Mini Reviews: M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy – Once Upon a Haunted Moor, Tinsel Fish, The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate


In Once Upon a Haunted Moor, a small town constable gets help from a clairvoyant to solve a missing child case. In Tinsel Fish, small town cop Gideon and his boyfriend, Lee, find themselves embroiled in another mystery when Lee decides to use his clairvoyance to help a woman in a nearby town. In The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate, a merman gets captured by a pirate only to realize he’s not the bad guy he thought he was. Enjoy my mini reviews for these three m/m paranormal/urban fantasy books!

Once Upon a Haunted Moor by Harper Fox

Book Cover - Once Upon a Haunted Moor by Harper Fox
Title: Once Upon a Haunted Moor
Author: Harper Fox
Publisher: FoxTales
Series: Tyack & Frayne
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 80
Rating: 3 stars

This wasn't a bad start to the series, but I can't say it super grabbed me. Gideon was a good guy who cared about his town and his people. Lee seemed like a good guy too, offering his clairvoyance for free when it comes to solving cases like the missing child case in this book, though I didn't get to know him very well. Their jump into romance was a bit fast and strange, but they weren't professing love or anything, so I could accept it in the hopes that it would get more depth as the series goes on.* The small English town and the moors made for a cool, sometimes eerie setting. The mystery and how they went about solving it made sense. Like I said, not very memorable for me, but overall a good story with likeable characters, and with enough potential that I'm willing to give the next book in the series a chance.*

*For the sake of honesty I wanted to share my initial thoughts as they were right after reading the book, but having read further in the series now, I can tell you that the relationship does get a lot more depth, and I've gotten so much more invested!

I'm just going to talk about my thoughts on the audiobooks for the whole series now, instead of repeating the same thing in multiple reviews. Tim Gilbert is, for the most part, a great narrator. I love how natural his narration and dialogue sounds. He also brings great emotion and voice acting when it's called for in a scene. I only have two complaints. One, I didn't love the voice he chose for Gideon, but that's entirely subjective. Two, sometimes I'd get confused which character was talking because he'd kind of slip out of their voice into another, and sometimes he would simply do the wrong voice for a line or a brief exchange (parts where there weren't dialogue tags after each line, but you could clearly tell who was supposed to be speaking them), and although it's only happened a few times so far, it threw me from the story each time it did. Still, despite my complaints, I have enjoyed the audiobooks and would recommend them.


Tinsel Fish by Harper Fox

Book Cover - Tinsel Fish by Harper Fox
Title: Tinsel Fish
Author: Harper Fox
Publisher: FoxTales
Series: Tyack & Frayne
Book Number: Book 2
Pages: 97
Rating: 3.5 stars
I enjoyed this book more than the first. I felt more of the connection and feelings between the two main characters. I liked getting to see them spend more time together. I also loved how accepting the sex scenes were, for lack of a better word. Lee just always makes Gideon feel so accepted and comfortable about his body. There were also some family relationships brought into this book, and I'm curious to see how some of them will progress. The mystery in this book was sorely lacking though. I still don't fully understand it, and the men didn't so much solve anything as just kinda be in the right places at the right times while things happened. I don't think the individual mysteries are really the focus of the series, at least not so far, but if something is going to be in a book, I still want it to be good. My thoughts on the audiobook narration can be found in my review for the first book. Overall, I enjoyed this, it was another quick read/listen, and I'm getting more invested in these likeable characters.

The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate by Kay Berrisford

Book Cover - The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate by Kay Berrisford
Title: The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate
Author: Kay Berrisford
Pages: 268
Rating: 3.5 stars
This was a cute book! It had likeable, kind-hearted characters (don't let the title fool you), a sweet romance, and a fairly simple but good story. Also a merman and a pirate---two of my favorite things to read about! There wasn't exactly much pirating, but still. I will say though that I couldn't stand the audiobook narration by Mark B. Knight and gave up, switching to text-to-speech instead. The narrator kinda reminded me of Jim Dale, whose narration I also can't stand. He also took a lot of weird pauses in the middle of sentences, and the voice he did for the main character sounded like a bad imitation of a child. So, to summarize, not a fan of the audio, but I did enjoy the story.

Talk to me!

Have you read any of these m/m paranormal/urban fantasy books?
Have you ever read a book set in the English moors?
Have you ever been disappointed by a mystery in a book?
Do you like sweet, simple romances?


Your Thoughts


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    1. Kristen Burns

      I love the cover too! Idk, I tend to have patience with book beginnings and first books in series cuz I often find that I enjoy series more as they go on. But it also depends on how much I have to pay, cuz I’m gonna be less willing to take a chance on the second book if I have to buy it vs. can borrow it or something. But anyway, this series does get better πŸ™‚

  1. Greg

    The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate sounds like fun. Cool cover too! Yeah you can’t go wrong with merfolk or pirates (well, you can, obviously, but I mean there’s always potential there) so glad to hear it worked. The other two both have a telepathy/ psychic angle and that sounds cool. I like stuff like that. I think a lot of urban fantasy focuses more on the races and fantasy stuff (which I do like) but psychic stuff is awesome also!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol yeah, pirates and merfolk are a good starting point with great potential. Psychics and mind-related powers are definitely starting to grow on me though! They can be really interesting when written well.

  2. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I think first books always suffer because you don’t know the characters and it’s all introductory and that must be even worse when it comes to as short a book as Once Upon a Haunted Moor. I’m glad to see you did enjoy the second one more, though. The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate sounds good, though, even if there wasn’t really any pirating. It’s annoying the audio didn’t work for you, though. I’ve listened to about 4 audiobooks so far and it’s amazing how much the audio can take you out of the story it sucks that you sort have one option on that front and that’s it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like I usually enjoy later books in series more because it can be hard to get deep into characters in the first. But yeah, the narrator can absolutely make or break an audiobook and makes a HUGE difference. It’s clear that some authors and publishers don’t understand that (although, in this case, I don’t think the narrator was objectively bad, it was just a type of voice I can’t stand).