“…while a couple [stories] were okay the rest were absolute duds for me.”
Reviewed by Zara B.
Sometimes being in an anthology isn’t always a good thing. I’m always up for reading a new author (or four) and in this case was a bit excited because the blurbs made the quick reads sound cute. Unfortunately, the down side for these authors are that while a couple were okay the rest were absolute duds for me. The duds had poor writing and absolutely no character/plot development, while the okay authors could have been great if they’d had more chance to develop the story or hadn’t been combined with the other stories. Mixed feelings on this one for sure…so while I rated the book an overall three stars, I would have given the duds much lower by themselves and the okay books much higher. Another thing to note for other readers is that while ‘other’ worldly elements are implied, not all the stories contain them. Cupid Made Her Do It…no sign of cupid. But My Purrfectly Dependable Valentine has a ‘pack’. So be aware they aren’t all in the same sub-genre.
But here’s a brief review of each title:
Cupid Made Her Do It by Alena Stuart
While Cupid really didn’t come into play much, not really, this is a wonderful story of two people who finally move from the friendship stage into something more. The freak accident only spurs Tessa to share her feelings sooner rather than later. And Gabe is already there and waiting for her to catch up. The tale is mostly well-written, sweet, sexy and you can see these two having a happily ever after. I enjoyed this story most of all the rest. It was a tease that the rest would be this good, really. Fortunately, it was first. Otherwise I might not have finished the others. I just kept hoping they would live up to this one. They didn’t. I’d have certainly given this story by itself a 4 star review! And will eagerly read another by this author.
My Purrfectly Dependable Valentine by Mary Alice Pritchard
While the first story of this anthology was good, this one was not. While it was well-written, it seemed contrived and the heroine certainly had her reasons not to give in to the hero just wanting her for the ‘mating’ ritual. Honestly, separately these two were good characters. Given more of a chance to be flushed out, this story had real potential. Rushed into a short it was hard to feel the connection would last. The hero, Gray, was the Alpha leader hero and everyone’s ideal friend. The jock with a heart, so to speak. While the heroine, Denise, was a more of a beta, everyone’s doormat and all-but servant with a heart. She had skills but no assertiveness that would be needed to lead a pack beside the Alpha. I just didn’t see it. Sure the premise was there, but definitely not enough time to turn the heroine into who the hero really needed. Hence the reason I believe the story was contrived and the situation not feasible. I would have given this one individually a 2 star review, possibly 1 star as it is a pet peeve of mine with the author uses the wrong name (Denise/Delores) within the story. Not sure I’d read more by this author.
The Great North Woods Cupid by Rachel E. Moniz
Another cute tale implying Cupid was involved, but alas he wasn’t really there or mentioned in the story. This tale is more of a romantic encounter. When Kayla Bedford, a true workaholic that has had several bad experiences with men swears them off and goes on vacation by herself, it’s inevitable she finds a hunky man who loves her independence. She briefly meets Evan, a Boston cop on holiday with his friends. Evan is fun and they connect on a physical level, but Evan has his own bad breakup to contend with and misunderstandings and the fact that Evan avoided ending with his ex in an acceptable way could be the death of this relationship before it begins. Well-written as a short story, this addition to the anthology was worth the read. Another 4 star rating here…and I will certainly read more by this author.
Be My Valentine by Kate Hofman
If there was a story I almost quit reading on, it was this one. Sadly, I found Valerie a push-over and almost a TSTL heroine. The hero was foreign and pushy, and I did not get the attraction between these two at all. The writing wasn’t written cohesively and the plot was non-existent. The situation of Valerie being the ‘fill-in’ blind date was a little contrived when the hero/date had to visit the intended original date. They should have met at a restaurant or something. Brining in the friend and meeting at her house before the date made it all akward for me. And put the hero in a ‘oh well’ guess I’ll have to take the runner-up on a date. I just didn’t enjoy the story at all. Add in the foreign feel and this story wasn’t even a 2 star review for me. I will not be finding more books by this author.