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Ondine Paperback – Jun 10 2010

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Egmont UK (June 10 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405249617
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405249614
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #656,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

The decision to leave a career in journalism was a logical choice for Ebony. There wasn't enough time in the day to write the fictional stories she wanted to tell, against the factual that she had to tell. She followed her heart towards writing science fiction, romance and young adult adventures. Ebony now writes full time and lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and young son.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ondine decides to leave early from psychic summer camp with her new pet ferret, Shambles, since she feels that she doesn’t fit in the program. On the train back home, she discovers that Shambles can talk with a Scottish accent. He explains that he used to be a man called Hamish McPhee, and that he was turned into a ferret by an angry witch. Ondine soon understands that the witch in question is her aunt Col. While Ondine tries to find a way to turn Shambles back to his human form, a plot to kill the Duke is discovered, and a lost treasure is found.

The Summer of Shambles is the first book in the Ondine series. It is an entertaining young adult romance, and the world Ebony McKenna has created is believable and interesting. Throughout the book, the author uses fun, tongue-in-cheek footnotes that add to the story. I especially liked Hamish’s character with his playful repartee and mischievous personality. However, I thought that his vices seemed to disappear all too easily when he became human again. In the end, this book will appeal to teenage girls in search of adventure and romance with a sprinkle of magic. They will certainly want to read the 3 other books in the series, one book for each season.

The Summer of Shambles was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.
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Format: Paperback
Source: Received from author. Many thanks goes to Ebony McKenna for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5/5

Ondine de Groot is a normal girl, residing in Brugel. She has adopted a ferret named Shambles, and is surprised to learn that he talks. She is further surprised when she learns that he was once a young man, and that a witch, related to her, had cursed him to spend his life as a ferret. She sets out to break the spell on him, but can she do it, or is he doomed to spend eternity as a ferret?
I absolutely loved this book. I found both Ondine and Shambles engaging, I loved their banter, and found myself immersed fully in their world. Shambles is a cheeky ferret, and it's quite easy to see how he got into trouble in the first place. His Scottish accent makes him all the more endearing, and his phrases will have you giggling in no time. I absolutely loved, and have never seen before in a fiction novel, the footnotes. They explained certain phrases, so we could follow along easily. Most of the time, the footnotes were tongue in cheek, and the explanations were just as funny as the original phrasing.
Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with the characters; and enjoyed getting to know Ondine's full family, as well as Shambles, and Ondine herself. Her parents, and siblings, as well as their respective partners kick up the action, and they keep Ondine on her toes. Things are quite lively, and I found the book refreshing. I cannot wait for the next installment in this series. I'm rooting for Shambles/Hamish and Ondine, and can't wait to see where McKenna takes them next. If this book is any indication, we are in for a treat.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa03e0e58) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa04026b4) out of 5 stars Pure brain candy! A perfect summer read! July 18 2013
By Donna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The Summer of Shambles was a riot of quirky fun. Full of energy and vivacious characters, it was everything that I could wish for in a light summertime read. I was first drawn to the book because of the gorgeous cover which is such a great reflection of what the reader can expect to find inside.

Ondine is just an average teen off for a summer at psychic summer camp when her life suddenly turns topsy turvy by an impudent talking ferret who just happens to be a boy named Hamish, cursed to live as a ferret by a witch he annoyed. Hamish's antics kept me entertained. The writing highlights his thick scottish brogue which, in my head, I read his character with Hagrid's voice (from Harry Potter). This made seeing him as a love interest a little difficult, but no less entertaining for me! The author said David Tennant from Dr. Who was the voice that inspired Shambles accent. I'm sure he's more relationship-able than Hagrid, but it was incredible fun to imagine that gruff voice coming from a ferret!

This book was just so entertaining to read! The Summer of Shambles is absolutely original but with a classic fairy tale feel. One of the high points of the writing was the snarky footnotes scattered throughout. While this could have been a distraction, it ended up being an enjoyable element that helped to set the tone and added to the world building.

Of course there was the romance which was sweet and pretty well done. I liked both of these characters so much that I couldn't help but root for them! Hamish kind of steals the show, but Ondine herself is a feisty lass that is every bit a match for that roguish ferret.

