Sunday, October 28, 2012

Waking Storms by Sarah Porter Review

Okay, so Garrett has definitely not been the only one who hasn't posted an actual mer-book review in  a while. Seeing his Tempest post made me realize I'd forgotten to post a review for my favorite mermaid book of the year!

Anyway, as anyone who known me through this blog and the Goodreads group can attest, I completely love Sarah Porter's Lost Voices books. The final book in the series, The Twice Lost, will be released sometime next year and I'm already on the edge of my seat. But as for this installment, Waking Storms, I have been very lazy with posting a review, especially considering I was privileged enough to get an advanced copy from my lovely library (thanks Bailey Cove!). So here goes a review a long time in the making.

Oh, and there are some spoilers for Lost Voices ahead, so don't read this if you haven't finished it! No spoilers for Waking Storms though.

In this second book, I'm happy to report that Porter has not fallen into the sophomore slump so many YA authors find themselves in. Waking Storms is exciting, haunting, and chock full of new characters and a lovely continuation of the heart breaking story depicted in the first book.

So the basic idea of this book is that Luce is now outed from the mermaid tribe by the evil queen Anais. Luce would rightfully be queen in the tribe but Anais has kicked her out before she could even begin to process this thought. Being a mermaid alone in the harsh Alaskan setting of the story is definitely not a smart move. On top of that, the boy Luce couldn't bring herself to drown has come back to haunt her literally. The boy, Dorian, is a troubled kid who has the "indication" usually seen around the teenage girls who become mermaids, but for some reason, the magic doesn't work on guys. Luce struggles back and forth about how their relationship could work, and meanwhile, Dorian is being questioned by the FBI. And then, when the Alaskan winter sets in, Luce makes an extremely unexpected discovery and has to make some very hard choices.

The biggest difference between WS and LV is the addition of Dorian. I was initially VERY hesitant about adding such a character to these books, because I felt like that would have been falling into another YA cliche'. But surprisingly enough, Dorian didn't annoy me when he wasn't supposed to.

That's another thing about these books. You're not supposed to like the characters sometimes. There are times that Luce is incredibly selfish and more than a little stupid, but others she is so selfless and brave. Dorian is never very likable  but after his situation and place in the world of these books is explained, you can'e help but realize all the turmoil this kid is going through. He is not supposed to be a likable character.  It's another genius thing about Porter's writing.

The other mermaids from Luce's previous tribe also make a few appearances here and there. There's a deadly showdown with Anais. There's also the addition of a Greek mermaid who is a crucial key in understanding the history and lore of Porter's mermaids.

You definitely need to read Lost Voices before Waking Storms. When I first received my ARC, I had a really hard time following because they're so dependent on each other.

All in all, definitely one of the best mer-books published this year. I highly recommend it to older teens.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book Review: Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs

WOW. This review is long overdue; like, three months overdue. But without further ado, here's my review for Tempest Unleashed, the second installment of Tracy Deebs's Tempest trilogy. Tempest Unleashed continues the story of Tempest Maguire, a teenage girl who is growing into her destiny of becoming a great and powerful mermaid. Of course, the first book was supposed to be about that as well, but we didn't see an actual mermaid scene in the first book until the last twenty pages or so. I think that's why so many people had problems liking Tempest Rising: it was a mermaid book with barely any mermaids. Unleashed makes up for that and then some. Nearly all the book takes place under the sea with lots of mermaid and sea creature action. In fact, it's not until after the first hundred pages that there's even a scene that takes place on dry land. The mermaid world is beautiful and vividly described, from the cave Tempest discovers containing her mother's memories, to the final battle in the sunken ship. And the sea creatures: mermaids, selkies, sea witches, shark-men, and more. I mean, how many people even knew what a bunyip was (and who subsequently researched it) when reading this book? (I'd heard of it, but I still researched it.) And now I reach the topic of romance. The first book was typical of a YA paranormal romance. Stranger comes to town, and despite being creepy more often than not, the girl falls for him and no one else in her life matters anymore. Not so with Unleashed. Tempest begins have feelings for Mark again, and at first I internally groaned, as I knew that meant a love triangle was evident. And usually the protagonist of a YA PNR strings the second guy around for a couple books, but always ends up with the creepy stranger. Oh, sure, she'd act like she loved Mark, but in the end, she'd end up with Kona, despite that being the most unrealistic outcome. Now, I'm not so sure. Mark is there for her, and they have history together, and he knows her better than anyone else. Kona? He's just the typical YA male love interest, and I don't think he's worthy of Tempest. Does Mark get overprotective and act like a jerk sometimes? Yeah. But then again, that's what makes him human. He's flawed, unlike perfect Kona, the douchebag who turns into a seal. And besides, Tempest needs someone human, as she even mentions that she doesn't want to succumb to her mermaid half. Normal, simple Mark can be the anchor that Tempest needs to keep her humanity buoyant. I can only hope she ends up with Mark (or better yet, no one: she's an all-powerful mermaid; who says she needs two guys bickering over her?), but with how most YA paranormals go, I'm not holding my breath. Another interesting dynamic that I enjoyed about the first book is family. Rio grates on my nerves something fierce, but I can't blame him completely, although sometimes he acted more like a brat than what I felt was called for. Tempest's family means so much to her, and I hope she's able to accept her destiny without having to completely abandon them. I have an idea how the issues with her family and Mark will play out in the final book, but I'm just going to have to wait and see. All in all, I loved the sequel so much more than the first. Tiamat's still a creepy but intriguing antagonist (plus, I liked how the myth of Scylla was thrown in) the twist with Sabyn was slighly predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless, and the feeling that war is coming to the undersea world rings through to the book's final pages. I'm ready to see Tempest kick Tiamat's tail...literally. So in conclusion, Tempest Unleashed was a thrill ride of epic proportions, and it was everything the first book should have been and more. I can't wait to see how the final book plays out, and I know that if it's anything like Unleashed, it's going to be worth the wait.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition Release Date Confirmed!

