Book Review: Wriggle & Sparkle by Megan Derr

Lynn is a kraken shifter who's great at his job working for the Federal Bureau of Paranormal Security and Investigation, but his attitude and inability to play well with others has always had him going from partner to partner to partner. But then he gets paired up with Anderson, a unicorn shifter who may come in a pretty package but can give snark just as well as he can take it. Neither one has had much luck in their love lives, but, despite being an out-of-the-norm pair, they each might be just what the other needs.

Book Review: Wriggle & Sparkle by Megan Derr | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy, lgbt, m/m, kraken, unicorn
Title: Wriggle & Sparkle
Pages: 319
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. Seriously, I just adored it! I was so sure when I started reading this that it would be too cutesy and fluffy for me, but I couldn’t resist reading about a genderfluid kraken and a bisexual unicorn, and now I am eating my words because this book was just fantastic. And no, I don’t mean fantastic for a fluffy book. There are no conditional statements here. This book was just fantastic. Period.

First things first, this book was definitely easy, fun, light reading, not my usual dark, disturbing fare, but it was so much more than “fluff.” It had depth and meaning. It had real stories and developed characters. Characters acted in ways that made sense. There were relationship, family, work, and society struggles. And there was emotion written in a way that actually made me feel it.

Second, the characters were so lovable! For the first 10% or so, they seemed stereotypical, but that changed after the first story. They became much more developed and unique. I’ve always loved those surly, constantly-complaining, doesn’t-play-well-with-others characters who secretly have a heart of gold—no joke, my favorite show was Becker when I was just 10 years old—and Lynn (kraken) was basically that character (though honestly he wasn’t even a jerk unless people deserved it). He appeared to be a total hardass on the outside, but he was an adorable closet softie on the inside who surprised me and whom I really wanted to hug whenever any emotional scars from his past came up. And Anderson (unicorn) was also snarky yet sweet with his own emotional scars, and I could relate to him in some ways.

Third, their relationship gave me a total case of the warm-fuzzies! I like slow-burn romances and normally get upset when I don’t get to see that tension-filled build-up, but I was enjoying their relationship far too much to care that that part was skipped over. By 30%, when it got to the third story, I was grinning like a damn fool while reading because they were so ADORABLE and basically my new favorite fictional couple. I also loved getting to see the way they saw each other through their individual perspectives because I could so absolutely feel the love they had.

Fourth, I’m putting this in a separate point even though it relates to the above one because it’s just that important to me, they waited EIGHT MONTHS to say I love you to each other. And Lynn himself was thinking about how eight months really wasn’t a long time to be together. THANK YOU, MEGAN DERR. It’s like every character in every book, movie, and show portrays this message that you have to say I love you within a month, and if you take any longer, there’s something wrong with you. You can say it in a week if you want to, but you don’t have to. And in this book, when the characters took things at their own pace, guess what? No one thought it was crazy.

Fifth, this was the first time I had ever read sex scenes that involved tentacles, and thankfully it really wasn’t extreme. I’ve seen some other reviewers mention that this book was pretty mild, so fear not, my fellow tentacle porn newbies.

Sixth, as I mentioned above, I loved that there were genderfluid and bisexual main characters. The gender-changing was especially unique.

Seventh, the animal traits were both well-written and adorable. Anderson’s were cute, like always wanted sweets and colorful things, but I especially loved Lynn’s, like how he always wanted to wrap his tentacles around Anderson and pull him in when he got emotional or possessive and that one time when he got upset and sank to the bottom of the pool where he just curled all his tentacles around himself, because awwwwwwwwww <3

Last but not least, the plot was episodic, but that’s because it was literally a collection of stories/episodes that were once published as a serial. There were overall character and relationship arcs though, so I didn’t have any issue with it.

Honestly, nothing was a major problem, but the pronouns could get a little confusing, what with people changing genders. And sometimes it was hard to figure out what gender Lynn was in and picture him female when I was so used to picturing him male most of the time. There were also one or two M/F sex scenes, which might bother some readers. Also, the last story and the epilogue weren’t quite as strong to me as the other stories, but they were still enjoyable, and there was a sweet ending.

Overall though, this was a book I never wanted to end with lovable characters, unique paranormal creatures, a completely adorable relationship, and snarky humor, and it just filled me with so much happiness!


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    1. Kristen Burns

      I had definitely never read about unicorns gender-changing characters before! (Though believe it or not, I had read one other book about a kraken this year lol.) Thanks 🙂

  1. Rowena

    Oh wow, a unicorn?? This sounds mighty interesting. I’ve never heard of this author or this book before. Thanks for the heads up. I’m going to tell my friend who would probably love this book as much as you!

