This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Riptide
Released on September 26, 2016
Length: 6 hours 22 minutes
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.
Romance Roundabout #319 LGBT