Review: No Ocean Too Deep (A Loose Screw) by Leona Carver

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

No Ocean Too Deep Carver_CoverWhere Amirzade Sharouk, son of the Amirate of Ujmah, his cousin Dastyaf Begzada is sure to follow.  When Sharouk decides that the only way to save his country and his people is to rebel against the Republic, Dastyaf is there to support his efforts and keep him safe.  Their plan? Destroy the Republic’s fleet by allying themselves with the legendary sea folk, masters of the leviathans, immense living weapons born of the sea and magic.  But during the initial battle, something goes terribly wrong and Sharouk goes overboard, taken by one of the leviathans.  Now Dastyaf, warrior and tactician, must rely on one of the sea people to help him get back his cousin, the man he loves and can never have.

Nils is a sea mage, one who controls the leviathans of the deep and knows their secret.  When one of his leviathans goes rogue during battle, Nils is at a loss to understand why.  Furthermore, that action will cost his people their pact with the King of the land people whose prince has been taken by the rogue leviathan.   Now Nils must join forces with a man from the land, Dastyaf, whose disapproval, desperation and need for control, is putting them at odds from the very start of the mission.

Both men will need to work together to save not only Sharouk but their kingdoms as well.  To do so, Dastyaf must agree to transform into one of the sea folk in order to follow Nils through the ocean depths.  For Dastyaf, it means not only the loss of his legs but of control over the situation and his body.  He will be helpless in another’s environment, an unfamiliar feeling he despises. And by saving Sharouk, he will lose him forever to another.

For Nils, it means giving up his perceptions and assumptions, not only of the land people but of the very leviathans he is close to. The journey to save Sharouk, is full of dangers to all involved and time is running out for everyone before all is lost.  Sharouk’s life, Dastyaf’s humanity, and for Nil’s? A love he never expected to feel for a man who loves another….

I love it when I find a book that unexpectedly opens the door into a mesmerizing universe. No Ocean Too Deep is just such a story. It is full of incredible creatures, dynamic characters and a plot as deep as the ocean in which all the events take place. Leona Carver is a new author for me but with this one story she turns into one of my must read authors on the strength of this story alone.

In No Ocean Too Deep, Leona Carver puts her own spin on mermen and the men who fall in love with them.  Carver’s plot is guaranteed to pull the reader down into her universe from the first page.  She sets up a situation in which two widely disparate kingdoms become allies to defeat a common enemy.  One kingdom is human and lives in the desert Amirate of Ujmah, an environment that can be as hostile as it is beautiful.  The other?  Sea folk, mermen, almost mythical in their own right in their watery kingdom also full of its own dangers and delights.  The  two protagonists have more in common then they are aware, especially as neither has any experience with the other’s world.  For Dastyaf, he usually has to deal with an ocean of sand, fraught with extreme heat, a dearth of water and  constantly shifting sands.  His is a world of light and dark where their caravans are guided by the stars above.  Nils is a sea witch merman  who lives in an ocean world of shifting current, little light, and a breadth  and variety of creatures, small to gargantuan, with varying degrees of risk associated with them.  Guided by his senses and shifting currents, darkness is of little concern, especially with his magic to assist him.  Each character is fully formed and feels so believable no matter what world they belong to.

Carver throws her characters into a plot born of desperation.  The kingdoms of a desert people and the sea folk make a pact to take down the Republic, a threat to both with its empire.  The Sea folk will use their leviathans, enormous sea creatures of magic and myth,  as weapons against the Republic’s fleet.  The desert kingdom’s prince, Amirzade (Prince) Sharouk and his warrior/tactician cousin, Dastyaf Begzada, will be aboard one of the enemies vessels under false pretenses.  This will help them direct their armies against the fleet when the battle starts. It’s a desperate and dangerous move made from necessity. Carver does such a splendid job bringing us directly into this precarious situation, a last ditch endeavor for Sharouk to break his people away from the control of the Republic with help from the sea folk.  Waiting back home for Sharouk is his royal family and fiance.  By his side, as always since childhood, stands his cousin, Dastyaf, a great warrior and best friend.  As the ships pitch wildly in the ocean waves, tentacles start to appear over the side of the vessels,the battle is engaged and the reader is thrown immediately into the fray.  Carver’s descriptions are dramatic and stirring, making the scenes scream with the emotions of the men on board.

But that is nothing compared to what happens when the location switches to the ocean depths and the sea folk themselves.  Here the mermen and their watery environment comes vibrantly alive from its many denizens to the myriad ocean landscapes Nils and Dastyaf journey through.  Vast  living carpets of coral, phosphorescent invertebrates, forests of kelp, and dinners that consist of living organisms instead of cooked meat.  Had I been able to stand within the story itself, my head would have been on a constant swivle as it turned here and there to observe all the amazing sights and creatures that Carver has in store for us and Dastyaf.  An ever moving banquet for the senses made all the more palpable as Dastyaf experiences it for the first time in his new temporary merman body.

