Frostbite by Alexandria Bellefleur

FrostbiteRating: 3.5 stars
Fantasy; Fairytale
Publication day:
 April 26, 2017
48 pages  
 Less Than Three Press

After his sister touches a lethal Frost Flower and succumbs to Frozen Sickness, Rainor seeks out the mysterious Dragon, who purportedly holds the only cure for the fatal disease. In gratitude for saving his sister’s life, Rainor agrees to bring him fresh bread twice a week—despite the man’s insistence he wants for nothing.

As Rainor makes his deliveries, the two slowly become friends, and Rainor finds in the Dragon all the things he never found in his little village. But on his way to make his latest delivery, the unthinkable happens, and Rainor fears that if he asks for the cure he needs to live, he’ll lose the man he’s coming to love…

My View: Frostbite is a cute take on an old fairytale. The settings, atmosphere, and period characterization were excellent. The handful of characters is diverse and well-thought.

Drachen and Rainor are an interesting couple. I enjoyed how their friendship started and how they complemented each other. They have similar stories and family plays a role in their pasts and futures.

My only complaint is about the pacing. Not because it’s a short story, but because the time lapses seem randomly selected. Some unimportant details took the place of more relevant information.

Overall, a quick bedtime story.

What I liked the most: The main characters.

I wanted more/less: Less of a time lapse.

Who should read it: Fans of fairytales.

ARC provided by Less Than Three Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

Softpaw by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

SoftpawRate: 3.75 stars
Paranormal – Shifters
Publication day: 
July 14, 2016
219 pages  
Self-Published – Extras

Connor’s life could have been the dream of any cultured werecat. He is spending his days in Paris’ gay quarter with comfortably little real work, playing the piano, surrounded by art, fine food and good friends. It could have been, if not for a feral vampire preying on the prostitutes of ‘his’ quarter, killing the boys of the Marais one by one.

When Connor invites a newly arrived hooker to stay on his houseboat, the last thing he expects is Michel to be a member of the Brigade Criminelle – a troubled, hunky rookie cop sent undercover to explore Connor’s connection to the murders, picked mostly because he had been a boy of the Marais himself, not so long ago.

Hiding their true nature becomes a problem for both when their realize there maybe is more to their inital attraction. But in order to bring down the serial killer and maybe have a chance at making their relationship work out, one of them will have to
take the first, critical leap.

My View: I had said, multiple times, that I have a soft spot for stories with rentboys and escorts. I like seeing how they evolved through the story and what caused those changes. In this case, we see a different side of the equation. And combined with an undercover investigation and a werecat, this story has the bones to be great.

This story got me more interested in the mystery aspect than the romance. Yes, it was nice to see how Connor’s and Michel’s feelings developed, but I see them more like a paranormal version of classic superheroes. They want to do good, and both have their secrets. Unknowingly, they’re working to get the same killer down and perhaps, and earlier alliance may have added to the suspense.

The secondary characters in this story are multi-dimensional and fit the story arc. Everyone has a reason to be and help the story move forward. It’s easy to get attached to them, even those we have only met in passing. The settings are interesting and put together in a way we can see the fictitious areas bloom within the real streets of Paris.

My only complaint about this story is the lack of a strong connection between the reasons for the killer to attack and the end result. Yes, we get to know the police’s assumptions and Connor’s, but we don’t get enough from the killer’s perspective. Plus, some of the encounters between Connor and the killer pushed the “reality” boundaries established by the authors.

There’s a small setup for the next book in the series, but not enough to entice a reader to continue reading; unless you read the extra content at the end of the book. Then, you’ll want to know more about the next installment.

What I liked the most: The amount of detail in the descriptions.

I wanted more: Time between Michel and Connor’s cat.

Who should read it: Fans of werecats and humans couples.

ARC provided by the author as part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group Don’t Buy My Love Program.

Spell Weaver by Megan Derr

Spell WeaverRate: 3.5 stars
Publication day: 
June 29, 2016
47 pages  
Less Than Three Press

Myka’s dream was to someday own his shop, making and spelling suits that were prized throughout the world. Instead, he rejected an apprenticeship with a master who proved to be reprehensible—and touchable—and lost everything. Now, he works in a derelict shop in the wrong part of town, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s caught spelling without a license or thrown out by his odious landlord.

The only bright part of his days are the occasional visits from his best client, Johan, a man who works in the palace and always brings the finest suits to have spelled. When he accidentally leaves behind an invitation to the royal ball, Myka takes it, determined to have one evening where he can enjoy himself—and perhaps even spend time with Johan as something other than a spell weaver.

My View: Spell Weaver is a fresh take on the Cinderfella troupe. Myka has been working hard since his master died to keep his little shop open, but without his license, he doesn’t see his life changing anytime soon. The only bright part of Myka’s day is the times when Johan visits his shop. And the work he gets from him is an added bonus.

It’s easy to fall for Myka in such a little story, and the way he talks about Johan makes the reader want to cheer for them. There are some unique twist and turns in the story that might get the real Cinderella blushing, but worked well with the story. Other elements like the fairy godmother, the animals, etc. are absent.

The spell weaving concept is fascinating and I wish we had more time to learn more about it and to see Myka succeed. The resolution felt a little rush, but that’s to be expected in a short story. Overall, this is a very sweet and sexy story–easy to read and love.

What I liked the most: How much the MC wanted each other.

I wanted more: Time to enjoy the MCs’ relationship.

Who should read it: Fairy tale lovers.

ARC provided by Less Than Three Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

The Only Option by Megan Derr

The Only OptionRate: 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy
Publication day: May 1, 2016
Length:  114 pages
Publisher: All Romance eBooks

A desperate dragon. A lonely necromancer. A marriage neither wants.

When he is summoned to the royal castle, Rochus anticipates nothing more than a particularly difficult assignment. The bothersome journey is almost made worthwhile when he is propositioned by a young, beautiful dragon, Tilo, who seems untroubled by the fact that Rochus is a necromancer.

When Rochus arrives at the castle he is ordered to marry the very same dragon he spent the night with. Though Rochus would rather sign papers and return home, he is helpless against Tilo’s pleas for help, even if it means spending more time around a man he is desperately drawn to but who doesn’t seem to want him.

My View: The Only Option is a nice little fantasy novella with great characters and a lovely relationship. Since we first met Rochus, we get charmed by the older necromancer with a chip on his shoulder. His story, the settings, and the reason for his travel engaged the reader since the very beginning. And his meeting with Tilo just added the perfect mix of flirting and desire.

The time Rochus spent at the castle seemed to short for the length of his travel, but Tilo’s apparent betrayal justifies their course of action. They worked great as travel companions, friends, and lovers. Even when both of them are trying to guard their hearts– it becomes an impossible mission as they get to know each other. The more time they were together, the harder it was for them not to want more from their marriage of convenience.

The author managed to create a compelling story even with a reduced amount of characters involved. The story was well fleshed, but it’s easy to want more from it anyway. Rochus’s pets were great and an integral part of the story. Overall, an excellent novella with a potential for more books in a series.

What I liked the most: I loved the relationship between Rochus and Tilo. The easy way they worked together.

I wanted more: Of everything.

Who should read it: Fantasy fans are up for an excellent story.

ARC provided by All Romance eBooks, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.