Koishi (GateKeepers #1) by Annie Nicholas
Paranormal romance*ebook novella
Published February 4th 2013 by Lyrical Press, Inc
Never make a deal with a dragon.
Sandra’s sister is dying. Doctors say nothing can be done, but she refuses to give up hope. She has depleted all their resources searching for a cure, when a little bird whispers in Sandra’s ear about secret worlds, gates, and the keepers who protect them. A dragon gatekeeper, who hoards magical treasure within his volcano home in Japan, possibly owns an item capable of curing her sister.
Gates choose their keepers, and Koishi thinks his did an excellent job in picking him. Not many dare to cross, and none who try survive. However, one tiny human female with either the courage of an army or the intelligence of a gnat has arrived on the island asking for him. Curious, he waits for the locals to steer her to his human servant—actually him, in man form.
Let the games begin…
CONTENT WARNING: Goblins, mayhem, and sushi await you with hot dragon sex and Koishi’s odd sense of humor.
Koishi is a well-rounded novella featuring romance, a volcano, a Japanese shape-shifter and American woman, goblins, dwarves and a gate to protect. Add in an entertaining and spicy romance and I'd call that a filling tale. I read Koishi on a frigid evening as temperatures dipped to two degrees and for a while I forgot all about a snowstorm named Nemo which covered my world in white. Instead, I was transferred to an island in Japan where a volcano housed a stone dragon shape shifter named Koishi.
I enjoyed how different this story was. Narrated by both main characters, Koishi has an offbeat sense of humor which made him endearing (after awhile). Sandra, the American tourist on a mission to ask the dragon for help to cure her dying younger sister, is meek at first, but she quickly turns spunky. There was such a variety of scenes in this story which kept the pace moving. Koishi has the town believing he is the human connection to the dragon who lives in the volcano. When a pretty blond discovers his secret, he doesn't seem to worry. Sandra is determined to find help for her sibling but her trip itinerary didn't include an attractive shifter she grows to like spending time with.
For its' short length, Koishi packed a lot in this first installment of The Gatekeepers series by Annie Nicholas. Being a stickler for more details and worldbuilding, I did want to see some more about these realms and yet was content with that the author provided. Warring dwarves, a Goblin pet, a treasure-filled cavern, and a love story between a stone dragon and human--that's a lot to keep readers interested. Even the addition of Koishi's mother added to the story's warmth. I liked the myth the author created, especially Koishi's ability (as a stone dragon) to control lava. As for his dragon part, his red scales and claws made him quite easy to visualize. I mentioned well-rounded earlier and the scene where Sandra scrubs his scales had me chuckling.
Different, entertaining and humorous, I enjoyed Koishi and anticipate enjoying the rest of The Gatekeepers stories as well.
Rating: 3.5 liked it
Cover comment: There's an abundance of hot male bodies on paranormal romance covers today. This was a great opportunity to showcase that this story features an Asian shifter but I'm not getting that vibe from the cut-off part of the model's face. The addition of his dark hair tied-back and at least a dragon tattoo or hint of scales would have been awesome. Even the title, Koishi, should be darker and more prominent. As it is now, I'm afraid the cover blends in with all of the others out there on the market.
Book source: I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review during a bok tour.