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Sea Lover

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Ian is happy with his life in a remote Canadian fishing town, where he has only the sea and his fishing crew for company. People say being alone is terrible, but he's never had any problems with it.

Then his peaceful life is thrown into upheaval when he finds an injured merman washed up on the shore. With no idea what else to do, Ian takes the merman home and nurses him back to health.

But as he helps S'mika heal, a bond begins to form, and Ian starts to wonder if maybe there is more to life than being alone…

100 pages, ebook

First published November 2, 2016

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About the author

J.K. Pendragon

10 books69 followers
J.K Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing all kinds of queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied. J.K. has several romance novels and short stories published with Less Than Three Press, and published their first Young Adult book, Junior Hero Blues with Riptide Publishing's new YA imprint Triton Books in November 2016.

Notable works by J.K. Pendragon include Junior Hero Blues, a light-hearted YA Superhero novel, and To Summon Nightmares, a horror-fantasy that follows the journey of a young trans man into a world of magic and danger. To Summon Nightmares is the winner of the 2015 Rainbow Awards' 'Best Transgender Fiction' award. J.K. also contributed to Less Than Three Press's 'Geek Out: A Collection of Trans and Genderqueer Romance' and wrote about their experiences in the romance community in '#Trans: An Anthology about Transgender and Nonbinary Identity Online.'

J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at jes.k.pendragon@gmail.com and on twitter @JKPendragon.

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5 stars
13 (15%)
4 stars
29 (35%)
3 stars
26 (31%)
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9 (10%)
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5 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews
September 26, 2016

This is a strange little story set in a small Canadian village.

Ian dropped out of medical school to become a fisherman. He likes living alone in his small cabin and even though he's not exactly a hermit, he enjoys the silence.

While repairing his net on the beach one day, Ian finds a wounded seal washed ashore. At least he thinks it's a seal until he takes a closer look and realizes the seal is in fact a man, a dark-skinned man with a thick seal-like tail.

Ian brings the merman home and tends to him. The merman's name is S'mika, and he's a fast learner. Ian feels comfortable with S'mika, but he's scared that S'mika will leave.

How can a merman and a human build a life together?

This was my first story by this author and I was impressed by the quality of the writing, which was polished and lyrical. The romance between Ian and S'mika begins as a friendship; the physical intimacy comes later.

There was something almost childlike about S'mika's sweet and accepting nature. I can't call this story a slow burn, because I didn't feel any sexual tension between the MCs.

Ian is , which is something that probably should have been mentioned in the blurb. I do think that aspect of Ian's life was handled well here.

The steam in the story is brief and subdued but sensual. I really like that the author didn't shy away from describing the logistics of the sexual act. S'mika has no expectations when it comes to human bodies, so he doesn't judge Ian's in any way. The merman thing is not fetishized. Indeed, S'mika

I didn't really care about the side plot related to Ian's friend wanting to leave the town and go to university. It added drama that wasn't necessary, especially when S'mika revealed his tail in the kitchen. That part was really rushed and sort of left dangling.

Despite my small niggles, I enjoyed this book. If you are looking for a low-key story with a comfort/healing theme, give this one a chance.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,814 reviews499 followers
October 26, 2016
3.75 stars rounded up

Intrigued with the blurb, then convinced by ~✡~Dαni(ela) ~✡~'s review ... and I thought this was just LOVELY. I fell in love with Pendragon's tone of writing. There is something lyrical to it; it was gorgeous and pulled me right in.

While I didn't fully get the significance of Ian being and what it brought to the story, I guess this could was meant to show Ian that S'mika accepted him as he was. Then again, S'mika is not exactly human, was it? He has different anatomy to start with (legs vs. tails) so maybe it doesn't matter to S'mika either way. So I am back to the whole reason of Ian's gender identity.

Anyway, I loved S'mika -- there is an innocence to him that charmed me. He is like a smart kid, embracing the life outside the ocean. I loved Ian too -- his loneliness spoke to me well. I am a sucker for characters that carry that kind of loneliness.

I wasn't a fan of the drama brought by Ian's best friend. Didn't see the reason why it needed to be included to the story. I prefer that those pages to be dedicated to Ian and S'mika instead.