Ultimately, The Summer of Shambles is pure brain candy. The dialog is amusing and easy to follow, the pacing is energetic, and the overall tone is lighthearted and playful. There's romance, accents, witchery, magic curses, footnotes, and a nefarious plot to uncover. In short, a perfect summertime read. I think this would appeal particularly to middle grade to younger YA readers. I would also recommend this to anyone who likes to enjoy a feelgood story in between books with heavier themes.

I received a Kindle copy of The Summer of Shambles from the author for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0402b34) out of 5 stars A fantasy that sparkles with romance and wit July 26 2011
By Michelle Fayard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
With warm wit and believable imagination, Ebony McKenna scores a ten with her debut romantic fantasy Ondine: Summer of Shambles.

The book opens with Ondine de Groot leaving summer psychic camp two weeks early, dreading how to tell her parents she's failing her studies. She also must figure out how to explain something else--that she's befriended a ferret, nickname Shambles, who not only can talk but is an enchanted Scottish laird. Ondine wisely decides not to mention that she's falling just the teensiest bit (OK, head over heels) in love with him.

Oh, and one more complication: It was Ondine's great aunt who put the spell on Hamish McPhee. Sheesh, as if being an overprotected 15 year old isn't bad enough!

To prove to Auntie Col he is worthy of being a man again, Hamish tries to help Ondine and her family run their pub, not an easy task when you look like a weasel and customers threaten to call the health inspector when they see you. While taking refuge underneath a table, Hamish overhears a plot to assassinate the country's leader.

Ondine and her da tell the duke what they've learned but don't understand why he and his son now are threatening to close down their establishment--until the de Groot family discovers, hidden in their pub, a box filled with jewels, money and documents that point to a scandal in the duke's family.

As Hamish's good deeds start to have a positive effect on Auntie Col's spell he is able to transform, for a few hours at a time, into his human form. As Col explains, "You've had a glimpse of the man you once were and can be again. The rest is up to you." But Ondine has another take: "What is the point of falling in love with a man if he turns back into a ferret when the moon goes down?"

The book ends on another suspenseful note as the duke offers Hamish a job working for him as a spy in his ferret form. What a "Shambles" this should be!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0402bac) out of 5 stars Funny & lovely read Oct. 30 2010
By jen7waters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Oh this book...SO. MUCH. FUN.

Really it is. I pretty much laughed my way through it, only pausing for a brief period of time almost at the end when it looked like a line of people had formed itself to slap Ondine straight in the face - not cool, you bastards. So, as I was saying, I laughed so hard with this book that the laughing itself was the main reason for me not to finish it in the same night I started it, because my neighborhood was so quiet, rested, self asleep...and then there was me, laughing-out-loud like a mad hatter. I was positive that if I didn't put the book down, I was going to awake someone up.

And why this book is so hilarious, you ask? Well, it is the tale of a spitfire teenage girl, a Scottish ferret-boy, and of a normal (meaning: a lovely, crazy and sometimes embarrassing) family, so of course it is hilarious. Plus, they all live in Brugel. A fictitious European country that never once won the Eurovision Song Contest and always gives 12 points to Slovakia. (Hang in there people of Brugel, my country has never won it either, but our turn will come!) And if this story takes place in the contemporary era, one barely notices because Brugel is stuck in time. Proof number one: there's no internet, which gives the story yet more of that fairy tale tone I appreciate so much.

Please note that this is one of those lighthearted, warm and fuzzy, to-read-in-a-couple-of-hours book, which was just what I needed when I picked it up. Ebony has one of the most amusing, clever, altogether entertaining voices I've ever came across, which is precisely why I'm not even telling more about the plot of the story in the review - because, despite the fact that it is a delightful tale, full of creative scenarios and great advice -especially for the youngsters-, I also feel like it doesn't even matter, for I'm sure I'd have enjoyed reading the phonebook this much if only Ebony had written it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0402f3c) out of 5 stars Courtesy of Lost for Words Aug. 20 2010
By Cor Lost For Words - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from author. Many thanks goes to Ebony McKenna for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5/5

