Promises (Book One of The Syrenka Series)

Rated 4.25/5 based on 8 reviews
A young mermaid is forced to decide between love and duty, and when she chooses wrong, her world will change forever. More
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About Amber Garr

Amber Garr spends her days as a scientist and nights writing about other worlds. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner, author of the bestselling The Syrenka Series, The Leila Marx Novels, the award-winning The Water Crisis Chronicles, and the Death Warden Series. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie. Find out more at

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Promises Book Trailer
The first book of The Syrenka Series. A young mermaid is forced to decide between love and duty, and when she chooses wrong, her world is changed forever. Available December 2011. For more information visit

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Chasity Brewer reviewed on Oct. 20, 2012

‘Promises’ was the first mermaid novel I have ever read, and I have to say I was majorly impressed. I just may be hooked on them now, that is if they turn out to be as good as Amber Garr’s writing. ‘Promises’ was such a thrilling story; I read it in two days which honestly it probably would have only taken me a day if I had not had to work. Simply because I just didn’t want to put it down.

Eviana’s story is just so engaging and refreshing. It sucks you in from the beginning. Eviana is the eldest daughter to one of the most powerful mermaid clans. She is about to turn eighteen and here parents have arranged a marriage for her, to Kain. The son of the other most powerful clan, his father is very ill and Kain will need to take over in a matter of time. Once they are married they can rule the clans together, like intended.

Eviana is very upset about this entire situation not only does she not want to be in charge but she does not want to marry Kain. Sure he’s practically perfect but he’s not Brendan.
Brendan is Eviana’s true love; however he is not a mermaid, which causes major problems for everyone. He is a selkie, a shifter. Mermaids and selkies don’t belong together they have different mating rules. Her parents forbid her to see Brendan and Brendan has to hid his relationship, so the question is how far will Brendan and Eviana go to be together and what will be the cost?

I have to say I really sympathize for Eviana and I understand why she does everything she does to be with Brendan but however I do have to admit I have a soft spot for Kain and a big part of me wanted Eviana to just give in and marry him. Honestly part of me is still hoping she takes her place beside him :D

Anyways I loved the plot; it wasn’t what I call a repeat plot. Where you pretty much know what’s going to happen just with new characters and a slight difference. No this was fresh and I had no idea what was going to happen, I loved the amazing sea creatures that she brought to life, I had never even thought of that.

I definitely cannot wait to read more of this series and since I have the other two already downloaded, I won’t have to wait long, so check back for the reviews on those!
Amber Garr had definitely earned a spot on my favorites list, and I will be reading everything she comes out wi
(reviewed 87 days after purchase)
Lovey Dovey Books reviewed on Sep. 11, 2012

Promises is a very promising beginning to a mystical series by Amber Garr. Responsibility, image, and hard decisions for love fall on the shoulders of young mermaid Eviana Dumahl. Her story is tragic and heartbreaking, but will inspire readers with hope.

Eviana shows her stubborn and defiant attitude right from the opening of the novel. Once true love shows her the way, she stays on that path no matter the consequences. Her bravery is to be admired, though, on the other hand, her risk-taking lands her in the place she had wanted to avoid: leader of the Dumahl clan.

The most fascinating aspect of Promises is that there is so much more for readers to learn about the vivid world the characters live in right along with Eviana. From an inevitable war to creatures once thought extinct, Eviana's journey changes her profoundly. Garr has certainly piqued interest with her selfish heroine turned determined leader and turbulent romances.

The Syrenka Series has much in store for readers. Promises has set the series' standard as fast-paced and entertaining making its following novels, Betrayal and Arise ones to look forward to!

Also posted on Lovey Dovey Books
(reviewed 55 days after purchase)
Karen H reviewed on Aug. 20, 2012

I’m pleased to read this book as it is my first mermaid book and it was a wonderful experience. I love that events unfolded one right after the other and twists were un-ending. I don’t particularly know what to expect from a mermaid book; as in there are certain thing I’d expect of a vampire / werewolves but aside from tails and being able to swim like a fish, I’d have no idea what to expect in terms of power, race protocols / cultures, etc. So, it was a fascinating read into another world of mythical sea creatures.

Unfortunately, it was also a very painful read for me. Just because I’m rooting for the other guy! Now, I know what those in Team Jacob (Twilight) or Team Gale (Hunger Games) feel!! And it’s just awful L In saying that, I want to continue reading the series in the hopes that something (not necessarily them ending up together) will make me feel better about this book / series.

Whilst I found the story to have many interesting layers, I found most characters to be under-develop or nearly invisible to me. The book focused so much on Eviana Dumahl that all others were just props; just visible in the background. Maybe this is because this is the first book in the series so hopefully we’ll get to see a lot more of other characters in the next books.

