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4.3 out of 5 stars
Everblue: Mer Tales #1
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
When I first heard about Everblue, the first book in Brenda Pandos' new series, I knew I had to read it. Not only because I really enjoyed Brenda's first two books (The Emerald Talisman and The Sapphire Talisman), but because Everblue had to do with one of my new favorite trends in YA: mermaids. Luckily enough, Everblue turned out to be everything I was expecting and much more!

Ash and Tatiana (Tatchi) have been best friends for the longest of times. They share nearly everything with the other, and they even plan to go to college together in the fall. However, each has their own secrets to hide from the other for numerous reasons. For Ash, this means hiding the feelings she feels for Tatchi's twin brother Fin whose unreachable in ways she can't even begin to imagine. For Tatchi, this means hiding the biggest, most powerful secret she has, the secret she's been running from for way too long. Everything changes, though, when Tatchi and Fin mysteriously disappear into the night. No one, not even Ash, knows where they've gone and why new people have taken up residency in their house. However, Ash plans to find out, even if it means putting everything in her life on the line....

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was split first person narratives between Ash and Fin, because it allows the reader to get a feel for both sides of the story: the "human" version and the "mer" version. In addition, both were adorable and fabulous protagonists. Ash was resilient and sweet- even managing to break through the small shell she surrounded around her life over the course of the novel. Fin, on the other hand, was more headstrong but still very sweet in the long run. Together they managed to have a sweet romance, even though I was sometimes put off by the insta-love feeling of it. I also enjoyed seeing Tatchi as a character. However, I have to admit I would have loved to seen a bit more of her in the book.

The mer aspect of this was another high point. I loved the new spins Brenda gave to mermaids and mermen as well as the level of development and description she put into their underwater world. I also enjoyed seeing Ash's school and swimming life, because while it wasn't quite as thrilling as the mer aspect, it still provided a great edge at times.

The writing in this one was also great. Brenda is an author whose books I've read since the beginning, and I have to say her writing continues to grow and grow as she writes more books.

Unique and enjoyable, Everblue is well worth a read! However, that ending? Crazy! I need the sequel ASAP.

Grade: B+
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Where to begin? This book was recommended to me by Amazon based on some other reading choices I had made. Though I am no longer a teenager myself, I do enjoy YA fiction, and this ebook was offered for free. But hard as I tried to like it, myriad problems kept getting in the way. The characters are cliche and one-dimensional to a laughable extent. They all seem to possess identical speech patterns and vocabulary, how is that realistic in any way? The descriptions of characters or scenery to paint a visual for the reader are either repetitively similar or lacking entirely. The plot is very thin, even for a YA book. I couldn't get pulled into to the author's version of a Mer World due to lack of details to sustain the premise. The spelling and grammatical errors were so numerous as to be appalling to the point of offensiveness. And when did it become regular practice for Amazon to allow blatantly fake positive reviews to overwhelm actual opinions? Read some of them! Glowing and gushing much? While I recognize that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I am finding it difficult to believe that these people actually read the book they are reviewing. I'm strongly beginning to believe that someone is paying these individuals to fluff the ratings and boost sales. Clearly the message is, quit your job and start writing YA novellas, because anyone and everyone seems to be doing it, and poorly. Talent and skill for creating another world isn't remotely necessary. We'll just get some really appealing cover art, post some fake positive reviews, and link it to other books with real success and voila! The formula is complete. I am utterly disgusted, and could never in good conscience recommend this series or author to anyone.
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68 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The romance was gag worthy. Just another sub par story with an instant attraction/completion of the soul thing that many YA authors use to get around actually developing a romance. Except this one overdoses teen angst and adds in a "Lets get married at 17 with no money or plan to support ourselves because thats SO romantic and we are SO in love!" factor. Oh and the whole "its physically painful to be away from you" thing? All I have to say is blech.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
Let's begin with the beautiful cover that just calls your attention. This is a great example of when a cover will sell the book without opening the book itself. The cover model represents one of the main characters in the book and the water rippling to me represents the Mer people. It just a beautifully design cover with so much depth to it. I'm so glad this cover belongs to Everblue because Brenda deserves the best for all her hard work.

Everblue is not my first mermaid book that I've read. Everblue is the first Mermaid story I loved though. I didn't have a doubt in my mind when I pick up Everblue to read that I would not like the story. I knew its was not Brenda's Talisman series but I knew Brenda's writing style and have always love it. Now knowing that I would like the story I didn't expect that I would be blown away by it. Brenda has grown as a writer and her writing shows it. This was also her first time alternating characters in her writing, and I enjoyed how they transitioned back and forth. All readers will literally dive into Brenda writing and devour Everblue probably in one or two sittings. Then Brenda leaves you animated for the next novel in the series, wanting to know what will happen next.

