What the hell did just happen? I can't even...
What happens to Boone when he winds up dumped on the eve of his one-year anniversary and ends up at a bar having one too many cocktails? Wade Walker.
Uhm. I have no idea where to start. Let's talk about Boone first, since it's his POV we're stuck(?) with. Boone is... different. Freshly dumped, but still staying in the cabin his ex rented for him - and how fucked up is that?! - his wallow in self-pity, rage and alcohol ends in the bed of a stranger. The next morning Boone can't get out of there fast enough.
At this point in time I thought I kind of understood what I was reading. Although Boone was like a firecracker - loud, crazy, all over the place, in your face - he also had a little bit of a human side. The writing was good, it felt natural and had a nice flow to it, and I think, if you are into Ethan Day's kind of humor, this book is pure crack and an amazing read. Unfortunately, my kind of humor is not that kind of humor. I understood the jokes, the snark, the references - but sadly, they missed the mark for me more often than not. It wasn't bad, just not exactly my thing.
Until Boone meets his stranger again, who turns out to be his skiing instructor Wade Walker. What followed was one of the most messed up "morning/day after" conversation I have ever read. Maybe it was supposed to be funny, maybe it was supposed to lighten the mood or brighten my day, or crank up the crack, but for me it was just... NO. NO! You do NOT brag about fucking a completely wasted stranger - because let's face it, a discussion about consent is ridiculous at this point - and most of all, you do NOT describe a guy you alledgedly find great as a "wet noodle" in bed, or tell him how he really was a warm, tight hole to fuck. EXCUSE ME?
I have to say, this little gem of a conversation spoiled most of the book for me. I didn't buy the hate-sex, I didn't buy the date, I didn't buy any of it. Not really. Because I couldn't get over the fact that Wade was so hurtful and cruel! Especially because it absolutely didn't fit with his personality - or the personality he had for the rest of the book.
Boone, too, had his moments. Moments where all I could do was stare in morbid fascination, shake my head and question his (or my) sanity.
It took ages - at least that's what it felt like to me - before I could take that story seriously again. Which was okay, because it didn't pick up for quite a while. Except maybe for the absolutely over-the-top crazy, out-of-their-minds busy bodies in the town! Like I said, pure crack. Just not exactly my kind of crack. I only got invested in the characters and their relationship in the last 10 percent or so. It was the only time that really made me feel something, made me interested in either of the characters, made me root for these guys. Which was of course when the book ended. Not exactly abruptly, but also not with a HEA, or strong HFN. It was more like a "We might be happy, but we're really not sure. Ask in another year or so."
All in all, this book confused me, didn't make me laugh as much as it should have, and enraged me at times. I didn't care for the characters until very late in the story, despite the natural flow of the writing and the snark that I usually dig.
It did get me interested in the sequel, so it wasn't all bad. I'll stick to the 2.5 stars, because I absolutely couldn't get over The Conversation. But maybe that was just me. Like I said, if you can get on board with Ethan Day's humor, I think you'll be just fine and adore this book from beginning to end.
I enjoyed this one very much. Some of the stories were better, others a little weaker, but really good overall!
Plus, this anthology has a fantastic cause! All proceeds will be donated to Lost-N-Found Youth, a nonprofit corporation that works to "take homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths to age 26 off the street and transition them into more permanent housing." If that's not a good reason for buying it, I don't know what is. Definitely recommended!
A Very English Christmas by Kiera Andrews
Isaac and David are tying to build a new life together ouside of their Amish community. But it isn't easy finding their way - and more importantly their own home in a world they don't completely understand yet.
I liked reading about this two very much. They were just too cute together, their tenderness with each other was heart-warming, and they have one great support system. Plus, their creativity when it came to mistletoes was damn sweet and sexy.
Mr Perfect's Christmas by Joanna Chambers
Sam's not job wasn't exactly what he was dreaming of. Small town, small law firm, unfamiliar cases and clients. He's feeling more than a little inadequate, and having to attend the firm's Christmas party together with Mr Perfect, the guy he's been trying to replace, doesn't exactly help. Although Nick is really nice to look at, and seems to be trying hard to get on Sam's good side.
This one was really for me. I loved the enemies-to-lovers with a twist and a little misunderstanding mixed in. It was well written, it was fun, sweet and sexy. I loved it!
