Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Little Mermaid Paperback Series: Reflections of Arsulu by Marilyn Kaye

The Little Mermaid Paperback Series: Reflections of Arsulu by Marilyn KayeBook Type: Novel/ Paperback
Author: Marilyn Kaye
Pages: 77

Everyone at the palace thinks Adella's new best friend, Arsulu, is wonderful. But Ariel has her doubts. Why is it, she wonders, that ever since Arsulu came to stay with them at the palace, strange and terrible things have been happening?
A suspicious Ariel decides to spy on Arsulu to see if she's really to blame. That's when she learns the horrible truth about Arsulu. But how can Ariel convince her sisters that their dear, sweet guest is really a danger to them all?

My Review:

This is the second paperback that I have read in this series, and it was okay. I love seeing Ariel's life before her big movie, so it's always fun to read these. There are also pictures in this book, but they aren't colored; instead, they are black and white line drawings, waiting for a child to scribble in them, appearing to be coloring book illustrations. I wanted to see some life in them. This is The Little Mermaid after all, one of the most vibrant movies in Disney history!

Let's take a look at the title. What do you see in the name, Arsulu? If you dont see it, highlight below to reveal the spoiler:

I just found the title to be a bit to obvious, which lead me to no surprises or shock. It was also interesting to see how childish all of the princesses used to be, but this also presented a problem to me as a reader. I felt that this book had too much of the sister's bickering dialogue, and it got annoying after a while. This wasn't one of my favorites, but its a cool collector's piece.
I give this book (***) 3 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Ariel: The Birthday Surprise by Gail Herman

Ariel: The Birthday SurpriseBook Type: Chapter Book/ Easy Read/ Young Adult
Author: Gail Herman
Pages: 96

Ariel's sister Aquata is having a birthday celebration. It's going to be a fun-filled day, complete with a special concert, and Ariel is excited about visiting her family. If only Prince Eric could go under the sea, too. At the party, Aquata wishes that Ariel could stay with them forever. At that very moment, a rare solar eclipse hits, and the wish comes true! Will Ariel ever be able to break the spell and return to Eric-and her life as a human?

My Review:
I first saw this book on as a recommendation from my purchase history. The book offered a small sample and I seemed to enjoy it so I said, what the heck? I'll buy it, especially since I LOVE The Little Mermaid. What really captured my attention was the new perspective. Usually, Disney only features Ariel before she met Eric, or books based off the main movie. However, this book takes place after she is married, so I found it refreshing.  I also loved that this book wasn't written in a super juvenile fashion, so young adults who love Ariel will also enjoy this book. The book also features beautifully colored illustrations that really add to the magic of the Underwater Kingdom :)

Although this book has a lot of good features, I personally found the actual plot to be a bit flat and boring. This surprised me, since I never found a Little Mermaid book to be boring! I feel that there are better books to read if you love Ariel as much as I do. I give this book (***) 3 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie 

Ingo Series by Helen Dunmore

Book 1: Ingo
Book Type: Novel/ Series
Author: Helen Dunmore
Book 1 (320)
Book 2 (336)
Book 3 (329)
Book 4 (320)

Sapphire's father mysteriously vanishes into the waves off the Cornwall coast where her family has always lived. She misses him terribly, and she longs to hear his spellbinding tales about the Mer, who live in the underwater kingdom of Ingo. Perhaps that is why she imagines herself being pulled like a magnet toward the sea. But when her brother, Conor, starts disappearing for hours on end, Sapphy starts to believe she might not be the only one who hears the call of the ocean.
In a novel full of longing, mystery, and magic, Helen Dunmore takes us to a new world that has the power both to captivate and to destroy.

My Review:

*Note: Because there are four books in this series, I have grouped the review into one instead of reviewing each book*
What I Loved:
To me, the ocean heals, helps and comforts... but also draws you in, just like how these book drew me into its pages! What I love about this series is that I found Sapphire to be a girl I could relate to, even though she is very young. She is strong-willed, defiant, caring but also has this need to be near the sea, just as I do. I have always been drawn to the ocean, even as a toddler, so I could relate to Sapphire's desire to be in the sea almost constantly. 
Book 2: The Tide Knot 

Throughout series, there is a constant theme of adventure and excitement that takes place in the sea. There are also elements of mythology blending with elemental magic, such as Earth Magic, Air Magic and Water Magic, so readers who love magic of this nature, will love this series. 

