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Lies Beneath

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  • Posted July 1, 2014

    This is not the first mermaid book I've read, but this is the fi

    This is not the first mermaid book I've read, but this is the first mermaid book where they aren't singing on rocks and rescuing prince's from sunken ships. These mermaids are dangerous. They are murders. Jealous creatures that drown their victims when they are at their peek of happiness so they can absorb said happiness into themselves. Fun bunch, right?

    Calder and his sisters have been searching for Jason Hancock for decades. He is responsible for the death of their mother and they are desperate for revenge. When they finally find him and his family, they devise a plan to get Hancock out into the water once Calder gets close to one of his daughters, either Lily or Sophie. Originally planning to use Sophie, Calder changes his mind to Lily after seeing the bond between her and Hancock.

    Anne is a talented writer using both clear descriptions and engrossing main characters. I wish the secondary characters had a bit more depth to them as they all seemed a bit flat and, for some of them, I didn't really see their importance. They were just kind of . . . there.

    The romance doesn't become a factor until closer to the end of the novel. What I enjoy about this romance is that Lily doesn't immediately fall for Calder. She knows there is something off about him and avoids him, trusting her gut and not falling for the creepy stalker. It takes him a while to gain her trust, even after he proves it to an exceptional degree.

    Lies Beneath is dark. These mermaids are out for revenge, for blood, and their own personal brand of justice. Anne's take on mermaid mythology is wonderfully different. She explains that ever gnawing question of just how mercreatures are born, gives them the ability to walk on land while giving them the need to be in water, and gives them the perfect mix of beauty and danger.

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

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    It looks like mermaids are the hot new supernatural beings that

    It looks like mermaids are the hot new supernatural beings that are taking their place in the limelight. I was especially intrigued by "Lies Beneath," due to it having a male protagonist, and the fact that it painted mermaids as vicious, murderous creatures whose only joy was stealing the happiness of others.

    Calder is a merman who is caught in between his desire for revenge over his mother's murder, and the crush he has developed for Lily. Lily is the daughter of the man that Calder and his sisters are plotting to murder. As Calder struggles with his conflicting desires, we learn the story of who he is, and the complex nature of being a merman.

    For starters, I was intrigued by Calder. Here is this guy who has totally confessed to killing before and yet, I did not automatically hate him. Surprisingly, Lily annoyed me far worse than he did - namely because of how flat she fell, as a character. I thought she was written as an extreme cliche and I had to roll my eyes at points that described her outfits or love of Victorian poetry. Sure, Calder was no prize himself (can we say "stalker"??), but at least I was invested in his development.

    Together, they both lacked the buzz and intensity that is ascribed to their relationship. There is a definite insta-love element at play, and although Calder's can be explained by what he is, Lily has no excuse. Either way, it is something that gets really old, really fast.

    What I loooooved was the writing. I felt uneasy reading certain parts of this book. It was dark, and edgy - keeping me at the edge of my seat. And that ending?? Whoah! Loved it!! Too often nowadays, YA books are part of a series which leaves off in a cliffhanger ending - so that you are forced to read the rest of the series. While "Lies Beneath" is the first in a series, it answered most of the questions that it put forward.

    Overall, "Lies Beneath" was an enjoyable read in a series that I'd love to continue on with. Perhaps given more books and time to grow, my main annoyance with the first book - Lily and Calder's relationship - will develop into something strong, lasting, and unlike every other story out there.

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  • Posted June 13, 2012

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    Big Promises but falls short

    Okay – First, I felt this book had a lot of promise. The cover is suh-weet (although I was confused as to why the put a mermaid on the cover when it’s told from the point of view of Calder , a merman). The summary is dark and awesome. The first few chapters were more than I could have hoped for.

    Which is why I was so confused by all the two and three star reviews on GoodReads (I didn’t read any of them, just looked at the ratings). I thought to myself, “Pft! These weirdoes don’t know a good book when they read one!” and proceeded on my merry reading way. I mean, a book with an opening line like this, had to be good, right? RIGHT?!?! I hadn’t killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that.


