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Review – The Unnaturalists August 31, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Steampunk.
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2 comments

Title: The Unnaturalists

Author: Tiffany Trent

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Publication date: August 14, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1442422063

Available at: Amazon KindleBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

Review:

The Unnaturalists is a steampunk novel contains so much more then magical creatures. With the Unnaturals there are wielders of magic, like a witch and Architects as they’re called. They added an extra dose of excitement to the story. There was also one particularly violent scene. It took me by surprise because I didn’t expect to find it it in a young adult book, but maybe I’m being over-sensitive.

I liked Vespa for the most part. She had an eagerness about her that was very refreshing. My problem with her was her unshaking confidence in people that became rather naive truth be told. For a scientific mind, you would think she’d look at the cold hard facts and discern what was in front of her rather then what was in her heart. Instead she was swayed by emotion rather then by logic.

Syrus was resourceful and resilient. He had a way about him that never ceased to give up in despite the odds. I really liked him. He’d fight and fight, no matter what. He was pretty good at it too!

I also really liked Pedant Lumin. He always managed to keep his cool and be in the right place at the right time. Lumin was all at once the dashing hero and the resourceful sidekick. The intriguing mix of roles kept me interested and I was entranced by his character the most.

One of the things I enjoyed most was their religion. Trent made science itself a religion. Scientists became patron saints. Darwin and Newton became patron saints. It was also a goddess based religion. I have to admit I’m pretty partial to goddess based religions.

Basically, the Unnaturals are being used for a hideous purpose and it’s up to the three to stop it. I was interested enough in the plot to keep reading. It was fresh enough for me to be intrigued even if it’s been recycled in one form or another. I feel like Vespa could have stood to become more fully developed to have let the story become fuller. Although the book fell on more of the supporting cast to pull it through as far as likability, it’s still a strong one. As far as likability goes, that could be a matter of preference.

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Throwback Thursday (10) August 30, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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2 comments

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books.

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

You don’t have to be a book blogger to participate! You can put up a Throwback Thursday post on your non-bookish blog; or if you don’t have a blog at all, just use the comments to tell us about a book you remember fondly.

Here’s how it works:
1. Pick any book released more than 5 years ago. Adult, YA, Children’s; doesn’t matter. Any great book will do.
2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it. Make sure to link back to The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books in your post.
3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Title: Outlander

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Original Publication Date: 1991

Publisher: Dell

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

I used to try to make it a point of reading the Outlander books once a year, but since I got my Kindle I got out of the habit. I seem to have fallen even more by the wayside since I started this blog, but these will still be some of my favorite books. These will also remain the greatest romance series for me. Jamie and Claire’s love grew realistically. It was never insta-love for them! But once it did grow it was strong and steadfast. Spanning over a hundred years through time and distance. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for this series. Lucky for me, Gabaldon isn’t done writing it!

Review – Full Blooded August 29, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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1 comment so far

Title: Full Blooded

Author: Amanda Carlson

Publication Date: September 11, 2012

Publisher: Orbit

ISBN-13: 978-0316205207

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

Summary:

At twenty-six years old Jessica McClain has finally made the full change into a female werewolf. The problem is she’s the only female werewolf in existence. Can she escape the prophecy that signifies she’s the doom of the werewolves?  And can she escape those that wish to simply own her for being so unique?

Review:

I loved the novella Blooded. (See my review here.) I was eagerly anticipating Full Blooded and I even pre-ordered it, so when Amanda Carlson asked me if I wanted an advance copy of the book I was ecstatic.

Let’s start with the whole female werewolf thing. It’s rare to see an author touch upon a heroine who’s a werewolf so well. It’s being done more and more lately, but it was really done well in this book. She wasn’t dependent on changing with the full moon. Her wolf was more like an alter ego that she could  communicate with. The werewolves also had a limited telepathic ability I thought was a nice addition. Needless to say I was impressed.

