Review: Love For All Seasons Anthology by Various Authors

Love stories for all seasons.

RJ Scott brings together authors in an anthology that reveals true love always deserves a happy ending, whatever the season.

With characters who find love in a New York park, or on a college campus, in the middle of a snow storm or in the heat of summer, ‘Love for all Seasons’ delivers romance for everyone. 

Including stories from three authors, new to the world of writing MM romance.

The first two things that caught my eye when this anthology came through the blogosphere were; the proceeds are all going to two charities worthy of all our support, The Matthew Shepard Foundation and The Albert Kennedy Trust (follow the links to learn more about them) and secondly, there are three authors new to the MM genre published here. I think that’s such an awesome idea. What a great way to get introduced! I hope other coordinators of anthologies follow suit, support is something that is sorely lacking in our world these days, so to see it represented this way in the MM Community is quite heartwarming.

Brioche for Two - Seasons of Bryant - Spring 
V.L. Locey 
3 ¾ Hearts 
Brioche for Two is the first of four short stories that will tell the tale of Isamu and Brian, so this story is more of an introduction to the MC’s. That doesn’t mean that anything was lacking or I was left hanging in any way as a reader, it just means that their story isn’t over. The setup for their HEA is ever present though and I liked their chemistry from the beginning. Isamu is a film student crushing hard on one of his customers from the bakery where he works part time. Brian is the crush who is older, devastatingly handsome and incredibly successful. Technically they are in the “opposites attract” realm, but they clicked so well that I never had the feeling that Isamu didn’t belong in Brian’s world so there was no manufactured angst about where he was in his life in comparison to Brian. That was really refreshing for a change. I loved the documentary project that Isamu had to work on that the author used to show the heat between these two. It was clever, steamy and makes me want to read the next chapter of their story.

Sweeter than Honey 
C.M. Valencourt 
3 Hearts 
The premise for Sweeter than Honey is adorable and quite relatable for anyone who’s ever been to a farmer’s market. Considering that is most people, given their popularity, I know I’ll be shipping stall owners right and left next time I go.

Wyatt is a local beekeeper who is anxiously looking forward to market season and he is even more happily anxious when he is set up next to a handsome vegan baker named Grayson. Problem is, Grayson is a bit of a militant vegan and he in no way approves of beekeeping due to the harm he believes it causes. Grayson was a bit off putting at first and I was impressed with how Wyatt kept to the high ground considering the smear campaign Grayson was trying to pull off. Wyatt convinced Grayson to learn a little more before judging his livelihood so harshly and surprisingly, Grayson agrees. From this moment on, I could see these two together and I though the beekeeping lesson I received was very interesting. I wish the drama at the beginning were dialed back just a bit so I could reconcile Grayson from the beginning of the book to Grayson at the end. Being a short story, there wasn’t enough time to watch him change that much, but I did still buy into the two of them together in the end.

Special Nights 
D.J. Jamison 
4 Hearts 
I loved this story. It was one of those quiet ones that you get wrapped up in easily and focus on a couple of really likable characters who need a break and need to find one another. Sam has insomnia and he liked to head to the all night diner where Hunter is a waiter. The story is set over an extended period so the two get a chance to know one another in a pretty realistic way considering one is a customer and the other is working his buns off when they do get to see each other. The slower pace works here because anything else would not have been believable. The reader gets to know the two of them as they get to know each other so their conversations felt very intimate and when the time finally comes for them to move beyond a professional relationship I couldn’t have been happier. 

Winters Chill 
Cathy Brockman 
2 ½ Hearts 
The set up for Winters Chill is perfect for a seasonal anthology. Nothing sets you up for love between two MC’s than being snowed in. Lane is the prepared MC, ready for the harsh winter storm and Jeffrey is our unprepared MC who ends up being rescued by Lane and given shelter until the storm passes. I liked that the author didn’t make Jeffrey incapable of taking care of himself, his pitfalls came from outside forces more than anything else. It put the two of them on more of a level playing field from the beginning which read well for a short story. The two opened themselves up pretty quickly to one another and a few of their conversations were a little jarring in that there was some early on oversharing and unasked for advice that just didn’t read authentic to me. Not that either of the characters minded in the least, it just didn’t seem like that’s how people would normally communicate with a stranger. Jeffrey is closeted and Lane is not which could have lead to some angst but he author addressed it well for a short story.

Beach Boys 
Annabelle Jacobs 
3 ½ Hearts 
Awwww, I was utterly smitten with Beach Boys. The story is really an extended meet cute with a hard core tease at the end, which normally would drive me nutters, but the way the author delivered it, it was perfectly delicious. It doesn’t try to be more than it is, so go in knowing you aren’t going to get an epilogue describing Russ and Blake’s HEA, but you are going to get one of the best meet cutes you’ll get in a long time. This would make a great short film, I would LOVE to see this story play out further, but I was also completely happy with where it left off. Russ is charmingly real and Blake turns out to be just the same, I loved it.

Who Do You Love, My Valentine 
EJ Smyth 
3 ½ Hearts
I was happy to see a fantasy story included in the anthology and Valentine stories always seem to deliver the goods. Nox is an immortal who has been crushing on a human for too long. He spies on Matt from his realm far too often and his distraction leads him to screw up his one job, his arrow hits the exact opposite of the person Matt should be with. What happened next could easily have gone in bad directions, but the author kept it focused on the humans getting back on track with minimal lasting heartache and I appreciated the world building that allowed free will to still play a major part in the outcome for the characters. I thought that was really well done and made the evolution of the story much easier to buy into. I would have loved to see what Nox’s father thought once all was said and done, but that didn’t take away any of the fun I had reading this one.

Favorite Flowers 
Chris McHart 
4 Hearts 
Kudos to everyone who works tirelessly to make sure that others get a special holiday. Such is the case for Gabe who owns a flower shop yet he has never received flowers as a gift himself. Jason becomes a regular customer and while Gabe can’t help but crush on the man, he also knows nothing can ever come of it. But the two still get to know one another and become acquaintances at the least. Jason is more of a romantic than he lets on and as it becomes obvious he is smitten with Gabe, the two of them move beyond customer and shopkeeper and we really get to see them as they get to know one another. I respected Jason quite a bit for his honesty and I’m glad that Gabe appreciated it as well. The reality of Jason’s situation kept the story from being too sweet and gave it the dose of reality that will make it memorable.

The Last Chance 
RJ Scott 
4 Hearts 
For fans of second chance love stories, this will be a treat and a half. I personally love them when they are done just right and The Last Chance was done just right. It’s a story set while Luke and Justin are still in college, but they’re at the end of their college careers so the two were much more mature than most characters in college aged stories. Justin is taking the last chance to see what he could possibly have with Luke and I loved seeing the perspective of Justin’s friends when they were trying to “help”. Luke didn’t make it too easy and Justin didn’t give up and both of those things made me respect and root for them. It’s a very sweet and optimistic story and I really enjoyed the read.

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

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