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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Rain (Anthology) by Ruthie Knox, Molly O'Leefe, Cecilia Tan, Charlotte Stein, Mary Ann Rivers, Amy Jo Cousins, Shari Slade, Audra North, Alexandra Haughton ~~~ ★ ★ ★ ½ ~~~

This anthology contains 9 short stories, each has something to do with "rain" and together support in its profits RAINN organization (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network).

I was hyped about this one when I first saw it on Ruthie's website. It's no wonder, I'm hyped about anything she writes :) then I saw that Charlotte has a novella in it as well and I was really interested in reading it as well. I read two amazing short stories by her (Curve Ball and Run to You) but then I tried reading another and it was a miss. I want to check more by her so this was a great opportunity. The other authors I didn't know but ever since "Strangers on a Train" I feel like these anthologies are a great way of getting to know more authors with no "real commitment".

Sadly, this one was kind of a miss for me.. I'd buy it again even if I'd known I wouldn't like half of them because there is no way I was going to miss both Ruthie and Charlotte's novella and well, this is a donation to something important. Yet, most of the other stories weren't that good. You'll see from the individual review.


Before I begin the separate review I really recommend reading the preface by each author to her novella. It gives the context as well as the "vibe" to the story. 

I'm NOT going to write this review by the order the stories are laced in this bookn, I'm going to place them by rating. why? because I want to emphasize the good. There were 4 really good stories (Redemption, Real Feelings, Fitting In & Storm Warning) but the rest of them were so-and-so. 

Redemption / Ruthie Knox    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 
I read this one on a total disaster of day. I was feeling miserable, not necessary because what happened that day. it was just one of those days you realize everything is wrong. I was so not in the mood for anything, so angry I couldn't even consider going home, I just wanted a break, even a small one. I went to my favorite coffee shop and ordered my favorite meal (yeah, they didn't make it as they used to, and yeah the service wasn't that great either..) so I just sat there, opened my kindle and read this one. When I finished, with almost tears in my eyes (I don't believe in crying in public places) I closed the kindle and smiled, paid for my food and went home. Back home my poor mood came back but at least I had my well deserved time-out. So thanks again Ruthie for being the amazing author that you are! :)

Yeah, I didn't forget this one suppose to be a review! I just felt like I have to share this before. 

This story is of Jessie and Mike. Both of them had a hard life and as it seems it's not getting better. Jessie has tried so many things in her live, so many new starts, so many new places but she never had a real home, never had a feeling of a community. She never let herself fall in love, you have to be able to give something in a relationship and she doesn't have anything left to give. Mike is in no better place. He has lost his wife, his business he was proud of and living of HAMBURGERS his mother's dinner and fixing other people's homes. But what about HIS life? There is nothing in there, and he too feels like he has nothing to give to a woman. He can barely make it on his own. Together they form a sexual based relationship with nothing even close to friendship between them. It's just the sex. Until one day they actually HAVE a conversation and after that, when Jessie has to leave both of them have to make a decision. 

Storm Warning / Alexandra Haughton      ★ ★ ★ ★ ★  
Chronologically this is the last story. After being quite disappointed from half of these I think it was good that i got a cherry for making the effort and reading it till the end since this one was a beautiful story I will totally check out more work by Alexandra.

This is the story of Amy and Tom. They were best friends for ever and they even considered moving on to the next step when Amy told Tom she is going far far away to work as a party planner in L.A.. Panicked that she is leaving him he says things he shouldn't and breaks her heart. When she returns 5 years later, her heart is still broken from the things he said and the fact that he was actually right to assume she wouldn't make it up there alone. When a storm hits and they are forced to stay together for a few hours it's time for them to talk it through because seeing each other again brought back a lot more than just heart ache it brought longing and attraction as well. 

Real Feelings / Charlotte Stein     ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Charlotte has a very interesting voice, a way of seeing the world and describing it so I guess it's no wonder she brought us a strange kind of a story where the main hero has just bought an "android boyfriend" and is having a hard time with the fact that he is just suppose to obey her every word and he doesn't have a mind of his own so she keeps trying to make him decide mostly not very successfully :D The whole story is from her POV and it was interesting seeing the way she sees him and how he changes little by little. 

Fitting in / Audra North     ★ ★ ★ ★ 
This one was really nice!!! It's about shame, about dealing with shame. Stas always wanted to fit in. He wanted to be appreciated for who he is. He is good looking, he is smart, a nice person yet up until college he wasn't judged for who he is but for the fact that he was raised by two fathers.. He loves them both dearly but when deciding on a college he chooses one far away so he could start a new. 

On a party gone wrong he meets Leila - the weird girl. Yeah, he shouldn't judge but somehow he does, he doesn't want to be seen with her, he had enough shame dealing with his gay parents... yet he finds Leila's companionship to be a pleasure and she, harboring a secret crush on him, enjoys his company as well.  

Leila has a "dark secret" as well. Though everyone assume they know the real story of her past, actually all they got is the immature version of her stupid vindictive ex-boyfriend. Leila decided long ago she won't be ruled by shame of what she did and her decisions. After hearing her story and how good he felt being with her Stas realizes  there is more to life than being popular, especially if you need to hide who you really are while doing it. 

