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Landlocked Heart #1

The Lonely Merman

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It's Friday afternoon, and the last thing Ben wants to be doing is trudging through a wet forest in search of a public hazard. But duty calls, and turns out more exciting than Ben imagined when he encounters a magical ruin, an enchanted pool, and Lyle—a merman who's cursed to be landlocked many miles from the sea.

Lyle is flamboyant and exciting—he's got tentacles, for goodness sake!—and Ben falls hard. But Lyle's been hurt before and finds trust difficult, refusing even to reveal how to break the curse that imprisons him. Ben's just an ordinary guy, and can't help wondering if he can ever be the hero Lyle needs.

99 pages, ebook

First published July 4, 2017

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Kay Berrisford

18 books74 followers

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5 stars
6 (13%)
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9 (20%)
3 stars
20 (45%)
2 stars
7 (15%)
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2 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,839 reviews388 followers
July 4, 2017
Odd lot romance.

Ben is a dependable guy doing his job when he stumbles upon a magical folly and pool in the woods. Even more amazing is the beautiful if slightly creepy man lurking about the area. Turns out that Lyle's loitering because he doesn't have much choice--Cursed.

Landlocked and alone, what's a merman to do?

The years have been long and Lyle's not exactly taken it well. Ben is attracted, but a bit turned off by some of Lyle's mannerisms. All this sounds good, a solid basis for a relationship. Unfortunately, it feels uneven. I think the emotional yo-yo of Lyle and the ho-hum everydayness of Ben just doesn't bridge the rather immediate attraction and odd interactions they have.

Placing fantastical beings into contemporary settings is tricky, and I think I prefer them in a less prosaic situation. When the glamour and mystique of something is crowded and shrunk by the rules of now, it's hard for me to enjoy them as much. That said, this had some lovely issues of gender determination that worked very well with the subject matter. *tip of the hat*

This wasn't riveting for me, but it was a diversion. I suspect some will love this more than I and others not. But, had to read it--Merman.

~Copy provided by NetGalley~
Profile Image for nemo the emo ☠️ (pagesandprozac).
850 reviews399 followers
July 26, 2017
this was quite fun, and i liked the fact that there was a bit of angst and is wasn't all plain sailing (no pun intended), but it was quite instalove-y. not just instalust, but instalove. i shouldn't really complain about that though, as the whole story had a fairy tale vibe with curses and things, and instalove is par for the course with fairy tales, really.

also lyle was relatable because i too am a melodramatic trans goth who is way too clingy all the time and gets mistaken for a vampire.

another gripe: i was promised tentacles and i didn't get tentacles
Profile Image for Tyler J Gray.
Author 2 books209 followers
July 22, 2017

Full review also on my blog at http://wickedjr89sbookblog.blogspot.c...

I wanted to read this book because it involves a queer merman, and it involves a romance between said gay merman and a gay male human. And I got so much more than that and in a short book to boot! Kindle doesn't tell me how many pages it is nor does Goodreads but I read it in one day, not sure how long I actually spent reading it though, my guess is a few hours total.

I really enjoyed the plot. It's a light fantasy read. Lyle is a trapped merman, landlocked in the woods as part of a curse and he longs to return to the ocean. Due to his experiences he finds it hard to trust. Lyle is an interesting character who, while at first I found annoying, I grew to love and really felt for him. He's a bit of a drama llama but he's been hurt. Ben is an ordinary guy who is a bit bored with his uneventful life. I ultimately found Lyle relate-able too. Lyle is an undine and I loved the part about how undines can choose their gender during their formative years.