Ondine de Groot is a normal girl, residing in Brugel. She has adopted a ferret named Shambles, and is surprised to learn that he talks. She is further surprised when she learns that he was once a young man, and that a witch, related to her, had cursed him to spend his life as a ferret. She sets out to break the spell on him, but can she do it, or is he doomed to spend eternity as a ferret?
I absolutely loved this book. I found both Ondine and Shambles engaging, I loved their banter, and found myself immersed fully in their world. Shambles is a cheeky ferret, and it's quite easy to see how he got into trouble in the first place. His Scottish accent makes him all the more endearing, and his phrases will have you giggling in no time. I absolutely loved, and have never seen before in a fiction novel, the footnotes. They explained certain phrases, so we could follow along easily. Most of the time, the footnotes were tongue in cheek, and the explanations were just as funny as the original phrasing.
Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with the characters; and enjoyed getting to know Ondine's full family, as well as Shambles, and Ondine herself. Her parents, and siblings, as well as their respective partners kick up the action, and they keep Ondine on her toes. Things are quite lively, and I found the book refreshing. I cannot wait for the next installment in this series. I'm rooting for Shambles/Hamish and Ondine, and can't wait to see where McKenna takes them next. If this book is any indication, we are in for a treat.
All in all, McKenna's humour adds another dimension to the book, and leaves us begging for more. An excellent debut novel; one, that I think we should all read. It is a lighthearted, and vibrant read that will burrow itself into your heart. This is one book that I know I will be re-reading in the future. It is a feel-good tale that kept me involved, and guessing what would happen next. The next book isn't out until February 2011. February cannot come soon enough.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa040f090) out of 5 stars Original, cute, fairytale romantic comedy June 19 2010
By Kate McMurry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fifteen-year-old Ondine de Groot lives at her family's business, a combination hotel and pub in the imaginary Eastern European country of Brugel. Ondine has worked for years alongside her mother, father and two older sisters cleaning rooms, serving customers and scrubbing dirty dishes. But at the start of the story her mother has sent her to the other side of Brugel to Psychic Summercamp for several weeks in order to develop her extra-sensory skills. Though these are accepted as a normal and desirable part of life in Brugel, Ondine doesn't believe she has any such talents, in spite of her mother's insistence that Ondine must be psychic because it runs in the family. Bored and homesick after only a week at camp, Ondine decides to sneak out of camp and run away to her home. Her only hesitation before leaving is what to do with Shambles. He's an adorable ferret who showed up not long before, "face-deep in her secret stash of Brugelwurst sausage," and he's been following her like a lap dog ever since. He's so attached to Ondine, in fact, she feels guilty about leaving him behind. She's convinced her mother wouldn't want a ferret at their hotel, so she tells herself if she brings Shambles along, she can find him a good home with someone else. In the midst of her trip home, though, Shambles suddenly begins talking to her in a thick Scottish accent, and Ondine wonders if she's gone crazy. Shambles assures her she hasn't. He can talk because he used to be a Scottish laird named Hamish until he angered a witch. She put a spell on him that changed him into a ferret and has also preserved him, in a non-aging state, for scores of years. And thus begins the hilarious adventures of Ondine's "Summer of Shambles."

The structure of this book is quite original. The author has written it in a fairy-tale, omniscient voice with a witty, intrusive narrator who reminds me of a combination of the narrator in Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice and the voiceover narrator of the classic movie, A Christmas Story. Ondine is an appealing character, producing many very amusing moments as she is tugged in multiple directions by the demands of her various family members, but most of all by the antics of Shambles/Hamish. Ondine's quirky relatives are a big part of the fun, especially her mother, and the villain is very well suited to a fairy tale. But of all the great characters in this book, Shambles/Hamish steals the show. He is outrageously outspoken, and a hilarious mixture of man and ferret in his living habits. His eternal pursuit of sausage is one of the cutest plot devices for getting Shambles in trouble throughout the book, and his distinctive take on life expressed in a steady stream of Scottish colloquial expressions had me constantly chuckling. Finally, like all good romantic comedies, this book has a satisfying, upbeat ending.

The author of Ondine is from Australia, and this book was originally published in Great Britain. According to the author's website, she is busy writing a sequel so we have more of the wonderful world of Shambles and Ondine to look forward to. Hopefully the American release won't be delayed too long because I can't wait!

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5 stars
Subcharacters: 5 stars
Fantasy World-Building: 4 stars
Writing: 4 stars
Chick-Lit Plot: 4 stars
Romantic Subplot: 4 stars
Overall: 5 stars


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