killing her.
Oh, except that’s exactly what happens. It turns out that Sirens (that’s what Bo is) take people’s breath. It’s never explained why or how often or what happens if they don’t. Of course Arion has the sweetest breath and Bo can’t help himself around her but he loves her and arg I’ve been tricked into reading Twilight!!! Even the way we find out is almost exactly like the scene where Bella tells Edward she knows what he is.

This story is told in first person present (being a YA and all) so it’s interesting to see how the “allure” of the Sirens’ eyes and voices affect Arion. She also can’t be away from Bo without getting physically ill, or “lovesick.” They can also make her forget things but because of the point-of-view, the reader knows what she’s forgotten. And a lot of what happens to her that she forgets is really messed up. She never actually remembers any of these incidences again in the book and she still aligns herself with these characters.

The story completely derails into a hot mess, soap opera style, once the kids go to the Hive, a club in the middle of nowhere that is filled with hundreds of people. The relationships between the characters aren’t very well defined at all throughout the book but they are especially hazy after this incident. Bo, Logan, and Arion have a lot of hot and cold moments that aren’t conveyed well in the story so it seems like Arion is way more into Logan judging by her actions, even though she never admits that to herself or others.

Tl;dr, no one’s motives in this book make any sense.

This could have been a better book if the Siren culture had been explained more or if the characters’ motives were made clearer. As it is, I feel like I’m missing a ton of this book and it left me disappointed.
Profile Image for Kim Robinson.
1 review
May 19, 2016
Music again is the alluring thread that runs through author/musician Mimi Cross's second YA novel.

When seventeen year old Arion is forced to move with her father back to his hometown of Rock Hook Harbor, Maine, she grieves leaving her older sister Lilah behind. Popular Lilah has suffered a tragic accident that has left her mute and distant to everyone including Arion.

In her new home, Arion finds a group of friends and does her best to adjust to her new life minus Lilah. She attracts and enjoys the attention of local class hotty Logan Delaine, but can't seem to help or even explain her almost supernatural attraction to another boy, an older, enigmatic surfer she keeps seeing on the beach.

Who, or what, is the mysterious Bo Summers, the good/bad guy with the questionable reputation whose haunting music blends perfectly with Arions? Bo- his singing invades her mind and confuses her senses while drawing her ever closer and closer to him. Even when rumors swirl that Bo and his affluent family know more than they're saying about the unsolved deaths and strange things happening in and around the water in Summer's Cove, Arion can't seem to shake the attraction.

Will Arion figure out what happened to Lilah before she either falls under the same spell or gets killed herself? Read and find out!

Enjoyable and intriguing. If you like mystery/romance novels with a beach setting, check out Mimi Cross's latest.
39 reviews
August 18, 2016
For the most part, I liked it. I enjoyed her writing style, but I didn't really enjoy the fact that it was SO similar to Twilight. Because of the similarities, I was literally rolling my eyes at a lot of different parts. I mean, it's a good book, but it's not something that I would read over and over again. Even though the protagonist had these two love interests, it was all superficial and based on appearances. That was it. There was no depth to either relationship that she had. Even with her friendships and her family, there wasn't enough to support any of it throughout the book.... and this book was over 400 pages so there should have been a lot more in the pot.

Although everybody said that there was definitely a cliffhanger, which essentially there was, it wasn't the kind that made me go "OH MY GOD WE HAVE GOT TO GET ANOTHER BOOK FROM THIS!" I don't feel like there would be that much to tell if there was a sequel. Eh, I don't know. I was pretty blah when I read the final page of the book. The ending didn't leave too much to hope for and I can't say that I would be all that sad if we didn't get a sequel.
Profile Image for Tash.
67 reviews7 followers
June 28, 2016
*I received a free copy of this book on netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

This was like a roller-coaster ride of confused feelings and emotions that i wish i could again for the first time. I had to sit my book down during some sections so i could "oooooooh nooooooooooooo" *pull my hair* *rub my face* *hold my breath*

I love it when a book really gets in your head. I just finished reading it, its 11.57pm and im incredibly tired and i cant stop thinking about it.

That ending though...

You expect it to go down a certain way and then BAM. Expectations postponed.

