Review: Out for a Hero, Edited by Amanda Ching

It's not easy being a superhero. Sometimes it's even harder when you're super and queer. In Out for a Hero, LGBTQ heroes find themselves in tight spaces, moral quandaries, and sometimes heated romance.

In The Integrals, Kaveri, the daughter of two super dads, struggles to conceal her possibly criminal crush. But when Morning Glory clashes with her parents' team, she has to decide how to work with her own developing powers to save the day, and her girl.

Sparks highlights the complications of an after-hours club where both superheroes and villains go to mingle. When Ignition meets Fusion, the leader of a supervillain group, she's forced to dig deeper into the group's activities to discover just who's being wronged.

Patrick has a reluctant grasp on his own gift of fire extinguishing, and he recalls the day it took his lover, Victor, away in Firebreak. As he tells the story to Nissa, clues emerge that indicate that Victor might not be so lost after all.

In DVDRW, a hero with the ability to rewind and replay time falls in passionate love, or lust, with Michael, a normal human with bad connections. What starts as fixing horse races escalates into military exercises, until it's almost too late to back out.

The hero of Pedal to the Mettle finds that transitioning is hard enough, but doing it when you're a super-powered alien brings a whole set of troubles, until Floyd, another alien who just wants to go back home, makes him an offer he can't refuse.

Lastly, in A Memory of Wind, Yeni investigates the secret of missing passengers and empty quarters on the starship that is her home. Her search for answers leads her to Wind, a flying woman who can help her learn what she needs to know.

The Intregals by Chrysoula Tzavelas ½

Kaveri has been secretly talking to (and crushing on) an enemy of her two super hero dads. Both her and Danica have kept their real identities secret met online and started chatting on a regular basis. They both started having feelings for each other, but couldn't let anything move past texting at the risk of exposing themselves. But when Danica was being attacked, Kaveri and her dads had to step in.

This was a cute little story. The super hero world-building was a bit vague, but it worked well for the length of this novella. It was just enough to keep me engaged without creating too many questions. The texting and flirting between Danica and Kaveri was fun, but didn't move beyond a couple sweet kisses. They were left with a HFN at best, but it did leave me feeling a little giddy and hopeful for them. A nice introduction to this anthology.  

Sparks by Lana Drake

Bri has been outed to the world as a lesbian and she's less than happy about it. Luckily, there is an LGBT super hero nightclub that is more than happy to welcome her with open arms. It's here that she finally meets her arch-nemesis, Kristy, face to face. 

Again, there was just enough background info to keep me interested in the story. I would have loved more between Bri and Kristy. I liked Kristy and her Robin Hood thing she had going on. Bri was a little less likable. I get she was outed by someone else, but she seemed like an angry person in general. It was hard to warm up to her in such a short story.

Firebreak by Sean M. Locke 

Gah! This one left me wanting more. So much more than the tiny glimpse we got.  

Patrick thought he had been the cause of his best-friend-turned-lover's death, but with the help of another superhero, he finds that there may be more to the story and maybe Victor is alive after all. 

There's so much potential here. I liked Nissa's "power" and how she's able to help people find what they've lost through art. But there are so many unanswered questions. I've forgiven a lot in the anthology, given how short the stories are, but I think too much was left unfinished here. No HFN, not even the heroes in the same damn room...

DVDRW by Elyan Smith ½

Uhhhmmm, -er... I have no idea what to think about this.

So, our hero has the ability to rewind time. Unfortunately (fortunately, maybe?), he fell in love with Michael. Michael, who knew they wrong kind of guys and told of his boyfriend's special little talent. They used this talent for gambling, the stock market and eventually for mass murders. By the time he wanted to back out, things had gone too far and it was too late.

This story was very fast paced. Very. A lot happened in a small amount of pages. There were quite a few time jumps which were confusing. I don't know if it was only my copy, but there wasn't any indication that the timeline had moved. No page breaks or anything. It took some time for me to figure it all out and by the time I did... the story was over. I did go back and reread a bit to help me get my bearings.

It ended on a somber note, which I guess was fitting for this dark and twisted tale. I never liked Michael. For me, he had zero redeeming qualities and I have no idea what our "hero" saw in him. I wish the time jumps were clearer, just a bit of formatting would have helped. I definitely liked the story overall and the pacing.

Pedal to the Mettle by Gretchen Crane

Our hero is trans, but because of his superhuman power he is unable to go through any treatment. It simply doesn't work on him. But he finds a way he just might be able to be who he wants to be.

Here's the deal: I read romance for the HEA. There was no HEA here. I suppose if you count the character fulfilling his personal needs... but I don't. I want an ending with kissing and touching with a couple together.

If not for the ending, I would have really liked this one. I loved all the characters; especially Floyd and his perspective.  But that ending... totally killed it for me.

A Memory of Wind by Susan Jane Bigelow ½

Yeni lives on a starship where everyone forgets important events, except for her. She meets Wind, who helps her uncover the truth and help the people she lives with remember.

This is probably my favorite in the anthology. The idea of implants and memory erasing by the powers that be is interesting... and scary. The story starts at the beginning of the end with a group of people who are able to overcome these implants. They gather and help the people have a life they're able to remember. Not much a romance with a couple chaste kisses here and there, but there is a feeling of hope for more.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads.

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