4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Felicitas Ivey, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer

Review: Dances and Cookies by Felicitas Ivey

Title: Dances and Cookies (A Daily Dose Story)

Author: Felicitas Ivey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 54 Pages

At a Glance: The story offers much more than suggested by the blurb.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: After living hard in the big city, Paavo settles down in the country with a bakery and his cat. He tutors the local college students, and life is good. Chinese exchange student Xue needs a little more help than some, and Paavo motivates Xue with the promise of a dance if he passes his lit class. Xue is smart and funny, and Paavo wouldn’t mind getting to know him better, even with the age difference. But he doesn’t know if Xue is interested or even gay.

Maybe the dance they’re both looking forward to will make the feelings between them clear.

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Review: This story was a cute, short piece for Dreamspinner’s Daily Dose. It involved a bakery/coffee house (which had me reaching for a cup and craving sweets at midnight when I read this), an energetic exchange student, and a well-intentioned former stockbroker (at least I think that’s what his job was).

Paavo is the owner of a bakery in a college town, and he tutors students. He falls for the energetic and different Xue after tutoring him, but he doesn’t want to take advantage of his position as tutor until Xue makes a move on him. I loved that about Paavo. And when a former colleague of his shows up wanting him back—even though Paavo never belonged to him in the first place—Xue asserts his control over the situation.

I loved that there was relatively no drama in this book. It was short, and though Ivey could have added a ton of angst with misunderstanding, she doesn’t. Thankfully. Sometimes you want a book that will appease your sweet tooth, just like a good cookie and a sweet cup of coffee. Dances and Cookies does that.

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You can buy Dances and Cookies here:

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4 Stars, DSP Publications, Felicitas Ivey, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Back to the Dream by Felicitas Ivey

Title: Back to the Dream (Dreamlands: Book Two)

Author: Felicitas Ivey

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 314 Pages

At a Glance: Slower pacing than the first novel, with frequent character changes, but still a good story.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Although Inuzaka Keno has found freedom and love in the Dreamlands with oni Samojirou Aboshi, the war is still raging between The Trust’s battle-hardened recruits and the demons of his new home. While cloaked in shadows and magic, powerful people are using Keno, Aboshi, and their Lord Tamazusa as pawns in a deadly plan to rule both worlds.

They’re not alone: soldiers Mason, Wolf, and McGann—Keno’s friends from The Trust—also find themselves embroiled in the battle spreading through the Dreamlands, involving its other lands and cultures. If they’re to have any chance to survive, Aboshi will have to leave his love to protect him, and Keno will have to find the power within himself to live on without his heart.

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Review: I absolutely adored the first book in this series, Dreamlands, when I read it, and I had high hopes for the sequel. I wanted to know more about Keno and Samojirou, as well as the humans Mason and Wolf. I got more of that in this book, but the pacing was slow in the first quarter of the book, and in many parts the story dragged on, and I had to stop. After that first quarter, however, things definitely picked up, and I couldn’t read fast enough. Once again, Ivey has blended urban fantasy with a more traditional fantasy/mythology. New cultures are introduced and explored, which adds new elements to the novel not seen in the first.

Keno is growing as a character. In the first book, while he slowly falls for Samojirou, he is afraid of anything sexual with him because of his abuse on Earth. Understandable. In this book, however, he has gotten past that, and it seems that every time they are on the page together, Keno is exploring his newfound confidence. Readers will also see him grow once he travels with Tamazusa and is reunited with Mason, Wolf, and the others.

The intrigue of the Game in the Dreamlands is developing more. There are new characters, and the tension rises as Tamazusa plays the Game, putting herself in possible danger. Samojirou doesn’t like this, but it enables Keno to take on a new role. Of course, this new role is yet again as a woman, like his alter-ego Sakura. For being the avatar of a vicious warrior, he certainly dresses as a woman more frequently than not. But I guess that could be explained due to the interesting history of his ancestor and how he’s missing from the Dreamlands. It’s almost like two extremes of one person. However, he does shed this role once they reach the Northlands.

Mason is just as crass and protective of McGann as in the last book, and his relationship is growing with Tamazusa, which is fascinating, given her history and distrust of all men except Samojirou, Keno, and her samurai. And then there’s the other new, complex characters from the Trust as well as the Dreamlands, particularly the newly introduced Northlands.