The warm, cozy Cornwall countryside and coast was beautifully painted through words by Dunmore. At times throughout the series, I felt like I was walking through the fields with Conor and Sapphire to their friend's farm, or taking a cooling swim in the cove. Conor and Sapphire were characters that both surprised, and intrigued me. It was difficult to imagine such mature decisions coming from these two young adults, but it really worked! I also loved that as the series progressed, Sapphire matures, and so does Conor. 

There is one concept that really struck me, and Faro discusses this with Sapphire. People, like divers, think and believe that the sea is accepting them, but the harsh reality is that they are the invaders, and they are not truly protected in Ingo. I think this is so true, and agree with it completely.

I also loved that as the series progressed, we see Conor and Sapphire realize the dangers of Ingo as well. With such young characters, development is extremely important in a series, and Dunmore nailed it :)
The Deep (Ingo, #3)
Book 3: The Deep

This Didn't Work So Well:
Although this series  possessed qualities that I do find enjoyable, I found some parts annoyed me a bit. Any reader will most likely agree that the mother, named Jennie, is the most annoying character by far. Jennie is very critical and constantly complains about her life to her children!  Faro, Sapphire's mer-companion, has a bit of an unpredictable personality, and he was confusing to figure out. One moment, he cant stand the thought of anything human, yet he tolerates Sapphire's company. His personality comes off as a bit condescending, smug and arrogant, but I believe he has a good heart.  

I also felt that at times, Sapphire is way too critical of herself, Elvira, Faro's sister, and her own brother. She calls herself stupid way too much, but meanwhile, she is a very intelligent girl.

The Crossing of Ingo (Ingo, #4)
Book 4: The Crossing Of Ingo
I have to say, I was slightly disappointed with the ending of this series. Without giving too much away, I will just say that I felt that it was a bit open ended, and some issues weren't fully resolved or explained, and as a reader this both confused and annoyed me. However, this is an excellently crafted series that Mer readers will love! I give this series  **** (4 stars)
-Sirenita The Selkie

PS: There is another book in this series, but it is seperate from the main storyline. I'm working on getting it for you guys :)

Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm Back!!

Hello Mer Readers!
Im back after a long  semester of hard work at school. Now that I have some free time I get to review some mermaid books :) I've already read two mermaid books that I can't wait to share with you! 
Stay tuned for some posts!
-Sirenita  the  Selkie

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I'm Back!

Hi Merfolk!
I know it has been a very long time since I posted and I apologize. :( School and work have kept me so busy, that there's barely enough time to breathe!

Recently, I finished the Water Series by Kara Dalkey.
If you would like to see the review, click the link below!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

End Of Mermaid Summer Reading Challenge 2014

Hi Mermaids and Mermen!

I hope you all had an awesome summer that was full of sand and waves. Sadly, my summer vacation has been over for about a week, and I've been so busy with school and no time to post anything :(!

This year, I was able to read 40 mermaid books! Awesome!

What was your book score?
Post below!
-Sirenita The Selkie

(40) Mermaid Tales #2: Battle of the Best Friends by Debbie Dadey

Mermaid Tales #2: Battle of the Best Friends by Debbie DadeyBook Type: Novel
Author: Debbie Dadey
Pages: 112

Echo, Shelly Siren’s best friend, is doing tail flips because she’s going to see the hottest boy band around—The Rays! It’s her classmate Pearl’s birthday, and the Rays are going to perform at her exclusive party. Troublemaker Pearl has invited just about everyone—everyone, that is, except Shelly! Shelly urges Echo to go anyway, but Echo doesn’t want to leave her friend out of the exciting celebration…so Shelly hatches a plan to make sure Echo sees her favorite group. And when the Rays do come to town (amidst plenty of under-the-sea, boy band drama), Echo returns the favor so that Shelly is included in the festivities.

My Review:
After reading the last Mermaid Tales book, I wasn't too excited to continue the series. Unfortunately, this second book didn't capture my attention either. This series is a bit juvenile for older mermaids to enjoy, and I would say girls from only 5-10 will like it. There were only a few elements that I truly liked. It's pretty cute, and the drama reminds me of being in high school all over again, so Dadey replicated the scenes very well. I also liked that it shows that friendship and teamwork are above bullying.
Overall, I give this book (***) 3 stars for older mers, but younger girls, I would say its 4 stars.
-Sirenita the Selkie

Sunday, August 10, 2014

(38) Water Series: Book One Ascension by Kara Dalkey (39) Reunion

Ascension (Water, #1)Book Type: Novel
Author: Kara Dalkey
Pages: 235

Summary of Book One:
Nia, a young mermyd of the Bluefin clan, has had one wish all her life - to be Avatar in her beloved home of Atlantis. To be one of the ten Avatars that rule the undersea city is an honour and a great responsibility. Now at 16, Nia has a chance to see her dream come true .

