When love drops in unexpected, the strangest things can happen. Nine short stories from sweet to sultry, full of romance, magic and love from award winning and USA Today recommended authors.
I am going to do this one a little different because there are so many stories in this anthology. I will post the individual story blurbs and then my review of the story will follow.
Under The Mango Tree: (Historical Romance) ~ by Meredith Bond
Lakshmi is a good 18th c. Indian girl who should not be hiding among the branches of the mango tree avoiding her chores. She truly should not be seen by a man who is not a member of her family–an Englishman, no less. And she absolutely should not even contemplate speaking with this man. But Lakshmi has never been one to follow the rules.
This one was okay. I really liked the beginning of the story. The descriptions of everything was wonderfully vivid and I really had high hopes for the story. The coming of age, differences in cultures, quest to find one’s place in life, the hope for love… I couldn’t get enough, and I think that maybe therein lies the problem. Even though, things went exactly like I wanted them to go, the ending seemed a little rushed. I think that the potential for a full novel, or at least a longer story is there. Now, from what I read at the end, it is just a little back story about a character’s origins from another book. I think that is a pretty cool concept- to tell the love story that made the existence of another character possible. Overall, I give this story a 8 and I look forward to reading more by this author.
Rolf’s Quest: (Historical Romance) ~ by Aubrey Wynne
Time is running out for the royal wizard of Henry II. Rolf’s quest: find genuine love and lift the enchantment that has imprisoned his ancestor, Merlin, for centuries. Now he must win Melissa’s heart without the use of magic. She desires him, but will she defy her family and refuse her betrothed? Or will Rolf be doomed to a life of bitterness like his ancestors before him.
OMG! This was absolutely amazing! I will fully admit that I have a thing for Arthurian stories. Magic and chivalry is the stuff childhood dreams are made of (at least mine were). The idea of Merlin’s descendants trying to save him from a curse he brought upon himself… just brilliant. The characters were amazing and the story was completely spellbinding. This one definitely earns a 10. Even though the story seemed complete, I was thrilled to learn there will be more on this incredible story coming out. I will definitely be on the lookout for it!
Fall Into Darkness: (Paranormal Romance) ~ by Valerie Twombly
Eli, bounty hunter for the Tribunal, is sentenced to earth to find his humanity. But when temptation is thrown in the angel’s path in the form of the soft curvy Ashley, he is unable to resist. Fate may bring them together, but desire could bond them for eternity.
I have to admit, I have a huge crush on Val because of her amazing stories. She is the best thing to happen to the genre since Sherrilyn Kenyon. She creates more than stories, she has fashioned an entire universe for her characters to inhabit and I don’t intend on missing a single book she puts out. This one focuses on an angel and his quest to find his humanity. It is wonderfully written and super hot. Like some of the others in the collection, this is just a sneak peak at a story that will be coming out so it does end on a cliffhanger but I can promise, it will be one of the best snip-its you read in this collection. It’s a perfect 10.
Alphabetical Disorder: (Fantasy Romance) ~ by Katie Stephens
When a trick horseback rider gets caught up in a dangerous prophecy that jeopardizes the circus, she believes she can solve the problem by dating alphabetically. Now all she has to do is figure out how to manipulate her flawed interpretation so she can be with the man she loves.
I really liked this one even though there were parts that had me scratching my head. Prophecy is one of my many fascinations and like most things, they are open to interpretation which is the main concept behind the story. I really liked the characters and the story line and I liked the way the author explored the prophecies given to Susie. But there were a few questions that I would have liked to seen answered in the story. Overall I say it is a 8.5.
Roses Are Wrong, Violets Taboo: (Southern Romance) ~ by Kris Calvert
When Alexander Chase Tabeau and Rose Westwood meet by chance, neither planned on stumbling into the best night of their life. But timing is everything and fate has a cruel sense of humor. With love on the line and nothing to lose, will one night together change their destiny forever?
