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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Book Review! Immerse Mer Chronicles by Tobie Easton

Immerse (Mer Chronicles #3) by Tobie Easton
Genre: Young Adult (Fantasy Romance)
Expected Publication: March 19, 2019
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC

Immerse is the spellbinding and breathless final installment of the Mer Chronicles series where descendants of the Little Mermaid must face deadly magic, shifting alliances, and the dangers of forbidden love.

Lia can’t wait for her parents’ coronation. Now living in the sparkling palace beneath the waves, she sneaks off to Malibu whenever possible to see Clay. Tucked away in an abandoned seaside mansion, Lia and Clay devise a plan to ensure they can stay together forever.

But when an old enemy resurfaces and Lia is restricted to the palace for the safety of all Merkind, she and Clay are ripped apart once more.

She fears not only for Clay, but for her best friend Caspian, who seems to be swimming down a dangerous path. He has invited the conniving Melusine to the coronation ball, convinced she’s capable of change. And no matter how hard Lia fights it, showing up on Caspian’s arm is just the start of Melusine’s insidious return to her life.

With threats Below growing more ominous by the day and a powerful ancient ritual looming, soon the two girls can’t escape each other. As their fates grow increasingly intertwined, Melusine might be the only one who can help Lia find the answers she desperately needs to save everyone she loves and to achieve her happily ever after. But can Lia trust her?

Immerse is the third and final book in the Mer Chonicles by Tobie Easton. I felt like things took a little longer to get started with this one, so I had a bit of a hard time getting into it at first. It's been a little while since I read the previous two books, so I really liked that there were refreshers from the previous two books to remind me of where we left off and what had happened. This is a trilogy that must be read in order. So much happens, and you'll need to know all of it before reading Immerse. 

We don't just get Lia's perspective this time around either. Melusine is also telling this part of the story, and I really enjoyed getting her perspective. In general, the characters in this book, and whole series really, are so well fleshed out. I really felt like I was getting to know them. This has been a fantastic trilogy, and I'm sad it's the last book, but I'm completely satisfied with how everything turned out.

The ARC of Immerse Mer Chronicles by Tobie Easton was kindly provided to me by Bewitching Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

I wish Clay were here to see this. The thought flits through my mind again and again. When my family and I swim through the sparkling entrance of the palace, I wish I could grab his hand. As we’re greeted by hundreds of nobles swishing their tails in applause, I imagine the excited words he’d whisper in my ear. And as we start down the center aisle toward the thrones at the other end of the cavernous chamber, I yearn to show him how beautifully this room has been restored since he and I were last here.

Approaching the thrones, we process over an exquisite mosaic made up of abalone, mother of pearl, and troca shell pieces. It takes everything in me to keep my face neutral, to keep my head lifted and my sunbeam crown upright. This is the spot where, not so long ago, Clay risked his life to save mine. I glance around me at the splendor and the celebration. Clay’s sacrifice made today possible, and he’s not even here to see it.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing books since 2013, when I started Emerge, the first book in the Mer Chronicles series.  Before that, I’d done some screenwriting right after graduating from college, but Emerge was my first novel.

What inspired you to write The Mer Chronicles?
In every bathtub and swimming pool I played in as a child, I pretended to be a mermaid.  When I got older, other interests vied for attention, but mermaids always intrigued me.  A few years ago, I was swimming laps (literally) when the idea for what would become the Mer Chronicles struck—and it wouldn’t let go!

At first, all I knew was that I wanted to write about mermaids living on land.  Once I had decided to tell that story, I couldn’t help thinking about the original version of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, particularly the part that’s generally left out of more modern versions—that the Little Mermaid chose to die at the end instead of killing the prince and saving herself (yep, it’s a dark story!).  My imagination started spinning and I began to think about what the consequences of that action might have been for modern mermaids.

