This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s theme is a freebie, so in honor of the end of summer I wanted to list my Top Ten Books that feature the ocean! I’ve also scattered in a few photos of the ocean that I took over the last couple of weeks, since I’m lucky enough to live in a place where it’s (usually) pretty gorgeous and warm.
So here’s my list, and I’d love to know what your favorite books about the ocean might be!
This is a gorgeous novel by an author that I really love, about two women who revolutionized the scientific community in the 1800s by discovering a series of fossils on the English seaside. I had never heard of Mary Anning before reading this, but this is a fictional account of actual historical facts!
On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, poor and uneducated Mary Anning learns that she has a unique gift: “the eye” to spot fossils no one else can see. When she uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious community on edge, the townspeople to gossip, and the scientific world alight. After enduring bitter cold, thunderstorms, and landslips, her challenges only grow when she falls in love with an impossible man.
Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne and Griffin series is one of my favorite in the m/m romance genre. It’s a paranormal historical set in a fictional sea town, where dark magic cults and monsters lurk beneath the surface of an otherwise normal city. I won’t spoil too much, but Whyborne has a great connection to the sea, in a plot twist that I absolutely love!
Between his bullying father and dissolute brother, Percival Endicott Whyborne has quite enough problematic family members to deal with. So when his sister returns to Widdershins asking for help solving the mystery of a derelict ship, Whyborne is reluctant to get involved. Until, that is, a brutal murderer strikes, leaving Whyborne and his lover Griffin no choice but to take the case.
TJ Klune’s Bear, Otter, and the Kid trilogy is about two brothers who build their own family after their mother abandons them. The ocean plays a huge role in all three books, as both brothers go to the beach to find their calm when things start to get overwhelming. I picked the cover for the third book for this meme only because it’s more fitting.
Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.
I think The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one of the weaker books in the Narnia series, but I really loved it, and I actually really enjoyed the movie as well.
Okay, I really enjoyed Ben Barnes, but whatever. In typical Narnia fashion, children from our world are called into the fantasy world to help save the day, this time by sailing to the furthest reaches of the world.
“Why should your Majesty expect it? My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise and Peepiceek will be head of the talking mice in Narnia.” – Reepicheep
This book won a whole slew of awards when it first came out, and was later turned into a movie (which I never saw). It’s a little bit magical and a little bit philosophical, but somehow Yann Martel manages to tell a story about a boy and a tiger trapped in a small boat together in a way that is not just interesting, but fully captivating for hundreds of pages!
When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea.
I actually reviewed this book over the summer. It’s the third in a trilogy that blends Greek mythology with modern day. About a Girl is a gorgeous story that loosely follows the story of Jason and the Argonauts, as a young woman named Tally travels to the Pacific coast in search of answers about her past.
Eighteen-year-old Tally is absolutely sure of everything: her genius, the love of her adoptive family, the loyalty of her best friend, Shane, and her future career as a Nobel prize-winning astronomer. There’s no room in her tidy world for heartbreak or uncertainty–or the charismatic, troubled mother who abandoned her soon after she was born. But when a sudden discovery upends her fiercely ordered world, Tally sets out on an unexpected quest to seek out the reclusive musician who may hold the key to her past–and instead finds Maddy, an enigmatic and beautiful girl who will unlock the door to her future.
I don’t even care that the Percy Jackson books are written for younger kids… I love them! Here’s another series that combines mythology and modern day, this time in the form of a boy named Percy, who discovers that he is the half-human son of the god Poseidon.
After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There’s little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus.
If you’ve ever poked your head into the m/m romance genre, you’ve almost certainly heard of the Cut & Run series by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. The series follows two FBI agents who are partnered together against their will, only to find themselves falling in love.
Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back on the job, settled into a personal and professional relationship built on fierce protectiveness and blistering passion. Now they’re assigned to impersonate two members of an international smuggling ring—an out-and-proud married couple—on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. As their boss says, surely they’d rather kiss each other than be shot at, and he has no idea how right he is.
Eth’s Skin is a gorgeous work-in-progress web comic set in a fantasy version of British Columbia, where mermaids and magic coexist alongside the fisherman and townsfolk. The art is beautiful, and the story is lovely so far! You can read the webcomic here!
Under a sickle moon on an empty stone beach Eth mistakes a selkie skin for their own, and ends up having to make a journey to a distant cove in order to put things right. It’s a queer (and genderqueer) fantasy full of monsters and low tides, cool non-binary individuals, queer relationships, and a pet pygmy harbour seal named Goblin.
I love love LOVE everything that Anna Zabo has written, including this urban fantasy. It’s another m/m romance set on a cruise ship, but this time featuring fae, vampires, and one very confused artist. It’s super hot, has some great mythology, and the characters are fantastic!
On a transatlantic cruise to New York, sculptor Rhys Matherton struggles to piece his life back together after losing his mother, inheriting a fortune, and finding out his father isn’t his father after all. He spills a tray of drinks on a handsome stranger, then he finds himself up against a wall getting the best hand-job he’s ever had. And for the first time in his life, he feels whole.
And a bonus book:
Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan is probably one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. It’s not about a literal ocean, but instead a metaphorical one. The story follows two boys, one who is autistic and the other who has serious depression and anxiety attacks.
my emotions feel loud and big. its hard for me to keep hold of them. they weigh me down. make me heavy and tired and overwhelmed. sometimes I feel like everyone else is carrying a bucket of water but I’m trying to carry an ocean. its very hard. sometimes I would rather not carry my ocean, even if it meant I couldn’t be alive… (ePub page 87)
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