Saturday, June 30, 2012

Splashy One to Watch: RENEGADE by J.A. Souders

Welcome to Splash into Summer, home of mermaid lovers everywhere!
Check out my daily schedule of events!
Check out what my co-host Literally Jen has in store as well!

Today is in a Flash Review style because the book doesn't come out until November and I'd like to Spotlight it now for Splash rather than do a full review!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

Every morning mother has the Maids wake me precisely at ten.  Then it's time for a light breakfast followed by a mandatory visit with my therapist.  It's nice to have someone to talk with.

After, I am free to do as I wish until it's time to perform one of the duties Mother has requested of me.  This morning I sit in my garden, quietly doing my cross-stitching.  The garden is so peaceful in the morning, especially when the sea life outside the glass dome passes by. 

The surface could never compare.  Not that I've ever seen the Surface.  It is forbidden, even for me.
Which is fine.  My life is just about perfect.

(Page 1, US e-ARC Edition, out Nov. 2012)

If the cover for RENEGADE isn't enough to draw you in (and why isn't it?  That cover has so much going on and makes a LOT of sense once you read this book!), the fact that it's an underwater dystopian should do the trick.  While the first chapter (hook above) gives a slightly "off" vibe to the way main character Evelyn Winters describes her life, when she eerily repeats herself at the beginning of chapter two right after a disturbing event, it's clear that more is going on than what meets the eye.  Whenever Evelyn steps outside the lines and goes against Mother's wishes, her memory is wiped.  She's being groomed to be Daughter of the People, the Citizens' voice.  When a Surface Dweller, Gavin Hunter, makes his way into Elysium beneath the sea, Evelyn's life changes and everything she thought she knew is shattered.  Desperate for answers and willing to sacrifice to help Gavin escape, even if it means defying Mother and giving up her destined life.

As readers delve further into RENEGADE, the world becomes creepier and more sadistic.  J. A. Souders has created a deliciously terrifying villain in Mother, a dictator who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.  The plot builds quickly, shaping into an adrenaline-rushing, fast-paced action novel.  The climax was a lot more violent than I'd been expecting, but fit perfectly into the world of Elysium and showcased the extremes the government has gone to in order to thrive beneath the sea.  While the book ends cleanly, there's room for a return to Souders' world in the future.

Put this one on your TBR list for late 2012!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: J. A. Souders
Release Date: Out Nov. 13, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Received: e-ARC for review


Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. 
Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Welcome to Splash into Summer, home of mermaid lovers everywhere!
Check out my daily schedule of events!
Check out what my co-host Literally Jen has in store as well!

Author Kevin McGill is celebrating the first in a quartet of novels in his mer-series NIKOLAS AND COMPANY by giving away 1,000 signed copies of  NIKOLAS AND COMPANY: THE MERMAN AND THE MOON FORGOTTEN (US shipping included), for all readers between the ages of 10 and 17.  He will also send out e-book copies to anyone who's a kid at heart!  Books will go out July 6th.

Goodreads is calling the series "GOONIES meets THE LIGHTNING THIEF" and the cover for the first book has a steampunk feel to it, imo!

You can fill out a form to 
receive your copy here.

The only other requirement?  Kevin says,

"You also have to LOVE crazy, fantasy adventures about a fourteen-year-old boy being chased by monsters aboard a shuttle launch, automaton-legged mermen walking on land, and travelling down murky waterways deep underground…on the moon!

Don’t know what I mean? Well, here’s a little teaser video for THE MERMAN AND THE MOON FORGOTTEN:

From the Press Release:

Do you know a pre/teen who loves to read a good fantasy adventure like HARRY POTTER or PERCY JACKSON?

One of the reasons I'm giving away 1000 copies is because books, especially the crazy adventure ones, were important to me as a teen. Read what one reviewer said about Nikolas and Co.:

"I have to admit, before I could read this fantastical book, my son beat me to it. He read it in a single day and raved."
- Elizabeth Mueller

(Check out all the other reviews by clicking here.)

I need your help:

DO YOU KNOW A PRE/TEEN?: If you know a teen or preteen that you're sure would love a high energy, fun fantasy adventure during the long summer days, please share this with them or feel free to order the book for them. (read a preview here:

WAIT! I'M A KID AT HEART. I WANT A FREE COPY! I do have a free digital copy available for your ebook reader (details below)

{Review} THE VICIOUS DEEP by Zoraida Córdova

Welcome to Splash into Summer, home of mermaid lovers everywhere!
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O P E N I N G   H O O K:

Hear the rumble of the sky that reaches down to the belly of the sea, hear the clouds that appear out of nowhere.  They churn and curl inside themselves in big gray mouths across the sky.  The sky that up to a few seconds ago was perfect and blue.  