For new readers, it is sometimes tricky because so many characters tell their story from first person perspective. Sometimes the events overlap, other times they skip ahead a bit. Others happen simultaneously in different areas of the Dreamlands. But each character brings something unique to the story.

If you are new and want to check this out, you absolutely must read the first book. While Ivey does a good job of covering the basics, there is just too much that would be missed. Characters that are not present in this novel are discussed, and they are crucial to the development of some events in this book. Plus, the first book is just so awesome, why would you want to skip it anyway?

I look forward to reading book three and finding out more about the Dreamlands and what the Trust is going to try next.

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You can buy Back to the Dream here:

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5 Stars, DSP Publications, Felicitas Ivey, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Dreamlands by Felicitas Ivey

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Title: Dreamlands

Author: Felicitas Ivey

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 290 Pages

At a Glance: Fantasy and urban fantasy collide in the most epic way possible

Blurb: The Trust and its battle-hardened recruits are fighting a horrific war, a war between the humans of this world and the demons of the Dreamlands. In this shadowy battle, Keno Inuzaka is merely a pawn: first an innocent bystander imprisoned and abused by the Trust, then a captive of a demononi when taken to the Dreamlands.

But oni SamojirouAboshi treats the human with unexpected care and respect, and the demon only just earns Keno’s trust when a team from the Trust arrives to exploit the Dreamlands’ magic.

As the war spreads across both worlds, Keno is torn between them. If he survives, he faces a decision: go home and carve out a new life under the Trust’s thumb… or stay in the Dreamlands and find freedom in love.

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Review: Oh my God, this book. I stayed up way too late reading it when I had to work the next morning, and after I had been sick for days, but it doesn’t matter; it was so worth it.

Felicitas Ivey has created an imaginative, beautiful world where mythology lives on, and an alternate, urban fantasy world for us where sometimes those demons from the Dreamlands cross over into ours. The creatures are fantastic and vivid, the characters are engaging, and the situations are explosive.

The story is told through the perspectives of three very different characters: Samojirou, and oni from the Dreamlands; Keno, a young man kidnapped by the Trust, abused by them, and then kidnapped by the “demons”; and Mason, a TC from the Trust who is starting to question everything that happens. Each voice is unique because of the different ways they interact with the world. There are secondary characters that are just as strong, who you either love or loathe and want to die in the most vicious way possible.

I should warn readers that the story does not start off pleasant. Both the world of the Trust and the world of the Dreamlands can be brutal. Ironically (or maybe not), it’s our world that seems to be worse even though the Dreamlands are filled with monsters and demons. When reading this, the line between monster and human starts to blur and you start to question, what makes a monster? As I said, the story does not start off in a lovely happy place. There is violence, gore, and rape. The rape is not shown on the page, though, but is mentioned several times as it drives some of the characters throughout the novel.

While there is a romance element to Dreamlands, it is not the focus, so if you’re looking for straight up romance, or fantasy with a heavy romance element, this is not the book for you. But I think you should give it a chance anyway, because the book is that awesome. And while this is the first in a series (and what looks like it could be a very long one!), if you don’t want to get invested in a lengthy series no worries; the novel ends in a place where this could stand alone. While I want to read more—and believe me, I most definitely will read more—I am completely satisfied with the ending. I want more of the characters, but all of the threads were closed up by the end of the book and I wasn’t left hanging. It was such a relief to read a book like that!

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I look forward to seeing more of the characters in this series and watching Samojirou and Keno’s relationship progress even more.

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You can buy Dreamlands here:

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Felicitas Ivey, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Steampunk

Review: The Mechanical Chrysanthemums by Felicitas Ivey

Title: The Mechanical Chrysanthemums 

Author: Felicitas Ivey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 90 Pages

At a Glance: A mixture of genres that somehow work perfectly together

Blurb: Hachisuka Narihiro is a pilot in the Shogun’s elite unit of musha-ki, robotic armor automated by steam and magic for the defense of Nippon in a slowly modernizing 19th Century, when he’s requested to help with political negotiations. Compromises are difficult, with American Admiral Perry determined to open Japan to the West but only on his terms. Like most Western leaders, the admiral is unaware of the advances the Japanese have made with steam and thinks Nippon is an isolated and backward nation. Narihiro’s uncle, the twelfth Tokugawa Shogun, believes Narihiro is the best man for the duty. Despite his extensive training, plans might not go as well as expected.

