Finding One’s Path DRAGON ADVENTURES–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M paranormal YA romance from Mell Eight. DRAGON ADVENTURES is the sixth book in the Supernatural Consultant series, which features a dragon, a demigod and a passel of maturing dragon kits. This story is a brief departure from the stories, centering on two growing kits who are being raised by William Armistead, a fellow territory leader to Dane. I fell into the previous titles DRAGON CONSULTANT, DRAGON DECEPTION, DRAGON DILEMMA, and DRAGON DETECTIVE, and have loved watching these characters grow and evolve in each story. This new one features two maturing dragons tracking evil human scientists and finding their mates in one another.

Scroll down for an excerpt, and to enter the giveaway for a $10 GC.
About the book:
Aqua and Rios are bored, which is always a recipe for disaster. Going on a trip might not solve the cause of the boredom, but they know it will distract them for a while. Except, Rios runs into a nix trying to save his river from drug smugglers and Aqua is kidnapped by a bunch of angry fire salamanders. Their fun adventure quickly turns into a desperate fight for survival, and they’re not certain they’ll be able get back home ever again.

How about a little taste?

“Ugh.”

“Blarg.”

“Pbtth.”

“Frrpth.”

“That’s enough, boys.” Uncle Willy’s frown of displeasure was pronounced. Rios shut his mouth on another fart noise and Aqua did the same at his side. The long table was quiet, Rios realized, and they were all staring at him and at Aqua. Uncle Dane, with his shiny blond hair, was easily recognizable sitting farther down. He was hiding a smile, but the rest of the people didn’t look happy at all.

“Really, William. This is an important meeting. Send the children away,” Ming said sharply. She was the tiny Asian woman who controlled everything west of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains. The entire table was full of territory leaders, and Uncle Willy had explained who each one was and the territory they controlled before they’d arrived for the North American Territory Leaders Conference that occurred every ten years. The last conference had been in Mexico, and the next two or three were going to be in the US before it went back to Mexico. Uncle Willy controlled Canada, and he always hosted the conference after Mexico.

Uncle Willy had been very stern with the boys about the conference. He had been teaching them all about his duties as territory leader and wanted them to sit quietly so they could listen and learn. But that was boring!

Rios opened his mouth to explain how bored he was, but Uncle Willy’s frown grew even sterner, so he shut his mouth again. Uncle Willy was his and Aqua’s caretaker. He had found them making a mess in a river and had ended up adopting them instead of punishing them. Living with Uncle Willy was fun. He played games with them and taught them magic. Even though they had to do chores, it was much better than living in the wild. Uncle Willy had even lost a lot of weight over the years so he could go swimming with them; he wasn’t skinny, of course, but he could keep up now, at least. But then he had said that being fifteen years old signified that they could now take on some responsibility. Well, if responsibility meant sitting in boring meetings while people did a lot of useless talking, then responsibility was awful.

Both Aqua and Rios hated being bored, and Uncle Willy knew that. Rios hoped his answering pout at Uncle Willy explained his reasoning.

“Go on, then,” Uncle Willy finally said with a sigh. Rios refrained from cheering happily as he jumped down from his seat and scampered out of the room after Aqua.

It took them ten minutes to realize there was nothing to do outside of the meeting either.

“Nickel should have come,” Aqua grumbled into the pillow that he used for a face-plant. His blue hair was spread around his head like a wave.

He should have. Rios couldn’t agree more. Nickel was awesome. He was an older water dragon, about twenty-two, and Aqua and Rios had been playing with him for ten years. He had taught them so much about their shared magic and was happy to see them whenever they could convince Uncle Willy that they should go visit. Except, the last four years of their friendship hadn’t been nearly as fun. Nickel had a new playmate: an air dragon named Platinum. Instead of coming to the territory leaders’ meeting with Dane like Nickel should have, he was home playing with his new best friend. It wasn’t fair.

