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Why you want The Bestiary Volume One

Hello, good evening, and happy Friday Eve!

If you haven’t yet signed up for my Bestiary Volume One giveaway, make sure to act now! The giveaway closes on Sunday, February 10th. See the post for more details.

Whether you’re on the fence or already signed up and don’t know what you’re getting into, I thought I’d pull together a rundown of all the stories so you can see what the Bestiary Volume One is all about.

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Let me start with some basic info. The Bestiary Volume One is a compilation of five stories, all centered around the theme of magical creatures. Whether the magical creatures are a feature, or involved in the romance, is up to the author. (If it’s romantic, they’re humanoid, of course. There’s a difference between a bestiary and…that other thing. Which isn’t present here.) Each story has a happily ever after, or a happy for now, and has a M/M pairing.

And now, a synopsis of each of the stories in the Bestiary Volume One.


The Kraken Lord and the Eater of the Sun

by E.E. Ottoman

Egrill spends his day cloistered in his mountain home, unable to leave behind memories of the brutal war he fought and the lover he lost in the fight. But his peaceful solitude is interrupted by a strange creature that claims to be a mythical Kraken, and Egrill can’t deny that he is certainly like nothing Egrill has ever encountered …

Excerpt here.

You can read reviews for this story on Goodreads here.

The Staff of Kyade
by James L. Craig

When royal soldiers attack his village in search of a magical relic, Kenji watches in horror as all that he loves is destroyed. Determined that they will not get what they want, he takes the staff they seek and flees, vowing to avenge all those he lost as soon as he can.

Excerpt here.

You can read reviews for this story on Goodreads here.

Fireborn
by Talya Andor

Thaniel has been chosen for the sacrifice that will renew the lands and bring sorely needed rain, and it is a duty he has always accepted. On his last day he ventures out to enjoy those things he loves and finds final resolve in all that he enjoys. But that resolve is tested in the moment when he must say goodbye to his dearest friend …

Excerpt here.

You can read reviews for this story on Goodreads here.

Cleanly Wrong
by Mell Eight

Rung is a half-breed orphan brownie who can’t do anything right, much to the worry of his cleanliness teachers. When he runs away, Rung decides that he can resist the need to clean. Only, there is that one office that so desperately needs help…

Excerpt here.

You can read reviews for this story on Goodreads here.

The Hunt of the Cold Moon
by Beth Wirth

Home for winter break, Terry is reluctantly caught up in an old tradition, a hunt for a forest spirit that he has never understood. When he unexpectedly wins the hunt and finds himself bound to the spirit, he has no idea what to do with it. The advice he is given, however, is dubious at best and if he does not act soon his father will take matters into his own hands …

Excerpt here.

You can read reviews for this story on Goodreads here.

Excerpts courtesy of Less Than Three Press.

It’s a nice solid volume, beautifully printed. When I have some spare cash, I want to pick up the other three volumes in the Bestiary collection. Lovely stories, and the theme that binds them all together is enchanting, and great to see how all these different authors spun their tales around it.

Did I mention if you sign up for the giveaway you get this beauty free, and I’ll ship it anywhere that receives U.S. mail?

Let me know if you have any questions, don’t forget to leave a comment on the giveaway to sign up if you’re interested, and hope you have a great rest of the week.

Coming next: I tackle a plug for From the Inside Out, long overdue.

Review: Zi Yong and the Collector of Secrets

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Zi Yong and the Collector of Secrets released as part of the Less Than Three Press Kiss Me at Midnight collection, bundle 2. I was lucky enough to win a copy from E. E. Ottoman’s giveaway, and here’s my review!

Every seven years a beast comes down from the mountains to feast upon the youngest children in the village. Zi Yong will do whatever is necessary to protect her baby, but what she doesn’t expect is help in the form of the stranger who appears at her door vowing that she is a collector of secrets and wants only to help. Read an excerpt of the story here.

I really enjoyed this story, from the simple, clean prose to the premise that the protagonist’s strength came not from a background of angst or hardship, but from love and the desire to protect the most important things.

Zi Yong was written in a way that was easy to empathize with, a bit of a loner, and her background came across as very real and poignant. Jing Wei was an interesting enigma from the start, and seemed so ordinary and mundane, I was intrigued to learn more about her. The progression between the two of them from strangers, who Zi Yong would barely invite into her home, to someone welcome to homely tasks like preparing food and taking care of Fāng, was deftly done.

This read like an Eastern fairy tale, complete with fireworks and a ‘dragon’ of sorts, and had some delightful imagery that made a strong visual impression on me. I was enthralled with the story from start to finish and would love to see more of these characters, but was pleased with the stand-alone work.

The rating is very mild, but it suits the story. Anything further wouldn’t have fit the tone or the genre, so I was pleased the focus stayed on emotions and the culmination of a kiss.

It was a short read, and I finished it in about an hour, less I think. I’m happy to make this part of my collection, and it’s very much worth reading when I’m in the mood for a light lady-love tale with wuxia roots.