PS: I bought this on ARe and somehow there was technical glitch in which I could download the book before the release date *shrugs*
Profile Image for CrabbyPatty.
1,575 reviews170 followers
July 16, 2021
Ian is a fisherman who lives alone in a remote Canadian town. One day he finds an injured merman on shore and bring him home to stitch him up. S'mika and Ian develop an easy companionship and before too long S'mika has mastered a good smattering of the English language and is learning to read.

I liked how Pendragon takes this story beyond a fairy tale or an oddity. There's no "slapstick" antics, i.e. S'mika learns about modern devices like a can opener or television and much hilarity ensures, or "one of these things is not like the other - how will they ever have sex?" Pendragon's writing style is beautiful and simple and subtle, and the story follows Ian and S'mika as they fall in love.

We get small details about each's past - . There's also some unnecessary drama with father and son, Mike and Bobby and an argument about Bobby leaving home to go to school.

I'm not the biggest fan of paranormal/shifter/fantasy but this story worked for me. I loved the way the author framed this story and look forward to reading more by J.K. Pendragon. 3.5 stars.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Visit my blog, Sinfully Good Gay Book Reviews
Profile Image for Trio.
2,987 reviews171 followers
August 8, 2021
Absolutely entrancing! J.K. Pendragon paints such a vivid picture, I can imagine every inch of this rustic life in a rural Canadian fishing town. I enjoyed the mellow pace of Sea Lover, and how the author takes their time to reveal the main character, Ian.

Ian has given up a whole life: family, friends, university, and home, to start again as an anonymous fisherman where no one knows their story. Finding their place in the world as a trans man, is an emotional journey with plenty of ups and downs.

The love story between Ian and S'mika is beautifully written. I'm glad these two found each other - and the ending is just perfect.

thank you to NineStar Press and NetGalley for the arc of Sea Lover, all opinions are my own
Profile Image for Karen.
1,859 reviews85 followers
November 8, 2016
I requested this because my friend Dani told me too and I trust Dani. She's good at picking up on what her friends like and don't like. So she told me about this one and first off it's set in Canada well I'm Canadian so it's a given that this little detail will pique my interest and there's a merman...that was it for me I was hooked. Vampires and werewolves are kind of a take or leave it scenario for me but give me a dragon or a merman, shape shifting possums, a hot gargoyle of two and sign me up.

'Sea Lover' is set on Canada's east coast which is not only some of the most beautiful scenery that you will find in this country but some of the nicest, friendliest people live there as well...so it's no wonder that Ian moved there when he felt like he was drowning in his old life. Ian's made himself a comfortable life in a small town working as a fisherman. He's got a little cottage to call home and life's quiet and pretty laid back for him. He's comfortable with things the way they are or at least he was until the day he found a wounded merman on the beach. He doesn't really give a lot of thought to what's happening as he rushes to take care of the merman abandoning his fishing net and gear on the beach to care for the injured merman and to safeguard his privacy because Ian's no stranger when it comes to keeping secrets. He's got his own secret that he's worked hard to keep.

I was surprised by the way the author crafted this story. I know I've said this before and at the risk of being repetitive I'm going to say it again, "A story doesn't have to be realistic for me to enjoy it. It just has to be told to me in a believable way." and for me the author totally nailed it on this one.

The story on the surface is about a merman and a human but the story that I found underneath was about two people both of them unique in their own special way and both of them able to accept the differences of each other as just part of who they are allowing them to find someone they could be friends with and ultimately fall in love with.

This was my first time reading something by this author, so color me impressed because I doubt it will be my last.

An ARC of 'Sea Lover' was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Skye Kilaen.
Author 15 books305 followers
February 1, 2023
I've always been skeptical that I would enjoy a mer-people romance, but Pendragon made it happen with this novella. This is an M/M romance between a trans dude fisherman and a mer-dude who turns up injured on the beach. Ian, the trans dude, is fairly miserable and isolated before cheery, affectionate S'mika shows up in his life. Ian has distanced himself from people for various reasons, and S'mika has been cast out, so both would really benefit from making a connection with someone. Pendragon doesn't let that be either too easy or too difficult, and at the end I just felt this warm happiness for these two guys. Definitely going on to read more of Pendragon's work!
Profile Image for Rain.
1,593 reviews28 followers
June 23, 2021
I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I started this story. All I knew was it was m/m and had something to do with a merman. I’ve read some seriously odd fishy stories in the past so I was cautiously optimistic.