I wish I had more to say but it is a short story. Still it's a fun quick read with interesting characters, a nice plot, magic, gay romance including a merman, and also managed to make me think and question some things while still being a light short read. It even made me teary and talk out loud to the book (which isn't exactly hard for me but that's never happened with a short story before). I loved the romance and fell in love with the characters. It ties up nicely but I am looking forward to more time with the characters in book 2!
Profile Image for Devann.
2,431 reviews128 followers
July 21, 2017
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This was a cute short story [or novella I guess?]. The instalove factor is always going to make me roll my eyes a bit but it's what I've come to expect from these types of shorter writing and also it's much less annoying to me when it's a queer romance. Lyle wasn't exactly what I was expecting [he's more a fairy than a traditional merman] but for the most part the story was cute and had a good ending and I also liked the little silly things in the narrative like Ben calling Lyle a 'drama llama' several times [and he really is, I often thought he would make a better vampire or something than a merman]. Also just like, fair warning, there was a weird [but not explicit] foray into merpeople incest in the middle of the book that had me going 'what???' but I guess you've got to have one really weird unexpected thing in every book ;)
Profile Image for Rachel Emily.
3,980 reviews260 followers
July 18, 2017
I'm a big fan of merman romances, I've always loved them, and will pretty much try any that I find. This was a cute story, but at the same time it felt like something was lacking while I was reading this.

I felt like we never really got a clear explanation of what Lyle looks like, and things seemed to be rushed through, quickly explained (the whole "show, don't tell in writing" definitely applies here) and the way the dialogue and writing was, it felt almost like this should have been taking place years in the past rather than the present.

However, I adored Lyle being called a "drama llama" and there were some cute moments between him and Ben. And y'know, merman!

I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sally.
Author 121 books301 followers
August 30, 2017
Okay, so I knew from the blurb that I was going to love The Lonely Merman. I mean, a magical ruin, an enchanted pool, and a flamboyant merman with tentacles? Yes, please! What I did not know, however, was how deeply I would fall in love with Lyle, or how deeply I would get lost in the world Kay Berrisford created.

The setting alone is worth the price of admission, a secluded little spot, deep inside the forest, that has remained magically hidden from view for over a century. There is a single tower, seemingly torn from a castle and dropped into the trees, topped by exquisite stone dragons. A little further away there is an even lovelier pond, crystal clear, and prone to unusual aquatic frenzies. Haunting them both is a man by the name of Lyle, a Gothic beauty who is as enchanting as he is enigmatic.

The romance between Lyle and Ben is quite lovely, a slow-burning passion that brings two worlds together. Just as they have found one another, though, the cruel hand of progress threatens to tear them apart, with Lyle's curse promising a sad end to his cursed exile. This is a magical tale, with all the power and excitement of a fairy tale, driven by a love that is sweet, and kind, and just plain delightful. Lyle's story is a sad one, but that mythology is a big part of what makes the story so perfect.

Fittingly, The Lonely Merman is a fairy tale romance full of erotic promise, but with the sex left largely off the page. It is a story that is full of emotion, with a happily-ever-after that will leave you smiling for the rest of the day. Just an altogether lovely read.

As reviewed by Sally at Bending the Bookshelf
Profile Image for Elliott.
Author 8 books19 followers
July 14, 2017
Cute quick read! Ben is a loner still living at home and working a somewhat humdrum job. He stumbles upon Lyle, an undine who longs to return to the ocean, but trapped in the woods as part of a curse. Ben manages to come of as a little bored with his uneventful life without being the sad-sack living at home stereotype. Lyle is something of a drama queen but still manages to be very charming. There's a nice bit about undines being allowed to choose their gender during their formative years that I liked a lot.

A copy was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Andrea.
313 reviews16 followers
July 13, 2017
Sweet story. Ben's character was very relateable. The reader really feels for him. There were some aspects though that didn't really fit. The name for Lyle's character just never fit; it didn't have the right flavor to fit the character. Lyle's backstory when he finally shared it seemed a little unformed and haphazard. The book had great detail of events and action with the exception of Lyle's description and the intimate scenes. I felt like when the author got to those areas of the story they fast forwarded. For those reasons I didn't enjoy this book as much as I might have-- it had so much potential.
1,846 reviews3 followers
August 25, 2017
A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review

For the Full Review, visit http://wp.me/p220KL-bqq

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

From that review: " The Lonely Merman (Landlocked Heart #1) by Kay Berrisford has a terrific premise behind it and some wonderful mythology that the author has created for her story.  I trudged along with Ben  and tumbled headlong into a magical place, haunted by a cursed being waiting for his forever love.

How could you not want to read about that?.."

For all our reviews, author interviews and such, visit us at http://scatteredthoughtsandroguewords...
Profile Image for Elisa Rolle.
Author 72 books219 followers
December 4, 2017
2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Lonely Merman (Landlocked Heart #1) Kay Berrisford
1) I greatly enjoyed reading this book. There were so many things to like. On the one hand, it was as if I were reading a contemporary gay romance involving characters interested in conservation and the environment. At the same time, I was reading about magical characters who were hundreds of years old. What a great story set up and great characters. The author did a great job of unfolding this story in a way that was totally enjoyable to read. I'd certainly consider reading more in this series.

Profile Image for Magnolia.
247 reviews1 follower
July 16, 2017
From Magnolia Reviews: Three Petals

Overall I did enjoy reading this story, which is why I do recommend it. It was cute with interesting characters and well written magic. However, the story itself felt rushed and choppy thanks to a lot of time skips and the characters explaining instead of showing.

Read the full review on Maggie's website: http://magnoliareviews.weebly.com/rev...
Profile Image for Serith.
263 reviews10 followers
July 15, 2017
I’m BEYOND thrilled to see more and more queer merfolk getting published. UGH. Keep them coming plz k thx.


This book was oddly charming in its simplicity. It’s a very character driven story with a bit of time pressure to set the stakes. The emotion fluctuates to keep things interesting, but it never lingers on negative for too long. It’s a nice balance or romance and drama.

I particularity liked how certain character flaws didn’t go unpunished. When a tempers flair, it’s not glorified. There are consequences ...and that’s refreshing in fiction.


I also liked the treatment of gender and how it was a choice for Lyle’s kind (or at least should be fi it wasn’t for plot reasons). This lured me to the fantasy elements and I want to learn more.

So yeah, definitely will continue this series!

If you're looking for a nice light read to take to the cottage, this is one to consider.
Profile Image for R.J..
Author 254 books2,540 followers
October 26, 2017
This is such a beautifully written book. Loved it.
Profile Image for DB (DB's Guide to the Galaxy).
201 reviews62 followers
January 17, 2018
So this is another The Little Mermaid retelling, this one being a M/M and the mermaid being less of a mermaid and more of an octuman? Or however you’re meant to explain it – the water-dwelling creature has tentacles.

All in all, it was a good read. Not that good – as I rated it 2 and a half but because of Goodreads and its ratings (yes, another snide remark about how Goodreads needs to change their stars but then again, are you even a blogger if you don’t complain about this?) so then I had to rate it down to 2 stars.

The characters were cute. Yes, the story focused more on Ben and Lyle (I mean they are the main characters, so obviously) but I did like Ben’s parents. Though I did find Lyle a bit annoying – mostly his personality and the fact that he was a bit too whiny for my taste. Sure, I guess if you’ve been alone for a super long time, your personality might change, and you’ll probably be a bit needy and whiny.

Another thing that bothered me was the instalove factor – I think that’s mostly why the rating’s not higher. I can honestly say that I have no idea why or how people can look at someone and then go “Ah, yes. I want this person.” Yeah, sorry. But I do applaud whoever does do this – be extremely confident in love and knowing what they want, because sugar, I can’t even make up my mind on what to eat half the time.
Profile Image for Nanna Sander.
659 reviews39 followers
October 10, 2017
I came here because I recieved an ARC for the second book in the series, and I felt like I needed the context to truly undertand the sequel. It is a quick story, and therefore the romance happens super quickly and shallowly, something of which I am not a fan. Loved the term 'Drama Llama' that Ben calls Lyle. The issues in Lyle's story has some clear parallels to our society, so the book is in some ways a stab at reality even though the story is weaved with magic and supernatural sea creatures.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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