As far as Jessica goes, I really liked her. She had a direct was of handling her problems that I admired. Here she was, the lone female werwewolf in a pack of werewolves not to mention the supernatural community and she handled it. She kept her cool during the most stressful of times. She had a lot of fight in her. Almost obstinately so. At one point Rourke had to pull her kicking and screaming from a fight she had no chance of winning.

So let’s get to Rourke. He came along later in the book and he was a treat. Maybe it was because he was such a late addition there wasn’t as much character development as I would have liked. With the other characters I felt I knew them more because I had been introduced to them either in the novella or earlier in the book. Rourke was still fun to read about as he was commanding and sexy. I’m looking forward to reading more about him in future books.

I also really liked the vampires. They weren’t your run of your mill vampires and they weren’t of the glamorous sexy variety either. They definitely had a horrific element to them. Add in witches and you have a very exciting UF book!

The end of the book does leave you hanging and wanting more. So consider yourself warned. The next book, Hot Blooded is due out on April 13, 2013 and I’m already eagerly awaiting it.

*A free copy was provided by the author for an honest review.

Review – Infected: Shift August 28, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: Infected: Shift (#5)

Author: Andrea Speed

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Publication Date: May 14, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1613725061

Available at: Amazon –  Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Sequel to Infected: Freefall In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds. Between his mutating virus and his rocky relationship with his artist boyfriend, Dylan, Roan has enough problems to solve without taking on other people’s, but that’s the nature of his work. Someone has to look into the case of the murdered trans woman, and if the perp is the dirty cop Roan suspects it is, the police are not the right people for the job. But now Roan has a new obstacle to overcome: someone caught part of his transformation on video, and the media frenzy is making it hard to do his job. One case nets him a hockey team full of new friends. Another leads to an attempt on his life. And Roan’s hustler sidekick drags him on a quest for revenge. With his world and his body both in turmoil, Roan is finding it harder and harder to see the line between justice and vigilantism.

Review:

Although I didn’t read the other books in this series this book stood well on its own. The story was a little fragmented though. The plot seemed to be separated into two stories. The first half of the book has to do with the murder of the trans woman and the second half of the book involves a completely different case that was in no way related. There was a definite disconnect.

Through it all Roan is going through this self-flagellation process for being an infected that’s abnormal in the sense that he’s above normal. He continually tells himself he’s a freak. He believes he’s no good to his boyfriend and he proceeds to alternately destroy his personal life and mend it. He was incredibly self-destructive. He couldn’t see that every time he tried to do something right he ended up hurting himself even more. Roan also lamented over his dead husband more then half the time. I understand that grief over a loved one is never ending, but it seemed rather excessive.

The book did have some redeeming qualities. It’s very well-written. I was drawn into the grim action scenes and the world building was well done. There were a group of hockey players that had me entertained.  There was also a dominatrix with a minor role that I really liked. Holden the sidekick hustler was another character I liked as well. He knew who he was and he didn’t fool himself.

This book had a lot of potential, but it seemed like it just missed the mark. I’m kind of on the fence as to whether or not I should look for more books in this series.

*A free copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

It's Monday! What are you reading? August 27, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Uncategorized.
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6 comments

This Monday meme is held by the The Book Journey. Feel free to join in and tell us what you’re reading!

Title: Girl of Fire and Thorns

Author: Rae Carson

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.

I’m really enjoying this book. The style of writing is easy and free. Elisa is a very likable character. The setting is exotic and the plot is entrancing. I even had a hard time putting the book down to post to the blog. That’s a sign of a really good book! Hopefully it won’t lose it’s head of steam. I hate anti-climatic endings. Although I also hate horrible cliffhangers!

Title: Mockingbird

Author: Chuck Wendig

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Miriam is trying to keep her ability—her curse—in check.

But when Miriam touches a woman in line at the supermarket, she sees that the woman will be killed here, now.

She reacts, and begins a new chapter in her life—one which can never be expected to go well.

Title: The Lost Girl

Author: Sangu Mandanna

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.

From debut novelist Sangu Mandanna comes the dazzling story of a girl who was always told what she had to be—until she found the strength to decide for herself.

