Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust: A Wayward Ink Anthology by Julie Lynn Hayes, Taylin Clavelli, Anyta Sunday, Andrew Q. Gordon, Lily Velden, Lily G. Blunt ~ Book Review by Queue

LLLL-Final-COver Title: Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust: A Wayward Ink Anthology

Author: Julie Lynn Hayes, Taylin Clavelli, Anyta Sunday, Andrew Q. Gordon, Lily Velden, Lily G. Blunt

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Cover Artist: unknown

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

We’ve all loved.We’ve all laughed.

Sadly, we’ve also probably all known loss in one form or another.

And, yes, we at Wayward Ink are sure we’ve all experienced lust!

In Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust, you’ll experience one or more of the “L”s as we take you on a roller coaster of emotions.

Whether you like to sigh over the sweet, cry for the broken-hearted, enjoy a good laugh, or get a little hot and bothered; there’s something for everyone in this collection.

Queue’s View:

The eight stories in this anthology are not connected or inter-related but are grouped into the four categories in the title: Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust.

 

Love

 

His Prince Wore Pink Stilettos by Julie Lynn Hayes

When Michael’s daughter finds a pair of pink stilettos in his attic he takes a pleasant walk down memory lane. He recalls discovering his sexuality, the first boy he crushed boy, the boy he lost his virginity—the boy who wore the pink stilettos.

The story was enjoyable, sweet and romantic despite the few occurrences of purplish prose, specifically jumping and weeping cocks. I particularly loved the way this short story ended.

4.5 stars.

 

Invisible by Taylin Clavelli

A sweet and sad story about the dangers of taking your significant other for granted.

Sean is lonely in his relationship and Michael is oblivious to the problems in the relationship so Sean takes off, believing Michael would be better off with someone else. That’s when Michael realizes the errors of his way and does whatever he can to find the man he loves. It seems hopeless but Michael doesn’t give up. Then an accident reunites them and Michael vows to always make sure Sean knows he loves him.

Michael’s loss while Sean was gone was palpable and I totally felt his emotions. The way he frequently said ‘my Sean’ was majorly sweet and romantic.

4.25 stars.

 

Loss

 

Hearts by Anyta Sunday

Daniel has been single for a while and is dealing with depression and a heart broken. He is positive life will never be as good as it was with Sam. Toby and Kyle move in across the street and Daniel doesn’t make the best first impression. However, as Toby’s relationship crumbles, he and Daniel become friends since they both know what the other is going through.

Hearts is a beautifully written story of two men nursing broken hearts, sure that their lives are over. It turns out their friendship is exactly what they both needed. There was no insta-love here, I experienced every moment of the slow burn metamorphosis from friends to lovers.

This was by far the best story in the anthology.

5 stars

 

A Closed Door by Andrew Q. Gordon

This short story is about two grown men dealing with both the after affects of a hurricane and the storm of their teenage years.

Orin and Thomas were best friends growing up until Orin came out and Thomas rejected him before then bullying for the rest of their high school years. Orin hasn’t been back to his hometown but the death of his parents in the hurricane forced his hand. Thomas eventually admits to Orin he’s gay and was scared to admit it when they were young.

Of course the men still have feelings for each other, but the road together isn’t an easy one. There are several obstacles in the way, including a few rom-com type ones.

The tale was well written and thoroughly enjoyable though it did drag in a few places. I liked the fact that the loss wasn’t about the death of a lover or a breakup but instead the loss of parents.

4.25 stars

 

Sleepwalking by Taylin Clavelli

Matthew is mourning the loss of his husband and is sleepwalking through life. Elliot notices Matthew and becomes determined to get to know him.

I was never invested in this story because of the preponderance of telling. It was more like reading a description of story. I never formed an emotional connection to either of the men, nor did I understand why either one fell for the other. I just didn’t care at any point of the story.

One issue I had was the need to shoehorn in both men’s coming out stories. Their pasts had nothing to do with the main plot and should’ve been left out. In short stories every word matters and extraneous sentences just slows everything down.

Another issue was the often stilted and awkward dialogue. At one point Elliot actually says:

“When the sun decides to smile on us, it’s our duty to smile back at it.”

This story just didn’t work for me.

2.5 stars

 

Laughter

 

Life According to Buddy by Lily Velden

This short is about two guys named Jonathon and Corey but is told from the perspective of Buddy aka Jonathon’s penis. There is also The Colonel, Corey’s penis, and BB aka The Twins, which is Corey’s butt.

Did you roll your eyes yet? Cuz I did.

This story was obviously supposed to be funny, but I didn’t even crack a smile. It was a clever idea but hard to pull off. I rolled my eyes and groaned several times however.

2 stars

 

Lust

 

Service with a Smile by Lily G. Blunt

Terry visits a clothing shop with the strict purpose of seducing Ash, the only staff member working at the time.

This story was pretty hot for a story meant to be erotica. It was basically porn with plot, which since it was grouped in the lust category, I assume was the purpose.

A little head hopping between paragraphs, a pet peeve of mine, made me mark it down a bit.

I was going to give it four stars until a sweet, surprise ending made it better.

4.5 stars

 

Hunter or Hunted by Lily Velden

William is a bartender and David is the young man he wants to seduce. David is equally attracted to the older man but enjoys playing cat and mouse. They’re both Type A controlling personalities who know what they want. David usually likes to be the one doing the seducing, but occasionally doesn’t mind being the prey.

The story is told in dual first person POV, taking turns as the relationship progresses. I didn’t exactly love these guys, but I didn’t hate them either. They seemed rather self-centered and arrogant.

My biggest issue was the purple prose, which was prolific. There were a couple references to boy pussy (eww), a heavenly stick, a prostate-homing cock, and a pretty, pink, furled rosebud which winks.

It was a cute tale but the odd language took it over.

3.25 stars

 

Overall: 4 stars

Buy Links

Wayward Ink Publishing
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
Kobo US

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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