I once tried having a clean slate like Stas did, though for whole other reasons and at a different age. What I found out? that the past is there, the past goes wherever you are. You can't ignore it or really put it behind you as it never happened. We are who we are and if we don't feel happy with that, we can change it so it suits OURSELVES. I guess that's what Leila decided but it's such a brave decision it shouldn't be taken for granted. It takes a lot of courage and self assurance. GO LEILA! (and now - go Stas! :))

The Heart of it / Molly O'Keefe    ★ ★ ★
This one was a disappointment. It started interesting - we have a strange meeting between Gabe and Elena. Gabe is a famous author but he has a dark secret from his past preventing him from building a relationship or even having sex with a woman (unless he is drunk). Gabe pays for a high quality escort service where he meets Elena. The first chapter was good. It was all about how they interact together, The connection they form with one another. The other two chapters were so-and-so, somehow it stopped working for me. The narration became distant especially since every few paragraphs time flows by. The end tied it together but I felt there wasn't enough feel left not like it was in the beginning. 


Private Study / Shary Slade    ★ ★
I wasn't really into this story. It'a about Tess posting sexual content into the web. I don't really get why people do it. I don't. Because people will misuse this and when you are young (and stupid) you might upload a picture or a video you found "a little sexy" but when you're 30 or 40 things looks different, your life might be different and the choices you made back then when you were young and stupid will follow you because the net is endless and nothing really disappears even if you delete it.. 

Tess isn't a character I can even like. She is just, well, unappealing. When someone is sweet to her (after another guy was an ass) she treats him like dirt. She presumes too much and all of it is wrong. She is too aggressive towards a perfectly nice guy for no apparent reason, she is a spoiled brat who got everything anyone could wish for in life except for her freedom. Yeah, that sucks a little, but damn girl, can you appreciate SOMETHING in life? no, she can't.. 

Jamie is a total sweetheart though he kinda gave a vibe of a 16 year old.. not in a bad way, it's just I guess he was too naive (I'm not talking just about the sex). 

I didn't like the ending, I didn't feel I could "believe it" it felt "off character" and generally what works for one person shouldn't be also the answer for another.. 

Considering the only POV and the plot itself was a total miss I'm still giving this one two stars because I DID enjoy the writing - It was flowing, easy going and clever. 

Sacrifice / Cevilia Tan    
I didn't like this story at all :( The story was strange. Very strange. Some sort of Historical Romance with a bit of Paranormal in it. The main hero is a semi god and the main heroine is brought to him as a sacrifice so he would provide rain so the crops will grow. The main hero story didn't make any sense. I didn't like the was the attraction was described from both characters. The sex scene was, well, terrible. Realizing he's going to put his dick inside her body because she saw two dogs mating in the past was BEYOND disgusting and downright DISTURBING! A real miss. 


Rainy Season / Mary Ann Rivers     ★ 
Sometimes I wonder at my own silliness. I tried reading 2 short novellas by Mary Ann and since I had the same exact problem with both of them I knew I shouldn't even try reading this one. Yet I DID read it, yep, and as expected - I didn't like it AT ALL. The problem (as before) was the writing. The sentences doesn't "work" for me, too long or too strange or repetitive. Something there makes me dislike the story and characters even if it's not really "them" or the plot. I felt bad writing it before and I feel terrible writing it now yet it is the way it is and since a very good friend of mine absolutely LOVE her I feel less bad about it. I feel like it balances the equation somehow. I donno.

It's a story of a woman who is somehow "stuck" in her life, I think, I didn't really understand her problem, the guy who helps her is a math teacher who frequently comes to the coffee shop she works in. I didn't understand his metaphors or what he was trying to tell her but I was never very good at math :P
  
The Rain in Spain / Amy Jo Cousins     
Well, this one was a disappointment as well... What was wrong with this one? It felt like I was traveling in Spain with a teenage girl who only wants to run around and do whatever it is she wants while her mother (scratch that, I meant her husband!) tries to plan the perfect vocation - for her! and she is exasperated about it. Hearing Madga's voice was tedious. She wants her husband to be someone he is not, she wants him to accept her as she is, she wants him to change, but she doesn't want to do a damn thing from her side of the matter not even talk to him about what's wrong! All along she keeps thinking about the talk they need to have and when it finally arrives he asks "what's wrong" and she says "nothing" and he has to coax her to talk. What was all the rumbling around till now, ha? Either you want to talk to him or you don't. 

For me this story have been unrealistic firstly because they are too childish to be at whatever point they are in like and second because a relationship like theirs would NEVER work on the long run. When one person gives up right about everything to please the other and the other one just wants to be a care free person it just isn't enough to build something solid for years. Javi is really sweet. He is. Which is why he deserves someone who actually appreciate him enough to want what's good for HIM not only what's good for her. 

*   *   *

So that's it.I took me FOREVER to read this one mainly because I have been really tired of late and couldn't hold my eyes open long enough to read. I kinda miss my evening reads when I get lost in a novel and close it and go to sleep only when I feel that my stinging eyes can take NO MORE! 

To better evenings and to Summer Rain (coz it's too damn hot!)



Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 357 pages, 10-19 June 2014 / On GoodReads

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