    I liked Brown’s take on the traditional mermaid myth where mermaids were bad and killed people (anyone else notice that YA books are turning more dark when it comes to fairy tales? I like it). The fact that they fed on the happiness of humans because they couldn’t produce their own. The fact that deep down, they were primal and instinctual beings.

    The author does a great job of dropping tidbits of information relevant to the mythology behind the story as well as the mermaids’ motivation for what they’re doing. It flows so well and feels so natural. But at some points, I was thoroughly confused and wished she’d dropped a little more clues. Like the revenge they felt for their mother. Were they just really pissed, or was their drive more paranormal and instinctual? I’m leaning towards the latter of the two, but we’re never really given a good picture.

    The writing, for the most part, was really great. Good descriptions and flow (…my stomach twisted like a snake in a jar, pg 30, ebook). Dialogue was natural and engaging. I liked Lily’s tattoo: No coward soul is mine but that’s beside the point. The story had so much potential to be a really good book.

    The book opens with Calder telling us he’s abstaining from taking human lives. But why? All we’re given is the reason of “because he wanted to see if he could.” *Shrugs shoulders* Yeah, okay. I guess that’s good. Enough. But I would’ve liked to be given a better reason than that.

    Something that actually had more significance to him, so that way when he’s tempted to kill Lily we know the battle he’s fighting and the strength it takes to resist. (But now that I think of it, there really wasn’t that much of a struggle for him. C’mon, dude. You haven’t eaten ANYTHING in over NINE MONTHS. It’s okay to be thinking your girlfriend looks a little tasty).

    There also seemed to be a couple of scenes that weren’t important because they didn’t add to the plot what-so-ever and then were never mentioned again. And WEIRD things happened in them, and in the “real” world, the events would have been brought up and shunned. (I put “real” in quotes because in a REAL world, Calder’s fishtail of a rear end would’ve been kicked to the curb and would’ve been served with a restraining order by the biggest, baddest, meanest looking delivery person I could find).

    For the most part, I got a really good, 3D sense of the characters, especially Maris. Calder, though, was a little ambiguous. I couldn’t help but get a generic feel for him. And therefore, generic, non-committed feelings for him. Good-looking guy. Strong. Smart. Funny. Possessive. Protective. (Anyone else seeing the clichéd cookie cutout “main guy” image so prevalent in today’s YA boobooks?. See the rest at r

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  • Posted June 12, 2012

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    It seems like Mermaid books are the thing this year. When I hear

    It seems like Mermaid books are the thing this year. When I heard about this book I was really excited for it. I knew it was a darker story, not a fluffy Little Mermaid type book. I have to start by saying that I did like it, but I was a bit let down. Even without having any expectations either way going into it. I will say that I really enjoyed the darker side of the story, I thought it was interesting and I wanted to know more. And I liked that it was from Calder's POV since I totally love when books are in told from the male perspective. But the characters to me really fell flat. I don't know if it's just me, since I have seemed to have that problem with a lot of books recently.

    Calder is obviously different from his sisters. That is made pretty obvious from the start. They feed off happy human emotions since they can't make their own, but Calder has been a long time without killing a human. He thinks of it as his experiment. I didn't really like him all that much at first, he wasn't really a jerk or anything, I just didn't feel like he was a very great either. He did eventually win me over though as he started to fall for Lily. It was actually pretty sweet. He tried to fight it since he knows that they are going to kill her father, but he just can't get her out of his mind. He realizes that it is going to hurt her if she loses her father and he is having some major internal struggle. I knew what he was feeling, but unfortunately I didn't really feel the emotion. I really wanted to connect, but I didn't.

