Tween Fiction

Chasing Destinyby M.Schaefer

Waiting for the 2nd installment in a book series is a lot like waiting for Summer vacation. You know they are both coming and in the case of summer vacation, you at least have a pretty good idea as to when it will begin. Books are subject to the vagaries of both writers and publishers.

Thus, when I heard the next book in M. Schaefer’s Destiny series was ready, there was much rejoicing. In preparation for my review of Schaefer’s Chasing Destiny, I opened her captivating story, Awaiting Destiny, in search of a few details and tidbits. I use the word ‘captivating’ because its sirenic qualities caused me to read the book once again.

The Story Thus Far

For those who may not be familiar with Awaiting Destiny, here’s a quick catch-you-up. Destiny Mariner is a 14-year-old girl living on her father’s sailboat at the Enchanted Cove Marina. Her mother has been missing – presumably at sea – for 14 years. Her father, Jacob Mariner, still keeps a candle burning in the window of his heart for his missing wife, Shellene. Destiny misses the mother she never knew but manages to assuage her loneliness by pitching in baseball games.

Acting on a letter delivered to her by persons unknown, Destiny steers the ship’s dinghy to a particular spot offshore and sets off on a journey of discovery where she finds:

  1. She’s actually a mermaid who can’t seem to get the tail bit working.
  2. A rather handsome merboy, named Kincade, who’s a few years older than she.
  3. Her mother is a princess which makes her, every young girl’s dream, a princess as well.
  4. That her mother has been, shall we say, indisposed for around 14 years. A reunion is imminent.

And that is all I’m going to tell you.

And now . . .

Two years later, when Chasing Destiny opens, we find Destiny still residing at the Enchanted Cove Marina, with her reunited parents, in as much pubescent bliss as any 15-year-old girl can expect. Her sixteenth birthday is just a few weeks off and with that comes the long-awaited driver’s licence. Oh yeah, there’s one other thing. She and Kincaid made a pledge to reunite by the time of her sixteenth birthday. They’ve been corresponding – by mermail, of course – every week, so she knows he’s still interested.

On this day, however, the mermailman brings her a not-so-nice letter from someone who is not Kincade; Queen Bali of Ameru – Kincade’s mother. It seems her son, who is traveling all the way from the Kingdom of Ameru[i] — against her wishes, of course – is missing, and she holds Destiny responsible. Our girl has until the next full moon to locate Kincade, or Queen Bali will rain all sorts of trouble on her grandfather’s kingdom.

There is not a moment to lose and the plucky girl is ready to go rescue Kincade. But first, Destiny needs a little more information. The best place for that is the local soothsayer who is conveniently located at the Mystique Boutique in town.

Nadja, the Greek fortune-teller, has been waiting for Destiny to come in and she agrees to help her, but at a price. In exchange for her help, Destiny must find Nadja’s long lost true love by the next full moon or all sorts of trouble will rain down on her. Obviously, the next full moon is going to be a busy one if things don’t go as they should.

And, She’s Off!

Having no choice but to accept, if she wants to rescue her own true love, Destiny accepts the offer. The fortune-teller gives Destiny some baffling portents. (Aren’t they always like that?) Thus prepared, it’s time for Destiny to put her golden tail in motion.

Their smiles held a thousand unspoken promises for the future. Destiny looked into his eyes and realized sharing moments like this made the risk of love worth it.

Destiny will embark on a harrowing journey across the sea to avoid being cursed, prevent catastrophe befalling her grandfather’s kingdom, and most importantly, rescue her one true love. If this is not empowering young girls, then this reviewer doesn’t know what is. Chasing Destiny is an exciting, enthralling adventure for both middle-school readers of the female persuasion as well as those at the lower end of the Young Adult range. (Mothers and Fathers take note; the holidays are on their way.)

Fathers have a way of making their daughters feel safe, no matter how old they are.

  1. Schaefer has modified her approach to telling this story from that used in Awaiting Destiny. Here, she alternates the focus in her narration between key characters. This means that part of her tale is focused on mermales, a sadly overlooked and under-represented class in stories like this. It also escalates the drama because the answer to the current crisis – and there are plenty of them in this story – is not always found at the start of the next chapter.

Chasing Destiny is also a very clean read with minimal typos, This means the reader gets to enjoy the story for itself rather than deal with editing blunders. Given the target audience is middle school and early high school, it is important that the necessity of good spelling and good grammar – this review excepted – are reinforced in young people.

As for the Future

What does Chasing Destiny portend for the future? Well, there are signs of a rapprochement between Destiny’s father, Jacob, and Shelleen’s father, Dolphinium, King of Mertopia. Destiny’s grandfather did not approve of the union.

Kincade’s mother, Queen Bali, certainly does not approve of his interest in Destiny. She is, after all, only a half-breed. There is good potential for conflict here. Will Kincade’s relationship with Destiny repeat that of her mother. Since he is Destiny’s one true love, it is obvious they will continue to show interest in each other. Only time and M. Schafer will tell us.

Recommendation

Chasing Destiny is an exciting and fun read that should be enjoyed by all who consider life as a mermaid to be an intriguing career choice. If you like mermaids – and merboys – then you must read this story. Those who are older, and bear the scars of dating and relationships gone wrong, will also enjoy M. Schafer’s story. Imagine, being only sixteen and finding your one true love.

I had dreams to backpack around the ocean, maybe meet an exotic, handsome merman to sweep me off my fins


[i] Ameru is located under the waters of the French Polynesian sea. Think of where Tahiti is and you’ll be fine.
My Rating:

Cover Art

Cover Art

 by Katie O’Sullivan

Within the span of a few months, Shea MacNamara’s life has changed dramatically.

OpenQuote  To anyone watching him, he looked like a normal teenager, out walking his dog on the beach in the early morning. He wore a plain white t-shirt that clung snugly to his muscular frame, along with cut-off jeans and sandals. His long hair was the color of golden wheat and his tanned skin set off his bright green eyes. He looked like so many other local kids who spent a lot of time along the shorelines of Cape Cod. An ordinary boy. Except Shea no longer fit into that category.

He lost his father, moved from the Great Plains to Cape Cod, found his mother, found his grandfather, found a girlfriend and found out that he was Royalty. Oh yeah … one other thing … he found out he was a merman. A lot of changes for a fifteen year-old boy. However, finding things can be short-lived. Earlier that summer, Shea had a ringside seat to an attempted coup d’état which he and his girlfriend, Kae, helped to foil. His mother was being strong-armed into a dynastic marriage with a king young enough to be her son and Shea’s brother, but the coup has changed all that. Young King Theo was a casualty of the plot and Shea’s mother has departed to take over the sea throne of the Southern Ocean and his girlfriend is due to follow her once she goes to Atlantis to give testimony against the evil – you can ‘Boo’ if you want – Prince Demyan. Regent to the late King Theo, the not-so-bonny Prince was the power behind the coup and was last seen hot-footing it – or is it hot-finning it? – out of town.

On the morning of Kae’s departure, Shea is standing at the water’s edge, fulminating at the unfairness of life and perhaps secretly hoping for one final assignation with the love of his young life. She doesn’t show up. Her father, however, does. Kae is missing and what is more, she was last seen in the palace gardens the previous afternoon, holding hands with a young merman – a young merman whose name was not Shea. We will learn that Kae has been abducted and rather than joining the search for the missing mermaid, Shea is charged with the task of giving testimony before the high court of Atlantis in her stead. What is a young merman to do?

Katie O’ Sullivan has followed up on her 2013 success of Son of a Mermaid with the equally exciting Blood of a Mermaid. Katie writes in a fun and captivating style that should enthrall both young and older adults. Targeted at the younger end of the YA spectrum, her latest novel is suitable for middle schoolers and perhaps younger readers when enjoyed in the context of a library reading circle. This reviewer is pleased to find a novel in the YA sub-genre of Merfolk stories that is equally appealing to both boys and girls.

