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on Oct. 07, 2012 :
I really liked the last story in this anthology, Notice to Appear, by C.C. Lorenz. This was a really sweet story about getting a second chance at a childhood crush despite terrible circumstances for a second meeting and bad timing to start a relationship. There's hot sex in here, and it's well balanced with relationship without too much exposition into the main character's thoughts on everything. Very nice read, enough to make me happy with the ending and wish I could have seen a larger story about these characters, with more sex of course.
I also liked the first story in the set, Non-Negotiable, by T.D. Green. This is another sweet romance, but a bit rougher in that, of the entire anthology, this short is the most about a second chance. This is a story of a nasty break up that gets in the way of a renewed relationship some years later. Alex, the man at fault for the break up, gets desperate and pulls sneaky stunts to force his love interest, Jacob, to see him, because Jacob makes it clear in no uncertain terms he will not entertain the idea of renewing the relationship. But circumstances alter to make Alex show his vulnerable side, and Jacob… Ok, not saying anymore except this is a story that draws you in because you wonder just what Alex will pull next and just what Jacob will do about it.
The fourth story, Dirty Martini by Bette Brown, was more about a man getting a second chance at love than at fixing the relationship that just failed. There's some nice writing in there and some sweet scenes. I really liked the bartender, I mean really liked him. Really, really liked him. Wish I had a skill to draw, because I'd have drawn him the second I finished reading the story.
The second short, Heart of Glass by L.J. Harris, had a plot I really wished was better executed. It was too expository for my taste. I wanted to feel and see and hear more of what the characters were doing, but a lot of the story occurred as narrative about how things came about rather than letting the reader live through the actual scenes with the characters. Thumbs up for the story idea and making me want to have more, but thumbs down for the frustration of not really feeling the characters' lives, because I really did wish I could. I liked these characters, but I didn't like feeling so much space between them and me. The best scene was when I was in the car with the driver, seeing what he saw. I expect this author will be putting some great stuff out in the years to come if a balance to narrative and action develops in future stories.
The third short, Better Together by DaNay Smith, was interesting. I liked the overall idea and how the writer showed the complexity of a relationship and the consequences of partners with narrow viewpoints. The writing had a lot of pronoun/name awkwardness that I often see in m/m writing that jarred me out of the story, but character complexity was great. The ending, with the artist and how he realized what was important to him and how it showed in his art, this was beautiful.
Ok, so 4 out of 5. Anthology loses a point for some awkwardness, but overall very good.
(reviewed long after purchase)