Month: April 2020

Book Review: Mermaid Adrift

Mermaid Adrift by Jennifer Laslie – Published April 2018

I actually received an ARC of this book via the author’s newsletter almost two years ago, but I have so many books to read (and so little time) that I only got round to reading it now. Oops!

I have always been a huge fan of mermaids. One of my all-time favourite series, even to this day, is the Ingo series by Helend Dunmore. Not quite your stereotypical mermaids, but I adore it nonetheless.

As the title suggests, this is a story about a mermaid. It begins five years in the past when Meryia, our purple-scaled protagonist, encounters a ship caught in a storm. Humans are dangerous, but for some reason, Meriya is compelled to save the boy – she knows she is physically unable to carry the older man – and return him to shore. He seems to be unconscious so she is safe from discovery, but she bears a small tear to her tale. Likewise, the boy has a wound on his forehead as a memento of the day’s events.At the ‘current’ time, Meriya is betrothed to a boy who has teased and taunted her for years at school, she can’t seem to do magic – and every mermaid can do magic – and occasionally, she still wonders about that boy she rescued all those years ago.

When Meriya decides to study the underwater volcanoes near the kingdom for her school assessment, she finds herself witnessing a full-on eruption. After hitting her head and being badly burned, she wakes in a strange enclosure which she soon discovers to be a garden pool.

Rowan has been obsessed with proving mermaids exist ever since he was rescued by one the night he lost his father. So when he finds Meriya washed up on the shore, he can’t believe his eyes. As someone who works with marine animal rehabilitation and care, he takes it upon himself to keep her safe and attempt to help her heal. He decides to keep her in his saltwater pool and tend to her wounds while she’s still unconscious.

Without going too far into detail, Meriya treats her captor with a mix of fear, hostility and contempt for quite some time. She has heard too many stories about humans to be able to trust him that easily. Rowan does his best to show her that humans aren’t that bad, and even protects her from his rather nosey best friend, Nick.

A lot happens. Nick becomes more of a threat than Rowan anticipated, and Meriya hears news telepathically from Cayson that the eruption has wiped out almost the whole kingdom. There’s a lot more, too, but you’ll have to read it yourself to find it all out.

I did find this a little bit cliché and stereotypical at times. But then again, cliché isn’t always a bad thing! Sometimes it’s nice to have something a little more light-hearted, cute and magical and reminiscent of childhood fairy tales. Plus, Laslie included a rather unique element that I liked: the concept of the Ocean being Her own character. I’d be interested in learning more about Her!

So overall, I definitely did enjoy this. It has possibly rekindled my love for mermaids (not that it ever truly died) and I may have to go and re-read the Ingo series again sometime soon. (Because I definitely don’t have enough new books to read.) 3.5 to 4 stars for this book.

Book Review: Staunch

Staunch by Eleanor Wood – Published March 19th 2020 by HQ

I finished this book over a week ago now but didn’t get round to writing up this review because so much has been going on. You would’ve thought the lockdown would bring weeks of relaxation and boredom, but apparently that isn’t quite the case in my house.

Anyway, onto the book. I honestly could have read the whole thing and not even realised it’s a memoir. It’s written in such a fantastic, rather comical way – it is thoroughly entertaining read despite the number of hardships and misfortune the author endures. These difficulties include bulimia, a break-up from a long-term, very serious relationship, surviving and escaping a pretty damn toxic relationship, and having her step-dad (who she is extremely close to) leave her mother, and thus, her.

Wood alternates between the ‘current’ day, where she is on holiday with three older female relatives in India, and the past – anywhere from her own past experiences to the childhood and history of her family members. It’s amazing how much detail she includes, and the anecdotes from her grandmother’s and great aunts’ pasts sound like stories in their own right. It’s quite amazing that it is all based on reality.

Side note, it’s quite funny to me that the author’s name is also Eleanor, and that she suffered with an eating disorder. It made me feel a kind of connection to her, I guess. I definitely related to her in a fair few ways.

Eleanor offers some surprisingly positive insights and revelations, especially toward the end of the book. For example, she describes how she has begun to accept the uncertainty of life and the impossibility of perfection all the time. She also mentions how she stops relying on disordered eating behaviours, as she realises that there is far more to life than shrinking yourself.

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I really, really enjoyed this, which is quite surprising as I don’t usually read memoirs or anything like this, really. Eleanor is portrayed as a really likeable and relatable character, and definitely very down-to-earth and raw in discussing her experiences and thoughts. 4.5 stars!