A Valentine Rainbow

ValentineRainbow[A]Title:  A Valentine Rainbow

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  702 pages

Rating:  B List

Quad Shot of Love

Quad Shot of Love

Blurb:  Love comes in many shades, from the sparkling pink of a shared glass of champagne or the faded blue of an old paper heart to the shocking orange of a sports car, and everything in between. Whether they’re revisiting a missed opportunity, mustering the courage to take a chance, or simply playing Cupid from the sidelines, the men in this Valentine’s Day anthology celebrate romance in all its myriad hues. Sometimes soft and subdued, sometimes bright and outrageous, the color of love is different for everyone. Childhood sweethearts, unrequited crushes, friends trying to resist their feelings, strangers who see something in each other at first glance, and even beings from the realm of myth and legend explore every stripe on the rainbow in search of their perfect complement. From sweet to red hot, these stories span the spectrum and revel in the humor, happiness, and hope of the most romantic day of the year.

Stories included:

The Colors of Romance by Ashavan Doyon

Love and an (Orange) Lamborghini by MA Ford

In Trouble with Angels by Felicitas Ivey

Under the Table and Into His Heart by Raine O’Tierney

Blue Valentine Blues by Ken Bachtold

The Accidental Cupid by Xavier Mayne

Aunt Adeline’s Bequest by Amy Rae Durreson

Pretty Sally Couldn’t Marry Albert by Jefferson Parrish

Orange You Glad I Said Kiss by David Connor

Come Clean by Dawn Kimberly Johnson

Campfire Confessions by Bru Baker

Valentine Shower by John C. Houser

A Cupid’s Wager by Deanna Wadsworth

A Secret Valentine by B.G. Thomas

 

Title: The Accidental Cupid

Author:  Xavier Mayne

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  51 pages

Rating:  B+ List

Blurb:  While performing as Cupid on Valentine’s Day, Josh has the unpleasant task of delivering a break-up message to Dallas from his girlfriend, Jess. Jess is convinced Dallas is gay, and when Josh tries to comfort him, he finds she may very well be right. When Dallas’s best friend Austin arrives, it’s up to Josh to show both young men the love and acceptance they’ve always had in each other.

Reviews:

Beans:  I might have blushed a lot during this story. I love a good friends to lovers story. This one was interesting with a fun voyeur element. It was cute, and funny with the perfect amount of steamy.

Nina:  A cute, sweet and very dirty read.  While the main character didn’t find love for himself he was able to help two very lucky fellows admit to the love they felt for each other.  I laughed several times over some of the absurdity of the situation and felt that it was very sweet and the sex was hot!

Title:  Aunt Adeline’s Bequest

Author:  Amy Rae Durreson

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  51 pages

Rating:  A List

Blurb:  One snowy evening, wounded WWI veteran Jasper Pritchard arrives at Valentine Nugent’s sweet shop with an unusual request. Jasper’s deceased great-aunt has left him a fortune, along with a box of indiscreet letters she wants returned to the writer, and the only clue is a tin sold in Valentine’s shop over twenty years ago. As they search the shop’s records and uncover a love story from long ago, they find far more than the answer to the mystery.

Reviews:

Beans:  I love historical romance that is not regency. I love regency as well, but I love the voice of different eras. This was a fantastic example of how to write a short novella exceptionally well. The writing was brilliant, the storyline simple enough for the short length but beautiful and complex to keep it interesting. Wonderful main characters and just a beautiful mystery.

Nina:  This was sweet and a little sad and romantic. Loved the family history and the healing and acceptance.  I loved Valentine’s comfort with himself and that he was able to share some of that with Jasper.  These two were great together and there was some excellent matchmaking going on.

Title:  Blue Valentine Blues

Author:  Ken Bachtold

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  37 pages

Rating:  C List

Blurb:  When Josh put a blue valentine in the class box for Bobby Prentice in fifth grade, he just wanted to show how much he appreciated his best friend. Years later, both the ridicule he suffered and his unrequited feelings for Bobby have followed him to the university where they both teach. Bobby would like to say many things to his friend, but he doesn’t know if he can find the courage in himself that he admires in Josh.

