#Review : Romancing The Sweet Side (An Anthology to Benefit One Way Farm Charity)

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These days, I find it more and more difficult to review a lot of the books I read. However, this one was an absolute pleasure to read and review.

Some people will say that an author should never review books. I disagree. In fact, I disagree with a lot of things people say that I shouldn’t (we shouldn’t do). But that’s another story. This anthology has quite a few stories from some friends of mine. But that doesn’t stop me from reading and reviewing them objectively  (AS A READER. I left my inner editor on the shelf as much as I could). The written word is important to me and as a reader first, it is my duty to share the books I love with all of you. Today, I’m sharing my honest opinions about Romancing The Sweet Side .

Personally, it didn’t matter to me that these sweet stories were written by erotic romance authors. However, I do have to say that it was fun to see where each of them went. I know it is never easy to step outside of a comfort zone. For most of these authors, it seemed to come naturally and I was able to fall into their worlds. 

Let’s begin with the story I found to be the most enjoyable and go from there.

Sweet In His Arms is a neat, tidy and completely engrossing m/m story created by Megan Slayer. I’ve followed Megan’s work for quite a while and I must say, she did not disappoint with this short and savory PG-13 delight. Check out the blurb for Sweet In His Arms:

Ryan Dane always knew where his heart was–in racing. He loves the sights, smells and sounds of the race and cars. He’s also sure about his sexuality, but the one man he’s always crushed on hasn’t been interested.
Until now.
Gage Bell considered Ryan the one that got away–except he never pursued Ryan in the first place. He’s done trying to ignore the way Ryan makes him feel, and an incident on the track has given him the right incentive to find the sweetness he’s always known was in Ryan’s arms–if Ryan will give him an inch and let him take the wheel.
Gage is ready to rub the right man.

We’ve all been there, right? I mean regardless of sexual or gender identification, we’ve all wanted someone who seemed out of our league. Well, the twist in this is lovely and I found myself rooting for these two until the end. Megan has woven an endearing tale that left me excited to read more featuring Ryan and Gage. Her story (for me) was the easiest in the anthology to follow because I understood the lingo, I know a lot about the careers of these men and I could see myself in this story as it unfolded. Though it was m/m…it could easily have been m/f or f/f. When Megan writes, I never see gender. I only see the love she creates between her characters. Within her writing, there are no boundaries. 

I absolutely LOVED this story! Dirt track racing, HOT…HAWT men and perfect layers and descriptions throughout the tale. I found no errors or anything to draw me away from the story. It flowed easily and brought us to the edge of what could be possible in the future without any gaps or lags in plot. Megan Slayer knows how to write a great story and her genre flexibility shines in Sweet In His Arms! 

Encore by Cheryl Dragon:

Back in town to raise money for the group home that saved her life, Jenna isn’t interested in dredging up the past or re-kindling things with her ex, Sam. She and her band achieved modest success and continue to tour, but life on the road is getting old.

High school sweethearts Sam and Jenna met while in the foster system. With friends, they formed a band, but Sam grew addicted to the vices of life on the road. Years later, he’s changed his ways but never got over his first love.

Cheryl Dragon has given us a sweet story about growing up, moving on and second chances. To me, this story was adorable and packed with emotion and feelings that made it easy to see myself in each of the main characters’ shoes. I couldn’t pick a side. Even though I found myself irritated with Jenna on occasion, I was still wanting the story to go the way I wanted it to go. But…let me tell you…I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her. (That’s all I’m saying). Overall, I loved this small tale and I hope to see more stories with this cast of characters in the future. 

Cherish Tomorrow  Live Today by Trinity Blacio:

Betsy is done with men. She’s ready to relax and enjoy her new freedom. She wasn’t looking to start over.
Gage, alpha of his pack and a man who gets what he wants, knows Betsy is his. Nothing will keep him from claiming her, except for those who wish her dead.

I love Trinity’s work and I absolutely love the fact that she came up with the idea for this anthology. Her heart is absolutely as big as her imagination. Cherish Tomorrow Live Today was a nice story. However, quite often I found myself angry at Betsy in the beginning. She was too hard on herself, too scared to transform and enjoy her new life. I found myself feeling so bad for her that I often couldn’t stop thinking about all she’d been through and it distracted me. I loved seeing where Trinity twisted and turned this story. I hope that Betsy truly enjoys her new life. 