This book. Wow. Where have you been all my life, Kara Dalkey?
You truly are an artist when it comes to writing! 

Atlantis In A Way You Wouldn't Imagine:
What immediately drew my attention was the setting. Although Dalkey writes that mermyds live in Atlantis, she created such a different world than what were used to when we think "Atlantis". 

Mermyds: A New Type Of Mermaid:
These mermyds live deep in the ocean, far away from greedy, barbaric humans. Nia is a character that I am still amazed with. Although she is kind of like royalty, she is still very down to earth, humble, sweet, loving, defiant and passionate about the good of her people. She is a character that mergirls to young mermaids will find intriguing, and might even relate to her. In addition to mermyds, there are also sea lion-selkie like creatures that live among Atlantis as well! Cool!

So Many Genres And Themes! :
This book also packs in so many different genres, but they all seamlessly blend together to create a perfect book. Some of the genres readers will include are dystopia-like settings, sci-fi, romance and fantasy. I think that covers everyone's interests! In addition to the many genres, this book also has common YA themes such as parent-child relationship issues, adoption, family deceit and drama, choosing family wealth and prestige or romance,  and corruption.

This book was absolutely a treat to read, and I definitely recommend checking out this series. Since I do have a few more weeks left before summer vacation is over (*sigh* :( ) I will try to squeeze in the last two books before school starts. Honestly mer-readers, I couldnt put this one down, and even though it is a bit over 200 pages, you will speed through it with ease! The end of this first book was so SHOCKING that I can't wait to pick up the next book! I give this book (*****) 5 stars!
-Sirenita The Selkie

Book 2: Reunion:
Post Update: (8-24-14):
Hi Mer-Readers!
This week, I just finished reading book 2 of the water series, Reunion.
W0w... I mean just wow again!

New Characters:
The character  that we are now introduced to is Corwin. What I love about this character is that he is so different from many of the male characters that are featured in YA literature. Usually we see Mr. Heartthrob who causes teenage drama. It's so different in this book. Corwin is a 16 year old pauper who is looking for work, money and food after his guardian recently dies. He's clumsy, skinny and not the best fighter, but he is cunning, smart, extremely clever, helpful and caring, which makes him an attractive character to readers... and Nia! :)

 The New Setting:
After what happened in the last book (which I wont give away), Nia is stuck on land in a strange, foreign place that was an afterthought to the mermyd people. I love the setting of this book! It takes place in England in the year 425, at the time of a king who is more like a dictator and is extremely superstitious. The land is full of strange people and tales, and it reminds me of times of castles and knights, which I found engaging to read.

Unfortunately, I can't give much away, but let's just say this is turning out to be an awesome mermaid series! Stay tuned for the final book! :)

Book 3: Transformation:
post update (10-19-14)

Recently, I finished the final book for the Water Series. Wow. I mean just wow. 

Did you ever get that horrible feeling of a bad break up? Lots of unanswered questions that leave you confused and heartbroken?

This is exactly what will happen if you read the end to this series.

I don't understand. How could such a wonderful series leave you with such a bad feeling?

Well, I'll tell you why. 

Nothing was explained at the end!!!

I cant give much away, since I might ruin the series, but I will have to use internet memes to convey the three emotions I felt at the end:

1) Sebastian from the Little Mermaid Jaw Dropping Shock

2)   What?? What? Seriously. WHAT?

3)  Anger, and Denial.

Unfortunately, because of the ending that left me, and other readers on Goodreads confused, I give this series (***) 3 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Hello Merfolk!
I'm sorry I swam away for a bit.
I've been working on my garden :)
I do have some really good book reviews that I cant wait to share with you!
-Sirenita The Selkie

Monday, July 28, 2014

(37) Secret Kingdom: Mermaid Reef by Rosie Banks

Book Type: Children's Book/ Easy Read
Author: Rosie Banks
Pages: 128

When best friends Ellie, Summer and Jasmine are invited to the Secret Kingdom they are surprised to find that this time they will be diving deep beneath the sea! 
Queen Malice has hidden one of her thunderbolts underwater and the mermaids in Secret Kingdom are in danger of losing their Wishing Pearl forever! 
Can the girls help stop Queen Malice and her naughty Storm Sprites from ruining everyone’s fun again?

