okthislooksbad's review against another edition

Go to review page

adventurous challenging emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.75

This is a pretty sweet anthology of romance tropes, fifteen stories by fifteen authors, most with queer mains and poc rep and written in genres ranging from contemporary to fantasy and historical fiction. Some sci-fi, too, in the mix. As always with anthologies it was a little hit-and-miss - one or two were a struggle to get through, but most of them were pretty fun; a special shoutout to my favourites, Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks by Rebecca Kim Well, The Passover Date by Laura Silverman, Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Malinda Lo, and Disaster by Rebecca Podos.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

bookishthoughtsbylia's review

Go to review page

emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

tiredcath's review

Go to review page

adventurous emotional funny lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

What a fun compilation!

Fifteen unique stories all centered around love. This is a great casual read. Something you can pick up at random and fall into. I actually read it in a random order based off the titles, I found it made the experience so much fun as you don’t know what you’re going to dive into. 

Obviously, not every story resonated with me. The first one for example, I felt needed a lot more exposition. A lot of them felt me wanting for more. But otherwise this is a great collection of short stories. 

My favorite was “the Grumpy One and the Soft One” by Ashley Herring Blake. I could hear an entire book just on those two characters. 

Thank you to Netgally for this arc in exchange for my honest review. 

incognerdo's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

What happens when a group of romance writers take common romance tropes and give them life using a multicultural and LGBTQ+ cast? You get some stellar short stories that breathe life back into some tired literary devices. This book is fantastic if you are looking for short stories situated within the romance genre that features BIPOC and queer characters. The stories aren't especially "spicy" and not all of them were incredible but the anthology as a whole is fantastic if you're looking for some romance escapism.

Some of my personal favorites included "Silver and Gold" by Natasha Ngan, "Passover Date" by Laura Silverman, and My Best Friend's Girl by Sara Farizan. The stories are easy to read, many of them are perfect length and tempo for a quick read before bed, and the characters are often incredibly believable.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

bodiesophenbach's review

Go to review page

adventurous emotional funny lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.5

3.5!

I loved this anthology of twists on some of my favorite romance tropes and I adored the amount of LGBTQ+ rep in these pages. It didn't feel thrown in to meet a requirement because more than half the stories had queer MCs! The book also had Fat MCs, Jewish MCs, Black MCs, Latinx MCs, Asian 
MCs. There's tons of rep here that I absolutely adored and I loved getting to read them all together here in one book. 

When I picked this up, I decided to read it in order of which tropes I enjoy the most but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed some of the stories with tropes I wasn't looking forward to. The love triangle one almost broke me it was so good and I would pay good money for an entire book about those characters.

These stories are also full of magic, space, time travel, monsters, disasters, superheroes and some just plain old contemporary settings for romance. It felt like reading fanfiction in the best way.  

Some of these were a little too cheesy or overdone for me to handle but I often reminded myself that they're YA stories and young adults have a lot of big feelings (same tbh I can't imagine outgrowing them lol)! I think the demographic this book is intended for will love it, but I still think older readers will enjoy it as well. 

My ratings of each story:
- Silver and Gold by Natasha Ngan: 4/5
- Five Stars by Amy Spalding: 2/5
- Unfortunately, Blobs Do Not Eat Snacks by Rebecca Kim Wells: 4/5
- Edges by Ashley Herring Blake: 3.5/5
- What Makes Us Heroes by Julian Winters: 2/5
- And by Hannah Moskowitz: 5/5
- My Best Friend’s Girl by Sara Farizan: 3/5
- (Fairy)Like Attracts Like by Claire Kann: 3/5
- These Strings by William Rivera: 1/5
- The Passover Date by Laura Silverman: 4/5
- Bloom by Rebecca Barrow: 4/5
- Teed Up by Gloria Chao: 3.5/5
- Boys Noise by Mason Deaver: 2/5
- Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Malinda Lo: 2/5
- Disaster by Rebecca Podos: 3/5

