Posted in 4 Stars, Book Review

REVIEW: Romantic Interludes from TWCS

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Genre: Romance, Short Stories
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
Publication Date: February 1, 2013
Formats Available: Kindle

Summary:

The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House gives its readers seven spicy, sweet, and sassy stories guaranteed to satisfy. 

What happens when the god of love is smitten by a mortal woman? Or when a marine comes home from overseas and whats a second chance with the one he let get away?

From a greeting card writer who hates Valentine’s Day, to a matchmaker who doesn’t believe in love, to a young couple who has to face fears from the past before they can accept their future–Romantic Interludes includes seven tales of love from these authors:

Lissa Bryan
Suzy Duffy
T.M. Franklin
Allie Jean
Sandi Layne
Sydney Logan
Jennifer Schmidt

Whether in an emergency room or flower shop, love is in the air. From first glances to second chances, this bundle of romantic stories will get your heart racing!

MY RATING: 📚 📚 📚 📚

Since this is a collection of seven short stories by different authors, my overall rating is an average of the star ratings I gave to each individual story.

“The Golden Arrow and the Butterfly”
Lissa Bryan

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SummaryEros is the god of Love, but he has never experienced the emotion himself, despite his inexplicable fascination with a beautiful young mortal woman, Psyche. When one of his golden arrows strikes Psyche instead of its intended target, he whisks her away to Olympus, to save her from the fate of falling in love with the next man she sees. Psyche is terrified when she wakes blindfolded, in a strange realm, in the company of an oddly compelling man who claims to be a Greek god. What happens when the blindfold finally comes off? 

 

 

My Rating: 📚 📚 📚 📚

This story is light and charming in the way I want a short romance to be. I always enjoy new spins on mythological tales. I think my favorite part of this piece was Ms. Bryan’s interpretation of Mercury! “The Golden Arrow and the Butterfly” is a fun read, and really my only complaint is that I wish it were a little longer!

What this piece really does is showcase Ms. Bryan’s versatility and imagination. I love how her stories are so wildly different–gothic romance, historical fantasy, mythological romantic short. She doesn’t let genre tie her down, but instead goes where the stories want to take her. I love that. If like me you’ve enjoyed her work before, you’ll love this tale.

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About the Author
Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot . . . though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing. 

She is the author of several novels, including Ghostwriter, Under These Restless Skies, The End of all Things, Land of the Shadow, and Shadows Have Gone. She has short stories in Romantic Interludes and Tales from the End.

Connect with Lissa on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr pages.

“The Gentleman Gardner”
Suzy Duffy

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SummaryThe flowers might be fresh, but Becky’s love life isn’t blooming. Spring has sprung and it’s looking like another year on the shelf in The Little Flower Shop for Becky. Enter the tall dark stranger who comes calling every Monday. But how can she fall for a guy who likes mediocre mopheads over zany zinnias? He might be cute, but he sure ain’t no gentleman gardener. Harder to open than a dahlia in December, Becky and her buddy, Jilly, have to resort to every trick in the book to figure out the mystery behind the guy they call The Monday Man.

 

 

My Rating: 📚 📚 📚 📚

This was a cute little story about finding love when you are least expecting it. I would have liked to see the characters developed a little more, and find out more about Becky outside her past relationships and her time at the flower shop, but those are minor complaints, really. “The Gentleman Gardener” made me smile, which is always good.

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About the Author: Suzy Duffy is an international and #1 bestselling author of romantic comedy. Her New England Trilogy includes Wellesley Wives, Newton Neighbors and Lincoln Ladies. Her books have been translated into German & Norwegian. She was a guest speaker at the 2013 Sydney Writers Festival in Australia.

Connect with Suzy on her Facebook page.

“A Piece of Cake”
T.M. Franklin

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Summary
Emily Valentine is a matchmaker who doesn’t believe in love. Well, at least not the hearts and flowers, see-your-soulmate-across-a-crowded-room-and-the-world-stands-still kind of love. No, Emily is a pragmatist–a scientist–and she’s abandoned her family’s tradition of matchmaking based on instinct and uncanny intuition for a more scientific approach to pairing people up. Emily believes love is more about compatibility and common interests than anything mystical. But a run-of-the-mill job turns her world on end when swoony cake designer Sam Cavanaugh pops up as a potential match for her newest client. The attraction she feels for him throws a wrench in her plans, but she’s not going to succumb without a fight. Emily is nothing if not practical. And reasonable. But she’s about to learn that sometimes the best things in life . . . are neither.

My Rating: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

What a delightful, fantastic little romp! I’ve read some of Ms. Franklin’s other works–the More trilogy and the delightfully creepy “Unscheduled Departure”–and I’ve never been disappointed, but I have to say I was not expecting “A Piece of Cake” to be THIS exciting and enjoyable.

In a very short piece, Ms. Franklin manages to create fully developed characters and explain the wonder and the struggle that is the Valentine family gift. She avoids one of the easy pitfalls of writing short stories and does not resort to info dumping, instead revealing everything we need to know in a very easy, natural way. I laughed, I cried, I was sad when it was over. I want a full-length novel in this world, pretty please!

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About the Author: 
T.M. Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, and a little magic. A former TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more fun that reporting the facts. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review BEst Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Awards. She’s since written three additional novels and several best-selling short   stories . . . and there’s always more on the way. 

Connect with T.M. on her website, Facebook, or Twitter.

