Wednesday, June 25, 2014

(28) Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Book Type: Novel
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Pages: 295

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

My Review:
When I first picked this book up, I was pretty excited to read it! I was interested in how the historical fiction and the mermaid themes would intertwine. The artwork on the cover also enticed me to read. There were some elements that I liked about the book, but other elements... I just didn't expect it. Let's take a look at some of the plot elements of Monstrous Beauty.

Breathtaking, Gorgeous, Aching Love! What I Loved:
When I started the prologue of the book, I loved the vivid imagery Fama was able to create. I felt the pain of Syrenka's first love, and I instantly felt a connection to her. I also loved the longing-for-true-love vibe; I have felt this woman's pain before! Syrenka the mermaid is described as having very fish-like qualities. She has sharp teeth, and very sharp, spiny fins with scutes instead of scales and a dolphin's fluke. Cool!
These are scutes on a sturgeon,
 which is what Syrenka's tail looks like!

Later on in the setting, Hester starts to discover her family's dark secret. As she continues to unravel her family genealogy, it starts to become a thriller. I loved how the book jumped back and forth from historical fiction to thriller that excites the reader! I also loved the romance; it was beautiful and sweet.

I must warn you, mer-readers, the book is very graphic at times.

Tormenting and Painful To Read! What I Hated:
I would just like to warn some readers that this book contains many graphic scenes that made me wince.  The first scene that surprised me involved a very graphic rape, followed by a very graphic death scene. But that's not the end of it. This book involves a lot of death scenes that are described and at times were very painful to read, especially when it involved children. I just felt that it wasn't necessary. The ending was a bit weird, and not to spoil the book, but the ending was depressing and left me saying, "That's it?" It just left me wanting more for Hester!

Overall, this book was pretty good, but I found the graphic scenes a bit unnecessary, especially the way they were described. I give this book (***) 3 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

(27) Wet Magic by E. Nesbit

Wet Magic by E. NesbitBook Type: Novel
Author: E. Nesbit
Pages: 181

When four siblings journey to the seashore for a holiday, one of them unwittingly summons the sister ofa mermaid who is captured by a circus, and the children set out to save the imprisoned being. After a daring midnight rescue, the children's reward is an incredible journey beneath the waves and into the hidden kingdom of the mermaids. But they soon find themselves in a race against time as they struggle to prevent a war and save their new underwater companions Here is a triumphant tale by one of the finest storytellers to ever write for children, and a pioneer of fantasy literature for this age group.

My Review:
I really enjoyed reading this book! It was a very cute read, and I found it unique and original. The children are very adventurous, and I love their appreciation of the sea and all the creatures of the ocean. The book was actually pretty funny at times as well, and I laughed while reading this.
The mermaid in this book is very spunky and spiteful at first, but then she warms up to the children once they join her in an undersea adventure. I believe Nesbit created her character perfectly; she is gentle and kind, but also strong and determined and her tail is described as having the appearance of a mackerel :)
Although I did like this book, there was a few issues.

Although the concept of the book is interesting and imaginative, the style of the language is a bit antiquated, and this can be either a bit boring or hard to understand for some readers. Unfortunately, the story did not pick up until almost half way into the book, while the rest of the book flat lined. However, the book had a neatly tied ending,  and there was even a cute romance! This is a great summer read that everyone, especially mer-readers should check out at least once. I give this book (****) 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Monday, June 16, 2014

(26) Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Teeth by Hannah MoskowitzBook Type: Novel
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Pages: 288

Be careful what you believe in.

Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.

My Review:
Although this book has been on a lot of Young Adult mermaid book lists, there is a lot wrong with this book, and I mean.. A LOT. Although the cover of this book enticed me to read, especially with the hooks in the shape of a heart, I was disappointed with the way this book turned out. Let's go over some of the positive and negative aspects of the book.

