I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Dragon Finds Forever by Kristen Painter
Series: Nocturne Falls #7.
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism
Published by Sugar Skull Books on February 21, 2017
Source: my own shelves
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Also in this series: The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, The Professor Woos the Witch, The Vampire's Fake Fiancée, The Shifter Romances the Writer, "The Vampire's True Love Trials", "The Witch's Halloween Hero", The Vampire's Accidental Wife
Also by this author: House of the Rising Sun, City of Eternal Night, Garden of Dreams and Desires, Book Review: Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case, All Fired Up, "Prologue to The Vampire's Mail Order Bride", The Vampire's Mail Order Bride, The Werewolf Meets His Match, The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, The Professor Woos the Witch, The Vampire's Fake Fiancée, The Shifter Romances the Writer, "The Witch's Halloween Hero", The Vampire's Accidental Wife
Seventh in the Nocturne Falls magical realism fantasy series and revolving around a town in Georgia full of supernaturals who are hidden in plain sight. The couple focus is on Monalisa Devlin and Ivan “Van” Tsvetkov.
I do love this series! It’s a town full of people/supernaturals who care about each other, and Painter pulls in characters whose stories she’s written so we continue to hang out with them. Yes, the bulk of each installment does focus on the couple, but we never lose track of the others. I’m especially enjoying that housewarming Pandora and Cole are throwing.
I like that Monalisa has that core of honor that her father so blatantly lacks. It adds tension to Monalisa’s character arc. She is in a bad position, and I do have to wonder why she didn’t challenge more of her father’s statements. I found it hard to believe she was that trapped.
I gotta say that I find Van’s belief that his perfect record is broken to be quite annoying. Which really isn’t fair, as I know the truth behind that lost last fight. Adding to his frustration is the time he’ll need to recover. It’ll take Monalisa’s pushing to force Van to re-examine the truth.
Painter does use third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Monalisa’s and Van’s perspectives. Which makes it so cute as we hear how much Monalisa admires Van, and Van’s efforts to continue to better himself despite his success and fame.
Her parents are so abusive that I want to find an automatic weapon and spray ’em down. I’m so dumbfounded . . . !
Crack me up . . .
“Van gave her a look. ‘Grom loves them.’
She snorted. ‘I’m not sure that’s a ringing endorsement. I’ve seen Grom lick his privates like it was an ice cream sundae.'”
Poor Van. I’m sure too many of us can sympathize with his dislike of physical therapy and those “physical terrorists”, lol! Lucky for him, he was in pretty good shape before he was injured.
Acceptance is a major theme throughout the Nocturne Falls series, a point noted with that exchange between Bridget and Lisa. I do have to say that Van’s attraction to Monalisa/Lisa was pretty fast acceptance. Painter does try to slow it down a bit by having the dragon side of Van be more eager.
Van certainly is a forgiving guy. A little too much so. It does get annoying, even though it leads to my kind of outcome.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Monalisa is forced to accomplish the task her evil father has given her: to be The Hammer’s rehab therapist. She has got to trick Van into re-entering the fights to win her own freedom.
Monalisa Devlin, a.k.a. the dryad, Lisa Devers, is a Will-o’-the-Wisp, a supernatural being who can bend people to her will and make them do what they don’t want to do.
Her father is Padraig Devlin, a leprechaun who constantly betrays her trust, the king of the leprechauns, and the unofficial boss of the Las Vegas supernatural mafia. Tavia, a pixie, is her equally greedy mother. The Shamrock is Padraig’s casino where they also hold supernatural fights. Sean is the head of Padraig’s security. Seela is a banshee and Padraig’s administrative assistant.
The undefeated Ivan “Van” Tsvetkov, a.k.a. The Hammer, is a dragon shifter and a badly injured MMA fighter. Grom (it means thunder in Russian) is the three-month-old Doberman Van adopts. Norma Turnbuckle, a hobbit, is Van’s housekeeper. Boris is Van’s brother who lives in Japan and teaches mixed martial arts. Shiori is Boris’ wife. Yuri had been a distant cousin who ran afoul of a witch. Harlan, a ranger-class gargoyle who wants to be a magician, is a member of Van’s training team in Las Vegas. He’s also a bit of a player . . . just ask Sasha, Laurette, and Monica. Roger is the doorman at the Skye Towers where Van has a two-story condo.
Nocturne Falls is . . .
. . . a small town with a mixed bag of humans and supernaturals. Supes that the humans aren’t aware of! The Ellinghams, a vampire family, own most of the town. Elenora is the Ellingham matriarch and the boys’ grandmother. Alice Bishop is a powerful witch who is Elenora’s secretary. Sebastian is the oldest grandson. Hugh is the second oldest, and he’s married to Delaney who runs a sweets shop, Delaney’s Delectables (The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride, 1).
Bartholomew Stanhill is Hugh Ellingham’s rook and engaged to Corette Williams (“The Witch’s Halloween Hero“, 4.5), a witch who owns Ever After, a bridal shoppe. Her witchy daughters are Charisma, who is a life coach; Marigold, a green witch who owns the florist shop; and, Pandora, a witch and a real estate agent, who is Van’s good friend. Cole is Pandora’s fiancé. Kaley is Cole’s witch daughter. Jack is Cole’s dad. Gertrude is a witchy ghost who used to own Cole’s Victorian.
Sam Kincaid, a werewolf and firefighter, is Ivy’s brother and dating Bridget, the werewolf who owns Howler’s Bar and Grill. Phyllis is a waitress at Howler’s. Juan Carlos is a cook. Nick Hardwin is a leviathan-class gargoyle who’s with Willa Iscove, a fae jeweler who owns Illusions (The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, 3). Roxy St James is a paranormal romance writer who’s involved with Deputy Alex Cruz, a panther shifter (The Shifter Romances the Writer, 6). Sheriff Hank Merrow, a werewolf, steps up (The Werewolf Meets His Match, 2). Princess Jayne Frost is a winter elf.
Tim works at the local animal shelter. Ryde is the local taxi service, similar to Uber. Café Claude.
The Titan Fight League (TFL) is . . .
. . . the organization that sets up the supernatural fights. And supposedly has sent Lisa Devers to help Van. Ronan is a manticore who got lucky.
Ultra is a high-end club in Vegas. Desdemona Valentine, a vampire, has a show in Vegas.
The Cover and Title
The busy graphic cover is a mix of blues, grays, and pops of red. Okay, so I should probably include orange. The background is a montage of settings. Starting at the top, the sky is a gradation of deep, deep teal to a pale teal where it meets the top of the pale gray mountain range, the tallest of which towers over the deep navy blue house, its windows all lit up. The landscape continues with a darker gray hill on the left above which towers the same color in the dragon’s shadow. On the right, below the two-story house, is a deep blue-green lawn that ends with a red and white plaid blanket, a bottle of champagne, and two full glasses of champagne on the right. Oh, and I can’t forget the series jack-o-lantern with its gleaming eyes above a wooden sign with the series information on it in yellow just above the picnic. There are three characters filling the left lower corner: the bald-headed, incredibly muscled Van in a tight gray T and blue pants, holding Monalisa’s hand. Her long brunette hair is blowing straight out in the wind as she stands in front of Van while wearing a red halter neck dress and heels. On the far left is Grom in a deep blue gray. The rest of the text is in white with a black shadow. The title is at the top in the sky. Crossing the characters’ lower legs is an info blurb with the author’s name immediately below it.
The title is all about Van, The Dragon [Who] Finds Forever.