Reviews:

Beans:  This story was told in a different point of voice than I am used to. It was cute and simple. It did take longer than necessary to get into the story for me. But I liked it overall, drama and angsty lack of communication and all.

Nina:  I liked the premise of this story.  I was not sure why he was so obsessed or what was up with them spending their entire lives miserable in this bizarre little town that had a surprisingly diverse drama program at the junior college.

Title:  Campfire Confessions

Author:  Bru Baker

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  50 pages

Rating:  B+ List

Blurb:  Best friends Case and Mitchell are so inseparable everyone assumes they’re dating. Case’s dad even buys them a joint gift—a camping trip. Even though Case hates the woods, he wants Mitchell to have a good time. When they discover the trip is a couples’ retreat, they have to fake a relationship. Case can’t understand why the trust and intimacy exercises the other couples struggle with come so naturally to them. After all, they’re not really boyfriends….

Reviews:

Beans:  Seriously loved this story. It’s fun and the friendship between them is fantastic. I loved the camping trip and the different couples with issues, along with the teachers. The author is able to make this friends to lovers story more complex than meets the eye. I smiled the whole time.

Nina:  A great story, sweet and cute. Loved the friendship and that Case’s dad was so supportive of their relationship.  A very good story of friends to lovers.  How we can be blinded to the truth of our relationships by their very essentialness in our everyday lives.  Loved the transition of awareness and the easy acceptance of the new aspects to their relationship.

 

Title: The Colors of Romance

Author:  Ashavan Doyon

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  62 pages

Rating:  B List

Blurb:  A disastrous date during his freshman year of college has left Theo Dwyer with no faith in men, relationships, or especially Valentine’s Day. When his roommate sets him up on a blind date, naturally Theo refuses. Then a persistent online suitor known only as TruClrs4vr begins sending Theo flowers and arranging romantic virtual meetings. After his treatment by his ex, Theo is reluctant to trust another man, but the determined TruClrs4vr might be the one to rekindle his passion, one color of the rainbow at a time.

Reviews:

Beans:  I liked how the author used social media as a way to have the guys court. It was intriguing and fun with just a smidge of stalkery. I liked how the friends kept Theo going and asked him to trust them. It was a great short.

Nina:  Really liked this one. Romance, healing, letting go of past hurts and fears and taking a chance on love. Loved the mystery man’s story and was so sad over the hurt his coming out caused him. Loved that he was so brave and wonderful to Theo.

 

Title:  Come Clean

Author:  Dawn Kimberly Johnson

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  51 pages

Rating:  B+ List

Blurb:  Peru Cabral, the youngest of five brothers, has just come out to his family. Lawson Todd has returned to his small hometown in disgrace after losing his corporate advertising job. When Peru and Lawson spot each other at the family Laundromat where Lawson works, the attraction between them is undeniable. But the fears, insecurities, and false fronts both men are hiding behind might doom the relationship before it begins—unless the brothers Cabral step in.

Reviews:

Beans:  I adored this story. The family members are amazing and make this novella worth the read. Incredibly sweet and full of depth it was one of my favorites in this anthology.

Nina:  Enjoyed this so very much. Peru’s family was great. Loved the development and growth. The importance of love in family. The guys were too cute!  I would love to see these guys and the family expanded.  They had me cracking up and charmed the whole way through.

 

Title:  A Cupid’s Wager

Author:  Deanna Wadsworth

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  70 pages

Rating:  C+ List

Blurb:  The name’s Lio, and I’m a cupid working for the Gay Division of the Inter-Dimensional Association of Cupids. An Aztec god, whose modern name, Ethan, doesn’t make him any less scary, just busted me shooting a closeted human with a gay lust arrow. I might find him sexy with all those tattoos and piercings, if I didn’t have a rule against getting it on with other supernaturals—especially ones working for the Straight Division. Now, to save my butt I’ll have to strike a bargain with this tough god. But what I didn’t see coming was my little wager not only risks my career, but places my broken heart completely in Ethan’s hands.

Reviews:

Beans:  I like an awkward dirty story like the next girl but this was weird. I couldn’t stop reading it but I felt like I should. And the sex on the fire escape? No. I got a cramp in my back reading it.

Nina:  Was good but felt like we were just seeing a teaser for a new series or at least a longer story.  I would like to read the full book.  There just wasn’t enough story here for me.

 

Title:  In Trouble With Angels

Author:  Felicitas Ivey

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  40 pages

Rating:  DNF

Blurb:  With the increasing commercialization of Valentine’s Day in the 1950s, the Pagan deities of Love, led by Eros, gather to make sure everything runs smoothly. Shy, quiet angel Shateiel offers help, and Eros is quite taken with the cute angel, though he keeps his lust to himself. When the higher-level angels discover Shateiel’s little rebellious streak and how he’s been spending his time, they intervene to keep him from falling from grace. Now, Eros may wish he’d admitted his feeling before it was too late.

Reviews:

Beans:  DNF. Seriously, read two pages and flipped to the next story.

Nina:  This was too slow for me.  I found it impossible to get into.

 

Title:  Love and an (Orange) Lamborghini

Author:  MA Ford

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  38 pages

Rating:   C List

Blurb:  Freelance journalist Will Turner is struggling both financially and emotionally since being dumped by his boyfriend. While his sports car obsessed roommate, Niki, is busy leaving notes for the female owner of a Lamborghini Gallardo parked in their area, Will takes a last-minute assignment to interview a sportsman. The attraction between Will and racing driver Tim Johnson is instant, but Tim is unwilling to risk his career by coming out. Niki has big plans for Valentine’s Day, but it will take a near miracle for any of them to find happiness.

 Reviews:

Beans:  Okay I wasn’t sold on this story. I didn’t believe the characters or the situations. I wanted to love it. I thought the idea was great but in execution it didn’t work for me. I finished it with no emotional connection to the characters.

Nina:  This was a fun story.  What guy who is hiding in the closet because he is worried about losing the career he lives for would hit on the reporter sent to interview him?  Talk about huge brass.  Or temporary lust induced insanity.  The back and forth paranoia of the closeted can leave any sane person feeling a case of whiplash.

 

Title:  Orange You Glad I Said Kiss

Author:  David Connor

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  60 pages

Rating:  B+ List

Blurb:  Elijah Wentworth works in a research lab, teaching sign language to an orange-loving chimp named Eddie. Eli enjoys his friends-with-benefits relationship with Casey, but being a believer in fate and true love, he’s unsure whether to settle or to hold out for something more. When Eddie starts signing poetry to Eli, Eli thinks Casey has trained the chimp to propose. It’s time to make a decision: marry fun but flaky Casey or wait for the soul mate who might be closer than he thinks.

Reviews:

Beans:  This story cracked me up. I didn’t see the ending coming at all either. It was a great read. Funny, full of wit and creativity and it felt new.

Nina:  Fate plays a huge part in this story.  I loved that sign language played as a character in this story.  The guys were cute and funny.  Sometimes you don’t know what you really want until it is almost too late.

 

Title:  Pretty Sally Couldn’t Marry Albert

Author:  Jefferson Parrish

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  45 pages

Rating:  B+ List

Blurb:  Recovering from a stroke, Albert struggles to help his sister deal with her husband’s death and the demands of single parenthood. Everyone puts on a brave face, but the family is overwhelmed and left with a hole in their hearts. The discovery of a stash of old valentines makes Albert nostalgic for the sunny days spent with his childhood friend, Harry. Albert’s nephew, Kyle, decides to find the long-lost Harry only to discover life hasn’t been kind to Harry either.

Reviews:

Beans:  A very good story. One of the best in the anthology. It was beautifully written, emotional and I believed the characters. Incredibly well done. I loved the depth here and the men being more mature was fantastic.

Nina:  Surprisingly good and fun.  I had a hard time figuring out where they were exactly, the geography felt off and sometimes the language was a little weird.  Enjoyed the element of asexuality and that it went against stereotype.  Sweet, charming and well written.  Loved it!

 

Title:  A Secret Valentine

Author:  B.G. Thomas

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  44 pages

Rating:  B List

Blurb:  After his divorce, Steve Manchester came out so he could be himself and find love with another man. But as it turns out, the only man he really wants is his sweet, intelligent, and gorgeous best friend Burgess Cameron. Burgess, however, wants to keep the relationship platonic. When Steve can no longer stand the unrequited love, he decides to move to San Francisco to start a new life. But before he leaves, Burgess invites him to a Valentine’s Day dance, where Cupid may have other plans for them both!

2nd Edition

Reviews:

Beans:  A great story. It’s short and fun with crazy hot sexy times. B.G. is always a great read and even with this short novella it was well done. I love stories that make me smile and blush and this one had it all.

Nina:  Cute and fun.  A case of major miscommunication that almost causes the loss of a beautiful love.  I think that it was fantastic that they were such great friends. I felt so bad for Steve, unrequited love is terribly painful.

Title:  Under the Table and Into His Heart

Author:  Raine O’Tierney

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  47 pages

Rating:  C list

Blurb:  At the Under the Table host club, Valentine’s Day means one thing: cash. Neglected housewives, newly ex-girlfriends, and lovelorn thirtysomethings pay for the attention of handsome men. Shy bartender Jem has always wanted to be a host, and when the club’s owner, Miss Rye, accepts a contract from a MensLove Convention, Jem volunteers to flirt and make out with another host for the ladies’ entertainment. Bailey, an older man who’s had his eye on Jem, convinces Miss Rye to let him be Jem’s partner, and everyone gets more than they expected—especially Jem and Bailey.

Reviews:

Beans:  I didn’t care for this story. My prude was showing as I read this and felt like clutching my pearls. It is a different kind of story and although it reads quickly I was glad because I didn’t really like it…

Nina:  This one felt really fast.  The guys were hot together and the romance sweet.  I think our GLBR group would probably enjoy the private party these lucky ladies attended.  The sex was intense and almost immediate, but the guys had known each other and lusted for a long time so it made sense that as soon as they could things went immediately steamy.

 

Title:  Valentine Shower

Author:  John C. Houser

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  56 pages

Rating:  A List

Blurb:  For Reuben, numbers are everything people are not: rational, predictable, and soothing. Outside of this family, his boss, Terry, is the one person he feels connected with. In the years they’ve worked together, listening to Terry’s jokes and stories over coffee has become a reliable part of his routine. But he’s missed having family nearby since his parents retired to Florida, and figures he’ll need a woman to correct the problem. He’s hurt and confused when Terry not only refuses to help, but announces he won’t be coming around much anymore. It’s up to Reuben’s no-nonsense sister Yaffa and his therapist, Dr. Greenberg, to help him understand Terry’s feelings—and his own.

Reviews:

Beans:  This story is reason enough to get this anthology. I loved everything about this novella.  Reuben is socially strange and only Terry truly understands him. My heart ached for Terry but also for Reuben who didn’t understand how he was hurting and losing his best friend. This was just a brilliant story. Beautiful complex characters, friends to lovers, and wonderfully written.

Nina:  Really enjoyed this one a lot.  Liked the nontraditional main and his social issues and that Terry thought he was wonderful and worth loving intensely even though most of the world could not understand or accept him.  Loved that Reuben was willing to figure out what he was doing wrong and try to fix it.  He was oblivious never malicious.  The interactions with his wacky sister and his therapist were a hoot.  I truly adore stories that go against type and/or include main characters that aren’t perfect or traditional sexgods.  This felt real and genuine and like it could be the story of someone any of us know.

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Posted on March 28, 2014, in Beans, Nina and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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