Review: Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Review: Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn ChildsForgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Series: Fins #1
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 293
Genres: Middle Grade, Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

Thoughts: Wow, is that summary ever… perky! Let me confirm – the writing in Forgive My Fins is about as cheesy and pun-ridden as its summary. Very cute, and very simple to read. If you know a Middle Grader who wishes she were a teen, well, she’d love this book.

Forgive my Fins was really quite cute. It was as Technicolor as its cover and was set in a fishy world that was extremely unique. Think The Little Mermaid, but in jeans and wearing lip gloss. Fun Fun Fun!  I really enjoyed the adorable verse and could have swum right into it, had the pages allowed!

But, God, were the characters – and plot – ever simple: X loves Y who is in love with Z (who is kinda annoying). But wait! Y sees the error of her ways after spending time with X. And they all swim off happily ever after.  The End!

Admittedly, this could be done brilliantly, but in Forgive My Fins it was just done… simply. Nothing truly bad ever happens to any of the characters, and reaching the final happy ending simply took patience. No baddies running in to ruin the day, just a girl who needed time to to come to her senses. This – along with the writing – is what made it a Middle Grade book for me.

On the other hand, Lily is actually a pretty fair (albeit fishy) representation of a typical teenager. She thinks she knows what she wants – she even claims to be in love – but she hasn’t a clue. Even though this ended with an OTP, it does remind you that not all teen love is meant to last – half the time it only exists in your head!

Bottom line? Very fun, light-hearted read.  If you are looking for something to perk you up, look no further!  Just don’t expect a serious discussion about the complete and utter decimation of the world’s fisheries… or a serious discussion about anything, really.

To those of you who have already read it: What was with that last chapter??? Bizarre.

Review: Seven Sorcerers by Caro King

Review: Seven Sorcerers by Caro KingSeven Sorcerers by Caro King
Series: Seven Sorcerers #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2012-05-01
Pages: 352
Genres: Middle Grade
Source: Purchased myself
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The Bogeyman is all too real in this fantasy Publishers Weekly calls “energetic and absorbing.”Nin Redstone wakes up to discover that her brother has vanished—and she’s the only one who remembers him. But when Bogeyman Skerridge comes for her, too, Nin realizes the true danger her brother, Toby, is in. To save him, she and her new friend Jonas must travel to a mysterious and magical land called the Drift. Located just next to our world, the Drift is being slowly destroyed by a terrible plague. The Seven Sorcerers who ruled there might have been able to prevent the devastation, but even they have succumbed. In a race to rescue Toby and get home before the plague makes it impossible, can Nin and Jonas avoid the tombfolk, mud men, and various creatures who want to stop them? And what is the secret of the Seven Sorcerers?

Thoughts: I loved this book. Truly, madly, deeply – I really loved this book.

Seven Sorcerers is that first real Middle-Grade novel I have read since, well, I was in middle grade. And I am so glad I got such an amazing reintroduction to the MG section of the bookstore! Seven Sorcerers is filled with rollicking adventure, humorous villains, entertaining sidekicks and some epic I’m-doing-this-out-of-love sacrifice. It kept me entertained for hours – and I was genuinely sad when it ended.

Seven Sorcerers takes a new spin on the magical and mystical. There are bogeymen and vampires, and all sorts of other nasties.  Our little heroine, Nim, is spunky and full of character – even as her entire life is stolen from her, she still plucks up the courage to try to do something about it. OK, maybe she’s not your average 12-year-old, but with King?  I totally bought it.

When I think about Seven Sorcerers, the only comparison I can come up with is Harry Potter. Now, I am a big HP fan – so a book has to be pretty brilliant for me to compare it to JK Rowling’s works! But both King and Rowling write first-and-foremost about a universe, and then the characters inside it. And like Rowling, I get the feeling that King knows every last inch of her verse.

I can’t wait to get started on the sequel Shadow Spell! Also, I wanted to give a shout-out to the artist for the novel. There are some gorgeous illustrations at the start of the book that really set the tone of the novel.  Beautiful work!

Bottom line?  This Middle Grade book is one for all ages.  If you are looking for an adventurous novel you can’t put down, look no further!

Review: Ondine: The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKenna

I received this book for free from Purchased myself in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Ondine: The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKennaOndine: The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKenna
Series: Ondine #1
Published by Egmont
Pages: 292
Genres: Middle Grade
Source: Purchased myself
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Ondine de Groot is a normal fifteen-year-old who lives with her family in the European country of Brugel. She has a pet ferret called Shambles. But Shambles is no ordinary ferret...

He's Hamish McPhee, a boy cursed by a witch. A witch who happens to be related to Ondine. When Shambles turns back into Hamish temporarily, Ondine knows that she has to help him break the spell. He is the most gorgeous boy she has ever met and her one true love! He just can't remain a ferret forever. Can he?

Thoughts: Ondine was absolutely adorable! It was over-the-top, magical fun that put a smile on my face whenever I picked it up. McKenna writes with confidence and skill – two things not usually associated with debut novelists. Instead of opting for your typical show-then-explain narrative, McKenna include footnotes with quirky explanations about the language and the country. They were just brilliant! Short enough not to detract from the story, and usually pretty hysterical!

Although I can’t say the characters were overly complex, they were still very enjoyable. Quirky and well-meaning, they all made me smile. Especially the Scottish-rogue-turned-ferret Shambles.

Ok, that sentence?  Perfect example of why Ondine was awesome.

(Erm, except for the bit where vegetarians were called malnourished. First off, not cool. Secondly, plain wrong. I was actually kinda insulted and genuinely worried people might believe it. But see how I am giving the book a good review anyways? Apparently, I’m just that magnanimous.)

Bottom line?  Ebony McKenna has written a sweet, funny middle-grade novel which I couldn’t help but be swept up by. A wonderful debut!

Review: Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

Review: Moonlight by Rachel HawthorneMoonlight by Rachel Hawthorne
Series: Dark Guardian #1
Published by Harper Collins on 2009-03-03
Pages: 272
Genres: Middle Grade
Source: Gifted from someone with/without taste
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Kayla is the nature lover, the all-American beauty who can't understand why she's so drawn to distant, brooding Lucas. Adopted as a young child, she has no way of knowing that she's inherited a terrifying - and thrilling - gene that will change her life forever.

Lucas is dangerous, gorgeous . . . and a werewolf. As leader of the Dark Guardians, shape-shifters who gather deep within the state park, he has sworn to protect his pack. But when Lucas finds his true soul mate, his love could put them all in harm's way. As Lucas and Kayla struggle with their feelings for each other, a greater danger lurks: Humans have discovered the Dark Guardians and are planning their destruction. Kayla must choose between the life she knows and the love she feels certain is her destiny.

Thoughts: There was just something… wrong with this book. There was nothing particularly bad about the writing, or even the plot – but there was just something about it that made it a rather uneventful read.  But what exactly?

When I finished it – which took a while despite being a ludicrously easy read – I finally worked out what it was: it was a Middle Grade novel with a Young Adult plot.

The writing was just slightly too simple, the cover-ups too obvious, and the emotions underdeveloped. While this is understandable when your narrator is 12 – it is harder when she is a teen. And when the plot involves werewolves and undying love, there is a certain amount of maturity that you expect from the writing and the characters.

Bottom line? Skip it – even if you are a die-hard YA Romance lover. I don’t plan on getting the next books – life is too short to read books you a apathetic about.