(Page 3, US Hardcover Edition)

Check out Zoraida Córdova's character interview with the villainous Nieve and catch a sneak peek at the upcoming sequel, THE SAVAGE BLUE!

THE VICIOUS DEEP is different enough from other mermaid novels that it stands out.  For one thing, it features a male protagonist.  Male voices are seldom-heard in YA to begin with, but a book from the POV of a guy who doesn't know he's a merman is even rarer.  Plus, the author is female, and while I often find that male POVs written by females tend to have a false ring to them, Zoraida Córdova  is spot-on in her narration.  Sometimes we're meant to love him, while other times, we want to slap him upside the head for being so cocky.  Tristan feels like an everyday guy, albeit one with a deeper destiny, and his journey is one that pulls readers in.  

Tristan is living an ordinary life when a storm hits and creates a tragedy with few survivors.  While Tristan makes it out intact, he has horrible nightmares and begins changing.  One day, he sprouts a tail and realizes that a major secret has been kept from him.  Now, brethren from down under have come to inform Tristan of his destiny.  The mer-king is aging and needs an heir.  While Tristan's bloodlines qualify him for the rule, he must partake in a challenge against other qualified candidates in order to win the crown.  To do so means giving up his life as a human, and not everyone beneath the sea is as friendly and accepting as one might think...

While THE VICIOUS DEEP gets off to a shaky start, it solidifies further in and becomes tighter.  Córdova anticipates the questions a reader might have and answers them, from the motivations to "why" Tristan should care so much (Which I did wonder at for a while) to the wonders of down under.   The underwater world is spectacular, yet there are threads of darkness that make this mer-world more sinister than the ones portrayed in other mer-novels.  She also manages to create a creepy villain that's sure to be featured more heavily in the second book.  By the time the last page has turned, it may seem as though not a lot has been resolved, but all of the development is in place for THE SAVAGE BLUE and the world has been soundly built.  I look forward to seeing Córdova flesh out more of her underwater tale and seeing just where she takes us next.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This book has been through multiple cover changes before settling on the cover you see above.

First, it featured a mermaid with blood dripping from her lips.  I probably would have been more hesitant to picking that version up (As you saw recently when reviewing KILL ME SOFTLY and analyzing its cover, I don't like blood.)

The second cover used the same image, though the coloring is a little softer, the features not as pronounced.  Even the red from the title isn't as deep as it was in the first version.

Sourcebooks tried one more time, and as they say, the third time's the charm.  Sourcebooks was so confident in the new cover that they even decided to release THE VICIOUS DEEP in hardcover instead of the previously-decided-on paperback.  The new book features a trident instead of a mermaid on the cover.  While not everyone liked this change, I think it felt truer to the book than either of the prior versions.  The book stars a male protagonist, so the female on the cover was confusing.  Plus, guys are likelier to pick this new version up.

I like the feel of the final cover in person.  Different parts of the image are raised, adding texture.  I especially love the texture in the title and am excited that it's been replicated for the sequel, THE SAVAGE BLUE.  I love all the action going on in this cover, from the churning waves in the background to the way the sharp tips of the trident glint and give off life.  

I think the new cover definitely suits this book.  
What are your thoughts?

Also, check out the fun interior design that begins each and every chapter:

I love the way it reflects the cover, don't you?  From the trident above the chapter to the way the nested "I" reminds me of the gorgeous font used on the book's title, it works for me!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Zoraida Córdova
Release Date: Out May 01, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Received: Purchased


For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.

He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.

His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he’s heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.

Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

{WoW} THE SAVAGE BLUE by Zoraida Córdova

Welcome to Splash into Summer, home of mermaid lovers everywhere!
Check out my daily schedule of events!
Check out what my co-host Literally Jen has in store as well!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. This event highlights our most-wanted upcoming releases!

Author: Zoraida Córdova
Release Date: Jan. 01, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire



I enjoyed Zoraida Córdova's THE VICIOUS DEEP and look forward to reviewing it for you this month during Splash!  I was really excited to see a cover and summary post for the sequel earlier this month.

I love that Sourcebooks is releasing the sequel in January and not making us wait a whole year to find out what happens next!

One of my favorite aspects of THE VICIOUS DEEP is the fact that it's from a male's POV and revolves around his destiny as he discovers that he's a merman, which gives the series a unique spin from the get-go.