After The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I’ll read Mockingbird and The Lost Girl. They both come out tomorrow and I love reading new releases. There’s something about them that feels sparkly and fresh. It’s silly I know.

Mockingbird is the second book in Miriam’s adventures. Blackbird is the first book. I really loved the first book so I can’t wait to read the second book. Miriam is such a kick ass heroine. I love reading about her.

The Lost Girl just sounds like a stupendous book. The fact that it takes place in India really intrigues me. I’ve read one other book that takes place there and it really added an exotic element to the book. Add to that the whole idea of replacing someone after they die. It sounds like it could be a winner. I think it’s been done before but it still could be refreshing.

That should be my week of reading. What are you reading this week?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? August 27, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,
6 comments

This Monday meme is held by the The Book Journey. Feel free to join in and tell us what you’re reading!

Title: Girl of Fire and Thorns

Author: Rae Carson

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.

I’m really enjoying this book. The style of writing is easy and free. Elisa is a very likable character. The setting is exotic and the plot is entrancing. I even had a hard time putting the book down to post to the blog. That’s a sign of a really good book! Hopefully it won’t lose it’s head of steam. I hate anti-climatic endings. Although I also hate horrible cliffhangers!

Title: Mockingbird

Author: Chuck Wendig

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Miriam is trying to keep her ability—her curse—in check.

But when Miriam touches a woman in line at the supermarket, she sees that the woman will be killed here, now.

She reacts, and begins a new chapter in her life—one which can never be expected to go well.

Title: The Lost Girl

Author: Sangu Mandanna

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.

From debut novelist Sangu Mandanna comes the dazzling story of a girl who was always told what she had to be—until she found the strength to decide for herself.

After The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I’ll read Mockingbird and The Lost Girl. They both come out tomorrow and I love reading new releases. There’s something about them that feels sparkly and fresh. It’s silly I know.

Mockingbird is the second book in Miriam’s adventures. Blackbird is the first book. I really loved the first book so I can’t wait to read the second book. Miriam is such a kick ass heroine. I love reading about her.

The Lost Girl just sounds like a stupendous book. The fact that it takes place in India really intrigues me. I’ve read one other book that takes place there and it really added an exotic element to the book. Add to that the whole idea of replacing someone after they die. It sounds like it could be a winner. I think it’s been done before but it still could be refreshing.

That should be my week of reading. What are you reading this week?

Stacking the Shelves (11) August 25, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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2 comments

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted byTyngaReviews.com and is a book haul post to show off everything you purchased or received for review.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

This week’s offerings are very slim. I got Gregor the Overlander on sale because it’s by the same author of The Hunger Games. It has oversized cockroaches and bats and things of that nature so it should be an interesting fantasy.

I really enjoyed Jacqueline Carey’s other trilogies, so when I found the hardcover of Naamah’s Curse on sale at Barnes & Noble I snatched it up. Now I all I need are the first and last book of the trilogy!

The Iron Witch and Darker Still were both on sale. It appears as though I got all my books on sale this week! The Iron Witch looks intriguing. The heroine has iron tattoos and is haunted by a horrific attack wrought by the fey. Darker Still is said to be a cross between Bram Stoker’s Dracula  and Dorian Grey. I’m really looking forward to reading that one.

That does it for me this week! Please share with me what you got this week in the comments section! See you next week.

Review – Libriomancer August 24, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: Libriomancer

Author: Jim C. Hines

Publisher: DAW  Hardcover

Publication Date: August 7, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-075640739

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg.  Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .

Review:

Libriomancer is a fun book full of innovative magic including a cool new twist on vampires. Isaac Vainio is a failed field agent who has been designated as a cataloger when he’s suddenly attacked by a group of vampires. From there, along with the help of Lena the bokken wielding dryad, he endeavors to find out why the vampires are attacking and murdering Libriomancers. He also tries to discover who kidnapped Gutenberg, the founder of Libriomancy. What ensues is a mad adventure that is entertaining and delightful.

