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Our Review

“All that matters is that I found you. After nearly two thousand years of being alone, I found you.”

After coming off an intense and angsty read, we were in the mood for a story to lose ourselves in, a chance to suspend reality for a moment in time and Grigori, the first book in the Brothers of Ash and Fire by Lauren Smith, a new to us author, provided exactly that! We were captivated by this book! We love our PNR and easily devoured this read. We’ve read all kinds of PNR books but have to say, a Dragon Shifter is a first for us, and well, after witnessing those spectacular dragons on Game of Thrones, we were pretty excited to see what this was all about!

“Here there be dragons,” he echoed in a husky whisper.

The series explores the Russian Barinov Brothers; Mikhail, Rurik and Grigori, the last three in a line of centuries old, Barinov dragon shifters. Grigori Barinov is the first brother we meet and his story sets up the series (which we’re dying for more of) perfectly. We were immediately drawn into Grigori and Madelyn’s fierce and fast romance. Yes, things do move very quickly for these two but the author does a splendid job of creating her world and providing reasoning for the intense and rapid feelings experienced between Grigori and Madelyn.  There’s a familiarity between them that is later explored and explained.

‘The little human was bringing out old instincts in him, ones he thought he’d mastered long ago.’

Madelyn Haynes, a professor of medieval mythology, has been reading and researching dragons for years. Her studies take her to Russia on a fact finding mission to uncover the mythology of the dragons that have consumed her thoughts. Convinced they’re real, she uncovers a manuscript detailing the brothers Barinov and soon she meets two of the Barinov brothers first hand, confirming her beliefs.

‘He may have worn an expensive suit and looked like an Armani model, but he acted like an ancient warrior – one who took what he wanted. God help her, she liked it.’

Grigori has gone to great lengths to ensure his family secrets do not become public knowledge so when word hits him that a woman from America is seeking information, he acts quickly to find out more about this nosy American woman and veer her off their trail.  What he didn’t count on was the fact that he may have just found his mate, the woman he has been searching for his whole life. But, Madelyn is human, he’s a dragon shifter – he’s immortal and couldn’t bear the thought of outliving Madelyn. After all, dragons are so connected to their mates, they grieve so deeply and don’t live much past the passing of their one true love, so Grigori must tread carefully.

‘Holding her like this felt right, natural, just like it felt to fly. In that moment he wanted to share himself with her, open his heart to her.’

Of course, the heart rules the head in this case with Grigori providing so much of what we love about paranormal escapism. The one true mate, the intense attraction and chemistry, the alpha possessive male, the woman who his heart beats for; and let’s not forget the epic battles, the threats and problems that plague them. It all went into making this a fabulously entertaining read.

“It doesn’t matter what you are. You are mine and I am yours. The fates brought us together for a purpose and I will not forsake you.”

For us, this gave off a Twilight meets Game of Thrones vibe – oh don’t worry, it’s very tame (not murder GOT), but the dragons were very reminiscent of the series and their history the author provided was fascinating! If this first book is anything to go by, we’ve just found ourselves a new PNR series to fawn over and you can bet we’ll diving straight into Mikhail’s books when it releases in January. Oh, won’t his be a tale to tell! There was so much mystery surrounding this man who had lived a lot of his life in exile.  If, like us, you love the mystery, history and romance of these types of stories, you can bet you’re gonna love Grigori!

“What I promise you is a vow of love and loyalty. A vow to never leave you. Mates become one beating heart, one infinite soul.”

Synopsis

He’s one of the last of a powerful but vanishing bloodline …
Grigori Barinov is the eldest in an ancient line of dragon shifters and the guardian of his family’s lands and fortune. Sworn to protect their history and magic, he won’t rest until he neutralizes any threat to their existence. When he discovers an ancient manuscript that exposes his family and their dragon lineage has fallen into a mortal woman’s hands, he knows he must get the book back by any means necessary. If that means seducing a nosy American woman with an intoxicating scent, he is more than willing to carry her off to his palatial home deep in the heart of Russia.

She’s the one woman who could expose him to the world…
Madelyn Haynes has never fit in. As an adopted child she grew up in a loving home but never felt as though she belonged. Plagued by mysterious dreams she’s had of a silver scaled beast ever since she was a little girl, she is convinced dragons are real. While in Russia working on her PhD in mythology in order to escape the ridicule from fellow professors, she unexpectedly crosses paths with the sexy and dominating Grigori, and after just one night with the man whose eyes seem to burn, she starts to change inside. Isolated in the Russian wilderness Grigori calls home, Madelyn can’t help but fall under his sensual spell, yet something deep inside her calls out that she can’t trust him. She has to show the world dragons are real to salvage academic reputation, even if it means costing her the heart of the dragon she’s falling in love with.

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