The writing is beautiful and the authors love for music shines though the pages. So many highlights! I only ever 5 star a book I'd happily read again and i have my fingers crossed for a sequel!

well worth a read!
Profile Image for Emma.
534 reviews14 followers
September 7, 2020
I am finding this book difficult to review, there was nothing wrong with it, just wasn’t really for me. It was a bit slow, a bit boring, I thouhgt there would be more fantasy. The pacing was a little all over the place. It jumped around a lot and I felt that it was missing some information. Books often jump time for the story, a few days here, a couple of weeks there, but here is felt disjointed.

It’s probably better suited for people who enjoy romance as the main genre, where as I prefer it as a side genre. The characters were fine, but none shone for me, they were all lacking a little for me.

Overall it was fine, but not a book I would rush back to.

3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Liz.
111 reviews11 followers
April 1, 2022
A sizzling young adult novel, Shining Sea is perfect for beach reading. Admittedly, I am the parent of young adults, not one myself anymore, but I loved the imagery, the fast pace, the main character, and the ending. Once author Mimi Cross set it up, I couldn't put the book down and it left me with a lot to think about. A great book for people who like to read well-written romances.

While I believe fans of the Twilight series would enjoy this book, Shining Sea stands solidly on its own with the beach/ocean setting, the sibling issues, the literary and music references as well as the lyrical writing. It's true, though, that both books have suspense and extraordinary romances with a bite.
Profile Image for Elisha Jachetti.
196 reviews2 followers
July 3, 2016
The first noticeable element of Shining Sea by Mimi Cross is the packaging. The beautiful and mysterious cover is immediately intriguing, as is the compelling synopsis on the back. Both the artwork and the description really set the tone for what is to come and what to expect. The book begins in the aftermath of an accident, one which has a lot of secrecy surrounding it. Slowly the audience is clued in to details, as the lead character, Arion, allows herself to remember them and as she discovers more information. Consequently, it becomes clear during the first few pages that Shining Sea is more than just a carefully considered casing; it is also a great story.

The written dialogue in this book is one of its best features. It feels genuinely authentic and age appropriate. Each character also seems to have his or her own voice, which helps make the characters more complex. I especially like the witty banter between Arion and Logan. It is very funny and charismatic. I often found myself smiling at their repartee.

Additionally, the novel’s structure adds to the thrilling aspects of the book, while also introducing an artistic flair. The chapter titles and their font aid the tone without giving too much away. For example, one chapter is called “Intruder.” As a result, though I do not know who the Intruder is or what will happen, I immediately feel the anticipation of what is to come. Moreover, there are a few short chapters, almost unintelligible, during the times Arion is going through an emotional crisis. These chapters are musical, like Arion herself, but again add to the overall puzzle.

Those, however, familiar with The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer will notice distinct similarities in the relationships between Arion and Bo and Bella and Edward. In both books, the male character saves the girl, starting a suspicion in her mind that he may be more than human. The lead female then does research to figure out what otherworldly creature the male could possibly be. Once she draws a conclusion, she confronts him with it, which leads to a case of forbidden love. It is the handling of the forbidden love though that is different. Twilight received a lot of criticism for the portrayal of Bella as a weak female figure and how unhealthy her romance is with Edward. Those who had these issues with Twilight, on the other hand, will not find the same problems with Shining Sea.

The ending of Shining Sea also leaves a bit to be desired, but perhaps it is a set up for a second novel. Hopefully, this will not be a standalone book, but rather, expanded with more adventures and closure. Overall though, Shining Sea is a fun read with wonderful imagery.

Originally posted here: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yaficti...
Profile Image for Shreya.
337 reviews7 followers
November 20, 2017
Shining Sea could have been great but was too confusing to possibly achieve that. I've always liked siren myths, so when I got to that part of the book I was kind of excited. Unfortunately, what happened before and after was too not-great to let the siren stuff shine. The first part of the book read like a contemporary, and I honestly thought it would be one of those sweet sibling-relationship-develops-after-accident books, but no. Magic, sirens, murders appear 2/3 of the way through.

There was so much talk of heart-sickness, for one, and being addicted to Bo's Siren Song. I didn't like that Arion felt like her identity could be dictated by him. At one point, he actually told her that she had to stop associating with one of her guy friends. Ummmm.... possessive much?

