Unicorn Favorites: Love's Landscapes Stories : Week Nine

The M/M Romance Group on Goodreads hosts a Don't Read in the Closet event each year where they invite members to submit a photo with a story prompt.  Interested authors then volunteer to write the requested stories, which are published for free for everyone to read.  It's a fun/exciting/stressful process, and a great opportunity to read stories from favorite authors.  And chances are, you'll also discover some new authors, who hopefully have a backlist of goodies to check out :)

This year's event was named Love's Landscapes and they started releasing the completed stories on June first. Here at BMBR, we've been following along on comment threads, anticipating the stories from our favorite prompts, and now greedily reading the stories as they become available.

You can read about some of our favorite stories from earlier weeks of the event hereAnd some of our favorites from the ninth week of the event, July 28-Aug 2, are below:

Lorix: Count Your Blessings by Amelia Mann

Count Your Blessings, is a wonderful little story. Rather than following a traditional story arc it gives us a slice out of the lives of Isaac & George.

I love how it shows us an established couple who are so obviously in love. A couple who, when tragedy strikes, don't completely fall apart, but are there for each other. It felt so real. George suffers a great loss and Isaac deals with it amazingly well, and he himself reaches out for help when he needs it.

It shows us that even the best laid plans go awry, that life sometimes steers us in a direction we'd not planned on taking. It also shows us this doesn't have to be bad.

I love the characters in this and I can't write a review without mentioning Isaacs family. I'd totally let them adopt me! A wonderful entry in the LL event.

Breann: Count Your Blessings by Amelia Mann

What Lorix said :)

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰: Consorting With Dragons by Sera Trevor

Brace yourselves, people. In fact, you might want to sit down for this. There is NO SEX in this book AND I loved it.

I'll give you a minute to catch your breath. Trust me I surprised myself. I'm chalking it up to the dragons.


I'm stunned again by a novice author's contribution to the LL event. There is a lot of talk about "a warm feeling" that Jasen feels frequently and at some point I started to feel the same. I found myself grinning and when it was over I felt a little sad that we had to part ways.

Ms. Trevor certainly isn't lacking in storytelling skills nor world building. I wish I could live in the Draelands with the Tasenred and Woria (the dragons). She created this AU with a Regency feel complete with corsets. Love Regency AND corsets, but… don't get too esssited. Jasen is not exactly a fan of the corset. It's not as much fun when they don't like it, but maybe if Rilvor got to unwrap him… I digress.

Jasen gets sent to the court in an effort to marry and keep his father in booze. This court feels like the ton complete with a nemesis in the pernicious Princess Polina. She is a BIIIIIIIIIIITCH. I kind of felt sorry for her. A tiny little bit. He also meets his partner in crime, Lady Risyda, who is hilarious! She's incorrigible, goads Polina every chance she gets, smoke kara wood from a hookah, has a wealth of pithy one-liners, relishes being in trouble… she's a great character. Lady Isalei Is tasked with trying to prepare Jasen and the other lords and ladies to become queen or lord consort and is the epitome of a stern but fair headmistress. I couldn't get Professor McGonagall out of my head.

Consorting With Dragons is very much a romance between Jasen and Rilvor. It's told entirely through Jasen who struggles mightily with the possibility of taking on all the responsibilities that would accompany becoming Lord Consort of the Drae. In addition to courtly responsibilities Rilvor has four small children who still need parenting. I appreciated that he (a) wasn't a gold digger, (b) stayed true to himself and (c) carefully contemplated his future. Yes. Yes, I liked all the characters even the bitch, but the world building was exceptional.

The dragons have the ability to bless people which transmutes into some sort of magical ability. I won't spoil all the wonderful dragon stuff, but… THEY GET TO RIDE THE DRAGONS!!!!!!!!!


Great, great story and yet another fantastic addition to the LL event. Many thanks to Ms. Trevor and her team. I do hope she'll continue to write. I'd dearly love to read more about Draeland.

Ms. Trevor has in fact written a follow up called Bound and Determined. One word: Meow.
Bound and Determined

SheReadsALot: The Raven's Luck by Laylah Hunter

Urban fantasy? Assassins? 2 Alphas? RIVALS TO LOVERS?!ELVES?!!

Oh yes! Yes! Yes! I hit the jackpot right ch'ere!
“Here I thought you’d have liked the view out there. No romance in your blood, Saramathlar?”
Sam rolls his eyes. “Sounds like you have more than enough for both of us. I could cut you open to get it out, if you’d like.”

The noise Rio makes into the headset sounds like a gargoyle purring. “Save it for after the job.”
Fuck. “I’m not going to pretend I’ve never done a job with a hard-on, but it’s not how I prefer to work. So save that for after the job, too.”
I got to read all about that and knives. I love when assassins use knives and swords. *growls* Way hotter than bulky guns. *nods* And this pair of rival assassins hits all of my buttons. Sam and Rio are paranormal assassins set in a cyberpunk/fantasy work. They vie for the same kills. They snark and compete each other into some great lines and action. Oh, snark was grand:
“I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know my virtue is intact.”
“Sorry, your what?”
The nipple piercing...The tattoos (and its placement)...the sex...yes! Rough pounding fit for two warrior assassins! I like it when they do it the way they did. *preens*

Why this book isn't as popular is anyone's guess. Maybe it's because you really don't get a description of the main characters (a pet peeve of mine). Or maybe because we only get just enough to keep the story interesting when the characters definitely are novel worthy. This story has legs for more. A helluva lot more.

But what you get, it's pretty hot and tempting.

Here's the thing. I want more from this world. I want to read about the intricacies and the different paranormal races. I want it all, greedy reader I am.

Sunny: Dreaming of Fire by J.J. Cassidy


Wow. Just...wow. I started reading the story before I even got out of bed to see if I wanted to add it to my to-be-read pile, and I didn't stop reading until the end. I'm still in my pajamas!

I'm just going to ramble, because I didn't take notes as I read. The story is intense, fast paced, with fascinating characters, and incredible world building. It is AMAZING!

There is magic, and adventure, and...and...and I loved it all.

*twirls around*

*clears throat, calms down*
Uh, yeah, I kind of liked it :D

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