This one is powerfully emotional and sexy as hell. Burdened by loss and life’s changes, Chase and Rose shouldn’t fall for each other but they do. It is one of those love stories that happens because two people are in the right place at the right time, but falters because Cupid’ s arrow picks a pretty crappy time to hit its mark. I am a sucker for this kind of thing. There is something about seeing couples overcome adversity that makes the possibility of true love and fate survive. I didn’t want the story to end and I was glad to see that the brief encounter in this book isn’t the last we will hear from this couple. I really cannot wait to read the rest of this story. It ranks a 9.5 on my scale of awesomeness.
Love’s Not Viral: (Contemporary Romance) ~ by Nessie Strange
When a crazed Hollywood star puts Aster Sanderson in the media crosshairs, her home becomes a prison. With her life out of control, the last person she expects to rescue her is her captor’s brother, James. Is their attraction a result of circumstance…or could it be something more?
Okay, I will admit this one had me shouting at my Kindle. I really enjoyed the story but there were some things that bothered me about the character’s actions. (Yes, I’m the type that can’t watch horror movies without telling the people on screen how stupid they are.) Of course, if Aster had acted like I would have acted to the situation, there wouldn’t have been much of a story. So after I got through some eye rolling because I have never managed to understand acting like a girl (not sure if it is a southern thing or just my warped brain but I would have been more forceful–hell, I’d have made the cops arrest me to get away from the psycho), I settled in and really got into the story. I loved it. It was just so different from most things you read and it definitely explores some interesting challenges that people could possibly face in our digital and celeb obsessed world. 9 out of 10.
Taking The Plunge: (Contemporary Romance) ~ by Kishan Paul
When Pete, Eve’s high school crush, shows up in her life, she pepper sprays him. Despite her efforts to push him away, Pete finds himself drawn to the red haired beauty. When logic and emotion don’t agree, which path should she follow?
This one is another of those that is a excerpt of an upcoming longer book. This one just about ripped my heart out of my chest. The power and emotion behind this one was absolutely breathtaking. But there was also humor and comfort there to keep me from becoming a wailing mass on the bedroom floor. Like I said before, there is something about seeing two people overcome adversity in the name of love. I hope that this one lives up to the promise given in this passage because if it does, Kishan Paul will definitely be added to my favorites list. 10 out of 10.
The Trouble With Never: (Southern Romance) ~ by Isabella Harper
When Summer and Caleb run into each other after a long absence, sparks fly. Her painful past makes it hard for her to open up, but he’s more than willing to help. He’s loved her most of their lives. Can she learn to love and trust him, or will her fears push him away?
This is another of those that I was glad to find was only a glimpse at an upcoming release. You have a young woman who finds out that she has spent the past few years as a trophy wife, a philandering husband, a kick-ass best friend, another friend that wishes he could have been more, and a return to a small home town. Summer is desperately trying to take her life back but it doesn’t look like it will be an easy task. The potential for fireworks and drama is at an all time high. I am practically salivating to find out what happens next. Another 10 for this collection.
Keep Calm And Eat Chocolate: (Contemporary Romance) ~ by Michaela Miles
When institution residents Elle and Chris meet, their personalities clash. During a quiet moment in the garden together, secrets are shared and a bond is formed. Will their connection be their downfall or lead to the fresh start they deserve?
This is a new one for me- two people finding love in the loony bin. But it is such an incredible story. They are both so loss in their own tragic tale that they can’t find the peace they need to release their prison. Of course, the walls of the institution and the men in the white coats aren’t the only jailers they have to face. It is only through sharing their pain with one another that they can begin to heal and find a new reason to live. Wonderfully written, this story is a complete one that just makes you believe in the healing power of love. This one earns a 10 as well and I hope to find more by this author, soon.
I’d have to say this is an amazing collection of stories that explores the emergence of love when it is least expected. All of the authors did a wonderful job and I will be on the lookout for more from each of them in the future. Honestly, you can’t find a better way to spend $0.99.