Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

The Lure of Shapinsay
By Krista Holle
Sweet River Romance

* A copy was provided by the author for review.

To Sum It Up: On the small Scottish island of Shapinsay, the villagers know to be cautious around the waters that surround them. The sea is inhabited by selkies, seal-like creatures that take human form when they remove their skins. According to legend, the males use their extraordinary beauty to lure human women to their deaths. When Kait Swanney’s friend gives birth to a half-human, half-selkie baby, the newborn is thrown into the sea. Fearless swimmer Kait dives into the water to save the child, but her search proves fruitless. Kait is unknowingly seen by a male selkie who thinks that she is responsible for the baby’s death. He ventures onto land seeking revenge but in the end can't bring himself to kill her. After catching sight of the beautiful creature, Kait finds herself bewitched and willing to do anything to be with him.

Ally's Review: The Lure of Shapinsay was such a fun book to read! I was highly entertained throughout the whole story. This book was so unique; it definitely left an impression on me.

In the book, you have these selkies, which are sort of a variation on mermaids, and they’re described as having the characteristics of seals when they’re in water. Selkies are also supposed to be good-looking creatures who lure humans to their deaths with their godly good looks. So, how in the world do these people on Shapinsay find these creatures attractive? Well, when the selkies head onto land, they shed their skin/fur/coat thingy and are left as awesomely attractive humans. The most interesting part is that the skin is ├╝ber valuable and alive. Eamon, a male selkie and one of the book’s protagonists, is definitely a one of a kind character. Man, I love that guy!

The other thing that I found unique was the dialect in the book. The people on Shapinsay are Scottish, so their lingo is quite different. Kait frequently threw around words like “bampot” and “numpty,” giving me an arsenal of new insults. Although it was quite weird and confusing going into the book with all the Scottish dialect and wording, I really got into it and barely noticed it by the end. Some of the things Eamon said were also quite funny. Eamon has this strong conviction that land is for the weak and dim. He’s also easily angered and even a bit arrogant at first. I thought that he was insanely cool, though, and his flaws brought something more to the table than other fictional guys sometimes do.

The other protagonist, Kait was an admirable character. She made me laugh, and I loved the way she held her own and didn't let her twin brother, Blair, tell her what to do. Kait was a tough girl; she knew what she wanted, and she gave her all to get it. I felt for her as she struggled with her feelings for Eamon, but I did get a little annoyed with how easily she fell for the guy. She would happily go and die for him, and she told Eamon this multiple times. Other than that, I thought Kait was awesome, and I really did like her.

The most surprising character in this story for me was Tipper Gray. Throughout the whole book she is painted as this crazy old lady who has a bad habit of breaking into people's houses. It is not until the end that you realize what Tipper went through. I loved her, and I think she ended up being my favorite character.

The only thing that I found fault with in the book was the ending. I felt that it was a little rushed and tied together too neatly. With that being said, I did not, for the life of me, see the ending coming. I was completely surprised and could only have wished that it spanned over a more reasonable amount of time.

The Lure of Shapinsay is easily one of the most original books I've ever read. I liked the concept, I liked the lingo, I liked the characters, heck, I barely disliked anything! It's safe to say that I, too, was captured by the lure.

All in All: This book is one of a kind. The Lure of Shapinsay is a fun and quick read with an intense and enrapturing story line. It is definitely not your ordinary love story!

Lee's Review: I wasn’t familiar with selkie lore before reading The Lure of Shapinsay, and so its premise intrigued me greatly. I was not disappointed. This novel is a captivating blend of mythology and romance that instantly pulled me into its vibrantly detailed world. Krista Holle is a fantastic storyteller and breathes new life into the human-girl-meets-not-so-human-guy theme with her take on the selkie legend.

I really loved the world of this book; it was my favorite aspect of the novel. From the first chapter, I was immersed in the island life on Shapinsay, where everyone knows each other’s business and selkie folklore makes residents wary of the sea. Thanks to the vivid descriptions of the island and its surroundings, it was very easy to conjure up the scent of saltwater and envision the waves crashing against the shore. I liked the characters’ Scottish dialect and felt that it gave the setting even more authenticity. Readers who aren’t as enthusiastic about the use of local jargon, however, might need a bit of time to adjust to the book’s narration and dialogue.

Kait is a spirited, determined heroine who isn’t afraid to speak her mind or pursue what she wants. She doesn’t back down whenever her twin brother, Blair, tries to boss her around. Blair has a tiny superiority complex since he’s the older twin by one minute. The sibling squabbling turns serious, though, when Blair tries to marry his sister off to a much older man named Magnum. Kait is too independent to get married for the sake of being married. She’s the type of person who follows her heart, and her heart ends up being captured by Eamon, one of the selkies that she’s always been told to avoid.

Eamon’s headstrong personality makes him a perfect match for Kait, with whom he shares the book’s viewpoint. In the beginning he disdains land “loupers,” but it’s a louper who touches his heart. Although Kait is drawn to Eamon because of the natural allure that selkie men hold for human women, Eamon finds that he can’t stay away from Kait, either. I liked how the “lure” wasn’t one-sided, and how Kait’s feelings for Eamon were also her own and not just influenced by his selkie “magick.” The developing relationship between these two was perfectly paced, and I winced whenever anything threatened to keep them apart (which happened quite often because, well, you can’t exactly expect human/selkie romances to go smoothly).

My only quibble with the book was the ending, which arrived rather suddenly. I’d expected a slightly lengthier wrap up, but I really can’t complain because there’s also a very clever twist towards the end that took me by surprise. I wasn’t sure what kind of note the book was going to go out on, and I give Holle a lot of credit for keeping me guessing until the last minute.

This is such a unique book, and I can’t say enough about how imaginative it is. It’s the kind of novel that you have to read for yourself to fully appreciate the experience. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Krista Holle’s future books.

All in All: If you need a change of pace from run-of-the-mill love stories, The Lure of Shapinsay might just be the book you’re looking for. It was unlike anything I’d read before, and a welcome departure from the type of paranormal romances I usually go for.


  1. I'm reading this book right now and am so far really enjoying it! Both of your reviews are making me excited to go cuddle up and get back into it :) Awesome reviews!

  2. I reviewed this book for the author too! It was very unique and I really enjoyed it.



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