Title: 2016 Top Ten Gay Romance
Authors: Becky Black, TA Creech, Rebecca James, Shawn Lane, JL Merrow, AR Moler, Michael P. Thomas, Tinnean and JD Walker
Publisher: JMS Books
POV: 3rd, 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Holiday
2016 Top Ten Gay Romance brings together the best-selling short stories published by JMS Books that year.
From first love to true love, from submission to sensual, from heat to sweet and everything in between, the couples in these stories are sure to keep you turning the pages as you fall in love with them.
With stories by Becky Black, T.A. Creech, Rebecca James, Shawn Lane, J.L. Merrow, A.R. Moler, Terry O’Reilly, Michael P. Thomas, Tinnean, and J.D. Walker, this head-over-heels collection goes beyond bedtime reading. Whether happily ever after or happy for now, there’s an ending for everyone in here!
Contains the stories: Me and My Big Mouth by Becky Black, Captive by T.A. Creech, Love Lost, Love Found by Rebecca James, Accidentally His by Shawn Lane, A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou by J.L. Merrow, For the Last Time by A.R. Moler, First and Goal by Terry O’Reilly, It’s Not Yule, It’s Me by Michael P. Thomas, In His Line of Work by Tinnean, and And This is Ed by J.D. Walker.
When it comes to reading an anthology, it easily turn into a tricky read for me. Though I’ve read many of them, most leave me wanting for more. I’m glad to say that 2016 Top Ten Gay Romance Anthology was filled with many great stories with characters that I really found myself rooting for. Each and every story was interesting and every story was well worth reading.
Me and My Big Mouth by Becky Black
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Kisses
This is the first story I’ve read by this author and I really liked it. I thought the characters were interesting and I liked the main character, Max the best. He’s funny and has a way of putting his foot in his mouth and I thought his honesty and bluntness was refreshing. I also like the May/December aspect of the story, as well as, the ‘opposites attract’ storyline. He and Owen are a good match and though it ended on a HFN ending, I have high hopes for them.
Captive by TA Creech
Rating: 5 out of 5 Kisses
WOW! This is the first story I’ve read by TA Creech and after reading Captive, it won’t be my last! I loved the descriptive storytelling ability this author has and I was immediately wrapped up into these characters lives. The world-building the author created for this science fiction romance was great and I enjoyed watching Justin and Sajah’s relationship develop. For a short story it is pretty well-written and balanced…selfishly I wish it had been longer…I loved it!
Lost Love, Love Found by Rebecca James
Lost Love, Love Found is a sweet holiday story between to heroes that learn to trust in the power of love. Dane’s wife died three years ago and he’s been living with both of sorrow of losing her and the guilt of not being honest with her about several things. *Read it and find out what they are* When he spots a homeless man on the side of the road, Dane’s protective instincts take over and he decides to give into the holiday spirit and help the man, Sayer, out.
I liked the chemistry the two men shared together. There is an instant emotional bond between them and I enjoyed the banter they shared together. Though I like an insta-love romance, I thought this one was a tad bit on the rushed side…especially toward the end.
Accidentally His by Shawn Lane
Rating: 3.25 out of 5 Kisses!
When I first started this story, I thought I would love it. Then as the story progressed, our main hero, Kirk’s, attitude began to change and was a bit of a jerk to Elijah. It was strange because one moment Kirk acts like he wants to get to know Elijah and is fascinated with him and then next *when he has Elijah interested* Kirk doesn’t call and acts kind of jerky…wth? Though I thought Elijah was so sweet, the character that intrigued me the most was Toby, who was a secondary character. I would love to read his story. I have conflicting feelings about this read because I really liked Kirk in the beginning, but not so much in the middle and end.
Because of Kirk’s insensitivity I thought Elijah deserved better and though he had an explanation for his showing lack of interest, I never got back on board with him. I’m sorry. Maybe if the book was longer the characterization would have been more fleshed out and I would have enjoyed it better. In the end, I liked the story, I just didn’t love it like I thought I would in the beginning. Having said this, there will be many people who will love Kirk and Elijah’s relationship. Ms. Lane is a solid storyteller and knows how to write heated chemistry that can leap out of the written page. I’m sure there are many fans of hers that will enjoy the story Kirk had to tell.
A pint of beer, a bag of chips and thou by JL Merrow
Rating: 4 out of 5 Kisses!
A Pint of Beer, A Bag of Chips and Thou is a sweet and fast-paced story about a struggling musician and his quirky family. To make extra money, Liam plays at the local tube. He enjoys playing for strangers, hoping to make their day a little brighter by the music he shares with them. Also, he has been watching a sexy older man walk by daily who seems to enjoy the songs he plays. When his three lovable older female relatives decide to take matters into their own hands, will Liam’s hope the sexy man will finally speak to him?