This relates to the weird, badly-developed love triangle that was going on. Much talk of kissing, not much character development. (She moves to the town and gets instant best friends, etc.) not much actual kissing, suprising, considering how much she wants "his tongue in my mouth." That was a weird description I had to read, and I'm so confused as to why that would be something someone would write.

Arion was also always being saved. Someone always came to save the day, and it really didn't feel like she was the hero in her own story, which is something that I really can't take much of.

I think this book is part of a series, but I'm honestly so. Done. I can't take any more of this, so I don't think I'll be picking up the next one.
Profile Image for Charlotte.
5 reviews
May 22, 2016
Do you want to stay up past your bedtime? Read Shining Sea. Travel to a part of the Maine coast that teems with strange activity, and not just at Arion's new high school. She and her father are living in a lighthouse, as they wait for her mom and sister to join them, if the operation to save her sister works out. As Arion meets the locals, she begins to realize that what's going on with her sister in California might have had roots in this small Maine town. Not only that, the pull of the same forces is conspiring to drag Arion down, too. She's both saved and at risk through her amazing musical abilities. If you are a fan of the supernatural, of love triangles, of mystery, read this. I was at first bothered by the highly absentee parents (dad,so work consumed; mom in California,involved with her own art and Arion's complicated sister) but I realized that most teens would find this as liberating as Arion does. Will she fall for Bo completely? And at what great price?
Profile Image for Night-Mere.
189 reviews11 followers
January 6, 2018
Throughout most of this novel I was extremely confused, but also intrigued. I wanted to figure out what was going on and thought I had enough to make my own conclusions several times, but was quickly corrected when I discovered the truth. I thoroughly enjoyed not being able to figure out every twist and turn. Not a huge fan of the story ending, but the writing and plot was very good, so I have to give 5 stars. I would have written a different ending, given the chance. The romance side of the novel was way different than in books I usually read. It was sort of a nice change, but I still feel like there was so much left to be tied up at the end. I still wonder if there will be a book 2...
Either way, most of the characters were realistic and I loved a lot of them. The writing is immersive and the story interesting. I would highly recommend this novel.
Profile Image for Christina Farley.
Author 10 books468 followers
March 13, 2018
Mimi Cross has created a gorgeously written story, drawing in music as an intricate part of the book. Even the sentence structure has that musical flair.
Shining Sea is about a girl, Arion who is the younger sister of Lilah and often feels as if she’s the forgotten sidekick. But when a boating accident leaves Lilah silent and in need of medical treatment, Arion retreats to her songwriting for comfort.
Meanwhile, Arion finds herself drawn to the local hottie and surfer, Bo Summers. A romance blooms between the two, which was intriguing and kept me turning the pages. Between the mystery behind Bo’s family and the rumors surrounding his family, I was instantly sucked in.
This is the perfect spring break or summer beach read that will keep you flipping the pages. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Kathy Temean.
1,145 reviews7 followers
June 19, 2016
I listened to the audio version of this book and think this would be the perfect book to read while listening to the words. Actually the women who read the book in the audio version sounds a lot like Mimi. She captured the mystic, lyrical feel of Mimi's words.

Besides being a writer, Mimi is also a musician and it really pours out in everything she writes. A story about mythical creatures that are half human, half bird/angel, with mesmerizing voices is the perfect story for Mimi to show off her beautiful language.

I expect that Mimi is already writing a follow up to this book. I know I am waiting for that to happen.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
1,277 reviews27 followers
July 17, 2017
Arion doesn't exactly meet Bo Summers as much as fall into his arms. But the things she feels can't possibly be normal, they are so strong, She can barely think straight and can't stand to be away from him. But will she ever find out what exactly he is?
I really enjoyed this but felt like the first half was a bit repetitive and could have been shortened. The push and pull between Arion and Bo was clear after a couple of interactions without repeating the same thing over and over. The last few chapters all felt like endings and I kept expecting the book to end, only to find another chapter., though when it does end, you feel like you need more!
Profile Image for CR.
2,859 reviews28 followers
May 6, 2021
Choir in school was my first second love after playing the violin. Shining Sea was beautifully written. Fans of the supernatural and mysteries will fall hard for this one. I loved all the music songwriting that was in the story. The humor was even better and the conversations though-out the story was spot on and worked well with the characters and making the story light in places along with the heaviness of the situation. The ending was pretty perfect if you ask me and I can't wait to read something else from Mimi Cross.
Profile Image for Kristine.
190 reviews3 followers
March 19, 2021
I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway

At the beginning of the story I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it, but it slowly started pulling me in, like the Sirens song, I could not pull away from the story until I knew how it ended. But the pull did not end with the book, I still long to know if Arion kisses Logan? If Lilah tried to deepen Arion? Does her mom ever return....All the unanswered questions ... Overall I enjoyed this story.
Profile Image for Forever Young Adult.
3,015 reviews425 followers
August 31, 2016
Graded By: Rosemary
Cover Story: Awash with Big Face
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: School of Stephenie Meyer
Anti-Bonus Factors: Love Triangle
Relationship Status: Not My Type

Read the full book report here.
Profile Image for Heather Vieiro.
59 reviews4 followers
March 26, 2017
This book is a perfect beach read. It's atmospheric and romantic - and I liked Arion, I thought she was a relatable main character, dealing with unresolved issues-and then getting pulled into (under) new issues and a complicated romance. I would very much like a sequel because the story just lends itself to more books in the future.
Profile Image for Mimi Cross.
Author 2 books93 followers
November 14, 2020
I'm revising and polishing book 2 of Shining Sea, which means it's time to review book 1!
During these stressful crazy amazing times, I need fantasy more than ever. If you feel the same way, you'll find an escape in Shining Sea, a dark YA novel with lots of kisses and more than one mystery. For lovers of lighthouses, oceans, and music...
Profile Image for Linda Flood.
29 reviews2 followers
June 29, 2016
This was a great read for my beach vacation in Oregon. It was not in my regular genre preference but I could not stop reading this story. I was surprised many times at the twists the story wound out and remain impressed with how compelling the story line was to me as a reader.
Profile Image for T S.
238 reviews5 followers
March 15, 2018
Interesting! Love the beach setting.
Profile Image for Kelsey Perkins.
46 reviews
July 28, 2020
A great book with a great storyline. I loved the characters and the setting of the book. I would definitely recommend for others to read this book.
Profile Image for Kat.
151 reviews18 followers
January 13, 2020
Whoa. The parallels to Twilight are intense - there's even a "saved from a car accident with super strength" scene, but the ending is actually appropriate. I spent much of the book hoping that Arion would make better romantic choices than Bella and was pleased when she did. The pseudo-Cullens are exactly as annoying as the Cullens but the story doesn't insist on seeing them as moral creatures. The story also explores the opportunity for abuse and control in a relationship with a supernatural creature, and the difference between love and obsession.

The ending didn't feel complete; the very last scene in particular confused me. And the constant dashes and cutoffs to convey breathlessness became a bit overwhelming. But I enjoyed this read, and enjoyed the contrast to a more popular but less well considered story.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jackie Rogers.
1,153 reviews13 followers
June 20, 2017
This book really surprised me. Didn't know what to expect as I began this adventure. Arion Rush and her dad are embarking on a move to Maine. Her mom and sister will remain in California for the time being. The sister,Lilah is in a comatose state after a near drowning. Ari makes friends on the first day of her senior year. She is drawn to an especially handsome friend as well as a stranger surfing on the sea. Thus begins an incredible journey between the two guys. The one is a mystery and discovering who/what he is was a shock to Ari as well as myself. This author drew me by her writing and insight into the young adults. Couldn't put this down and wanted more as the ending arrived. Hoping for another book on this story. Thanks to Godreads.
56 reviews
June 8, 2018
This is definitely a YA read. Although I finished the book I would not recommend it, nor do I think I would consider reading another book from this author. I do not want to say it was bad, just not for me. I did not enjoy the writing or the plot. It felt scattered and unfinished and not in a sequel kind of way. Sorry.
Profile Image for Virginia.
Author 13 books157 followers
July 15, 2020
This story was ultimately not for me. I appreciated the authors descriptions of music and a small coastal town, but the relationships didn't sing to me. Probably a good match for bigger fans of YA romance, or folks who enjoy contemporary high school settings mixed with their fantasy more than I do.
140 reviews3 followers
June 28, 2018
Interesting premise, but the Twilight-like plot (complete with sea vampires and love triangle) fell flat. I did enjoy the short chapters and different prose styles. Young adult fans of supernatural romance will probably enjoy it.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 52 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.