Shea has his own set of problems. Aside from discovering that he’s not human – at least in the conventional sense – and not your ordinary sort of merboy, he has been told to stay out of the water lest he becomes too easy a target for abduction or worse. And … there’s one other thing. It seems that his choice of Kae as a girlfriend isn’t going over well with some people – especially her father, Lybio. It would appear that sub-surface royalty marry much more often for alliances and connections than for actual love.

Lybio let out a long sigh, cursing under his breath. He turned his head to look at Shea. “It may not be your choice, my Prince. Royals are never free to marry whom they choose.” He let his words sink in for a few moments before adding, “In the end, you, my Prince, will always need to do what’s best for the clan.” Shea thought of his own mother, having to leave her husband and child behind. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. He would never let that happen to him. Royal or not, he wouldn’t abandon the people he loved, not in a million years.

Like any good father, Lybio does not want to see his daughter drawn into a hopeless relationship, no matter how nice the boy may be. For his part, Shea isn’t too keen on this Prince business, either. It helps to explain his birthmark but has not brought much in the way of tangible benefits. While he may have a brilliant career as a merman awaiting him, living in Oklahoma did have at least some benefits. For one thing, no one called him ‘My Prince’ there. It goes without saying that Shea’s struggle to have a relationship with the one he chooses rather than the one who may be chosen for him will be a continuing theme through the rest of this series.

As Shea makes his way to Atlantis, he will have to rely on his wits to save both himself and those who are traveling with him. Katie O’Sullivan’s story of intestinal fortitude is a fine example of her values in writing for this particular target audience. Both Shea and Kae demonstrate examples of courage and determination in this series where – so far – the good guys are really good and the bad guys are truly wicked. Even the mage who plays such a pivotal role in Kae’s abduction demonstrates remorse and redemption by the story’s end. Ms. O’Sullivan has penned a truly good and exciting story for young readers; one that parents, et al. should not worry about those in their charge reading. For those of us who are – ahem – somewhat older, Blood of a Mermaid is a fun and exciting story from a time that recedes in the rear-view mirror with each passing day.

If you – and by that, this reviewer means readers who are young and/or young at heart – enjoy fantasy, adventure, young love and all those intangibles that make our lives what they are,  Blood of a Mermaid by Katie O’Sullivan is a fun and very worthwhile read. One need not be fascinated with those living beneath the waves who swap their fins for feet to enjoy this story but the reader may very well find the world of merfolk to be a rapture of the deep.

 
My Rating:

Katie’s website may be found at katie-osullivan.com

Katie’s blog may be found at katieosullivan.blogspot.com

Buy your own copy of Blood of a Mermaid.
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Paperback Kindle

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Gazebo GardensGazebo Books Publishing, a micro/boutique publishing house in the Seattle area,  has recently undergone an internal restructuring and is now Gazebo Gardens Publishing with three imprints:

Dream Garden Publications — books for children and families

Castle Garden Publications — books for tween and young adults

Moonlight Garden Publications — books for ages seventeen and over
Those familiar with the book reviews here at The Parsons’ Rant will recognise Gazebo Books as the publisher for Robert W. Cabell’s most recent two books:
  • [intlink id=”5263″ type=”post” target=”_blank”]All The Mermaids In The Sea[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”5711″ type=”post” target=”_blank”]A Mermaid Christmas[/intlink]

Gazebo and author Robert Cabell have gone their separate ways due to creative differences. How this parting will affect Bob Cabell’s next installments in his Mermaid Kingdom series remains to be seen.

