Title: Magic By Starlight: Terra Haven Holiday Chronicles
Publisher: Mind Your Muse
Author: Rebecca Chastain
Welcome to Terra Haven, a city of magic and gargoyles, where best friends Kylie and Mika are planning to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Things do not go according to plan, however. First, Kylie and Mika’s party is disrupted by disappearing cookies and ornaments. Can they find the culprit? Then Kylie and her fiancé Grant (leader of the local Federal Pentagon Defense team) decide to compete for the Mistletoe Crown, with unexpected results. Finally, Mika’s boyfriend Marcus enters a fireworks festival, competing against the city’s other fire elementals. But when danger threatens not only the festival, but all of Terra Haven, Mika must set aside her holiday plans to help Marcus save everyone they love ….
I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been reading Chastain’s books, but she is — hands down — one of my favorite urban fantasy/cozy fantasy authors. I would happily move to Terra Haven if I could. So when I heard that she was releasing a new collection of novelettes, I pre-ordered it immediately. (Note that the pre-order was through Chastain herself. The book will be widely available on 5 December 2023.)
Happily, this collection is just as much fun as the previous stories. It’s cozy and romantic, with lots of danger and excitement. The female characters are brave and intelligent, and the men who love them are smart enough to back the ladies up when they need assistance, but step in and help when they’ve gotten in over their heads. And the relationship between the humans and gargoyles is one of mutual respect and support; the gargoyles may be animalian in form and crystalline in structure, but they are full citizens of Terra Haven.
Oh, and did I mention the cute animals? (Where can I get a gryphonette?)
While this collection is terrific, and I do highly recommend it, readers will get the most out of it if they are already familiar with Terra Haven and the characters who populate it. Pick up either the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles (about Mika and Marcus, and the gargoyle Oliver) or the Terra Haven Chronicles (about Kylie and Grant, and the gargoyle Quinn) — or both! — and then dive into this holiday collection. You won’t be disappointed.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]