Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Shark Club

The Shark Club

This was a pleasant surprise. I was first taken by the cover for this one, and the premise, but once I started reading the sampler at Amazon I was hooked. You know how some books just grab you right from the get-go? That's how this one was for me. And what's not to like? It starts out with Maeve, the protagonist, scuba diving in crystal clear water observing lemon sharks. The descriptions and writing style just drew me in, and I'm happy to report that I loved this book. 5 stars all around.

Maeve is a marine biologist and shark specialist and she travels all over the world studying them. She's just finishing up a stint in Bimini, preparing to return to her work at a marine conservancy in southwest Florida. She's been working alongside Nicholas for months, and despite their attraction, neither of them has acted on it. Until their last night together, when the spark ignites a bit. Nicholas is a ray specialist, and totally gets her love of the sea, and with her expecting a trip to Mozambique in a few months, they're considering going together. The only problem is Maeve has emotional baggage from a past relationship, and when she returns to Florida that all comes to the fore when her ex- fiance appears.

Now lest you think this is a tired love triangle story, it's way more than that. It's about second chances, knowing when to let go, sharks, a love for the sea, and so much else. Maeve lives at a hotel called the Hotel of the Muses, which has a literary flair- every room is named after an author. Her and her brother have lived there ever since their parents died and they were raised by Perri, their aunt. Her and her brother are very different, she is the serious one and he's always been the wild child. And they were best friends with Daniel, the boy who would break her heart. Not only does she have to deal with the reappearance of Daniel, but she meets a little girl on the beach- Hazel- and the two forge a bond over their shared love of the sea.

Hazel has experienced a loss in her life and her relationship with Maeve is a highlight of the book. It's a healthy relationship, without unnecessary angst and manufactured drama. It feels true to life, and frankly Hazel is a riot. They go out shark seeing and while all of this is going on, Maeve has to decide whether to give Daniel a second chance. She has the Mozambique trip coming up, after all, and there's that spark with Nicholas as well. She doesn't know what to do, and that felt true to life as well, when life sometimes sweeps you up and carries you away and you have to decide  where to get off. I'd be remiss too without mentioning the setting- I've read a fair amount of books set in Florida but this is one of the few that made me feel like I was there.

This one is set on the Gulf side and everything reminded me of time I've spent there- the lizards everywhere, the shells underfoot, the touristy kitsch versus the locals- there's shark tag activity and even a subplot regarding the horrors of shark finning, which gets tense at the end. Some readers may think the author goes a wee bit overboard on the shark education issues, but honestly I didn't mind, I loved the passion the author brought to this. This is an adult story- the protagonist is thirty- but would totally fit with older YA. I think a lot of people who have agonized over life choices can relate to this. So this was a win- if the premise appeals to you at all, I say go for it. I loved it. 

29 comments:

  1. I love when books grab you like that right from the start! Sometimes they go disappointingly downhill after that, so I'm glad to hear that this one did not! This sounds like a realistic and touching kind of book. And I think that's great the author had some shark education in there, sharks deserve to live too!

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    1. I do too, a fast start is always good. This one managed to keep my interest and I was happy with it. And it was realistic. And I liked the shark bits :)

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  2. The book sounds interesting and the cover is really unusual. It's great when you find a story that draws you in like that.

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    1. It really did! I highly recommend it.

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  3. IT's the best when a book grabs you unexpectedlty -- and you're right, the cover is quite something!

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    1. I love the cover, and this one did grab me- a great opening!

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  4. I was waiting for your review on this one and you convinced me. I need this book! Great review!

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    1. I think you do! I liked it a LOT- maybe one of my favorites of the year?

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  5. Darn it! I was excited by the title and thought it was a horror book!

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    1. Ha ha no bloody shark bits- although the title COULD be a good shark title huh??

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  6. Sounds like a fun romp with a educational slant. I might have to pick it up.

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  7. Oh this sounds good! I love when a book grabs you and pulls you in right from the start! It's sounds like it's a fairly intricate plot and I'm not sure I've read anything like this before. Most of my time in Florida has been on the Gulf side so I like the idea of a little vicarious visiting!

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    1. It sounds more complicated than it is, maybe? Although I guess there is a lot going on with her relationship issues, and the shark finning subplot is pretty minor until it sorta takes center stage. It's funny though also- a lot to like here. :)

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  8. This sounds like such a fantastic book Greg, I do love it too when you find yourself completely hooked in book! I need something like this that will keep my attention riveted! thank you so much for putting this book on my radar, it sounds like something I would definitely enjoy!

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    1. I really liked it, and it kept me reading. It has powerful moments but it also made me laugh? Lots of great stuff.

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  9. It's always good when I book pulls me right in, because I am a ruthless DNFer. I had my eye on this one, and am glad it gets your endorsement.

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    1. Are you? I DNF occasionally but I always respect a reader who knows when to say enough, moving on. :) Life's too short! I hope you like this if you try it.

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  10. Oh wow, this really does sound fabulous! I like that Maeve has to make so many big decisions, that does feel authentic. And Hazel sounds like such a trip. And feeling the setting so vividly is great, especially considering it's Florida. Great review, I am so glad it was such a win for you!

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    1. I really liked it. Maeve had some tough decisions to make, and I could relate to her, and Hazel WAS a trip. Added a lot. And for everything going, it didn't feel too busy, you know?

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  11. This sounds like a unique story, a little bit of a coming of age and a little bit of a romance. Glad to hear you loved it, Greg! :)

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    1. I did, highly recommend! Although the protagonist is a little older- thirtyish- so it was nice to see a perspective from someone who's lived a little. It was a little different and I really enjoyed it!

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  12. This sounds like a really good book. I love the fact that you seem to really get drawn in by the book and the setting and that it's not the tired predictable read it seems like it should be. The premise definitely appeals to me and I will be adding this to my TBR.

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    1. Really good, one of my favorites of the year. I loved how there was a ton going on, but it didn't feel crowded or busy? Plus an older protagonist (30-ish) was a nice change. I hope you like it, I thought it was awesome.

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  13. Glad you enjoyed this one! I still have to find a shark book that I like :)

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  14. I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one. I read The Shark Club a while ago, and it was a pretty good story.

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  15. This sounds so good! Love the shark angle and Hazel sounds like an incredible character! Definitely adding this to my wishlist. Thanks for sharing!

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