This was a good story! It’s short, only 100 pages, but filled with the sweet innocence of this merman, S’mika. He is a self-declared genius…and has no filter. He learns English by watching hours of television and asking Ian to read to him while he asks questions and figures out words. He is very childlike but that was also why he was so endearing to me. His backstory sounds very lonely and sad, so being rescued by Ian changes his life, and Ian’s too.

There is a beautiful correlation between Ian being trans and S’mika being a seal-man.
There was so much of the world S’mika knew nothing about, except for what he saw on the minuscule television screen. But how could he ever experience the world without being gawked at and treated like a test subject.
Ian admits that he has a “pathological fear of anyone finding out anything about him.” S’mika loves Ian completely and unconditionally and he helps Ian get over those fears. The love scenes were filled with consideration, curiosity, and joy.

I really loved the innocence of S’mika when Ian tries to explain what being trans means.
“I was born with female genitalia, and I had surgery and medicine to fix it.” He looked at S’mika. “Does that make any sense?”

“No,” said S’mika, and his face broke into a little smile. “So not important.”
This story doesn’t try to be anything but what it is, a really sweet love story between two lost souls.

Thank you Netgalley for the copy of this book!
Profile Image for Kazen.
1,321 reviews298 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
December 13, 2021
This book lost me in the details. Ian is a grumpy fisherman who finds an injured merman washed up on shore. He lugs the injured half fish into his home, props him up on the couch, and uses his medical training to stitch up the wound.

Which is fine, but we get no details when he does that stitching on the tail. Are there scales? Is it harder to pierce the skin than he expected? Easier? Then he has the guy with a tail swallow down antibiotics like it's totally normal. You are giving medications to a merman! Have you no care that you could sicken or kill the guy with human drugs? Antibiotics are not benign!

And how could he expect a sea creature to convalesce on his couch?! Ian is shocked when the merman finds his way to the bathtub. Seems like common sense to me?

So yeah, I hit my limit 20 pages in and put Sea Lover down for good.
Profile Image for Mariana.
104 reviews32 followers
August 23, 2021
unfortunately it was too rushed for my liking. i didn't learn enough about the characters to become interested in them so it got a little boring for me. there were also two whole sex scenes which i found a bit out of place considering there was little to no romantic development. while the concept was good, i believe i would have enjoyed this more if it had more build-up.
Profile Image for Margot.
229 reviews5 followers
June 25, 2021
Oh wow, that was quick.

I think that the worst thing about this book and its very weak point is that it was too short. Eleven not very long chapters and that's all. It took me just over an hour to read?

And because it was so short everything felt very rushed. I would love to see a proper slow burn between the main characters.

I loved that S'mika didn't speak English at the beginning. Yeah, it's good that he learnt, but that's the other thing - he learnt so quickly! I am really jealous. But then again - he had to learn quickly because the book was so SHORT.

I liked the characters, S'mika more than Ian tho. Because, well. We don't really know much about Ian. And to be honest, he was annoying at some points.

The plot was... okay, I would say. I didn't really like the whole drama between Mike and Bobby, because I felt like it had nothing to do with Ian and S'mika. It really felt a bit pointless.

