Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lights, Camera, Cupid Anthology

Title: Lights, Camera, Cupid
Overall Rating: A

Series: Bluewater Bay #6
Release Date: February 2015
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:

Anthology Overview:
Cupid is visiting Bluewater Bay, and he’s leaving chaos in his wake.

Nothing’s been the same in this sleepy little logging town since Hollywood came to shoot the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing—especially Valentine’s Day.

In L.A. Witt’s Just Another Day, beloved actors Levi Pritchard and Carter Samuels have an announcement for their fans, while in Z.A. Maxfield’s I’ll Be There, actor Spencer Kepler and his boyfriend Nash Holly brave a blizzard and a fan convention to spend their first February the 14th together.

Of course, it’s not just TV stars celebrating the day. In Anne Tenino’s Helping Hand, an aspiring artist eager to escape Bluewater Bay decides he just might have a reason to stay: lust-inspiring logger Gabriel Savage. In S.E. Jakes’s No Easy Way, a local teacher reconnects with an old lover working security on the film set. And in Amy Lane’s Nascha, a Bluewater Bay elder recalls how his own unconventional family used to celebrate the holiday.

Real life may be nothing like TV, but when Cupid comes to town, there’s plenty of romance and drama to go around.

Title: Just Another Day
Author: L.A. Witt
My Rating: A
Main Characters: Levi and Carter

This was a great follow-up to Levi and Carter's original romance. Levi is a curmudgeon. Carter accepts that about him. That grumpiness most definitely falls to Valentine's Day, too, but when Carter tries to make the day a "little" special, it's the beginning of one of their first big fights. But that fight has a surprising outcome that I loved just in how sweet the sentiment behind it is. And I think this story means that we need a follow-up story for next Valentine's day, too. 

Title: No Easy Way
Author: SE Jakes
My Rating: A+
Main Characters: Cary and Dylan

This story is the real heart of the anthology, since it's the story with the most substance in it. And like all of SE Jakes writing, it most certainly did not disappoint.

Cary and Dylan have a history, but it's a history filled with heartbreak and disappointment for Cary. But when Dylan left him suddenly to join the Army six years ago, Cary didn't know the full story. Now Dylan is home, ready to tell all, and looking for a second chance at his first love.

Everything about this story worked for me in a big way. I love the history between the two and that this is their chance at love for a second time. I loved that when Cary's heart was broken, he channeled all that heartbreak and emotion and lust into books and that Dylan has basically memorized those books since he's been gone just to get him through....although Cary used a pen-name so no one would ever know he wrote them. 

I loved the story, the tension, the unresolved emotions that flowed off the pages. This story was amazing and if you buy this anthology and read this single story, you will have gotten your money's worth.

Title: Helping Hand
Author: Anne Tenino
My Rating: B+
Main Characters: Lucas and Gabe

This story features Lucas who is a bit younger than the normal m/m hero. He's a senior in high school and dealing with the difficulties of coming out in this small, lumber-centric town where being gay is simply not the thing. This is truly Lucas' story, although Gabe does come into play in helping to ease him through it. It was sweet and I liked the final moments between Lucas and his father. It would have been so easy to go the other direction with the story, but I loved that the author didn't and gave us a heartwarming moment instead.

Warning: this story does not have an HEA. It simply features a boy coming into his own on the cusp of adulthood. 

Title: I'll Be There
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
My Rating: A-
Main Characters: Nash and Spencer

This was another sweet story that's a follow-up to one of the original stories in the series. In this story, Spencer is trying desperately to get to his boyfriend Nash during  the middle of the snowstorm. Spencer's twin brother, Healey, is providing logistics support to him from home with his team of friends (i.e. geeks). I think what I loved most about this one was getting to see the interactions between the two brothers. There are also some really sweet moments between Healey and his boyfriend, Ford, to round out the story. I really liked this one a lot, too. It was sweet and I'm always a fan of snowstorm stories.

Note: There was a 5th book in the anthology by Amy Lane. While I generally adore Amy Lane's writing, I'm not a real fan of reading historical so I chose not to read her story. It was simply a personal thing...nothing to do with the story, since I didn't read it.

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