Lights, Camera, Cupid Anthology

Lights, Camera, Cupid AnthologyLights, Camera, Cupid Anthology by Amy Lane, and Z.A. Maxfield, Anne Tenino, LA Witt, S.E. Jakes

Narrator: Dorian Bane, Nick J. Russo
Series: #6 Bluewater Bay
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Riptide on September 26, 2016
Length: 6 hours 22 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Buy: Amazon | Publisher
four-stars
four-flames

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This has been a heartwarming, thoughtful, passionate, and sweet series.  I love that several authors compiled a variety of short stories and novellas around the theme of Valentine’s Day.  Some of the stories are about new characters and some are follow up with all loosely based on the holiday theme and the location of Bluewater Bay.  I’ll take them separately with a few thoughts on each.

Just Another Day by LA Witt narrated by Nick J. Russo

This is a follow up story to Starstruck which featured actors’ Levi Pritchard and Carter Samuels.  Levi hates Valentines’ Day and is irritated when Carter seemed to ignore his wishes.  The situation teaches them something about each other and brings about an unlooked for, but rather romantic finish.  Hot and sweet and reminded me why I loved their story in the first place.

Nascha by Amy Lane narrated by Nick J. Russo

An old man sits in the present caring for his feverish great-nephew and special needs great-nephew while reminiscing on the past that he shared with his two lovers and the unconventional family they had before it was lost.   Poignant and heartbreaking, but hopeful in the end.  Tissues were necessary.  Also this is a prequel of sorts for Book Eight in the series, The Deep of the Sound.

No Easy Way by SE Jakes narrated by Dorian Bane

Second chance romance that will take some doing for just home from the war and now security expert, Dylan and brilliant teacher and closet erotic writer, Cary, because an abrupt parting and a host of painful secrets are between them.  Hmm, what to say…I liked it, but a borderline cheating thing and Cary’s drama weren’t to taste for me.

Helping Hand by Anne Tenino narrated by Nick J. Russo

High school senior, Lucas, is at a crossroads as he receives acceptance into art school and must now share with his blue collar logging industry family both that and the fact that he is gay.  His best friend supports him, but now wants him to stand alone.  A surprising encounter leaves him bewildered and hurt.  Interesting subtle piece with that encounter with the older brother’s best friend.  The reader picks up what Lucas is too young and naive to realize.  That moment at the end with Lucas and his dad- sigh-worthy.  Definitely looking forward to the full novel follow-up in Wedding Favors, the next book in the series.

 I’ll Be There by Z.A. Maxfield, narrated by Nick J Russo

Popular actor for Wolf’s Landing, Spencer, is participating in a convention in Central Illinois and Nash plans to join him for Valentine’s Day.  Only a monster blizzard prevents him from getting a flight out of Dallas.  Healey and his geek friends help him make his way by car, train, and more all the way to Spencer.  Both Nash and Spencer have their moments of truth during the long night.  Okay, this was sweet, fun, heartwarming and poignant.  Loved the time with favorite characters and the extra time getting a bit more on Nash’s brother.  Follow up story to Hell on Wheels

I enjoyed these stories in the audio version and was unsurprised that this just made them even better since the narrators were both favorites.  I wasn’t thinking about it until I listened to the two follow up stories, but I was glad to have the same narrator as the earlier books for continuity.  I thought both acted the characters marvelously.

As to the collection, this was engaging from beginning to end.  There was surprising subtlety and depth where I didn’t expect it, but the infusion of humor, passion, and small town setting were definitely what I was expecting after getting the earlier books in the series.  I imagine these could be read/listened to as standalone in a pinch, but my recommendation is that the reader wait and get them exactly where they fall in the series as book six for optimum enjoyment.

My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #319 LGBT
Audio #38

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • This sounds very well executed, Sophia! And it also proves that anthologies can totally work. You even made me (the reader who doesn’t really love short stories) want to pick it up, well done!
    Have a wonderful Wednesday and happy reading 🙂
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    • Haha, glad I could tempt you. I think these have more appeal because of the tight connection they have to other books in the series so it had a stronger chance of connection to the reader who already likes the series.

      You have a great day, too, Lexxie. 🙂

  • Great review. I love reading anthologies only if they are done well. It has to flow or I lose interest. Glad you like this one. ~Aleen

    • Thanks, Aleen! I’m a recent comer to enjoying anthologies, but I agree that a good flow of theme really makes them better.

  • This sounds good, and I like that the depth took you by surprise.

    • It is definitely a good thing to be taken by surprise in a good way.

  • Sounds entertaining enough! The story with the closet erotic writer, oh my, I wonder if any of my old teachers were writing naughties on the side. Or maybe one/some of them are trying their hand at it now! lol

    I hope you’re having a great week!

    • Haha! I’ve read so many books about teachers or librarians who are closet erotic writers that there must be truth to it. 🙂

  • I am confused I think? There are several different authors that write stories that take place in Bluewater Bay? Did I read that right? That’s unusual if so. I’ve not read any of these, but I do remember reading some of your reviews. I actually bought my first m/m romance today so I am looking forward to seeing how I like that. I am glad these were all heartwarming for you! I think I would especially like the one about Lucas,

    • Yes, there is a series called Bluewater Bay where a team of writers takes turns writing a story set in Bluewater Bay. Most of the books can standalone or be read out of order. This antho pulls together either sequels or prequel novellas to other books in the series by these authors.
      I liked the Lucas story, too, and look forward to the book that tells his adult story.

      Oh neat! Which m/m book did you choose?

  • I like it when box sets or anthologies are created around a certain theme, like this one with the valentine’s day theme and some connected to the Bluewater Bay series. Sounds like a good collection overall!

    • Yes, that was exactly what appealed to me as well. I enjoyed it and maybe they’ll do another themed one.

  • Souns like a really good antho other than the near cheating one. The first one peaked my interest the most I think. I like getting those little tastes of previous characters 😀

    • It really was an all around winner. I loved how some novellas were follow-ups and some prequels so I could get a variety of new and familiar. Yeah, Carter and Levi and Levi’s two huge cats are quiet the story in that first one. Funny how the cat herder zeroed in on the one story with cool cat characters. 🙂