Friday, December 7, 2018

Sunshine in the Dragon's Heart by Jaime Samms

When Sunny retires to the northern Ontario wilderness to mourn his parents’ deaths, he’s hoping the change of scenery will afford him some peace and quiet.

His hopes are soon spectacularly dashed.

In self-imposed exile, dragon Emile runs across the Fold between his dimension and Sunny’s—and right into Sunny’s arms. Centuries out of touch with human culture, bright, beautiful Emile incinerates any hope Sunny had for an ordinary existence. With dryads and water sprites coming to life all around them, Sunny can’t deny the magic Emile brings to his life—or his heart. But that same magic leads the unrelenting dragon who would keep Emile captive right to them. To save his love, Sunny will have to reach deep and find some magic of his own.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

This story is an improbable blend of contemporary romance and high fantasy. After throwing himself through a fold in time and space, Emile finds himself in Sunny’s garden in Northern Ontario. Sunny is quickly captivated by the unusual young man he finds sleeping in his shed and he has no idea that Emile is actually a dragon.

I really liked both Emile and Sunny, but I’m still uncertain about the romance between Sunny and Emile. I couldn’t understand whether it begins as insta-love or a relationship of convenience. Emile’s stories of non-gendered dragons makes them seem like asexual creatures – but Emile seems sexual and male in human form. Emile’s complicated responses to human life and human technology are fantastic and I enjoyed Sunny and Daisy’s reactions to Emile’s more magical world. Sunny’s grief is the reason for his isolation but even though he talks about his feelings, this storyline is dropped a few times and it isn’t a consistent thread in the novel.

The animals in this book are wonderful. I loved Fernforest and Glimmerleaf. The story is beautifully written and as always, I love Jaime Samms’ descriptions. There is a little bit too much telling as Emile explains his world to Sunny. There’s a hint of Handmaid’s Tale in the dragon’s social structure, which Emile rejects before joining the human world. The world building is possibly a little bit too complex for such a short story. There’s a whole lot going on in two separate dimensions and I’m not sure I completely followed the scenes when Emile and Sunny return to the dragon world.

Dragon shifter stories have really become popular recently and after this one, I have to concede that they’re just not my thing. I think my brain is just unable to insert high fantasy characters into contemporary romance. I think Jaime Samms makes a brilliant effort here – but I found myself unable to believe in the world building around Emile’s character or his sudden appearance in Ontario.

JAIME SAMMS has been published since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked what’s so fascinating about stories where men fall in love with other men, she’s never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so makes sense they are also be the stories she loves to write.

These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website in addition to her stories scattered across several publishers.

Spare time—when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners—is probably spent crocheting, drawing, or watching movies. She also loves to garden, weather permitting, since she is Canadian! She has a day job, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully she also has a wonderful husband who keeps her fed and caffeinated.

She graduated some time ago from college with a Fine Arts diploma and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on, after all...

Connect with Jaime

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Sunshine in the Dragon's Heart by Jaime Samms to read and review.

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