    Lily is a character I liked. She is very much her own person. She doesn't do things that other people want and she is very perceptive and persistent. She is really sweet, but I don't really feel like we got to know her very well. And when she finally lets Calder see that she is falling for him, she seems a little bit obsessive almost. Like I noticed with Calder, I knew the things she was feeling, but the emotion didn't jump out of the pages at me.

    Calder's sisters have devised a great plan to get Jason Hancock into the water so they can get their revenge on him. If they kill him on land it is not considered honorable. Calder is trying his best to get close to Lily in order to get close to Jason. There is more to the situation then we initially think though, and whether right or wrong, Calder knows that they need to carry out the plan. His sisters are truly evil. I couldn't stand Maris. I don't think we are supposed to like her. Pavati wasn't too bad, I actually didn't mind her too much. She had a few redeeming qualities about her, but she was still pretty evil too. And Tellulah, I just don't even know what to say about her. It's in their nature to be the way they are though. That is why they kill humans and absorb their happy auras. They are just miserable creatures.

    Even thought I didn't care much for the sisters, I wish we had gotten a little more of them in the story. I also would have liked to get to know Lily's family a little better. Especially Sophie. It seems like there is something important about her. She was just kind of a pawn in this book, but I can't help but feel there is more to her. Overall I would say this was an enjoyable book. I am interested to know where it goes from here so I will definitely continue on with the series. 3 out of 5 stars

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  • Posted June 8, 2012

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    refreshing take on the mermaid myth.

    Lies Beneath is the debut novel of Anne Greenwood Brown. Forget everything you know about merpeople as Brown gives us a glimpse into the darker side of the mermaid-myth. When I began reading this, I thought it was going to be a dark tale and I was really excited. It turned out to be lighter than I anticipated but I still ended up enjoying this tale. Lies Beneath has elements of danger, romance, family struggles and revenge. The tale begins when we meet protagonist merman, Calder White. He is spending time alone before his family sends the signal that they must migrate. We learn that merpeople in Brown's world feed of humans, absorbing their energy in order to survive. Sadly this kills the human. Calder is different, as he has avoided feeding all winter. Despite the urges he is uncomfortable with feeding. He receives a call from his sisters telling him they have located Jason Hancock. They will spend the summer seeking revenge against the human they blame for their mother’s death. The tale that unfolds is suspenseful as Calder, struggles between honoring his mother, breaking free of his sister and falling in love. As they plot revenge, the Hancock family is moving in to the old family estate located on the shores of Lake Superior. The characters in Lies Beneath are all unique. Calder is unbelievably handsome, independent and a mer-misfit. He doesn’t enjoy feeding on humans and prefers to swim alone. Despite this he agrees to help hunt and trap the man responsible for his mother’s death. When he meets the Hancock’s things change, as he begins to like this family. We witness his internal struggle as the tale is told from his point of view. I didn’t completely connect with him, but I think part of it was because he wasn’t completely human and his thought process was different. At times he was overly cocky and awkward. His sisters; Tallulah, Pavati, and Marisa behaved exactly as Brown described merpeople. They hunted and fed as needed. They freely used their abilities and I found myself both liking them and being repulsed by them. I didn’t feel any love connection between the siblings. The only connection seemed to be revenge. The only human we really got to know is Lily, although other characters help tell the tale. Lily is unique; she likes English poetry and dresses in her own creative style. She dreams of being a poet or writer. She is bright and quickly begins to piece things together. I liked that despite others efforts she manages to see through drama and form her own opinions. The world-building was fascinating and reminded me of old siren tales, long before the popularity of the Little Mermaid. There have been a slew of mermaid-books of late, and I found Brown's take refreshing. It has a lot of dark elements and I would have liked to have seen more of it. The romance between Lily and Calder was sweet and ultimately changes Calder. The back-history, unique abilities and mer-life style were original and I enjoyed reading it. Brown’s take on how merpeople reproduce was both interesting and frightening. I easily consumed this as the pace and writing style flowed well. While the plot was predictable, I enjoyed the ending nonetheless. I want to thanks Random House and netGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

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