This story is told in first person through Liam’s eyes. I enjoyed the story he had to tell and loved the ‘coven’ of female relatives who joyfully interfere with his life. Liam’s romance with Neil is a sweet thing to watch too. I enjoyed their heated chemistry and the easy banter they shared between them. JL Merrow wrote a feel-good, quirky story with lovable characters and two heroes you can’t help but love.
For the Last Time by AR Moler
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Kisses!
For the Last Time spans Mark and Scott’s friendship over the past twenty years. It is a friends to lovers romance that had great potential to be an amazing story. But because of the length and because it felt rushed at times, I thought it took away from the story Scott and Mark had to tell. Also, because both men tried to push aside their physical and emotional attraction towards one another, they live as straight men who are married *more than once in one heroes case* and are still married as they explore their sexuality and feelings for one another. I’m not crazy about cheating heroes. In a way I understood why they lived in fear and in the closet for so long and if the story had been more fleshed out and longer, I might would have gotten on board with them more than I did. In the end, I liked the two men and in some ways their story is a sweet one. The author has a way of writing compelling characters who live and breathe off of the written page. I just wish it had been a full length novel.
First and Goal by Terry O’Reilly
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Kisses!
First and Goal is a sexy short story that packed a lot of punch. I really enjoyed reading about the two men and was intrigued watching their relationship develop as the story was told. Since Brad is an NFL player who is not out of the closet, his boyfriend Darrin, must keep their relationship under wraps. This can lead to problems and Darrin *who is a dancer* begins to feel the strain of having to live a life separate from Brad a secret. Darrin longs to be together all of the time and to begin to really share their life together, but because Brad is afraid of the ramifications of coming out, Darrin continues to push his own wants aside.
Because Brad feels like he needs to keep his sexuality and Darrin a secret, this story could have been one sided. But because Brad is a likeable man and it is obvious that keeping away from Darrin hurts him too, it was easy to understand the predicament they were in. I liked how the story resolved itself and loved the chemistry these two men shared together. First and Goal is a quick and sexy read that is easy to like and so enjoyable to read.
I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author in the future.
It’s Not Yule, it’s Me by Michael P. Thomas
Rating: 5 out of 5 Kisses!
To my knowledge, this is the first story I’ve read by Michael P. Thomas and after reading this little gem of a story, it won’t be my last. I was immediately swept up into the lives of these two men and absolutely loved the story they had to tell. For a short story, I thought it was very well-developed and well-rounded. Although I do wish the story had been longer, but only because of my selfish reasons, not because the story wasn’t a complete one.
I loved the chemistry Shannon and Ben shared together. I highly enjoyed watching their relationship evolve from strangers to lovers. Both men are likeable and though they find themselves in interesting situations *Shannon has some unique Christmas experiences* I really found myself rooting for them to be together. It’s Not Yule, It’s Me is a warm and romantic story that will live in your heart long after you finish reading the story.
In His Line of Work by Tinnean
Rating: 2 out of 5 Kisses
This is going to sound a little strange, but I think I’m lost on this story. As I read and finished it, I felt like I had fallen somehow in the middle of another story and I was a little lost and confused. Deuce is an interesting character, but he is still a bit of a mystery. As is most of the story to me. *Scratches my head*
There seems to be a lot going on and a past I’m not sure about, so it makes me wonder if this book was part of a series or what. Because it felt incomplete to me and I felt like I fell into a rabbit hole, it was a hard for me to follow. I imagine fans of this author’s work will know exactly what is going on and will truly enjoy the story.
And This is Ed by JD Walker
Rating: 5 out of 5
I’ve read a couple of books by JD Walker, but after reading this short story, I’ll be actively looking for more by this author. I really liked our main hero Ed. Ed is a well-written three dimensional character that I think a lot of people will be able to relate with. He manages the cleaning crew and it’s because of this, Ed is often overlooked, poked fun at and treated like he doesn’t matter. He’s been hurt in the past and to keep others from hurting him again, Ed has built a wall around his heart. When he meets Titus, a new manager that Ed must work with, Ed is immediately attracted to the soft-spoken and seemingly sweet and thoughtful man.
I don’t want to give anything away but I was surprised by what happened. I felt anger and hurt for Ed. BUT saying this, I was very happy that underneath his sometimes gruff exterior, Ed knows how to forgive and love and allows himself to take chances. I liked the way his relationship continues to grow with Titus and have big hopes for them in the future.
As you can see almost all of these stories were very well-written and enjoyable reads. 2016 Top Ten Gay Romance is an easy book to recommend if you are looking for some romantic reads on a cold, rainy day.
Reviewed By: Gabbi
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