Isaac is your unlikely hero. He’s a retired field agent holed up in a small town library. He’s resourceful and the way he uses books as weapons reminds me of a Mr. Gadget. Lena is a great sidekick. As a dryad she has more durability and magic then your average human woman. She also has a bit of emotional baggage, but that’s all I can say about that. They make a great team. I hope they work things out and manage to keep their partnership alive for subsequent books.

And the magic? The magic was wonderful! You could delve into books! Books! And withdraw objects! Like laser guns, swords, healing potions. You name it! It was ever reader’s dream! And the vampires! The vampires were the coolest vampires I’ve ever read about. There were different strains of vampires depending on which books they originated from. How cool is that?  I admit at a few points it got a bit confusing to keep track of all the different vampire characters, but I loved it.

I do admit having a hard time getting into the book for the first 16% of it, but once I did I became thoroughly immersed. Another great piece of work by Jim Hines!

Throwback Thursday (9) August 23, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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4 comments

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books.

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

You don’t have to be a book blogger to participate! You can put up a Throwback Thursday post on your non-bookish blog; or if you don’t have a blog at all, just use the comments to tell us about a book you remember fondly.

Here’s how it works:
1. Pick any book released more than 5 years ago. Adult, YA, Children’s; doesn’t matter. Any great book will do.
2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it. Make sure to link back to The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books in your post.
3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Title: Stranger In A Strange Land

Author: Robert A. Heinlein

Original Publication Date: 1961

Publisher: Ace Trade

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who has returned to Earth in early adulthood after being raised by Martians on the planet Mars.

The novel explores his interaction with—and the eventual transformation of—Earth culture. The title seems to be an allusion to the phrase in Exodus 2:22 (in the Biblical Book of Exodus).

Heinlein was my first foray into science fiction way back in the 80’s and it was a classic even then. Stranger in a Strange Land was one of my favorite titles of his. Valentine was a beloved character. He was equal parts naivete and wisdom. The idea of  being raised by an alien race on an alien planet seemed entirely plausible to me at the time. I didn’t question it like I would have today. Different subjects were explored like religion and sexuality. The book challenged my thinking and made my question my beliefs.

To date, this was one of the books that really changed my life and it still remains one of the books that I would like to revisit. It’s a true science fiction classic.

Review – Wake August 22, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Fantasy, Young Adult.
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Title: Wake

Series: Watersong

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Publication Date: August 7, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1250008121

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From the publisher:

Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They’re the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone’s attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs.  She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door.  He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back.  Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever.  She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove.  They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price.  And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

Review:

This is definitely a young adult novel. The characters in this book definitely have the maturity of teenagers. Not that it’s a bad thing. I’m  just making a note of that. Having done that we can move on.

Gemma truly does have everything but the other thing she does have is a domineering older sister. At age eighteen, Harper tried to be too much to Gemma. When she should have been having fun and dating she was making sure her father had her lunch at work and that Gemma  didn’t stay out past her curfew. She was doing all this because their mother had gotten into a car accident years ago which left her brain damaged and unable to live with them. Eventually I got used to Harper and her ways, but I’m not sure Gemma ever did.

Once Gemma got in trouble with involved with Penn, Lexi, and Thea, there was nothing Harper could do. Gemma was spinning out of Harper’s control. As their relationship deteriorated  so did many other aspects of Gemma’s life. Like Alex and Gemma’s relationship.

As for Alex? I thought he was sweet and I definitely thought that Gemma and his relationship was sweet, but he lacked a certain depth to him. If there was anyone that was swoonworthy, it would have been Daniel. He pursued Harper with a single determination that I didn’t think she deserved. I couldn’t understand it. But he was kind, funny without being cruel, and quick-witted.

The thing that makes this book unique is that Gemma fought becoming mermaid. In most books the heroine delights in becoming a mermaid, but not this book. She fights it every step of the way with disastrous results. You could see the end coming but you didn’t want it to happen! I can’t wait for the next book!