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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 4 star ratings
2 reviews
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4.5 out of 5
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    3.5 stars- A little of everything

    Honestly, I started the second Love is All anthology for the Criminal Intentions story, but I love shorts as a way to explore new authors and revisit others I’ve enjoyed in the past. This collection of shorts offers a little of everything regarding LGBTQ pairings and romantic tropes, so it’s definitely worth picking up if you are looking for new authors or enjoy short stories. Pinups and Puppies (f/f)- 3 stars: This was my first time reading this author, but the story was well written with developed characters. Pinups and Puppies was a cute, sweet story and I liked the idea of exploring a new beginning after a major life/career change. Tell Me More (YA m/m)- 2.5 stars: This was an okay story that definitely captured the young adult, new love vibe (which admittedly isn’t my favorite). What If It All Goes Right (polyamory m/m/f)- 4 stars: This marked my first time reading the author but I found the characters and story intriguing and loved the ending Add in some super sexy scenes and I know I’ll be looking for more by the author. Criminal Intentions: In Bloom (YA trans/asexual)- 4 stars: This was a sweet story exploring young love through the eyes of an ace teen and a trans teen . And because it’s this author, In Bloom has all the imagery that brings the feels. Sugar Crush (m/m)- 3.5 stars: I enjoyed the writing and plotline in this short, though I ended up getting frustrated as the story progressed because the dreaded failure to communicate was the major source of conflict between these characters. That said, I liked the ending, so I definitely wouldn’t mind reading more from this author. When Frankie Meets Johnny (GFY m/m)- 4.5 stars: This short boasted well-balanced characters, a good story arc, and a sweet budding romance. I really enjoyed the story and have already looked into this author’s other works. The Gentleman Attraction (historical paranormal m/m)- 3.5 stars: This short story had an interesting storyline with solid writing. While historical romances aren’t my favorite, I do enjoy paranormal books, so it was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the characters and will certainly keep an eye out for contemporary releases by the author. Just One Look (m/m May-December)- 2.5 stars: This was the biggest surprise for me. I loved the start of the story, but the insta-love was a bit too strong and my head was spinning with how quickly the relationship progressed. Honestly, it felt like a rough outline for a really good full-length novel, just lacked the time to develop. *Received eARC via contributing author's ARC group. None of the authors had any influence over my reviews*
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    Short stories based on human experience and love

    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 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, 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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