Review of Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals by Meredith Katz. Less Than Three Press. 2018.

4.25 stars

smoke signalsI really enjoyed this geeky m/m romance, centering a knitter gay MC who works at a gaming company and a grumpy awkward dragon love interest whose hoard is all games. It was cute, sweet, and fluffy, had a lovely satisfying romance arc. Plus there was a kitty I adored!

Basically, this romance was full of things that I love: geekery, awkward exchanges where the MCs each think the other isn’t into them, a dragon, an MC devoted to his pet cat, crafty characters, boundary negotiation, a love interest that seems grumpy but turns out to be socially awkward instead. It hit the spot, exactly, for me, was the kind of light fluff I needed on a really hard day.

I really enjoyed the slow build in the arc, how it stretched over time, and their relationship built. It was lovely, especially in a short novella. The sex scene was a lovely mix of humor and heat.

One of the joys of this romance was the way they navigated boundaries. The dragon is very demanding and pushy, at first, acts like an entitled jerk, and gets called on it. And we come to realize, over time, that a good portion of this is due to a combination of cultural misunderstanding and social awkwardness. We get to see the dragon really try to be respectful of the MCs boundaries, do his best, and get all confused when the boundaries shift. I loved that about this, the way the dragon really cares about the MCs consent and being respectful, and needs support and information to achieve that. It made for a really lovely arc, I thought.

The moment where this really feels like it starts turning, when the dragon makes Mike the game, was super charming. I fell hard for the dragon, right alongside Mike.

This dragon isn’t a shifter in the usual sense of dragon shifter. He is an actual dragon, who can transform to a pseudo-human form, with human-size appearance, kinda human-like in shape, who is still all over scales and very dragonlike in a lot of ways. I liked that, liked that the story didn’t give him an actual human shape, made him an actual dragon. It made the sex scene kinda different in a really cool way, I thought.

When the dragon met the MCs cat, I had a huge grin on my face. It was one of my favorite moments in the story. Especially because the dragon was nervous about it beforehand. But really, there were a bunch of lovely moments that made me smile. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Representation

  • Gay MC
  • I think the dragon may be bisexual. (The book is labeled bisexual by the publisher.)
  • Lesbian author

Content Warnings (in white, highlight to read)

Boundary pushing that gets called out, and the behavior stops. Sex on the page. A brief moment of fat antagonism.

Disclosures

  • Source of the book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
  • I have had no contact with the author.
  • All links to Amazon will be affiliate ones. If you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money on that sale (which I plan to use to buy more books to review), but it will not add any to the cost of your product. It comes out of the company’s profits.

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