Title: 9 Willow Street
Author: Nell Iris
Publisher: JMS Books
Length: 95 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Paranormal/Fantasy
At a Glance: While this one wasn’t my favorite, it was quite cute, and I did enjoy the characters and the concept; I simply wanted more out of the execution.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Heartbroken after the death of his beloved Nana, Hannes, the family outsider, finally allows himself to grieve. The legal battle over Nana’s quirky old house — the only place he’s ever felt accepted and loved — is over, and he moves in and finds a sense of peace.
… And a rabbit.
An adorable bunny with a huge personality moves in, too, and refuses to leave. Hannes instantly falls in love with the sweet animal who helps heal his heart. But one morning, Hannes’ view of the world changes when the rabbit transforms into a man. A man named Mattis.
After the initial shock, Hannes and Mattis discover a connection between them that runs deeper than it seems. Will their newfound feelings survive unraveling secrets and meddling families, and grow into something real? Something deep and everlasting?
Review: I typically love Nell Iris’s work; she has short and sweet down to a science. But, unfortunately, her new novella, 9 Willow Street, fell a little flat for me. It is cute. And, it’s definitely sweet (actually a bit too sweet, in my opinion, but more on that later). But I think it was mostly the ‘short’ that perhaps kept me from enjoying it more. I needed more initial connection between Hannes and Mattis. They were sweet together, both when Mattis was in his bunny form and when human, and Iris added an excellent little twist toward the end that did strengthen their quick relationship, but I was still left feeling like it was lacking some more depth.
My reservations about the story had to do with two things I mentioned above. The cool twist, and the excessive sweetness. I maybe should have seen the twist coming, to a degree, but I didn’t, and it really did add to my enjoyment of the book (here comes the but… ). BUT, when it came down to Hannes and Mattis consummating their bond, it seemed like there were corners cut. It felt super rushed for being such an important moment. I’m not saying there needed to be a more explicit sex scene. That’s not it at all. But I think there needed to be more to it than what we got. More buildup maybe, more explanation, more feeling. Just…more. And, while I do love me some mushy sweetness in my books from time to time, this one was more sugar than even I can handle. 😉 Mattis was a very lovey-dovey character. Which I liked. But there was purple prose flying all over the place.
All of that being said, there were for sure several things I really liked about the book…Hannes’s bond with his Nana was incredibly moving and sweet. I loved, loved how close they were, and I genuinely felt his grief over her passing. I also loved the evolution of Hannes’s relationship with his father over the course of the story. I adored how he came to Hannes and expressed his love and his desire to heal things between them. I also thought the idea of the story itself was original and cute. My experience with shifter stories is quite narrow—I’ve certainly never read any bunny shifters—so, even though the world building was limited, I thought it was a cool concept. And, I liked the setting of the house and garden, and the small-town feel. It was very quaint.
While this one wasn’t my favorite, your mileage may vary, and it definitely won’t keep me from seeking out this author’s future work! As I said, it was quite cute, and I did enjoy the characters and the concept; I simply wanted more out of the execution.
You can buy 9 Willow Street here:
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