I am a little conservative in my star rating as I did truly enjoy the story & the Syrenka world but am still in anguish over whom Eviana chose. Nevertheless, she grew up pretty much overnight into a powerful tough and determined Syrenka so I’m really interested as to how she will perform next. I reserve the right to cheer for the other team ;p
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)
Dominika Gołąb reviewed on Aug. 16, 2012

I picked this book to review because I heard a lot of good things about it and also the name of the series made me smile. Syrenka is a polish word for mermaids!

I see that almost everyone loves mermaid books. This is the second book of that type I read and so far… YES! YES! YES!

I loved the world Amber created. It’s full of magical creatures and amazing characters. Some are crazy, some are caring and some are simply stupid. I hated the main heroine, Eviana. I understood her feelings but she acted too much like me and… I know it’s stupid. She left the clan because they forced her to marry someone she didn’t love and ran away with a selkie. I’M NEVER GOING TO UNDERSTAND SELKIES. She is so blinded in love that she can’t realize that her lover is an idiot. I knew from the beginning how it’s going to end.

I’m team Kain for sure, but he is even too perfect. Handsome, caring, strong… It doesn’t matter, I love him.

Basically, this book is about a mermaid who left her clan and amazing boy who’s in love in her for a weird selkie. In between, there is a war. It’s simple, sounds stupid but it’s amazing. I don’t even know why I liked it, but I did.
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)
sarah uk reviewed on Aug. 9, 2012

(I received a digital copy of this book for free as part of the ‘Syrenka’ Blog Tour!)
This is book 1 in the ‘Syrenka’ series.
17-year-old Eviana is a mermaid. Not only is she a mermaid, but she is her clan leaders eldest child, which means that she will be the next clan leader. Mermaids are a dying species, which means that they must marry and breed appropriately. Eviana’s parents have arranged a marriage for her, to Kain – the heir of the Matthew’s clan, who as mermen go, is quite a catch.
Eviana and Kain have known about this arrangement since they were very young, but while Kain obviously has feelings for Eviana, Eviana has a boyfriend, a selkie (seal) called Brandon who her parents don’t approve of (as mermaids and selki’s can’t breed together).
With Eviana’s 18th birthday only a few weeks away, her marriage is fast approaching, and she knows that as much as she likes Kain, she belongs with Brandon, and they begin to make plans to run away together.
With tensions running high between Eviana and her parents, a Syrenka Cotillion to attend, and her wedding day looming, Eviana throws her entire life away to run away with Brandon, even when she knows that Kain would be a great husband and that they would be good together.
But when disaster strikes, and Brandon’s life is on the line, Eviana finds that having no family and friends to turn to could mean that she loses the only thing that she ever truly wanted, and she must swallow her embarrassment and ask the people that she left behind for help.

I really enjoyed this book, from the very first page I was swept into Eviana’s world, with both its magical beings, and teenage normalcy. I loved how Eviana’s problems were so similar to those of a normal teen – parents wanting her to do what she doesn’t want to do, parents not approving of her boyfriend, and also very different – being forced into an arranged marriage, and having to content with being the next leader of her clan.

I totally understood Eviana’s desire to run off with her boyfriend, and her wish to not have to marry at 18, but at the same time, I never for a moment thought that she would go through with it. I thought she would have a change of heart or change of circumstance and that she would stay and do her duty.
I personally was secretly hoping that she would stay and marry Kain who was a total sweetheart. He was more than happy to do his duty, especially when faced with his father’s impending death, and even offered to let Eviana continue to see Brandon in secret once they were married, which was obviously something that he knew would mean a lot to her.

Eviana was a strong female lead, she did what she wanted, but only after considering the consequences of her actions. She must have been so in love with Brandon to risk everything to be with him. Not only was she leaving her family, but her friends, clan, and way of life too. I don’t think I could ever do something like that, and I both applaud and frown upon her decision to run away. Whilst I understand that she loved Brendon and wanted to be with him, I also felt for Kain who was being jilted at the alter.

Eviana was always determined to get what she wanted, and this came across even more strongly when she was fighting for those that she loved and cared for.
If I had one complaint about the book it was when Eviana and Brendon slept together for the first time, and we were teased a bit and then told that they had ‘a wonderful night together’, I would have loved a little bit more here, nothing sordid or ‘fifty shades’, but just a little more than what we got!
Overall I liked this book though, and am looking forward to reading the second book in the series – Betrayal.
8 out of 10.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Jammie Godkin reviewed on July 17, 2012

This is actually the first book I have ever read about mermaids, so I was definitely excited to read this book and didn't know what to expect. I was kind of expecting a story that took place entirely underwater, but I really liked that they mermaids/men could transition between tail and legs at will (kind of like the tv show H2O just add water if you have seen it). Promises got straight into the story and caught my interest immediately. It had a really good pace, and got very exciting at the end making me want to read the next book as soon as I can!

