Monday, August 27, 2018

Review: Fangs and Fins by Amy McNulty

Title: Fangs and Fins
Author: Amy McNulty
Genre/Age: Fantasy/YA
Series: Blood, Bloom, & Water (Book One)
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing
Format: ebook via The Romance Reviews
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
SynopsisA dapper vampire. A sullen merman. Two heirs to a great conflict—and each needs to claim a beloved to become his kindred’s champion.

High school senior Ember Goodwin never had a sister, but after her mom’s remarriage, she now has two. The eldest is no stranger to her—Ivy is a witty girl in her grade who’s almost never spoken to the shy bookworm before—but she’s surprised to find the popular girl quite amiable. Their burgeoning friendship is tested, however, when Dean Horne, a pale, besuited charmer, shows interest in them both and plans to reveal his appetite for blood to the one who’ll stand by his side.

Seventeen-year-old Ivy Sheppard is tired of splitting her time between her dad’s and her mom’s, particularly when her dad uproots their lives to move them in with his new wife and step-daughter. Used to rolling with her parents’ whims, she tries to make the best of it and befriend her nerdy new step-sister. Her hectic life grows more unwieldy when she catches the eye of junior Calder Poole, whom she swears she sees swap well-toned legs for a pair of fins during a dip in a lake. Now she’s fending off suitors left and right, all while trying to get to the bottom of the strange happenings in her town.

The first book in the Blood, Bloom, & Water series sets family against family and friend against friend as an epic, ancient war comes to a head in a supposedly sleepy suburb.

The Romance Review

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

Vamps and mermaids? You don't see that every day.

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Ember's family has just doubled in size after her mother re-married, bringing Ember two new step-sisters. And she's just discovered that one of her new sisters is about to become her arch enemy. Well, sort of. After Ember is drawn into a war between two supernatural races, she has no choice but to take a side and battle against her sister. The survival of the vampires depends on it.

Ivy isn't falling for this whole champion business. She's not about to put her life on the line for a stranger and his odd underwater family. She is determined to stay neutral or find a way out of the situation altogether. Even the handsome mermaid prince who is following her around cannot convince her to fight her newest family member. Yet, there are forces that want this war to commence and soon neither sister can deny that the fate of one of these species is in their hands.

This book was sort of just 'meh' for me. There were things I liked and things I didn't. In the end, it sort of balanced out to where I didn't hate or love it. It didn't bore me, which is a plus. But I also did a lot of eye rolling and brow scrunching as I tried to understand the decisions our heroines made throughout the book. Here is what I liked and the things that bugged me about the story.

The main characters were okay. I liked both at the beginning and actually enjoyed the fact that Ivy didn't behave as though her new geeky step-sister was beneath her. I also was pleasantly surprised to see that neither of our girls acted like a spoiled princess about their parents' sudden marriage to each other. The family dynamic here was one you don't see often in YA. It was refreshing.

Then we are introduced to our two male counterparts. I had trouble with both of them, to be honest. Dean was just strange and I tried to understand what might have attracted either of our girls to him. Just being 'cute' did not make up for the fact that he talked and acted weird. And as he began to show his true colors, I just didn't understand Ember's attraction to him. Why was she putting up with his controlling and overbearing behavior?

At least Ivy did question the entire battle business. I felt bad for Calder as his heroine wasn't nearly as obsessed with him as the other prince. However, he was younger than the heroine and Ivy didn't seem to be romantically attracted to him in the least. Actually, other than the boys being 'cute', I didn't see much romantic attraction with either couple, yet we're supposed to believe that Ember and Dean are so hot-and-heavy so quickly? And that Ivy would choose to kiss Calder when she's done nothing but avoid him? I got the paranormal part of the story, but the romance side could use some work to be convincing.

That said, the story did move in a quick enough pace that I was engaged the entire time. When I did put it down, I had no trouble picking the book up and continuing on. And while I didn't love the reason the couples came together, I was still intrigued by the war between the paranormal species. I don't see a way for there to be a happy ending, though. If the only way to end the conflict is with the annihilation of one of the supernatural families, I'm not sure how this could end peacefully. But I'm willing to go forward and see if I'm proven wrong.

In closing...
A quick-paced paranormal story with a rare combination of mermaids and vampires. 3.5 suns!

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