Nils and Dastyaf’s journey is full of wonder and fears as Dastyaf’s tries to reconcile his human experience with his new merman one.  His frustration and fear as the light  fades into almost constant darkness is tangible, and his emotions become ours. I could go on and on about the sea witches, the canyons, and the leviathans themselves…but the discovery of wonders and suspense of this desperate mission is part of the joy and revelations found in No Ocean Too Deep and I don’t want to spoil them for you.   But I found myself going backwards to reread a description or scene to relive that moment over because it thrummed the wildness and surprise of  life lived under water.

As I said the characters are as wondrous and layered as their environment.  Dastyaf with his doomed love and desperate mission, Nils with his questions and assumptions, both men grow as individuals and together as their journey unfolds.  I grew to love both men and couldn’t figure out how Carver was going to bring this journey to fruition in a satisfactory manner.  She did but it tool me a while to realize that.

The ending is the slight bump in the road, the loose net in the ocean.  It had me a little puzzled, so much so that I needed clarification from the author as to what happened to Nils.  Turns out, I needn’t have worried but it was cloudy enough that others might feel the same way. Had there been a tad more clarity at the end this would have been a 5 star review.  As it is, it comes darn close. Without revealing too much, it turns out that both Nils and Sharouk’s fiance have much the same role to play at the end, and no, its not the one you think it is.  Luckily for us, there will be a sequel coming.  That was the best news yet.

Not familiar with Leona Carver?  Haven’t read No Ocean Too Deep?  Remedy both and grab this terrific tale up and start reading.  Be prepared to fall in love with these characters, their mission and the ocean deep.  It will be an amazing journey you won’t want to see end.

Cover by Tanya Rehulak.  I love this cover, so different and lovely.

 Buy Links:  Less Than Three Press   Amazon    ARe

 Book Details:

ebook, 174 pages
Published April 9th 2014 by Less Than Three Press LLC
original titleNo Ocean too Deep
ISBN139781620043448
edition languageEnglish
urlhttps://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-nooceantoodeep-1466468-153.html
seriesA Loose Screw

Rain, Rain Go Away and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Author Guest Blogs and Contests

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bradley-blvdAnd it rained, and rained and rained……again we got over 3 to 4 inches of rain this weekend.  On top of about 5 to 6 inches a week or so ago. To say that everything around here is soggy is an understatement.  I swear I can hear the concrete squish when cars roll by.  There was a Canada goose standing on my roof, honking away a couple of days ago.  Probably thought my house was an island in the midst of all that water.  Crazy thing.  Problem was that it was Huntington VA floodingright!  What’s next?  Trout?

As I watch all the water swirl away, I kept thinking what a waste.  I wish there was a logical way to capture it al and maybe ship it out to California or Texas where it is needed.  Instead of a oil pipeline, perhaps a rainwater express to help alleviate some of our flooding and the drought that our new weather  patterns has brought to that area.  Rain barrels are great things…so are water catchments but I have standing water now in places that once was completely dry.  Is water gardening in my near future?  It’s looking that way….

I have a great schedule this week.  S.A. McAuley is stopping by to talk about her Borders War series and the next in the series, Powerless.  Katey Hawthorne is here with the next story in her Fairies series.  Amelia C. Gormley is taking us into summer with  her Saugatuck Summer. Plus I’ve discovered a new author for me, Leona Carver, who will be here talking about her writing and the inspiration behind No Oceans Too Deep.  Another new author for me is J.K. Hogan and I Survived Seattle. There are book giveaways connected to each author guest post and book tour so don’t miss out on a day here!  Oh, and a cover reveal by Amanda Young too!

I will finish the week up with  John Inman’s Spirit.  I just love this author’s stories and he will be here the following week with John Inman’s Writing with Humor and his growing up in a small town.

I also have two Winner Announcemenst.  Winner of S.J. Frost’s Knight of Fire is Midia.  Congratulations to Midia and my thanks to S.J. Frost for the guest blog and book donation and to all who stopped by and left comments. And Congratulations to MizEqualityPatricia, winner of the Kimber Vale’s contest for Double Takes.  Thank you, Kimber, for the guest post and great contest!

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The Week Ahead at ScatteredThoughts:

  • Monday, May 19:          Author Spotlight with SA McAuley and Powerless (Contest)
  • Monday, May 19, pm: Powerless by SA McAuley
  • Tuesday, May 20:         Author Spotlight:  Katey Hawthorne on Fairies
    Tuesday, May 20:          I Survived Seattle by J.K. Hogan
  • Wed., May 21:                Amelia C. Gormley’s Saugatuck Summer Book Tour/Contest
  • Wed., May 21 pm          Cover Reveal for Amanda Young’s GWM Wanted Novel
  • Thursday, May 22:       Author Spotlight on Leona Carver and No Oceans Too Deep (Contest)
  • Thursday, May 22:       Quick Stop: The Surgeon’s Apprentice by Richard Longfellow (Contest)
  • Friday, May 23:            No Oceans Too Deep by Leona Carver
  • Sat., May 24:                  Spirit by John Inman