Why I read it: This is one from my own TBL.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads) Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay’s career has taken a turn south.
Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they’re preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.
Jillian’s first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can’t get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she’s seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon’s breath, which Bael just might turn out to be….
What worked for me (and what didn’t): I always enjoy Molly Harper on audio when Amanda Ronconi narrates. I’ve long thought they were an example of a perfect author/narrator pairing. This book changes things up a little because instead of only being in the heroine’s POV, this time we also get the hero’s. Jonathan Davis narrates Bael’s sections. I was impressed with most of Mr. Davis’s narration – the humour, the characterisations and the accents/voices used for the various characters – but he wasn’t super-great with his female character voices. It wasn’t bad but, from time to time, I did have trouble distinguishing Jillian from Bael by audio alone and I had to rely on dialogue tags and context. Other than that, the listening experience was great. Amanda Ronconi always nails Molly Harper’s humour and I enjoy her voice in my ears.
How To Date Your Dragon is (what I hope to be) the start of a new series for Harper, featuring a world of supernatural creatures which is more diverse than in her werewolf or vampire series (both of which are loosely linked), so there was more for the author to have fun with.
Mystic Bayou is a kind of “perfect” society where various supernatural beings and humans have lived side-by-side in harmony for generations. When Jillian goes there to research exactly how that is however, she gets more than she bargained for. There is a certain sexy sheriff (the dragon of the title) and later, a series of murders. The book plays with the idea that Jillian doesn’t initially know what Bael’s other form is but really, the clue is in the title of the book so I’m not sure exactly why it was there? The only person who didn’t know for a while was Jillian.
There’s a large cast of characters and, as is typical of a Molly Harper book, they characters are often quirky and funny and somewhat outrageous. I loved the Mayor (a bear shifter) and am so looking forward to him getting his HEA. (I’m betting it will be with the doctor who’s due to come to town.)
I do love a story where the hero is gone over the heroine and that’s what happens here; Bael is all in before Jillian is.
I also liked the way Harper played with the standard dragon mythology and the whole ‘hoard’ and ‘treasure’ aspect of it.
What else? The transition to the HEA was a little clunky as we jump forward in time in ways that didn’t entirely feel setup in the prior story, but it’s not dissimilar to other books Harper has written and it didn’t bother me that much. I chuckled throughout the listen and swooned over the sexy dragon shifter. I admired Jillian too. She was skilled at her job and I enjoyed her independence and take no bullshit attitude. It’s a good book to start with for those new to Harper and for those of us who’ve listened to her books before, there’s plenty of her signature style in a somewhat new setting to freshen things up.