Review: A Brush of Wings Anthology by Various Authors

Guardian spirits walk among us. They are heavenly beings who grant courage, unknown benefactors who offer help, best friends who lend their strength, and celestial beings who embody inspiration. You might not recognize these everyday angels or messengers of mercy, but the men in this anthology are touched by their purity and light and sometimes blessed by love.

Individual story blurbs can be found on Dreamspinner Press's website here.

4 hearts overall

Happy holidays and merry Christmas to all! In the spirit of the holiday, I reviewed this angel-themed anthology, A Brush of Wings, edited by Anne Regan.

Overall, this was a very strong anthology with quite a number of winning stories. There were a few that I didn't like quite as much, but otherwise, the variety in this collection really appealed to me. While I normally don't read "inspirational" romances, the spiritual elements in these stories are well done and provide enough diversity so as not to be repetitive. All in all, there were more winners than not in this collection.


Morning Glow by Taylor Lochland: 4.5 s. Sweet and heartwarming story about Benjamin, who is coming out of a bad relationship, and Alan, the high school friend who has always been there for him when he's gone through tough times. I liked how this story unfolded and the feelings that the guys weren't afraid to show each other. Despite the fantastical subject of angels, this story felt pretty believable, and I really liked the emotions in this one.

A Trail of Feathers by Sarah Ann Watts: 3.5 s. Poignant, touching short story about a man who is still grieving his dead partner and the angel - a seeming wanderer of sorts - who helps him take the first step on the path to healing. This story's ending was left open-ended, but I thought that was perfect for the short and healing nature of it. The angel's appearance wasn't necessarily a solution; rather, it was a guiding step in the right direction.

Heart's Salvation by Réve Garrison: 2 s. Well written (if rather purple prose-y), but I just didn't jive with this story of an angel falling for a man who just lost his wife and child in a car accident. The time jumps, shifting POVs, heavy religious influence, and GFY type approach (with a throwaway line about having had previous experiences with men prior to marriage) just didn't work for me.

In the Hands of the Gods by Jana Denarde: 4 s. This one was a little different, but it was different in a good way. Set in ancient times, it's rich in details and vocabulary that really set the mood for the concept of ancient Roman gods - or, in this case, a guardian of the family - watching over those who pay tribute to them. I enjoyed being taken away to this much different setting, and I liked the unique vibe of the writing.

A Voice in the Darkness by Patric Michael: 4.5 s. Emotionally fulfilling story about an established couple caught in a terrible accident and the voice that guides the MC through the ordeal. Loved how the story gave us their background through effective uses of flashbacks. Dramatic and ultimately sweet, the ending left me a little teary eyed.

Some Comfort by S. Blaise: 2 s. Not much to say on this one. A slice of life vignette for Mal and Dale. Not a lot happens action-wise, and the tone is a little melancholy, ending on a bittersweet note. Just wasn't feeling this one.

Ascension by RJ Scott: 4 s. Sabrael the angel meets his destiny on a visit to the mortal realm, where he watches over Adam, the last member of the family he was tasked with overseeing. I loved the honesty and emotions in this story. There was extreme head hopping - sometimes in the same paragraph - that was quite distracting, though. Nevertheless, a passionate and enjoyable tale overall.

Sariel by Mary Calmes:  I'm torn on this one. At times a 5 star read, at others a 3, and at others an eye roll, this story was imaginative and well-told, but also insanely melodramatic, too. In a twist, the narrator Jake saves his angel. I really liked that development and how the action of the story unfolded. However, the way their "romance" proceeded was really whirlwind and ridiculous. One big criticism of the story is that Jake's narration sounded like a Harlequin heroine. 3.5 s overall for being a good and uniquely conceived tale that in an odd way fell short in the romance department.

The Platypus Learns Astrophysics by Matthew Vandrew: 4.5 s. Almost like a reimagining of A Christmas Carol with Ebeneezer Scrooge, in this story Micah was sent into Jonas's world to touch the cantankerous and loveless CEO's life.  The story was both ridiculous and sweet, and I kinda loved it. The interactions between Micah and Jonas were injected with a great dose of humor, too.

The Angel Blues by Cornelia Grey: 4 s. Morgan's guardian angel Spencer has his hands full keeping the city cop safe. I really enjoyed this interracial story and its premise. Morgan doesn't know if he's going crazy when he begins to see the same man time and time again in the strangest places. For a short story, the emotional connection Morgan and Spencer built was believable and heartwarming.

Redemption by Clare London: 5 s. Gorgeous story about redemption. I can't say more without giving away the tale, but suffice to say that I loved it. Wonderful world building within this fantasy world and plenty of fulfilling emotions. The beginning was rather dark, but it all came together beautifully.

Herbal Tea by H.J. Brues: 3 s. Interesting premise with good characterization.  I loved Justin and Jamie, and I warmed up to Douglas easily enough. I wasn't too keen on the way the insta-love and the sexytimes unfolded in this one, though, so 3 hearts overall.

The Tenth Avatar by Roland Graeme: 3.5 ♥s. Unusual story about an Indian emigrant and his unlikely love match. The spiritual elements in this story were very interesting and well done. They veered towards a little didactic at times, but overall contributed to a pleasing and uplifting story.

Santangelo by Zahra Owens: 4 ♥s. Heartwarming story about how a stroke of bad luck turns out to be the best thing that happened to the MC Michael. This story felt full and complete with the MCs creating a lasting relationship that was built in these short story pages. Well done, and featuring older (40+) MCs.

The Archangel of Castro by Diana Copland: 5 ♥s. Lovely and sweet tale of a hardworking everyman who doesn't think he's good enough for the (much younger) object of his affections.  I adored this story and its saucy angel, sympathetic MCs, and honest emotions. A fantastic read, it brought tears to my eyes. Wonderful way to end this anthology.

Happy unipornian holidays to you and yours from the Unicorn Mafia!

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