Now that the Christmas decorations have been stowed away and all that remains of the season is an extra inch around the waist and credit card bills, it’s time to consider what to read in the coming months. If you’re a fan of Mer-Fiction, rest assured that there will be plenty of books to choose from. For starters, many of the authors reviewed and interviewed here on The Parsons’ Rant are hard at work on a sequel or two. Lets begin with a story that has already been released:

M.W. Rowe has released the second book in his Mermaid Memoirs series, Queen of the Ocean. The story extends beyond Macy who has become more comfortable with her true self. Jeal, the little sister of Macy’s best friend under the waves, Anya, seems to be suffering from some sort of mer-megalomania as she wants to take over the oceans and put the humans in their proper place. We have an interview with M.W. Rowe that was done before the end of last year and will – I promise – be released later this week. [intlink id=”4619″ type=”page”]Meanwhile, have a look at our review of the first book in this series.[/intlink]

Adrianna Stepiano is quite busy these days putting the finishing touches on the second book in her Memoir of a Mermaid series, When, At Last, She Could See. Adrianna is aiming for a release date of January 29, 2013 for the e-book version and she has promised this reviewer an advance copy. I’m clearing the decks so that I may focus my attention on reading this new book and cobbling a review in time for the release date. Have a look at our review of her first book in the series, [intlink id=”903″ type=”page”” target=”_blank”]When, At Last, He Found Me[/intlink] as well as [intlink id=”6219″ type=”post” target=”_blank”]When, At Last, She Could See[/intlink].

Paige Blue is hot on Adrianna’s heels with the second installment in her Amerin Chronicles series, LivEternal. The first book was a real page-turner that left this reviewer hungry for more. Finding Summerland is one of a – very – small group of Mer-fiction books that are told from a guy’s point of view. Here’s a sample of what to expect from LivEternal:

 . . . I was too far gone to consider looking back. Olivia crept in as I recalled all we’d been through, wondering if she would understand what was happening to me, or if I had become the anomaly. Regret crossed my mind as I thought about how close I’d come to sealing myself to her forever. I’d chosen to miss the opportunity. Now, I wondered if when I found her, she’d even want me. I thought I heard her voice calling out my name, but I didn’t trust it. I knew there was something lingering, probably some sick trick, or game my mind was playing on me. I fell deeper to sleep, relinquishing my control to rationalize, and discount the random thoughts swirling around inside. I was gone now. Left to the powers that be to play with as they chose. Fair game for the moment…

LivEternal is expected to release on Feb. 14th. Take a look at our review of Finding Summerland. Before we move on, you should know that Paige Bleu has a fan page on Facebook that is quite entertaining.

Fans of the Mer Tales series by Brenda Pandos will have a red-letter day on Feb. 28th as that is when Brenda Pandos will publish Everlost. This book, the third in the series, will continue the story of Ash and Fin and considering the surprises in the second installment, Evergreen, this reviewer can’t wait to learn what happens. If you’re late to the table for this series, use [intlink id=”120″ type=”page”]our review of Everblue[/intlink] and [intlink id=”951″ type=”page”]our review of Evergreen[/intlink] to catch yourself up.

Emm Cole, author of Merminia and the subject of [intlink id=”5412″ type=”page”]the first interview here on The Parsons\’ Rant[/intlink], is shooting for a release date in April or May for – the working title – Merminia: The Tide’s Reach. Emm says that

 as Ulric takes over Dencur, Selinne and Aramis set out to stop him from using the ring. A ten-year old boy named Walter gets swept up in their dangerous mission. Elves, witches, dragons, and unicorns are some of the mythical creatures that appear throughout the story. Selinne has a few scenes in mermaid form, but the majority of the book is set on land.

The Tide’s Reach promises to be an interesting sequel. So until April or May gets here, you catch yourself up by reading [intlink id=”4956″ type=”page”]our review of Merminia[/intlink]

Also scheduled for that time-frame – May 1st to be exact – is Zoradia Cordova‘s The Savage Blue, the second book in her series and another example of a story in which the main character, Tristan, is male. According to Zoradia,

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 the Vanishing Cove in search of the trident that will make him king. . . .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.

