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REVIEW: Taking Flight – A.L. Lester

REVIEW: Taking Flight - A.L. Lester

Genre: Celtic Myth, Retelling, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Trans, Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

Gwyn’s an idiot. Mal made it clear from the start he’d like to get Gwyn in his bed at the Kings of Ireland Hotel and after a couple of weeks of pursuit, Gwyn gave in. Mal was hot and pushy and just the kind of dangerous to pique Gwyn’s interest. He honestly thought Mal knew he was trans.

Since that horrible night, Mal has had Gwyn ‘work-shadowing’ Chef in the deeply unhappy kitchen. He doesn’t want to go home and make a fuss that might cause the sale of the hotel to his family company to fall through; but when a huge row breaks out over a flour delivery and Mal backhands Gwyn across the face, he finally decides enough is enough. With the help of one of the line-cooks with whom he’s formed a tentative friendship, he leaves.

During the two-day journey home from the middle of Ireland to Wales, Gwyn and Darren have plenty of time to exchange confidences. Could the delicate pull of attraction between them grow into something stronger? Is it safe for Gwyn to out himself to Darren? Will Darren want to go out with a trans guy? And how will his brother Brân take Gwyn’s arrival home with a stranger?

A 14,000 word short story in the Contemporary Celtic Myths collection.

The Review

With the Caernarvon Hospitality Group buying out the The Kings of Ireland Hotel at Tara, Gwyn Mabler takes on the assignment to learn the day to day business before the buy-out. He really wants to show his older brother, Bran, that he can run a hotel. 

Gwyn has to shadow the current owner, Mal Reagan, until the buy-out takes place. With a misunderstanding and an ordering error, Gwyn suddenly finds himself in a violent situation. He could call Bran for help, but he wants to handle things on his own.  

Luckily for Gwyn, Darren Starling, one of the staff, helps him out. They find common ground when it comes to the situation at the hotel, and decide to make their way home. Darren sticks by Gwyn’s side and takes time to really listen to him. All Gwyn has left to do is face Bran, with Darren at his side.  

This is the third story of A.L. Lester’s “A Short Story: Celtic Myths” series, and I have to admit I’m enjoying them. The stories are easy, quick reads and always have a lesson to be learned.  What makes each story interesting is how she takes what’s important in the myth and puts a modern day spin on it.

Be sure to read:  “About Branwen and the Mabinogion” at the end of the story.  Lester always explains and shares the “Celtic Myth” that she created the story from. This particular myth is a little more gruesome, so I see why she made Branwyn the center of her story, along with the meaning of the starlings.  There are also some historic facts.

There used to be a cartoon show called “Fractured Fairy Tales.” Not that these stories are funny, but I like to think of these as “Fractured Celtic Myths! 

Once again, I’m looking forward to the next Celtic Myth that Lester shares.

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.


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