{Review} Tidal Whispers #TuesdayTurns

Today on Tuesday Turns:  Tidal Whispers, the newest PNR anthology coming to you from J. Taylor Publishing.  I had the pleasure of reading drafts of these short story collection a while ago, and have just finished re-reading the entire ARC.  Well, except for my story, of course, but we’re not here to talk about that one today.  🙂

Good gracious, I’m in amazing company in this one!  Before I get into the good stuff, let’s take a look at the back of the book:

Heart’s Desire by Julie Reece
After a terrible accident, Tessa returns to her family beach house to heal. She doesn’t expect to see her first summer crush from seven years before. Cameron, though, reappears and ignites a relationship that’s far more intense than ever before. The only problem? Summer is once again coming to an end, and this time, Tessa will have to decide whether to choose life with Cameron or to never see him again.

The Sweetest Song by Claire Gillian
Under Poseidon’s rule, Circe is the most destructive siren in the Pacific ocean, her songs luring ships and their crew to their watery graves. Not Otis, the best halibut fisherman in the Alaskan waters. His ship, the Calypso, has avoided disaster each time Circe set her sights on him.

Given one last chance to deliver Otis to Davy Jones’ locker, Circe takes to land to waylay the handsome captain. Instead, it may be Otis himself who hooks the Siren.

Pearl of Pau’maa by Kelly Said
Should Miki choose to wed the local wealthy boy she doesn’t love, her stomach will stop grumbling. Her soul, however, will suffocate. With one last opportunity before she must concede, she sneaks off for a final dive to her hidden crate at the bottom of the seabed. What waits for her is more than a captured lobster. It’s a treasure she cannot claim without great sacrifice or true love.

The Undergarden by Jocelyn Adams
Nixie, a water sprite, lives a solitary existence as she struggles to understand the strange world beyond her waters. When she meets one of the pink ones, a curious boy named Wyatt, their friendship blooms into a love that can exist only upon the sands that divide his solid ground from her underwater paradise. Some love, though, once born, cannot be undone, even in the face of death.

Have I peaked your interest, yet? 

Cover

I love the colors in this cover, portraying the surreal feeling of the sun filtering through the water.  Most of the stories involve sweet romances to some degree, so the woman and the innocent look on her face is just perfect.

Review

Heart’s Desire, by Julie Reece

Like everything else of this author’s that I’ve had the pleasure to read, the writing is vivid and poetic, painting the underwater world like a dream for me to walk through as I read the story.  Passages like this always have me re-reading just so I can savor the flow of words through my thoughts:

In her bliss, she twirled, forcing yards of fabric to shoot away from her body. She spun from the mirror, halting against a form both firm and yielding. One strong hand enveloped hers, while the other slipped around her middle, pulling her close. On cue, soft music from an unseen orchestra filled the hall. Strings first, low and haunting, followed by wind instruments. Eerie and intoxicating, the sounds worked like a potion to further muddle her already altered state.

The emotion in this one is quite raw and touching in places, and the connection between Tess and Cam is magnetic.  I was shouting inside my head as I followed Tess through the obstacles preventing her from being with Cam, saying, Come on, just throw caution to the wind and get with that man!  The ending gave me pause for a moment, that Cam should have known to offer the other option than the one he presented, but it was a small thing and did little to detract from my overall enjoyment.

The Sweetest Song by Claire Gillian

I love the ebb and flow of this one, and the emotion when Circe’s quandary surfaces:  to save herself and destroy Otis, or save him and suffer the consequences.  The imagery is beautiful and the interactions between the two are light with an air of humor.  Check out this taste:

Circe spied the tall, dark-haired man clutching his trench coat fronts together, his head ducked down. Frigid rain fell in cascading sheets, and few souls ventured out that morning. The scents of dead fish and seawater infused even the raindrops. Bruised skies gave no indication they planned to take pity on the inhabitants of Homer or allow any respite for the sun.

Bruised skies – I love that!  Claire Gillian never ceases to make me stop and think why didn’t I think of that awesome line!  The love that bloomed came on rather quickly, but given that this is a short story, it kind of has to be that way to fit in all the plot elements within the word allowance.  Goodness knows, I struggled with the same issue in my story.

Pearl of Pau’maa by Kelly Said

This is the sweetest of the stories and very well written.  Although the pace is a bit slower than my usual hundred-mile-an-hour personal preference, I appreciated the depth of character-building that took place and the subtle world-building through the characters’ thoughts.  Here’s a nice tease:

Miki’s lean body slowly undulated, bubbles streaming down from her nose. Her empty hands pointed up, stretching for the refracted beams of sunlight just beyond her reach. Her graceful swaying switched to frantic kicking and arms flailing as she fought to break free of the water and pull in a desperate breath of air.

I can totally see this scene in my head.  So well done.  The story of the pearl was interesting, letting me suspend my disbelief at the insta-love between Miki and Harmon.  It ended a little too neat and tidy for me, but again, that’s no reflection on the author or the story itself, just my personal preference, that I like to see characters suffer lots before the happily ever after comes.  I know, I’m a big meanie!  🙂  Still, I really enjoyed the read and look forward to more of Kelly Said’s tales.

I give this little lovely 4 1/2 cupcakes!

These authors are all ones to watch, folks.  Big things will come of them, fantastic stories still to make it from their wild imaginations onto paper for our enjoyment.  Two already have novels out or upcoming, and it’s only a matter of time for the other.

Connect with these authors here:

www.juliereece.com

www.clairegillian.com

www.kellysaid.com

If you love tales of the sea and paranormal romance, this is a must read for a cool summer evening in a lounge chair with your eReader.

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