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