I like the way the two covers match and go together.  I want to know more about that awesome, twisty crown, too! (And what is the red behind the crown?  I'm not so sure it's a sun...)  And all that churning water with the same transparent font once again adds a sense of danger, as does the lightning in the background.

I can't wait to see what Zoraida has in store for us next.  She's awesome, and I love watching her mermaid vlogs on YouTube.  Zoraida also stopped by A Backwards Story to talk about THE VICIOUS DEEP on her blog tour.  Check it out!


In the quest for the Sea Throne, Tristan has already watched one good friend die. Now he must lead the rest on a dangerous voyage to the infamous port of Tortuga Cove in search of the trident that will make him king. But while Tristan chases his destiny, the dark forces raging against him are getting stronger and the sea witch of his nightmares is getting closer. Battling pirates, sea dragons and mutant creatures of the deep, Tristan needs his friends' support. But they each have their secrets, and a betrayal will force Tristan to choose between loyalty and ambition, friendship and love. In the race for a throne, all's fair in the savage blue.

What are you anxiously waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

{Review} DARK TIDES Trilogy by Devyn Quinn

Welcome to Splash into Summer, home of mermaid lovers everywhere!
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Check out what my co-host Literally Jen has in store as well!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

KENNETH RANDALL WALKED ALONG THE CRAGGY BEACH. Hands shoved into the pockets of his jacket, he watched ever-rising waves lap against the shoreline.  Gray, brooding clouds hung low in the sky.  Lightning scratched like an angry animal at their fat bellies.  Thunder rumbled in the distance, ominously warning of the deluge soon to arrive.  A foghorn blast from the lighthouse standing about a mile off the bay warned stragglers off the water.  When the storm finally made shore, it would hit with vicious force.  

(Page 1, US Paperback Edition / SIREN'S CALL)

I picked up Devyn Quinn's DARK TIDES trilogy to read in May when it was hard for me to concentrate on books with deeper plots.  Someone who knew I liked mermaids gave me the books as a gift, not realizing that I'm not a big romance novel reader. When I was talking about how I was looking for a book that didn't make me think but took my mind off life, a co-worker jokingly recommended FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.  While I didn't take him up on the advice, I did remember that I had a mermaid romance series sitting unread and decided to pull the books out once and for all.  While the books are traditional romance novels, there's also an overarching fantasy plot revolving around mermaids that kept my interest.

Each of the books in the trilogy centers around one of the Lonike sisters, all of which are mermaids living among us as humans.  As half-mer-babies are born, if they aren't given a soul-stone, they'll never be able to tap into their mer-powers and transform later in life.  The Lonike sisters are among the last of the mermaids, and they all accept--or reject--their heritage in different ways.  In the first novel, SIREN'S CALL, Tessa makes the discovery of a lifetime when she finds a wormhole that's been sealed off for centuries, one full of mermaids who have been banished from the human world.  These mermaids are dangerous and with a path between the two worlds once again open, may spell the end for humanity.

I enjoyed the way Quinn developed mermaid lore in new and unexpected ways.  The vicious mermaids live in a gritty world on the cusp of destruction and are desperate to escape, yet they view humans as inferior beings.  At times, their methods were extreme, but these same scenes also enforced the image of a savage being that's not fully human, and let's face it:  Mermaids aren't fully human.  The deep sea can be a wild, unruly place, and it makes sense that mermaids are more animalistic, especially when their blood hasn't been as diluted with human blood over the centuries.  I really liked the inclusion of a new species of sea-being in the third book (I won't spoil what here) and wish that element had evolved further and not been left for the very end.  

There's enough lore and magical elements to create a fantasy world that maintains a reader's interest even if romance novels aren't a top genre of choice.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

The first two covers scream both "Mermaid!" and the colors are gorgeous.  The third book is different in that the model is "human" and the colors are brighter, though the dress is the same color as the sea from the second cover and there is a little purple pulled in from the first cover as well, so it isn't strikingly different.  The object being held on this cover is important to the book and hints at the fantasy lying within, though not as blatantly as the first two books featuring actual mermaids.

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

{The following summary is for the first book in the series}
Author: Devyn Quinn
Release Date: Out between 2010~2012
Publisher: Penguin / Signet Eclipse
Received: Gift


Between desire and love there are some things that can’t stay buried, even in the deep of the ocean.

As a woman with a secret, lighthouse keeper Tessa Lonike savors her solitude on the island of Little Mer, off the coast of Maine. During a violent storm, Tessa spots a man thrashing in the ice cold waters and dives in to save him, using her ability as a mermaid to easily pull him to shore.

