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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Lights, Camera, Cupid (Bluewater Bay #6) by S.E. Jakes, Amy Lane, Z.A. Maxfield, Anne Tenino & L.A. Witt

I stared this series two months ago and while I DID enjoy it, due to lack of reading time that month had to postpone the continuation of the series for other books I was excited to read and so here I am returning to this fun series with an Anthology half of which are about couples we already met in the previous installments and all of written by authors I've already read and enjoyed. 

I'm reviewing each novella on it's own and then adding my overall thoughts and rating for this Anthology at the very end. 

Just Another Day [Levi & Carter] by L.A. Witt   ★
This was a nice continuation of Levi and Carter's story. If you loved them and wished them all the best he you can see them getting more of a HEA even if they have to first get through Levi hating Valentine's Day while Carter REALLY wanting to somehow celebrate it, or rather express how much his relationship with Levi means to him. I'm not sure why but this one didn't grab me. I liked them in the first installment ("Starstruck") of the series but this mostly scene with Levi and Carter (and the cats) was somehow TOO domestic and lacking when standing on it's own. It could have been a nice Epilogue to their book though. 

Nascha by Amy Lane   ★
I'm sitting here in tears over this amazing and sad love story. Nascha's story. A man who wanted a home but only found himself giving it to others. He was happiest with his two best friends and lovers - Kitten and Raw, but things changed once he had to take care of his sister's daughter - Beth. Everyone made their difficult choices, mostly Nascha. I don't want to say more about the plot. I'll just say that Beth's son Cal is the MC in the 8th novel in this series ("The Deep of the Sound") and so I really can't wait to grab it and get more about this special family. We get the whole of Nascha's life story in this short novella, a true heart breaking and touching story I haven't read in a LONG time.

No Easy Ways [Cary Teijan & Dylan James] by S.E. Jakes   ★★½
I was glad to see S.E. Jakes' name in this Anthology. It's been awhile since I've read a book by her. I'm STILL waiting for the last installment in "Hell or High Water" series (hope she'll get to it soon..) and I"m wondering if it means she is planning on writing a book in this series or is it just this short novella. Anyhow I really enjoyed this one. I missed her writing :) This one was sexy and heart felt. A love rekindled between Cary and Dylan. They met when Cary was in high school and ended their relationship when Dylan left without a word. Now 6 years later Dylan is back and determined to get Cary back. There were a lot of secrets back then, it's time to share them and finally be able to be together again. 
My only complaint is the fact Cary cheated on his boyfriend. While their relationship did sound strange and not that committed, I think it could have been handled somehow better.. 

Helping Hand [Lucas Wilder & Gabriel Savage] by Anne Tenino   ★
This is a short "coming of age" novella, getting us acquainted with the MC in the next (7th) installment in the series ("Wedding Favors"). I actually can't wait to read it! This one was SO GOOD! It's told solely from Lucas' POV, telling us of his home situation, growing up in a poor family of lumberjacks who can't really handle the fact that he is an artist or of his sensitive behavior. Audrey, Lucas' best friend already knows he is gay, but telling his family isn't something he planned on doing, but he found himself doing just that when he confesses he got accepted to art school. That's not the only thing Lucas has to deal with in this short novella. We also get to see what happens when Lucas' crush since forever - Gabriel - learns Lucas is gay. I loved everything about this novella, loved the realistic family relationships and how they changed, loved seeing Lucas and Audrey together as best friends. It had a few funny moments, which was a surprise! Everything else I've read by Anne was somehow more funny than this kind of emotional ride of growing up and learning to stand up as a sort of grown up. What a great teaser! :) 

I'll Be There [Spencer Kepler & Nash Holly] by Z.A. Maxfield   ★
Sadly I didn't connect with this story AT ALL. I mean, I LOVED both Spencer and Nash in the 3rd installment ("Hell on Wheels") but the story here, totally alienated me. Basically, Spencer is in a convention and Nash was suppose to take a flight there the day after Spencer but everything got cancelled due to bad weather. So the whole novella Nash is doing his best to fight the snow, storm and icy roads with his brother's help navigating the workable roads. I'm sorry I found that totally boring. Spencer was too insecure I wasn't even sure why he agreed to any of it. Basically it's a convention as well as meeting a sick and dying woman who wished to meet him. They could have met anywhere.. not where Spencer would feel so horrible with his anxieties. Nope. Just nope. 