Major mermaid news, you guys! Ariel fans, rejoice, because the Diamond Edition of The Little Mermaid has been offically confirmed for fall 2013! Many TLM fans already speculated this would be the likely release date, since the film will be rereleased in theaters in 3D September 2013. But now it's official! Yay! The Diamond Editions, for those who don't know, is a rerelease of all the classic Disney films, only now they're on Blu-Ray (for most, if not all, for the first time), as well as in HD. I can't wait to see The Little Mermaid like this, as well as the new bonus features that will likely be featured. Ariel's having a big year ahead of her, what with the new Disney Art of Animation resort that features Ariel-themed rooms, the completed Little Mermaid ride and Prince Eric's castle at Disney World, and her highly anticipated appearance on ABC's Once Upon a Time. (More posts on all those things later) So, are you guys excited about the release of The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition? Will you be one of those highly devoted fans who will be picking it up on the first day it comes out? (I know I will!)

New Ocean-Themed Comic Series Coming Soon...And It's Got Mermaids!

Earlier this week, it was announced that a new comic series is coming soon from the creators of Damsels, a comic series about fairytale princesses fighting for their lands. (And the Little Mermaid's one of 'em!) To the right is a picture of the comic series Damsels, with a beautiful mermaid featured on the cover.
Here's what the writer of the series, Matt Sturges, has to say about the new series: "What Damsels does for dry land, this book does for the ocean...We've got mermaids! Pirates! A kraken! Sirens! All wrapped up in fast-past coming-of-age story, filled with treachery, high adventure, and very probably some sharks. (And maybe even a little romance for good measure.) In short: if it's in a fairy tale or legend, and it's wet, we've got it." This sounds SO cool! I've recently gotten hooked on graphic novels (mainly due to my recent reading of Buffy Season 8), and one about mermaids is even better. I'm even more excited that almost every water-related creature from mythology and folklore will be featured. I love all things mythology, and I know a lot about mythological sea creatures. (Trust me, if some of those things actually existed, you'd never go in the water again.) So, what am I hoping out of this series? I'm hoping that the mermaids play a significant role in the series. I'm thinking the pirates might take center stage, like a Pirates of the Caribbean comic, but I'm really hoping the mermaids are the real stars. But for now, it's too soon to tell, so I'm hoping to find out more very soon. Will you guys be checking out this new comic series?

New 'Mako Island' Photos Revealed!

So, not much is known about the upcoming H2O spin-off series, The Secret of Mako Island. Or Mako Mermaids. Or Mako: Island of Secrets. Jumping jellyfish, this series has gone through so many title changes, I'm not sure what to call it anymore. Anyway,on with the photos.
The first picture shows Zac in merman form. I'm super-excited for this photo, because I wasn't sure how Zac would look. I figured he'd have an orange tail like the mermaids, but nope, Zac's rockin' a light-blue-colored tail, and that trident looks super awesome! I can't wait for the story behind it, and I definitely can't wait to see Zac in merman mode, as well as just what kind of adventures a teenage merman gets himself into.
Next is an image that shows the three leading ladies in human form, talking to an unknown mermaid in the Moon Pool. This actually makes sense to me, though some fans speculated just who this mermaid was and what she was doing there. In the show, the three main mermaids have been exiled from their mermaid pod, as they must come ashore and find Zac and take away his powers. So, judging from the girls' expressions, they definitely don't look happy, so this is probably them finding out that they're banned from going home until Zac is found and his powers stripped. Also, I wonder why the Moon Pool looks so different. I mean, if it's the same Moon Pool, why is it so different. Now, I haven't finished the third season of H2O, so maybe something happens that changes the Moon Pool. (I've heard spoilers...hopefully they're wrong.) Anyway, now we have a better insight into the Mako Island spin-off series (I STILL don't know what to officially call it), and I can't wait to see the actual show come to completion. Anything with mermaids, mermen, and a badass-looking trident is okay with me.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mermaid Crossovers That Should Or Should Not Happen

