Smashwords book reviews by Asheley (@BookwormAsheley)
on Jan. 14, 2012
I am so, so excited that I got a chance to read Sherry Gammon's UNLOVABLE. This story is absolutely incredible. I'm not one to typically pick up contemporary stories, romances, or crime thrillers - and I've just read all of that rolled into one! From pretty much the moment I started reading, I was hooked and completely attached to these characters.
Here's why you need to read UNLOVABLE now:
1. The Characters. EVERY ONE written expertly, well-developed, and completely believable.
**Seth & Maggie. Seth is the undercover cop posing as a high school student; while on assignment, he falls hopelessly in love with Maggie. Maggie is the dangerously thin, dark-eyed but beautiful, co-dependent student that is the object of his affection. Maggie has a crush on Seth too, but she can't believe that he would ever be interested in her. She has no idea Seth is a cop - she just thinks he is an unbelievably handsome guy that suddenly has taken an interest in her. Maggie has major trust issues that stem from losing her grandparents, an alcoholic/verbally abusive mother, and guys that dated her only for that one thing. But Seth is patient and kind, and their relationship develops slowly - a sweet and lovely slow-burn. By the time they've fallen in love, it is clear that Seth would do anything to protect Maggie, including lay down his life for her.
**Booker & Cole. Seth's best friends. Booker is a fellow cop that is like Seth's brother. Cole is a rising doctor with a heart of gold, and he ends up taking care of Maggie's critically ill mother. Both of these guys are supportive of Seth in both his job and his relationship with Maggie. By the end of the story, both of these guys have grown to love Maggie like family - they genuinely adore her and this is obvious in the writing. Because they love Maggie so much, the readers love them even more. These are some of the best supporting characters I've ever read.
**Barbara Brown. Maggie's mother. An alcoholic, she never tells Maggie she loves her and is never able to come to terms with her addiction. Correction: She never WANTS to come to terms with her addiction, always choosing booze over her child. She causes Maggie so much heartache, and it broke my heart to read about it.
**Bill & Alan. The bad guys/drug dealers. Excellent villains, they're rotten to the core. The closer the cops came to destroying their drug ring, the more ruthless and awful they became.
2. The Romance. Beautifully written. Seth completely swept me off my feet. I was so emotionally invested in Seth and Maggie as a couple, and this spilled over to the secondary characters because of the role that each of them played in the lives of Seth and Maggie. While the circumstances surrounding their "getting together" were definitely not ideal (the heroin ring, the starving child, etc.), I was absolutely captivated by the complete and total falling-in-love. It was a very passionate love affair without any sexual tension, innuendo, or sex scenes. I agree that it is nice to read about passionate love in books, but there is something to be said for a sweet romance where two people are innocently swept off of their feet. It was so refreshing and I loved it.
3. The Crime. Oh my gracious! I haven't spent too much time reading crime/thriller stories, but why on earth not? The crime part of the plot was intense and action-packed. I was literally flipping the pages faster and faster during those scenes because my heart was pounding as I was pulling for the good guys. UNLOVABLE is a well-written, believable crime tale that kept me engaged, and it is perfectly paced.
This read had my emotions all over the place. I was so happy, and also sometimes sad. I was heartbroken, and also elated. I was full of righteous anger, but I was thrilled when justice was served. I am amazed that this author could have me all over the map so well with her debut. In the end, my heart was warmed and I will shamelessly admit to hugging this book.
I just really loved this one, you guys! When I finished the book, I took a deep breath, then I exhaled and was happy with the world. Even though there is some heartbreak in these pages, UNLOVABLE is one of those books that makes you feel good when you read it. I'm thrilled that this is the start of a series and that book two, UNBELIEVABLE, will be out soon. I honestly can't wait to get my hands on a copy of that one as soon as it is available.
If you are a fan of romance, and don't mind something clean, something a little different - don't wait a second longer - please do yourself a favor and get this book! If you like contemporary crime stories, you should give this one a try. No matter if you are a fan of action-driven stories or character-driven stories, this one will be perfect for you. It was amazing and I can't wait for UNBELIEVABLE to be released.
Series like Marina's Tales are exactly why more people should give Self-Published and Indie published authors a chance. When I found out about it - a series about mermaids - I knew I wanted to read it because to my recollection I've never read any mermaid stories before. Great call, Asheley! Between The Land And The Sea is the first book in the series and I loved it.
Let's talk about why you should add Between The Land And The Sea to your to-be-read list:
1. The Characters. There are a ton of characters in this book, and they are all incredible, well-developed, and three-dimensional. They are all people I would want to know. It would take up too much space to list the things I love about them all, but I'll tell you about the main characters:
**Marina. After growing up wealthy and privileged in San Francisco, she moves to Aptos while her father works abroad. There, she lives with cousin Cruz and Aunt Abby in a very small house. Marina never knew her mother but was 'mothered' by Aunt Evie, the eccentric and famous lady next door that loved to lavish her with expensive gifts. While in Aptos, Marina discovers she has a love for the ocean and comes to realize this is because she is part-mermaid. She also falls in love with Ethan.
**Ethan. Handsome, tanned, working-class boy who becomes Marina's love interest. He surfs. He works hard and has goals. He's patient and kind and protective. Loved him.
For so many of the characters to be high-schoolers, they are all so believable. They are going through what high-school age people go through, they aren't overly mature, they don't speak overly adult-like. Ethan has a good head on his shoulders and his patience and level-headedness balanced out Marina's girlish emotion and occasional bad decisions. And the adults, particular Aunt Abby and Ethan's father, were wonderfully believable as well. Only Aunt Evie was outlandish - but that was written into her character and there's a reason for it. Great, great set of characters.
2. The Setting. Aptos. I want to move there. Not only is the town described well but the description of the houses, the farmer's market, and the shore are equally great. I've spoken before of how sometimes, to me, settings can be like characters -- Aptos seems to be very fleshed out, if that is even possible. I love my own real-life proximity to the ocean, but I still found myself wanting to live in a place like Aptos.
3. The Mermaids. I'm new to this area of the paranormal. The mermaids are fascinating to me. Beautiful, with their own language, and their skin glowed in the water! Oh, and they communicated with animals! They were also very protective over Marina, which came in handy for her a few times when she was clumsy or made some bad decisions. These same mermaids seem to have some sort of strong pull over Marina that always led her toward the ocean, which was a little fascinating and mysterious and strange...I had to keep reading because I had no idea where this would end up. What a payoff, though.
4. The Romance. I love this romance. There is no triangle because Marina and Ethan have eyes only for each other the entire time! Theirs is the very definition of a slow-burn, and it was so lovely to read. I personally enjoyed the scenes between Marina and Ethan more than I did the scenes with the mermaids, but this is undoubtedly because Ethan is so doggone charming.
5. Surfing. I know pretty much nothing about surfing, despite loving the ocean so much. But there's plenty of surfing in this book and I thought it was neat.
I know I'm sounding repetitive, but this story was so much fun to read. It is definitely a romance but with the mermaid element, there is definitely some extra supernatural spunk. I didn't really know what to expect, as it was my first mermaid book, but I really loved the story and once I finished it I started book two fairly quickly.
Author Derrolyn Anderson has put together a strong series opener with Between The Land And The Sea. The characters, the setting, and the romance are all written incredibly well. If you're a fan of Indie authors, I'd love to introduce you to Marina's Tales. If you are a fan of mermaid stories, these are incredible. If you love slow-burning romance, you'll love Ethan! If you're a fan of the ocean in any way, you'll find something in this book that you'll love. Between The Land And The Sea is age-appropriate and will be enjoyed by YA readers as well as adults.