Three out of five of these were absolutely a TREASURE in an Anthology and not even a very long one I call it a win. Also it got me really excited about the two next ones in the series by Anne Tenino and Amy Lane. 

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 224 pages, 3 December 2016 / On GoodReads
Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought by collective authors, each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.

1. Starstruck By L.A. Witt [Levi Pritchard & Carter Samuels] (Published 3 November 2014) ★★★★
2. There's Something About Ari By L.B. Gregg [Buck Ellis & Ari Valentine] (Published 8 November 2014) ★★★★
3. Hell on Wheels By Z.A. Maxfield [Nash Holly & Spencer Kepler-Constantine] (Published 29 November 2014) ★★★★
4. Lone Wolf By Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt [Hunter Easton & Kevin Hussain] (Published 20 December 2014) ★★ (DNF 25%)
5. The Burnt Toast B&B By Heidi Belleau & Rachel Haimowitz [Ginsberg Sloan & Derrick Richards] (Published 11 January 2015) ★★★½
6. Lights, Camera, Cupid (Bluewater Bay #6) Valentine's Anthology (Published 7 February 2015) ★★★★
    [ Just Another Day [Levi Pritchard & Carter Samuels] by L.A. Witt  ★★★ ]
    [ Nascha By Amy Lane  ★★★★★ ]

    [ No Easy Way [Cary Teijan & Dylan James] By S.E. Jakes  ★½ ]
    [ Helping Hand [Lucas Wilder & Gabriel Savage] by Anne Tenino  ★★★★★ ]
    [ I'll Be There [Nash Holly & Spencer Kepler] By Z.A. Maxfield  ★★ ]
7. Wedding Favors By Anne Tenino [Lucas Wilder & Gabriel Savage] (Published 11 April 2015) ★★★★
8. The Deep of the Sound By Amy Lane [Cal McCorkle & Avery Kennedy] (Published 13 June 2015)  ★★★★
9. When to Hold Them By G.B. Gordon [Doran Callaghan & Xavier Wagner] (Published 15 August 2015)  ★★ (DNF 49%)
10. Rain Shadow By L.A. Witt [Jeremy Rose & Scott Fletcher]  (Published 17 October 2015) ★★★
11. Stuck Landing By Lauren Gallagher [Anna Maxwell & Natalya Izmaylova] (Published 12 December 2015) ★★ (DNF 38%)
12. How the Cookie Crumbles By Jaime Samms [Frederic Jackson & Blaire Caruthers] (Published 13 February 2016) ★★★¾
13. Selfie By Amy Lane [Connor Montgomery & Noah Dakers] (Published 16 April 2016) ★★ (DNF 51%)
14. All the Wrong Places By Ann Gallagher [Brennan Cross & Zafir Hamady] (Published 12 June 2016) ★★★½
15. Bluewater Blues By G. B. Gordon [Jack Daley & Mark Keao] (Published 15 October 2016)
16. No Small Parts By Ally Blue [Nat Horn & Rafael Cortez] (Published 19 December 2016) 
17. For A Good Time, Call... By Anne Tenino & E.J. Russell [Nate Albano & Seth Larson] (Published 8 April 2017)

Though I enjoyed many books in this series, I'm not going to continue past the 17th. Firstly, this series, with so many different authors and different themes and at times sub-genres made the whole experience "bumpy". I had too many books I didn't connect with and I feel like it's going to stay this way with the authors who weren't my favorite. Secondly I feel a bit unsure about supporting this publisher considering its recent revealed "shade".


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