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Blog Tour: The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons {Review, Character Interview, +Giveaway}

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Welcome to my stop on the The Deep End of the Sea blog tour hosted by InkslingerPR!
Today I am excited to share my review, a character interview with Medusa, and a giveaway with you all!

The Deep End of the Sea
   by: Heather Lyons

Publication Date: Feb. 13, 2014
Publisher: Cerulean Books
Genre: Mythology/ Fantasy
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by InkSlingerPR in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 288 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 5/5 stars

What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.

This is such a complicated review to write. No matter what- my words will NOT be able to do this incredibly moving story of hope justice. Heather Lyons has created such a beautifully written story with poignant, striking characters that you won't be able to forget anytime soon. Fans of Greek mythology will see a whole new take on the story of Medusa- her isolation, her associations with the gods, and what her future holds.
Oh Medusa. There were so many times in this story that I just wanted to crawl inside my book and hug her. When we first meet her, she is so self-deprecating- she carries such guilt and shame over what she's done. She views herself as a monster despite the fact that she was cursed and does not want to kill. However, accidents have occurred and she blames herself for their deaths. Medusa has also been wronged in the worst way a woman can be. She had her innocence torn from her and instead of gaining comfort- she was cast out by a vengeful goddess and left to wallow in her own confusion and then later guilt.
"Because a kiss should be born from love, and want, and need. A kiss should be beautiful, something a girl can hold onto for the rest of her life, to pull out in her memory whenever she wants butterflies to come back."
She only has two friends to start- one is a blind man by the name of Mikkos and Hermes is the second. She loves her friendships- they give her such happiness in a life of solitude and loneliness. Mikkos is her oldest friend and always comes to visit her and bring her gifts- her most recent being a blind cat to keep her company.
And then there's Hermes. Hermes is the hero every girl dreams about having. He is good and kind, and a faithful friend to Medusa. He encourages her and builds her up when she is at her lowest and won't let her wallow in self-doubt. He is outraged that she has been wrongly accused and cursed. He plans to remedy that and get her sentence revoked.
Hermes and Medusa's friendship is so incredibly beautiful- they are patient and tender with one another and watching Medusa realize the depth of her feelings for her best friend was quite touching. Hermes has loved her for ages- even when she was a monster. He will fight for her and protect her at all costs. He won't give her up willingly- however he would do ANYTHING to keep her safe from those wanting to harm her and we really see that here. My heart was broken for the two of them, but I had hope that after everything Medusa has gone through that she would find her sunshine amidst the clouds.
Medusa has some surprising allies on Olympus aside from Hermes and they genuinely care for her and offer her sanctuary. They played a great role during her transition and I really love them! Aphrodite, Hermes' sister was also a supportive ally and I liked how she tried to make Medusa feel at ease. Jocko and Bernie were also great characters and not at all who they appear to be. They are very multi-layered and were an excellent addition to the story. I can't go without discussing those who would do anything to make Medusa's life hell. Poseidon and Athena both play a pivotal role in Medusa's past, as well as her present. Both have committed unspeakable acts against her and while reading I could only hope that they get what they deserved in the end.
I am obviously a huge fan of Heather and her work and I have to say- her writing style is so lyrically beautiful and her pacing just flows so very seamlessly. She really took a chance, turning this novel into what it was- a story of hope, love, and strength. She did a truly fantastic job of conveying to her audience what she wanted them to learn about Medusa and her story.
Watching Medusa transform from a woman who abhors herself and is very withdrawn from the world to a beautiful, strong woman who is determined to change her fortune is so empowering. She finds her strength in those who love her and in herself, which was something she never could before. I am so proud of her for overcoming what she has and for taking control of her own life.
"For a long time, I hated what I was, what I did, and what I allowed to happen to me. So here I am, fourteen days in, and I've decided that maybe I do need to find out WHO I AM and WHAT I WANT. And it's probably the scariest thing I've ever decided to do."
Hey Medusa! I'm so glad you were able to come and chat with me today! I absolutely adored your story!
(blushes) Thank you! It's nice to be here with you, Jessica. This is my first real interview, you know. I mean... outside of Olympus, that is.
Yay! I'm so excited! So, first things first. Just to give my readers an idea of what the book is about, can you describe your story in 10 words or less?
Hmmm. (is quiet for a long moment) An ex-monster's journey to find herself.
Can you also tell my readers a bit about yourself? Maybe some things we don't know already from the blurb?
Well... (fidgets in chair) For one, I'm not exactly who legends have always painted me to be. That person is... pretty fearsome, isn't she? And fascinating and exciting, but... she's not me. Outside of, you know, being cursed and hanging out with gods and goddesses, I'd like to think I'm a pretty normal girl. My hobbies are all pretty mundane- I like to cook and bake, garden, and learn new languages. I sort of collect them, actually. I'm currently learning the ancient language the Olympians use. It's been driving me crazy when I hear that Automatons talking in it, not knowing what they're saying.
(chuckles) I'm sure it can be very frustrating! When I launch into Spanish, my students get really irritated because they don't understand me.
We see such character growth from you in this book. How would you describe yourself from the time where you lived on the island? How would you describe yourself as a person now?
Honestly, I'd probably best describe myself as a shut-in for most of my life. As for now... (quiet laughter) I'm a recovering shut-in. And glad to be so.
For people who think they know all about the gods and mythology- what would you say to them about your story in particular?
Most stories are written by victors- or at least, the people with the loudest, strongest voices. I suppose myths are like that, too; they showed lessons people were to learn from, warning them against crossing the gods and goddesses. My story... Bernie tells me that it's a classic case of victim blaming, and that it's a crock of... (coughs politely) untruths.
After being cursed for so long-do you still struggle with guilt and abhor your looks?
Oh, to be sure. It's.... (presses a hand against her chest) hard knowing that there are people out there whose last breath was stolen by me. I will never forget those people. Never. No matter what Jocko or Hades tell me. (is quiet for a long moment) It's funny how superficial the world is about looks. I have been called both beautiful and monstrous in appearance. I think I much rather people judge me for what's in here (taps on chest again) than here (motions to face).
You only have two friends to begin with. How would you describe your relationship with Mikkos?
(tears up a little) Mikkos always had the largest and most beautiful of hearts. I am grateful that my life has been blessed with his presence. I love him. It's that simple.
Ok girl- spill it. How would you describe Hermes? And how would he describe you?
(blushes hard) He is my best friend. The very best person I know- or have ever known. As for how he describes me... (looks off to the other side of the room, where Hermes is sitting, watching) (blushes harder) He says he'd say the same exact thing about me.
(sighs) You two are adorable. Your love story is by far one of my all time favorites and one I will always reference in the future.
How surprised were you by your allies? Out of everyone- did you ever expect the two you got to play such a critical role in your story?
Being isolated for so long, and hearing story after story of how the gods and goddesses ruined lives such as mine, I feel I was... justifiably wary. Going to Olympus... I really had no idea what to expect. But Hermes assured me I could trust his allies, and of course, he'd never failed me yet, so... (laughs quietly) I am so grateful to have the people I have in my life.
Can you tell us about Bernie and Jocko? How much of an impact did they have on you? Both are not as they seem and that was really interesting!
I love them so very, very much. While I no longer see Jocko on a daily basis (as he's incredibly busy with his work), he still checks in on me frequently; I am glad for this, because, despite what most would think, he has a beautiful soul. Bernie, though... Every girl needs a Bernie in her life, I think. Both of these dear people have taught me that, sometimes, family is more than just blood. Family is love. Family is who we hold close to our hearts.
Finally, what advice would you offer to other young women who have been victims such as you were?
You are not alone. You are not at fault. You are loved; do not give up. Do not isolate yourself; do not stay silent. Do not lose faith in humanity. Reach out for help.
To wrap us up, I have few fun questions for you!
If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Paris. (looks over at Hermes; grins widely)
If you could only have one possession with you at all times, what would it be?
I would, of course, wish to have my loved ones with me. But if we're talking about physical possessions (which people most definitely aren't).... a statue Bernie gave me once- to remind me that, no matter how much we may wish to, we cannot erase the past. We can only take what we've learned and move forward.
What is the greatest gift you've received on your journey to where you are now?
Love. Love is always the best gift anyone can give or receive. Love from a friend, lover, family... it's all beautiful and so very, very precious.
Thanks so much Medusa for being here with me today! I am in awe of your strength and you are such an inspiration to others. 
Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