Overall, I liked this story because I could feel Betsy’s pain and stress. Trinity did a great job of making her character as flawed as she could. I appreciate that. If a story doesn’t evoke an emotional response for the reader, what’s the point? Trinity definitely got my attention and now I want more. Get to writing, girlfriend!

Second Chancers Club by Dawn Montgomery:

Melanie McHugh had fought for her freedom from an abusive ex-husband who’d run her ranch into the ground. The last thing she needed was to fall in love. And definitely not with the man who’d helped her rebuild the pieces of her life from the ground up.
Jake Taylor was everything she needed: strong, dependable and supportive. He also harbored secrets of his own that could undermine everything they’d rebuilt together. So why was her mind and heart chasing after a fantasy? And will those dark secrets of his tear her apart or give her a second chance at love?

Another enjoyable read in this collection. It was easy to follow because…it could happen. Anywhere. Anytime. And most likely has. I loved the strong heroine who could hold her own. She was tough, but she wasn’t steel. She was soft, but she wasn’t whiny. Each paragraph drew me in and now, I want to read more from Ms. Montgomery. 

Blind Sided by HA Fortman:

Lost in a forest, stumbling her way through a swirling void of white, Chrissy tries to find her way home. She’s running, but she can’t remember who is chasing her or why.
Found by mythical creatures, Chrissy is convinced that she’s merely dreaming. Shifters, fauns and fairies, oh my! Creatures out of mythology surround her, helping her to retrieve her memory, but at what cost?
Fenric is inexorably drawn to Chrissy–her scent, her laugh, and the feather-light touch of her soft skin. His secrets are about to be exposed in order to save Chrissy. Will he jump through the shadows, endangering all he holds dear, or will he hide in the darkness?

Normally, I’m not a fan of SciFi Fantasy. However, being a fan of HA Fortman’s, I know she can write it in such a way that it’s clearly enjoyable to those of us who aren’t familiar with certain terms and scenarios in that genre. HA has given us a great story. It was jam-packed with a lot of details and for being 10k, I could tell she used every available and possible word she could use to make her story complete. This was an enjoyable read and I look forward to finishing HA’s other series. I wonder…will we see these characters from Blind Sided again? Only time will tell.

Anywhere There’s Magic by Tianna Xander:

Ten years of therapy couldn’t convince Kendra that the magical world she discovered hiding in her grandparents’ attic didn’t exist. Returning to that attic to prove it was imperative–especially since her grandparents have disappeared.
Immediately after arriving in the alternate world, she’s yanked off her feet, onto a galloping horse by a member of their rival clan, until the man who declared his undying love ten years before rescues her. Kendra’s heart shatters when she discovers her father’s murder, that her grandmother is near death, and Alaster, the only man she has ever loved, has married another.
Will Kendra accept her destiny and take on the mantle of power that is her birthright, or will she leave her people at the mercy of her family’s cruel enemy, leaving the love of her life and the world of magic behind?

Before I go further, I must admit that I did NOT read any of the blurbs for this book BEFORE I read the book. So, I was not prepared for Tianna’s story. But wow! Again, I must reiterate that I am not normally a SciFi Fantasy loving reader…no offense to anyone. It just isn’t my thing. UNLESS it’s done well. And I can count the number of SciFi Fantasy authors I will read…on one hand. I know…shame on me! Anyways, I was also unprepared for the incredible talent Tianna has for creating such vivid imagery. It blew me away. It was cohesive and coherent without lag or any pesky plot holes to be found. Tianna knows her stuff. In fact, this story convinced to me try more of her work.

There you have it. Overall, because of the reason this anthology was created and because of the stories I found myself liking…I gave it five stars. The reviews above are the stories that I completely enjoyed in Romancing The Sweet Side. They appealed to me and even swayed me towards a new genre. So, I’m hoping you’ll head on over to Amazon and grab a copy of this anthology. 99% of proceeds go directly to One Way Farm and your love of books will help out some very awesome kids. After you’ve read this book, I hope you’ll stop back and tell me what you think of it.

 

Happy Reading!

XOXOXO,

Madison

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