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Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.
She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.
Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.
Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.
The Ocean's Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by the Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn't leave her alone.
on Sep. 19, 2014 :
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
I've read (and seen) quite a lot of fiction about mermaids, so with reading a new book about mermaids, it's always interesting to see where the author might take it.
When I read the blurb of this book originally, I thought it was going to be much less serious and more of a spoof book about mermaids. I was pleasantly surprised that there were actually quite a few serious moments in this.
The characters were interesting, as were the glimpses of the society that Sirena and her daughters were from. I would have liked to know a bit more about them, such as why they only had female children and had to use male humans to procreate. I also would have liked to know a bit more about what the mermaids looked like and how they differed to humans. That wasn't very clear.
I was quite intrigued about Sirena's history with the humans and I liked her and Joe's relationship. There were some moments that made me smile when I was reading the book, especially when there was the conversation about dolphins throwing things back at humans.
I wasn't that keen on the multiple first person POVs. It's a style choice I struggle with, especially when the chapters are so short, I'm only in one character's head for a short while before being pulled into the next one's.
Generally, I did feel that the characters were interesting and well-written. It was good to read the interactions between them and even though I would have liked to see more of the world, the glimpses I did get were intriguing and made me want to see the rest of the world and more of its characters. I'll probably read the sequel to this book at some point in the near future.
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)
on Sep. 08, 2014 :
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Sirena is a siren (mermaid), an elder of the mermaid council who had at a young age had seen her lover drowned. Sirens are all females - mermaids who need human males to create children, this is their duty. Joe is a human, a hard working Aussie guy who has plans to save his money and settle down.
Sirena goes to a fishing island in search of answers and information from the humans about the changes happening to the ocean (global warming?!). Joe is there working on a fishing boat during his holidays. She happens to be stunning and he happens to be hot.....
From the start, this book didn't grab me. It didn't draw me in. It took until half way through for it to start entertaining me. While it got better it certainly didn't grip me.
The writing is fine, but I found the structure very difficult to get into. It's structured with short chapters in the narrative of 3 different characters - Joe, Sirena/Vanessa, Apalala/Belinda. It was off putting at first...and then I felt like it just got in the way of building the story and adding depth to the characters - perhaps more due to the shortness of the chapters and the rapid changing of narratives. Plus I kind of thought this was a love story about Joe and Sirena - why did we get Belindas point of view? I'm assuming from some of her thoughts that there's probably going to be a book about her in the future. You do get used to it, but I'm definitely not a fan.
The story itself just moved a bit slow for my liking, with not a whole lot happening. I felt bored and disconnected. I didn't get to know this world or these characters. It felt very one-dimensional. I was confused about simple things that could've been explained so quickly but that then niggled at me the whole time or until they were answered further into the book. As far as the love aspect goes, there kind of isn't one in this book but the groundwork has been laid for the next.
Now for some positives - the way the sirens speak is quite entertaining! A highlight of the book was reading them talking to each other, especially about human foods and such. It was pretty funny. And as far as writing in a male POV this author did a great job.
It was a light read, with a predictable but effective cliffhanger. Just not for me.
Warning: explicit language and sexual content
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on Dec. 29, 2013 :
Three mermaids are on a mission to determine what is causing strange changes in the ocean. To do so, they must “live dry” among the human population. Humans have better equipment and scientific knowledge than the mer, making it necessary for Sirena and her two daughters to live as humans.
Joe is an average guy who decides to spend a few months as a fisherman to avoid the hot, dirty mining job he had previously. With a lot of luck, he ends up living right next door to the three beautiful mermaids. He also finds plenty of extra work to fund his dream of buying a home.
This story shifts in perspectives, which gave me the opportunity to experience life through each main character’s eyes. I especially enjoyed Belinda’s trips to the store. Her reasoning for purchasing certain items seemed almost alien, accentuating the difference between her world and mine. Her narrative was rather amusing to me and brought just enough comic relief to still be appropriate for this story. She remains level-headed throughout the story and is a very memorable character.
Despite being warned to stay away from Sirena (who goes by the human name Vanessa), Joe can’t stop himself from being preoccupied with her physical features. The two begin a physical relationship during a weekend excursion that will last until each has to return to their homes. Joe seems to be little more than a piece of meat to Sirena, who enjoys the company of human men unlike most other mermaids.
My only regret is the lack of mermen in this story. Mermaids depend on human males to reproduce, leaving female readers without any eye candy. There is vivid description through Joe’s eyes of Sirena’s beautiful body, but we get little of Joe’s physique other than knowing he has a nice behind. Mermen certainly weren’t needed for this plot, but they would definitely have been a welcome addition.
As a lover of the sea I was fascinated by the mermaids and their world. They have a great love for the ocean and the creatures around them. They also seem to care very much about humans and are willing to save them from harm when they can. It is a nice change of pace to have a mermaid romance instead of the massive quantities of vampire romances available today. This is an imaginative and highly enjoyable story.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on Oct. 19, 2013 :
The Australian colloquialisms had me grappling here and there to get a handle on the tale(no pun intended). We have blokes, for dudes. Nah, for no and mates for friends not to mention a stain of humor a tad bit to the left of smooth. I would class this a light read, certainly not something that would make you overly thoughtful. It has entertaining moments, but is a mildly graphic romance with a Siren fantasy element at heart. I think a young adult audience may enjoy it.
The most striking character is Joe, who manages to pull a smile and a giggle with his candid thoughts and all male attitude to his mermaid girl wonder. The fantasy aspect is not very detailed, and indeed, most of the action takes place on land, boat or bed(take your pick!). I would recommend this as a beach read and would imagine that most of the target audience would rush to read the sequel, particularly as the unusual ending had quite a bit of bait(ha!) to it.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
on Aug. 25, 2013 :
A mermaid story for the 21st century, full of sexy romance but overshadowed by the reality of global warming. I really enjoyed this book, a very entertaining read. Just watch out for the sharks!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
J T Chapman
on Aug. 19, 2013 :
The characters are very well depicted and makes you want to find out how they get on. From the loveable Joe to the fiery Belinda, each have a personality that fits seamlessly throughout.
Vanessa and Joe's relationship is fraught with mishaps, danger and insecurity. You can't help but turn the page and watch it develop.
I'm eager to read more about Belinda and some of the others of their kind. Imagine my joy to see the author has indulged us with more tales from the Ocean's depths.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on July 24, 2013 :
One of my favorite books is Jonathon Livingstone Seagull, by the one and only, Richard David Bach. Demelza Carlton’s first foray into fiction- ‘Oceans’ Gift’ comes very, very, close. Like Bach, Demelza is ‘original’, Bach has ‘seagulls’, Demelza has ‘mermaids’.
What can you say about a book, which presents the narrative in first person, four times over! And yet, each individual narrative blends seamlessly, to effortlessly carry the theme of the book, a theme which echoes the sound of the surf on the reefs, the cries of the dolphins and the taste of the saltwater spray.
Human and mermaid emotions are played out in delightfully small chapters, making me feel, like I was not reading but sipping from a bottle of Romanee-Conti. Like the wine, which languidly stirs the senses, Ocean’s Gift, stirs the male emotion and how! Elevating the erotic male perspective of the female form, into art.
Demelza’s knowledge of the deep sea, fishing lobsters, snorkeling and hobnobbing with denizens of the watery world lends credibility and above all substance to the narrative. Weaved in is humor, a bit of mystery and menace…
But most importantly, the book has a message, which the reader becomes aware of at the subliminal level…. What this message is and what is the peril mankind faces? For that you should read the book, or rather …..Savor it!
Rating: 4 Stars.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)