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ARC Review: Tempest Unleashed + Interview with Tracy Deebs + Giveaway

The following review contains

my thoughts in a few sentences: Whether because of my evolved reading tastes, or by Wrong Place Wrong Time Syndrome, I didn’t dig the sequel to Tempest Rising NEARLY as much as its predecessor. What I’d found refreshing, initially, quickly turned into something less enjoyable, more typical and more predictable. I could sympathize with Tempest’s feelings toward her family, her issues with Mark, and I definitely didn’t expect them to vanish in the sequel. HOWEVER, I didn’t expect the love triangle to survive in the sequel, and there was inconsistency as a result, making me lean less toward liking Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs as much as book one.

hooking first line: "I didn't know what I was doing here."

Walker • NetGalley • Paranormal Romance • 6/5/12 • $13.28

Tempest Unleashed
by Tracy Deebs
DON'T TO READ THE FOLLOWING SUMMARY if you haven't read book one.

Tempest Maguire is happy with her decision to embrace her mermaid nature and live among her mother’s clan within the ocean’s depths. Even though training to one day ascend the throne for the aging mermaid queen is rigorous, she finds refuge in the arms of Kona, the selkie who first opened her up to her mermaid side. But when word comes that one of her brothers has been gravely injured on land, Tempest immediately rushes to his side—which also brings her back to her old flame, Mark. And in her absence, a deadly battle begins raging at the hands of Tempest’s old nemesis, the sea witch Tiamat. As the dangerous war erupts, Tempest’s two loves—Kona and Mark, sea and land—will collide for the first time, both to protect her and to force her to choose.
Tempest, Tempest, Tempest *clucks tongue*

If you have or will read my review of Tempest Rising, I used to find Tempest a real treat, as I could appreciate her sarcasm, bitterness, and her love of family. Uncertainties are bound to linger after the events of Tempest Rising, but some of her actions really reflected poorly on the girl I really enjoyed before Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs. I don’t know what it is; maybe sequels are meant to bring out that irritable, decidedly bad side in the heroines they involve, but Tempest’s stubbornness took a toll on my enjoyment of Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs. It’s one thing to be indecisive, and be secretive about her uncertainties, but it’s another thing entirely to let that part of her bleed into her very confusing, frustrating behavior.

In Tempest Rising, Tempest’s knowledge of her heredity is clear and instant: she’s half-mermaid, and she’s known for some time now how crazy important her seventeen birthday is supposed to be. We see her struggle through the decision to stay on land or below the sea, the horror of her mother’s abandonment of her family still fresh in her mind and understandably influencing her decision for much of the first book. She does find, however, that there are underwater treasures waiting for her below, including the enigmatic, sexy Kona, who also makes her struggle THAT MUCH HARDER. Her anguish, her torn heart is all very real and wrenching, and I loved that element to her character, how the decision wasn’t at all clear-cut and how Tempest Rising shows how INSANELY DIFFICULT it can be to leave all you’ve known, all you love, behind. I’d felt like Tempest had really grown.

Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs tells me different, tells me Tempest has either regressed under stress or she just isn’t the person I thought she was. Lingering doubts over her choice pervade, but when those doubts leak into her relationships, her way of life—the one SHE CHOSE—I had to use my hand to stop the other from slapping my kindle. She loves Kona, she loves Mark, no, wait—she doesn’t know WHO SHE LOVES. And yet, throughout Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs she claims and repeatedly reminds us all of her feelings for her current boyfriend, how strong they are, how true and everlasting, and blah blah blah. Yet, she turns around not more than a few hours later to leap on the other guy, because the issue isn’t resolved in her heart. It all felt very clich├ęd, and honestly? Weak. Weak of Deebs and Tempest. If this was the direction to be, I felt like Deebs should’ve pushed it there from the beginning. It was impossible to enjoy the way Tempest—though unknowingly—toys with people’s feelings, pumps their expectations when selfishly she harbors uncertainties that lead her to do things that end up hurting the people involved. Especially when I adore most of those characters.

The story suffers

Maybe it was my frustration over Tempest that colors my judgment of the plot, but I felt as if SO MUCH MORE could’ve happened. Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs didn’t show well for all the time spent cooking it up. Where is the excitement of the first book? The thrill and the action? Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs seemed to lack in those areas BIG TIME, with a very few exceptions in mysterious and puzzling discoveries, BUT. BUT, we don’t even get reintroduced to the villain UNTIL THE VERY END. And I enjoy seeing the villains taunt and sneer and threaten, but Tiamat lacks a physical presence—and Tempest’s mental shudders and weird vibes did nothing to bring out any anticipation.

Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs is pretty slow and not nearly as filled. Instead, the plot brimmed with Tempest’s annoying musings on her situation with Mark and Kona. And the hidden pieces of her mother’s past—a woman who turns out to be even more of a stranger than she could’ve imagined. There is so little to hang onto and really sink teeth into—I needed more!

I didn’t WANT to like the other guy, dammit

In my review of Tempest Rising, I made it PRETTY DARN CLEAR that I was very much Team Kona. I’ve got a thing for hot, dark, and mystical carrying loads of tantalizing secrets. He made more of an impression on me than Mark. Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs made me feel so UNDECIDED. My loyalties were indeed tied to Kona, but I did find myself unfortunately drawn to the new Mark—possessive, determined, and desperate, which, all of the above, made for some really Sexy Times. Still, as I mentioned, I didn’t appreciate how Tempest handles herself with both guys. Twisting up one’s feelings, then turning around and kissing the other—the other, who, incidentally, is NOT her boyfriend *grumble-sigh*

The love triangle injected so much inconsistency to Tempest’s thoughts—I couldn't trust them anymore. One minute she claims said boyfriend is everything she wants, so sexy and makes her feel so good *rolls eyes* and then next thing she’s saying how it’s just a friendly love, nothing very powerful or intense WHEN SHE JUST FINISHED CLAIMING OTHERWISE. I found myself shaking my head constantly and going back and rereading to check my facts. AND THEY’RE ON POINT. Hence, the ensuing overwhelming irritation toward Tempest. More, I felt cheated. Again, we have the typical love triangle plot device instead of something organic and beautiful and wrenching.

By the end…

…I was annoyed and a bit depressed. Here I was thinking that Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs would be all that I’d hoped and more, and then it veered off into an unlikely, unwanted direction. I expected happiness (and, okay, some sadness despite the joy) over Tempest’s decision and her new life. I didn’t want to believe she regretted. I was content with the first half of the book, BECAUSE I liked the story’s direction. UNTIL.


AND YET, I couldn’t put down and DNF Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs. There’s still something undeniably addictive about the book that kept me drawn in and invested, which may be why I reacted so strongly to much of the book’s events. Still, I’d wished for BETTER.

Rating: Guilty Pleasure
You really scared me, he whispered, his lips brushing over my forehead and down my cheeks.
I'm sorry. My breath hitched, as if my gills had suddenly stopped working.If it makes you feel better, I kind of scared myself too.
That doesn't make me feel better at all, actually. He skimmed his mouth along my jaw, paused to nibble at my right ear. I jumped a little, tangling my fingers in his hair and pulling him closer as delicious shivers worked their way down my spine.Kiss me, I told him.
I am kissing you. To prove his point, he pressed a firm, open-mouthed kiss against my collarbone.
My head fell back and I clutched at him, pulling him even closer. (16%)


Q. In Tempest Rising, the first book in the series, Tempest has to come to terms with being half-mermaid, and struggles with the decision to stay on land or traverse underwater mysteries? Has there ever been a time when you struggled with a monumental decision and perhaps regretted your choice?

I’m a Libra, which means I always struggle with making decisions, LOL. Certainly, I’ve struggled with monumental decisions—which college or grad school to go to, moving away from my family, whether to end a serious relationship, how to help my children with their own issues … I’ve been pretty blessed that my decisions all seem to have worked out. But I think it’s only human to think back on choices you’ve made and wonder, what if …

Q. In Tempest Unleashed, the sequel, Tempest is now pulled in two directions—her new life with Kona and the old one where her little brothers, father, and first love await her and hope for her return. Have you ever had to choose between your family and something that tore you from them? If you were presented with that choice now, with being what you are (like, say, a writer) and loved ones, what would you choose? Could you choose?

It’s not the same for me now—I’m a mother with three young boys who depend on me. I absolutely could not choose something that would take me away from them when they needed me, no matter how much I wanted it. When I was eighteen, however, I don’t know that I would be able to say the same thing. I moved far away from my family to go to college and grad school, but it’s not like I ever worried that I would never be able to see them again … If that was the case, I’m not sure I could make that choice.

Q. Between both novels, Tempest has this hesitation toward killing even the evilest of underwater creatures that hold her demise as their dearest wish. Has there ever been a point in your life, or even in your writing career, where you had that same hesitation over doing something potentially life-changing?

