I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
by Amy Jo Cousins, Annabeth Albert, Karen Booth, Karen Stivali, Roan Parrish, Robin Covington, Tamsen Parker, Tiffany Reisz, Vanessa North
Released: March 13 2018
“It’s perfect for someone that wants to dip their toes into the genre and check out a variety of writing styles!”
~ Under the Covers
Anthologies are both an amazing way of trying out new authors and some of the hardest thing to enjoy. In general, it’s so hard to make a collection where all the stories will be winners for the reader. Especially one with a lot of authors. Then there’s the fact that you basically have a bunch of novellas. Novellas are so hard! Some authors writer them exceptionally well. Others, not so much. It’s hard to connect with characters, especially unknown ones, in such a short amount of pages unless it’s left in the hands of a skilled author.
In EXPOSED we have a group of mostly LGBT romance authors that I think is an excellent sampling. It’s perfect for someone that wants to dip their toes into the genre and check out a variety of writing styles! But there are also some straight romances in the mix. The theme that ties these together is the naked calendar photo shoot. 😉 I’ve read most of these authors before, some are authors I enjoy and others I didn’t really connect with previously. So I won’t be reviewing every single story in the collection because some I skipped and some I just didn’t have the time to read.
LEVEL UP by Annabeth Albert – 4 Stars (Reviewed by Francesca)
I’ve only read one book in the Out of Uniform series, my mistake because I really enjoyed it and I need to go back and read the rest. This is the story about Landon who is part of Pike’s group of friends. He’s a bisexual, nerdy, gamer professor with a troubled past and a fear of men who are larger than him. When he shows up for the naked calendar shoot, his photographer, that he’d been flirting with for a while and thinking it was a woman, ends up being a man. Taller, broader, and oh so sexy. I really liked both characters a lot, but especially Bailey. He is so sweet and tentative and gives Landon as much space as he needs while still making it very clear he’s worth the challenge and work. They start off with a great connection and the fact they are extremely compatible and it develops into more. Maybe a bit too fast to believe, but still extremely enjoyable to see.
WISHING by Karen Booth – 3 Stars (Reviewed by Francesca)
This is a M/F rock star romance. Samantha moves back home after quitting her job and ending a bad relationship. She was not expecting to find a sexy rock star staying with her parents while he records his album. This was a bit of a lust/love at first sight and their relationship develops in just 5 days. I can’t say that I was invested enough in their story or bought into their feelings but it was an entertaining read nonetheless. Cute and a little sexy. However, I don’t think it’s left me running to read more from this author. This was my first time reading her.
GHOST by Robin Covington – 3.5 Stars (Reviewed by Francesca)
I *think* this is my first time reading this author, but I could be wrong. I enjoyed this story from the start. Oliver is a few years older than Garrett. They meet at comic con and have a one night stand. But Oliver is trying to build a company and has no time for a relationship, no matter how much he liked Garrett, so he leaves before Garrett wakes up. Years later, Oliver is trying to sign an artist to his company, the elusive G. When he gets the opportunity to finally see the face behind the artist, it’s none other than the man he walked out on all those years ago. This was an adorable second chance, it had enough of the connection I was looking for, it was sexy and sweet at the time same time.
NATURAL ENEMIES by Roan Parrish – 3 Stars (Reviewed by Francesca)
If you like your heroes a little geeky and socially awkward, then this will be a fun read for you! Stefan has never managed interactions with others well. He’s dedicated himself fully to his career as a botanist and does much better with plants. When Milo, a gardener that works at the Botanical Gardens, gets a mention in a list of hot under 30 for his botanical knowledge, Stefan is jealous he didn’t get the mention and immediately needs to meet this Milo and see how they compare. This story focused more on the physical and the individuals then the connection, I think. At least that’s where it lacked something for me. But it was still a fun and sexy read. Especially with the unique settings. I loved the love for plants they both have and how that was included in the story.
THE WATERMARK by Tiffany Reisz – 4 stars (Reviewed by Annie)
Champion bull rider, Jason Waters had no idea he was kinky until he had a photoshoot with Simone but she brings the secrets out of him within two hours of meeting. Since this is a short story, things move at a very brisk pace but I actually found that I didn’t really mind it in this book.
For me, this short story worked because of the way it was written. Tiffany Reisz excels at writing dialogue and I felt like much of this book was all talking between the hero and heroine. It’s a smart move on the author’s part because not only does it build rapport between the main characters but it also allows the inclusion of backstory as well. So even though things go from the introduction to the sex scenes quickly, the reader still feels like some chemistry has been noted and made.
These BDSM type of stories from Reisz are my favorites of hers. They really are what she does best and I hope she continues to do more of them in the future.
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