“Sea Change”—A Book Review

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Sea Change by Aimee Friedman is an enchanting summer tale. If you like mermaids, islands, and romance, this quick beach read is not to be missed!

Having just split with her boyfriend, and fought with her best friend, Miranda is totally fine with leaving New York for the summer. Her summer destination: Selkie Island, near the Georgia coast, to help her mother clean out and organize her late grandmother’s estate home known as The Mariner.

On the ferry ride over to the island, she hears a lot of gossip about Selkie Island, and many people warn her to beware of the mist that surrounds the isle. Upon arriving, Miranda quickly hears gossip of mermaids who can emerge from the ocean and walk on the shore.

And of course, a cute guy is involved. Miranda soon meets Leo, a mysterious islander with emerald green eyes and (naturally) she falls for him and begins meeting him on the beach, amongst the mist.

“Leo kissed languidly, a kiss like he had all the time n the world, a kiss as hot and slow as the summer itself. I understood why people sometimes went crazy, risked everything for a kiss.”

Then, as Miranda stumbles across books on selkies, mermaids, and mermen among her grandmother’s possessions, she can’t help her roaming imagination as she wonders about Leo’s amazing ocean-swimming abilities and the fact that he seems to just “appear” out of the water.

“I wanted to tell Leo that I’d imagined him as a merman so he could laugh with me too. But the mere word was too absurd to even say out loud. Merman.”

While the characters are only surface deep, this magical story gets a three out of five stars from me. If you’re looking for a light beach reach, Sea Change is the book for you!

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“Unbreak my Heart”—A Book Review

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Unbreak my Heart by Melissa Walker was a fast, but thoughtful summer read.

Clementine is going to be stuck on a sail boat all summer with her parents and older-than-her years little sister, Olive. Normally the thought of losing an entire summer away from civilization (and internet) would make Clem squirm and possibly pitch a total bitch fit. But not this summer—this summer she can’t wait to get away.

At the end of Clementine’s sophomore year, she has no friends. She is in exile. She is a horrible person. She deserves to be completely miserable. Or so she thinks, anyway.

Throughout the progression of this coming-of-age novel, Clementine is battling some serious internal turmoil and self-deprecation. As the novel starts, all you know is that Clem somehow screwed up and now her best friend (since forever) hates her. When they first embark on their month-long sailing trip, Clem constantly locks herself in her small bedroom cabin, crying, listening to sad playlists, writing in her journal, basically just wallowing in self-loathing.

“Just because the tears have mostly dried up, it doesn’t mean I’m better.”

Clementine refuses to tell her family what happened during the school year, keeping her misery completely to herself, and only allowing readers glimpses of what unfolded during her sophomore year.

But as the summer sails on (pun intended), Clementine meets a happy-go-lucky redheaded guy, named James, who is embarking on the same sailing loop with his father. James and Clem end running into each other at almost every dock, and she can’t help but notice how happy James always is…it literally just radiates out of him.

After spending more and more time with James and learning about his not-so-easy past, Clem realizes that life is what you decide to make of it. Yes, sometimes it sucks, but bottling everything up and dwelling on it only makes it worse and makes you and everyone around you miserable. Sometimes you just have to let your feelings out and talk things through…often keeping things in and ruminating over the past make a situation seem a heck of a lot worse than it may actually be.

I give this quick summer read three out of five stars. It’s the perfect book for a lazy day and definitely has some thought provoking moments 🙂

“The Scorpio Races”—A Book Review *Movie Announced*

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is a 2012 Michael L. Printz Honor Book.

I really enjoyed Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series (Shiver, Linger, and Forever), so I had pretty high expectations for this novel, and to be honest, it kind of let me down. This book wasn’t bad by any means, but it didn’t make me fall madly in love either.

Kate “Puck” Connolly lives on the small remote island of Thisby, where a sense of time seems to be lost. There are a few modern items, such as trucks, but for the most part everything seems to be locked in some kind of olden days time warp. Puck has just discovered the devastating news that her older brother Gabe is planning on leaving the island. This is distressing because Puck’s parents were murdered years before, leaving behind three children. Puck is desperate to come up with the money to keep their house, and provide for her younger brother Finn, so that Gabe will stay on the island.

Puck’s dangerous and reckless solution? She decides to enter the Scorpio Races, a feat no woman has ever undertaken before.

On the island of Thisby, every November, the capaill uisce (massive, untamed, man-eating, murderous water horses) arrive on the shore from the ocean. Every year, the island hosts the Scorpio Races, where a rider must catch and tame a capaill uisce to ride in the races for the cash prize…the catch: try not to get trampled on, eaten, or dragged into the depths of the ocean by said water horse.

Seeing the capaill uisce close up scares the hell out of Puck (as it should). Desperately needing the cash prize, Puck decides she will still enter the race, but instead of riding one of the colossal water horses, she will ride her own domesticated horse, Dove. Of course this makes her the laughing stock of the island and the star of manly gossip at the butcher shop.

And then there is island native Sean Kendrick, only a few years older than Puck, who has won the last four Scorpio Races. Sean possesses an innate ability to calm the capaill uisce, making him the most sought out trainer for the races. Even though Sean has the winnings of four races, the only thing he really wants is still unattainable—the fierce red water horse that he rides in the races each year, Corr.  Corr is owned by a man named Terence Malvern, who owns the island’s massive horse ranch. In order to keep Sean (and his awesomesauce horse whisperer skills) on his ranch, Malvern refuses to sell Corr to Sean.

While training for the Scorpio Races, Sean and Puck begin to notice each other and interact. As this kindling romance builds, you find yourself torn on who to root for: You really want Sean to finally have enough money to buy Corr and get out from under Malvern’s hand, but on the other hand, Puck needs the money to save her house and keep her family together.

The Scorpio Races is very well told. Maggie Stiefvater does a commendable job of weaving insanely beautiful images into your mind, not only of the massive and exotic capaill uisce, but also of the gorgeous island of Thisby. I also feel that she aptly captures the fear and allure of first love, and the trepidation of the hardships life can bring. Not to mention the heart stopping adrenaline rush during the actual Scorpio Race at the end. Talk about keep you clinging to the edge of your seat and yelling at book, making observers look at you strangely.   :-\

While I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as I did her previous series, I give it four stars. The movie has been announced to be released in 2015.

 

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“It’s easy to convince men to love you, Puck. All you have to do is be a mountain they have to climb or a poem they don’t understand. Something that makes them feel strong or cleaver. It’s why they love the ocean.”

 

I say, “I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.”

Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, “It’s late for that, Puck.”