- File Size: 2576 KB
- Print Length: 608 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing (February 14, 2016)
- Publication Date: February 14, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01BHBW1FM
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,180,936 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top customer reviews
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The Trap by Claire Davis and Al Stewart
What a fantastic introduction to the anthology. I’m partial to genre fiction with literary leanings, and this story delivers on all counts. It’s intense, sexy, and thought-provoking. Both Sal and Matthew represent different angles on the classic “tortured artist” trope, yet neither of them feels like a cliche. I love the way the narrative strings readers along as Sal works on his epic sculpture. I was hooked from the first page, and I read it in one sitting because I simply had to know what was going to happen.
The whole story is hot and sensual, drawn out in the manner of a passionate encounter and with a crescendo and resolution to match. I loved the underlying themes around the meanings of love and lust and what happens in the aftermath when the heart-pounding climax is over. It’s the perfect read for people who enjoy a highly intellectual erotic romance. For an all-around outstanding story, raw passion, and deep thoughts, 5 stars.
Writer’s Lock by Victoria Milne
Another favorite story, this one is quite different from the first. It has more sweet than heat, with some emotional moments that hit a few tender points. I loved the slowly unfolding friendship and love between Phil and Laurent. It was particularly easy to connect with Phil’s search for inspiration and the way his real life and fictional world intertwine.
This is a very well-written story with likable characters. Phil and Laurent don’t change a whole lot as people, but they do change in how they see love and each other. It’s a hopeful story, full of promise they’ll find what they need and get their happy-ever-after. While it’s a fairly standard romance, there are enough fresh elements to keep it from feeling bland or recycled. It’s a cozy read perfect for a quiet afternoon and a cup of tea. For tenderness, warmth, and heart, 4.5 stars.
Locked in the Moment by Dawn Sister
This story was a stretch for me. I’m not generally a fan of first person present tense, and it took me a while before I felt less jarred by it. I simply didn’t end up feeling a whole lot of connection with the characters or the story at first. However, I love the concept of a romance between a troll and a fairy; it’s a clever take on a few gay tropes, but both of them smash the stereotypes. The idea of being paired up to fix the troll’s mistake is fun, and the banter between them is witty and often hilarious. It did feel like it dragged a bit at points and rushed at others, and given the story’s resolution, I couldn’t figure out why some of the events were necessary. Despite that, it was still a good read. It’s probably best enjoyed by people who like fantasy and fairy tales. For an original concept, smart dialog, and a sweet surprise at the end, 4 stars.
The Weekend by J P Walker
I am always delighted to find a great f/f story, since lgbtq+ romance is so heavily populated by m/m. This story was everything I needed. I loved the playful beginning of Nat and Morgan’s relationship. Even though it starts with a weekend fling, I like the way it’s handled. Although Nat does think of Morgan often, and compares other potential lovers to her, we don’t get a melodramatic ten years of Nat spiraling into attempts to recreate her Paris experience. Instead, she learns something about herself and her previous partner.
The romantic “chase” scene at the end borders on cliche, but in the context of the anthology and given how excellently it’s written, it makes perfect sense and provides a satisfying conclusion. For women I’d want to know personally, a fun take on the one night stand, and a big romantic finish, 4.5 stars.
The Scarlet Lock by Caraway Carter
When I see a story tagged as bisexual, I’m immediately on high alert. I love seeing bi-identified characters, but I’ve also learned to be wary. What I thought was good in this story is that Hubert is unquestionably bi and doesn’t identify himself based on who he’s in a relationship with. On the down side, his bisexuality felt more like a plot device than an integral part of who he is, as evidenced by the “one last fling” trope (i.e., he can’t really be satisfied with a woman/has to prove his bisexuality through sex with men). I ended up thinking he was kind of a jerk. In fact, none of the characters are especially likable, to the point I wondered if that’s how we’re supposed to feel.
What I did love were the letters. Those were full of the emotions and consequences the narrative lacked. I might even have liked if the whole thing had been told through the letters. Believe it or not, I did really enjoy the story, despite my misgivings. It’s well-written, and there are some difficult things touched on in the story. I’d have loved something longer where we could more fully explore the long-term fallout of the events. For taking a chance with a bi character, a box full of love letters to the world, and the courage to talk about hard topics, 4 stars.
He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd
I have mixed feelings about this one as well. I loved the first part. It’s well-written and full of humor which is simultaneously a bit over the top and yet sharp-witted. The incident with the Sharpie is possibly one of the best things I’ve read in a long, long time—I laughed so hard at Delron’s oddities I was afraid I might wake the whole household. I was caught off-guard, however, by the way the cleverness fizzles and simply becomes drama after Delron and Phillipe blow up. I’m all for seeing a relationship over the course of a long period of time, but I’m not convinced this was the format to do it. I didn’t dislike it; I just wish it would have resolved sooner or differently or that it had stuck to the humor. For witty laughs, a fresh look at the lovers’ misunderstanding, and a keen way with words, 4 stars.
Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowan
I’m not ashamed to admit this was probably the biggest factor in choosing to review the anthology. Josh is just about my favorite character ever and the closest thing I have to a literary soul mate, so you’re not going to get an exactly unbiased review here. I’ve been reading about these characters for the better part of a year in order to catch up, and I’m invested in their lives and loves. But no matter how much I adore them all, I really do read these stories for Josh.
I first “met” him in Ruminations and was drawn to his combination of innocence and acute observation of the world. It’s highly entertaining to see little-kid Josh demonstrating that skill set right from the beginning, including his deep, almost intellectual love for his friends while simultaneously and consistently underestimating himself in his relationships. There are a lot of spoilers in this story for the entire series, so I can’t be specific about all the little details I cherished or the individual sentences which reminded me why I fell so hard for Josh in the first place. I suppose the only thing I can say is that it’s beginning-to-end pitch perfect and answers a bit of my lingering curiosity. For many sighs of amusement, exasperation, and finally happiness, 5 stars. (And Josh gets 5 all to himself just because.)
For a great concept, a wide range of styles, and exceptional writing, the anthology gets 5 stars.
I was sure that a collection of stories about the Love Lock Bridge would all be the same. But this anthology is lovingly curated and almost every experience is unique.
There's "Writer's Lock," by Victoria Milne, which starts sort of cliched and then boom! an elevated story about loving Paris and loving a man.
Then there's "The Weekend (J P Walker)" the lesbian offering of the book, which offers a sweet and alluring balance to the whole.
It then ends with the exquisite torture and too-many-feels of "The Scarlet Lock," about an affair of despair and longing that transforms into a sort of holistic, open love for humanity.
See? So much. There are a couple of stories I skimmed, unable to quite match up to the untamed beauty of the rest, but that's easy enough to cope with. There were no stories that felt unworthy. This anthology left me feeling inspired. Try the sample and see if your heart melts, too.
~ C. E. Case
I was provided this book by Inked Rainbow Reads in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated, coerced, or flattered into an opinion.