I did enjoy this book, but I was hoping for something... Better. Or maybe better is not the right word. I was hoping for something more.
Profile Image for DK.
628 reviews20 followers
June 26, 2021
*I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review*

3.5 Stars

Sea Lover is a short, sweet story about love between an injured merman and an anti-social fisherman. S'mika, the merman, is adorable. While not much is learned about the society S'mika comes from, enough is revealed to give him an intriguing backstory. When he first meets Ian, the fisherman, S'mika doesn't speak any English, though he quickly picks up the language through conversation with Ian and by watching TV. My favorite parts of the story are S'mika's learning moments and the way his personality blossoms. I also appreciated that Ian, the main character, is trans. He's not out to anyone in his small fishing village but he opens up to S'mika and shares about his journey, including the choice he made to leave his old life and ambitions behind. Their relationship is slow to build and is not without misunderstanding and miscommunication but I love how things are resolved between them. Overall, a cute queer story for lovers of merfolk and the sea.
Profile Image for Jack.
313 reviews
May 13, 2023
A bitter trans MC with a starry-eyed merman he finds washed up on the beach?? Thank god. Good food.

And like! It is good food, truly, but the chemistry feels a lot more platonic than romantic - to the point where the intimate last chapter just feels slightly off. There’s also that born sexy yesterday trope rearing its head that just has never been my thing at all, but there are so few trans/cis fantasy romances out there that I gotta go where I can.

I love the characters though, especially Ian. I just wish we had a little more time with them.
Profile Image for Tenny.
279 reviews2 followers
January 13, 2022
So, this is a short story about trans man who finds merman at the beach... And the story is absolutely lovely and heartwarming. You can basically feel the sharp winds of the sea and smell the sea water.
I want to hug both main characters and take them home (seriously I have a big tub!!!!)
It really reminded me of the movie Song of the Sea.
There is some angst and sadness too, of course, but it has happy ending and it's just perfect. *_*
Profile Image for Grace.
112 reviews1 follower
June 21, 2021
Thank you to NineStar Press for giving me a e-book arc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This is a short story of a man named Ian, discovering a merman washed ashore one day, badly injured. Ian confused, but worried, brings this merman back to his home to nurse him back to health. From there, a relationship begins to bloom between the two of them. With S'mika learning human life, and Ian trying to adapt to the fact that there is an entire merman now living with him.

To begin with, the basic premise of this book really intrigued me - I LOVE any type of merperson falling for a human story. Add in the fact that this is also a queer love story (with a trans main character as well, no less), and I was sold. Though the story was not what I was expecting, I did find enjoyment in it. I think for a short fun read, it's perfect - but there isn't much depth or development past that.

See, the thing is, the first few chapters really sucked me in and I was completely invested with S'mika and Ian's story. I thought S'mika's development was interesting, as well as gave us some humors scenes between the two, as well as showing just how intelligent S'mika was (I thought this would be important given that there was a warning for upcoming sexual content in the story to insure consent and level out power dynamics). I was excited to know more about Ian, including his failed med school and his past, as well as S'mika's and how he ended up on the beach to begin with. While I did get an explanation, I felt it got sort of lost in the stilted conversations between the two and never got properly explained - as for Ian's past, it's completely glossed over in favour of some side character's who had no real depth beside being plot devices.

The romance was too rushed, it sort of came out of nowhere and I think the sexual scenes were just thrown into the story mindlessly. I think if we had more time to establish the relationship, or to establish a base of trust between the two - I would have found it more believable for Ian's character as well as make the relationship feel more real.

I also wish there wasn't some many pointless time skips - it felt out of place whenever Ian would just leave for days at a time, when he had an injured merman at home? I at least wish there had been more of a conversation there, but alas the novel is very short.


My review may seem harsh but I truly think this story had a lot of potential that was just lost in how short it was. I think given time, the author could really expand on both the romance and the world. The characters already have intriguing personalities, and I found the writing easy to read as well as quick - I am interested in checking out Pendragon's other works. I think this is a perfect piece to read if you just want to have a few laughs and a quick one sitting read.
Profile Image for Josie Johnston.
Author 4 books13 followers
July 31, 2021
J. K. Pendragon’s story begins with a compelling scene that taps into all of the senses: Ian, the isolated protagonist, discovers what he thinks is a dead seal on his beach. He goes to burn it, not wanting it to lay rotting, but the waves force the creature to roll and… there’s an arm, and blood. And the creature is breathing. Ian’s struggles to get the creature to safety—the sheer weight of its tail, the pain it is suffering—are powerfully realised.