With the American delegation comes closeted former Pennsylvania Dutch farmer, Maarten Zook, a shy translator who catches Narihiro’s interest. As negotiations stall, the Japanese are left with few options to convince America that Nippon is its equal. Japan is ready to open its borders, but a show of force may be needed, and that force may destroy the budding relationship between Narihiro and Maarten.

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Review: Based on the author’s bio, I think she might be my long-lost twin. This book made me so happy because it’s a ridiculous combination of genres that works so well together and is pretty much nerd heaven. Steampunk, alternate history, gay romance, Japan, fantasy, and Gundam-like mecha collide in The Mechanical Chrysanthemums to deliver a powerful punch and wonderful characters.

First of all, the cover is gorgeous. I absolutely love it. It matches the story perfectly and sets a nice tone before you even open the pages. But let’s talk about the story. Steampunk and alternate history work well together as a rule, but adding in fantasy as well as gay romance? It takes skill to make everything work. As soon as I started reading and the musha were described, my first thought was “Gundam!” Sure enough, that’s pretty much what the musha are. They’re a combination of steam energy and magic blended to form a deadly combination.

The characters are all great as well. Narihiro is torn between wanting Maarten and leaving him alone because of his cultural differences. Maarten is shy and, while drawn to Narihiro, hesitant because of American rules and religious law. Kiyoshi is fun as well, always needling Narihiro and acting “chaperone” for the two men. I’d love to read a story about him and his exploits and finally finding love for himself.

This is a novella, but despite that, the characters and the plot are well developed. The pacing is just right and never felt rushed. Normally I want a longer book, and while I do want to read more about the three men in this story, I didn’t feel like anything was missing or that extra pages were necessary in any way. In terms of sex, it is rather light, but it fits Hiro and Maarten due to Maarten’s hesitation and his upbringing.

Well done, Felicitas Ivey! Consider me a new fan!

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You can buy The Mechanical Chrysanthemums here:

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Felicitas Ivey, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: What Father Christmas Left by Felicitas Ivey

Title: What Father Christmas Left

Author: Felicitas Ivey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 45 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Ex-Pat American Jacob Moore is looking forward to hosting his traditional Christmas Eve party with his partner, Errol. They love the quiet night of friends and food at their house in London, and the break before dealing with family, presents, and Boxing Day. The quiet is shattered when Jacob’s younger half sister, Pru, shows up on his doorstep, running away from home for a very good reason. Jacob has stayed in touch with her over the years, even though he’s estranged from their father. But nothing prepared him for this. Continue reading

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3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Felicitas Ivey, Genre Romance, Reviewed by BJ

Two Men Take A Chance On Love In Felicitas Ivey’s “Tell the Bees I’m Sorry”

Title: Tell the Bees I’m Sorry

Author: Felicitas Ivey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 70 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Physics Grad Student Marcus Fitzhughes agrees to leave New York City with his roommate, Andy, to visit Andy’s uncles in Vermont. Marcus wants to escape the city and his ex-boyfriend, Dan, who hasn’t taken their break up very well. Continue reading

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Dreamspinner Press, Felicitas Ivey

Love Gets A Little Nudge From The Big Guy In “In Trouble With Angels”


“My name is Eros, and this is my holiday.” – Felicitas Ivey


Title: In Trouble With Angels

Author: Felicitas Ivey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 40 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: With the increasing commercialization of Valentine’s Day in the 1950s, the Pagan deities of Love, led by Eros, gather to make sure everything runs smoothly. Shy, quiet angel Shateiel offers help, and Eros is quite taken with the cute angel, though he keeps his lust to himself. When the higher-level angels discover Shateiel’s little rebellious streak and how he’s been spending his time, they intervene to keep him from falling from grace. Now, Eros may wish he’d admitted his feeling before it was too late.
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Dreamspinner Press, Felicitas Ivey

Grab Hold Of Some Holiday Magic And Prepare For “A Solstice Journey”



“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ― W.B. Yeats


There are a variety of reasons I snatched up A Solstice Journey from among the thirty-one titles in this year’s Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Anthology, Heartwarming. First off, who could resist reading a story by an author called Felicitas Ivey? That alone made me smile with holiday cheer. Second, she had me at “faery” because, hello, faery. Third, any story that includes Nordic lore, solstice magic, Pagan themes, and the thinning of the barrier between the here and there is a story I’m going to devour like it’s made of candy and pie.
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