Review: Truly, Madly, Boys by JL Merrow & Josephine Myles (Mad About the Brit Boys #5)

Note: This ARC was provided by Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Truly, Madly, Boys is a collection of four short stories from authors JL Merrow and Josephine Myles and is the fifth in their Mad About the Brit Boys anthologies. Each of the stories are very quick reads and the collection as a whole can be read in one sitting. These are M/M contemporary romances but that was the only common thread they shared, so you get a different story each time--a definite and most notable bonus when it comes to an anthology--two written by JL Merrow and the other two by Josephine Myles.

Written by JL Merrow, Epiphany is about Vinnie, a security guard on his way home from the gym who spies young Graham looking somewhat lost on a New York street. Offering to help him find his way back to his hotel, Vinnie asks Gray if they can take a quick detour to his apartment in order to take a shower and change, and it proves to be a memorable detour. But can a hook-up lead Vinnie and Gray to even consider dating, especially if the gifted British concert pianist is counting the days before he has to fly back home?

Vinnie and Gray may not seem like a pairing that would make sense but they obviously clicked really quickly here. I was surprised at the turn of events when they got to the apartment, but it was a good kind of surprise, one that made it quite clear that the attraction was not one-sided at all. One other pleasant surprise in the story was Vinnie's mother, who told it like it is and didn't allow anyone to think lowly of her son, not even Vinnie himself. Epiphany was officially my first JL Merrow read and I"m giving it 3.5 stars.

Halfway Up the Stairs was written by Josephine Myles and is a short story about longtime couple Charlie and Josh. The latter wants to move to a new place, but the former is resistant to the idea, especially since the home they share is the only one they've ever lived in together. The memories that their current home evokes are all held closely to Charlie's heart, but it's one memory in particular, one that hearkens back to their time as students, that he holds closest, and it's enough of a reason for him to not want to move away.

This was such a sweet romance, one that had me grinning from ear to ear. The main characters, Charlie and Josh, are already an established couple, but they're in the midst of an issue regarding moving to a new place. We get to experience the reason why Charlie doesn't want to move as he reminisces and as someone who connects memories with particular things and places, I totally understood where Charlie was coming from. Halfway Up the Stairs was definitely my favorite in the entire anthology and I'm giving it 4.5 stars.

JL Merrow's second story in the collection is Sense Memory, which has Colin meeting up with someone he met and has been corresponding with online. Hit by a drunk driver, Colin is now blind, so meeting other people can prove to be difficult. When he and Alban finally meet, the scent of wood chippings niggle something deep in the memories he lost after the accident. Alban explains that he's a carpenter but his connection to Colin and trigger of wood chippings smell could prove to be rather surprising for dear Colin.

I admit it. I saw this story going in a completely different direction, so when the connection between Alban and the whole wood chipping scent memory was revealed, I was shocked. The story also ended in an unexpected way, I was taken by surprise twice over with one story. Any author who can surprise me the way JL Merrow did here deserves kudos. Just like her first story in the anthology, this one has more of a happily-for-now ending than the happily-ever-after, which I think is fitting. Sense Memory get four stars.

The anthology wraps up with Josephine Myles's Without Words. Here we have Nick, a man whose nerves get the better of him and often lead him to stumble over his words in the presence of other people. When he notices the construction worker that he's been crushing on actually take an interest in him, Nick decides to take his chances. Switching from his business suit to more casual fare, Nick hopes that his good looking admirer won't mind if Nick lets his actions speak louder than his words, but Nick is in for his own surprise.

I quite liked Nick and Sean's story. It took an unexpected route but was enjoyable and entertaining from start to finish. The twist in the tale is pretty easy to figure out, but everything plays out in a more moderate fashion, rather than the quick and easy happy ending you would expect. With these two short stories alone, Josephine Myles has piqued my interest and I hope to read her more full-length stuff. Without Words gets four stars. Averaging all the ratings, Truly, Madly, Boys receives a total of four stars. ♥

Release Date: 14 June 2016

Date Read: 14 June 2016

Learn more about JL Merrow and Josephine Myles.

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