Zoradia is definitely one author we want to interview. [intlink id=”5863″ type=”page”]Read our review of The Vicious Deep[/intlink].

Finally, to round out this roundup of Mer-fiction sequels, Mayda Schaefer has targeted October of this year as the publication date for Chasing Destiny. Mayda’s forthcoming story

. . . begins 3 years later, with Kincade trying to fulfill his promise to meet Destiny on her 16th Birthday. Unfortunately, there are “other” menacing forces at play and Kincade ends up Shanghai’d, working on a ship, (using legs no less) with no recollection of whom he is or where he is going. Meanwhile, in Enchanted Cove, Shellen is making up for lost time, by trying to do “motherly” things, like packing peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches in Destiny’s lunch and paying for groceries with gold doubloons.

Awaiting Destiny is a sweet and touching story with an ample helping of humour. Needless to say, Chasing Destiny promises to make the end of Summer something to look forward to. See [intlink id=”5655″ type=”page”]our review of Chasing Destiny[/intlink].

So, there you have it; seven sequels guaranteed to make 2013 even more interesting. Drop by The Parsons’ Rant to read the reviews and interviews.

Mildred: Our Merry Mermaid Christmas Mascot

All Mermaids Must Go!

If you’ve been following the Merry Mermaid Christmas Book Give-away either on The Merblog or here on The Parsons’ Rant, you will know that the authors and publishers have been extraordinarily generous to us. In fact, we have more books than we can give away between now and Christmas Eve. In fact, we’re going to have enough books to give away from here to Epiphany if we don’t do something about it. No doubt, many of you would like to see the Merry Mermaid Give-away roll on until Old Christmas but come Boxing Day, yours truly wants to put his feet up, have a wee dram and a long nap. Since the purpose of the give-away is to (a) spread some holiday cheer and (b) get books about Merfolk into the hands of those interested in this particular sub-genre, we are offering our excess books on a first-come, first served basis. The books listed here are those of which we have too many copies to give away within the time-frame of our 25-day marathon or interest in winning a copy of the book has slowed down. Rather than cluttering The Merblog with un-claimed offerings, any copy of any book that doesn’t move on that site will be listed here so keep checking this post on a daily basis. If you want one of our clearance books, simply comment on this post & tell us which book you want. All comments on this blog-site are moderated in order to keep out spam, etc. so do not worry that your request has been lost.

The Books:

All The Mermaids In The Sea byRobert W. Cabell. This book serves as the foundation for all of Mr. Cabell’s forthcoming series including The Magical Adventures of Princess Miranda whose first installment is A Mermaid Christmas. All The Mermaids In The Sea tells the real story of the Little Mermaid. This novel is very YA-Friendly and is even suitable for older ‘Tweens. If you’re an adult, don’t worry; You’ll enjoy this story just as much. –  2 Copies Available

The link to my review of All The Mermaids In The Sea may be found below.

 

A Mermaid Christmas newly released by Robert W. Cabell. The story is written for 9 to 15 year-olds. If you’re of a child 7 or 8 years of age, Mr. Cabell’s writing is such that it will make a nice bedtime story when read in installments. It’s a very cute story and it’s perfectly acceptable to pretend you’re a child at Christmastime. Don’t worry – we won’t tell. – 3 Copies Available

The link to my review of A Mermaid Christmas may be found below.

 


When, At Last, He Found Me. The story contains romance, mystery, danger and heroism. Although the book was aimed at the mid-teen segment of the Young Adult market, it is easily readable and enjoyable by older teens as well as adults. In short, it is fun and exciting. – 2 Copies Available

The Link to my review of When, At Last, He Found Me may be found below.