Fishy, Awesome, Exciting! What I Loved:
What I loved mostly about this book was the main character, Rudy. Moskowitz was able to create dialect that a typical sixteen year old boy would say, and also created perfect responses for the situations Rudy became entangled in. Rudy is kind of a bad boy; he likes to do his own thing, and hates that he moved away from his home. He mentions that he smokes cigarettes and has had a lot of experience with girls in the past... I think we all know a guy like Rudy.
I also love that this book has a lot of YA themes, like dating, romance, dealing with a sick family member and... SEXUAL ABUSE?? WHAT IS GOING ON??

Weird, Weird Weird: What I Hated! :
Before I get back to the sexual abuse mentioned above, there were a few other plot elements that annoyed me. Teeth, the merman, is way too similar to Rudy. They both curse like crazy and have the same bad boy attitude. I wish Moskowitz made their characteristics a bit more contrasting. 
The plot flat lined for about three quarters of the book, and nothing really exciting happened until the end! As the plot continued, more and more twisted and sickening things about Teeth are revealed, which includes a lot of horrible sexual abuse and rape, events that are way too graphic to talk about on this blog. 
Let's just say that the way Teeth was brought into this world is sick at best.
The end of this book was just sad, depressing and twisted, and I just wouldn't bother reading this if you are sensitive towards topics like brutal rape, molestation, child abandonment, developmental issues and feral children.
I give this book (**) 2 stars. 
-Sirenita The Selkie

Friday, June 13, 2014

(25) The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids by Ammi-Joan Paquette

 The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids by Ammi Joan Paquette
Book Type: Children's Literature
Author: Ammi-Joan Paquette
Pages: 32

On hot summer days, the beaches are packed with all kinds of people swimming, splashing, or lying in the sun. But there are other days—magical ones—when the beach is empty. Whoosh! The wind tosses up the sand in curling eddies. Kazoom! The waves cymbal-crash against the shore. Yes!
Days like these are just right for finding mermaids.

Have you ever walked on the beach and looked for shells or or clams? There are creatures, more like you and me, who are even more interesting to look for. Most people don’t see them, but they might just not know how to look for signs. That sand dollar—why, that could be a mermaid-size surfboard. Those twisted reeds—a bed for a lovely afternoon mermaid nap. And if you peer closely into the water, you might see a mermaid market.
This is a lovely activity for a fun day at the beach and a way to encourage paying close attention to all the interesting things that can be found on the beach or in the water.

My Review:
Unforunately, there is not much to say about this book. It's not really a mermaid discovery book. Its more of a book that encourages children to study their surroundings. The images were just odd as well. There are pictures of children at the beach, with little drawn mermaids photoshopped into the pictures. The mermaids look more like fairies than mermaids, in my opinion. Overall, this book is just lacking something more... mermaidy. There's nothing really interesting in here, even for a children's book. I give this book (**) 2 stars
-Sirenita The Selkie

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

(24) Wrecked by Anna Davies

Wrecked by Anna DaviesBook Type: Novel
Author: Anna Davies
Pages: 336


A mysterious stranger holds the key to Miranda’s fate in this contemporary retelling of “The Little Mermaid.”
Ever since the death of her parents, Miranda has lived on Whym Island, taking comfort in the local folklore, which claims a mysterious sea witch controls the fate of all on the island and in its surrounding waters. Sometimes it’s just easier to believe things are out of your control.
But then a terrible boating accident takes the lives of several of her friends, and Miranda is rescued by a mysterious boy who haunts her dreams. Consumed by guilt from the accident, she finds refuge in late-night swims—and meets Christian, a boy who seems eerily familiar, but who is full of mystery: He won’t tell her where he is from, or why they can only meet at the beach. But Miranda falls for him anyway…and discovers that Christian’s secrets, though meant to protect her, may bring her nothing but harm.
Seductive and compelling, Wrecked brings a contemporary, paranormal twist to a classic enchanting tale.

My Review:
First off, I would like to point out, that I don't know who constructed this summary, but seriously, this book had nothing to do with The Little Mermaid. And seductive? I think not. Let's review why this book should be taken off your Summer Reading List of 2014.

