Sometimes a title can reel you in and this one definitely caught my attention! You know we have to cover the basics before we can chat about dragons though so let’s get to it!

Dragons are a Girl’s Best Friend: A Fast, Feel-Good Urban Fantasy by Isla Frost
Fangs and Feathers Book 1 of 3
Pbblished: October 9, 2021
Amazon: 4,277 ratings, 4.4 avg
Goodreads: 3,454; 4.19 avg

My name’s Lyra Ridley, and I run headlong into supernatural danger for a living.

Of course, that’s not how I sold the job to my adoptive vampire dad. Or what I put on my dating profile for that matter. And I do have a wet-your-pants-level terrifying dragon partner rushing headlong into danger with me. But she, like my unusual magic, is frequently more hazard than help.

Despite all that, I love my job protecting the streets of post-magic-revolution Las Vegas—where humans and supernaturals live side-by-side, or are at least having a stab at it. So when I get suspended and some jackass takes my city hostage? Yeah, there’s going to be hell to pay.

Even if it means I have to team up with a mysterious supernatural I know nothing about—except that he has pointy ears, a rod up his backside, questionable priorities, and could kill me with his eyes closed.

My dragon partner likes him even less than I do. Then again, she doesn’t like anyone, including me most of the time. But I’m pretty sure she won’t barbecue either one of us.

Still, you’d better wish me luck

Warning: This urban fantasy series contains danger, mayhem, humor, and heart, with characters you’ll fall for—including a vampire with an unbeating heart of gold, a book-hoarding dragon who eats criminals for breakfast, a mysterious supernatural who’s as hot as the desert he slunk out of, and a human heroine who’ll fight to save them all.

Fans of Kim Harrison, Annette Marie, Ilona Andrews, K.F. Breene, Hailey Edwards, or Patricia Briggs, dive into this thrilling new world for a feel-good, action-packed adventure with a dash of slow burn romance.

I have a confession: I’m not totally dragon-crazy like a lot of fantasy readers. I know, I know. Dragons are badass and all that, but my favorite dragon book remains There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon (yep, the children’s book by Jack Kent). However, I was definitely intrigued by the title and excited to read this one! As an additional FYI, it was a Prime Reading option at the time of my reading.

As you can see from the averages, this book has been well-received. As always though, there were some unhappy readers leaving 1-star reviews.

Fellow reader criticisms:

  1. MC boring/ immature; little character development
  2. Too many descriptions [shoe shopping]

If you’ve read other Book Chat reviews here, you won’t be surprised to find these 2 criticisms do always concern me. I love fun plots, but it’s always the characters who keep me fully engaged. I’m also an impatient reader so shoe-shopping descriptions aren’t my thing. 

MC Boring/ immature; little character development
In a genre full of super badass women leads and chosen ones, it’s easy to see what some considered the FMC boring. While I did find Lyra a bit blah and possibly not the sharpest tool in the shed, I enjoyed the less dramatic style. I will agree that she doesn’t truly change over this book (I can’t comment on the series). Despite agreeing with the critique, I enjoyed Lyra. I liked that she was relatively normal in her world and focused on the happy times in her childhood and the bonds with her family (including a young child). Many fantasies include tragic backstories, revenge plots, and over-powered leads – Lyra is not that kind of character. This kinda leads to her appearing uninteresting, but again, I actually enjoyed that aspect of her.  

This brings me to a tangent: the book’s subtitle is ‘feel-good urban fantasy’. I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant and I’m not sure it delivered. No, it wasn’t dark or depressing, but it was more of a mix of real life and magic which means good things and bad. While the mix worked well for me, I was expecting a bit more ‘feel-good’ fun. 

Too many descriptions
I will admit that I skimmed some parts but that isn’t actually unusual for me. And yes, that shoe-shopping passage was one of them. There was definitely some ‘info-dumping’ but I typically like such a mix of supernatural/ human history fun. I didn’t skip those parts! 😀 The world was interesting and I liked that magic was known and integrated into everyday life. I definitely think there’s potential for some great storytelling. I haven’t researched the next books to check the path of the story or the romance (there was next to nothing in this one), but there are some unanswered questions lingering.

Overall, I’m giving this one 3 stars. It’s not a heavy read and was one I was able to put down, but I did enjoy it. Sometimes, that’s the kind of book I want tbh. Need I remind anyone that I’m a moody reader?! LOL! I thought this was a solid effort across the board – characters, world building, plot, and editing. It wasn’t a standout, but I’d still recommend it. It was certainly a good enough read to keep the author on my list and I’ll likely pick up the next book at some point.

Now, we’ll hop over to the author side and see what we can learn for our craft. If you’d prefer, skip down to the obligatory cute cat and book picture and you’ll find the links for this book and next month’s read as well as the 2023 Book Chat master post.

Okay, author friends, let’s chat and learn something from a bestselling author!

Character Love (and Hate)
Often, the main thing readers criticize are the characters – TSTL (too stupid to live), immature, boring, unlikeable, etc. We discuss this frequently in the reader section each month, but it’s important to remind ourselves as writers too. Not everyone will relate to or even like our beloved characters. 

And readers leaving negative reviews about our characters can hurt and anger us. I’ve seen a lot of writer discussions about changing characters to make readers happy. I’ve also read posts from authors wanting to quit after receiving bad reviews.

We are the only ones who can tell our story, our way. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work on our craft, listen to constructive criticism, and learn. It does mean we need to find the balance to stay true to our voice and the voices our characters develop. However, what brings them to life as unique could be the very reason someone else doesn’t connect to them…or the very reason someone does. 😉 

**On a related note, I very much support the advice to never engage with reader reviews. It’s tough to not explain our choices and/or defend them, but I don’t believe it’s professional or appropriate. As one author noted, stay in your lane and write more books.

Dropping author names
As noted above, while not every reader will like our books, part of our job is to get our books in the hands of readers who will. Our cover and blurb are the first impressions we make on potential readers. These choices lie with us as indie authors. 

Take a moment to read the last parts of that blurb again. What do you think about the author comps mentioned? Have you used similar things in your blurbs or advertising? I’ve seen a lot of readers complain about this in Facebook threads, but I can only assume it works.

Personally, I don’t like them as a reader and I lack the confidence to make them as an author (to be perfectly frank). If you do use them, I would caution you to expect some pushback. While I didn’t share this in the reader portion above, there were reviews who focused on the fact that the author didn’t deliver and wasn’t anything like Annette Marie or KF Breene. 

Wordy blurbs
Sticking with the blurb, we’ve had a few reads with super short blurbs and I’ve started toying with my own. As a reader I want enough info to make the decision for me…but if the author is wrong in setting those expectations then the disappointment is stronger. 

I like the style of a few tropes mentioned along with a bit of plot. Again, I’m still tweaking my efforts, but that approach makes sense to me. I also like setting that blurb up at the beginning to help me direct my writing. I’m a hybrid plotter/ pantser – I use outlines that I update to suit the story as it develops. I also use them to track character growth, possible plot holes, foreshadowing, and more. Adding the layer of a blurb with recognizable tropes and an intense but brief plot focus seems to help my writing.

Are you an author who hates blurbs? How do you make them work for you?

Feel free to comment to continue this chat, but that’s the end for me so let’s wrap this up!

I appreciate you checking out our March post of the 2023 Books & Cats Chat and I hope you had fun. If you read the book or pick it up later, do check in and let me know what you thought! If you’re a fellow author, I’m always open to guest posts so contact me so we can chat.

Until next time, happy reading and writing, my friends!

2023 Books & Cats Chat (Master post)

US Amazon links:
Dragons are a Girl’s Best Friend by Isla Frost
Born in Fire by K.F. Breene

2 thoughts on “2023 Books Chat 3: Dragons are a Girl’s Best Friend

  1. Generally I don’t like to see other authors mentioned in book blurbs, as comparisons start being made and often they don’t come upto scratch. Particularly if it is done by new authors. I say, leave it to the readers and reviewers to say which other books it is like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It turns me off too – I have to admit, I don’t even like it when authors quote a reviewer saying it in ads. I’m naturally suspicious and I feel like I”m being played – LOL! I just want the blurb to tell me why I’ll like it: plot, character, and world are what matter to me! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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