Everblue takes place at Lake Tahoe, You meet Ashlyn and her best friend Tatiana. If it wasn't for having her friend Ashlyn would die of boredom. She is also ready to possibly make a move on Fin, that's Tatiana twin brother. The best friend have decided to seak out a college in Florida and go there and get away from it all. Ashlyn believes that Tatiana Father is a drunk and too strict and has even seen him get somewhat violent. So she understand why Tatiana wants to move away for college. So the girls have their plans all ready and set to go. Well that all changes the day Ashlyn realizes that Tatiana and her family including Fin have disappear without a trace, they didn't say where or why they had to leave or where they went. They are long gone and Ashlyn donest understand. They have left the family business and house unattended. What about their college plans? they are already accepted.

Then a few days later Ashlyn sees a older man and younger good looking guy at Ashlyn and Fin's house, she figures out this must be their cousin and uncle. They of course give Ashlyn no explanation for why they are there but Ashlyn finds it strange that she wants to kiss this cousin of Fin's. Until know the only boy she has wanted to kiss is Fin, even though he is Ashlyn sister. Fin has not open up to Ashlyn because of his family secret that he must keep hidden from any human. See Fin and Tatiana are Mer people. Now don't think that the lives of the Mer are perfect. Not at all, Fin and Titiana wantto escape that life of theirs and live on in the human world instead of the water. They must fight against their rules and their King's son to try and go back to land. Fin fears he will never be able to return back to land and it drives his crazy. That pushes him to sneak out one day at the gate to Lake Tahoe from his world. That's when both Fin and Ashlyn lives will change forever and star a whole chain of events. Seems after all this time Ashlyn might not be saved from his world.

If your looking for a well written story and characters that are interesting and unique, then pick up Everblue today. This book is a must have for anyone, any age that reads either YA or Adult.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Spoilers ahead:
First of all, I think that this book had so much potential, but the terrible romance, one dimensional characters and frankly offensive treatment of the female characters totally ruined it for me.

The Characters: I can honestly say I hated basically every character in the book. Ash is moody and selfish, Fin is annoying and short-sighted, and Titanna is a walking stereotype for girls. I couldn't relate to any of the characters. I could have accepted this if there was something called "character development".

The Romance: This romance could have been so great. Ash and Fin had history, they were (sort of) friends. Plus who can't relate to having a crush on their friends cute brother? Unfortunately, the whole soul-kiss aspect ruined it for me. When Fin kissed her, he forced her to fall in love. She may have had a crush, but that does not excuse what he did. And he totally had another, less permanent option. The book says that mermaid blood has super healing properties. Why didn't he use his blood?? Fin gave Ash no choice in whether or not she wanted to be bonded to him forever. That's not sweet. That's not romance. That essentially holding someone against there will. It's wrong and disgusting, and feels very rape-y. Your first love does not have to be your last love. And don't get me started on the terribleness that is Tatch and Azor.

Treatment of women: The mermaids are basically second class citizens. All they do is giggle and paint each other. So, in short: Mermaids have child-like minds, but they are very dangerous. They are so irresistible, no man can resist their charms, a man might try to kiss her. So they need chaperones. Tatch is sexually harassed by her cousin and Azor, and no one really tries to help her.

And this all is just the tip of the terror that is Everblue. Don't read this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
THE REVIEW:

I really like Brenda's writing style. And, her stories are so imaginative. In this case, she is showing us an amazing world constructed off somewhere under Lake Tahoe. This word is beautiful, dangerous and has some seriously different norms. Not everyone in the story wants to live there.

The Point of view flips between Ash, and Fin (an aptly named young man). Ash is human, Fin's twin sister's best friend. Fin is not human. They have had hidden crushes on each other forever. And in the Mer society forever is a long time. Humans worry about their kids having sex. Well, it's a bit too easy to be bonded to a partner for life in Fin and Tatiana's world and you don't even have to get naked.

I do like that Ash's family life, with tension and some degree of favoritism is so realistic. Also, her folks are very involved. I don't get how Ash's parent's don't seem to know Fin and Tatiana's parents at all. They live next door, after all.

And, what a beautiful and exciting location for a book. I don't think I have ever read anything placed in or around Lake Tahoe.

There aren't too many characters to cope with and they are pretty clear. Of course the more important characters are more developed. The love story is interesting and while fantastical in its origin is realistic in consistency and completeness of the world Pandos creates. And the dialogue between characters is spot on.

I do not remember Brenda's Talisman series having a strong religious undercurrent. With some things in her recent past that Brenda has gone through have strengthened her faith and that has found its way into the story. As a non-Christian and non-religious person the religion detracted from my personal enjoyment of the story and having parents who were almost fanatically religious, it brought up unpleasant memories of my past. I am unsure whether it belonged here and felt it was an afterthought in the story line. I am not saying it was an afterthought just that it felt that way to me. It was also a surprise. For a person of faith this probably would not be an issue.