“Dissecting Lies and Intentions”
Allie Jean

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Summary: After a less than stellar ending to her seemingly perfect relationship, Christine decides to spend Valentine’s Day at the one place where her mind will stay good and occupied. The Emergency Room has a way of making the day pass by quickly, yet when her former fling elects to change his schedule with another nurse, Christine finds herself in a situation she can’t avoid. Can she finally set aside her fears and take a leap of faith? Or will her assumptions about Mitch prove her to be unlucky in love?

My Rating: 📚 📚

This story had an interesting concept, but it didn’t really grab me at all. The characters felt flat, and I found it hard to care about them. I was happy that Christine found happiness in the end, though! There were several points in the story where I wasn’t sure she would.

5836035.jpgAbout the Author: Allie Jean was born with an overactive imagination. She spent her childhood inventing stories and telling tales. Her mind never shuts down, even while she sleeps. Vivid dreams containing extensive, elaborate plot lines of good overcoming evil villains captured her nightly visions, lingering into her waking hours and filling the pages of her well-loved bounded diaries. She was encouraged by her parents, even at a young age, to write down her tales, and it has remained a somewhat secret hobby. As a busy wife, mother and critical care nurse, Allie’s love of storytelling has been reborn through the adventures of her unforgettable characters.

Connect with Allie on her website.

“Justin’s Second Chance”
Sandi Layne

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Summary: Ten years ago, April Peterson asked her long-time crush and pen pal Lance Corporal Justin Clark for a date. Just a day spent alone together. Though he cared for her more than he had ever let on, he was still in shock after his first military deployment to Afghanistan, and responded in perhaps the worst possible way: He ignored her.

When they meet again, April Peterson Sinclair is a widow with a young daughter. Gunnery Sergeant Justin Clark is hoping to win April’s heart and asks for a second chance.

My Rating: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

Wow. This story absolutely blew me away. I have not read any of Ms. Layne’s work before, and I’m not usually drawn to the military romance thing, but . . . wow. From start to finish, “Justin’s Second Chance” captivated me. In a very short piece, the author acquainted me with Justin and April and all that had transpired between them without being heavy-handed or rushing anything. The fact that she was able to create a slow but steady romance so quickly has me in awe. I have to find more of Ms. Layne’s writing to read!

About the Author: Married for more than twenty years to a very tole2264252rant (and brilliant!) man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends. Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction for both reading and research. With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions. If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter. She invites you to visit her online space at http://sandyquill.com.

“Stupid Cupid”
Sydney Logan

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SummaryJada Morgan hates Valentine’s Day, which is ironic, considering she’s a writer for a greeting card company. She meets Nathan Reynolds, one of the company’s new graphic artists, and they bond over their mutual hatred for all things Cupid while working on designs for this year’s marketing campaign. As they grow closer, Jada learns Nathan is a single father, and she quickly becomes attached to him and his little girl. When it’s time for the company’s holiday party, Jada assumes she and Nathan will attend together, not realizing he already has a date for the event. Has Stupid Cupid broken her heart once again? A heartfelt short story about love, family, and second chances.

My Rating: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

This story reminded me a little of one of my favorite movies, (500) Days of Summer, but with a happier ending! I really felt like I understood Jada and Nathan as characters, and I had an honest connection to the story. I’m looking forward to rereading this one in the future!

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About the Author: Sydney Logan is the bestselling author of six novels. She has also penned several short stories and is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. A lover of music, she fills her playlist with everyone from Johnny Cash to Eminem. Sydney holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and spends her days surrounded by kids and books. A native of East Tennessee, she enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat. Visit her website at www.sydneylogan.com.

“Two Pink Lines”
Jennifer Schmidt

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Summary: After twelve years of friendship, Memphis and Kennedy Adams took a risk that changed their lives forever. Now, three years later, they’re a happily married, suburban living couple whose only problem is a disobedient puppy. Things couldn’t be going more smoothly for these two—until Valentine’s Day turns out to be more than flowers, chocolates and candy hearts. Kennedy’s been down this road before and it ended in heartache. Will she be able to overcome her fear of the past in order to see the good? Sometimes the best things in life are the unexpected surprises along the way.

 

 

My Rating: 📚 📚

Honestly, I did not really connect with this story at all. However, that very well could be because the story of the main characters are told in one of Ms. Schmidt’s full-length novels. If I’d read that beforehand, I probably would have enjoyed it a little more. I did smile at the ending, though!

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About the Author: Ever since learning to read, Jennifer’s always had a love for books. There’s hardly been a time since second grade that she didn’t have a book in her hand or close by. Her love for the written word soon inspired her to write her own stories. However, it wasn’t until she found an online writing community that she took the first step and, hiding behind a penname, posted her work. After some persuasion from family and friends, Jennifer shed the penname and entered the 2010 TWCS Original Fiction Contest and won for best romance. In 2011, Jennifer published her first novel, Last Call.  When she’s not glued to her laptop making her characters’ lives as chaotic as possible, she’s chasing after her two young sons, Hayden and Nicholas, and doing the “mom thing.” 

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Author:

Olivia Ard is the author of women's fiction trilogy The Bennett Series and Readers' Favorite 5-Star recipient 'Tis the Season. She is pursuing a second degree in sociology. She and her husband JD live in Central Alabama, where they await their miracle baby's arrival this November with joyful expectation.

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