About 5 years ago I accompanied my aunt (the wonderful Stacey Rourke) to a book signing. I never realized just how much fun that I would have meeting authors and being immersed in the literary field; nor did I realize that I would be starting my very own blog one day. While on this trip I met Elizabeth Kirke (who I totally fell in love with, by the way), so I had to buy one of her books (I have since bought all of her works... support your authors!). I started reading "Semester Aboard" on the drive home and could not put it down.
"Semester Aboard" is a story about a young woman Jennifer going on a trip abroad on a cruise ship, but ssh doesn't know what is in store for her once she is on the ship. (Goblins? Zombies? Handsome strangers with serious trust issues? Pirate-themed lawn gnomes come to life with a thirst for blood?)
I love that this story, it has many different paranormal elements. It's a story about vampires, witches, mermaids, elementals, and werewolves... it's a smorgasbord of fantastical creatures! Kirke writes in such a way that keeps you intrigued and you want to know what happens next. From the very first chapter she has your attention and starts it off with drama. It captures your attention and imagination and has you wanting to continue to read because you want to know what has happened. I know reading the first chapter that I would have reacted the exact same way as Jennifer if...
...I saw someone falling overboard on a cruise ship.
Now, I don't generally care for sappy love stories all that much (however I am a girl and sometimes I love them). It reminds me of high school, usually. But this story has a budding romance that I love. I can feel for Jennifer and what she is going through (personal experiences!). She is finding herself and also finding a friendship in someone that is turning into something a bit more. There is a scene in which Thomas is explaining to her how to do something and she is listening to him, but she also is coming to the realization that she is nervous around him. While following direction she is thinking to herself "hoping I wasn't blushing or anything embarrassing like that. Of all people to have a crush on, why on earth had I picked Thomas? A vampire, seriously?" She admitted that she was "crushing" on him. To see stories and characters develop like this made me want to know more.
But not everything is always peachy, and there are a few negatives that I can say about this book, one being the size. I feel that it could have been broken into two different stories just based on how much happens, but that being said I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out where a sensible break off point would be, and I haven't the slightest clue (so maybe not a negative at all?). Also, and it pains me to say this, but I would have loved to get more of the love story. I wanted the main character to call attention to the flirting and not be so shy... take some action ( not just thinking the thoughts in her head), further this along! Honestly, people, has being shy ever worked? Shyness didn't snag me my husband, that's for sure! And maybe that's one of the reasons I felt this book could have been split somewhere, so that maybe it could alleviate some space for more romance.
That being said, I do love this story and recommend it to anyone and everyone with an interest in paranormal things and fantastical creatures... Or those with a fascination with stories taking place on cruise ships. Me personally? I can't wait to find out more from this series.
I can't help but put myself in a character's shoes and that includes imagining being in the same places and exotic locations as them. So what else but to imagine being on a cruise and ending up in the tropics somewhere? I know that there are many other cruises and they all do not go somewhere warm, my dream cruise would take me somewhere warm. I think that it is only fitting to have a Carribean Jerk Chicken Salad recipe to go along with this book review. You can follow the link here to check out the recipe.