on m/m romance, baking, knitting, and occasional smut

Tag Archives: Dragon Shifters

KnighttoRemember[A]LGTitle: A Knight to Remember
Author: Anne Barwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 65,490 words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Dragons, Royalty, Alternate Reality Historical, Quests, Secrets & Lies, Merlin-fic, Magic, Mages, Shifters, Amnesia
Rating: So So

**This review contains some spoilers**

BLURB

“The last of your line will be in the embrace of a dragon.”

Aric, Crown Prince of Astria, has been brought up to believe that all dragons are evil. But when he speaks with one, he finds himself questioning those beliefs. The dragon tells him to find a sword in Sherwin Forest to save not only his kingdom but also his sister, Georgia, who must otherwise wed the prince of a neighboring kingdom.

At the start of his quest, Aric dons a disguise and meets Denys, an archer and herbalist who lives alone at the edge of the forest. Denys agrees to guide Aric into the forest, but then Georgia appears, revealing Aric’s true identity.

However, Aric learns he is not the only one keeping secrets. Denys has a few of his own that could change both of their lives forever.

REVIEW

I was immediately drawn to this book for two reasons. First, I’ve wanted to read an Anne Barwell book forever. I’ve bought all of her’s as they’ve come out. They’ve all seemed rather interesting to me but for some reason I’ve never had time to actually read them. So I was really excited that she had written another book, which secondly, seemed rather Merlin-esque. You’ve got a crown prince, a king that has banished magic and is a pretty crappy father, and the fable of dragons which are supposed to be extinct, but really aren’t. How could I refuse, right? It’s like Merlin, but with gay guys!

And my reading went much like I thought it would, at least for the first half of the book, roughly. We meet Aric, the crown prince living under his father’s thumb and doing just about everything he can to make his own way and hold true to his own beliefs under such a stifling reign. His father has banished magic and Aric and his twin sister have grown up with quite a biased education about their history and the history of magic and magical beings in Astria. His beliefs are challenged when he once again sneaks out to visit his aunt, his dead mother’s sister — a forbidden act by his father — and is instead greeted in a forest glade by an ancient dragon. He’s baffled to see it at all (believing them to be extinct) and even more confused when the dragon doesn’t show the signs of aggression he was taught. Instead, the dragon speaks to him, the most surprising thing of all, and tells him that to save his kingdom and his sister, he must set out on a quest to seek the sword hidden in Sherwin Forest.

The Sherwin Forest is legend, a dark place said to once be the home of magic and dragons themselves, a place where no living person returns. But Aric must believe that what the dragon said was true. Their kingdom is in danger from their allies and a marriage treaty that would see his twin sister Georgia married off to the son of the neighboring King. Aric doesn’t trust them, however. It isn’t, as his father thinks, because he won’t let go of his sister, but because of a treacherous conversation he overheard, in which Georgia will become a pawn for their so-called allies to take over Astria. Georgia would just become a pawn and her happiness means more to Aric than anything else, even the kingdom he’ll one day rule.

My experience reading this book was good and disappointing at the same time. The first half of the book had me enthralled. I love a good sword and sorcery story and the first half of this book started well and continued strongly. Soon after Aric sets off to find his way to retrieve the sword from the fabled forest, he meets a handsome man in the woods that seems to have a special magical affinity, no matter how much he denies it. The man, Denys, is keeping his own secrets, but seems to believe what he says, which only makes him more mysterious. He reluctantly decides to help Aric, of whom he also knows very little. But Denys knows what happens to those who venture into the forest and how strange it is — how it can mess with your mind and how changed you are if you can make it back out. His strong and confusing connection to Aric make him want to help.

