ogres and other dating dilemmas coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel


Sean Lloyd has always been happy with casual hookups. Not only has he not wanted a relationship, he can’t imagine anyone being interested in an awkward guy like himself. So when Sean meets ogre Troy Violet at a basketball game, he is interested in acting on the attraction between them, but nothing more.

Troy was just a teen when the Mytho world collapsed into the human one ten years ago, bringing a host of mythological creatures into the world of humans. His whole family was killed in the collapse, and Troy was then raised by a traditional ogre family. However, he has always known he doesn’t quite fit within the ogre community and definitely doesn’t want to marry a woman as expected or have a traditional ogre life.

Sean and Troy have an immediate spark between them, but there are major hurdles to even a hookup, let alone anything more. With Sean a human and Troy an ogre, there are many people who don’t think the men should be together. They have both seen what their friends Jordan and Edra are going through as a human/Mytho couple and it has definitely not been easy. With the vote on Mytho personhood pending, tensions are rising between those that support Mytho rights and those who think they are nothing but animals. Many members of Troy’s ogre community are also unhappy about the idea of him separating from tradition by being with a man. As Sean and Troy move from casual to realizing they want something more with each other, they must face the public scrutiny, along with the very real risk of violence. But the men are falling hard for one another and are willing to do whatever it takes for a chance at happiness together.

Ogres and Other Dating Dilemmas is a spin-off story set in the world of T.J. Nichols’ Mytho series. The main series is seven books developing the relationship between Jordan and Edra and following the plight of the Mythos and the push for legally recognized personhood. Sean and Troy appear as side characters through much of the series and we see their relationship developing in the background of the main events. The timeline of this story overlaps with the much of the Mytho series and covers some of those major events from Troy and Sean’s POVs. While this story features a new couple and includes a basic overview of the world building and key events from the main series, I do think this one is going to be a lot more enjoyable for those familiar with the Mytho books.

I am a big fan of the Mytho series and was sad to see it come to an end, so I was really excited to revisit that world for Sean and Troy’s book. The set up to it all is fascinating, with the human and mythological worlds having crashed together, leaving both groups struggling in the aftermath. The series takes place ten years after the collapse and, while the initial trauma has passed, the situation is far from settled. Nichols has done such a great job with the world building in the series, with such interesting and creative detail on the various mythological creatures. We see it again here as we delve into the ogre community and watch as Troy struggles to find his own path in the face of much resistance from more traditional members. I just love all the little detail Nichols incorporates in the mythological world and loved seeing the author’s take on ogres here, particularly as it is a supernatural being I have rarely seen in romance.

One of the recurring themes in the main series is the fact that Jordan and Edra are both highly visible people as law enforcement officers and their human/Mytho relationship gets much scrutiny and criticism. Here we see a similar dynamic for Troy and Sean, who are also a Mytho/human pair with their own set of challenges. While Edra, as a lesser dragon shifter, could pass for human, as an ogre, Troy is decidedly Mytho in appearance. As as result, Sean and Troy can’t hide who they are from public scrutiny, and even a friendship between them is met with prejudice by some. At the same time, the men live much more private lives than Jordan and Edra; they can keep their relationship a secret if they choose. So these guys have their own challenges and I liked the way we get some parallels with the main series couple, but also an additional perspective for Troy and Sean’s unique situation.

As a fan of the main series, I found it fun to see the timelines overlap and get events from Sean and Troy’s POVs. It gave me a chance to revisit some of the key moments I enjoyed in the series. However, I’m not sure that it always worked fully for the story. This is a long book and much of the relationship side is following along as Sean and Troy try to decide if they are interested in more with each other and how to handle the public scrutiny. While Troy’s backstory is fairly developed, we get less on Sean’s issues with self worth or his past relationship, which seems to have left some scars. With Sean and Troy sort of circling around the same issues for a while, some of the plot feels like it is just ticking off points from the main series, rather than advancing this particular storyline. So while I really liked the crossover, I do feel like this book could have been tightened up and it would have keep things moving a little better.

That said, I am a huge fan of this series and I loved the chance to come back to it. I hope Nichols continues to revisit this world, as I am all in for any side stories or further installments. If you enjoy creative urban fantasy, particularly with a central couple at its core, I can definitely recommend the Mytho series. And for those who enjoyed the Mytho books, this side story is definitely worth checking out.

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