Tag Archives: author: megan derr

Magic & Mischief by Megan Derr

8952053Title: Magic & Mischief
Author: Megan Derr
Published: August 2010
Pages: 255
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
I typically enjoy Megan Derr’s work and am all about m/m romance fantasy stories, so this anthology of stories sounded like it would be right up my alley. And while it was okay overall, I feel like it fell short of my expectations. Several of the stories take place in the same universe – separated by other stories in between – but there wasn’t any clear way this was indicated so it was confusing at times to go “oh that’s the same name – wait, this is the guy who was mentioned in the background three stories ago”. I also was thrown by some obvious typos and one of the stories where the name of a character was used interchangeably causing further confusion about who was who.

The Dragon’s Treasure
Tate is a dragon who works for Mad Finnegan, a magician. When the demon Tate is pining over, Macklin, asks Tate to help him track down a treasure, he, of course, agrees. I didn’t really have strong feelings about this story, one way or the other.

The Seklie No One Wanted
Kelp is a Selkie who is very unlike any of his kind. He doesn’t see himself as appealing because he’s never had someone let him know they thought him so. When he stumbles across a fisherman in need of assistance and helps him, they become fast friends. But the fisherman doesn’t know Kelp is a Selkie, and Kelp doesn’t know what will happen if he finds out. This one was really confusing to me – I felt like there wasn’t enough set up for this world to make sense.

The Spawn
Amenico is a demon who comes across a baby in his lands. Delwyn is a knight who comes to rescue the child and Amenico tries to convince him that he didn’t kidnap the baby. While I think the setup here definitely limits what can be done, there just wasn’t much in terms of the relationship between the two by the end.

Mad Finnegan
The story of Mad Finnegan finding his love – and be forewarned, it’s with a family member. I didn’t think the way it’s presented here was particularly gratuitous, but even so I felt like the chemistry was lacking.

Dragon Stew
This one was also very confusing at first, but once I got a handle on what was happening, it was one of the most enjoyable stories in the anthology. There was a build to the relationship, the characters were dynamic and had great chemistry, and there was a little twist at the end to keep it all the more interesting.

The Innkeeper’s Story
This was another highlight. It probably had the best dynamic between the characters and I felt a strong connection to each of them. I’d love to see more of the characters in this one.

Quest
Here we get a story involving Becket, the brother of Macklin from the story that opened the anthology. While the concept is interesting, it’s another one where there is little development of one of the characters in the couple and basically no development of the relationship.

Spellbound
Talis steals things for Hex, a magician that he has a bit of a crush on. Hex has no idea until it ends up coming out right in their faces. This one did hold my interest a bit more than a few of the other stories.

As I finish the review, I’m wondering why I gave this three stars, but I think the two that were really good were just so good that they balance the others out.

Title: The Rapier Brothers
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: April 1, 2010

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Megan Derr gives us three stories in this collection, each focusing on one of three brothers – Dagger, Epee, and Sabre. They are intriguing and enjoyable reads, but I really felt like there was something missing in each, especially in Sabre’s story – which seems shorter and less developed than the others. As a collection, though, it works quite well, though I did find it took a bit to really get into the overall story.

Title: The Stable Boy
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: January 17, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I’m a huge fan of Megan Derr and I think I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read that she has written. And I did enjoy this one, too, though it doesn’t measure up to her other work. The biggest issue, I think, is just how short this is. There are a number of things going on this story and things that happened before this story and it all comes across as rushed and, at times, is even a bit confusing. But it does come together in the end, which is what I think redeems it enough to get 3 stars from me.

Title: The Dragon’s Tamer
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: March 15, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Fantasy. Royalty. Dragons. Betrayal. Romance. A combination that I usually cannot turn down and this is no exception. Megan Derr’s fantasy m/m romances are some of my favorite to read. Even though this one isn’t very long, I got a sense of this rich world that Derr has created for these characters. And the characters of Alaith and Rythe themselves are so fun (and frustrating) that it’s really easy to get into this story. I found myself wanting to know what happens next for these guys…

Title: Seconds
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: January 19, 2010

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Viscount Alexis Mariemont finds himself calling on the mysterious ‘Dragon’, Haven Linwood, Earl of Chelsea, in the very early morning hours. The two have been named as seconds in the duel of two young friends of of theirs, Henry and Otis. Through these less-than-ideal circumstances, they each find an unspoken interest in the other man, but are both left wondering if they dare speak it. After all, Alexis has rules about this sort of thing and Haven doesn’t really feel like he fits in as a ‘society gentleman’. And yet they seem destined to be repeatedly drawn together by Henry and Otis’ continuing squabbles – will this simply lead to continued awkward encounters or could it become something more?

This is the third work I’ve read by Megan Derr, and I’ve enjoyed them all. Derr has a way of writing that easily conveys what the characters are thinking and feeling – you can really get into their heads. Both the situations and characters come across as realistic, complete, and believable, even when there’s just that little touch of the fantastic involved. Highly recommend this for those interested in historical m/m romance (especially regency era historical fiction). 

Title: Delivery With a Smile
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: June 20, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
This is only 4 stars instead of 5 because I wish it was longer – not because there are any elements missing from the story, but because I really want to know what happens next for these two.

Jack is a dedicated delivery driver who seems content with his life. He does his job well, even though sometimes he bends the rules to spend some time with one of his customers who bakes him cookies (and tells him he would be great for her own son). But when he walks in one day on a bit of a situation and finally meets her son, he learns a lot more about him and reveals a lot more about himself than he would have expected.

Brilliantly executed, the dynamic between Jack and Allen is wonderful and author writes the face paced story quite well. As I said, the only real drawback is that I want MORE. Highly recommend this one.

Title: Something Sweet
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: December 27, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Just as the title suggests, this short story is a sweet little bit of fluff that does a great job of engaging the reader in its few pages.

Sherlock took over his grandfather’s candy shop in his small hometown when he inherited after his grandfather’s death. While it wasn’t what he expected for his life, he’s been more than happy to take on the shop and he knows it’s what his grandfather would have wanted. But something has been missing and he hasn’t been able to figure out what it was. When his former high school crush and retired professional football player, Basil Deacon, shows up in his shop shortly before New Year’s, he begins to wonder if that’s what he might be missing. And why is Basil in town? Why is he in his shop? With his fame and money, he could go anywhere, so why would he – of all people – return to their town that has so little to offer? Sherlock is about to find out.

If you’re looking for an erotic story, this isn’t it, but it’s still very enjoyable and will leave a smile on your face. It’s clear that it was a quick edit job as the wrong character’s name pops up in a few places, but it’s not so much that it gets in the way of understanding and enjoying the story.

Title: The High King’s Golden Tongue
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: May 1, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Prince Allen Gaulden, sent to High King Sarrica to be his new consort, finds himself summarily rejected by his intended. Feeling he cannot stay in the palace and knowing the shame and guilt he would be subjected to if he returned home, Allen sets out for an afternoon in the city before deciding what to do. By chance, he finds himself helpful to the leader of a band of mercenaries and is invited to join them on a secret (yet dangerous) mission they’ve been assigned by the High King. When things don’t go as planned, Sarrica is forced to both rethink and explain his actions, but will Allen come home safely and what might the future hold for them.

I found the storytelling to be thoroughly enjoyable. The author drops readers into this rich world, with history and backstory that seems like it could go on for pages and pages, but masterfully delivers it in an engaging way throughout. The characters of Allen and Sarrica demonstrate complexity that is often hard to find in stories of this length and I found myself wanting to read more about both the history and the future of this kingdom.

Highly recommended for anyone looking for a M/M romance in a medieval fantasy setting. Overall, it’s a bit fluffy (no abundance of steamy romance here, though it is an 18+ read), but is a beautiful and encouraging story.