Review of Between the Sea and Stars by Chantal Gadoury

A Legend, 
A Magical Shell 
A Girl Who Dreamed Of Something More… 
Lena, a Merrow girl, lives in the Skagerrak sea with her father, Carrick and her brother, Javelin who tells her of the legend of the Merrow Queen murdered by her human lover when greed takes over. But what’s worth spilling the queen’s blood? Gifted from Poseidon, himself, a magic shell gives any human the ability to control both land and sea. 
When Javelin is called to join a clan of Merrow soldiers bent on protecting their waters from human invasion, Lena resists Merrow law and ventures to the shore with no choice but to swim to land. 
With newfound legs, Lena is whisked away on a new adventure with new friends and new trouble. Everyone seems to want something from her as intrigue lurks around every corner. 
Trying her best to hide who she is and remain safe from the dangers of the human world, will Lena finally find where she belongs, or will she be swept into a strong and stormy current by lust, greed, and jealousy?

Between the Sea and Stars follows the current trend for fairytale retellings and appears very loosely based on the tale of The Little Mermaid, that’s not to say that it’s a retelling by numbers though.  The story has great mix of content with a nod to Disney in there too, but mainly it has a whole world of imagination in the direction the story is taken. Lena is the perfect example of a sheltered child, one who has not had much to fear in her life and is therefore more reckless. Sadly her inability to recognise her own recklessness has dire consequences.  I liked how Lena’s transformation was not sugar coated, not just focusing on the creation of her legs but also the impact on her lungs as she went through the realisation that the water that she breathed now had the capacity to drown her.

Through seemingly good fortune Lena quickly finds herself with a roof above her head and a plausible story as to how she came to be on the beach that night. She comes to care for the elderly Edwin, an utterly charming character, and befriends the bookish Soren and so her life starts to be pulled in different directions  – those who believe in the Merrow folk and those who believe it all to be simply legend. Around it all hovers the villainous Lord Jaarl, always there to cause fear and spout cryptic clues that give Lena pause. Pieces of the story start to slot into place as Lena finds out more about those who inhabit the land so close to the sea where she grew up, these appear in tantalising morsels and I really loved how the parallels were delicately weaved.

There are some beautiful lines as well, a stand out for me was “sorrow drops anchor in the eve, but it often sails away with the dawn.” but there were many in this story which truly is beautifully written, I never found it lulled or was a chore to read.  That being said I was kind of disappointed that it left of where it did, going into this I was surprised to see it was part of a series as many retelling’s are stand alone.  There is a lot of of world building and character development, which is awesome but the action seemed all to take place within the last few pages and left me clawing for a few pages more!  I also have to say well done to the author as writing action isn’t always easy, especially when it goes against the tone of the book up to that point, but this action was fast paced, heart pounding and seamless and I look forward to more of it in future books in the series.

The end of the book had a helpful phonic section (and a beautiful illustration!) as quite a few of the words appear to have a nod to its Scandanavian origins, I have to say I found this a little frustrating as I found I had been pretty much mispronouncing all of them in my mind as I read, it would have been helpful to have this at the front as none of the words could be considered spoilers.

I really enjoyed Between the Sea and Stars and look forward to future books in the series! 4*

Between the Sea and Stars is released on the 19th June and is available through Amazon via Paliament House and is currently available to pre-order by clicking here


Review of The Ganga Shift by Mary Bernsen

Life hasn’t been easy for Isabella. She spent most of her childhood in the foster care system, and now at twenty-two she has landed herself in prison on drug charges. Her troubled past is what makes her a perfect candidate for the government’s latest scientific endeavor, Operation Gene Re-sequencing. No one will miss her. No one will question her absence. But, when it’s discovered Isabella is immune to their DNA-changing drugs, she is selected to be used as prey for those who aren’t.
Chase and Brayden couldn’t be more opposite; Chase is calm, reserved, and completely insistent that he will control the changes the virus is causing in his body. Brayden, on the other hand, has always been wild and uninhibited. He welcomes the new animalistic nature coming over him. The one thing they have in common? They both have a taste for the cute little Asian inmate who is now sharing their cell.

I am not sure what I actually expected with this book but was pleasantly surprised and it starts of with a bang and keeps going from there. Isabella is being used as a test subject for a crazed scientist to create hybrid humans that have an animalistic side, unfortunately for Isabella her stubborn side is also causing there to be no apparent effect to the serum. That leaves her stuck in the pod (a man made island) sent there by Dr Conley to force her to show her new self along with having to survive by hiding from a pack of guys who have completed the experiment and become less than human at night.
Who does she trust to keep her safe, Hayden who can get her stuff to ease the pain of whats going on and leader of the pack, Chase the cool, calm and level headed guy who is always there to help or just rely on herself as thats what she has had to do for so long.
There are plenty of surprises, twists and an ending that you are like “what!” I really hope there is going to be a book 2 in this series as I would love to know what happens next.


The Ganga Shift is currently available through Amazon via Parliament House Publishing and can be found here

Review of The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin

Sixteen-year-old Rags is the most feared Rustler in the world, and for good reason. When she’s not raiding the post-Yellowstone Kingdom’s established settlements for supplies to keep her frontier, Rondo, alive another day, she’s fending off witch hunt-happy villagers who want her rare blue eyes in an unmarked grave. 
But when the Kingdom strikes back, kills Rags’s best friend, and sends its second-in-command to destroy Rondo in four days, Rags must make a choice: seek revenge, or save her loved ones who are trapped in a town bound for slaughter broadcast Kingdom-wide. With little more than a stolen dream to guide her, and a growing attraction to a sly Kingdom informant, Rags is about to give the Kingdom four days it’ll never forget—if the bounty on her head doesn’t get her killed first.

First of all, I have to disagree with the description of this book. I would not classify it as either Steampunk or Western. The fact that people wear buckskins with fringe and have a horse or mule to ride does not make it a Western. And, there was only (maybe) one element of Steampunk-type technology in the whole book. To me, it should be classified as dystopian.

That being said, the story did hold my interest for the most part. But, I really never felt engaged by the characters. The world building was OK, but could have been better. I never really understood a lot of the story. The world has changed and been thrown into constant winter by the eruption of a volcano in Yellowstone. Struggles abound because of the cold temperatures and lack of food that is caused by the weather

Rags is a young woman who was born a slave and rescued by a man called Tracker. She comes to think of him, Sadie and Matthew as her family, since she never really had a family. She and Tracker are Rustlers for Rondo, going out into other settlements to steal supplies.

Hyperion, who is only talked about in the book, is the ruler of everything, demanding that all bow down and pledge allegiance to him. Rondo refuses to worship Hyperion and therefore they are cut off from supplies by the Kingdom. There are hints of Christianity, but it is never really clear in the book. If a whole settlement refuses to worship Hyperion, I think that their faith would be very strong and should be evident throughout the book.

There is a lot of action in the book, but a lot of it dragged for me too. I really wanted to love the book, but just came away liking it. It is well-written and the author does a great job in her descriptions. Not sure if I will continue the series or not. I just never really felt engaged by it that much.


The Bone Roses is currently available through Amazon via Parliament House Publishing