I would rate this whole collection 3.75 stars.
This is a charity anthology, so I tend to think of the stories as a thank you for donating money. All anthologies are a mixed bag and people will like different stories than I do, but here are a few of my favorites from this collection. There is a variety of combinations (M/M, F/F, M/M/F, M/F) with bisexual, trans, and ace represented. They are all contemporary except for the one historical, paranormal romance. The foreword by Roan Parrish is quite eloquent.
R.L. Merrill, Pinups and Puppies (F/F, 4 stars)
This is told from the first person POV of Marianne, who is struggling with grief and reintegration after her retirement from the Air Force. She owns a vintage plane and volunteers to transport dogs to help shelters who find them homes. That’s how she meets Dinah, who co-owns the shelter. They both seem to have great support systems filled with family and friends. With great chemistry, their lives and interests slot nicely together, making them a cute couple.
Susan Scott Shelley, Sugar Crush (Bliss Bakery Series) (M/M, 4.5 stars)
Jack, a horror novelist, gets to know a baker named Gabriel when he joins a softball team to help his friend Shane. This has an opposites attract trope with great sexual tension and friends as extended family. This is about fitting into someone’s life and making room for them to fit into yours–giving each other a safe space and carving out shared time, while still having their own interests. Also, not letting fear or the past get in the way of the future.
Xio Axelrod When Frankie Meets Johnny (M/M, 4.25 stars)
DJ meets contractor/teacher in this hurt/comfort tale with an age gap. This story is what you make it. I highly recommend listening to all the songs that he plays for a hell of a good time. If an artist is mentioned, but not a song, pick one that has a title that fits the scene. I would have rated this higher, but I couldn’t tell if this was Johnny’s first time with a man or he was demisexual? There is certainly a misunderstanding I think could have been handled better, but the story is charming.
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I would rate this 4.75 stars.
This is a new to me author and I bought this based on the blurb. I would say this takes about 90 minutes to read. The writing syle is crisp and focused. It’s the story of a king who doesn’t want to be, was never intended to be, actually king. Hiring his jester is one of his many new duties, but it’s the one that ends up being his most personal. I love the idea of the King’s Jester being a trusted friend and confident. This author is great at building tension: court politics, longing for someone, establishing trust, and navigating power dynamics (not BDSM). Fairy tales can get away with many things that other books can’t. For instance, yes I did find it shocking they were left alone so soon. What if they were an assassin? What if they were a spy? But in this world, the jester school is well respected and trusted. This is meant to be a sweet fairy tale, so there is no room for that here. It’s a personal tale between two people based on mutual respect, a peek into their bubble. I am torn about whether I want another book, because this is perfect as it is in my opinion.
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Here are some free short stories and novellas. Feel free to download as little or as many as you like. Get them quick before the 15th. You can join the author’s email list or not. You can unsubscribe any time you like.
This giveaway features more than 27 free stories from 28 up-and-coming m/m authors! Check it out and download them all before the giveaway ends on January 3rd. Instafreebie has rebranded as Prolific Works.
From the 1st – 24th of December authors of GLBT+ fiction will be opening a door to a selection of festive stories to while away the winter days and get you in the Christmas spirit. Find stories from your favourite writers and discover some new ones along the way. A small gift from us to you for all your support in 2018. Releases will be at 6am and 6pm each day, UK time.
The way I started reading in this genre was free short stories. I am a big fan of these because it allows you exposure to a writer’s style without an expenditure. These are all quick reads, usually standalones, although sometimes there may be a prequel. Some of the short stories may take place within a series by the author. I have read something by almost every one these authors, so I think you could find something you might like. I hesitate to tell you my favorites because we might have totally different taste, or totally different kinks. If you download a free short story, you are usually signed up to the author’s newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time. You can download as many as you want, although you don’t have to download them all–I give you permission to not download all the free things. Have fun and let me know if there was one you really liked.