Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blog tour: Serenade by Emily Kiebel + review

BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2014 book

 Mermaids are out, Sirens are in!

Serenade by Emily Kiebel
YA fantasy
Paperback/ebook, 358 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by SparkPress

Suddenly the voice she prized is now dangerously seductive...

Lorelei Clark's only concern was her future as a classically trained soprano, that is, until the day her father was tragically killed. Shattered by his death, she hesitantly accepts an invitation from a mysterious aunt to visit her lavish oceanside home in Cape Cod. She quickly discovers that her aunt and the two women who live with her are harboring a frightening secret they are sirens, terrifying mythical creatures responsible for singing doomed sailors to their deaths. Even more astounding, Lorelei is one of them.

In this new world where water comes alive at her touch and an ancient power pulses beneath the tide, the most important rule Lorelei must learn is that a siren never interferes with fate. When she breaks this rule by rescuing a handsome sailor who should have died at sea, the sirens vow she must finish the job or face grave consequences. Finding herself inexplicably attracted to him, she must fight to keep him safe from the others, even if it means risking her own life, and her heart, in the process.

Here's what others are saying about Serenade:
"Fast-paced with a vivid setting and strong focus on music, Kiebel’s novel will appeal to YA readers looking for a well-developed romantic fantasy." - Kirkus Reviews

An absolutely haunting and lyrical read. The captivating use of music and a darkly seductive magic will have readers singing its praises and longing for more. - Colleen Oakes, bestselling author of Queen of Hearts

Emily Kiebel seamlessly blends reality and fantasy.Serenade hits resonant and real emotional notes, while at the same time enchanting the reader with a rich, fantasy mythology. - Kayleigh Roberts, BOP and Tiger beat

And here's what we have to say...

Serenade started off a little slow, drawing my interest as I met this young woman named Lorelei as she auditioned. Her voice drew me in and I almost thought I was reading a YA or NA contemporary. But I knew better and I had read the synopsis. After tragedy claims someone close to her, the story began to pick up steam and by the time Lorelei went to visit her aunt, the intensity and the whole 'okay, what's going on?' vibe gripped me. I don't know much about sirens, but I found out along with Lorelei.

I found Emily Kiebel's debut novel haunting, gentle and quietly intense. Know the feeling when a ride goes up the track--that rocking, slightly jolting motion, and the anticipation increases, the wind begins to lick your face and suddenly the car reaches the top and you look down--that's what Serenade is like. The author takes the reader on Lorelei's journey as she tries to figure out the truth about her lovely singing voice, why her mom's so against her going to a music school, and about another side of her family she knew nothing about. 

As a main character I thought Lorelei came across as more of a young adult than new adult voice. Her background and the way she was raised could explain away part of her naivete and innocence. I enjoyed the worldbuilding, the mythology of the sirens, her aunt and her family, and Lorelei's love interest. I may not have been convinced by her mom, but as a whole the story was so engrossing I simply put the main character's old home life out of my mind and sat back to enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. The story is easily and gorgeously visualized. Just having come back from vacationing in Maine, I of course loved the setting of Maine and Cape Cod.

Serenade mixes contemporary themes like coming of age, first love and family dynamics with the complexities of otherworldly creatures, mythology and the hero embarking on a journey. I really liked this new world created by Kiebel and look forward to reading more by this author.

Rating: 4
 Cover comment:
Works for me.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy.

About the author:
Emily Kiebel was raised in Colorado and went on to study classical music and English at Concordia University. She found a love for singing early in life and now sings professionally and directs a local church choir. In her spare time, she can be found exploring the natural beauty of the great outdoors with her beloved dogs, Ginny and Diggory, cooking for friends and family, traveling or dragging her friends along to obscure historical sites. Serenade is her debut novel.

1 comment: