Tag Archives: Mermaids

Romantic Horror: A Review of Samfah

Book cover for Samfah by JR Martin. Image on cover shows a two-story stone wall of a decaying building that has dozens of stone pillars holding up the second floor. It looks vaguely Greek, has been flooded with water, and there is seaweed growing on the building and columns. Lots of sunlight is streaming into the scene from the sky above. Title: Samfah

Author: JR Martin

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: March 16, 2023

Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Historical, and dash of Psychological Horror

Length: 10 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars


Looking for an enchanting, action-packed adventure that will leave you breathless? Look no further than “Samfah” – the must-read fantasy short story of the year! Follow the journey of a young girl who mysteriously vanishes into the depths of the sea, leaving her loved ones devastated and searching for answers. As her family struggles to come to terms with her disappearance, she discovers the incredible secrets hidden beneath the waves – a mystical, underwater world full of magic and wonder.


Content Warning: Kidnapping and a death from natural(ish?) causes. I will be discussing the kidnapping in this review.

If you like weird fiction, keep reading.

Anyone who reads my reviews regularly knows that I like stories that keep the reader on their toes and mix genres together in new and different ways. This is one of those tales. It resisted any attempt to classify it into a single genre, and it defied my expectations of what horror, fantasy, and romance should be every time I thought the plot was veering off a little more into one of those directions, In short, it was creative and it had something for readers who like any of those genres even if you might not generally be into all three of them. I encourage you all to take a risk on this. It’s (probably) not what you think it will be.

I wish the author had dove more deeply into the character development. For example, Samfah’s relationship with her future husband, Arkan, fascinated me, and yet little time was spent exploring what he was like as an individual or why he withheld certain facts from her when he lured her deep into the ocean and promised her a life of luxury if she stayed forever. Was he simply being romantic or was there some other motive for his decisions? I could come up with arguments for several different logical interpretations of his actions, some of which were much darker than others. If I’d had more material to work with, I would have happily bumped my star rating up to at least a four.

The eerie first scene did an excellent job of grabbing my attention. Samfah did not seem to be in full control of her mind and body when she slowly wandered into the ocean despite not knowing how to swim. I shuddered as she soon entered waters that were over her head and needed to figure out what to do next. What an intense way to introduce a character and setting to an audience! I commend the author for taking this risk and trusting readers to figure out certain things on our own before later confirming whether or not our guesses were correct.

Samfah kept me on my toes.


Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Mermaid Covers

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A photorealistic painting of a mermaid swimming in the ocean. The shot is set from a perspective on the ocean floor where the viewers is looking up at the bright sun overhead and a mermaid that is mostly blocking out it’s rays as it swims close to the surface of the water. The mermaid has a large, thick fin and several small, thin, and partially see-through fins on its hips and arms that are helping it to navigate through the water. The original topic for this week was “Books or Covers that Feel/Look Like Summer.” I followed the prompt exactly last year, so this time I’m going to be a little creative with it.

There may not be any real mermaids in Lake Ontario, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, or any other large bodies of water, but it’s always fun to stare out at those endless waves and imagine what might be swimming around happily just out of sight on a warm summer day.

Being an adult doesn’t mean you have to stop imagining beautiful things after all, and now is a great time to do it.

Here are ten books with mermaids or mermen on their covers.

If Greg @ Book Haven happens to read this post, answer #7 reminds me of the kind of stuff you blog about. I included it specifically to amuse you.

Book cover for Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton. Image on cover shows a brown mermaid with a yellow tail sitting on a rock as the ocean crashes against the rock. She is looking at a fisherman wearing a yellow jacket who is in a red boat far away from her.

1. Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton


Book cover for The Mermaid in the Millpond by Lucy Strange. Image on cover is a drawing of an all-white mermaid swimming in a pond filled with algae and seaweed next to an old stone house and a tree that doesn’t have any leaves on it. The mermaid is staring at the tree and you cannot see her face.


2. The Mermaid in the Millpond by Lucy Strange


Book cover for The Merman by Dick King-Smith. Image on cover shows a merman with olive skin and white hair swimming in the ocean with his tail flipped out of the weather. He’s looking at a girl who is wearing a red dress. She is sitting on top of a large rock and looking down at him as seagulls fly by.

3. The Merman by Dick King-Smith


Book cover for Tides by Betsy Cornwell . Image on cover shows an Asian mermaid who has just plunged deeply into the ocean. You can see a plume of water and air rising up to the surface behind her as she joyfully begins to turn away from a manatee at the bottom of the shallow ocean flor and swim upwards again.

4. Tides by Betsy Cornwell


Book cover for l Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings (Real Mermaids, #1)  by Helene Boudreau. Image on cover shows a young white mermaid touching their own hands as the back of one hands gently touches their green and blue tail.

5. Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings (Real Mermaids, #1)  by Helene Boudreau


Book cover for The Deep by Rivers Solomon. Image on cover shows a black mermaid swimming up to the light and air as a gigantic whale swims by her.

6. The Deep by Rivers Solomon


Book cover for Merciless Mermaids (Agent 0008, #11) by Clyde Allison. Image on cover shows a vintage, pulpy, 1940s style drawing of a mermaid who has red hair and a gigantic octopus wrapping it’s tentacles around her body.


7. The Merciless Mermaids (Agent 0008, #11) by Clyde Allison


Book cover for The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. Image on cover shows a Vietnamese kid with short hair and glasses who is wearing a patched jacket and reading a book. There is a faint drawing of a mermaid swimming on the green background behind him.

8. The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen


Book cover for The Little Mermaid by Deborah Hautzig and Hans Christian Andersen. Image on cover shows a brunette Caucasian mermaid sitting on a large rock in the ocean next to a white castle in the distance on the land. Her long, wavy hair is covering her otherwise bare torso.

9. The Little Mermaid by Deborah Hautzig and Hans Christian Andersen


Book cover for The Call of the Deep (The Matchless Deep, #1) by Tracy Lane. Image on cover shows the tail of a mermaid or merman as t they dive deeply into the ocean where there is very little light at all.

10. The Call of the Deep (The Matchless Deep, #1) by Tracy Lane



Filed under Blog Hops

Chasing Victory: A Review of The Sea Witch

Title: The Sea Witch

Author: Bethany Hoeflich

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: February 21, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Historical

Length: 30 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars


For years, Ula has been content to hide behind her reputation as the sea queen’s quirky, loner sister.

Isolation and mistrust are her shields, protecting the secrets of her past from resurfacing.

When the sea king offers her the position of court sorcerer, Ula sees an opportunity to reclaim what had been stolen from her.

How could she anticipate it would cost her everything?

The Sea Witch is a villainous short story inspired by The Little Mermaid.


Content Warning: Blood and death of a parent. I will not be discussing these topics in my review.

Villains come in all shapes and sizes.

I enjoyed seeing how the world building unfolded. There was just enough of it in this tale for me to develop a good sense of what this mermaid society was like and why Ula was so frustrated with her lot in life. The smallest changes in a mermaid’s life could lead to radically different outcomes years later, so it was important to put all of these pieces together during the short time I had with her. If the author ever decides to write a sequel, I’d sure like to take a deeper dive into this society and the unique mermaids who are part of it.

It would have been helpful to have more character development, especially when it concerned Ula. She was such an intelligent and resourceful individual that I found it difficult to understand some of her choices. I could think of so many other ways for her to resolve the conflicts in her life and achieve her goals. It puzzled me to see how often she skipped ahead to more drastic measures when she had so many other options to choose from. I would have liked to get to know her better so that these decisions and her thought processes behind them would make more sense.

Magic was both an art and a science in this universe. It’s effects could generally be predicted in advance, but any mermaid worth his or her fins knew that it was impossible to predict every possible outcome if one ventured down this path. It was amusing to see how Ula had learned to cope with the unpredictable elements of her occupation while also doing everything she could to get the desired results when she cast a spell. The author struck a nice balance between describing how all of this worked and allowing readers to fill in other pieces of puzzle for ourselves.

The Sea Witch was a fun summer read.


Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy

Endless Memories: A Review of The Deep

Book cover for The Deep by Rivers Solomon. Image on cover is of a mermaid swimming past a whale.

Title: The Deep

Author: Rivers Solomon

Publisher: Saga Press

Publication Date: 2019

Genres: Science Fiction, Afrofuturism, Contemporary, Historical

Length: 175 pages

Source: I borrowed it from the library.

Rating: 4 Stars

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.

Content warning: Death of a parent and death of a child. I will not be discussing these things in my review. The quotes below were taken from the book.

Some types of pain echo through many generations.

Yetu was an amazing protagonist. Her struggles with acting as the Historian for her community made perfect sense. That burden had been placed on her shoulders at a tender age, and it honestly wasn’t something she was prepared to handle. While I can’t go any further into her backstory without giving away spoilers, I appreciated all of the work that had clearly been put into describing her personality, why she was given this role, and how it affected her both mentally and physically.

“Living without detailed long-term memories allowed for spontaneity and lack of regret, but after a certain amount of time had passed, they needed more.”

One of the things that I wish the blurb had made clearer was how the Wanjinru processed memories, especially since the plot wasn’t shared in a chronological order. Their minds didn’t work exactly the same as a human mind does for reasons that I’ll leave for future readers to discover, so Yetu often needed to repeat things to the audience as she remembered them again or thought of a detail she hadn’t included before. I liked this device a lot, but it wasn’t something I was expecting when I started reading.

The character development was quite well done. This was even more impressive given how Yetu’s memory worked. It’s definitely not easy to show someone growing and changing when they forget certain details over time, but the author pulled it off beautifully.

“We are not Wanjiru if being Wanjiru means distancing ourselves from pain.”

I do wish this book had been longer so that more time could have been spent on the world-building. Yetu both experienced and remembered some amazing events, but she needed to spend so much time repeating certain memories and making sure they were told in the right order that she simply didn’t have as much time as she needed in order to explain those events the way I wish they’d been shared with the audience. Another 50-100 pages of writing would have given me the clues I needed.

“Forgetting was not the same as healing.”

This is also something that could easily be fixed with a sequel if the author ever decides to revisit all of the incredible characters she created here. My fingers are crossed that this might happen one day.

With that being said, the ending couldn’t have been written more beautifully. I adored the way all of the important loose ends of the storyline were tied together while still leaving room for either a sequel or lots of fodder for the the imaginations of everyone who reads it. 

I’ve decided to end this review with a link to the song referenced in the blurb. Comparing its version of events with what happened in the book was fascinating, especially since the song came first!  It does contain spoilers, so keep that in mind while deciding when to listen to it if you’re like me and prefer to avoid spoilers.


The Deep by Clipping


Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy