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review 2016-12-15 01:49
So many
Take a Chance Anthology: A Collection of Gay Romance for New Adults - Sherri Jordan-Asble,Jamie Deacon,Lynn Michaels (GLBT)

The exciting thing about reading an Anthology is the fact that there are so many books to read and enjoy!  This collection is from a dozen authors and offers a range of reads.  From sincere first loves - to hot shapeshifters to swoon over.

 

I found many stories within that I enjoyed.  Even one, that I wish had been longer, since the book was so compelling!  This collection has something for everyone.  Available right now for preorder, this is a book full of stories that give you pause, as well as the feels.  I give this anthology a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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text 2015-01-31 00:54
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Old West Collection (A Timeless Romance Anthology Book 7) - Carla Kelly,Sarah M. Eden,Liz Adair,Heather B. Moore,Annette Lyon,Marsha Ward

Not as good at the other anthologies but still a good read

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review 2014-12-01 15:21
Juicy Little Tidbits for Fans of the Knitting in the City Series
Scenes from the City - Penny Reid
This collection of five scenes from Penny Reid's Knitting in the City series is a fun little bonus for fans waiting for the summer/autumn 2015 release of Happily Ever Ninja, the fifth book in the series. However, it won't hold much appeal for those not already following the series. The first four scenes are vignettes involving the couples that star in the first four books of the Knitting series, and I liked the story about Ashley and Drew (of Beauty and the Mustache) best. The scenes about Janie and Quinn (Neanderthal Seeks Human and Neanderthal Marries Human), Elizabeth and Nico (Friends Without Benefit), and Sandra and Alex (Love Hacked) were funny enough but not especially memorable.

What makes this book worth the $0.99 purchase price, though, is the fifth story, which flashes back to Fiona and Greg’s college years. This is the longest scene (actually several) in the collection, and it sets up the coming book, Happily Ever Ninja, very well. Although Fiona especially doesn’t fully ring true as a college student (her “voice” strikes me as too mature, though she does enter college with more than her share of life experience and hard knocks), she’s a fascinating character, and I can’t wait to read more about their relationship in the present day, now that they have settled into it.
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review 2014-08-05 15:26
Great Stories for a Great Cause: Buy This Book
Summer Rain - Mary Ann Rivers,Ruthie Knox,Molly O'Keefe,Cecilia Tan,Charlotte Stein,Audra North,Shari Slade,Alexandra Haughton,Sarah Frantz,Amy Jo Cousins

I don't read a lot of short stories, so I always forget how much I like them. I respect the skill it takes to make a reader understand your characters and care about their lives when you have to tell a story in just a few dozen pages rather than a few hundred. I highly recommend this anthology of romance short stories, because not only are most of them excellently crafted and beautifully written, the writers donated these stories so that 100% of the profits from this anthology supports RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, a U.S. anti-sexual violence nonprofit. Fittingly, every story in the anthology features a scene in which rain is a key plot point.

 

Redemption - Ruthie Knox

 

I love Ruthie Knox. When she's at her best, her writing hits me viscerally somewhere right between my sacrum and my solar plexus, low in my belly, hot and raw and a little bit uncomfortable in its urgency. Redemption is a sad story -- Jessie's business is failing and her home is in foreclosure, and Mike has lost his wife, his business, and even his children to a familial betrayal -- but as the title suggests, together Mike and Jessie may be able to build a better life than what they have lost.

 

The Heart of It - Molly O'Keefe

 

I've never read anything by O'Keefe before, but I'm definitely going to check out some of her longer works, because I loved this story. Gabe hires an upscale call girl to help him work through the demons of his childhood sexual abuse. This story gave me a lot to think about. Elena is a prostitute, but she's not at all ashamed or desperate, which I found very refreshing. I also found it intriguing that, where sexual intercourse is commerce and there was no question of whether they'd sleep together, the story still explored issues of consent and boundaries but in the context of emotional rather than sexual intimacy.

 

Sacrifice - Cecilia Tan

 

This story felt a little out of place in a collection of mostly contemporary romances, set in tenth century Macedonia, about a young Asian woman sold into slavery by her family and given as a virgin sacrifice to a demigod who must sleep with her in order to end a drought. That sort of thing isn't really my cup of tea, but I was impressed with the way Tan explored issues of consent and honor and power dynamics between two people with no cultural common ground nor even a common language.