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

mari98's review

Go to review page

lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

readwithasherreid's review

Go to review page

medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.0

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Truthfully, I’m severely disappointed in this collection. At first, I thought I was the problem, but it appears lots of other readers were also let down! This is a 288-page short story collection that *dragged*. I did not read everything in this collection because I was so put off. I tried skim reading a few of the stories but what I saw just led me itching to DNF more. I read stories from my favorite authors (Natasha Ngan, Julian Winters, Mason Deaver) and adored those! But the other stories, as grateful as I am for queer representation (especially with queer characters of color) it was just not doing it for me. I appreciate the effort. I still think this has the potential to touch a lot of lives. Young queer teens will adore this, and that’s good considering they are the target audience. I also think this is good for people who want to get back into reading because diverse short story collections are a fun way to experiment with genres/authors. There are lots of sapphic stories in here, a story about a poly couple, etc. I think if you’re a queer person looking for rep, you have a good chance of finding yourself within this collection. This book is also filled with tons of romance tropes, so if you’re a sucker for those, check this out!!. Overall, this wasn’t for me, but I don’t want to discourage anyone away from giving it a chance. 

mbooksbycandlelight's review

Go to review page

3.0

This book has a lot of very short love stories. They’re more like love moments really. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly when I saw all the authors, but I didn’t love how short all the stories were. Not enough time to connect with the characters, you know? On the plus side, this was a very quick read, and a lot of the stories were fun and adorable. If you are a fan of short one-shots, you’ll probably like this.

I received an eArc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

withintheselines's review

Go to review page

emotional funny lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.5

jenniferforjoy's review against another edition

Go to review page

slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

2.0

 
 Finally I'm done! This collection took me forever because I struggle to connect with characters when it's just a brief little story with them.

Recommended: for some people
If you like short stories, if you can buy into love stories quickly, if you're a sucker for those "first confession / first kiss" kind of scenes

Thoughts:
UGH. I'm so sad I'm starting this off with a groan, but... dang. I always struggle with short stories, but I had hoped this would be different. I live for those moments in books where the characters finally come together and admit how they feel, but this collection just didn't do it for me. If any of my difficulties below resonate with you, then you might want to dodge this one, but I think a lot of folks will treasure this collection.

Issue #1: since they're all short stories, they all read as insta-love to me because it happened in the course of 10-15 pages.Even in the tropes that necessitate a history (ex. friends to lovers, second chance) it all felt so rushed! I didn't really know or care about the characters in most of these because I barely knew them. My pleasure at seeing two people find love was muted by the fact that they still felt like strangers.

Issue #2: if I did like a story, it was over too soon!This is again an issue more inherent to the style itself, since obviously yes short stories are going to be short! With a collection like this, on the stories where I did start to like the scene or setup, it ended, and I'd go into the next story resenting that I had to read something new and not the one I liked. Really a personal issue, but if you're as petty as me, this might take you out of it as well. 😅 I had hoped that I would get consistent tiny rushes of dopamine from each as I fell in love over and over again with the characters, but alas... a lot of it fell flat for me. The fall was that much harder when it came after one that I had enjoyed.

Maybe issue #3: it's truly YA, with all teen characters and chaste scenes. I think this is expected going into a young adult collection, but in case you're wondering, this is not at all explicit. A lot of the stories don't even end with a kiss, and more of a promise of the chance of something new.

Maybe issue #4: I hope you like tropes! Since this is a varied collection of stories based entirely on different love tropes, you'd better like the tropes. If familiar story lines are going to bore you, then this is obviously not for you! I found most of the ideas of the tropes to be ones I liked, and only had one that I skipped entirely (time-travel love, a la the one with the letters mailed across time). That one was astonishingly long, which I noticed as I quickly flipped through pages looking for the next story. Prepare to commit for that one -- either to reading, or to page-flipping! This is also THE MAIN DRAW OF THE BOOK! So if you're not sure if you'll like that, why are you even here? xD You can safely skip this one and try something else. Maybe check out All Signs Point to Yes instead (YA stories of all kinds of love, based on Zodiac signs).

Not an issue #5: practice writing these tropes yourself! I think this collection would be excellent for anyone teaching writing particularly in high school, or anyone working on their own skills in writing romance and love. Each story is categorized by the trope theme it follows, and it could lead to some fun activities in classes.

My list got kind of weirdly structured by the end, and any of these items could be a pro or con based on who you are. This was a tough one to rate, but ultimately the rating ("it was ok...") reflects my own experience and not whether I think it's a good book or if others will like it. I think a LOT of folks will embrace this one! But if you're like me and struggle with short stories and insta-love, you might also want to skip it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Perseus Books for a free advanced copy! This is my honest review.