Wriggle and Sparkle
Author: Megan Derr
Title: Wriggle and Sparkle
Pairing: M/M, M/F, Bi, Pan
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website:
Not available on the author's website.
Lynn is a kraken shifter in every way: detailed, tenacious, resilient, and hard-working. Also possessive, vain, arrogant, and demanding. It makes him an excellent agent for the Federal Bureau of Paranormal Security and Investigation—and impossible to work with, as the long list of partners who have transferred away from him will attest.
His newest partner is a unicorn, possibly the worst type of paranormal for work that often turns ugly and violent. Everyone knows unicorns are too delicate for such things. Then Anderson proves to be a unicorn like no other, the kind of partner Lynn has always wanted—the kind of partner he wishes was more. But if there's one thing he's learned, it's that the only thing harder to keep than a partner is a lover.
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book. Tentacles generally evoke a more carnal stereotype, but, while Derr doesn't shy away from sex, Derr generally keeps it simple. Tentacle porn--porn in general--isn't really Derr's wheelhouse, so I tried to start this book without any preconceptions. Turns out, Derr embraced the stereotype and excelled with the tentacles, while also providing layers of plot and depth that keep this story from degenerating into pwp.
Lynn is a creature known as a kraken, a tentacle monster who is clingy, demanding, and generally rude. Most people don't like him, so when he's saddled with a new partner at work Lynn expects the worst. Anderson is a unicorn, but instead of embracing the pure and delicate life people expect of him he's become brash and embraced an open, sexual lifestyle. As work partners they mesh nicely, and as life partners they fit even better. The characterization and depth of their relationship is perfectly written, with just enough sex that I can still say this fits into the tentacle stereotype while not going too far. The balance was absolutely perfect.
I also really enjoyed the world Derr created. It hearkens back to the Dance with the Devil and Midsummer series, where Derr created a magical world slotted within our own so smoothly I couldn't help wishing they were real. I could easily see a giant kraken and a unicorn moving next door, the world was so realistic.
The only complaint I had was that each chapter in the book was really separated from each other. The love story and their relationship spanned the entire book, but there wasn't an overarching plot to tie it all together. That made the ending of the book feel rushed and slightly stilted. It's a minor complaint considering how good the rest of the book was, but had that extra touch been present the book would have stepped up to the next level.
The characters and the world Derr created were amazing, which is why I absolutely recommend this book. The depth of the romance outstripped the stereotype of a tentacle story and the world kept me turning the pages. My only complaint was that there wasn't an overarching plot connecting all the stories together, but it's a minor issue in my opinion.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.