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.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)