Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: Romantic Interludes


I've never done a review on a collection for short stories before, but I was searching through my reader a few days ago and found Romantic Interludes. I remember getting it when it first came out but then it just kind of sat there as life got in the way. And, of course since it's been awhile, each of these stories are now being sold separately.

As a whole:

Title: Romantic Interludes
Authors: Lissa Bryan, Suzy Duffy, T.M. Franklin, Jennifer Schmidt, Allie Jean, Sandi Layne and Sydney Logan
Publication Date: February 1, 2013
Source: Bought
Summary:  (from Goodreads): The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House gives its readers seven spicy, sweet, and sassy stories guaranteed to satisfy.

What happens when the God of love is smitten by a mortal woman? Or when a marine comes home from overseas and wants a second chance with the one he let get away?

From a greeting card writer who hates Valentine’s Day, to a matchmaker who doesn’t believe in love, to a young couple who has to face fears from the past before then can accept their future – Romantic Interludes includes seven tales of love from these authors:

Whether in an emergency room or flower shop, love is in the air. From first glances to second chances, this bundle of romantic stories will get your heart racing!

The Golden Arrow and the Butterfly: When one of his arrows goes awry, Eros whisks the beautiful, modern Psyche to his home on Mount Olympus. He keeps her blindfolded so she doesn't fall in love with the first man she sees. But what if love is blind after all?

The Gentleman Gardner: Becky longs for something beyond small town life and her job at The Little Flower Shop. Perhaps a handsome stranger with terrible taste in flowers will be the one to give her what she’s been missing.

A Piece of Cake: Emily Valentine walked away from her gift and her family’s legacy, instead trusting in science to help others find love. But when cake designer Sam Cavanaugh is matched with her latest client, she just may find the heart trumps reason.

Dissecting Lies and Intentions: After the less than stellar ending to Christine and Mitch’s relationship, she has gone out of her way to avoid him. When she finally works up the courage to confront him about his lies, will she be able to forgive and let go of the past?

Justin’s Second Chance: Ten years ago, Justin Clark walked away from April Peterson. Will a chance encounter with the beautiful widow and her daughter be the second chance that Justin has longed for?

Stupid Cupid: Jada Morgan hates Valentine’s Day and especially Cupid. Perhaps single father Nathan Reynolds will be the one to change her mind.

Two Pink Lines: After twelve years of friendship, Memphis and Kennedy Adams took a risk that changed their lives forever. Will two unexpected pink lines destroy their blissful world or will Kennedy be able to overcome her fear of the past?

I was only going to rate this as a whole book, but then I started reading each story and realized that just wouldn't do. The book as a whole gets....

There were parts I liked, and then parts I didn't like so much. Which is why I have to do individual reviews for each story. So here we go!

The Golden Arrow and the Butterfly by Lissa Bryan
I’ve read a couple of Lissa Bryan’s novels and think she’s really great so I was excited to see she was part of this little collection.

Meet the God Eros, or we know him better as Cupid. Yes, a real life Cupid. Eros has a little crush of his own on a mortal named Psyche. While playing with his bow and arrow in a mall, Eros is distracted by Psyche as he takes aim at his intended target and WOOSH! The arrow misses and lands straight into Psyche’s chest. What is the golden rule of Cupid’s arrow? Well love, of course. What is the God of Love to do when he misses a target, shoots his crush and panics as she will fall in love with the first man she now sees? Knock her out with magic and vanish with her, naturally.

This is a fun little read about Eros taking his work home with him. Yep, that’s how I see it. He kidnaps her, blindfolds her so she won’t fall in love with him, pampers her on Mount Olympus and well, I’m sure you can guess the rest. You get to meet some other Gods along the way, some rather amusing and watch as Eros stumbles is way through finding love himself. 

The Gentleman Gardener by Suzy Duffy

Suzy Duffy is another one of my fave TWCS authors.

The Gentleman Gardener introduces us to Becky. Becky works at a small flower shop, is depressed about her love life and in need of a little excitement. Cue Monday Man. No, not really the kind of excitement she needs, but he does add a little bit of interesting to her usual boring work week.

Monday Man is a new costumer who starts to come in every Monday (obviously) to buy flowers. Becky is unimpressed with his flower selections but very impressed with the man himself. And unable to find out anything at all about the man—what’s his name? Who is he buying flowers for? Why does he suck at flower selections but has amazing clothes? Monday Man has a little mystery to him. Finally, after five weeks she thinks of a somewhat clever way to find out his name. Bob. Bob? At this point if I were Becky I’d be thinking, “What the hell? I’ve waited all this time to find out his name and it’s Bob.” I dunno, I would have liked a little creativeness behind the name, I guess.

And then, wait! Bob starts buying different kinds of flowers. This can only mean one thing to Becky. He’s seeing two women now. Cue Becky getting all depressed about a man she barely talks to buying different flowers for another woman. Becky, Becky, Becky. This is how obsessive stalking begins, ya know.

Like I said, I’m usually a big fan of Duffy, just not this time around.


A Piece of Cake by T.M Franklin
I haven’t read anything by T.M Franklin yet so I was interested to see what she brought to the table. Really liked what I read!