What follows is an interesting and readable story of how Ian and S’mika find love across the obstacles that they face. I’m not going to throw in any plot spoilers, and I’d definitely recommend it as a light and entertaining read. But there are some frustrations I felt with the story, which hold me back from giving a higher rating.

I felt the second part of the book was rushed and of a lower quality than the first half. I wished Pendragon had kept the manuscript on their desktop for a while longer, sat with it and enriched it, because it could have been so much more. This is a short book anyway, but there’s an incident at around the halfway point where it could have ended—Ian would ultimately be a sadder character, with no HEA, but Sea Lover would have satisfied me more as a reader, as a rich and imaginative short story. Alternatively, the second half needed to go deeper into the main characters and their relationship arc. I felt like we were told Ian’s backstory, without being able to feel it, or engage on an emotional level. And I really wanted to.

S’mika’s portrayal was also an issue for me. Ian notes several times that he seems young, he learns to speak broken, child-like English through watching TV (with shades of the 1984 movie Splash) and sits reading children’s books. So when the story moves to the love scenes (and in fairness I note on one occasion Pendragon has Ian thinking no, maybe he’s older) I felt a little uneasy about how mature S’mika was. I felt it would be a stronger story if S’mika could just speak English with no explanation, or if he never learned to speak and the couple had to find other ways to communicate. And if S’mika was firmly established as an adult.

My last critique relates to the relationship. There was such an interesting potential there to explore the parallels between the two lead characters’ experiences of their changing bodies. I wondered if Pendragon was intending S’mika’s body as a metaphor for Ian’s, but if so, this wasn’t written well enough for me to be sure of it. And that was such a shame, because it’s a beautiful idea.

Having said all this, I would definitely recommend Sea Lover as an interesting and imaginative read. I think it says something, that this is one of the longest book reviews I’ve written in a while, and I shall certainly think about the story for a long time.
Profile Image for Elaine White.
Author 41 books236 followers
June 21, 2017
Book – Sea Lover
Author – J.K. Pendragon
Star rating - ★★☆☆☆
No. of Pages – 100
Cover – Nice!
POV – 3rd person, one character
Would I read it again – No
Genre – LGBT, Fantasy, Merman, Trans, Romance


This is a strange one, for me, mostly because the plot is almost exactly the same as another book I've read recently. Unfortunately, that other book was longer and the story read better, for that difference.

Sea Lover is a great concept with intriguing characters, but it fell flat for me. The emphasis on Ian being trans and S'mika being childlike was just overdone for my liking. The situation between Bobby and Mike was overly dramatic and unbelievable, while not really adding anything to the story except a secondary way for Ian to mention how much people leave him.

I was actually shocked to find that a story of 100 pages had not one single chapter heading. I like to stop to process or write notes when a new chapter crops up, but this book left no opportunity for that and the scene changes were impossible to determine, so I couldn't anticipate when I could stop for that processing moment.

The blurb made it sound like there would be a build up to Ian finding S'mika the Merman, but it actually happens in the first sentence of the story, which surprised me. I was also surprised by how long the story was, considering that not much happened after the halfway mark. Most of the end could have easily been removed and the story wouldn't have been impacted by it.

I didn't find Ian a particularly likeable character, especially one that is the sole POV. He's a little racist when he first meets S'mika (His hair and skin were both dark, too, and Ian wondered briefly if the tail was some sort of cultural attire) while being really whiney and selfish throughout. Despite what S'mika says about it, that's not always a good thing. The one thing I did like was that he never grew angry or fed up with S'mika's constant childlike behaviour and learning. I do, however, have a problem with how easily he and others accepted the whole Merman thing, while also wondering just why we never got to find out what really happened to S'mika to send him to Ian and resolve that issue for him.