Well, I am very grateful that I have never been put in the positions that I put Tempest in regularly. But yes, I actually hesitated before moving into writing YA— my romance writing career was going pretty well and I was terrified I would screw everything up. At the same time, I’ve always wanted to write YA novels. I really identify with YA protagonists. There’s something so amazing and intense about experiencing things for the first time, as many teenagers do—it makes for very compelling reading .. .and writing.

Q. In the sequel, Tempest discovers a few new tricks thanks to her super powerful mother. If you could pick and choose an ability to rival against Tempest’s in a fight, what would you wish to have in your arsenal?

Oooh, that’s a hard one. If I wanted to be able to defeat Tempest, I would actually want the ability to manipulate emotions. Tempest is a very emotional creature, and much of what she does is to protect those she cares about. I think if I could manipulate how she feels about Mark, Kona, Mahina, her family and her subjects, I could totally get the upper hand.

Q. In the underwater paths and cities there are some pretty frightening creatures lurking about. What would be something, even as a mermaid, that would make you absolutely tremble in fear of facing?

Sharks. I HATE sharks. Seriously. When I lived in California and surfed regularly, I was always a little afraid of running into one. Although, to be honest, I’m not thrilled at the idea of meeting Tiamat or Scylla either. Although, Sabyn could be interesting …

Q. When we first “meet” Kona, our first impression is a dark, sexy, powerful, enigmatic guy in possession of tons of tantalizing secrets. To me, he came across as the darker end of the spectrum to Mark’s light. Tempest Unleashed gives us a new side to Mark that we didn’t really catch in the first book. He’s determined, possessive, and desperate now knowing what obstacles live between him and Tempest. If Tempest wasn’t in the picture for either of them, what sort of girls would Mark and Kona need to have a happy, enduring relationship? Do you share any traits with either of those girls? With Tempest?

I think Mark needs a really strong girl, one who is self-confident and independent and won’t fall all over his gorgeous, surfer self. Kona, on the other hand, needs a girl who needs him. He’s a born protector, but he also likes to be the one who calls the shots.

In some ways I am like Tempest—though I’m not a mermaid, I am total water baby. I love to swim and surf (Tempest surfs the same beaches I did when I was growing up) and her fear of sharks is definitely my own. I’m also very family-oriented, as she is, and don’t take well to being ordered around.

Q. Finally, and most simply, what was your inspiration for Tempest’s story? Did Ariel and The Little Mermaid ever come into play in the creation of it? And why mermaids exactly?

I love mermaids. My favorite story when I was growing up was the Hans Christian Anderson version of The Little Mermaid (the one where she turns into sea foam). My mother swears to this day that she still has the entire story memorized, which is probably why my mermaid stories are so dark. As for, why mermaids at all? When I first told my agent I wanted to write a YA novel, she asked me, “What do you think about mermaids?” The second she said it, I knew I wanted to give them a try. The surfing aspect came in because I figured Tempest needed to be drawn to the water when she was human and because I love surfing, always have.


Thanks to the awesome Bridget over at Bloomsbury one lucky winner (with a US address—sorry, my international followers!) is in for a special treat! Get ready to harvest your luck to WIN A COPY OF TEMPEST UNLEASHED. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

Official Giveaway Info:
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  • giveaway deadline is July 1, 2012
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Natalie @ Mindful Musings said...

I have to admit...I'm not a big fan of destiny. If someone tried to get me to do something with that whole "this is your destiny" crap, I'd probably laugh. Or just walk away. Or punch them in the face. Or some combination of the three. BUT...on the other hand...if there was some sort of epic goodness I could do or epic evilness I could stop, I might be swayed. I do have a conscience, after all. :)

Thanks for the interview and giveaway! 

Lili said...

I'd have to choose my home. Sometimes... destiny isn't always the thing you WANT.

On the free entry, I accidentally clicked enter before I could put my email in. It's reflectionsbylili@gmail.com

Kim said...

Oh dear, now your making ME indecisive! I read your review for both Tempest Rising and this and now I HAVE NO IDEA whether I should start this series or not! The first book sounds so bloody good but then I really dislike when a MC plays around with two guys and spouts endless nonsense about how she loves them both :/ BUT! You still enjoyed it so I think I'll still give it a go when I have enough time... and I just can't resist these two guys you've talked so famously about ;) Fantastic review!

Tayte Hunter said...

I'd pick destiny. Can't defy it. Eventually you'll have to face it. Home or no home. Sometimes not going with your destiny can destroy your home. So, you pick.

Nsmith112 said...

I would have to choose my destiny because I suppose it would take me to where my home is supposed to be.

Montana G. said...

I would choose my home. It's hard to decide though..