For me, this story really changed while they were in the forest. While I don’t begrudge an author a choice in their own book simply because it’s a plot device that I’m really not fond of (amnesia), that was the turning point for me in this book because after that the story seemed to collapse in on itself. Before that point, about midway through the book, there seemed to be a clear drive in the plot with their trek through the forest and getting to know each other. Afterwards, the story seemed to explode in different directions and it all became a little confusing for me. I felt like maybe the story wasn’t sure where it wanted to go. And yes, while it did eventually come back around, it felt like it was leaving out quite a bit of the story. I mean, it didn’t feel finished, which brings me to another issue. I wondered if this was the beginning of a sequel. If it is, then I really wish that Dreamspinner would promote it as such. That has happened before with some their books, where they’re the first part of a series but it isn’t written about anywhere. And maybe that decision comes later — it’s possible — but that changes my perspective on how I read the book and it definitely means that I consider the book in a different light. If it isn’t a first book in a series, then this story felt greatly unfinished. I didn’t particularly feel like the romance was finished but the main plot seems like an early part of a much longer story.

I pretty much knew the direction that the story was going to go — the main “surprise” if you will — from reading the blurb and at the very least from the minute that Aric meets Denys just after he speaks to the dragon. It’s not a very big leap to assume that is the case. And I was right. I suppose what disappointed me was the confusion in the way it got there. It seemed a bit messy. I have avoided, so far, reading other reviews for this book, but I would be interested now in taking a look or talking to anyone else who read this to see what they think. It’s possible, of course, that I just didn’t “get” this one and that it wasn’t for me. Maybe it’s the author’s style, as this is the first book of her’s that I’ve read. But part of me thinks not, since I felt such a change between the first half and the second half.

No matter my ultimately feelings, however, I still liked the book okay. I just wanted to like it a lot more.


cover6Title: Dragon Slayer (The Empty Crown #1)
Author: Isabella Carter
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 40k words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Series, Dragons, Alternate World Historical, Secrets & Lies, Royalty, Arranged Marriage, Magic, Unusual Creatures, Family Issues, Cliff (small!), Slow Burn
Rating: Really Liked It

BLURB

Ingram is a coward and weakling—at least according to his father, the king, and the royal court. He cannot use a sword, he faints at the sight of blood, and even his brilliant abilities as a strategist are not enough to overcome his failings. When his father loses a bet to the notorious Lord Mallory over the matter of a dragon slaying, he pays his debt by ordering Ingram to marry him.

Then his father reveals that he is putting Ingram to a greater purpose, giving Ingram one last chance to prove he is not worthless. All it requires is betraying his new husband.

REVIEW

I really have grown to love Isabella Carter’s books. So I was really excited for this one, which not only promises to be an in-depth story because it’s the first of a series, but also that I know she likes to really dig into her fantasy worlds. In many ways you can see that this book is a setup, but if you didn’t know it was the first book of a series, I think you’d find that it felt like a whole book. It isn’t just setup, but it does a really good job of giving us the story and leaving the ending open. So yes, it’s important to know that this is the first of a series so that even though you get some resolution, you won’t be surprised that there is a bit of a cliffhanger ending.

Ingram has become the weakling that his father has always accused him of being. Though he’s learned that nothing he does can make his father — the king of Abelen — proud, he’s found his own strengths. They aren’t in what a prince is expected to be, strong at swordplay, but he has a fine mind and has shown himself to be an expert strategist with the King’s miliary.

Abelen is still growing and recovering from a rebellion little more than twenty years previously. The country and King has become more insular, with the Lords abandoning their keeps to spend most of their time in the capital of Solberg. The royals have grown further apart from their people. But, an old feud lingers from Winterveil, the northernmost region of Abelen. Lord Mallory is a young man, but has inherited the feud. He makes a wager with King Roderick, that if he kills the red dragon who has gone into madness and is killing indiscriminately, that he will wed one of the King’s children. When he brings the head of the dragon to court and Roderick casually gives him Ingram, Ingram is hurt and scared to be thrown away to such a dangerous man.

But more is work in such an alliance, on both sides. The King gives Ingram a mission, one that finds him at an impasse when he learns just how wonderful Mallory is, and how much living in a place like Winterveil is more like home than his own family.

There is so much that I could say about this book, but it really should be experienced while reading it and… honestly there is so much going on in the book, so many characters with each one having their own machinations in place that it was a little hard for me to keep up. This is a book that does well as the first of a series — it holds up. Still, for those of you who like to get a lot of the action and information at once and don’t want to wait for the sequel, you might want to do that this time. Because while I really loved this book and I was totally sucked into it, I also feel like there is a lot of subtlety that will benefit from a second or even third read and will also make more sense after I can read the next book in the series. Hopefully, that will be soon!

I know a lot of you who are fans of Less Than Three Press like I am, and this is really their kind of book, the quintessential LT3 fantasy, though maybe a little less sweet than many of them. Ingram goes through quite a bit of angst about his relationship with his father. It’s tough to watch, not only because I grew to care about him, but also because it makes for difficult reading at times. I want him to realize what is happening to him. But we’re privy to information that he isn’t, and he also has to deal with a lifetime of manipulation by the people around him, the people he cares most about. So, while his choices and thoughts are frustrating, they’re also true to his character.

There’s one more point I’d like to touch on. The relationship between Ingram and Mallory in this book is very light. I imagine that the relationship arc is going to take place over the whole series, so don’t expect much romance in this first book. Mallory does court Ingram, in his own way, but it’s a very slow getting-to-know-you kind of thing. It’s actually very sweet, and it’s a very slow-burn romance.

So, I definitely recommend this one. Unless you want to wait, I say go ahead and get this now and read it. I’m so glad I didn’t wait and decided to read it right away, because it was a really fun read for me.

**Dragon Slayer will be released tomorrow, but available for preorder now and you’ll be able to download tonight on the Less Than Three Press website at 8pm!


BoyandHisDragon[A]LGTitle: A Boy and His Dragon (Being(s) in Love #2)
Author: R Cooper
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 79,598 words
Genre: m/m Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Urban Fantasy, Dragon Shifters, Faeries, History, Opposites Attract
Rating: So So

BLURB

Arthur MacArthur needs a job, and not just for the money. Before he dropped out of school to support his younger sister, he loved being a research assistant at the university. But working for a dragon, one of the rarest and least understood magical beings, has unforeseen complications. While Arthur may be the only applicant who isn’t afraid of Philbert Jones in his dragon form, the instant attraction he feels for his new employer is beyond disconcerting.

Bertie is a brilliant historian, but he can’t find his own notes without help—his house is a hoard of books and antiques, hence the need for an assistant. Setting the mess to rights is a dream come true for Arthur, who once aspired to be an archivist. But making sense of Bertie’s interest in him is another matter. After all, dragons collect treasure, and Arthur is anything but extraordinary.

REVIEW

When I decided to review this book, I didn’t realize that it was the sequel to R Cooper’s Some Kind of Magic. I had intended to read that book at some point, but even though I got it when it was released I never read it. This book seemed more interesting to me, however, because of the dragon. I love dragon shifters and I can’t stay away from any book that looks like it might have one. So I decided to read both of these books, and as it turned out, I ended up liking the first book better than this one, despite the yummy dragon man.

A Boy and His Dragon opens as Arthur MacArthur visits the home of Dr. Philbert Jones, a historian to interview for a position as his research assistant. Arthur is working towards a degree in history himself and has a real love of learning and an academic mind, but family problems and lack of money have forced him to take a student sabbatical until he can find a way out of his debts and support himself and his sister with enough money left over to return to his studies. This job, then, is perfect. While he has two other jobs, they’re part-time and don’t challenge him the way he needs to be, and a research job is just what he needs to keep his career on track.

Arthur is also a normal human. Living in a world where the paranormal is normal (at least for the last 70 some-odd years), means that there is familiarity and misinformation alongside one another. Humans mostly still know very little about Beings, at least on a day to day basis. Arthur is a an example of this. Knowing that his potential employer is a dragon, he makes and keeps an ongoing list of things he knows about dragons, which is very small and somewhat misinformed. Despite his personal curiosity, this job means a lot to Arthur because of his need to protect and care for his sister. But when he meets Philbert, “Bertie”, he finds another reason to care about the job — caring about the dragon himself. They’re fairly opposite, obvious signs notwithstanding, but they soon learn to care for one another as Arthur spends his days organizing Bertie’s book collection.

The writing itself in this book is very good. Readers who have read the first book in the series, Some Kind of Magic, will find it similar. The story is firmly set apart from that book, there’s almost no connection whatsoever, besides the world, so there’s really no need to read the books in any certain order. Mostly, however, readers will find this book very different from it’s predecessor, mainly in that this book isn’t a mystery. There is one overarching choice the author makes, however, that is the same in both books, and it is something that bothered me in both of them. The romantic tension is created by severe miscommunication, all bolstered and made more authentic by the fact that the Beings and Humans and the different types of Beings don’t understand one another. Still, I found this to be a rather fragile and thin excuse.

