The Summer Of Shambles by Ebony McKenna- GIVEAWAY+ Guest Post+ Review

Author: Ebony McKenna
Publisher: Egmont
Publishing Date: April 5th 2010
Blurb Description: Dive into this wonderfully witty young adult series from author Ebony McKenna, set in the far off European country of Brugel.
15-year-old Ondine is struggling to fit in at Psychic Summercamp and doubts she possesses any of her family's magical abilities. She resolves to leave, determined to follow her own path and be a normal teenager. Whatever normal is in a place like Brugel.

On the way home Ondine is shocked when her pet ferret Shambles starts talking - in a cheeky Scottish accent no less! He is in fact a young man trapped in a witch's curse. When he briefly transforms into his human self, Ondine is smitten. If only she can break the spell for good, Shambles can be handsomely human on a full-time basis.

During the summer, these two misfits uncover a plot to assassinate a member of the royal family and discover a secret treasure that has remained hidden for decades. This attracts the attention of the arrogant Lord Vincent, and Ondine can't help being drawn in by his bad-boy charm. 
With so many demands on Ondine's attentions - and affections - normal has never seemed so far away.
The Summer of Shambles is the first in the four-part ONDINE series. Fans of The Princess Bride or the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series will love this delightfully quirky fairytale.


Ferrets as heroes

It feels like I’m telling an enormous fib, but I never set out to write a novel about ferrets. The idea that kicked off the Ondine series centered on a teen girl with a pet on her shoulder. The pet jumped onto the ground and changed into a Scottish lad in the moonlight (with fireflies darting all around).

Initially - and this is the proper truth - the pet was a rat and not a ferret.

Then the little voice in my head said, “Rat’s have been done. What about a ferret?”

I’ve never had a pet ferret, so I didn’t know much about them. This, as it turns out, was a blessing. By the time I’d finished the first draft, Shambles the ferret had spent most of his time darting about, getting lost, eating too much, raising a stink and being all kinds of hilarious. Real ferrets spend about 80% of their time sleeping. Probably for the best that I didn’t know that. It would have made Shambles pretty dreary!

Ferrets are made for comedy; racing down drainpipes, scampering about, sleeping in a tangled knot. In real life, they have also been used in construction. In the 1960s, Boeing used ferrets to run wiring through the tight spots in aircraft construction. This enterprise did not last very long, as the ferrets sometimes fell asleep in those inaccessible spots and not come out for hours. 

Ferrets were also used at the Millennium Dome in London. Organizers had an immovable deadline - December 31, 1999. It was impossible to use rods and poles to shove electrical wires through the tunnels under the stage. Enter the ferrets fitted with snug nylon harnesses. Owners attached cables to the harness and the ferrets were set into the tunnels - lured out the other side with some choice cuts of meat. (This would have circumvented the ‘falling asleep’ problem that caused Boeing so many headaches.) 

The name ferret comes from Latin, which means ‘little thief’. It’s only a tiny step from there to imagine ferrets being awesome at espionage, what with being able to slink about like they do. Suddenly the teenage girl in my head was warning a local Duke about a threat to his life - with a ferret wrapped around her pretending to be a scarf. Everything started coming together after that.

I wanted a truly sexy hero for my teen girl as well. He had to be funny, a bit rude and full of adventure. So he pretty much had to be Scottish because Scots are the funniest people on earth. From there, it felt like a great fit to have a lad trapped in a ferret’s body as a form of punishment.

To be a true hero Shambles the ferret had to be heroic. Many times when he was heroically stupid he made me laugh out loud. Without giving away spoilers, Shambles (or Hamish the lad) grows to love Ondine, and understands that he needs to be good enough for her. This gives him the chance to step up and be a proper hero.



A fairy tale retelling- that makes you feel like you’re riding with Cinderella in the carriage to the ball or singing with the animals like Snow White- with a modernized, hilariously unique twist- The Summer of Shambles is one book you CANNOT miss!

Ondine is your perfect teenager- craving romance, freedom a little bit of drama and more that a bit of magic all while searching for her individuality. She has fights with her mother, sisters, arguments that finally land up in her winning with her father- and now, a talking ferret that she can’t stop thinking about!

Shambles was simply brilliant- a Scottish ragamuffin with a conscious and so, SO delightful! He comes off as a rouge in the beginning but not too much after you see what an absolute darling he can be! When he does turn temporarily into a man, all of this gets even better!- I LOVED every minute of the romance between Ondine and Hamish!

An assassination plot, a gorgeous, sneaky prince, a ferret that can’t remain a man, a fun loving, all around crazy family, a whole boatload of romance!- READ IT!

My Verdict:

If you’ve ever read a fairy tale, this is the perfect YA book to make you feel the same way!


  1. Thanks so much for holding this giveaway! I have the Summer of Shambles on my TBR shelf and I'm looking forward to it. :-)

  2. Oh my god! This books sounds fantastic!! I need to get my hands on a copy ASAP!! Thank you for this amazing review, guest post and of course introducing me to this book!