A Christmas Ship by Amy Jo Cousins
Ah, hell yes! This was great! Injured football player Josh has been watching one TV show religiously every Sunday for months, always with his best online friend @princessglitter. On a whim, he decides that enough is enough, and gets on a plane to Miami to finally meet his princess. Well, surprise surprise! Because his princess is Benji, grown up twink with glitter flip flops and a massage table.
I love Amy Jo Cousins writing, and this one was no exception. I liked the MCs so much, and the ending made me smile and smile and smile. Even though this one was definitely more dorky and sweet than sexy, I still enjoyed the hell out of it!
That Thing by Megan Erickson
When Devin's sister needs his help with a wedding she is planning, he agrees with only a little bit of grumnling. What he didn't expect was to picking up a very grumpy but hot as sin best men from the airport. Sparks fly, trouble is right around the corner and the homophobic wedding guests are already waiting for their chance to attack.
This one was hot and sexy, but also heartwarming and so enjoyable. I really, really liked it!
Just Like Heaven by Suki Fleet
This was sweet, but different. David, unbearably shy and one of the good ones, helps out Jess when a kid is trying to steal the money he made with his guitar on the streets. One boy, painfully shy and introverted, tries his best to bring a smile to the face of another boy with a lot of baggage from too many relationships with bad boys.
Some of it was a little bit too much for me, and some of it just was too fast, even for a short story. I liked it, but didn't love it.
Not Your Grandfather's Magic by Kaje Harper
Now, for this one you need to keep an open mind. Zeb has been waiting for as long time for his 21st birthday, because that's when he'll come into his own Talent. His father said so. What he didn't see coming was Matt. Socially akward, a little on the clumsy side, and a real ginger.
All I can say is: Don't overthink the premises too much, because in the end the real magic happens in a way you won't expect going in. I love Kaje Harper's writing, I like the way she spins her stories and lets her characters grow in a natural and fascinating way. This short story was no exception, and while it was heartbreaking in a way, it was also a little magical and full of hope and love. My favorite in this anthology.
Bottle Boys by Anyta Sunday
I was a little sceptical going into this story. It felt weird to read about a student in Berlin, Germany chilling out in the summer, going on festivals, catching glimpses of a boy he really likes and struggling with his father at the same time. It was just so... close to home and I really wasn't sure about it in the beginning.
But in the end, it surprised me how much I enjoed it the farther the story progressed. Ben and Sebastian are wonderful team, the side characters were sweet and the more I read about these two boys, the more they grew on me.
This one surprised me a little bit.
To be honest, I was never part of the hype surrounding ZAM. Simply because I haven't read that many books by this author and I don't think any of them rocked my world very hard. But this little one here was very well written. And I'm a sucker for good stories that are written episodical.
I know that enough readers have their problems with this style. It's not easy to pull off, and when done right, the reader always has to read between the lines a lot. Imagination on both sides plays a huge part in making this work, as well as a good memory and a lot of empathic skills from time to time. It can be time-consuming, or at the very least laborious. Like I said, I'm a sucker for it, but it's most definitely not for everyone.
Through the Years offers us bits of pieces of the life of Ethan and Barry, starting from the wildness of their teenage years and ending with... Nah, I'm not telling. But I liked it very much. In between we get to meet these two every ten years, going through life and hardship together. And struggle they did. With openness, with substance abuse, with hate and tragedy, family drama, loosing the right way and finding each other even in darkness. This book covers a lot of time and many themes in a very little space and time. But despite my reservations concerning length and believability, I enjoyed it thoroughly. There were just two regular guys dealing with every-day problems, unique conflicts and unusual character traits. It just felt real - always a plus in my book. Even though both guys might not have been the easiest MCs to like, they somehow got to me and I rooted for them until the very end.
Mostly sex and a tiny little bit of sweetness
This one didn't do much for me. It's the perfect short story in the sense that you get thrown right in. No intro, no long decriptions or explainations, no backround. And it's executed very well. A short episode in the life of two MCs who have some clearing up to do. The writing was good, the execution was good, the MCs seemed okay, and yet...
I didn't take something with me after finishing. I can barely remember the characters, plot was thin, but the sex was good. That's really all I can remember, and frankly, that's not enough in order to get more than 2 stars. It was okay, but not one iota more than that.