I read quite a few short stories because of my weekly reviews at Brief Encounters and one of the biggest problems I find in short stories is the excess of plot for a short format. This book had the opposite problem — I felt like there wasn’t enough plot for the size of this book, which made the story drag for me, throughout most of the book. The miscommunication and desire of the characters (especially Arthur) to do what they think is best for everyone else without talking it over with anyone else first (I hate that), is used to draw out the story into a longer work. I felt a bit like I was waiting and waiting for something to happen.

Others might like this story more. The writing, like I said before, is good, I just tend not to enjoy stories focused solely on the relationship and the added (very) slow place compounded that problem for me. For some reason, while I liked them, I didn’t find the characters engaging enough to overcome that problem. So it was really only a so so book for me. I’m still looking forward to reading more of this author’s work, however, and hopefully that book will be more to my personal taste in style.


privatedicks400x600Title: Private Dicks: Undercovers
Editors: Samantha M Derr
Authors: Siobhan Crosslin, K-Lee Klein, Holly Rinna-White, Alison Bailey, Megan Derr, EE Ottoman, Isabella Carter & Sasha L Miller
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 135k words
Genre: m/m + m/m/m Mystery Romance
Keywords/Tags: Anthology, Short Stories, Private Investigators, Undercover
Rating: Pretty Good

BLURB

Temper by Siobhan Crosslin—Reese hates deception, but that’s all his life has been since he was sent to investigate a wolf pack on clashing sets of orders. Keeping his lies separated is all that’s keeping him alive, and it’s a job that grows harder by the day—especially with the unexpected complications of the alpha he’s investigating.

The PI and the Rockstar by K-lee Klein—Mason is a detective. He’s not flashy or hip and he doesn’t have an office conducive to entertaining wealthy clients. But when made-of-money Durango and his gum-snapping daughter hire him to do surveillance on a popular rockstar named Jade Jonathan Lee, Mason’s business world collides with his personal life, and the result is a mystery that must be solved.

Glamour by Holly Rinna-White—When his little brother is kidnapped, Jason hires Eric, PI and long-time crush, to find him, terrified of what will happen if people learn his brother is unregistered psychic. But when Jason is kidnapped as well, he learns he and his brother are not the only ones keeping secrets.

The Virginia Gentleman by Alison Bailey—When the Virginia Gentleman rides into town, it’s a sure bet that trouble ain’t far behind. He’s quick on the draw, feared by all, and one sad little group of train robbers is about to find out why it’s never wise to bet on trouble.

The Royal Inquisitor by Megan Derr—Esmour is one the best Inquisitors in the kingdom, but the penance bracelets on his wrists serve as constant reminder that once he was not a master of deception, but a victim. To solve his latest case, he must work alongside the liar who changed his life, and the love he learned too late was never real.

Regarding the Detective’s Companion by E.E. Ottoman—Jamie is desperate: he has no money, rent is coming due, and if he doesn’t do something soon he’ll be forced back into a life of charity and pity. So when he is brought a case, Jamie takes it—even if it will mean lying to his client, manipulating the suspect and propelling himself into the middle of a plot involving murder and political intrigue.

The Demon Bride by Isabella Carter—One dead body left at the door is more than enough, but after three are left on the stoop of his father’s agency and no one else is willing to investigate, Quinton decides he’ll just have to solve the mystery himself.

Too Dangerous by Sasha L. Miller—Shi is good at what he does, no matter what his stupid ex thought. Danger comes with the territory, especially when that territory includes a special license to do select work for the government. But when the government needs him to fix something that defeated even their most elite, Shi learns that some situations are too much even for him.

REVIEW

I’ve been sitting on this anthology for a while, but if there’s anything that I know about anthologies from Less Than Three Press, it’s that they’re usually some of my favorites, it not my overall favorites from a specific publisher. So I was excited to read it and I found several stories within that I really liked.

