It has come to my attention that there is a romance series about a kraken shifter and a unicorn shifter. I feel it my responsibility to investigate these things and ask the required questions, such as, “But HOW, tho?” I do it it for you, Bitches, and for the sake of SCIENCE, which isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions.
It turns out that this series, the Wriggle and Sparkle series, is extremely adorable. The sex scenes were detailed, involved many orifices, and included extensive tentacle action, m/f action, and m/m action, all with the same two people. There are no unicorn sexy times. There was also character development, a mystery to solve, a sweet romance, and great supporting characters. The stories are novella length. You can read them separately or collected in the Wriggle and Sparkle Complete Collection, which is what I did. The writing is choppy and the consumer porn over the top, but the charm comes through.
The first Wriggle and Sparkle story, “Fresh Meat,” tells of how Lynn, a kraken shifter, meets Anderson, a unicorn shifter. Lynn and Anderson try to solve a series of murders together, which seem to have been committed by Lynn’s half brother, Wynn. Lynn and Anderson are both habitually quick to rush into relationships, and they both experience lust and camaraderie at first sight. By the end of the story they are a couple. The writing is pretty stilted (a recurring problem leading to the C+) but still enjoyable.
In the next story, “Relationship Problems,” Lynn and Anderson are serious about each other and considering moving in together. They have a Big Misunderstanding but have to ignore it while they track down Wynn, Lynn’s murderous brother. Eventually they resolve the Big Misunderstanding and solve the crime. They are much closer after surviving their first big fight, and the subsequent stories involve job and housing changes and the search for a perfect wedding cake. Each subsequent story also involves a mystery and a lot of sex.
One of the things I loved about this series is the variety of cryptid shifters and all the details about their lives. For example:
- Unicorns love sugar and glitter. But mostly sugar.
- Kraken mothers pressure their children to get married and have babies just as much as human mothers do. At least, Lynn’s mom does.
- There’s such a thing as a half kraken, half dragon. Tragically, there are no illustrations.
- When dryad shifters in human form get nervous, leaves sprout out of their hair.
- Brownies are great baristas but if you date one and then break up with them they will never serve you good coffee again. So think about your priorities before you ask one out.
The writing in these stories isn’t technically the best writing ever, but it is sweet and funny, and the world-building is inventive. The dialogue is clunky yet amusing. If you are someone who loves all kinds of consumption in your romances, there are a lot of fancy clothes, fancy houses, nice cars, and so much fancy food. Lynn is independently wealthy. I never caught why he works – I suspect he gets bored. Anyway, he loves buying wonderful things for himself and for Anderson so his life is very lavish when he isn’t examining dead bodies. Sometimes I liked this and sometimes I thought maybe just once they could donate to charity instead of buying lobster raviolis. Then I got hungry.
In other reviews, I’ve been known to complain about the lack of actual tentacle sex in books that promise tentacle sex. Tentacle sex is not kink of mine, but it seems to me that if someone IS interested, and we don’t judge here, then a book that promises tentacle sex should bloody well deliver. This book does, in fact, deliver. I can only assume that the reason there’s no unicorn sex is that the logistics are either boggling or very disturbing or both. So, I’m sorry, those of you who are into unicorn sex–it’s not in here. Anderson is always in human form during sex. Lynn is sometimes in male human form, sometimes in female human form, and sometimes half human and half kraken.
I personally found that when I tried reading all of the stories at once, I lost interest after a while. There’s only so much tentacle sex and cupcakes a girl can take. The stories get very repetitive. Every story after the first one goes: Lynn and Anderson make out and eat fantastic food in scenic locations, they get involved in some kind of mystery or crime, they face danger together, they save each other, and then they have sex, the end. The C+ is for the repetition and for the somewhat clunky writing. However, the series really is adorable if you want something cute and silly and certainly imaginative in a wide variety of ways. Don’t miss the epilogue!