 

The Book Reviews:

  • [intlink id=”5328″ type=”page”]All The Mermaids In The Sea[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”5743″ type=”page”]A Mermaid Christmas[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”903″ type=”page”]When, At Last, He Found Me[/intlink]

by Mayda Schaefer

Awaiting Destiny is a cute story whose target audience appears to be ‘Tweens but also provides a fun read for YA’s who need a respite from the day-to-day effort of appearing to be “grown up”. For those readers who are – ahem! – somewhat older than the target audience, Awaiting Destiny can serve as a brief but very pleasant vacation from being an adult.

Destiny Mariner is a thirteen-year-old girl living with her father, Jacob Mariner, aboard his double-masted sailboat, Seadancer, in the Enchanted Cove Marina. Dad owns the marina in addition to working as a boat mechanic and her mother, Shelleen,  . . . well . . . she has been MIA for all of Destiny’s life. One could say that she vanished under mysterious circumstances but her father has no idea about any circumstances at all. All he does know is that newly born Destiny was delivered to the deck of the Seadancer shortly after Shelleen disappeared.

Destiny has grown over the preceding 13 year into a true tomboy. She constantly wears her lucky baseball cap, constantly avoids wearing dresses and the only diamond she wants to see has to do with America’s pass-time. Her favourite foods leave something to be desired – at least to human tastes – as her favourite treat seems to be sardines and ice-cream . . . eaten together.

If the reader has not guessed by now, Destiny’s choice of 2 cans of tuna with a side of diced clams for breakfast has much to do with her mother Shelleen – that’s Princess Shelleen to you – being a mermaid. The story opens with a Mermail-man delivering a package to Destiny in the wee small hours of the night. Destiny doesn’t see the package until after her father has left for a week-long business trip leaving her in charge of the boat. She is thirteen years old after all. The package contains a necklace and a note which instructs her to instructs her to proceed posthaste to Longitude 49; Latitude 129 with the utmost secrecy in order to learn the truth about her mother.

The chance to learn something  – anything – about her mother causes Destiny to throw caution to the winds and get underway in the boat’s dingy. While she is a conscientious sailor and dutifully goes through the pre-departure checklist, she forgets to check the weather advisory and leaves her life jacket on the deck of the Seadancer. The wind kicks up, the seas get rough, the dingy is torn to flinders and Destiny promptly drowns. Well . . . not really; it’s hard to drown a mermaid and Destiny awakes well below the surface, able to breathe salt water and trapped in the remains of the dingy. She is freed from this predicament by a passing merboy named Kincade who informs her that she is not only a mermaid but a princess as well. There is only one problem. Destiny can’t seem to get her mermaid mojo working well enough to swap her legs for a proper tail. (Don’t you just hate it when that happens?)

Kincade hails a manta ray – the only way to travel – and both the merboy and the not-so-much mermaid are off to see the wizard. In this case however, the Emerald City is named Mertopia and the wizard is actually her grandfather, the king.

Awaiting Destiny is one of those stories that is just plain fun. This reviewer always gets a kick out of learning what mer-analogues to life on the surface that the author has created. There are analogues a-plenty in this story but this reviewer is not going to spoil things by revealing what they are. He’s also not going spoil things by revealing the ending. All he will reveal is that the final scenes in Awaiting Destiny are quite touching.

Ms Schaefer has done a wonderful job of world-building in this story and it is a well written story at that. There are only two glaring errors that this reviewer feels he must point out:

  1. There is no such thing as longitude 129. Longitude is denoted as anything from +90 to -90 degrees.
  2. She refers to the flowing fin portion of a mer-tail as flutes when the proper term is flukes. (This reviewer is going to put his BS in Biology to some use after all!)

Don’t let these very minor slip-ups put you off. It is well worth your time to read Awaiting Destiny and Ms Schaefer’s skills as a story-teller are quite good. In fine, it is a fun and funny novel suitable for just about everyone. While the story arc of Awaiting Destiny lends itself to a stand-alone novel, there is plenty of room for one or two sequels and this reviewer hopes that Ms Schaffer will give this prospect due consideration.

My Rating:

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Read a sample of Awaiting Destiny

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