Once again, as with the LT3 anthology I reviewed earlier this week (Something Happened on the Way to Heavenreviewed here), I was delighted with the diversity in the stories presented. Each story deals with a Private Investigator and a mystery, but the stories cross all genres, from Paranormal to Steampunk to Science Fiction, Contemporary and Western. I really enjoyed the steampunk story, “Regarding the Detective’s Companion” by EE Ottoman. Even though it isn’t the best story in the anthology, I really liked the characters, the mystery and the world. Having a steampunk world was also nice because there are so few m/m steampunk stories. The first story is one of my favorites. With a very distinctive style, Siobhan Crosslin takes us into an extreme werewolf society with some really fine writing.

So, look below and I’ll give you a bit about each story. The reviews will be shorter than usual, because this was a longer anthology, but the tags and info about each story will give you quite a bit about what each one has to offer 🙂


Temper by Siobhan Crosslin (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Paranormal Mystery Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Shifters (Wolves & Dragons), Mate Bonding, Enforcer/Thug, Violence, Undercover

Siobhan Crosslin takes us into a highly segregated world of the different paranormal races. Werewolves form highly structured packs, and Reese has been sent by his alpha to investigate an alpha of a different pack. He infiltrates them easily. Reese was raised and groomed into a killing machine and his loyalties are clouded by his feelings for each alpha — his fear of the old one and his shifting loyalty to the new one, the one he’s lying to, and the one he’s falling in love with.

This one ended up being on the high end of Pretty Good for me, almost Really Liked It. In fact, for most of the story I really, really liked it. Most of all, I loved the writing style. The story thrusts you into the lies and deception from a point of view that is compromised, confused and unable to accurately bring the reader up to speed about what is actually going on and who is who. I admired that and fell into the story, excited by the challenging point of view. It soon grew to be tedious, however, and I ended the story upset that I never really learned much about the world or the people. I had hoped that the writing I loved so much was just being choosy about how to impart information to the reader, but what was held back never came to light.

I’ve since read the sequel to this story (Weld), or rather another story by this author, not a direct serial but also in this world. I ended up liking that one even less, because it carried on with this same writing style, but at an even higher degree, which made for an unpleasant read, unfortunately.


The PI and the Rockstar by K-Lee Klein (So So)
Genre: m/m Contemporary Mystery Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Rockers, Private Investigators, Piercings!, Sexy to the 999s, Closeted

Mason is a private investigator with a rather famous boyfriend. Though that’s all on the hush hush. Of course, that secret means that when a teenage client and her father come into his office asking him to find a musician that got the girl pregnant and then ditched her, he can’t tell them that the man they’re trying to frame is, in fact his boyfriend, the lead singer of a popular rock group. So what is the girl really up to? And how will the added level of duplicity affect Mason’s relationship with Jade?

This was an okay story for me. I was a bit sad that there weren’t any surprises for me — as soon as the girl came in with her father and explained “what happened” with the rockstar, I had a feeling I knew what was going to happen. Sadly, I was right. Add to that the fact that I never really felt like I got to know the characters well, made this story just a So So read for me.


Glamour by Holly Rinna-White (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Science Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Brothers, Undercover, Private Investigator, Psychic, Aliens, Kidnapping

Most of my enjoyment of this story came from the world, which I found rather interesting. Jason and his brother are both unregistered psychics, in a world where those with abilities have to come forward to be assessed by the government. While Jason has mild precognition, his little brother is a different case, with a powerful precognitive sight that puts them all in danger. When Jason’s little brother is psychic, he must go to the man he’s had a crush on for months. Eric is a private investigator with secrets of his own, the least of which is that he’s as interested in Jason as Jason is in him. Searching for the men who kidnapped Jason’s brother, and then trying to rescue Jason himself when the fool rushes in to save his brother, brings both of them closer together.


The Virginia Gentleman by Alison Bailey (So So)
Genre: m/m Western Historical Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Undercover, Cowboys, Thieves, Kidnapping, Private Investigator

I admit, I had a little trouble with this one. I read half of it, finished the anthology then came back and re-read this story. I enjoy westerns, but most westerns in m/m romance are simply contemporary cowboy stories, and this story harkens to a much more authentic historical Old West. The story moved a little too slow for me, but that is all personal preference — the pace suits the plot and sub-genre.

While a man is searching for a boy that was taken years ago as a child, the Virginia Gentleman is looking for some helping hands for a train robbery. Finding the boy and his ogre of a keeper, as well as a man looking to score money to settle with his fiancee, the Virginia Gentlemen leads them across the west to a planned heist of a princess’ carriage. Along the way the VG gets to know the young boy, now a young man but shy and quiet and scared, all while holding some rather big secrets of his own.


The Royal Inquisitor by Megan Derr (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Alternate World Historical Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few & Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Royalty, Thieves, Second Chances, Undercover, The Big Mis

I really, really enjoyed this story. You all know how much I love Megan Derr’s writing, and I really got into this story. Sadly, I felt like the tension was created by a misunderstanding, and while it isn’t classic Big Mis type situation, having to do with some duplicity from other nefarious characters, it was still a little disappointing to me that the hurt Esmour feels in this story is because of pride and miscommunication. Still, that was only a shadow on the ending for me, and for the most part I really liked this one.

Esmour wears bracelets that show his penance toward the crown. Unknowingly involved in a sting operation in the past, he came down on the wrong side of the axe when all was said and done, only spared from the noose by his connection and faux-relationship with the undercover prince. Now, the prince has need of him to solve a mystery slave trade in a city in the kingdom, and Esmour, despite his bracelets, is still the best investigator working for the crown. The case will force the two back together into a situation that for all the hurt it may cause might ultimately lead to a reconciliation that Esmour could never have envisioned.


Regarding the Detective’s Companion by EE Ottoman (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Historical, Steampunk Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Disability, Injured Character, Nerds/Geeks, Politics, Science, Awesome Female Characters, Present Tense

**Spoiler Alert! The review of this story in the anthology has some spoilers**

Jamie was rescued from certain death by a priest. With no working legs, he hobbles on crutches, but manages to get around a steampunk Victorian England trying to solve enough cases to make a name for himself as a private investigator. If he does, he might finally be able to make rent, but as it is he’s facing another week of near starvation and one step closer to being back on the streets… or worse, falling up on the Father’s mercy. In his desperation, Jamie takes a case from a man who he’s certain is aiming to frame an innocent man for murder. So what if he didn’t explicitly agree to finding the man guilty? If he investigates, he can find the real murderer and bring real justice. The case could make his career. Plus, they’re paying him up front.

I really liked this story, mostly because of the characters. Jamie is great, but the really great characters are the friends he makes during his time undercover, as well as the sweet romance that develops with his employer and the man he’s meant to frame. I think what I really liked was that this story diverted from the norm. What I expect when I read a story with the lie/undercover plot device is that the deception will go on until the characters are in love and then the secret coming out destroys the trust and is the climax of the story. Instead, when the truth of Jamie’s deception is revealed, the characters band together, almost making their relationship stronger with the real truth. It brings down the barriers that previously existed as boss/assistant and teacher/student and put the characters on an equal footing. Plus, that allows the two to continue the investigation, but now together. And I really liked that, because the best parts of this story are the interactions between these two characters. It’s sweet, awkward, funny, and totally nerdy. And I loved it 🙂


The Demon Bride by Isabella Carter (Not Feelin’ It)
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few & Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Serial Killer, Demons

For some reason, I really just could not get into this story. I think it was the fact that both the romance and the mystery felt a bit incomplete to me. And even more, I didn’t really understand any of the characters, and to a smaller extent, what was really going on in the end. This could obviously be in my own mis-reading of the story, but I still never really latched on to this story like the others, no matter how little I understood about the end. Plus, I didn’t ever feel like this was really an m/m/m story.

Quinton has now found several bodies lying at the door of his father’s detective agency. No matter how many times he brings the subject of what to do about it up to his father, his father refuses to give him any information about it, despite the fact that Quinton feels he deserves to know, not only because he’s now older and wants to investigate the mystery himself, but also because he’s found the bodies, and he knew them. But when the third body is left of the stoop and Quinton finds a letter addressed to him, he decides he must investigate.


Too Dangerous by Sasha L Miller (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Science Fiction Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Action/Adventure, Second Chances, Military, Futuristic, Secrets & Lies, Kidnapping/Hostage

Ending this anthology with a Science Fiction story was a nice change of pace from the previous ones. And I really like Sasha MIller’s work, so this story, which was more of an action/adventure story was very nice to end the book with.

Shi is a successful private investigator, but he’s thinking about letting his military consultant status (at the highest clearance) lapse. Working a case for the military was how he met his ex-boyfriend in the first place and Shi is still trying to get over their breakup several months previously. So when he arrives at his office to find an unmarked hovercraft, he knows that the military has come to call once again. He fully expects to turn the offer down. After all, he made sure that provision was put into his contract. But when he finds out that he’s the only man for the job — to infiltrate the operate of a space crime syndicate to rescue the remaining member of the special ops team being held captive on the man’s ship — he knows he has to consider. Especially when he finds out that the man held captive is… his ex-boyfriend. No matter the hard feelings, he can’t leave him there. So despite the fact that he’s in way over his head, he’ll do what he has to to get the man out of there, and hopefully get some answers in the process.


AL_The_Prince_of_GalerirTitle: The Prince of Galerir (The Galerir Saga #1)
Author: Anna Lee
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 65k words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Series, Friends to Lovers, Dragon Shifters, Magic, Royalty, Warriors/Knights, Secrets & Lies, Sweet and Light
Rating: Pretty Good

BLURB

Dragons, a usurper, a sickly king, and a hidden prince with his beloved knight all have plans for the fate of the kingdom of Galerir…

Long ago, magik was banished from the kingdom of Galerir. Yet when two young men who share a forbidden passion discover a dragon hatchling, they unwittingly set a course of events in motion that will change the kingdom and their lives forever. All Lord Tomas Roland wants is a life where he is free to love his knight, Griffin Dalison. Yet the chains of responsibility wind tighter around Tomas when it is revealed that he is the heir to the kingdom of Galerir. Tomas and Griffin must reach Galerir’s ailing king before a usurper has the chance to seize the throne. With Griffin as his touchstone, Tomas delves into the unfamiliar worlds of politics and magik. But will Tomas be able to keep his love by his side once he becomes the prince of Galerir?

REVIEW

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, needing to get some other reviews done before I could read it, but when I finally got to it and started it, I fell into it right away. I was a little unsure of the direction at first, but once it really started moving, I could feel the momentum and I started to really enjoy reading it. It swept me right through the book and I never felt a lull. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, I had several things that bothered me some, but I still enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel whenever it comes out.

Griffin and Tomas grew up together as boys, then teenagers and now men, being prepared to soon accept their adult roles and responsibilities. Throughout, they’ve remained each other’s best friend, even though one is a lord and the other an orphan. Griffin, sent away as a boy to live and work for the nobility, has grown up with an aptitude for swordplay, and is poised to become Tomas’ personal knight. Tomas must do his duty as well. As heir to the estate that constantly keeps the border and magical threat from the other side at bay, he must marry and continue the lineage, something he’s been trying to put off in any way he knows how.

Both Tomas and Griffin harbor feelings for one another, but they’re not known to the other until Griffin finds a baby dragon in the forest where they played as boys. Dragons are supposed to be extinct and they’re afraid for her if they turn her over to Tomas’ father. Dragons are beings of magic, from across the border and were eradicated along with magic by decree of the King of Galerir one hundred years ago. So, they make a plan — they’ll convince Tomas’ father that he’ll marry the girl he was destined for if he can have one last adventure. Secretly, they mean to take the little dragon to the border in order to save her, and then run away together.

Their plans change when Tomas’ father reveals a very big secret, his mother was the sister of the current King, which leaves Tomas as the only remaining heir, kept away from the court after a blood rebellion almost ended the line of succession.

This was a very easy to read novel. At times I felt it was a little too easy, but its a stylistic choice and certainly there are readers who will like that the story takes a somewhat easier path in general than others. The characters don’t really have any angst, though the situation may seem like it calls for it. I would normally be happy about that, but I did get a little bit tired of how often these two reaffirm their love to each other. They’re constantly saying “Love You”, “Only You”, things like that and it felt a bit like any difficult parts for the characters were just diverted, rather than the characters having to experience them — or, I should say the reader having to experience them. Still, this was something that just wasn’t to my taste, and may be to others. Whenever the characters were alone, at the end of the day just talking, for instance, it got to be a little too sweet for me.

The plot itself really gets underway when the secrets come to light from Tomas’ father and it doesn’t let up throughout the whole book. There’s a nice pace and progression that kept me interested. I was waiting for … not violence or battle or anything like that, even a skirmish. But what I was waiting for from the first book was some sort of capping point, of climax in the story. Instead I felt like the story neither declined or inclined, but moved steadily towards the end, then stopped to be (I assume) picked up immediately in book two. That made this feel like one book that was maybe only cut into pieces so it wouldn’t be too long, and I wished, while reading it, that there had been a more natural ending. It felt like the story ended in the middle, rather than at an intermission, but as a fully functioning novel itself. I think I’m fudging up trying to get my point across, but I was waiting for some sort of tension that never came, and I’m hoping that it doesn’t carry on in the same way throughout the next book.

Most of all, that made me excited for the next book because I was left with a bit of a wanting, waiting to see what would happen. Besides that, I am excited to see what is next with the plot. Readers who like a sweeter and lighter fantasy would be interested in this, and I think that it is so far the best work I’ve read by Anna Lee 🙂


enterthedragon400x600Title: Enter the Dragon
Author: Jamie Sullivan
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 15,500 words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, The Bestiary Collection, Interspecies, Mating, Magic, Dragons
Rating: Pretty Good

BLURB

Since a ceasefire was called on the Dragon Wars, dragons and humans have lived in an uneasy partnership. To help humans understand dragons and prepare future dragon trainers, the Academy was created. Jac Conway is an eager student, long enthralled with all things dragon. But even he, with all his hopes and ambitions, never dreamed of just how close to them one night would bring him …

REVIEW

I thought I knew what to expect with this story, but I was wrong. I always love to read stories and dragons or dragon shifters and I always make sure to snatch them up. I was surprised then, to see the very different type of dragon story this was, and it goes well in The Bestiary collection from Less Than Three Press, because it shows a different sort of dragon that I’ve yet read in m/m fantasy.

Jac has always been fascinated by dragons. Raised by a father that feared him choosing to become a trainer because they’re the only family they have and it is such a dangerous job, he nevertheless allows his son to attend the academy. Once there, Jac proves himself to be a dedicated, yet also exceedingly curious student, always asking questions that the professors do not like to answer. The question that sets off his experience with the dragons refers to their mating habits, which is a closely guarded secret. He finds that answer, however, when a group of older boys seek to play a prank on him and lead him to the caves during mating season — a fortuitous event that leads to a whole new understanding of the dragons for Jac, and maybe sets out a clear direction for his future as a trainer.

Like I said before, I was at first surprised to find that the dragons in this story and the mythology and world surrounding them are so very different from what I’m used to reading. I was then excited to read how the story unfolded, and I ended up really enjoying the story, more for it’s creativity I think, than enjoyment in the romance. I suppose it was somewhat difficult for me to naturally accept the pairing (and you’ll understand if you read the story, because the dragons are definitely animals). But, I did understand and like Jac and Bryn together, though I had to think about it at first. It is a pairing that really leads you to think about different types of relationships where fluidity is in place (gender, species, etc., whether in real life, or of course fiction) and consider your true feelings. My uneasiness made me uneasy, when I thought about it (even though it is an interspecies union, it is still fiction), but which I ultimately understood and came to terms with.

Some of that could have been alleviated, I think, with better balance in the story. It seemed weighted toward the beginning and light on the ending, when I felt the real story, what was interesting, wasn’t the mundane setup and information about the school, etc, but the actual dragons and their nest. The relationship itself doesn’t really come into fruition, or at least enough that we get to see much of their interaction until the epilogue, and it made me wish that there was a plot line in the story aside from the romance that was better explored (perhaps the magic), because I would have liked to see Jac and Bryn work together.

In all though, this story captivated my imagination and gave me a side of dragons that I wasn’t expecting, and for that I enjoyed this story very much!