Emily comes from a long line of talented match makers—more than match makers, actually. Her grandmother and mother both of special abilities, as does Emily, which helps them match each person with their “other half.” But it wasn’t always so simple for Emily. Painful family history makes her turn her back on her gift, shoving it as far down as she could until she learned to turn it off. Emily doesn’t believe in soul mates and true love, instead she would rather focus on the science of love and help people find it that way, which is what she does with her company Perfect Match. Her mother and grandmother do not approve of her methods this way, needless to say.

All is going well for Emily until one night, at a cocktail party that she’s thrown for a female client to meet potential matches, Emily meets one of them and is completely caught off guard by a lot of things. Sam is there as a potential match for Jessica, but what? They have nothing in common, yet Emily’s system says they’re a perfect match? Only he doesn’t seem too interested in her and…there’s the little problem that Emily herself wouldn’t mind taking him home. Not that she’ll admit that to anyone, of course.

I really enjoyed this one! It was fun and flirty and I love the idea of match making with special powers. Kind of a supernatural feel to it. 

Dissecting Lies and Intentions by Allie Jean
Again, another author I wasn’t familiar with.

If this one teaches us anything it’s that dating in the work place might not be the best idea. Or it might. It’s really a 50/50 shot, right? It might also teach us that appearances aren’t always what they appear to be and women tend to get their panties in a bunch over assumptions.

Christine and Mitch, the workplace romance gone wrong. As if Valentine’s Day isn’t bad enough to get through—they don’t call it Singles Awareness Day for nothing—Christine has to spend the day working with her ex—something she’s avoided doing by switching shifts. But alas, Cupid and his fucking stupid bow full of arrow fuck ups had other plans.

Most of the story takes place in the hospital where Christine and Mitch work. It read more of like an episode of ER with all the medical speak and codes running and people needing attention than a romance short story. We didn’t really even see much of Mitch and Christine together, just her work day. We don’t even find out what happens until the very end when Christine, taking advice from a patient, takes her head out of her ass and gives Mitch a chance to explain.

I did like the story though, even if most of it was about the chaos of working in a hospital.

Justin’s Second Chance by Sandi Layne
I like the idea of a pen-pal relationship turning to something more. And the start of this short had a lot of promise. But I have a problem with men being pussies, and in my opinion, that was what Justin was when he just deleted his account and never spoke to the one person who was there for him and helped him through is shit. All because, what, he was scared? Grow the fuck up.

*sigh* But I also like to believe in second chances, even if it’s just to prove that jerk doesn’t deserve it and you’re better off without him. *ahem*  So that’s what this one is about if you couldn’t guess from the title. A second chance with the one who got away. Considering what happened I thought April was a little too forgiving when it came to Justin. There didn’t seem to be any hesitation to welcome him back into her life after the bullshit he pulled. And just because he apologized that doesn’t mean all is okay, girl. She is hesitant though because she is a recent widow, and that makes things a little more difficult.

It’s a cute story about finding love again and reconnecting with the lost one that many people will probably enjoy.—it just wasn’t a favourite of mine.

Stupid Cupid by Sydney Logan
This was really an adorable story but once again miscommunication was a problem in this one, but once you found out it was super cute.

Jada hates Valentine’s Day and works for a greeting card company. Probably not the best profession to have when you loathe the day of overpriced chocolates and flowers. It’s at work where she meets Nathan, the new illustrator at work. Nathan is tall, dark, handsome, single father—who comes with a dark and twisted past involving his baby mama.

Jada falls fast and hard for Nathan and his little girl, but alas just as things start looking promising Nathan drops the bomb that he’s taking someone else to the company party. Oh, darn, what is a girl to do? As if we all didn’t see that one coming, but unlike Jada it was pretty clear to the rest of us who the “other woman” was.

It’s cute. Predictable but cute.

Two Pink Lines by Jennifer Schmidt
Okay, confession. I have been dancing in my seat trying to rush through these reviews so I could get to this one. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Jennifer Schmidt’s novels—when is a new one coming out, by the way? Someone find that shit out for me, ASAP! But when I found out that it was a short about Memphis and Kennedy from Risking It All? *swoooon* I get my Memphis fix again!

You have no idea how badly I wish this was a second novel and not just a short story. I would have loved to see the relationship play out into the engagement and then marriage and all the troubles that follow in between with these two. And then I would have loved to see how Memphis and his one true love handle parenting. Really, Ms Schmidt, this should have been a squeal. But I’ll take what I can get.

Now married, Memphis and Kennedy are headed into a new phase of their lives. Babies!! Not that Memphis has any clue about this, and really it’s just as big of shock for Kennedy who has fears of her own from a past miscarriage. These two are just as sweet and adorable and sexy as they were in Risking It All. I was so, so, SO happy to have the flashbacks from Kennedy. The way Memphis took care of her during that first horrible experience and the way he proposed. If I can’t have a book detailing it all out for me, this was just as good. I just wish she would have had a flashback of the wedding; I would have loved to see how these two got hitched! If it’s not clear, I cannot get enough of them.

I’m not giving away any spoilers by telling you about the baby because, well hello? Two Pink Lines? Yeah, speaks for itself, but can I just say that I absolutely adored the way Kennedy told Memphis she was pregnant? Oh. My. God. Sweetest thing ever. And his response? Dude, can you get any sexier? This man makes me melt into a puddle of lust in my panties.

I want more! Please, I beg for more!


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