In order to merge their clans Eviana has been betrothed to Kain since she was young, but she is in love with the shape-shifting selkie, Brendan. Eviana chooses the one she loves over her responsibilities and must face consequences that no one would have imagined. On the verge of a war Eviana is unexpectedly pulled back into the world she so desperately tried to leave behind and now must step forward and face her responsibilities.

Eviana annoyed me a little at the beginning, but as the story progressed and she had to start really making mature decisions I came to really like her as a character and am excited to see her have to step forward and deal with the responsibilities she is now faced with. We got to see more of Kain's feelings and affections toward Eviana than Brendan's in this book, and I always kind of have a bit of a soft spot for the underdog, so I find myself leaning more toward Kain, but I look forward to hopefully getting to know Brendan more in the next book. I really liked all of the characters in the story, and really felt for all of them when anything bad happened.

I found myself really invested in the characters and the story, so I definitely want to get my hands on the sequel Betrayal. And overall just had a really great time reading this book. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

P.s. The whole naked thing was a little funny to me, it doesn't really have anything to do with the overall story, but basically the mermaids and selkies have to undress before they change. So there are a few scenes where they have just changed back into people and they are all casually standing around naked, and I know the it's not weird to the characters because they are just used to it, but it felt funny to me having to picture them that way :)

This review was originally posted on my blog: The Confessions of a Book Nerd
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Erica Pillera reviewed on June 11, 2012

First off the covers for this trilogy are really beautifully done.

I happened to win the first two installments of this trilogy in a competition on Gravetells (an awesome website that reviews paranormal genre books - check it out)

The book is about Mermaids and Selkies (seals/shapeshifter), this is not usually a genre I go for but after recently reading the Warriors of Poseiden series by Alyssa Day I was already in a watering/sea mood.

So far I have to say the story is very well written, the plot is interesting, entertaining and flows nicely throughout.

The story had captured me within the first few chapters and I couldnt seem to put it down. Although it ended on a cliffhanger the story as a whole was excellent and I am looking forward to continuing the story in the next installment.

When I read I can see the pictures in my head and if the book is good it will follow through till the end like a movie, This book did this I saw what Eviana and Kain and the rest of the characters looked like and their attitudes and reactions to everything

Okay so characters are very well written I already see Eviana as a typical teenager that is on the cusp of being a woman, she so far has endured a number of hardships but has come out as a strong young woman.

Im not a fan of the love triangle but the author has taken this to an interesting level where I can not decide who I believe is Eviana's "Soul Mate" and it will be interesting to see who she does end up with in the end, as I am a huge fan of Kain (Who isnt - Hes rich, good looking and an all around good guy) but Brendan has the whole friends plus love thing going for him.

All up a very good book I would recommend to all fans of young adult readers and I am really looking forward to finishing this trilogy.
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)
mandy I Read Indie anderson reviewed on Jan. 3, 2012

Eviana is absolutely in love with her boyfriend and would love it if her parents would lay off her and just let them be. But there is just one little problem, Eviana is a mermaid and Brendon is a selkie. Oh yeah, she is also engaged to marry another merman, Kain. So you see, things are a little complicated for her. But all of that is just the half of her problems. When Eviana and Brendon run away to be together; things go from bad to worse for the couple. Will the family she turned her back on help her in her time of need? Will the one person she left at the altar forgive her enough to help the man she loves? And what role does Eviana play in the war raging between the clans?

This is my second book about mermaids, mermen and selkies and let me tell you…I love me some underwater mystical creatures! Eviana is torn between the love of her life and doing what is right where her family and clan are concerned. But love wins out when she and Brendon run off together. The only thing was her relationship with Brendon, like she stayed with him just because she has always been with him. I liked Brendon, I really did, but the author spent more time and detail on Kain, and Eviana’s mounting feelings for him. To me I felt that she was really starting to have real feelings for him, other than friendship. And I was hoping that she would stick around for him.

The story line is pretty predictable at first, but soon twists and turns are thrown at you, leaving you heartbroken or sorta shocked. The author did a fantastic job describing the change process for both the selkies and the mermaids, although the selkies are kinda weird with their skins and all. But everything was enjoyable to read none the less.

Promises is a really good book about following your heart and doing what is right, not only for yourself but for others as well. So glad to have been offered the chance to read this story and be welcomed into Eviana's world. Great characters and an intriguing stroryline makes me a happy girl! So much so, I am eagerly anticipating book 2 in the series, Betrayal.

Oh and there is a sneak peek at chapter 1 of Betrayal at the back of the book and let me tell you its not only encouraging for Eviana and Kain, but creepy too. *squeeee*
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

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