Before It Went Downhill: The Good Points I Liked:
Although there wasn't much that I liked about this book, I found that Davies did include some interesting elements to her plot. As soon as the teens have a bonfire, you get this reader's intuition that something bad is going to happen, especially when Genevieve, Miranda's friend, starts playing around with tarot cards, and they get skeletons. As sick as it is to say, the book didn't pick up the pace until the boating accident. 
It was also an interesting element that the souls of those who die on the sea, float down to the bottom of the ocean where the evil queen Sephie captures them for her own use. It reminded me of Davie Jones locker. I think the most gut wrenching part of this element is when Christian calls out the name, "Fletcher?" and one of the soul orbs glows for a minute before falling to the bottom of the sea. When I read this, my face looked like:

I also think Davies did a good job of understanding how some people cope with death, especially when it involves family or friends. Miranda doesn't, or cant, process what has happened and how everyone is treating her. She blocks out any feelings she has, and stops herself from crying. Although this did make it difficult for me to connect with her, it made the situation realistic. Death is a common YA theme, and this can help young teens who have lost someone special in their life, and how to adjust to this new lifestyle. At times, I really did feel as if I was grieving for the characters.
Now... let's not be so nice. This book had some major issues.

This Is No Love Story! And What Is With Christian?!
Although Miranda and Christian do have this cute, runaway teen romance, they both annoyed the hell out of me. Miranda seems like the girl who always needs a man in her life. As soon as she says goodbye to her boyfriend, and gets some closure, she immediately rushes into a new "relationship" if you can call it that.
Christian weirds me out. As soon as he sees Miranda, he thinks he is instantly in love with her, and becomes obsessed with her. Hello? You don't even know her! (Is this what the author meant by "a twist on The Little Mermaid?" No. Just No.) Christian does not even mention any deep qualities he loves about Miranda. All he mentions is that she is beautiful, the way she falls asleep on his arm and how mischievous she is. 
This is not love, this is infatuation.
Oh, and Christian seems to have this habit of shushing her! Seriously! Everytime she needed to vent he just said "Sshhh." Can't a girl vent? Christian is also, not a merman. He is a betwixtman. In the book, this is a creature that is basically half human and half Mer. 
Did I mention he sparkles in the sun?.... Oh the Twilight Horror!!!

Too Sad, Too Depressing!
Lastly, a lot of the story has to do with how Miranda is treated like a murderer, and how she is coping with all of the grieving. This got to be a little too much after a while, and the book is also very, very VERY depressing. It got to be uncomfortable after a while.

 Although this book was extremely depressing, it makes you appreciate how fragile life is, and also makes you appreciate the people around you. Overall, I don't think this book worked very well. I give this book (***) 3 stars, and that is being generous compared to other users!

-Sirenita The Selkie

(23) Nicholas Pipe by Robert D. San Souci

Nicholas Pipe by Robert D. San Souci

Book Type: Children's Literature
Author: Robert D. San Souci
Pages: 32

This enthralling folktale by one of today's most popular and highly honored authors comes to life in paintings of remarkable power and beauty. Nicholas Pipe, a merman who, through a magic spell, can live on land, falls in love with Margaret, the daughter of a fisherman. As their love blossoms, Nicholas and Margaret must defy her father, the jealous sea-folk, and even the king himself.

My Review:
Finally! I found a book about a love-struck merman! What I loved most about this book was the illustrations. They really catch the reader's attention, and transport you into a classic fairytale. I also loved how San Souci took a twist on the classic fairytale of merfolk being good and falling innocently in love with humans. Instead, Nicholas Pipe has abandoned the merfolk because they drown humans. They re actually pretty scary to look at! I was also touched by the love that Nicholas and Margaret share. Finally, I love the lesson this book teaches; stand up for others when they are innocent, do not judge or be prejudice, and love unconditionally. This is a great story with a sweet ending that adults will truly enjoy. I give this book (*****) 5 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

(22) Princess Fishtail by Frances Minters

Princess Fishtail by Frances Minters
Book Type: Children's Literature
Author: Frances Minters
Pages: 32

Princess Fishtail really digs her life beneath the water-living in a crystal palace, jumping rope with dolphins, and chatting with tuna on her cell phone. But one day when she rescues a handsome surfer, the mer-princess realizes she's been hooked-by love. The princess decides to spend the rest of her life on land with her true love, but one day she gets homesick for her old pals under the sea. Will a rotten old troll stand in true love's way, or can a mermaid princess, a surfer, and some sewing lessons show the way to living happily ever after? 