When Kenneth Randall awakens on the beach he is alone, left with the haunting memory of his beautiful, flame-haired savior. But a year later, when Kenneth meets her again, he’s determined not to let Tessa slip away. Just as the desire between them begins to burn, Tessa’s archaeologist ex-lover comes back to town with a tantalizing clue to her murky heritage.

The trio travel to the Mediterranean in search of answers, and when Tessa inadvertently opens an underwater portal they find a lost mermaid city. But in the deep, not everything is as it seems, and Tessa must decide if she wants to take her place as the royal heir, or follow the call of her heart…

{INT} WIN a Mermaid Novel of Your Choice! Also, Vote for Your Favorite Mermaid!

Welcome to Splash into Summer, home of mermaid lovers everywhere!
Check out my daily schedule of events!
Check out what my co-host Literally Jen has in store as well!

ColorimetryLaura from Colorimetry / Burgandy Ice is incredible!

She's hosting a giveaway for Splash where you can enter to win a mermaid book of choice from nine different options, including some of this year's hot new titles!

She's also created an AWESOME post full of artwork with mermaids expressing their emotions and wants you to vote on your favorite image!  Is the Suspicious Mermaid your favorite?  The Caught Mermaid?  The Mesmerizing Mermaid?  Stop by her post and vote in the comments!

I've copied the Rafflecopter here, but feel free to enter directly on Laura's post HERE!

Open Internationally as long as you can receive from The Book Depository. Must be 13 or older. No one's responsible for mishaps in this entire process. See my general rules under About Me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 25, 2012

Top Ten Ways to Catch a Mermaid

Welcome to Splash into Summer, home of mermaid lovers everywhere!
Check out my daily schedule of events!
Check out what my co-host Literally Jen has in store as well!

With the start of Splash into Summer, the first thing we need to do is catch ourselves a mermaid. 

 (Unfortunately, mermen are less curious about humans and stay below the surface, so these tricks won't work if you're looking for some arm candy.  Sorry!)

©Laurie Leigh Art
Believe it or not, the easiest way to catch a mermaid is by flaunting some pearls.  Mermaids often pluck pearls from oysters and use them as decoration.  They'll be attracted to the pearl's sheen and come up out of the water to investigate like a fish to a lure.

Mermaids are actually quite vain.  They love sitting atop rocks and staring down at their reflections.  Use a mermaid to grab a mermaid's attention and she'll swim right up to you!

Grab a school of fish from the environment of the mermaid you're trying to catch (breed will vary depending on what ocean you're in).  Make sure they're small and bite-size.  A mermaid will rush over and pop the fish straight into her mouth.  Mm, nothing like fresh sushi!

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to find a large conch shell in the wild, or seen how much money they sell for?  Even under the sea, these shells are coveted for the way they make music.  (Unfortunately, undecipherable by human ears!)

©Primitive Ways
Remembering that mermaids are vain, create a perfect comb from fish bones and leave it atop a mermaid's favorite resting rock.  She'll find it the next time she goes to groom herself above land and be so busy dolling herself up that she'll never see you coming!

6) TREASURE (Especially gold coins!)
Mermaids can often be found near shipwrecks because the wreckage is full of shiny, foreign objects they've never seen before.  They especially love the flash of a bright gold coin, which reminds them of the way fish scales glean when hit just right by the sunlight.  Leave some gold coins out near a mermaid's resting rock to get her attention.

Mermaids love to have fun.  One of their favorite games to play is Fetch the Starfish with the porpoises, dolphins, otters, and other sea-dwelling friends.  Throw a starfish towards a mermaid like a Frisbee and she'll come over to play with you!

©Tom Cross
Mermaids use shells in many different ways.  They often collect them after the shells have been vacated and spend hours cleaning the shells and polishing them to perfection.  Leave out a collection of perfectly cleaned shells and seeing how little work she'll have to do, the mermaid will come right over to grab the booty before another mer does.

Mermaids love music, but they don't hear sound the way humans do.  The most pleasing sound to their ears is the enchanting thrum of a harp.  Pair this with a sweet, clear singing voice and mermaids will flock your way.

10) A BOAT
This is perhaps the most obvious method of catching a mermaid.  There's a reason sailors are always the ones to spot mermaids.  The mermaids see the ship outline above them and swim up to explore, thinking a whale is passing by.  Enchanted by the foreign object that is, in fact, not a whale, they'll be too curious to leave you alone.

Once you have your mermaid, make sure your spare bathtub or pool is full of sea water.  If the water is chlorinated or hard, you'll accidentally kill your new friend!

Good luck!