Dreamer by Ann Mayburn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Did someone spill my life story to Ms. Mayburn? Shan in DREAMER could have been me. The similarities shocked me and definitely helped me connect with her as the main character. While I possess no artistic creativity for jewelry and I am not adopted by two white gay men, there were so many other things I had in common with Shan, I was a bit freaked.
Shan is a Chinese woman who experiences nightmares from a young age. She dresses up in Goth gear yet loves Hello Kitty. Her submissive desires frighten her yet pull her in a way she can't explain.
I confess; I have a fetish for Hello Kitty. I can't explain it. Dressing in Goth wear is also my preferred fashion choice – even down to the blue streaks in black hair. While I don't live in a world with mythical gods and goddess, Shan does. Shan has many different ties to the gods through her best friend and parents. What she doesn't know is that she also has a direct line to the gods. The latest battle is around her and which side she will follow – Creation or Destruction. Shan's world is turned upside down as demons are set to attack her. To protect her, Devon is assigned as her guardian. He's a chosen for a war god.
In this world, followers of a war god are territorial, aggressive and sexual dominants. Ms. Mayburn, where do I put in my request for one of these alpha males? Devon is hot! Not only is he an intelligent muscle bound warrior, he's a Dom who knows how to bring a sub both pleasure and pain. Be still, my beating heart. Devon is heavy handed with Shan, which just rubs her the wrong way. Their interaction is amusing and when I was in my early 20's, I would have responded in exactly the same manner. In my late 30's now, I'd just melt at Devon's feet and submit. Shan is a challenge for Devon who is used to women throwing themselves at his feet. Her snarky retorts are cutting and make me laugh. Devon's inability to bend Shan to his will only generates more amusement for me.
The reason why I didn't rate this five star even though I really liked this story is because there were a couple of items that bothered me. The main item that threw me was the usage of Chinese words in a Romanization form. I couldn't figure out exactly what those words were. The ones I did figure out didn't exactly make sense in the story. Close, but not quite the correct intent I believe Ms. Mayburn wanted. I think most people will be fine with this as they don't read or understand Chinese. I recommend Ms. Mayburn work with someone who is literate in the language she chose to use in her next story.
The other reason was the story didn't seem as tightly written as some of her other books that I've read. The cornucopia of gods used in this story was at times hard to follow. There were so many different gods from different cultures mentioned, it caused confusion. I recommend fewer pantheons intermixed in each story in the series. It causes confusion for those who haven't studied mythology across all cultures.
Still, there are many things I loved about this book. The sexy scenes in this book are enhanced with tasty kinkiness. The BDSM is what I'd classify as SugarKink. Ms. Mayburn does SugarKink so well. Each scene had me hot and bothered, wanting more. The smexy scenes entwined with learning about Shan's past make it an enjoyable read. As we learn more about Shan, I felt a bit sick to my stomach. I guessed about her birth parents and the conclusion to this story. I wasn't sure how we would get to the ending, but I saw no way out from my anticipated conclusion. I am sad to say, I was correct with my guess. Ms. Mayburn writes great endings where not everything is perfect. I like this about her stories. There is heartache and not all villains are evil to the core. I recommend this story to kinky reader who enjoy paranormal to their romance.
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