I know a lot our lovely  readers are involved in a fandom of one sort of another, like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Game of Thrones etc. So I thought I'd make a long, silly, lengthy, and utterly un-necessary post about what would happen if we put in some mermaids to these lovely shows/books/movies/lifestyles. Here goes nothing.
Warning: Hilarity and Twilight bashing ensue. 

Harry Potter + Mermaids = That already happened.

Sherlock (as in BBC Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) + Mermaids = YES!
Just imagine it. Dead mermaid washes up on shore, Sherlock and John go investigate, and then a strange guest in a wheel chair shows up at 221B. Brilliant! 

Twilight + Mermaids = Oh please, no.
I hate myself for even entertaining this possibility. But sadly, Twilight and mermaids would be the most un-intentionally hilarious crossover. Is this a love square I sense coming on? Sorry if this offends any Twlight fans! I really just never got the hype behind the series.

Game of Throne + Mermaids = That actually makes sense, sort of.
I myself have not actually read or watched Game of Thrones, but I've consulted with a few experts on this crossover, and according to them, this would actually be a ridiculously good idea. Any GoT fans want to weigh in? 

The Hunger Games + Mermaids = Potentially one of the most dangerous arenas ever.
Think about it: Mermaids are known to have dangerous soul sucking, flesh eating, seducing tendencies. Now figure that into one of Suzanne's famously twisted arenas. Then translate that to the silver screen. Quaking with fear? Yeah, me too.

Doctor Who + Mermaids = I would watch this in a heartbeat.
We've been through dinosaurs, robots, vampires (sort of), and debatably a mermaid (Curse of the Black Spot), but a lot of Who fans will definitely agree with me when I say mermaids are definitely an interesting crossover with an already whacky show. Imagine an episode with a mermaid as a one time companion. Exciting stuff!

Supernatural + Mermaids = Should happen in the near future.
I mean seriously, that's gotta be the next step on the ladder right? Sam and Dean better find some scuba gear. Demon mermaids anyone?

The Avengers + Mermaids = Potentially disastrous.
I literally see no plausible way of this working ever. And I mean that. I love the Avengers, but it would take an act of God to put these two together and make me believe it. But hey, The Little Thormaid perked my interest. Loki as Ursula? Odin as Poseidon? It's surprising how much it works. Small note: Sleeping Beauty is also applicable to Captain America. And The Emporer's New Groove is applicable to Iron Man. And Anastasia (which isn't Disney, I know) applies to Black Widow and Hawkeye. I could literally go on forever about the similarities between Avengers and Disney movies. But mermaids and The Avengers? I can't dig it, much as I love both of them.

That's all I've got for the moment, but what do you guys think? Anything I left out? Let me know, okay?


Allow Me To Introduce Myself

My name is Howard Parsons and I've been a certified Mermaid Geek since the age of five. Garrett has graciously invited me to be an author here on the MerBlog. I'm a software engineer and have my own blog-site called "The Parsons' Rant" at where I blog about technology, whatever comes to mind and  . . . . "Mer-fiction".

I write reviews of the books I read - or at least the good ones - and post them on my site, Goodreads and now I'll be posting selected reviews here on the MerBlog as well. Most of the "Mer-fiction" I review fall into the Young Adult category. I find young adult fiction to -usually - be fresh, exciting and most of all, fun. I've reached the age where my nightmares are now about retirement rather than high school so it is indeed quite a bit of fun to read stories aimed at that demographic.

Another thing I've started doing on my site is interviewing authors. I published on my first one on October 10th and have another one in the works for early November. Because of the layout that I'm currently using for the interviews, copying and re-posting here just isn't going to work very well. I will, however, announce when an interview has published and post a short-link for visitors to follow. I have a total of 4 authors lined up for interviews and am on the look-out for more.

My first interview was with Emm Cole, author of Merminia. I had quite a bit of fun working with her on this interview and I hope that the next four interviews will be fun as well. If you're interested in reading what Emm had to say, please visit The Parson's Rant. (This link, BTW, will take you to Emm Cole's Interview.)
That's enough for this time. I hope to be able drop in and pay a visit from time to time.