My Review
When I first picked up this book,  I didn't know what to expect, especially with the crazy and whimsical drawings on the cover. However, I really liked this book, and it was funny too! This book is actually a very modern and young version of the classic story, The Little Mermaid, and it's upbeat as well. It was also funny that the main character is so high maintenance, and very spoiled! I loved how the story was written. It was a clever and lyrical poem, and as soon as the book started I was impressed with Minters' style of writing. I also loved how the sea creatures throughout the illustrations make cheeky little remarks about what's going on :)

Although the illustrations are a bit childlike and whimsical, the story was really cute, and I loved the ending, which teaches children to be happy and grateful for what you have, and to make the best out of a bad situation. I really liked this book, and I believe adults will enjoy it as well. I give this book (*****) 5 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

(21) Three Little Mermaids by Mara Van Fleet

Three Little Mermaids by Mara Van FleetBook Type: Children's Book/ Toddler Books
Author: Mara Van Fleet
Pages: 16

Have a tea party undersea and practice counting with Three Little Mermaids, this sparkling touch and feel and pull tab novelty book by bestselling creator Mara Van Fleet!

My Review:
Even though this book is short, this is a very cute mermaid book! This book is specifically aimed at toddlers and young children learning how to count, and also has textured parts for toddlers to touch! I secretly loved the furry seals, and thought it was adorable. Since this book is made for children learning numbers, counting and how to read, it does have simple words and sentences, but I did like it because the story was in a poem form. I also loved the cute illustrations that were bright and vibrant and caught the reader's attention. This book is a great learning resource for young toddlers, and a good bedtime story! I give this book (****) 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Sunday, June 8, 2014

(20) Mermaid Dreams by Mark Sperring

Mermaid Dreams by Mark SperringBook Type: Children's Literature
Author: Mark Sperring
Pages: 32

Meriam liked lots of things, but she didn't like getting ready for bed..." As her mother scrubs behind her ears and combs the seashells out of her tangled hair, little beach babe Meriam describes a most extraordinary day: diving for pearls, swimming with dolphins, even frolicking with octopuses. Is Meriam making it all up?

No, because Meriam is every young girl's dream--a real-life mermaid who never, ever has to clean between her toes!

My Review:
After picking this book up from the library and examining the cover, I wasn't really sure what to expect . However, this book was pretty cute for a bedtime story, or even something to read after coming home from the beach! This is definitely a story for picky kids! The first line of the book is "Meriam liked lots of things, but she didn't like getting ready for bed," (Sperring 1).  I also loved that the text was whimsical and fun, but wasn't juvenile with simple sentences or words. Although the illustrations were a bit cartooney and weird, I liked them! They really add a dash of whimsy to this book. Overall, it was cute but nothing super exciting. I give this book (***) 3 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

(19) The Little Mermaid: Nefazia Visits The Palace by Suzanne Weyn

The Little Mermaid: Nefazia Visits The PalaceBook Type: Novel
Author: Suzanne Weyn
Pages: 76

Mermaid Queen Nefazia of the Indian Ocean shows up at Triton's palace, and the princesses are enchanted, until they begin to believe that she's come to marry their father. 
Aquatta convinves her sisters that having a stepmother around would ruin their lives, so she comes up with a plan that will drive Nefazia away forever.
But Ariel thinks Nefazia would make a terrific stepmother. Can she stop Aquata's awful plan before it's too late?

My Review:
I'm so happy that I found The Little Mermaid novels, instead of just children's books! I first found this book while looking for Little Mermaid books on, and found this gem! This paperback series is very affordable, and can be found on for a fair price. 