Overall, there were editing issues throughout, a lack of attention to detail and characterisation that didn't allow me to properly relate to or care about the characters, and the plot was weak for a story this long. I didn't like the characters all that much or how they were represented, but the overall plot and concept was great and it had a lot of potential. It just failed to deliver.
Profile Image for AMHH.
93 reviews
July 25, 2021
This story is, on one level, a kind of gentle fish out of water (seal of water?) story for S’mika, the indomitable mermaid with a tv habit, a ravenous intellect, and a deep love and appreciation for fish. Pants? No. Fish? Yes. Watching him learn about human life via a kind of cultural osmosis is sometimes silly, sometimes heartwarming, and always deeply interesting. Interwoven through those lighthearted moments, however, there are deeper and darker themes for both S’mika and Ian, the fisherman who rescues him: S’mika’s culture is restrictive and his past has been one of persecution and denial: he has no home to return to and is forced to adapt. Ian has his own psychological wounds to deal with: he fears abandonment and doesn’t expect to be accepted on his own terms, something he projects onto others, including his best friend and S’mika. I would have liked to see him do better at making amends with his friend, but I have nothing but warm and fuzzy feelings for the bond S’mika and Ian build together: it’s freeing, in different ways, for them both. S’mika finds someone to appreciate his intelligence and creativity, Ian finds someone who thinks he’s worth staying around for, and is happy to tell him so. Overall, I liked this story very much, and I’m smiling to think of Ian and S’mika’s happily ever after, which will no doubt involve plenty of laughter and love. Well worth a read.

*I received an ARC of this book and voluntarily composed an honest review.
Profile Image for KC .
508 reviews38 followers
June 18, 2021
This was an alright read for me. I found the plot intriguing- a fisherman rescues a merman who is injured, and they fall in love. I just felt the execution was a little lackluster. It didn’t engage me as much as it could have, and I found the dialogue awkward and stilted in places when it didn’t have to be.

The side-plots didn’t feel all that attached to the main story and whilst it’s understandable that very little time would be dedicated to other characters (and the conflict) because it’s a short novella it did distract me. As for the conflict, there essentially was none and what there was, was very easily resolved. In a sense that was nice because it made the story very light and fluffy, but it also meant there was no real payoff.

I liked Ian as a character, I went into this not knowing there was trans rep and was very pleasantly surprised. S’mika was alright as a character, but I didn’t care a great deal for him honestly. The setting was lovely, and the pacing was a little fast but again it was a novella so that is understandable.

Overall, this was an enjoyable quick read for me.

I received a copy of this through Netgalley.
June 24, 2021
This novel has an interesting start. We're thrown right in to the story as Ian, a fisherman, comes across a mermaid on the beach. As a reader, you can immediately bond with Ian as we both share in this discovery. And it really is an original discovery, the author's description of the mermaid is really unique. He's described as a seal boy, though not a selkie, as he has a long 'velvety' tail. I really like how it's possible to imagine how this kind of mermaid would have evolved- seals and humans must have had a common ancestor as some point since they're both mammals.

There's lots of character exploration as Ian and S'mika the mermaid get to know each other. And entertainment too as S'mika discovered human things (everything from legs to sex!).

The story isn't plot heavy which some people might find a bit disappointing. This book isn't for anyone looking to see a mermaid and fisherman go off on exciting adventures together. I'd recommend this book to anyone who's looking for a heartwarming story that explores LGBT+ characters and offers an original look at mermaid mythology.
Profile Image for Susan Anne.
595 reviews2 followers
June 28, 2021
I‌ received‌‌ ‌‌a‌‌ ‌‌copy‌‌ ‌‌of‌‌ Sea Lover ‌by‌ ‌J.K. Pendragon ‌via‌‌ ‌‌IndiGo‌‌ ‌‌Marketing‌‌ ‌‌&‌‌ ‌‌Design‌‌ ‌‌in‌‌ ‌‌exchange‌‌ ‌‌for‌‌ ‌‌an‌‌ ‌‌honest‌‌ ‌‌review.‌‌ What I really enjoyed about this story is how two others, both seemingly often scorned by their societies, managed to find each other and create their own HEA. The path to the ending was more rocky than most but both MCs were stronger than they gave themselves credit for. I also liked how the author captured the feel of a small fishing village on the coast of Canada. Visiting that part of the world is an experience I still recall from childhood thanks to my ecologist father. The author’s writing manages to be sweet and uplifting even when dealing with serious, potentially dark, issues. I’ve never lost my love of fairy tales and living through a pandemic calls for books as a solace. This book certainly fit the bill and put a smile on my face!
40 reviews2 followers
June 25, 2021
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

In the novella, local fisherman, Ian, finds an injured merman washed up onto the beach. He brings the merman home to care for his wounds. The longer S'mika, the merman, stays, the more feelings they develop. In the midst of this one of Ian's friends, Bobby, is fighting with his father about leaving for college.

