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.
We finished it! We managed to review the whole thing and we enjoyed it tremendously. Thank you, friends, for taking the journey with us. ❤
Title: Sage Advice
Author: Susan Laine
Length: 35 pages
Rating: B List: Cher
Blurb: Piper is a ballet dancer who has lost his footing—literally. Now his dreams are shot and he’s depressed enough that his best friend, Sage, lures him into a night of drinking and games. Except the game is truth or dare, and they end up doing less drinking and more confessing. Hidden secrets spill out and brazen acts draw the two men closer as they discover what really matters: if they’re winners or losers in the game of love.
Beans: I enjoyed this bite of romance. The story puts you in the living room sitting cross legged, a drink in one hand, some music going, friends confiding in each other. There is a tremendous amount of love and comfort between these friends. It was sweet and comfortable listening into this progression to more than best friends but lovers. When the story ends you are able to smile knowing these men get a new beginning.
Nina: Such a sweet little novella. I enjoy friends to lovers as I believe they make for lasting relationships. These guys have been friends for a long time and neither was willing to jeopardize the highly valued relationship by asking for something they weren’t sure the other was interested in giving…until a game of truth or dare changes everything. I liked these guys, they really cared about and took care of each other. Sage was yummy and such a good guy.
Title: The Magic Broom
Author: Teegan Loy
Length: 70 pages
Rating: A List: Marilyn
Blurb: With the winter Olympics on the horizon, Cody Mikkelson’s editor assigns him several stories about athletes in the area with gold medal aspirations. But there’s a catch: Cody has to try all the sports when he interviews the athletes—and he is so not an athlete.
The day before his torment begins, four new guys move into the apartment down the hall, including the handsome Shane Spicer. Cody is immediately desperate to figure out if Shane is gay, but both men have busy schedules, leaving little time to socialize. So Cody heads back to work and goes to interview the local curling team, where among brooms, laughter, a sore backside, and an unexpected meeting, Cody finds he just might get his chance after all.
Beans: I loved this story. I was laughing along with the athletes picturing Cody trying all of these sports with Olympic level athletes. He was completely clueless, but never did you see any menace, just curiosity and good cheer when he fell. Luckily he also has the distraction of his new neighbor Shane. He doesn’t know how to ask if Shane is gay, and without a push from his best friend, they might have never met. Shane is fun, relaxed in his skin, and a friend for Cody. I loved the chemistry between these two and the meeting was fun and fast paced. I personally love the sport of curling so I was cheering Shane on in both his Olympic dreams and love life with Cody.
Nina: I really liked these guys. Poor unathletic Cody being tortured trying out all these Olympic sports, most of which are not the kind you can walk in off the street with zero experience and not end up falling all over the place. I enjoyed Cody’s view of all the games, and that even though he whined he kept trying. He was never a jerk about how silly, weird or crazy he thought they were. Cody was a good sport about it and his reward was one delicious treat. Cody’s inner monologue had me chuckling the whole way through. Shane is the sweetest, sexiest and nicest guy. Loved me some Shane. I loved his openness and how much he liked Cody. I loved these guys together, things move fast but it’s not about falling into bed together. When it’s right things just seem to fall into place. I loved their friends, they added so much to the story.
Author: S. Blaise
Length: 27 pages
Rating: B List: Cher
Blurb: When Paul Burnwix invites British tourist Neil Davis to play a game of pool, Paul doesn’t suspect there’s more to Neil’s bad playing until Neil turns the tables. Intrigued by Neil’s wit and unexpected skill, Paul issues a new challenge, and Neil suggests the stakes: his hotel room key—and all that it implies—or Paul’s public humiliation. What Neil doesn’t realize is that Paul is a pool shark at heart, and if Neil doesn’t spot the trap in their ultimate game, he’ll find himself snookered.
Beans: This novella is a beautiful example of when we break away from stereotypes and are able to get to know someone for them, and not what they do or who they are. Paul and Neil hit it off from the first moment. They flirt, play and set the sheets on fire. I had a different ending in my brain reading through this short novella and was pleasantly surprised with the authors version. A fun read.
Nina: A lively short about assumptions and how misleading they can be. Both guys take turns setting themselves up by thinking they know more than they do and not asking the right questions. Paul enjoys a challenge and Neil doesn’t allow him anything easily. Neil really needs to loosen up and Paul won’t let him take himself or life too seriously. These guys are perfect for eachother.
