Book Review


By Ali Coyle

Three Tales of Becoming

Chrysalides is the plural of chrysalis, the case a caterpillar builds around itself as it becomes a butterfly. The characters in Chrysalides’ three stories are at a similar point in their lives, ready to grow into who they are.

At the exact time to the second when Talulah Gordon – known as Tuli – turned eighteen-years-old, she looked at the collection of expensive gifts heaped at the foot of the unicorn-patterned duvet, hiccupped, retched, belched, and charred the lot with a jet of flame that started a few inches in front of her open mouth and ended a mere hair-width from the peach silk curtains of her bedroom. 

Tuli’s a little different, and I can say as a mother, I don’t think her parents handle the situation very well. When confronted with something they don’t understand, they label it an illness. Good Genes is a story about growing up, falling in love, and confronting lies, even comforting ones. Along the way, Tuli learns an awful lot about herself, and what kind of freedom she really wants.

As he turns to leave, he hears a noise.

One. Quiet. THUD.

Alex responds in the way any self-respecting skeptical paranormal researcher would. At least that’s what he tells Jaspreet and then Tomas and then Paulina when he calls them one after the other in the hope that their voices might calm him or reassure him with laughter at his expense. The fact that the spare bedroom door is shut tight and the TV is blaring and every light in the house is on is pure coincidence.

The Mystery of Axton Mansion is my favorite story of the three, a paranormal M/M romance. Alex’s path to the mystery’s solution has a lot of twists and turns, and the story is at times funny, scary, happy, and very hot, which is exactly what you’d hope for when a paranormal debunker runs into the actual paranormal. 

Ma stared, mouth flapping soundlessly for the few seconds it took to gather her wits.

“What in the name of – what have you done to yourself, my girl!”

“I’m not your girl, Ma.” Robbie stood up and brushed creases from his breeches, tucked his shirt in again and fastened his belt. “I won’t be a maid and curtsey and scurry around guarding what’s under my skirts. I’ll be a stable boy and stand up tall and tend to the horses.”

Wishes is the final story of the group, and it’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming, showing what happens when you set out to make your own dreams come true. Robbie struggles with what to hide about himself and what to show, seeking the freedom to make those decisions himself. It’s also a pretty sweet forbidden romance.

The three stories in Chrysalides are about taking agency, whether you’re a dragon, a ghost, or a woman in an unwanted arranged marriage. It’s entertaining and exciting to see these characters discover what they want in life and reach for it.

Find author Ali Coyle on their website and Twitter


Ever wonder if you’re who you’re really supposed to be? In these three tales of queer romance and adventure, you’ll find people becoming their truest selves.

Eighteen-year-old Tuli is a student desperate for independence. Protected by her mother, then helped by her exciting new friend Rishona, Tuli learns she can shape-shift into a flying, fire-breathing dragon.

Alex is a skeptical paranormal researcher who debunks hauntings – until he uncovers a chilling secret about the local manor, encounters an impossibly real ghost named Griffin, then fights an old, old evil to save the handsome specter’s soul.

Robbie has aspirations of adventure far above his station, especially for someone people see as a scullery maid. He meets Selene, a young noblewoman, doing all she can to delay a wedding she doesn’t want.

With the help of friends and even a few enemies, Robbie, Alex, and Tuli will find love, overcome expectations, and at last become who they were always meant to be in Ali Coyle‘s Chrysalides.