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review 2016-12-28 15:45
Review: "It Was Always You" Anthology by Various Authors
It Was Always You - Felice Stevens,N.R. Walker,Riley Hart,Cardeno C.,Lane Hayes,Ella Frank,Christina Lee

"Rough Edges" by Cardeno C.

~3 stars~

 

This was just a mediocre enemies-to-lovers story for me; one of MCs - Kyle - was just too unlikable. BUT I learned a new thing: multiple prostate orgasms.

 

 

 

"Unexpected Turn" by Ella Frank

~4 stars~

 

Consider me surprised, but I really liked this friends-to-lovers story. Of course, I would have liked it better if the MCs hadn’t cheated on their significant others while developing feelings for each other, but what can you do?

 

 

 

"Dare You To" by Riley Hart

~4 stars~

 

A totally charming and romantic approach to the old "boring geek & party boy“ trope. Great writing (as expected by now from this author) and well-developed characters. I really liked this one. Favorite quote:

 

"It’s normal to be afraid, but you can’t let it run your life. You can be cautious, but it’s important to let yourself be open to possibilities, to open up to people, to let them in, otherwise you risk losing the chance to be loved.“

 

 

 

"Leaning Into Love" by Lane Hayes

~2.5 stars~

 

The MCs could have gotten together on page one; there was absolutely no reason why they just didn’t. There were no problems to overcome nor a conflict that needed to be solved, which made for a boring read. And the (outside) conflict that hit them later was too fabricated and made no sense.

 

 

 

"The Sweetest Goodbye" by Christina Lee

~3 stars~

 

I think this was a spin-off for another series from this author (I’m actually too lazy to look it up), so a lot of background information was missing for me. Plus one of the MCs has been in love with another side character for years and is still pining over for him for most of the story, while the other one bragged about his constant hookups.

 

 

 

"Please Don’t Go" by Felice Stevens

~2 stars~

 

Let’s ignore the improbable scenario of two estranged childhood friends (they have lost contact for fifteen years but couldn’t forget about each other) who end up working together in the same office in New York (!). Let’s also ignore that one of the MCs is STILL holding a grudge after all these years because his summer camp buddy hasn’t returned the next summer (they were 14 back then, time to grow the fuck up!). But I CANNOT ignore the exchange of „I love you“s after just ONE DAY.

 

 

 

"Perfect Catch" by N.R. Walker

~4.5 stars~

 

I don’t think you can write a better "friends-to-lovers" story than this one. Two guys, who have been friends for over ten years and who have been secretly in love with each other (but are both afraid to ruin their friendship), go on a fishing trip and everything changes. DURING A THUNDERSTORM!

 

Walker’s writing never fails to disappoint. She writes some of the best and most intense chemistries between her MCs for me. Surprisingly, this story was also very steamy and sexy as hell, which is not necessarily a given from this author.

 

Only minus half a star because of a much needed, but unfortunately missing epilogue.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-11-09 20:12
Review: "1/27: An ICoS Anthology" (In the Company of Shadows, #5) by Santino & Ais
1/27: An ICoS Anthology - Ais,Santino Hassell

 

"1/27 answers the important question: What happens next?"

 

Well, wasn't this just a huge fucking disappointment.

 

 

I thought this anthology would explain some of the questions that remained after "Fade". Maybe give me some answers or even some closure.

 

But instead, this was just a set-up for a possible sequel that - according to the authors in the author's note at the end of the book - "is now about 85% more likely than it ever had been before". Um, fuck you very much?

 

Everything that went down with the Agency in "Fade" was nullified by the fact that a new and even more dangerous Agency was arising, and everyone who managed to escape in the last book was now just miserable and in a bad place.

 

I cannot BELIEVE that Boyd and Sin's very last scene ended with them being in a jail cell. Or that my beloved Ryan ended up as an addict.

 

I've spent weeks MONTHS with these characters. I've read thousands and thousands of pages and this is how it ends? With a 85% chance of a sequel?

 

Sorry, but this is NOT how a long-ass series like this should bow out.

 

 

 

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review 2016-08-13 16:27
Review: "All in a Day's Work" by Various Authors
All in a Day's Work - Holly O. Hale,Jenni Michaels,Amy Jo Cousins,Therese Woodson,Bru Baker,Henrietta Clarke,Kay Walker,Shae Connor

This was a nice little anthology with a "workplace" theme. I loved the diversity of the settings and areas of work that could be found here. Also, two of these short stories turned out to be real gems ("Unmasked" and "Dance Hall Days").

 

So let's get ready to take a closer look at each story.

 

 

"Extra Mayo" by Henrietta Clarke

~3.5 stars~

 

This was a very sweet story about a shy office employee (who I think has Asperger syndrome?) and the new sandwich delivery guy. The story ended quite abruptly in the middle of their first date, followed by a short "One year later" epilogue. I would have definitely liked to read more about these two since they were both very adorable.

 

 

"Ice Cream Dreams" by Shae Connor

~2.5 stars~

 

Meh. This story about an ice cream maker and a chef, who's looking for unusual flavors for his restaurant, left me quite cold (<- see what I did there?). It was an unsatisfying mixture of insta-love and open ending, and the whole thing read more like witnessing a business transaction rather than a romance.

 

 

"My OTP" by Bru Baker

~3.5 stars~

 

The MCs are the stars of a TV show that reminded me of "MythBusters" (which I think was the point). They've been friends and lovers for months, but they haven't publicly announced their relationship yet to their fandom/shippers. Though the present-tense narration was a little weird at first, it didn't take long for me to take a shine to the MCs. I liked how much fun these two had with each other, and the ending was a total "Awwwww" moment. Now if only we'd have gotten more than one POV...

 

 

"Not Quite 1776" by Therese Woodson

~3 stars~

 

The story of two hook-ups between a historical interpreter and a reenactor. So bonus points for resourcefulness. Alas, this was basically sex over plot. Admittedly, the sex was great but there's not much else to say here. Definitely lacking in the character and relationship development department. Plus there's only a tentative HFN at best.

 

 

"Unmasked" by Kay Walker

~4 stars~

 

I really liked this story between a spy and his tech handler. It was set in a futuristic and dystopian AU with a thorough world building, and it ended with a HFN, which totally fitted the story. I would LOVE to read more of this in a full novel or a series! Gonna make a mental note of this author.

 

 

"The Bet" by Holly O. Hale

~3 stars~

 

A fun and sexy story about a married couple who are also business partners and owners of a company. They made a bet about having sex in the office (yes or no?), which resulted in one of the sexiest and steamiest business meetings ever. The story was hot and sexy, and sometimes that's just all that matters, amiright? ;-)

 

 

"Dance Hall Days" by Amy Jo Cousins

~4 stars~

 

This was a very well-written historical that's set in London in the 1930s. It was about a boyish singer/drag queen and a bulky bouncer who both worked at the same club. Ever since I've read "Five Dates", I knew that Amy Jo Cousins writes great short stories and this is just another example. Beautifully written, with endearing characters, and absolutely memorable.

 

 

"Short Timer" by Jenni Michaels

~2.5 stars~

 

A super duper short story between a car salesman and a potential buyer. There was a twist at the end which I think was supposed to be clever and surprising, but doesn't really make much sense retrospectively. Or in other words, the thoughts and actions of one of the MCs until this point don't. But anyway, it was a 10 minutes read and didn't hurt anyone.

 

 

 

So in terms of figures this was 3.25 stars book in total, but I'm rounding it up to 3.5 stars, because there were more hits than misses in here.

 

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