Great Imagery:
What I loved about this book was the great imagery; I was able to picture everything very clearly, and there are also a few black and white illustrations as well, but they looked more like unfinished coloring book drawings then  art for a novel. I would've liked to see some shading.

The Plot: The Awesome and the Not So Great
Ariel and Spot.
From The Little Mermaid TV show.
These two look happy together!
What really drew my attention to continue reading is that even though Ariel is always aimed for children, this book is not juvenile at all, and reads like a YA book. Not only do we get another sneak peak into Ariel's life before Prince Eric came into the picture, but we also see how Ariel can help girls of an older generation. As previously mentioned, most Disney characters are aimed for a mer-child audience, but this book deals with family issues, such as a possible new family member entering the household, a stepmother, and how to accept it. This book also shows that you may have more in common with your family than you thought you did.

The only element that annoyed me about this book was that killer whales are mermaid eaters! Why are killer whales hungry savages? I don't believe this should have been added, especially since Ariel once helped a young killer whale named Spot, and she was never injured by the sentient being. The killer whales actually look kind of evil in the illustrations! 

Final Thought:
Finally, I also loved that this book was a quick weeknight read, and only took me about an hour to finish. The ending was pleasant, and I cant wait to read more books in this series! I give this book (****) 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

(18) The Little Mermaid: Make-Believe Bride by Walt Disney Company

The Little Mermaid: Make-Believe Bride by Walt Disney Company
Book Type: Children's Literature
Author: Walt Disney Company
Pages: 24

Ariel loves to play make-believe—especially when she pretends to marry the prince of her dreams!

My Review:
I absolutely adored this book! I thought it was so cute that Ariel has a pretend wedding with the statue of Prince Eric. What I loved about this book was that the way the story is written isn't juvenile, and had a fairytale vibe  that adults will enjoy as well. I loved the illustrations. They were beautiful and vibrant! For those who love to draw, this book offers a lot of inspiration for Ariel and her grotto. I give this book (*****) 5 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

(17) The Little Mermaid: Amazing Ariel in 3D by Andrea Posner Sanchez

The Little Mermaid: Amazing Ariel in 3D by Andrea Posner SanchezBook Type: Children's Literature
Author: Andrea Posner Sanchez
Pages: 16

Ariel swims, dives, and pops off the pages thanks to the included 3-D glasses. This 3-D storybook is available just in time for the Diamond Edition DVD and Blu-ray of The Little Mermaid, releasing in October 2013.

My Review:
As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I knew that it was going to have amazing illustrations, but was the 3D effect really going to work?
The Answer?
The 3D effect really works! It was so cool to read this while having the spectacular images jump off the pages. It was a new way to experience The Little Mermaid. The text was a bit juvenile, and the sentences were small and simple. This is a very simplified version of The Little Mermaid, and as far as the way the story is written, I would give it 2 stars. However, the 3D element really made the book unique and fun to read. I felt like I was on a mini version of a Disney attraction. This makes a great gift for anyone who loves Ariel or mermaids! I give this book (****) 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Friday, June 6, 2014

(16) Barbie Story Library: The Mermaid's Tail by Christian Musselman

Barbie Story Library: The Mermaid's Tail by Christian Musselman
Book type: Children's Literature
Author: Christian Musselman
Pages: 32

Marina discovers what life is like with legs instead of her tail.

My Review:
I found this book while shopping online for mermaid books, but I wanted something different and unique. The cover definitely lured me in, and the illustrations as well! They're vibrant, beautiful and fun, just like Barbie! Although this story is short, the way the story is written isn't juvenile, so older merfolk who love Barbie will enjoy this book. 

I loved Barbie's character, Marina. She is very curious about humans and even listens to tales from her grandmother. This book is very similar to the story of The Little Mermaid at first, not only because Marina is a curious young mermaid, but also because she gets a potion from a wizard to become human  until she gets her feet wet. I really loved this cute little Barbie book, especially the important lesson at the end: don't judge a person based on appearances (all the sea creatures feared humans, but Marina proved them wrong!) and don't always listen to those around you! Go explore the world and see for yourself! I give this book (*****) 5 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie