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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

(35) Mermaid Tales #1 : Trouble at Trident Academy by Debbie Dadey

Mermaid Tales #1 : Trouble at Trident Academy by Debbie DadeyBook Type: Novel
Author: Debbie Dadey
Pages: 112

In this start to a new series starring Shelly the mermaid, a classroom conflict is no fun—even when school is 20,000 leagues under the sea.

It’s MerGirl Shelly Siren’s first day at a new school, and she is nervous from the tip of her head to the end of her sparkling mermaid tail. How will she ever fit in at the prestigious Trident Academy? Everyone there is so smart and so pretty and so rich. At least she and her best friend, Echo, are in the same class, but so is Pearl, a spoiled know-it-all who only wants to make trouble for Shelly; Rocky, a MerBoy who loves to tease everyone; and Kiki, a shy MerGirl who’s new to Trident City.

My Review:
I had heard in the mer-community that the Mermaid Tales books were very popular, so I wanted to check them out myself! In this first book, I loved the main character, Shelly. For young children, she is very relatable. She has lost her parents, lives with her grandfather, she's shy, nervous about school, but loves animals. I also liked that Dadey incorporated high school-like themes, such as bullying by the snooty popular girl, and starting a new school and how to adjust to new settings. 
The book also has black and white pictures to depict the events every couple of pages. What I really loved about this book is that it has real facts about the sea woven into the story, and even how to protect the world's oceans from future harm. The only complaint I do have is that the book was a bit girly and came across a little juvenile, especially if you are an older mer like myself. I would say the age range is about 8-13 years old. I'm really excited to see how the other books will turn out! I give this book (****) 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie.

(34) Pretty Pearl Mermaid by Mary Man-Kong

Pretty Pearl Mermaid by Mary Man-KongBook Type: Children's Literature
Author: Mary Man-Kong
Pages: 32

Girls ages 4–6 will love learning to read on their own with this Step 2 Step into Reading leveled reader based on Barbie's latest film.

My Review:
Step-Into-Reading is a great resource for mer-children learning to read. It features large text with short sentences, but the details of this beautiful story are never lost. The illustrations are also bright and colorful, which keeps the young reader's attention. Although this book contains a lot of the major details, I just think the book can't compare to the movie! I give this book (****) 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

(33) The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning by Kristen Depken

Book Type: Children's Book
Author: Kristen Depken
Pages: 24

A retelling of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's beginning movie released in 2008!

My Review:
I loved watching this last movie of The Little Mermaid, so I was excited to see how this book would turn out. I'm happy to say that this book is a good representation of the movie. What I loved  about this book were the illustrations; they look like they came right out of the movie! They are vibrant, colorful, and a perfect inspiration for people who love to draw mermaids. The way the story is written isn't juvenile, but it's a bit wordy. I believe the movie is a bit more exciting, especially since you get to hear such great music! Take a look:

Overall, I give this book (****) 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

(32) Stories Of Mermaids by Russell Punter

Stories Of Mermaids by Russell PunterBook Type: Children's Literature/ Short Chapter Book
Author: Russell Punter
Pages: 48

A collection of short but sweet mermaid tales.

My Review:
This book was very cute and short, and is great for putting little mermaids to sleep! What I loved about this book was the illustrations; just look at the mermaids on the cover! This book consists of three different stories that are aimed at little-mers learning to read chapters, so the text is large and the stories are short.
However, Punter created very unique tales that were very fun to read. I think the only negative comment I have is the last story was a bit too similar to The Little Mermaid. Coral the mermaid trades her fins to dance on land. I give this book (****) 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Monday, July 14, 2014

(31) I Am Ariel by Andrea Posner Sanchez

Book Type: Children's Literature
Author: Andrea Posner Sanchez
Pages: 12

This sturdy book is shaped like the prettiest Disney Princess under the sea—Ariel! Girls ages 4 and under will love this sweet introduction to everyone's favorite princess from The Little Mermaid. Plus there is sparkly glitter on the cover!

My Review:
I can read books about The Little Mermaid all day! However, this book wasn't super exciting, even for a kid's book. Although the illustrations are beautiful and vibrant and keep the mer-reader's attention, the sentences are very short. This is a book meant for merchildren learning to read. This is a very simplified version of The Little Mermaid that missed a lot of detail. I believe they re are much better versions, which you can find on my blog under the "Books For Little Mermaids" page. I give this book (***) 3 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Hi Merfolk!
I just finished the second book in the Tritone Series by Judi Fennell. This will count as book #30 of the Mermaid Summer Reading Challenge 2014! To check out the review, click the link below:

Tritone Series Part II

Have fun and enjoy your summer!
-Sirenita The Selkie

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mer Tales by Brenda Pandos

Book Type: Novel/Series/YA
Author: Brenda Pandos
Book 1) 304
Book 2) 274
Book 3) 376

Summary of Book One(

She wanted her life to change... he wanted his to stay the same.
Best friends share everything with each other. Or do they? Seventeen-year-old Ashlyn Frances Lanski is tired of her boring, single life. Spending time with her best friend Tatiana, dreaming about kissing Tatiana's twin brother Fin, and swimming competitively are her only sanctuary. The girls plan to leave their drab lakeside town far behind for college. But when Tatchi fails to return home after a family emergency, and no one knows where the family has gone, Ash chooses to do something drastic to find them. 
Ashlyn is about to discover what she'd thought to be true her whole life, wasn't, and the truth, too fantastical to imagine. Secrets lurk beneath the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe, secrets that will change Ashlyn's life forever.

Book One:
(29: Part of the Mermaid Summer Reading Challenge 2014) 

Dive Into The Mystical Mermaid World: What I Loved:
As soon as the first chapter starts, the reader instantly suspects something fishy is up with Fin and Tatiana, which includes family secrets that are hidden from Ashlyn. We also see the beginnings of a romance that starts to blossom, which I loved! Something that I always look for in many YA books is the switching of perspectives usually from a male character and a female one. I loved that I got to see into both worlds, in this case, Ashlyn and Fin's.
The mermaid abilities were pretty cool too! They are able to dive really deep, and when they switch from human to Mer, lenses cover their eyes like a pair of swim goggles. Tatiana and Fin are twins, and in the Mer world, this means they are able to share telepathic abilities.
Ashlyn was a character I could really relate to. She is very laid back, loves to swim, is quiet and also has a tense relationship with her mother like most young girls. She is also very shy, especially around cute merboys like Fin! Although I really liked a lot of the elements in the book, there were a few things that I didn't really enjoy.

Plot Was Too Slow! Hurry Up!: What I Didn't Like:
Unfortunately, this book did get to be a bit boring at times, mostly because nothing super exciting happens until the middle to the end. I would've liked to see the story progress a bit earlier.
Although I loved how Fin and Ashlyn describe their crushes on each other, Pandos didn't really mention what they like about each other besides looks, and this made the romance a bit shallow

Conclusion On First Book:
So far, I'm really hooked on this series! So far, the first book definitely gets (*****) 5 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Book 2: Evergreen
Evergreen (Mer Tales, #2)

I was really dissapointed with the second book.

Romance Overload! Too Much:
The first chapter was nauseating! It was too romantically sappy! The writing was way too dramatic also. Fin and Ashlyn just started dating and they act like they're going to die if they don't see each other every second. One quote I remember Fin saying was, "she was my air for life."

And yes, I know they have a magical bond, but it was just a bit overboard. Although Ash and Fin seem to have a very romantic relationship, it's actually not stable. They lie to each other constantly and get upset over the dumbest things!

The Book Picks Up Towards The End:
I loved the small details of the book. Ashlyn programmed her phone to read "Fish" and play "my jolly sailor bold when Fin calls. So cute!
Unfortunately, the book doesn't really pick up speed until the end. Then I couldn't put it down! The ending was fantastic, and I was happy to see their relationship become more stable. I give this book (***) 3 stars.

Everlost (Mer Tales, #3)

Book 3: Everlost

I'm really happy where this series has gone so far :)

What I Loved: 
In this book, we finally see where Tatiana is, and how she's holding up being Azor's little slave. I felt so frustrated with Tatiana's situation. It's clear that the merfolk live in an antiquated society and don't respect women's rights! The reader is also introduced to Jacob, the fierce bad boy who is a rebel and protector of Tatiana. That is one hot merman! ;)

What I Disliked:
As I'm delving deeper into this series, the promise is said to be something romantic and soul-binding, but all I'm seeing is strong physical attraction. The promised characters, Tatiana, Fin, Ash and Azor, all seem to express their physical attraction to their mate, but they don't convey what they love about their mate's personality. For example, under the promise spell, Tatiana cant stop talking about Azor physically, but isn't there more than just looks?

I also didn't like that Fin and Ashlyn are just plain missing for three quarters of the book! A majority of the plot went to Tatiana's miserable conditions.

Towards the end of this book, there was a lot of really good plot and character development. I thought this book would've wrapped things up nicely, but there's one more book!
I give this book (****) 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Book Four: Evermore

Evermore (Mer Tales, #4)I was really disappointed with this last and final book. What still continued to annoy me was Ash and Fin's relationship. Although many readers seem to love this romance, I find it dishonest.

Let me explain.

Throughout the series, Fin and Ash continue to lie to each other and hide the smallest things. One night, Ash pops a tail in the bathtub instead of heading out to the lake. Instead of telling Fin she made a mistake, she lies! Whyyyyy Ashlyn??

They also have so many immature fights about the stupidest things. The lying and sneaking around prove to me as a reader that their relationship is not fully developed and they aren't ready to make a commitment to one another.

As for the plot line? It didn't add anything to the series.

I wish that Pandos omitted this book from the series and wrapped everything up in the last book. It did nothing for me.

Although I give this book (**) 2 stars,
I'm going to rate the series overall (****) 4 stars, because its packed with tails and plot twists.

-Sirenita The Selkie