  2. Lola

    I just love the idea of a kraken and unicorn shifter. I like reading about less common shifter types. I am glad to hear you enjoyed this one and it wasn’t too fluffy for you ;). It’s nice to hear there was so much depth and meaning and characters acting realistically and you felt the emotion. It really sounds like a good read!

    And yes I also like those characters who seems a bit hard or surly from the outside but have a heart of gold. It’s so nice when you get to see that soft inner layer. And while I love a good slow burning romance, some romances are great with a quicker set-up as well if well written.
    And I totally agree that it’s okay too when you say I love you later or earlier. You say it when you feel it and it doesn’t matter how long it takes. There’s no set way on how relationship evolve and how quick or slow things happen. I like seeing that in books too, different types of relations, so it sure is nice to see a romance where it takes them some time before they say those words as well.

    Oh I like how you describe their animal traits, I always like seeing that in shifters. As you know shifters are some of my favorite paranormal creatures to read about and those animal traits are one of the things I like seeing. How they are animal both in their normal and animal forms. Now I am a bit sad I missed this one when it was on netgalley as it sounds really good.

    1. Kristen Burns

      You know I don’t care for shifters, but since unicorns and krakens are both already supernatural (well, I know giant squid are real, but I feel like the term kraken is more of a myth/supernatural thing, right?) I was interested. It’s more the typical animal shifters I’m not into. But anyway, yeah, I was so surprised by this book! I’m also glad it wasn’t too fluffy for me lol.

      As for the romance, I guess the key is that almost anything can work if it’s done well.

      It’s just so frustrating for me this idea that people need to say they’re in love immediately or there’s something wrong with them. I’ve even seen it on TV shows, like, because it took someone 6 months to say it, everyone was judging them or saying they had commitment issues or whatever, and that’s ridiculous. And I know people *can* fall in love quickly, but it’s so hard for me to believe that all these characters in books are head over heels in love after just a month of knowing each other.

      The animals traits were fun! I’m sorry you missed this one. If only I had reviewed it sooner :-/ I didn’t get to it until last week though.

  3. Christy LoveOfBooks

    “this was the first time I had ever read sex scenes that involved tentacles,”

    lol! That’s funny! Wow, this sounds like a fun book. I mean, a kraken & a unicorn shifter? Gotta see this for myself. 😀

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I was curious about the tentacle porn since I’ve heard so much about it. Figured other people might be curious too 😛 But yeah, a kraken and unicorn shifter were just too unique to pass up!

  4. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    This sounds adorable! I want this book in my life so much it is crazy. I mean, I didn’t know there was a unicorn involved and the gender fluidity is amazing. This is basically the most original book I have ever heard of and it’s cool that it’s tentacle porn light. I just want to read this book. I thought this was a book I’d the review for and be intrigued by before forgetting about it but I think this is one I may need to invest in. This is a great review which is successfully convincing me I need this fluffy read in my life.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, yay! Right? The unicorn and gender fluidity were too unique to pass up. And I love your term “tentacle porn light” lol. I hope you like it as much as I did if you read it! I’ll be excited to know what you think 😀

  5. Bookworm Brandee

    I am smiling over your new favorite fictional characters being “a genderfluid kraken and a bisexual unicorn”, Kristen. That’s fantastic! And it sounds like their story, the situations they found themselves in and got themselves out of over the course of the episodes, are all fantastic as well. It’s really fun to read you gush about a book that’s ‘lighter’ in tone. 😉 And I love that Lynn and Anderson’s relationship took its time developing, and that they took their time moving towards using the “L” word. I think I might enjoy meeting Lynn and Anderson myself sometime. 😀

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol yeah, I usually end up gushing about the dark, disturbing books, I imagine this was a shock to all 😛 But I guess it proved to me that I can like lighter books when they’re actually well written! Maybe I just hadn’t read many *good* light books before. But yeah, I really enjoyed this whole thing and seeing their adorable relationship and all the problems they got themselves into!

  6. AngelErin

    Kracken and unicorn shifters? I’m in. I need to add this to my wishlist! I also like the idea of a genderfluid character that can change gender that just sounds so crazy/unique. Excellent review! 😀

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha right? I couldn’t resist kraken and unicorn shifters! And the genderfluid thing was cool too, very unique and the author used it in the plots and whatnot too. Thanks!