After writing Emerge, was it more challenging to write the sequels?
It was definitely more challenging to write Submerge, the second book in the series because it was the first book I’d ever written under contract to a publisher.  While writing a book under contract is absolutely wonderful in that you know you have a professional team in place and whatever you write will become a real book, it also means that WHATEVER YOU WRITE WILL BECOME A REAL BOOK.  There’s pressure in that, especially when you’re writing the second book in a series, and you don’t want to disappoint anyone.  Every time someone messaged me or tagged me in a good review of Emerge and said how much they were looking forward to Submerge, it made me so, so happy but also contributed to my growing sense of panic.  What if no matter how confident I felt in the story for Submerge and how much I loved the characters’ journeys, my readers who had been waiting for the book for a year, didn’t feel the same?  That was a new thought that began circling in my head when I sat down to write that hadn’t been there when I’d written Book 1. 

But somewhere in that final time crunch to finish by my deadline (because, yes, Book 2 was also the first book I’d ever had to write on a deadline), I stopped having time to listen to all that outside noise and all my own worries.  I reclaimed my need to write the story for myself.  And for the characters who deserved to have that story told.  So, by the time I wrote Immerse, I actually found it easier to write than Emerge or Submerge as long as I consistently reminded myself that my writing time belonged to me and my characters—and no one else.

What was the weirdest thing you had to google while doing research?
I’ve had to look up a lot about really fascinating ocean creatures.  My favorite has to be a tie between jellyfish that illuminate the ocean with flashing lights and pink dolphins!

These books would make great films. Would you want to turn them into movies?
Absolutely!  We’ve had some film interest in the series (yay!) and it would definitely be a dream to see the series come to life on screen, so fingers crossed!

I'd line up to watch! Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
All my characters have at least some small piece of me (which I think is how I connect to each one of them and find their voices).  Lia, the protagonist, is a lot like I was in high school in terms of the way she thinks and how she expresses herself.  Her oldest sister Emeraldine is a lot like I am now.  Both consider love invaluable.  I also really relate to Caspian’s love of learning.  And I wish I were as cool and witty as Lia’s twin sisters, Lapis and Lazuli.

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
I have a mermaid rubber ducky that was given to me as a gift, and it makes me smile every time I’m brainstorming in the bathtub (which I do A LOT).

If your real life as a teenager was a Young Adult book, what would you, the main character, be like?
What a cool question!  I was obsessed with academics as a teen, so I’d be an over achiever who was just a little too focused on school and needed to learn to relax and be in the moment a bit more.  I was also drama club president and very involved in my school’s theater department.  I went to an all girl’s school and had a really tight-knit group of friends, so that would be a fun focus for the novel if my teen years were a YA book.

What book have you read too many times to count?
I’ve read the Harry Potter series over and over.  I’ve even read the entire thing out loud to my boyfriend (now husband)!  It took us a loooong time to get through all seven books out loud, but it was so much fun that we want to read it that way again at some point.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
I’ve been fortunate enough to hear a lot of great advice over the last few years since I started participating in the author community, but the one I use the most often came from Gretchen McNeil.  She recommended setting a timer for 25 or 30 minutes at a time and writing, then taking a 10-minute break, then repeating that process over and over so you’re basically writing in sprints.  That has really helped me avoid distractions like checking my email or going on social media because I tell myself I can do those things during the breaks.  At first, I didn’t think it sounded like something that would work for me, but after I gave it a try, I found it immensely helpful.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your books?
Honestly?  That I could write books.  Nearly all of Emerge was a surprise because it’s the first book I ever wrote.  When I had the initial idea (What if mermaids lived on land?), I thought, “I can’t write a book!” But the idea wouldn’t let go, and I felt like I had to write it.  Reaching THE END and realizing I could really write a book—and that I immediately wanted to write another one!—was the biggest surprise of all.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m reading, and when I’m not reading, I’m trying out a new restaurant or travelling.  My favorite thing is exploring new worlds—whether on the page or off.
Have you read my reviews of the previous books in this trilogy?

Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens (so she’s lucky enough to spend her days gabbing about books). She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies.

To learn more about Tobie Easton and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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