A MelanieM Review: Midsummer Curse (Midsummer #2) by Megan Derr

Standard

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Midsummer Curse coverBrayton’s a lone wolf.  He’s also a “jack of all trades”, roaming the country fixing  problems for the supernaturals who call on him.  A call from a friend sends Brayton to supernatural town of Midsummer’s Night where a curse on the town’s gremlin threatens all things mechanical and worse in Midsummer’s Night. It should be a easy job, find the person responsible, have them break the curse and the gremlin and the town’s problem is fixed.  But nothing is ever so simple in Midsummer’s Night.

Ferdinand (Ferdy to friends), the town’s adorable gremlin, is miserable. His passion and nature is to fix and tinker  with all manner of things mechanical.  But someone or something has put a curse on him and now everything he touches falls to pieces…coffee pots, cars, clocks…everything.  His only hope lies in the gorgeous werewolf who has just arrived in town to fix his problem.  Ferdy has just broken up with his boyfriend and doesn’t want another.  So why can’t he get Brayton out of his head and heart?

Brayton’s stymied.  Everyone seems to love Ferdy and no one can figure out why he’s been cursed.  Something peculiar is going on and Brayton is determined to get to the meaning of it all.  But all he can think of is Ferdy, how the endearing pint sized gremlin smells and giggles.  What is happening to them both? Only time and a keen nose will sniff out the cause of their problems and much, much more.

Who knew gremlins could be so endearing?  Obviously Megan Derr, because with Ferdy she has created a pint-sized character full of vulnerability, sweetness, and a innate need to tinker with everything that has gears and mechanical moving parts.  With Ferdy and the reader its love at first sight.  For others it might take a sniff or  two before a powerful connection is made.  That’s where the other wonderful character of Brayton comes in.  Brayton is the odd were known as a lone wolf.  He wanders without a pack on business brought to him by word of mouth (or whatever parts necessary).  Brayton is snarky, self assured, and powerful in his own right.  Ferdy’s  total opposite or is he?  That’s one of the real delights of this story.

The chief plot of Midsummer Curse is a mystery.  Who and why cursed Ferdy so that everything mechanical he touches falls immediately to pieces?  As he is the town’s chief mechanic and handyman, this poses a huge problem for all.  That is hurts Ferdy horribly only gradually comes out as well. There are other small plot threads woven through this story that are equally enjoyable and twisty.  I love it when that happens.

Midsummer Curse may just be my favorite of the series.  A romantic duo of werewolf and gremlin?  Be still my heart and let my feet find a path to Midsummer’s Night and more stories to come.

Cover art by Megan Derr.  Love the car, now where’s my wolf?

Sales Links:    Less Than Three Press          All Romance eBooks    Amazon    Midsummer Curse

Book Details:

ebook, 57 pages, also available in audio
Published January 2010 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781936202157
edition languageEnglish
seriesMidsummer #2

Midsummer Series in order they were written and should be read (available in print, ebook and audio):

  • Midsummer Moon
  • Midsummer Curse
  • Midsummer Law
  • Midsummer Baker
  • Midsummer Days (Print collection of all stories)

Midsummer MoonMidsummer Curse covermidsummerlaw400midsummerbaker400

A MelanieM Review: David’s Dilemma by Rae Brewer

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

“Two shifters walk into a bar…”

Jaguar Bk 4Panthera Agency Operative Johnny Walking Bear is in San Francisco for a case. A head cold is making him miserable but with the job not starting until Monday, Johnny wants to take advantage of the city and a free weekend to enjoy eating out, drinking and having lots of sex.  Especially the sex now that he is away from his family home and siblings.  Johnny wants a mate but while he’s looking some honey and mead would make this bear shifter very happy.

Cat shifter David Kern is very unhappy at the moment.  Another confrontation with his ex has David depressed and looking for a diversion.  When his friends call to invite him for a night out at the bars, not even his nasty cold can deter David from a night of clubbing and the chance for a hookup.

So two shifters walk into a bar, in this case David and Johnny.  Their attraction to each other is immediate and intense. No wonder that they end up in bed together at the end of the night.  Their night together is memorable and sexy.  Neither wants the night to be over but Johnny has a job to do. He  leaves David’s house without leaving his name or contact  information.  What neither shifter is aware of is that they are mates.  Between David’s cold blocking his senses and Johnny’s drunken state and cold, neither could sniff out the truth before they parted.

What is a shifter to do when a chance encounter brings him the very mate he has always wanted but he doesn’t realize it at the time?  Through a series of mishaps, miscommunications and wrong assumptions, David and Johnny have  a rocky road to love and HEA, one that also comes with a secret organization  with evil plans who might just be the biggest obstacle of them all.

Rae Brewer’s David’s Dilemma has some terrific elements to it.  One of my favorites is the premise.  Two shifters unable to use their senses, one because of a head cold, the other because he’s drunk, meet, connect, have great sex and then part.  What they miss is that they are a mated pair because neither could smell out the truth at the moment.  That’s funny, a great use of natural history and kind of poignant.  I only wish Brewer has used this element to its fullest promise, instead it gets a temporary treatment and then its gone.

Another great aspect of this story is the bear shifter clan that Johnny belongs to.  Here bear natural history and behavior comes across beautifully.  Large, lumbering, that Johnny is a bear  shifter is evident from his actions to his physiology.  Throw in a terrific family unit of healers and other gifts, and the package is complete.  Again, this book could have focused on the Walking Bear  clan alone and made me a happy reader.  That was a fully realized group of characters and their household was one I could have spent much more time in.

But most of this story deals with other elements.  There is the David/Johnny hookup and mishaps to follow.  That was kind of charming even though I never felt that Brewer made her panther/bear pairing believable.  Also this is the fourth story in the Panthera Agency series and the only one that I have read.  They seem to be a lesser part of this story until the ending.  I couldn’t get a real feel for what they do other than they are run by a group of shifters who help locate and return missing shifters to their families.

That agency and Johnny’s job felt less solid and less an integral part of this story than perhaps Brewer had planned.  It needed more background into the agency  and its operatives to make sense of the events that followed and to understand who all the characters mentioned fit into the story and series.  Brewer also throws in a twist that comes off as more contrived than believable.  Someone realizes they have been drugged and their reaction is almost nonchalant?  This part of the story alone called for a suspension of belief that it was never going to get, as did all the events that stemmed from that act that followed.

I wish Brewer has almost made this into a shifter romcom.  That premise just begged for a lighter treatment and narrative.  That is was bogged down in a less than stellar sort of espionage  plot towards the end made little sense  while making those elements of the story that were well done stand out starkly in contrast.  Which is did by bringing in the Walking Bear family to reintroduce a semblance of a well achieved characterizations to that chaotic ending.

So David’s Dilemma is a bit of a mixed bag here.  Some elements were wonderful, others did not achieve the same level of believability and completeness.  The decision is yours.

Cover art: Jess Buffetf.  Loved this cover.  Great job.

Sales Links:          All Romance         Amazon         David’s Dilemma

 

Book Details:
ebook
Published August 26th 2014 by Smashwords Edition, JK Publishing
ISBN139781311637376