THE REVIEW: Fish out of water by Ros Baxter

Fish out of Water

Aegiran Series book one

Genre Romantic Fantasy Published 1 April 2013 Publisher Escape Publishing

Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum meets Splash in a sexy, smart-talking debut about a mermaid in a desert, a city under water, and the secret that no one is supposed to uncover.

Dirtwater’s straight‐talking Deputy Sheriff Rania Aqualina has a lot on her plate: a nicotine addiction that’s a serious liability for a mermaid, a soldier‐of‐fortune ex who’s hooked on her Mum’s brownies, a gorgeous, naked stranger in her shower, and a mysterious dead blonde with a fish tattoo on Main Street.

Heading home to Aegira for a family wedding, Rania has a sinking feeling that’s got nothing to do with hydroporting seven miles under the sea and everything to do with the crazy situation. Now, if she can just steal a corpse, get a crazy Aegiran priest off her case, work out who the hell’s trying to kill her, and stop sleeping with the fishes, she might be able to unravel the mysteries. And maybe even save her own ass while she’s at it.

The Urban Book Thief Review

urban book thief

Let’s face it. It’s hard to make a merman sexy. Mermaids – yes, we get it. The hair and the tail, with the singing and the pearly bra. Swoon-ilicious. But Ros Baxter takes it to the next level of underwater sexiness in her Aegiran world of smooth talking dolphins, blood curses and a doomed Atlantis-like kingdom. It probably helps that the mermaids in this book don’t have tails, otherwise you start thinking about their anatomy and where they stick stuff and where they hide stuff and your head explodes. Booom!

Rania

Rania

Enter Rania Aqualina. She has sass, she has attitude and (almost predictably) she’s a cop. Rania is also a nicotine patch wearing, hip flask drinking, daughter of a runaway mermaid. At age sixteen, a mermaid seer predicted that she would die at the age of the thirty unless she saves the world from some unknown threat. But now it’s only three weeks away and time is ticking… But Rania doesn’t seem to be too overly upset or hysterical about this as many people, or indeed I, would. Little Miss Calm and Collected is too busy investigating the death of a mermaid who died on her turf, while singing a mean karaoke at her local and trying not to be too impressed by two really hot guys.

Rania lives in Dirtwater with her mum. It’s a small dead beat town in the middle of Hicksville with a surprising lack of water for a pair of mermaids. Home to pretty much every dirt related activity you could possibly think of, it’s lucky that the Aqualina ladies have a jacuzzi so that they can hydroport their asses to meet their fishy friends. Yes, hydroport. I guess you could say that it’s like uploading yourself into the Matrix, but with water – and bubbles.

Doug

Doug

But first, say hello to Doug. A tall, dark, handsome neighbour who has a real sexy way with words. He’s been friends with Rania for a long time and the banter, oooh the banter is gooood. But the bad news is that they slept together once and he immediately skipped town for six months. Which isn’t going to make a gal feel so good about her ‘talents’. The good news is that Rania’s mother loves Doug and likes to feed him cookies. Plus he’s ex-special forces and is scarily equipped for any situation. So he’s a handy guy to have around, and boy does Rania need a handy guy throughout this book.

Next to saunter in is Caragheen. He Who Makes The Best Entrance Ever. All I’m gonna say is that we find him writhing naked on the floor and it is not because he is feeling horny. Caragheen is a merman who lives in Aegira in his pleasure seeking cave – which features a mysterious pool that merfolk like to visit in order to get their rocks off. A troubled soul, his Daddy is a crazy evil underwater priest and that rep has not served Caragheen well in the past with the ladies. He is intense and a little broody, with a treasure chest of secrets that intrigues Rania (and me). Misunderstood, his soul is darker and more complex than that of the traditional serene merfolk and Rania’s mix of sexy mermaid and passionate cop sends him in a right tizzle.

Caragheen

Caragheen

And then back to him, this man who was looking at me in that direct, arrogant way tall, dark, mysterious strangers have been using to mess with women’s heads for centuries. He could have been Mr Darcy or James Dean or Antonio Banderas in Interview With A Vampire.

But he wasn’t.

He was a merman, and they’re not supposed to look like this. They’re polite. They touch your eyelids and murmur ritual greetings. They establish lineage.

But it looked like no-one told him the rules.

Aegira is where the magic happens. Here, the merfolk live in relative peace and harmony in a haven where everyone is vegetarian and everything is organic. Everyone in Aegira is also blonde, beautiful and tough. Yum. For a romantic fantasy book, Ms. Baxter does a really good job of describing the kingdom. The level of detail is great; it really drew me in without going on and on… we learn how the society adapts and survives without going into a Lord of the Rings level of intensity.

The plot is simple but well executed. There are a lot of small mysteries that intersect with one another, but the author deals with them very smoothly. When Rania finds a dead watch keeper mermaid in the middle of the night next to a fish tank half filled with reef fish, it sets off a whole string of questions. But… while investigating this, Rania must also attend a wedding in Aegira where various attendees give her cryptic messages to look for a missing girl called Imogen, fight off numerous death threats from an unseen evil, worry about an ancient curse that is giving her mind-bending visions, tussle with lovely lovely hot men and also try not to worry about her impending date with death.

And all of this happens in the space of a week, which means that there is no real resolution at the end of the book. Boo. But that’s because there’s going to be another in the series. Yay!

Overall, my only real complaint about the book was the blink and you’ll miss it sex scene. It was so short that I read that bit twice to make sure that it really happened. hhmmm. After a book’s worth of sexual tension it was disappointing – it gave the Kate Daniels series a run for its money with the brevity of the scene. But I digress. This is an exciting new author to the genre who not only writes with humour and panache, but is good at sucking you into her world and keeping you there with sassy dialogue, zany characters and a hot romance. I can feel the start of a major fan crush heading my way. I had fun and you’ll have fun too if you like a well-constructed, funny fantasy romance that gives you the fuzzies.

The Urban Book Thief has awarded Fish Out of Water a kiss factor rating of four – woopi-do-dah!

Kiss FactorKiss FactorKiss FactorKiss Factor

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