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  1. I love Greek Mythology and always have. I'm not too picky about which one it is about. I think this book sounds excellent! Thanks for your great review!

    Kristalyn @ The Sarcastic Palmtree

  2. I cannot wait to read this book! It just sounds so incredible and I love her writing. I am also a sucker for a good love story. Great review!

  3. I loved this review, and I adored this book! You are so right! Hermes and Medusa's love! Oh, so wonderful and beautiful! Watching it grow, and seeing how much they cared for each other.. made my heart just so happy!! :D Heather did an amazing job telling this story!

    GREAT review!!

  4. This sounds like a really well-developed story. I'm glad you loved it so much. I love your passionate review!

  5. I would like to read a story about Phoebe. I've always been fascinated with Phoebe and named one of my dogs after her.

  6. Great job Jessica! I loved your interview, especially Medusa's answer that Love is the greatest gift! So sweet.

  7. Awesome review and loved the interview! I am aching to purchase this but I will read the Fate series first! I will, I will, I will! (Wants ALL the books!!!)

  8. What a beautiful review! I fell madly in love with this story, and had such a hard time writing my review, because I wanted to show everyone how amazing it was, and was afraid I wouldn't do it justice. I loved your interview with Medusa! Heather has such a beautiful writing style, and your review was absolutely amazing and on point!


    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape


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