[b:Rainbows and Puppies|15704833|Rainbows and Puppies|Jonathan Treadway|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339641448s/15704833.jpg|21367198]
by Jonathan Treadway
(contemporary/bears) - 2 stars
Hmm... this was totally fine. Has a nice message and is sweet and all... but it's just whatever. The relationship between Jerry and Kevin seemed way too easy all of a sudden. I dunno... it was just like a friend re-telling you their spring break. [b:The Rest of Forever|13696366|The Rest of Forever (Love is Always Write)|Kate Aaron|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339324514s/13696366.jpg|19317206]
by Kate Aaron
(contemporary/friends-to-lovers) - 3 stars
This was sweet, although I would have liked to hear Jack say some of the things he had only thought to Paul. Like I don't think he really explained to Paul that he's been feeling this way ever since they had that fight, not just since he saw him with Curt. And what the hell happened to Paul?! He just disappeared? That's kind of lame, although I get that his feelings were hurt back then. OK so sweet, but I could have used a little lengthier wrap-up at the end.[b:The Road to Hell|13707346|The Road to Hell (Love is Always Write)|Sara York|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1337137147s/13707346.jpg|19339922]
by Sara York
(suspense/private detective) - 1 star
So... I was really excited about this picture/prompt combo. I was interested to see a story about two priests falling in love. The author decided to go a different way with it, which is fine, but so far two guys are undercover as priests looking for two missing children but once they start looking for them Mac decides it's a good time to have a heart to heart with Greyson and then they go back to their room to fuck with some disconnected dialogue that doesn't really mesh and Greyson literally diving in even though he's never been with a guy before and was all weird and hot/cold earlier... not sure but I just don't think this one is for me.[b:Roses in the Devil's Garden|13665323|Roses in the devil's garden|Charlie Cochet|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1337207881s/13665323.jpg|19285771]
by Charlie Cochet
(historical (1925)/prohibition agents) - 4 stars
- I'm not sure why, but for some reason I'm always hesitant about historicals. There really wasn't any need. This had just the right amount of '20's slang to make it fun and give you the right vibe, but it's a great story that could have taken place in any era.
They easily could have ended this in a few places earlier and it still would have been good, but I'm glad it was flushed out (I hope this author joins the next event and writes John and Danny's story!)
This was sweet. The sex scenes were hot. And to be honest, the guy in the pic didn'really do it for me, too beefy. But I loved Harley so much and then the perfect explanation/reveal of the tattoo... love it now![b:Safe|13709134|Safe (Love is Always Write)|Kim Dare|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1337139410s/13709134.jpg|19341747]
by Kim Dare
(contemporary/dominance) - 3.5 stars
This is extremely short, but that works for what it it. The first scene comes directly form the prompt where the sub tells the Dom he loves him and the Dom laughs (although not cruelly). It immediately flashed back to when they met. I was annoyed at first cuz I thought it wasn't going to back to the first scene and have emotional resolution, but fear not, it did just that and it was actually pretty sweet. The two middle scenes are their first two times together, both are quick but appropriately hot. I actually appreciate that, while the story is mostly comprised of sex, the sex doesn't drag. Good, short, and hot with a sweet little HFN ending. What more can you ask for? [b:Sands of Thyme|13706616|Sands of Thyme (Love is Always Write)|E.M. Lynley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1337134159s/13706616.jpg|19339139]
by EM Lynley
(contemporary/culinary/bartenders) - 3 stars
This was good. Creative idea, and branched out from just a normal two-guys-meet-at-a-resort thing. The sex was steamy but there were a few times they seemed to be in impossible positions (lying face-to-face while Staff is fingering him but then all of a sudden he's licking Staff's dick?) Overall I liked it, but I gotta be honest, Staff's actions on the whole did not endear me to him at all. So you're stealing
this woman's recipe basically?! Sorry that she kicks your butt every year but maybe you should concentrate on getting better on your own. That was kind of sketchy of him although having his binocular-looking be something different was cute.[b:See Right Through|13644340|See Right Through (Savannah, #1)|Sara Winters|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1336706024s/13644340.jpg|19260534]
by Sara Winters
(contemporary/friends to lovers) - 2.25 stars
Hmm... this wasn't bad
per se... I just didn't really like anybody.
1) Their actions didn't fit to character. Dev even says at one point once Sam starts throwing himself at him that he's acting totally different, and that's how I felt. Sam had been too shy to even flirt for two years, and all of a sudden he decides to unabashedly throw himself at Dev? Didn't seem realistic. And then Dev actually wants to have maybe a grown-up relationship and not just jump right into bed and Sam freaks and doesn't even listen to him.
2) Along the same lines as #1, the way Dev feels at the end, doesn't mesh with what he said about Sam at the beginning. I get that you can be in denial about being into someone... but he just didn't seem to think much of Sam at all at first, I didn't even think they were really friends. It was just all over the place and waaaaaaaay too angsty.
3) The way it started with Dev shamelessly hitting on Mike really bothered me. A little harmless flirting is one thing, but to flat out hit on your straight friend constantly is annoying. I find it hard to believe this has been going on since they were in 8th grade and Mike doesn't do more to dissuade it. It's rude and I found it pretty awkward overall.
4) I dunno, I just didn't really feel the connection. I heard it. A lot
. Mostly via whining and pseudo-psycho analysis, but I just wasn't really feelin' these guys together (although I wanted to and obviously wanted them to end up together). Even though Dev was kind of a douche initially, it was him I ended up liking a little more. Sam was being very immature not answering Dev's calls and what-not. I get that he thought he was being brushed off and that sucks, but let the guy effen talk![b:Shadow Dance|15719627|Shadow Dance|Cherie Noel|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1340516226s/15719627.jpg|21391842]
by Cherie Noel
(contemporary/dancers) - 3 stars
I feel like this had the potential to be a 5 star story. I was immediately sucked in by Hinata, and intrigued by Peter (although I was put-off at first by the ridiculously over the top hillbilly stereotype). I kind of liked how very spaced out everything was. They saw each other in high school and had huge crushes, but Hinata knew his mother could ruin Peter's family (since his dad worked for them) so he kept his distance, then they go off to college. As much as I don't mind the time going by, I did feel like it started to drag in the middle. So even though I liked the mutual long-standing crush, I felt their connection more at the beginning than I did by the time they finally
came together. And after being dragged out so long, it was a little weird that Peter just jerked him off, wham-bam-thank-you-sir. Besides the fact that the author was trying to be "subtle", so I had to re-read it to make sure I had understood what was actually happening.
At the end the guys were all treating Hinata a wee-bit... not condescending, but like he was a delicate flower to be carried around and cared for and blah blah blah. Especially given the big misunderstanding, I feel they were almost treating him like a child.
Speaking of the misunderstanding... Peter's friends mentioned Hinata that first day so clearly they knew him, so did everyone else. I find it hard to believe Peter could really go a year and not figure this out. Besides which, what was keeping Peter from ever talking to Hinata? Like at prom, how could he not ask him to dance?
I had a hard time getting a visual of Hinata, and understanding Peter's confusion. What did he wear to prom? Does he dress in women's clothing? Or just very effeminate. Was it a reasonable assumption or was Peter just being a big-ol hick who'd never seen an Asian guy with long hair?
And lastly, although the picture does show an Asian guy doing a dancy-pose, it didn't quite fit the story. Hinata was dancing alone in the beginning (who knows what style), then he seemed to be proficient in ballroom at the prom. The pic is very contemporary, and even if Hinata did teach Peter how to dance they would never be doing that sort of dancing I don't think. Beside the fact that I'm pretty sure the other person in that pic is a girl (side-boob anyone?) Although I'm OK with the prompt picture just creating a feel and not necessarily a specific scene, it had a different vibe to it, and the actual prompt makes it sound like they're both dancers.
I did enjoy this story, but I feel like it could have been cleaned up a little in the middle with more time at the end for Peter and Hinata to build a real connection.[b:Show Me Yours|15719619|Show Me Yours|Kaje Harper|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1340618024s/15719619.jpg|21391827]
by Kaje Harper
(contemporary/friends-to-lovers) - 4.5 STARS!
I've read tons of these friends-to-lovers where one guy is gay but the other one doesn't know and they both think the other is straight yada yada yada. But it's all in the execution. I cared about these guys. I understood where they both were coming from. It's been a day already since I finished and I keep thinking about them! That's a good story. I was iffy about the ending at first because I wanted everything to be perfect and I guess I thought like Josh in that something would be missing. I don't know how common this problem is, or if it's a problem at all (since I'm obviously not a gay male) wanting to be with a guy but just not at all interested in anal sex, but obviously Trey was totally sweet and perfect in his response. I think it works because Trey was so insecure and theoretically had more to lose (since he's loved Josh forever) that this was a way of evening the playing field and showing Trey how invested Josh really was. But I can't help but hope they'll give it a try again in the future!