Category: Reviews

Review – Dragon Rider and The Isle of Eternal Happiness by Kay Berrisford

Today’s review is for the third and fourth installments of Kay Berrisford’s Landlocked Heart series, which will close out my month long author feature on Kay and the Landlocked Heart series.

In the third installment of the series, Dragon Rider, things pick up pretty much where they left off. Ben and Lyle are still working at the ice cream parlor, and are very close to finishing their wedding preparations. There’s just one thing left on Ben’s agenda: his family meeting Lyle. But of course, things quickly go awry when Lyle’s sister, Cully, shows up suddenly, asking for Lyle’s help with some family matters.

What I loved about this addition to the series was that it expands and adds several new plot elements. I won’t say what so as not to spoil the fun. I also became quite fond of Cully, though at first it isn’t apparent what side she’s on.

For the forth and final installment, The Isle of Eternal Happiness, things take a bit of a darker turn as the ramifications of everything that happened in book three unfold. There were a lot of really heartbreaking moments because one character wasn’t quite himself, and both Ben and Lyle deal with some heavy doubts about if the other is better off without him.

The final volume was a wild ride of emotions and I thought it was a great conclusion to the series!

Be sure to check these books out if you like mermen, dragons, myths and prophecies, and some angst thrown in! And of course, some sweet and slightly fiery romance!

There is one minor content warning I can think of, which I’ll put under the links.

My rating: 5/5 for both!

Thanks again to Kay for the interviews, and if you haven’t checked those out, be sure to! They’re great!

Check out the Landlocked Heart series at the Less Than Three website or Amazon!

LT3 Store

Amazon

 

Disclosures: I am friends with the author of these books, and I might be slightly biased because MERMEN/MERPEOPLE and some FAB writing.

 

Content warnings (highlight over to read, contains minor spoilers): In one scene, things escalate to violence and attempted abuse, however I will say it is because one character is basically not in control of his own actions (which is not fully known at the time, though it’s hinted at and pretty obvious).

Review – The Lonely Merman and Lyle’s Story by Kay Berrisford

Today I’m reviewing the first two parts of The Landlocked Heart series, The Lonely Merman and Lyle’s Story. The two stories can be purchased separately in ebook, or together as a paperback edition!

As a lover of mermen, The Lonely Merman was a story I just had to read. The story is about Ben, a pretty ordinary guy, thirty years old and living with his parents. He’s trying to do his job, securing a potential hazard reported in the Shanty woods when he encounters an odd fellow named Lyle in the woods. Turns out, Lyle is essentially a merman, banished and cursed to live out his days in those woods.

Ben and Lyle make quite a pair. Ben is a level-headed, voice of reason guy who thinks he’s got things under control, and Lyle is over-dramatic and over-the-top.

I really enjoyed this book because it was a sweet story of true love with a bit of silliness, a lot of cuteness, and a light smattering of angst.

If you like sweet modern fairy-tale like romances and mermen, definitely check it out!

The second part in the series is called Lyle’s Story, and it picks up just after the end of the first book. The bulk of this part explains exactly what happened at the end of book one, from Lyle’s point of view. I enjoyed getting inside Lyle’s head, and learning a bit more about his family. This part plays a lot on Lyle and Ben’s insecurities in their relationship. Even though most of the book takes place basically in one spot and explaining in more detail what Lyle went through to be with Ben in the end of book one, it was still pretty eventful and intriguing.

Also, shout out for a gender neutral side character that used alternative pronouns, which I really loved!

All in all, I thought the second part of the series was a great addition and built more on the world that Lyle came from.

Ben and Lyle definitely aren’t perfect, and both have their own problems and struggles, which for me is what makes them feel so real and makes their stories so interesting.

My rating:

The Lonely Merman – 5/5 stars

Lyle’s Story – 5/5 stars

 

Buy the Landlocked Heart books at the below links!

Less Than Three:

The Lonely Merman

Lyle’s Story

Landlocked Heart Volume 1 Print

Amazon

The Lonely Merman

Lyle’s Story

Landlocked Heart Volume 1 Print

Review – No Rulebook For Flirting by Laura Bailo

Today I’m reviewing No Rulebook For Flirting, by Laura Bailo, which I received an ARC for!

norulebookforflirting

This is a super short contemp romance novella, coming in at 12k, so can easily be read in one sitting. It starts with a meet cute between the two characters when one steals a parking spot from the other at a board game convention. The two of them get off on the wrong foot but quickly move on to flirting over a game in the convention.

Though I’m not trans myself, I loved the trans rep in this story because it was there and it wasn’t a big deal. Aitor brought it up to Gabriel pretty early on, and then they moved on with things like it was no big deal. That acceptance was nice.

There is a side character, Raul, that is a bit abrasive during the story, which came off as him being queer-phobe, but [SPOILERS, click and drag over if you wish to reveal] at the very end of the story, this is played down as him just having an attitude but nothing actually against the characters for their sexuality, which left me feeling a bit conflicted about him.

All in all I thought this was a cute, sweet, and short read. If you like board games, D&D, and queer characters, consider checking it out. No Rulebook For Flirting releases on February 10th!

My Rating: 3/5

Amazon

JMS Books

Goodreads

 

Review – A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams by Dax Murray

This week’s review is of A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams, by Dax Murray.

The story is a queer retelling of Swan Lake, and is available on Kindle Unlimited if you have that!

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I found this story to be quite lovely. It’s queer, and it’s a fairy tale retelling, so I just had to try it!

It starts out with a bit of a dump of info about magic that was a little hard to follow, but it doesn’t linger too terribly much, so if you get confused at the start I’d recommend sticking it out. All does get explained better later!

The book centers mostly on Katya, who just seems to have come into being and has always dwelled within the forest. She comes to live with a sorcerer named Ivan, and the two of them have what seems to be a happy life together, eventually becoming lovers. During her time with Ivan, Katya also learns magic from Ivan’s books and becomes well versed herself. These details are explained in a sort of summary at the beginning of the book and the intro feels very fairy tale-like in style.

Things start to pick up when an escort is discovered making their way through Ivan and Katya’s forest, escorting the princess Yi Zhen on her way to an arranged marriage with Princen Alexis (an enby royal from the neighboring land!).

I loved the variety of rep in the story, all of which was portrayed in a positive, accepting light, from the enby Princen Alexis, who used they/them pronouns and is openly accepted in their kingdom, to Katya’s bisexuality, and the Princen’s parents being in a triad. It was absolutely delightful.

The story itself was quite interesting as well. I loved the descriptions, especially of the world’s magic.

The only real minus for me was a few grammatical/editing errors here and there that pulled me out of the narrative (one of which was a wrong pronoun).

All in all, this was worth the read, and I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for a sweet, queer fairy tale retelling with a variety of characters!

My rating: 4/5

Check out A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams over on Goodreads and Amazon!

 

 

 

 

Review – Breaking Hell’s Rules by Lyssa Dering

This week I’m reviewing another book by Lyssa Dering, an older title called Breaking Hell’s Rules.

The story centers on Reth, a genderqueer demon who takes souls for one of the head demons in hell and has body hopped over the centuries, and Jude, the boyfriend of the the abusive Tyler who Reth decides to hop into at the beginning of the story.

What I really liked about this story, same as with How to Love a Monster was the romance between the two characters. Dering has a gift for chemistry and making me feel the connection between the two characters, making me fall as hard and fast for them as they do each other! I also loved Reth and their genderqueer-ness.

Jude is a mystery to Reth from the moment they meet, and the two are faced with some obstacles as Jude is at first disbelieving that Reth isn’t his abusive boyfriend Tyler, and then as Reth realizes that there is more than meets the eye to Jude.

I thought Lyssa’s take on demons and angels was interesting, especially on that of angels. It was different from the normal angel mythos one usually sees.

A few warnings for the book: There is mention of recent psychical abuse, and since Jude at first thinks Reth is Tyler, refers to them as ‘he’ for a better part of the book in his POV, until the conversation comes up about their preferred pronouns, then Jude immediately starts using they/them (I thought it was handled well thought and it was nice that Jude was accepting of Reth’s pronouns). Be forewarned, there is also side character that isn’t completely respectful of Reth’s pronouns, which may be bothersome for some readers.

All in all I thought Breaking Hell’s Rules was a clever, sweet love story that is worth a read if you’re looking for a short, sweet, queer demons and angels story.

My rating: 4 /5

Check out Breaking Hell’s Rules over on Goodreads! And if you have Kindle Unlimited it is available on there!

Review – How to Love a Monster + Halloween in Wish City

I recently read How to Love a Monster by Lyssa Dering, which was released August 12, 2017, and the halloween short that takes place after it, titled Halloween in Wish City, which was released on October 16, 2017.

I knew of this book right at its release date, but was at first weary of it due to thinking it might be a bit dark for me based on the description, and also because I’m not typically a fan of first person present tense. I’d tried reading the opening of the book and wasn’t a fan at the time it released.

Two things influenced my decision to go back and give this book a shot, one being I have kindle unlimited right now, and the other being that I’m in the middle of a very, very slow read through of A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and I’m not hating the present tense that much. So, I thought I’d give HTLAM a try because I was intrigued by the premise.

Boy, am I glad I did.

From the moment the two characters, Sera and Fiend meet, I was absolutely hooked. This book sucked me in and didn’t let go. Even after I finished it, I was craving more, probably as bad as Fiend craves brains!

Lyssa masterfully wove a romantic story with a mix of kink, horror, and angst that gripped me right until the end. I loved two main characters and their dynamic. The writing was incredibly immersive, leading me to understand fully the reason why one would choose first person present tense. When done right, it really does suck you into the story.

The short story, Halloween in Wish City takes place not long after the events of HTLAM, and should be read after it to avoid spoilers. I really liked this extra glimpse into the characters lives after the end of HTLAM. It was silly, romantic, and added a little bit of new information to the story, which was a nice bonus.

If you’re looking for a romantic, m/m story with a bit of kink and a dash of horror, I’d definitely recommend giving this book a try!

My rating:

How to Love a Monster – 5/5

Halloween in Wish City – 5/5

The next volume of the Wish City series, How to Tame a God, is due out in February! I’m excited for this one, which will delve more into the character Wish, who was a secondary character in the first book, and new character, named Lake.

Check out the Wish City books over on Amazon, which are free if you have Kindle Unlimited, but reasonably priced if you don’t!

How to Love a Monster

Halloween in Wish City

How to Tame a God

 

 

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