 

Real Feelings - Charlotte Stein

 

This futuristic romance between a human woman and an android is also a little out of place in a collection of contemporaries. I didn't really buy into the premise (android develops free will), so this story didn't really work for me, but Charlotte Stein's sex scenes are always smoking hot and it was a nice change to see the usual sexual politics/power dynamics gender-flipped so that the heroine, not the hero, was the one to wrestle with the morality of consent.

 

Rainy Season - Mary Ann Rivers

 

This story had a mild supernatural streak, in that the heroine, barista Lisa Shirek, can literally see the emotional weather of everyone around her (if a customer has a sick parent at home, Lisa sees the customer sitting by mom's hospital bed; if he has lost a lover, Lisa sees the funeral, etc.). The only person Lisa doesn't see clearly is herself, until she meets Mark, who is a sunbeam in a sea of stormy weather.

 

The Rain in Spain - Amy Jo Cousins

 

Ms. Cousins is another new-to-me author whom I'll be checking out after reading this heartrending story of a marriage on the rocks, set in Sevilla, Spain. Magda is a free spirit, chafing with frustration at her husband Javi's more structured life, and she wonders if they've made a mistake in thinking that two such different people can build a future together. I thought this story was beautifully written and bittersweet, and I loved how honestly the couple communicated.

 

Fitting In - Audra North

 

Audra North writes about Stas Petrovich, a young man determined to fit in at college after a youth spent as an outsider, cruelly taunted by schoolmates because of his gay, immigrant fathers. He wants nothing to do with Leila, aka The Weird Girl, because she's a socially stigmatized outcast shunned because everyone knows she had an abortion and, horrors!, has the audacity not to curl up and die of shame. I didn't love this story because Stas was kind of a douchenozzle, but I loved the subject matter.

 

Private Study - Shari Slade

 

Tess Bell goes off to college determined to shake off the yoke of her overprotective, sexually-repressed upbringing, and boy howdy does she ever: she starts a sex vlog to educate herself, and others, about sexuality. But when one of her classmates discovers the vlog and shatters her anonymity, Tess realizes she might not be ready to face the consequences. I really, really related to Tess, though it's been a long time since my own college days: I totally remembered that exact combination of feminist rage, heady freedom, and the cold wake-up call that comes with the shattering of one's sense of youthful invincibility.

 

Storm Warning - Alexandra Haughton

 

This is a second-chance romance: Amy returns home from a failed career as an event planner in the big city to meet up with Tom, the erstwhile first love who'd told her that she didn't have what it takes to make it outside of Texas. Can she forgive him, when circumstances have proven him right? This story didn't really work for me because I found it hard to follow the dialogue and Amy seemed really mercurial in her moods, almost to the point of being irrational... but this was the only story in the collection that I didn't like. 

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review 2014-03-02 15:40
Steamy Tattooed Anthology
Marked - Lauren Dane,Vivian Arend,Kit Rocha

I bought this for Beyond Temptation, the Kit Rocha novella that kicks off this steamy collection of tattoo-themed romances. I don't fully understand why, since I don't generally like dystopian literature, tattoos, or motorcycle gangs, but I am a Kit Rocha junkie. Beyond Temptation is a sexy little story about computer hacker and outsider Noah, who after years of separation, encounters his first crush living with the O'Kanes in Sector 4. Emma always could turn his crank, but being his best friend's baby sister had put her off limits. Now the best friend is, tragically, out of the picture, but Noah's own bad choices may jeopardize their chance at happiness. I enjoyed this story -- not as well as the three previousfull-length Beyond novels, but enough to satisfy my O'Kane craving until Beyond Jealousy comes out in a few weeks. 

 

The next story in the collection is Rocky Ride, a Canadian contemporary by new-to-me author Vivian Arend. Anna is an officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and she's been having a secret affair with bad boy biker Mitch Thompson. Their relationship is at the point where they both want more than sex, but can her reputation survive the scandal when they go public with their love? I enjoyed this story, too, and the sexy-times were very hot. 

 

The only one of the three I didn't like was Lauren Dane's All That Remains, which is a m/m/f threesome story set in a futuristic North America a few generations after a virus eliminated 90% of the population and caused a serious gender imbalance, such that women are rare and revered, and polyamorous relationships are the cultural norm. I found the premise pretty interesting, but I don't think Dane follows the same rules of grammar that I do: I kept finding myself re-reading sentences, trying to figure out what the convoluted collection of words was supposed to say. Usually I could figure it out, but it wasn't worth the effort. 

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