Aqua rolled onto his side so his face wasn’t being smushed by the pillow. He growled under his breath and then let out a heavy sigh. They were both brothers, and the fact that they had definitely hatched from the same clutch was obvious in their shared brow line and rounded chins. Aqua’s nose was a little longer than Rios’s, his eyes a smidge wider, and he was about four inches taller, but they were clearly brothers. They hadn’t been entirely certain of that fact when they were younger and had been confused for twins more times than Rios could count. When they had been kits covered in identical blue dragon scales with identically colored hair, no one could tell them apart. Only as they grew had their differences become apparent, but as far as the issue of being bored and being abandoned by Nickel, they were of the same mind.

“We should go tell Nickel how sad we are that he couldn’t come,” Rios whined, knowing he was speaking what Aqua was also thinking.

“Not on the phone,” Aqua grumbled in reply immediately. The phone number for Nickel’s new house that he was sharing with Platinum was written in a little book kept next to the phone in the kitchen, but a phone call wouldn’t convey just how upset they were with Nickel. It had to be done in person.

“Uncle Willy won’t take us there when he’s still in the middle of a meeting,” Rios mused aloud, “and Uncle Dane isn’t going back home until the meeting is over, so we can’t tag along with him.”

“So we’ll have to travel on our own,” Aqua said insistently.

That made sense to Rios. They weren’t too far away from Dane’s territory, or at least Rios didn’t think so. Uncle Willy owned big houses all over Canada. He didn’t want to use his main house—where they lived most of the time—for the meeting, so he had brought them all to his house in Ontario instead.

“Wasn’t there a map on the wall of Uncle Willy’s office?” Rios asked. They didn’t spend too much time in Ontario, but they had made sure to thoroughly explore the house.

They ran out of the living room eagerly, up the stairs, and down the hall to the office. Since Uncle Willy was downstairs in the meeting, they didn’t knock. Aqua threw the door open and they piled inside.

It wasn’t hard to find the map on the wall. It was only about five feet by five feet long, and Rios could easily grip the wooden frame and take it off the hook. Some of the lines were a bit different than Rios thought he remembered, but it was definitely a map of North America. Although, only the right half of the US portion of the map had the lines that denoted the States. The rest of the map was mostly blank. It definitely looked weird, but they could still pinpoint where Uncle Willy’s house was in Canada and Uncle Dane’s house was in Massachusetts.

“There is a river, see!” Aqua ran his finger down the big lake that Rios knew was called after a big bird. Lake Seagull didn’t sound right—maybe it started with an H, but it wasn’t Hawk. The big lake connected to another slightly smaller lake via a river, which then connected to a third lake that was close to where Dane lived.

It looked like it would be faster and much more direct to walk on land, but they were water dragons and could traverse through the lakes and rivers at much greater speed. Once they got to the last big lake, they could find smaller rivers to get to Nickel’s house.

Aqua held his finger over the distance from the third lake to Massachusetts and grinned at Rios. “It’s only a few inches long. With our water magic, we can get there in a few hours.”

Something didn’t seem quite right—weren’t they supposed to measure with a ruler or something a little more accurate?—but it sounded like too much fun not to go anyway. Rios glanced at the clock, which read eleven in the morning.

“We had better pack lunch,” he said with his own grin.

My Review:
This is the sixth book in a series, and contains two short novellas of paranormal YA adventure that’s able to be enjoyed as a standalone.

For readers of the series, we encountered William Armistead in DRAGON DILEMMA. William is a territory leader for Canada, and he adopted two wild water dragon kits some years back. He’s a super powerful magical being, but a struggling parent, so he leans on Dane–who is the Northeast US territory leader–and adoptive parent to 7 young dragons for advice. Dane has been raising dragons for nearly fifteen years, and is partnered with a dragon, so he’s a great resource. Dane’s in residence in Canada for a territory leader meeting when “Uncle Willy’s” 16 year old water dragon kits, Aqua and Rios, get bored and decide to hare off to Uncle Dane’s territory and play with their pal Nickel, who is a now 22 year old, mate-bonded, water dragon.

The silly kits use an ancient, decorative map to plan their route, sure they can traverse Lakes Huron and Erie in a matter of hours to meet their friend. The plan goes well awry. Rios, who is using his magic to guide their rowboat realizes that they cannot continue in the dark–even though they have only passed into a riverway leading to Lake Erie. He guides the boat to shore and ties it off, much to Aqua’s chagrin. They pass a chilly night in the boat, Aqua sleeping and Rios restless–until he witnesses some folks on an unlit boat dropping crates into the water. Rios is interested, but doesn’t necessarily want to get his clothes soaked. Instead, he’s startled by a green-haired boy with a fish tail who drops into his boat. The boy’s tail split into legs as he dries watching the drug smugglers deposit their product into his river. Rios is stunned by all this activity, and charges off after the boy–who he calls Nixie after learning the boy is a nix, not a merman. They pull the drug-loaded crates to shore in an attempt to hide them from the the accomplices who should be arriving anytime before sun up to claim the crates and head back to US territory with them. Nixie has been monitoring this situation for a long time–he says the drugs leak into the water and kill the fish. He’s been alone trying to manage the problem, and immediately goes into hiding when the Canadian Coast Guard arrives and arrests both Rios and Aqua–the only beings on the scene of a suspected drug handover.

This is a sweet and interesting adventure, which leads Rios to not only his mate, but also his calling. As Dane has counseled William, the kits need to find a purpose in order to fully mature. This may happen while out on an adventure, and so he should support the kits in going off on their own, just a bit. And, as Dane remembers, sometimes the kit will find their mate as a result. Uncle Willy gets called in to account for his kits, and learns of Nixie and the drugs, and how the smugglers will return–which puts Rios front and center to rescue Nixie, whom he is frantic to save. He can’t keep his thoughts away from the green-haired, green-eyed nix, and how isolated he thought the young man was.

Uncle Willy rolled with it, and Nixie becomes a part of their growing family. Meanwhile, he and Rios have new missions, and what looks to be careers and a future together. And, this, unfortunately leaves Aqua out in the cold. The second novella begins about a year after Nixie arrives with Rios. Rios, having found his mate and his purpose is growing and maturing at an alarming rate, and Aqua…is not. He’s feeling sullen and maybe a little vengeful toward the nix who’s got his brother so captivated. Uncle Willy is so tired of Aqua’s griping he urges him to go find his own adventure–assuring that he’ll help Aqua if and when he gets into a jam.

Aqua is game for this plan, and packs some food and drinks with a few changes of clothes into a knapsack. He’s mastered flying and takes off from Saskatchewan to find his own new path. He flies and glides south for hours, until he’s tired and hungry. Landing in a dry and barren area, he eats a bit of his packed food and is about to head off again when he’s clobbered from behind and kidnapped into a shack in the middle of what seems to be a desert. Aqua is unwillingly brought into a family squabble between four fire salamanders, one of whom, Ash, appears to be albino. Ash is the youngest of his family and unable to live in the sun and fire his siblings thrive in. Hes eldest brother has begun a feud with the neighboring fire dragon, following a falling out over a match their sister made with a female fire dragon. And it is this man who is holding Aqua hostage, thinking he’s a dragon spy.

I liked how Aqua had to use his wits and his skills to help save himself, and then figure out a way to manage the discord between the salamanders and the dragons. Ash, due to his isolation in the cabin, has had little contact with the dragons, and he’s a little mystified of them. However, once they connect with the local council, both Ash and Aqua can see that this feud is an outgrowth of his brother’s antiquated ideas and prejudice. Standing up for himself and his sister puts Ash on the outs, leaving him homeless and vulnerable in a place he can’t survive. I’m not going to go into the ins and out of the plot, but I will share that Aqua connects to Ash in a permanent way, and he knows he won’t leave Ash to suffer there in the Utah desert.

Both of these stories are sweet, innocent and imaginative. William’s dragon kits are truly maturing and it was so fun to watch them flounder a bit, as they figured out their places in the world. There’s so much magic, and its always so engaging to experience this world, that I can’t imagine not picking up the next book–whatever that may hold.

Interested? You can find DRAGON ADVENTURES on Goodreads, NineStar Press, and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 NineStar Press GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

You can catch up with Mell on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

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