My Review:
Girly, charming and whimsical; this book was full of magic and Trixie dust! 
What I liked about this book was that although it's a series, the reader is informed of what happened over the last couple of stories and what the Secret Kingdom is all about! This book immediately caught my attention; there are many cool fantasy elements, such as magic objects used to help them on their quests. I wish I had the unicorn horn to talk to animals! Every couple of pages, there are black-and-white illustrations to depict what is currently going on in the plot. 
The only complaints I have about this book is that it has a juvenile style and it is very girly. I believe grade school girls will enjoy this much more than older mers. I give this book (***) 3 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

(36) Waterlilies Series by Deborah Smith

Waterlilies Book One: Alice At Heart by Deborah SmithBook Type: Novel
Author: Deborah Smith
Pages: 320

Shy, charming, peculiar, and web-toed, Alice Riley has suffered for years at the hands of her dead mother's self-righteous family, while she hides a bevy of secret abilities. When Alice rescues a drowning child, her amazing talents are exposed. Alice can remain underwater for extraordinary periods of time, and she can locate submerged objects through some type of natural sonar ability. Her new fame/notoriety puts Alice in the national news, amidst allegations that she has somehow faked or manipulated the rescue for her own glory. Alice is trapped and desperate until three amazing older women arrive in her hometown. They are the regal and flamboyant Bonavendier sisters--dignified Lilith, acerbic Mara, and whimsical Pearl--of Sainte's Point Island, their ancestral home off the coast of Georgia. They've read Alice's story in the news and are convinced that she is their long-lost (and much younger) half sister, conceived in a reckless seduction their elderly father confessed to before he died. 

My Review:
When I first picked this book up from the library, there wasn't much of a summary to this book, so I was taking a chance that this would be a good mermaid book. Although there were some plot elements I found interesting or enjoyed, others were a flop and were boring.

Fishy Flukes and Deep Depths: What I Loved:
What I loved most about this book was the family mystery that surrounds the book; I kept reading because I desperately wanted to know the Bonavendier secret! This kept the reader interested and in suspense of what clue to the past they would uncover next. I also thought the mermaids were pretty interesting as well. 
These mermaids have long-lived lives, youthful skin at older ages, lack the fins and scales of most mermaids and communicate telepathically.

Boring At Times, Hard To Read: What I Didnt Like:
When the reader starts this book, the beginning is definitely a little weird. I felt that Smith threw us a bunch of puzzle pieces that didn't really fit together, and it made me say, "What is going on?"
Alice is a character who is not like most mermaids I've read about. She is not brave, or defiant and she is a very tormented being. As a child, she was teased, ridiculed and punished horribly just because she was different. Some of these scenes were a bit difficult to digest. 
A majority of this book was very boring. By halfway through the book, I didn't really come across any eventful scenes which made me want to stop reading all together. 

Although this book does have mermaids in it, this is really a story about finding out who you are and accepting yourself, fins and scales included. This book is also about family acceptance and love.
I just found this book hard to read; it was very dragged out and boring, and took me a while to finish. If I were to judge this solely on spirituality and finding yourself, I would give it (*****) 5 stars. However, as a mermaid book, I would only give this (**) 2 stars. I am hoping the next book in the series is more exciting.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Book 2: Diary Of A Radical Mermaid

Summary(, mystery, romance, humor and webbed toes are all back in full fin as rambunctious mer-socialite Juna Lee Poinfax invades the dignified coastal world of the Bonavendier clan. Determined to chronicle mer life for her on-line journal, Juna Lee instead dives into Lilith Bonavendier's latest scheme to awaken the "inner mermaid" in an unsuspecting distant relative. World-famous author M. M. (Molly) Revere - who writes the mega-successful Water Hyacinth series, about a group of children who are secretly mermaids - is a shy, plain-footed young woman with nothing but vague clues to her extraordinary family link to the mer world. After Juna Lee - working for Lilith - lures the likable Molly to the Georgia coast, both Molly and Juna Lee find themselves in the middle of trouble. Mer-hunk lan McEvers has come to Sainte's Pointe Island to hide his three remarkable nieces from their mysterious and possibly murderous mer-father - a man who may be more myth than reality, but dangerous either way. Molly has to face the reality of her heritage while falling in love with the enigmatic lan and helping him protect his nieces from a danger so amazing even the Water People can barely believe it.

My Review:
I have to say, I really loved this second book compared to the first! I love Juna Lee's character; she is so feisty and glamorous, just like a real mermaid! I also liked that there was more drama in this one and more exciting events.

What I didnt like:
I'm not sure why Smith decided to cut  some of the main characters from the first book. The Bonavendiers, along with Alice and her new husband seem to be nonexistent! 
Although I loved the plot, the ending just shocked me! With so much that was happening, the plot seemed to just take a dive and left me wanting more of a solid conclusion.

So overall, I give this book (***) 3 stars, and I give the series (***) 3 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie