Series Review: Matchmakers: A Shifting Isles Trilogy by G.R. Lyons

The complete Matchmakers Trilogy in one volume!

Second Chances:

Nineteen-year-old porn star Remy Dawes loves his job at Matchmakers, a gay nightclub, but the fantasy he portrays every night doesn't leave room for what he really wants: companionship, love, someone to come home to, someone just for him. Who would ever take seriously a kid who practically sells his body for others' pleasure?

Thirty-five-year-old Chance Whitaker has sworn off dating younger men after having been cheated on one too many times, until the owner of Matchmakers convinces him to take a chance on Remy Dawes, a gorgeous kid who surprises Chance at every turn.

As things fall apart through meddling, death, and betrayal, will there be a second chance for two people to find love?

Second Drafts:

Novelist Shain Ahren is committed to only one thing: himself. Living alone and having an endless string of one-night stands, Shain's carefully crafted routine ensures no one will ever control him again. But one trick he met at Matchmakers, years ago, he can't get out of his head.

Painter Elliden Crawford yearns to be controlled. Born with an extreme chemical imbalance, Elliden struggles to keep the fits at bay so he won't be a danger to others. Only once in his life did Elliden ever truly feel safe, just one night when he met a stranger at Matchmakers.

When Matchmakers brings them together again, Elliden finally gets what he needs, while Shain's world is thrown into complete disarray. Will Shain ever relinquish control, or will they be fated to remain a discarded first draft?

Second Place:

Danny Berringer lives up to the name of his nightclub. Ever since he cheated on Bryan, the love of his life, he's been making up for it by helping others find love. He even matched up Bryan with Eric Grant, except Bryan's perfect marriage seems to have fallen apart, and Danny is dying to know why. He doesn't get couples wrong. Ever.

Bryan Landry had his heart broken by Danny, then had it put back together by Eric, but he can't have Eric anymore, and it's all his fault. He spends his nights at Matchmakers having random tricks and trying to avoid Danny, but the meddlesome matchmaker won't leave him be.

Thrown together through guilt, death, and temptation, Bryan denies his feelings while Danny clings to dreams of Bryan's forgiveness. Will Danny always lose, or can he win second place in Bryan's heart?

3.25 average!

Second Chances (Matchmakers #1)

Remy is a sweetheart throughout this book and I fell totally in love with him. I loved his character and found him to be a lot of fun to read. Chance on the other hand was a bit of a stick in the mud. His weariness and fatalistic attitude really stuck in my craw. He was redeemable, but it took a while for me to warm up to him. I wanted him to be better for Remy. He only barely made the cut.

This is set in an alternate universe but most of it is relatable to real life. Remy does live porn shows, so of course that is a bit different (unless such places existing legally in some far off society I don’t know about). His dancing and connection with his friend and co-star was sexy. He managed to maintain a certain innocence and optimism that was endearing. I think to get the full effect of this alternate universe I would need to go back and read the author’s prior backlist as this appears to be a spin off, and the world building was minimal, with low impact and notice of differences except for names of days and seasons.

There are some major triggers in this story so reader beware. Rape, and victim blaming is a pretty big one for me. This really hurt my enjoyment of this story. I would have been okay with both in context if it wasn’t for the dismissiveness in the aftermath.

It was still a nice romantic story with fun characters, and good relationship development. The Character development was good as well. A few problematic areas but otherwise an engaging read.

Second Drafts (Matchmakers #2)

This story showed more of the alternate universe than the first. Elliden has some sort of mental disorder but it isn’t really explained. He is the artist from the first book, and is trying to find the man who captured his muse and created a striking piece of art. He is determined to live on his own and manage his fits while seeking out the man who quieted his mind at Matchmakers.

Shain is Chance’s brother, and is a pretty intense character. He is damaged and disinterested. As a writer he is going through severe writer's block and cannot seem to shake it. Elliden appears to bring something out of him that creates art as well as satisfies his need to dominate.

This has D/s leanings. Elliden’s and Shain’s relationship is unique in that they start out with almost zero communication. Elliden doesn’t really care if he is spoken to as long as Shain dominates him and creates a calming effect. Thankfully there is more to this, and doesn’t delve into the BDSM saves the day mentality.

This story has a supernatural spin. Elliden can speak to spirits which comes in handy when Remy is still feeling guilt over the death of his friend. I liked the way Elliden interacted with the spirits, and found him to be a really enjoyable character to read. The romance between him and Shain developed over time, and they both grew in their roles within the world and each other.

I wouldn’t recommend reading this as a standalone, as history from Chance and Remy are intertwined in this story.

The one complaint I had here is that Tasanian isn’t really explained as a race, and I would have preferred a little more information within the story rather than a glossary at the end.

An otherwise easy and enjoyable ready.

Second Place (Matchmakers #3)

This story will take you through the ringer. This has a bittersweet leaning overlain by romance.

Danny has been pining for his lost love ever since they broke up due to his immaturity and cheating ways. Bryan is now happily married to Eric, but Danny starts to see Bryan coming into Matchmakers without Eric, and doing things with other men that are completely out of his loyal character.

Bryan is completely tormented by what is happening to Eric, but at Eric’s request he is going out and screwing around. He hates it, and himself. He feels impotent rage at the circumstances that their relationship has ended up in.

Eric has the bright idea to allow Danny to stay with them while Danny’s apartment is being repaired. Only then does Danny discover what is really going on, and it is heartbreaking.

This was really rough. I was thoroughly engaged with this story, and the twists and turns it took. I felt just as confused as Danny did while the reality was being uncovered. I was just as frustrated with Bryan as I was for him. The trainwreck his life was in was very painful.

This story provided some light moments along with the dark. But it was definitely emotionally taxing and I needed a few moments to recover from the drama.

A great ending to this trilogy and the not quite HEA I wanted for Danny.

Not recommended as a standalone story.

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