Review: Heart 2 Heart: A Charity Anthology by Various Authors

Once upon a time, a bunch of M/M authors wondered… What if a dating app that guaranteed you a love match broke down just in time for Valentine’s Day? What if you found yourself on a blind date with a random guy who might be your opposite in every single way? It could be a disaster. Or… When the code breaks down, fate just might take over.

Eleven of your favorite gay romance authors have joined forces to light up your Valentine’s Day with a collection of sweet, sexy, silly, and hot short stories, featuring a wacky cast of characters chosen from your reader suggestions! Morticians and magicians, superheroes and spies, lawyers and lobstermen, will all learn that love has nothing to do with algorithms… and sometimes you find it in the least-likely places.

And the best part? All proceeds from this collection will go to the authors’ favorite LGBTQ charities, to ensure that love in all its incarnations will be celebrated and protected every single day of the year!

I absolutely LOVE anthologies and I always have one going in the background. They are great to fill in the gaps between books and get introduced to new-to-me authors. Heart2Heart: A Charity Anthology is extra special as the proceeds from the sales of this collection go to charities doing amazing work for the LBGTQ community; The Trevor Project, Bisexual Resource Centre and one-n-ten.

The theme of Heart2Heart is creative and gave the authors a lot of freedom to play and still keep a focus throughout so the stories flow from one to the next effortlessly. Heart2Heart is a dating app that goes sideways as you see with The Set-up and The Fallout, one story broken into two parts that sandwich the rest of the shorts perfectly. The glitches in the software pair up opposites rather than matches, so if you are an opposites attract theme fan, this anthology is going to feed that need.

The Set-up OR How Bailey the Geeky Programmer Lost his Focus 
4 Hearts

Bailey is going through the last of the QA process before the Heart2Heart app launches when he gets distracted by the very, very delicious window washer outside his building. Everyone on his floor was checking the eye candy outside, but that hunk of a man only had eyes for Bailey. The flirtation was adorable and I could hardly blame Bailey for cutting his QA process short to go on the date of a lifetime.

Once the app goes live, the mismatches begin . . . .

The Professional Gamer and the Paranormal Photographer by Alison Hendricks 
2 ½ Hearts 

I liked the MCs separately but didn’t really get a feel for them as a potential couple. They spent a good chunk of time talking themselves out of liking one another and then just kind of decided to change their minds. There was no real reason, they both admitted that there wasn’t a ton of attraction between them. Once they decided to give one another a chance I did enjoy reading their conversations, but I was missing the piece that connected them, I was missing the “why”.

The Magician and the Mortician by A.E. Wasp 
4 Hearts 

This story was a treat to read. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but I really enjoyed the writing style and will be looking for more of her works. I wouldn’t classify these characters as opposites, but they did happen to come together at the perfect time, when each of them really could appreciate the other. Alberto and Mikey were completely charming separately and together it was multiplied exponentially. Mikey’s sense of wonder was utterly adorable and I loved reading Alberto falling in love with Mikey’s qualities.

The Assassin and the Dog Walker by Charlie Cochet 
3 ½ Hearts 

The characters made this one for me but I think there was just a little too much going on for a short story. A little less OTT and a little more character focus would have bumped this one up at least a full star for me. The humor is well done and well timed throughout and I absolutely could see Lymond and Daniel together. I didn’t really get the need for the jealous ex-boyfriend thing, it didn’t really need to be a thing to make this story.

The Criminal and the Sommelier by Chris Owen 
2 ½ Hearts 

I really enjoyed the writing in this short story, but it definitely felt like I was reading a snippet of a bigger tale and not a fully fleshed out story. I don’t need to have every detail, but this one felt like it was missing just enough to leave me wanting. The ending was too abrupt for me to have a feel for the MC’s as a potential couple, but I would definitely be interested in reading this one if it were to be turned into a novella at least.

The Superhero and the NSA Agent by Hailey Turner 
3 ½ Hearts 

Shane and Damian were perfect for one another and I really liked their setup. The story was a little rushed, but I still could sense the connection between the two and believe in an HEA for them. I loved the banter between the two of them once they were getting to know one another and I’ve gotta love and MC who cosplays for kids in the hospital. It’s no wonder Shane swooned so hard so fact. 

The Tattoo Artist and the Writer by Lily Morton 
5 Hearts 

This story was the most absolute swoon worthy treat and I ate up every word of this friends to lovers tale. I was ready for a character driven story by about now and Lily Morton delivered in spades. Noah and Sage had been friends since they were kids and the flashbacks cemented their connection. Heart2Heart was the jumpstart they needed to admit their feelings and the dates they went on were so personal and sweet, I just can’t even with the adorable that was all over this one.

The Uber Driver and the Phone Sex Operator by Lucy Lennox 
4 ½ Hearts 

The title is misleading to the characters and I appreciated the depth the author was able to get to with these characters in the span of a short story. The title is a description of their first meeting, but there was so much more to both of them and as the story progressed it was obvious Travis and Azrael had to be together. The age gap could’ve had the potential for angst, but the author didn’t go there too hard, so it read realistically and not OTT. I was fully on board with their HEA when it came and I’ll be looking for more from this author too.

The Baker and the SEAL by May Archer 
4 ½ Hearts 

Oh hell, the setup here was beyond delicious. One MC is a mountain of man, a SEAL who is charming as they come, witty and a big ‘ol bottom. The other MC is a snarky, slightly cantankerous toppy ginger who bakes dreamy desserts in a small town that has become the focus of destination weddings. Their first meeting led to some low key flirting, but a misunderstanding derailed them for a brief time until the lightbulb went on and then after some good natured chuckling it was all forward movement for Cal and Ash. These two were one of my favorite couples and I’ll be looking for more May Archer tales.

The Event Planner and the Electrician by Poppy Denison 
4 Hearts 

This story was cute as hell and the humor was spot on for the characters. Theo and Harvey were opposites who attracted (and appreciated) and I think that’s where the story appealed to me the most. I liked reading about how much they were attracted to one another because of their differences and Harvey was so shyly charming in contract with Theo’s vibrant color. These two just made me happy together and their story fit them well.

The Lawyer and the Lobsterman by Ruthie Luhnow 
3 ½ Hearts 

I honestly didn’t have hope for Isaac and Will, but the author changed my mind over the course of the story. Kudos to Isaac for giving the date a chance. He was such a fussy treat I couldn’t help but root for the two of them. Will was OTT with the casually and charmingly obnoxious, but I think he had to be that way to get Isaac to play along. It ended pretty unresolved but that was more realistic than an HEA for them. An optimistic HFN would have been appreciated though, but in my head there is one for them.

The Florist and the Lawyer by Sloane Kennedy 
4 Hearts 

Harrison was a real dick at the beginning of the story and man is he lucky he got paired up with Nate who is the biggest sweetheart on the planet. Not many other people would have given him a second chance, but Nate is empathy personified and Harrison’s tale of heartbreak brought out all of Nate’s caregiving instincts. Harrison was smart enough to see the potential for happiness with Nate and I’m so glad he was able to see past his own hurt to hope for some future happiness with Nate. The fact that Harrison appreciated Nate for who he was made me forgive his early dickishness pretty quickly and their HEA was perfect for them.

The Fallout 
4 Hearts (continuation of The Set-up)

After Bailey returns to work from the epic date to end all dates with Ryder and learns that the little glitch he left behind in the app created what they were all afraid would be catastrophic matches he worked his tail off to get it fixed. He feared for his job and just felt absolutely terrible for the mess. He had no regrets when it came to Ryder though and Ryder was the hero Bailey needed to get through the next couple of days. The whole anthology ends with HEA’s all around and I loved every word of it.

**a copy of this anthology was provided for an honest review**

See the Heart 2 Heart blog tour stop and author visit HERE!

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