I still enjoyed the book and after the first 25 pages or so could not put it down.

My recommendation is that if you are a person of faith, seeking a very clean read for your teen this is an excellent choice. It is actually an excellent choice for many teens as the struggles the kids go through are pretty similar to what they may be going through. That time of life is one where things you believe are true change as you comprehend how the world really works. It's kind of funny that fantasy is a place to work it out but maybe it is exactly the fantastic aspect that allows kids the room to do so without their own world being threatened.

Anyway, Recommended for teens everywhere, and for parents to talk about with their children.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I think I fell in love with this book from the very first page - or the minute that Finn was introduced. I enjoyed that the book is narrated by 2 different characters. I feel that it gives it more personality.
The world that is created in this book is pretty interesting. I never thought that I would be interested in "Mer People", but Brenda Pandos has definitely succeeded in gaining my interest.
I enjoyed this book very much and am looking forward to reading the second book in this series. Can't wait for it.

*Author Brenda Pandos has a way of writing that captures her readers. She creates awesome worlds where anything is possible and where you can "insert" yourself into the book. After reading her books, I tend to find myself thinking about them, picturing them for several days. I can't get them out of my mind. I usually wonder what will happen next. I say, in an author can stir something like that, then they must be pretty good.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This story had a good start, but it quickly went downhill. I liked the plot ideas, but I greatly disliked the "romance" between the two main characters. It was very Twilight-ish, and in my opinion the fall in love and get married when you're a teenager is a terrible plot line to perpetuate. I'd rather see a story where the main characters learn to grow and mature as independent people, not just as a couple.

My biggest complaint with the book was the way women were treated in the Mer world. This book presents a terrible stereotype for young girls. I was so disgusted with the way Fin's sister and mother were treated. Tatiana is sexually harassed by the prince of the Mer folk in pretty much every scene they are together, and she has to put up with it because he's a prince? Hell no. Mer women are expected to play with hair and body paints all day and can't be a part of anything important going on in the world, and they can't travel anywhere without a male family member as a chaperone. It's repulsive to read the sections that take place in the Mer world. I wish I could give less the one star for this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I am so in love with this book. It sounded kind of intriguing when I read the description and since it was free I decided to download it. I started reading it about a week after and I swear I could not put my phone down. I was so stuck on reading, I read through all three books within a week. I was hooked! it is such an amazing story and literally had me itching for more. Read it, you won't regret it, I promise!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I love the name of this series - Mer Tales - because that's exactly what it is. A tale of merpeople. Mermaids and mermen and the world they live in and the rules that govern them. There's more though. Action and love and friendship and devotion. It's all wrapped up together making for an engaging and thrilling story.

We are treated to 2 points of view. Ashlyn or Ash is a human, senior in high school who isn't very popular and doesn't seem to be all that sure of herself. Then there is Finley, or Fin, almost 18 and not human at all :) His sister Tatiana and Ash are best friends and have been for a long time. But as Ash discovers, there is a lot her friends haven't been telling her.

I did like this dual POV but for the first half of the book I felt like I was reading two completely different stories. Fin, Tatch and their parents leave, without telling Ash anything. So we have Ash going through the motions of high school with her rather obnoxious friend Georgia and then Fin, living in his people's underwater city, trying to fit in and figure out what is going on with his family. There is only 1 short chapter before Fin and Tatch leave so the story didn't really flow that well for me in the beginning.

And as much as I liked reading about Fin and his world, I was a little bored reading about Ash. I never warmed up to her and the way she acted, especially around the stereotypical 'hot guy' at school bugged me. This made it a little hard to root for her in the end. I would have liked to see more of Fin's world. There seemed to be a lot of layers to his people's lives and I really hope book 2 will give us more background and details.

Though, once Ash and Fin's worlds collide? Pretty much couldn't put this book down. I needed to know what happened and maybe at some points the story dragged a little but overall it didn't distract from the adventure.

Without giving too much away, I do need to say that I am not a fan at all of the romance in Everblue. It's almost calculating, as in, it has rules to follow and really? These rules take all the joy out of the relationship for me. We don't get to see the two love birds together very much until close to the end and then once they are together it's instant, I can't live without you love, which never sits well with me. But again, it's following a sort of order that the rules of the story have set forth so while it might not be my cup of tea, it makes sense for the storyline and the characters involved.

Final verdict:
Overall, I very much enjoyed Everblue. Brenda is awesome at weaving a story together and making you feel like you're there with the characters. And while I might not have liked all the characters or elements in Everblue, I felt engaged as a reader and really, that's more important to me.

Labeled as Book One, I can only assume there will be a Book Two and I for one know I will be reading it. Not so much a cliff hanger as a pile of unresolved issues was left at the end of Everblue and I'm really excited to see what happens to Fin and Tatch and hopefully learn more about the fabulous world they live in.

Acquisition: Received a free copy for review
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