A review by adancewithbooks
Into the Mystic, Volume Three by M. Hollis, Artemis Savory, L.J. Hamlin, Lis Valentine, Michelle Frost, Bru Baker, K. Parr, Ava Kelly, Ziggy Schutz


3,5 stars
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.

After finishing Bones and Bourbon I immediately went to see what else NineStar Press had because my curiosity was certainly piqued. I found this anthology that focuses on lesbian/bisexual paranormal short stories. This of course interested me as I don’t often get the chance to read fantasy and paranormal with lesbian or bisexual characters. We need more of those.

As this is an anthology and they are hard to write a general review of I am once again rather giving you reasons as to why you should pick this up.

* The biggest reason you should pick this up is the diversity rep for lesbian and bisexual characters. Every story had one or both that was the focus. But that wasn’t the only rep present. There was also a character that I am fairly certain was non-binary and there was also some disabled rep. While I of course am a straight female, I did think the rep was all well done and with respect.

* A lot of the stories are own voices. A portion of the authors are queer as they say themselves in the introductions at the end of their stories. And there was also a disabled own voices story, an author who incorporated her own disease into the short story. Own voices are always so important.

* All the main characters were female. Now this might seem like a given with the focus on lesbian characters. But you would be surprised how often you see stories from a male’s perspective. As far as side characters go, a lot of them were also females. It was just a nice breath of fresh air to have so few males present.

* As for the paranormal aspect, there was a lot of creativity present. Vampires and werewolves were more so present but there were also creatures present that I had never heard of before. Other creatures were story weavers, incubus, succubus and ghosts.

* Lastly the romance is certainly a reason to pick up this anthology. I am not a big romance reader but I thought these were all well written. Not everything appealed to me as much but there was not one story that I disliked. These are all cute stories to read when you feel like a romance. Especially with the Summer coming.

Below you can find some of my thoughts and separate ratings per story.

It started before noon - 4,5 stars
Out of all of the stories I think this one was my favorite. Not surprising as this one doesn’t feel quite as much as a paranormal setting as the others. The characters and their relationship were so cute. I loved the setting of the world. The idea of a muse, a story weaver that grows story puffs for inspiration and I would totally read a book set in a world like that.

Heart’s thaw - 4,5 stars
This one is a bit more historical. Here our main characters are human but come across an incubus who triggers a few events. Warning for masturbation and sex in this one.

Fire and brine - 3 stars
This book has less plot and seems to be more focused on the physical interaction between the characters. I had less interest in the characters in this one. Warning for sex.

Dance with me - 3 stars
The idea of this world where a werewolf is a private detective and ends up with a vampire as client is very intriguing. Unfortunately I had a bit of a hard time connecting with the characters.

My Cup of O Pos - 3,5 stars
The initial setting of this world isn’t that spectacular. Vampires that live open amongst us. But the idea of a disabled vampire was. I was surprised to see this, but very glad. It is such a different view on vampires and just what we need to see more of when it comes to disability rep. Unfortunately the pacing was a bit off in this one. Warning for sex.

Home - 3 stars
This story focuses on werewolves. I was a little on the iffy side with this one as the relationship is between a newly turned werewolf and an older alpha who takes her under her wing. I would have preferred to have seen it take longer to have romance develop between them just because the newly turned counts on the alpha for care and information to her new world. Even so there was clear chemistry on the page between them.

Swoon - 3,5 stars
The appeal of this story laid in that our mc and her sisters seemed to be sirens of sorts. But a very different kind. They also come from India but our mc can’t remember things from there like her sisters. The diasphora slightly hinted at there was a good addition. I also liked that our mc in this case wasn’t super pretty as often happens with sirens. Warning for sex.

The Hunt - 3 stars
I liked the idea of two lesbian vampires raising a young vampire. I was a bit more interested in that than I was in the hunt of our young vampire.

By candlelight - 4 stars
Out of all the stories this one is more eerie as it deals with death and the afterlife. But not everything has to start with sunshine and roses. This is also the story where I felt a character was more binary as they didn’t seem to identify as female or male though they did say that they had a twinge of preference towards female bodies.