Title: Running Away From Sunshine
Author: Gwynn Marssen
Length: 55 pages
Rating: B List: Cher
Blurb: Nobody knows why ER resident Jake Nichols left California to move to cold and dark Calgary, Canada. Nobody knows Jake hasn’t always been a silent loner. Nobody in his new home knows he is gay, and nobody needs to know, since he doesn’t plan to let anyone in… until he meets Gabriel Montgomery, the carefree hockey player with the big blue eyes who just won’t take no for an answer when it comes to opening up and accepting the possibility of love.
Beans: There was unexpected in this novella. Unexpected pain. Unexpected lust. Unexpected pasts. Unexpected ending. I loved it. I am an angst junky, like the next girl and so this story satisfied that push and pull. Were they going to get together? Were they ever going to get past a hook-up? I liked these men. I even liked the way the author ended this story with a beautiful pause button. There is more to this love story and I liked we got to see into the first days.
Nina: An enjoyable novella. It’s well written, engaging and has moments that brought tears to my eyes. It had one thing I had an issue with, but overall I really liked it. Jake was tragic and sweet and a really good guy. Gabriel is adorable and charming and terrifyingly fearless. It was wonderful to watch Gabriel slowly pull Jake out of his shell of grief. They were beautiful and delicious together, the one area where they don’t seem to have any issues or doubts was in the bedroom. It was also a painful up and down of running and coming together, doubt and passion, denial and healing. I want these guys to make it, if for no other reason than no one should give up that kind of sexual chemistry for, almost, anything. Because if they can get past all their crap they will be absolutely wonderful together.
Title: Bane of Boston
Author: J.P. Barnaby
Rating: A List: Marilyn
Blurb: The day Jonathan “Jack” Young caught that foul ball was the worst day of his life. Instead of seeing his beloved Red Sox hold the lead, he watched in horror as his mistake cost them the first real shot they’d had at the World Series for nearly one hundred years. Jack left Boston in disgrace and moved to Chicago to start over. Instead, he finds Ryan Levine, who shatters the illusion that he could ever escape being the “Bane of Boston.” With decisions about careers and relationships in the balance, one misstep could mean ruin for them both.
Beans: This was a great novella. Ms. Barnaby does a tremendous job showing us the lonely man Jack is. He is tired, alone, shamed and just in need of a friend, someone who will touch and love on him. He meets Ryan and falls fast and hard. Ryan is more than just a diehard baseball fan like Jake, he is handsome, fun and seems to push all of Jakes buttons in bed. I got angry for Jake, with Ryan’s deception. Ryan screwed up and Jake was so strong. In the end I cheered them on and left the story with a smile on my face.
Nina: I loved these guys and their story. Sports fans are just that, fanatics, and this story deals with the ‘what if’ of getting on the wrong side of fanatics. I felt for so bad for Jack. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve known some people who’ve held such strong fervor for their team, that I could see them acting this badly. Jack was so alone, moving to a strange city with a new job after being harassed and estranged from his old life. Then he meets sweet, stupid and lovable Ryan. Who steps in it big time, but not out of malice or with any really planning. A beautiful afternoon full of startlingly intense passion forges a connection that forces them to make choices about what really matters to them and will bring them unforeseen joy or lose them everything.
Title: The King’s Mate
Author: Ashavan Doyon
Length: 64 pages
Rating: A List: Marilyn
Blurb: Russell Pine goes to the café every morning to enjoy his time chatting with Sam Tesh, the café owner, a friend made over the past twenty years. So when Sam asks a favor, Russ reluctantly agrees to play in a chess tournament. But the contest isn’t the real challenge: Russ finds himself the focus of a secret courtship in words and pictures left for him to discover each morning, leading him to the question: In a café full of young and beautiful minds, who is looking at the graying chessmaster?
Beans: First I love that a chess story was in a grouping of sports novellas. Second this is a must read. This story felt new. Beautiful. All of the men in this story made me ache. Sam watching two hurt men that he loves dearly, find their way into a relationship. He is scared for them both, but is so amazing with his love, encouragement, and protectiveness. Russ is wary of loving again. He is still healing, but so is his secret admirer. I was deeply moved and adored this short story.
Nina: A beautiful and touching novella. I loved the artistry of the love notes. I loved watching two lonely and broken men come together and help each other heal. I loved the acceptance, fathomless love and wisdom that Sam showed. I loved the patience and tenderness that Russell showed. I loved the sweet and vulnerable heart and artistic soul of Russell’s admirer, who saw beauty where others dismissed. This story moved me, slowly building layer upon subtle layer of emotion and history and pain and the burning ache of betrayal and loss. Of courage and hope and learning to let go. Of grace and friendship and love, so much love, filled the pages. It flowed into my heart and slid gently from my eyes, as I read of the journey into a wonderful new chapter in their lives.
Title: A Fighting Chance
Author: Laylah Hunter
Length: 24 pages
Rating: B List: Cher
Blurb: Luis Delgado, a boxer, and Davey Taylor, an artist, live in a future when Earth is home to the destitute and the only chance for a better life is found among the colonies that orbit the once-great planet. Davey has the opportunity to make a name for himself with an art sponsorship on the Luna Minor colony, but he needs to get there first. Luis may have the answer, but it means choosing between his career and his future together with Davey.
Beans: Fast and beautiful. Intense and scenic. I was drawn into this world in a moment with perfect language and spot on descriptions. I was captured by Luis and his goal to escape for a better life. Although this was short, it was so well done I wrote down this author’s name and will be hunting up everything they have written. I loved it.
Nina: Don’t blink. A lot of stuff happens really fast. A snapshot of the life of a boxer in a dying world, in love with an artist who gives him a reason to change everything and take a huge chance on a new world. I liked these guys. They were smart, funny, talented, sexy, loving, tough, and brave. They took a big risk and I believe, with all they had going for them, that it paid off wonderfully.
Title: A Shot at Forgiveness
Author: Cardeno C
Length: 68 pages
Rating: A List: Marilyn
Blurb: A dozen years, two thousand miles, and a law degree after high school, Rafi Steiner continues to harbor resentment toward Isaac Jones, his childhood bully turned NBA star. When Isaac appears at Rafi’s favorite restaurant acting like a long-lost friend, Rafi bluntly dismisses him.
But Isaac is tenacious and has his heart set on the grown-up version of the boy he always wanted and never forgot. The way Isaac sees it, he and Rafi are perfect for each other, if only he could sink the most important shot of his life: his one shot at forgiveness.
Beans: As a die hard Cardeno C fan, I am always waiting for the next story with baited breath. Is it going to be as good as the last one, the last two, the last 10? This novella met all my expectations. I am a romantic and love stories that make me smile, squirm in my seat, and leave me with a huge smile sighing like a girl. For me this novella hit all right buttons. It had fun, larger than life characters. Rafi, was funny, with a biting wit, comfortable in his skin, strong from a past that caused him to accept himself. He was also wounded and even after 12 years there was healing that needed to be done.
Isaac was Rafi’s old bully in school, but now he that he has grown-up he is done pretending to be someone he is not. After seeing Rafi again, Isaac decides to pursue the one man that never left his thoughts, and heart.
And pursue he did. I loved that he didn’t accept Rafi blowing him off, and pushing him aside. I enjoyed the push back from Rafi and that Isaac accepted it but didn’t allow it to stop his seduction and then wooing of his first love.
Oh yes, and Cardeno C didn’t allow a limited word count to stop the sexy times from burning up the pages. As sweet and beautiful as Rafi and Isaac were outside of the bedroom, inside they were hot, aggressive, dirty and completely perfect.
A great story by Cardeno C. The perfect bite to escape from the worries of the day and allow a little romance to help you smile.
Nina: I loved this novella. I loved that there was just enough connection to the Home series to make this feel like a part of a greater story. I loved how snarky and funny and grumpy Rafi was. I loved how sweet and open and unswerving Isaac was. I loved the forgiveness and acceptance in this story. I loved how incredibly sexy these men were together. I loved how brave they were.
Rafi was bullied mercilessly growing up and he still carries the scars. He’s all grown up now, successful and secure in his friendships and sex appeal. He lives in a new city and has left all of that behind him. Until the sudden appearance of his youthful tormentor, who won’t go away, no matter how hard he tries to make him. The one kid who could always find fault and embarrass him is now a basketball superstar and has confessed that everything he did, all the ways that he poked and teased, were out of a confused desire to be with him.
Isaac is just incredible. He’s made peace with the fact that he is gay and has decided that he will do whatever it takes to get the only man he’s ever really wanted in his bed and life, permanently. He is huge and dominate, possessive, generous, patient, sweet, sexy, loving and irresistible. I loved his ardent, focused and unstoppable pursuit of Rafi. I loved how he left his ego at the door and made himself wide open to Rafi.
I enjoyed the way that the men came together, the process felt real to me. Even though Rafi would never admit it, there is a reason that Isaac pushes all of his buttons – he was a part of how he got them. These guys grew up together and as Rafi relaxes and lets go of some of his anger his memories soften to allow more than just the pain and anger and resentment to flavor their shared past. The subtle turning from slaking passion, and wow! were these guys incredibly hot together, to companionship and friendship to love was a delight. This was a fantastic novella and a brilliant addition to my Cardeno C collection.