I had trouble understanding Ian and S'mika's relationship in this novella. Because of the length and the fact that S'mika can't speak English for the first few chapters, it felt a little rushed. I also thought that the relationship between Bobby and his father took away space that was needed to help develop S'mika and Ian's relationship. That said both of the main characters were very sweet, and I liked how sassy S'mika could be. It's a cute summer read, but I wished I connected more with the love story.
59 reviews1 follower
June 29, 2021
I received this ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review:

This sexy and quirky, but also tender and lyrical, romantic comedy from J.K. Pendragon surprised me.

The story itself is certainly more Splash than The Little Mermaid , but something about the writing style was so magical and nostalgic.

It really read like a classic fairy tale, in the style of Hans Christian Anderson.

And the relationship between Ian and S'mika was so patient and gradual. It really was a refreshing approach to the often hurried genre.

It made me long for a happy ending for these seemingly star-crossed lovers.

I likely won't read this particular offering again, but J.K. Pendragon is an author to watch. So far, I'm impressed.
Profile Image for Books+Coffee=Happiness Blog.
259 reviews13 followers
June 26, 2021
Sea Lover is a quick, feel-good read.

The beginning was a bit awkward for me, but by the second chapter the author had immersed me in the story. I loved how sweet and innocent S’mika was compared to Ian’s more jaded personality. They were opposites in every way but complimented each other nicely. The way S’mika accepted that Ian was transgender was exactly what Ian needed. To be accepted and loved without conditions.

It was my first time reading anything by this author. I’ll definitely have to check out more if their books.

Sea Lover had a happily-for-now ending that left me feeling warm and fuzzy.
Profile Image for mckensea.
47 reviews9 followers
July 20, 2021
I feel like I shouldn't have enjoyed this novella as much as I did. You get dropped right into the story of a fisherman finding an injured merman and the adventure that happens from there. It's a quick read, and I definitely wish there had been more detail in certain places, and no, I'm not talking about the spicy parts, but more of the dramatic moments I wish had a bit more detail and angst. Also, I wish the discussions of a queer fisherman would have taken place a bit more, because that would have been good representation for a "macho-man" run industry.
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82 reviews100 followers
July 1, 2018
It was still a story that just happened to involve a trans guy, and I have a huge soft spot for the just happened to stories. - Matt

They just make a lot of sense together – and I never thought I would be saying this about a human and a merman, but here we are. - Laura

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Profile Image for Sie.
26 reviews10 followers
January 22, 2023
*I received this book through Netgally in exchange for my honest review*

Overall, I liked this book. I'd give it more of a 3.5 than a 3. The pacing could have been better and it could have been more descriptive, parts of it seemed a little rushed. But the writing was good and the characters interesting.

I would read this again and I did recommend it to my best friend. It is worth checking out at the very least.
Profile Image for Tasmin B.
Author 10 books19 followers
June 18, 2021
This was a cute book.
I really enjoyed how simple the story was and the friendships.
I didn't really feel the relationship between Ian and S’mika as anything more then friends. But it's fine. I think it still worked.
That boat scene was unreal though! Was so intense.
Overall I'm glad I read this book.
Profile Image for Meaghan Babin.
261 reviews6 followers
July 7, 2021
I really loved everything about Sea Lover, everything about it warmed my heart and as a girl growing up on the east coast dreaming on mermaids, this book really hit all the right places for me. I found this book to be extremely memorable, relatable and heart-warming and I'm happy to see the inclusion of more and more LGBTQ characters in literature.
Profile Image for Sally.
Author 127 books311 followers
November 2, 2017
This just didn't work for me on any level. As intrigued as I was by the concept, the pacing and narrative style seemed all wrong, the characters fell flat, and I just could not find any sort of connection, mental or emotional.
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