Daily Archives: June 21, 2013
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press June 2013
The Plan: We have the challenge and joy to review the Daily Dose 2013 Anthology. Due to the size we will be reviewing a group at a time over the next few weeks. Also for added fun, we will be doing joint reviews for each novella. We hope you enjoy, and have as much fun reading them as we did writing them!
Note: Most of these titles share the same cover so we placed that one at the top. For those books that have a different cover we include it with the review.
Author: Nora Roth
Length: 66 pages
Rating: A List Marilyn
Blurb: The only thing between Jesse Yates and the top of the air hockey leaderboard is Cameron Greene. When Cameron returns home from college unannounced and knocks the win out of Jesse’s reach, the last thing Jesse plans to do is strike up a friendship with the guy he dislikes on principle. But Cameron charms Jesse without even seeming to try, and the attraction and friendly rivalry between them soon leads to something more.
Everything is perfect until the world as Jesse knows it comes crashing down when Cameron’s secrets are revealed. Before Jesse can find his balance, Cameron is gone without a word, leaving Jesse alone with anger and grief—hoping against hope for a second chance.
Beans: I was drawn into this story from the first words on the page. At first it was a cute story about two young men playing both in the arcade and out of it. And then it turned a corner. It became a story about two men trying to find something with each other. Comfort, ease, identity, love. I was lost within these pages. Drawn into their lives, dreams, pain. I loved this story. It was brilliant and moving about so much more than air hockey, but about life and how you handle it.
Nina: What a beautiful surprise. I was not expecting this story. I read the blurb and thought silly fun and flirting between cute boys. While that was there I soon discovered so much more. I fell in love, first with sweet, shy Jesse, then quickly with sarcastic and irresistible Cameron, and ultimately with this startlingly deep and thoughtful book. Jesse was adorable, young, inexperienced, finding his way and falling in love for the first time. I enjoyed him and was amazed at the wonderful man that he was becoming. He wasn’t perfect and ouch, did he stumble, but I was so proud of him. An absolutely gorgeous novella with hidden depths that will have you smiling, chuckling, cringing with your own remembered youth and maybe a little crying, but most of all hoping.
Author: Andrea Speed
Length: 24 pages
Rating: B List Cher
Blurb: Luke Diaz signs up for an adult dodgeball league out of morbid curiosity and a love for a crazy movie. After all, sports aren’t his thing. Then attraction to the team captain, Shane Kinrade, keeps him from ducking out of tryouts, and Luke discovers he’s actually rather good at hitting where he aims. Along with his newfound ability, Luke considers the charming team captain to be right up his alley and luckily, Shane shares his interest.
Beans: This was short, but full of fun and sexual tension. I was smiling picturing this odd group of adults looking for something fun to do in their off time. I loved that these men were real, blue collar joes out and hoping to have a good time. These men were fun and delicious and I wanted more.
Nina: So much fun. I enjoy this author’s ability to snark while still keeping things fun and sexy. These guys were adorable and yummy together. There was a lightness and a sense of youth with brief flashes of awkward that made these guys very human. A short and sweet introduction to a beautiful couple who are just getting started. When is Dreamspinner Press going to start adding photos to these hot stories?
Title: Risking It
Author: Posy Roberts
Length: 30 pages
Rating: B List Cher
Blurb: August Farrell doesn’t have a clue how to go about finding a boyfriend. He’s eighteen, a high school senior, has barely been kissed, and the thought of flirting with a boy terrifies him. What if he gets punched? Or worse? It would be easier if he at least knew the rules of the game. Then during the state basketball tournament, August meets Luca Knutson, who flirts with him shamelessly, but is this connection worth it? Will August play it safe by sitting on the sidelines or take a chance on Luca and the freedom to love he offers?
Beans: A beautiful coming out story. We were brought into the world of a young man on the brink of exploring his sexual identity. One of my favorite parts of this novella was the other gay boy on his basketball team. August wasn’t attracted to him and he had to deal with both that situation and his attraction to Luca. I liked that these young men acted their age and it was sweet with some powerful scenes and understanding. Very nice.
Nina: A cute, fun novella with moments of depth. It would be a difficult process, even without the horror story version, to be a gay teen deciding when and how to come out. I liked that August had good and supportive friends and family. I really liked August and Luca. They seemed good for each other and I enjoyed that there was a progression to their relationship that felt realistic and believing there was a strong possibility of them making it.
Title: Love’s Cabers Tossed
Author: Ari McKay
Length: 64 pages
Rating: B List Cher
Blurb: At the Coastal Carolina Highland Games, baker Martin Fletcher receives an unexpected visitor in the form of Fergus, Lyall McLannan’s escaped sheltie. When Fergus accidentally causes Martin to sprain his ankle, Lyall comes to the rescue, helping Martin run his booth at the Games. Unfortunately, Lyall doesn’t know a thing about baking, but he manages to avoid both disaster and Martin’s wrath by attracting patrons with his and Fergus’s showmanship.
Martin accepts Lyall’s invitation to stay in his RV during the fair, getting to know the lawyer-turned-Highlander he’s watched from afar. Martin is captivated by Lyall’s charm… and the tantalizing view of him in a kilt. Entranced by Martin’s dedication to his work and love for Fergus, Lyall sets out to woo him with starlight and bagpipe music, because he’s discovered opposites can attract and love can be found in the most unexpected circumstances.
Beans: This was one of my favorite stories in the anthology. Martin is a small business owner, who uses this festival to not just drum up business but also to enjoy something fun like the highland games. He is focused and fierce when it comes to his business. Lyall is high spirited and cheerful. He is attracted to Martin right off and they develop a beautiful friendship and move forward towards being lovers. I adored that they talked, listened to one another, and made plans and commitments to each other. It wasn’t insta-love but it was a beautiful friendship that bloomed into something more.
Nina: This story was adorable. I enjoyed spending time at the Highland Games. I liked the slow buildup of these men getting to know each other before falling into bed. I loved Lyall’s sense of honor and how he took care of the injured Martin. I loved the sweet, considerate and respectful way they treated one another. These guys were delicious together. While they may look and act differently, what they want from life and in a partner, line up perfectly. A fun and romantic novella.
Title: Prize Package
Author: Kyle Adams
Length: 50 pages
Rating: A List Marilyn
Blurb: When Jason Smith wins a contest he doesn’t remember entering, he earns a visit with The MeatGrinder, aka Trent Peterson. Trent expected a rabid fan; instead, he gets Jason, who knows nothing about wrestling, doesn’t care about the prizes, and would prefer to skip the official wrestling demo, please. Trent should be annoyed, but by the end of the day, Trent knows he wants more than one day with Jason. Now he just has to convince Jason that Trent is more than his alter ego.
Beans: I laughed so hard with this story. Everything about this story was a riot. Loved Jason and his clueless sarcastic mouth. Trent the Meatgrinder was not stupid. He knows what a fan of professional wrestling looks like and it sure isn’t this cute guy pretending he’s a fan. But what was he to do? He draws this fun man into his house and finds out more. They weren’t looking for love, they had fun and enjoyed each other. Then love found them. I will be re-reading this story anytime I want to giggle and smile for the rest of the day.
Nina: This one had me cracking up the whole way through. Jason is a total nut and absolutely adorable. He had no knowledge of wrestling but he didn’t want to hurt Trent’s feelings so he kept lying and he’s a terrible liar. Trent is sweet, funny and smoking hot. His patience with and enjoyment of Jason was great to watch. They’re wonderful together and the sexy was so good! Two guys who are very different in many ways except the ones that mattered to them. I enjoyed this story very much. I’m smiling and chuckling as I write this and wishing I could talk about all the funny parts and we’d um hmm about the smexy. Hurry up and read it so we can.
Author: Maja Rose
Length: 27 pages
Rating: B List Cher
Blurb: Jared Glass thinks he’s got a pretty sweet deal. Andrew Blackwell is his best friend and roommate, they both live for gymnastics, and Jared’s on his way to the 2016 Olympics. Then Jared’s teammate breaks his leg, and Andy is named his replacement … except no one tells Jared, and isn’t that something you’d tell your best friend? Then again, they’re good at bending around the obvious: Andy’s been in love with Jared for years but stays silent; Jared denies it could even be possible. Surely two friends this close can be more?
Beans: Andy is the voice of reason, as Jared flipped out about change in the U.S. gymnastics team. Andy was the beautiful calm in Jared’s storm. I loved the play and comfort. Then there is this one part where real pain enters with the potential to hurt Andy. And Jared steps up to the plate and comes to terms with his emotions. And it’s beautiful. I cheered them on,both in their gymnastics careers, and in love.
Nina: I loved this one. It had me smiling the whole time. Very cute and sweet with a sort of stream of consciousness, snarky voice. These boys werendeliciously sexy and adorably sweet together. I just wish it had been longer. I want to see them compete at the Olympics and find out how they did. I want to see them together as a couple, although Jared seems to be the only one who didn’t already consider them to be one. I want to attend their second wedding.
Author: Dawn Kimberly Dawson
Length: 85 pages
Rating: A List Marilyn
Blurb: Three years ago, cameraman Powell Perdue and quarterback Talbot Wojewódka called it quits, citing irreconcilable differences. Powell wanted to live honestly, while Talbot felt he couldn’t and still succeed in professional football. One knee surgery and a trade later, Talbot finds himself back in town and quarterbacking for the Raptors, a struggling expansion team. Powell’s also back, working as a cameraman for KJOC-TV, following two years in Amsterdam and a second failed relationship.
When an interview meant as a publicity play throws them into each other’s path, they’re forced to face a love that never quite died and wounds that never fully healed. For any hope at a win, they’ll have to change up the game. Talbot must brave walking through his closet door and into Powell’s arms, and Powell must risk his heart one more time by standing his ground and giving Talbot a second chance.
Beans: I became caught up in the lives of these men. They have so much in their past it seems impossible to move forward. Po is brave and open and wounded and Talbot is stoic , fearful and lovely. I ached for these men. They had open wounds and dreams that were unfulfilled and needed each other. When they realized the love they had wasn’t lost, but put on hold, there was a beautiful struggle. I do have to say that I loved the sexual tension between them. It was intense.
Nina: I loved this novella. There was a surprising amount of action in this story. Po is awesome and can really think on his feet, if there is ever an emergency I want him standing right next to me.
I always find professional athlete m/m love stories a little heartbreaking. This story was worth a little bit of aching. It was sweet, funny, exciting and full of love. These guys are drool worthy on their own, together they leave a person sweating and needing air and a large cold drink. I enjoyed the relationship between Po and Bot, both past and present. The lasting love they had for each other was beautiful and I was so very glad they got their second chance.
The supporting cast was fantastic. I love it when the author fills the world around the romance with strong characters whose stories I want to know. There were so many friends and coworkers that enriched their lives, making them feel real to me. Because finding yourself facing your past and feeling all the love your younger self felt still filling your heart would be marvelously terrifying. Luckily, these men had a lot of love and support from the people around them. Their story didn’t end when the book did, they have some rough miles ahead of them. They also have good people backing them and best of all, they get to make the journey together. Which, really, is all that either of them truly wanted.