Naughty Lovers: Love Is In The Air by Tina Donahue
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Something for every taste, generally excellent writing and two stories I'd give more than 5 stars to if I could
I like reading anthologies as they typically give me a chance to sample a bunch of new authors without spending a ton of money. I usually find at least one author I want to read more from, and I actually discovered several of my favorite authors this way. So I started reading Naughty Lovers with a sort of pleasant anticipation, not expecting to like everything I read, but hoping to discover a new author or two. With all new-to-me authors, Naughty Lovers is a mix of genres, from the kind of story I actively look for to stories outside my usual comfort zone. As it turns out, there's only one story I'd give less than four stars, and two I'd give more than 5 stars to if I could.
I've spent years reading mainstream fantasy and sci-fi, (Tolkien and George RR Martin, among many others), and the few fantasy/sci-fi romance stories I've read mostly haven't quite measured up, so it's a genre I've been avoiding. Which makes it ironic that my favorite stories from this anthology--stories that would have been worth buying the anthology for on their own--were the two fantasy/sci-fi stories in the mix. I would easily put either Bastard's Bonus by Terry Rissen or The Wyndraider's Conquest by Charlotte Boyett-Compo up against any of the best fantasy/sci-fi I've ever read.
With something for every taste, generally excellent writing and two stories I loved, I'm giving Naughty Lovers a 5 star rating. Individual story comments and ratings follow.
• The Ride of Her Life by Tina Donahue: Instalust. Funny and hot, a fast read. 5 stars
• Love in the Air by Suz deMello: Light BDSM. Zack introduces Jill to BDSM. I liked that it actually took a couple of months develop a relationship. 4 stars
• Renaissance by Alexa Silver: Rockstar. I did notice a couple of editing errors, but not enough to detract from the story. Great characters in this story of a rockstar with a song writing block meeting an aspiring songwriter. Would have been my favorite except for the two fantasy and sci-fi stories. 5 stars
• Bastard's Bonus by Terry Rissen: M/M and fantasy. Sweet and moving, the author did a wonderful job creating an entire world in the space of a short story. A terrific story and one of my favorites. 5+ stars
• Cinderella Scandal by Nicole Austin: Stepbrother. Well-written and very hot, though I would have liked a little more story to go with the heat. 4 stars
• Swing Follies: Ockham Steam-Works Laboratory Chronicles 3 by Regina Kammer: Steam punk. Technically well-written, but while the formal writing style matches the genre, it's just not my personal taste, and the set-up (inventors of erotic machinery) felt a bit contrived to me. 3.5 stars
• Sappho's Sisters by Berengaria Brown: F/F and Regency. My first F/F story. Well-done, if not quite my taste. 4 stars
• Blast from the Past by Katherine Kingston: 2nd chance and BDSM. A nice story of two people learning how to be together again after a ten year separation. 4 stars
• The Wyndraider's Conquest by Charlotte Boyett-Compo: Sci-fi and shifter. Another great story. Terrific world-building, heat and a lots of laughs as an alpha male meets his mate--and his match. 5+ stars
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