Summer Lovin' with JL Merrow, Chrissy Munder, Clare London, Josephine Myles, and Lou Harper
"Summer Hire" by Chrissy Munder - Grade: B+
Chrissy Munder's Summer Hire is sweet, summery, and I really enjoyed how she uses sexual tension and subtle flirting to build up the anticipation. This is a meaty, hot, short story with a great HEA and a highly likable couple.
"Lost and Found" by JL Merrow - Grade: B+
An absolutely wonderful story with a unique setting and great atmosphere. JL Merrow brings a fantastic twist to this summer yarn by incorporating a sexy Viking and a single father as the main characters. I ended this one with a smile on my face. Lovely!
"Salt 'n Vinegar" by Clare London - Grade: D+
Salt 'n Vinegar began with a great premise. Unfortunately, this story took a rather dark turn that just did not fit with this light, summery anthology. The rather serious subject matter of domestic abuse may be better suited to a longer story. In this case, neither the page count nor the subject matter work for me.
"Werewolves of Venice Beach" by Lou Harper - Grade: C+
Lou Harper came up with a rather quirky story about a nerdy college kid and his temporary, but unusual neighbors while he house sits at Venice Beach. I enjoyed this hot little piece with all its memorable characters, adorable dogs, and particularly some of the wrong assumptions that take place along the way.
"By Quarry Lake" by Josephine Myles - Grade: B
The anthology ends on a high! By Quarry Lake is an adorable story of two old friends who finally come to terms with their attraction for each other. Not gay for you by the way, but a story of two young men living in a small village where being gay may be a problem. I loved both adorable characters, the father, and the gorgeous summer atmosphere.
Overall, I definitely recommend the Summer Lovin' anthology. It's a good, solid M/M romance read and for the most part, it lives up its lovely title! (Pink Squirrel Press, August 14, 2013) Grade: B
Cut & Run (Cut & Run #1) by Abigail Roux and Madeline Urban
Cut & Run is a very popular M/M Romance Suspense series by a popular writing duo, and this first book seems to be adored by fans, I believe that is because it is so high on the emo scale. I've had the first two books in my TBR for a long time now and decided to give it a try, particularly since I enjoyed their book Caught Running, a book a reread prior to reading this one. Because Roux and Urban each develop a character, there tends to be quite a bit of head hopping in their stories. I didn't mind that aspect of their writing in Caught Running. For some reason, it really affected my enjoyment of Cut & Run, perhaps because of the length of this book and the dialog scenes. The following are my first impressions as posted on Goodreads:
Likable characters with a good buildup to romance. I enjoyed the banter and bonding that takes place between Zane and Ty. Although frankly I was surprised how much we don't learn about the characters after all those long conversations. This story is overly long, unnecessarily so, with lots of frustrating head hopping. There is action and flash to the crime suspense but as investigators the main characters are not really impressive, so this book is best read for the romantic elements. Obviously a romance in progress. Grade C-Cut & Run is one of those books where I'm sure I'm in the minority, as I said above the book is very popular. I'm a crime suspense fan and in the case of Cut & Run, I feel that for me, my passion for good crime investigations worked against this book -- I was thoroughly disappointed in that respect, particularly since both main characters are characterized as ace and/or brilliant FBI agents. Anyway, I have Sticks & Stones, the second book of the Cut & Run series by Roux & Urban and I will read it. Will I read the rest of this series? It all depends on how the second book turns out. :)
By the Numbers by Chris Owen
By the Numbers is an M/M Romance that I think is perfect as a summer read. I thoroughly enjoyed this almost conflict free romance with a hot fireman as one of the main characters, some gorgeous puppies, and a cute kid to round up this warm story. There is a mean ex-wife in the picture to give the romance some conflict, but it is minimal. Good as an angst-free reread. Grade: C+