Book Review – A Mage’s Guide to Human Familiars by AJ Sherwood

R’iyah Family Archives Vol 1
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 301
Characters: Bel/Nico/Garen
POV: 3rd
Genre: Paranormal, Series

One mage, Bel Adams – needs a familiar, gun shy about being rejected by one again.

One familiar, Nico di Rossi – Army Ranger, needs a change of pace and a new purpose in life.

Plus one familiar, Garen Dallarosa – Secret Service, needs his ex-lover Nico back.

One second chance – all for the taking.

Mages, BOGO familiar, familiars as bodyguards, familiar bond, M/M/M, second chances, workplace romance, fated mates, magical shenanigans, Garen is part gargoyle, Bel part demon, Nico is a golden retriever in human form (though not literally), idiots in love, seriously I don’t know what to do with them, Bel loves Garen just because he wants to love him, possessive behavior, not a single degree of chill from any of them, Nico is not allowed caffeine, Nico loves swords, Wicky is his supplier, lightsaber sounds, competency kink, Garen cannot be moved, he moves when he wants to, evil cults strangely don’t clean up after themselves, absolutely no one’s surprised, Nico thinks a magically booby-trapped cave is a theme park, cuz he cray cray, Demon Grandpa is also cray cray and approves

Buy Link


I loved this m/m/m story, and wanted Bel, Nico, and Garen to get together as soon as Garen showed up on the page. They all complement each other well, and someone has to be the sane one amongst all the crazy. This was a fun read with fabulous world building and characters, and I’m already hanging out for more.

I like how different Bel, Nico, and Garen are, and how they’re all stronger and have found what they’re missing in their lives by not only being together, but having purpose and working together. Bel being part demon, what that entailed and why his familiar needs to be human, was interesting and different. I loved how Nico’s concern is first and foremost Bel from the beginning, and that there is a serious side to him despite his talking and moving nonstop. He totally has no filters. I wonder if there’s a magical reason for his ability to move so fast and whether that will come out later. Garen’s a good balance for that in his considering every move first, and his and Nico’s defensive and offensive fighting styles. The three of them together is sweet and sexy, and I felt for Bel trying to get Nico and Garen to get a clue. The way they figure out how to keep Garen is clever, and nicely done.

I loved Bel’s family and how they all support each other. Grandpa’s a good fit for the madness. Love him. I hope we see more of Nico’s family in future books. I suspect they’d all get on well together. Bel’s team are interesting characters too. I particularly loved Wicky. He and Nico work well together, and are well suited as friends and colleagues. An added bonus was the pop culture references. Perfect.

I liked how the plot set up the world, yet hinted there is more to come.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
This entry was posted in book review, eliza rae. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.