Review: Voices of the Sea, by Bethany Masone Harar

About the book Voices of the Sea Voices from the Sea

Publisher: WiDo Publishing (July 22, 2014)
Paperback: 285 pages

The Sirens of Pacific Grove, California are being exterminated, and seventeen-year-old Loralei Reines is their next target. Lora may look like a normal teenager, but her voice has the power to enchant and hypnotize men. Like the other Sirens in her clan, however, she keeps her true identity a secret to protect their species.

Lora’s birthright as the next clan leader seems far off, until the Sons of Orpheus, a vicious cult determined to kill all Sirens on Earth, begin exterminating her people. When an unexpected tragedy occurs, Lora must take her place as Guardian of the Clan.

Lora is determined to gain control of her skills to help her clan, but they are developing too slowly, until she meets Ryan, a human boy. When Ryan is near, Lora’s abilities strengthen. She knows she shouldn’t be with a human. Yet, she can’t resist her attraction to him, or the surge in power she feels whenever they’re together.

And the Sirens are running out of time. If Lora can’t unlock the secret to defeat the Sons of Orpheus, she, along with everyone she loves, will be annihilated.

Buy, read, and discuss Voices of the Sea

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the author, Bethany Masone Harar Bethany Harar

Bethany Masone Harar graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English from James Madison University and a Masters in Secondary English Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has enjoyed teaching high school English ever since. As a teacher, Bethany is able to connect with the very audience for whom she writes, and this connection gives her insight into their interests. As a writer, she wants to make her readers gasp out loud, sigh with longing and identify with her characters. Bethany also enjoys posting on her blog, is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and is an avid follower of literary-driven social media. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, two beautiful children, and her miniature poodle, Annie.

Connect with Bethany

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter


My Thoughts

As a self-described Bathtub Mermaid, and someone whose first sound (other than her mothers voice) in the morning and last sound at night during the first two years of life was the sound of the foghorn over Raritan Bay, New Jersey, I know what it means to have the sea in your blood.

Bethany Harar obviously also knows this primal connection to the ocean, because the sirens she’s created in Voices of the Sea can hear the water sing to them, and, if they’re Guardians like protagonist Lora, can even hear it speak.

What I really loved about this book was that it’s YA that transcends age-limitations. I’m 44, and I felt the cool caress of the Pacific when Lora got her feet wet, and shivered with her when the fog rolled in (though, it helps that I lived many years near the central coast of California). I also loved that Lora felt like a real seventeen-year-old, with needs and wants in addition to her Siren-self.

All three of the men in Lora’s life, her childhood friend Will, her father, and new boy Ryan, are as dimensional as Lora herself, and I could feel the tension at being caught between these three personalities. As well, Lora’s grandmother, Devin, is someone I’d love to sit down and have a mug of tea or bowl of clam chowder with, preferably in her surfside cottage.

It took me a while to figure out who the killer was, but Harar laid out the clues nicely. It wasn’t obvious, until, finally, it was.

Harar weaves a lovely tale, and while everything was wrapped up by the end – romance, mystery, self-fulfillment, I found myself wondering if this was the first novel in a series, because I want more, More, MORE!

Goes well with A burger, a beer, and the clam chowder sampler from the Blue Mermaid in San Francisco.


This post is part of a blog tour sponsored by Wow: Women on Writing. Visit their blog, The Muffin for more information.

NetGalley Wrapup – 2014 First Half – Volume I

At the urging of one of the blog tour companies I work with, I signed up for an account with NetGalley earlier this year. This allows publishers to send me widgets for the books I’ve agreed to review, so I can download them straight to my kindle. It also allows me to leave feedback – usually a few good lines from my review and a link to the rest – directly for the publisher.

I’ve been reading like crazy all year – as I always do – but I’m a little behind on reviews that are NOT for tours – so here’s my NetGalley wrapup for titles I’ve read in the first half of 2014 that do NOT have separate review pages in this blog.

Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski Don't Even Think About It

I always love Sarah Mlynowski’s work and this is no exception. She’s funny, smart, and her characters – teens in this case – are always believable, although they tend to occupy a slightly heightened reality. Great work, great read.


The Art of Arranging Flowers, by Lynne Branard The Art of Arranging Flowers

If you, like me, have ever spent your last ten dollars on fresh flowers when you should have spent it on milk or bread, you will love this novel. It’s a delightful human story about relationships, loves, and lives, and of course flowers. Mix in a little bit of magical realism, and you have a bouquet of compelling storytelling wrapped in raffia. READ THIS BOOK


Dangerous Dream: A Beautiful Creatures Story, by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl Dangerous Dream

I hadn’t read the books, but only seen the movie, when I read Dangerous Dream. Nevertheless, I was sucked into this richly created world and enjoyed finding out what happened next with the characters. It made me buy the books, for a better understanding of what had come before. It may be YA, but it appeals to all ages.


All of the above books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Review: A Life of Death, by Weston Kincade

My Thoughts

Weston Kincade sent me this book directly, months ago, in multiple installments, which is how it was originally published. More recently, he asked people to re-post reviews for the current “complete” edition.

As my original review was lost in a database glitch, I sat down to re-read Kincaid’s work, in order to update my thoughts, and I’m not sorry.

On the surface, Kincaid’s story is a simple mystery, but once you look past the surface, you see a family drama, a battle between natural and supernatural, and a close look at what it means to be a victim, and to overcome victimhood.

Kincade’s characters are all fully realized, dimensional people, but what I really liked about them is that they’re not all “pretty” people. They are human, they get into fights, aren’t all rich and well-to-do, and sometimes, aren’t even all that likeable.

And yet, the story – Alex’s story, and that of his son – is compelling. You want to find out why Alex sees the visions he does, and you really care about his relationship with his son.

Marketed primarily to YA/NA audiences, A Life of Death has something for everyone, of every age, which is as it should be when it comes to good storytelling.

Goes well with Open face meatloaf sandwiches and RC cola.

Review: The Here and Now, by Ann Brashares

My Thoughts

I was offered the opportunity to read The Here and Now by Ann Brashares, via NetGalley, and I was happy to take them up on the offer.

I didn’t read the books Brashares is best known for – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and it’s sequels – until just a few years ago. (I maintain that some of the most provocative contemporary literature, especially if you want strong female characters, is written for the YA/NA market. She’s the perfect example of this.) Nevertheless, I love her work, because she always writes girls and young women who are three-dimensional.

The Here and Now is no exception to that. Protagonist Prenna is someone I think many girls and young women could identify with. Certainly she reminded me of me at that age – when I was always the new kid (though I never had to move from a different time).

Likewise, Ethan, the local boy with the talent for perception, reminds me of many of the smarter, geekier boys I went to school with. If I were seventeen, I’d want to date him. Or at least go on an adventure or two with him.

The story itself is sort of a contemporary spin on Romeo and Juliet with a science fiction setup. Most of the action takes place – as the name of the novel suggests – in the here and now, but it forces us to look at our culture pretty closely, while still being incredibly entertaining.

My one complaint about this novel is that it felt like part one of a trilogy…the story is resolved by the end, but the resolution is a bit unsatisfying, and more than a little open-ended.

Goes well with a hot dog and crinkle-cut french fries from a stand on a New Jersey boardwalk.